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The closer we reach to the holidays, the more emotional I am getting. As we were reaching winter this time last year, I was going through a very difficult time in my personal life. One of the reasons why is we weren’t going to be able to come for the holidays. My husband was in the military and is totally used to not spending holidays with family, but it was the first time in my life I wasn’t going to be spending Christmas with my family.
Fast forward several months and several things that I had been praying about ended up happening for us. My husband got a new, less stressful job. We got to move back to Wisconsin closer to family. We were pregnant with our second child. So many reasons to be thankful. There was SO much we missed out on when we lived in Washington.
Because we weren’t here last year, the holidays are going to be extra special this year. I want to pull out all the stops. Bring out the amazing comfort food and all the holiday decor. I love delicious food that is easy to make, hearty, wholesome, and budget friendly.
First, we start with salad. The best salads are simple, don’t have too many competing ingredients and flavors, but have just the right combinations to make your mouth water. We are huge fans of this salad in my family. All you need is romaine lettuce, sun dried tomatoes, gorgonzola cheese, and avocado. It’s a tasty way to start the meal, and tastes good with a variety of different dressings. For a low budget option, try mixing equal parts oil and balsamic vinegar.
If you are feeding lots of people, a roast is the way to go. There is very little preparation to be done and the price tag is low! All you need is your meat, some broth, carrots and onions. You can throw it all in a slow cooker and the meal practically makes itself! I always eat this concoction with ketchup and any leftover meat can be made into sandwiches the following week. Every time this meal is made for a holiday party, I question my sanity that I’m not making this weekly for my own family. It is SO good and SO cheap!
Homemade fries are almost as easy to make as the store bought kind, but easier on the wallet if you are feeding lots of people! Simply slice a few potatoes, and toss with olive oil, salt, pepper, and rosemary and cook at 350 until they are done. They are tasty and everyone from adults to toddlers will eat them!
Now we are to my favorite part. My favorite thing to make when I have guests is my aioli sauce. It’s so easy to make it feels like cheating because everyone loves it. You can use aioli as a topping for vegetables, meats, sandwiches, or practically anything you can dream up. For my holiday parties I love to use it as a dipping sauce for fries!
Depending on whether you are trying to make something mild or spicy, you can alter the ingredients to your choosing. The only thing that remains consistent is using Kraft Mayo. My favorite way to make this is to whisk equal parts Kraft Mayo and ketchup, a small portion of minced garlic, a squeeze of lemon juice, and some salt and pepper. This makes for a mild yet tasty sauce that everyone can enjoy! My daughter’s rule when eating aioli is that she can’t just dip her fries in it and lick them off- she has to take a bite each time she dips her fry in.
If I was serving this to someone who liked something spicy, I would put some hot sauce in it and experiment with more spices. It’s so easy, and like I said, the only thing that remains consistent is the mayonnaise- the rest is up to you. I always portion the ingredients out by taste and it tastes amazing every time.
The best part about all of these recipes is that the ingredients can all be purchased at Walmart, which is truly the easiest place for me to shop. If I need to buy groceries, I love that I can also go an aisle over and buy envelopes, and another aisle over and grab up some extra baby socks (seriously, where do all the baby socks go?!?) without having to make several stops on my way home. Their prices are rock bottom, and they make it easy for me to entertain on a budget. The mayonnaise I need to make aioli is under $3! #Winning!
No holiday party is complete without a little decorating. I like my decorations to be versatile. I do not like going to the party store to buy something that will be thrown away after the guests leave. That’s why I love these little reindeer dudes. These little figurines are so festive and inexpensive. They were my centerpiece, along with a mini table top Christmas tree.
A festive table runner also completes the look- mine has twigs and berries and some pretty leaves in fall colors. The candles at each place setting were part of a holiday gift set by Tocca last year. They are scented like the fragrance line and add a nice touch to each place setting. This would also be a great gift to give everyone the candle at their place setting to take home with them.
The pine cones at each place setting were a clearance find from last years’ post holiday sales, but how easy would it be to spray paint some pine cones silver? All of these decorations are so festive and would work as a table setting from Thanksgiving all the way through Christmas.
If you need more party inspiration, check out the Cooking Up Good website. It has recipes, sweepstakes, loyalty programs, coupons and more! What’s not to love? If you’re looking for a new dinner idea or a chance to win some awesome prizes, be sure to check it out!
I wish I could send you all some mini reindeer and holiday cheer, but since I can’t, you can download a printable below. Use it on your holiday or thank you cards or do with it what you would like! The dimensions will print to 8.5 x 11.
Download by clicking here: BE THANKFUL