For my last post of 2017, I wanted to share a recipe I made for my Ugly Christmas Sweater Party on the 22nd. Dennis and I hosted our first annual Ugly Christmas Party a few days before Christmas and we had a fabulous time. Our friends came dressed in their favorite Christmas sweaters, and in the case of our winner, John, his best sweater … and a suit! John was a hit, as were all the guys at the party. The girls look fabulous as well. It was hard for me to choose when voting as everyone looked fantastic.
This is a picture of me handing John his prize and him holding it close upon opening. I saw this pillow that was knit just like a sweater, and couldn’t resist buying it as our prize. I’m happy for my friend, Sandy … who is married to John, because she gets to display this pillow proudly next Christmas with the rest of her lovely decorations. We met Sandy and John when our girls played soccer together. Sandy is so funny, as is John. Sandy can always make me laugh, she has a fantastic personality!
Aren’t they cute! In case you can’t tell, Sandy’s jeans are green. What a cute outfit she’s wearing. Sandy, our “Gangsta Wrapper”.
Now, for all the runner’s up, here are the pics.
On the top left are our friends, Jen and Scott. Can you see their flashing Christmas light necklaces? Those necklaces match there sparkling personalities perfectly. I’ll never forget the day I met Jen. We were walking across the softball fields, she introduced herself to me, and gave me her email (which is still the same). Jen and Scott had just moved here from the Bay Area and we became fast friends. We were the first friends they met here in San Diego and we are so happy to have met them that day.
Blake and Ana are in the middle picture. Blake is one of the funniest guys I’ve ever met. His fiancé, Ana, is the sweetest. I always enjoy chatting with her and look forward to the times I know we’ll be together at a function. Blake is one lucky guy to have found Ana!
On the top right are Kent and Jen (the Jent’s). Kent and Jen got married a few years ago and their wedding was one of the most fun I’ve ever been to. Jen is awesome, I look forward to seeing her always. She is one of the best dressers I’ve ever known. There’s never a day that goes by that Jen doesn’t look amazing.
The picture on the bottom left shows our friend, Matt. Dennis and I met Matt when our daughters were in kindergarten. Matt is so much fun, always a joy to be around … definitely the life of the party! He is also amazingly funny. Matt’s wife, Gina, couldn’t be with us. She was at home in Seattle and we missed her dearly.
We missed our friends, Celeste and Ted, who were busy taking care of their good friend and Mark and Michelle, who were out of town for the holidays, and Jen and Dave. Jen was picking Dave up from the airport that night. I hope next year, they’ll be able to join us at our 2nd annual Ugly Christmas Sweater Party!
For our Ugly Christmas Sweater party I wanted to make something that I could throw in the slow cooker and not think too much about until I was ready to serve it. My brother-in-law, John, is a fabulous cook and he is also a butcher. John gave me a recipe years ago for Italian beef sandwiches. I changed his recipe a bit since I did not have Louie’s Italian beef seasoning. You can buy Louie’s on-line if you are interested in looking for it.
For my beef I started with a beef eye of round roast. I actually tripled this recipe I’m going to give you because I was serving a lot of people. I will give you the recipe as if you were making one 2-1/2 pound roast, not three (which I used).
First, I seasoned my beef. I sprinkled 1 teaspoon of kosher salt and 3/4 teaspoon pepper over the top and bottom of the meat. I then sprinkled 2 teaspoons Tuscan seasoning (you could use Italian seasoning) over the top and bottom and patted it down onto the meat.
Next, I poured part of a jar of Italian mix Gardiniera into the bottom of my slow cooker as a base.
I laid the meat on top of the Giardiniera mix and poured the a jar of sliced pepperoncinis over the top.
I then added the rest of the jar of Giardiniera to the meat (I reserved part of the juice from the jar in case I wanted to add it to the roast later on in the cooking process. I didn’t want to add too much liquid in the beginning. I figured I could always add more later.).
I added a jar of whole pepperoncinis on top of everything and set my slow cooker to cook on low for 8 hours. Once the meat was done, I shredded it with two forks and served it on small dinner rolls. It was fabulous!
I had several appetizers out to go with our dinner as well as desserts. One of the most fun and festive things I put out were small, liquor filled chocolates and brandy filled milk chocolate beans. I loved the look of these cute chocolate liquor bottles so bought two boxes. I do have several left … tonight’s New Year’s Eve, maybe I’ll have to have one. Or two.
Along with the fun liquor filled chocolates, I had a cheese board, brandy and brown sugar bacon wrapped dates, white truffle chips and garlic spread, veggies and so much more. My friend, Jen made a recipe that I found on a food blog that I love. She made Lidey’s “Baked Goat Cheese With Balsamic Glazed Figs”. O. M. G., we all loved this baked goat cheese, it was amazing! Lidey’s Table is a wonderful website and she has so many fabulous recipes. I’ve used many of her recipes for several different occasions since discovering her wonderful blog. Lidey works for Ina Garten, who I adore. I love all recipes, Ina, and I believe Lidey is following in Ina’s footsteps with her fabulous food. You can find Lidey’s website at http://www.lideystable.com. I guarantee if you check out her website, you will love her recipes as well.
Dennis had so much fun choosing his Christmas sweater. It was a hit! The manufacturer did such a great job of putting this “sweater” together, making it look like the leather vest was separate from the “hairy” chest and tattoos. I didn’t even realize until he had the sweater on for about an hour that the short sleeves were separate from the long sleeves. He found this on amazon and couldn’t wait to wear it for our party. Dennis’ friends thought Dennis’ sweater looked so real. I thought my sweater was perfect for the Ugly Christmas Sweater party just because I found it at the grocery store … of all places. I knew Ralph’s had an amazing cheese department and selection, but had no idea they sold Christmas sweaters!
Dennis and I had such a great time hosting or first annual Ugly Christmas Sweater Party. We are definitely looking forward to next year!
2-1/2 pound Beef Round, Eye of Round Roast
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon pepper
2 teaspoons Tuscan seasoning (or Italian seasoning)
1 jar Italian Mix Giardiniera
1 jar sliced pepperoncini
1 jar whole pepperoncini
- Season meat on both sides with salt, pepper and Tuscan seasoning.
- Pour 1/3 jar of Giardiniera mix on bottom of slow cooker.
- Add meat to slow cooker.
- Top meat with sliced pepperoncinis, rest of Giardiniera mix and whole pepperoncinis.
- Cover slow cooker and cook on low for 8 hours.
- Shred meat with a fork and serve on small rolls.
Until next time, Kris