Recipe of the Week
 New Year's Cocktail Party Menu
December 29, 2007

Thoughts From Kaye:

Greetings and Happy (early) New Year!

I hope your holiday was terrific and you are looking forward to a brand new year full of hope, happiness and potential. There is something inspiring about opening a brand new calendar and imagining all the good things to come.

My husband and I will be hosting an early evening New Year's Cocktail party for our friends and Neighbors. Just an informal 2-hour affair early in the evening so the revelers can move on to the more flashy parties and we can snuggle down together and ring in the New Year in the peace and quiet of our own home. (Who am I kidding? We are usually asleep before midnight!)

Today's Recipe of the Week is the menu for our Cocktail Party and is surprisingly weight loss surgery friendly. The punch recipes will be made without alcohol, but we will have a selection of spirits on the side for those who wish to imbue. And the appetizers will be small morsels made of fresh flavorful ingredients. Simple and delicious and not overfilling.

I hope you enjoy this menu and I wish you a safe and joyful celebration as you ring in the New Year.


Learn More: Diet After Weight Loss Surgery

New Year's Cocktail Party
The Menu
Neighborhood Cookbook Sale
Cocktail Recipes
Apple Sausage Meatballs
Recommended Cookbooks
Cocktail Party Menu

Because our party is early I don't want to serve anything heavy and I don't want to get up at the crack of dawn to make a 100-choice buffet. So the menu is easy:

Three assorted cocktails.
Assorted red and white wine.

Assorted cheese (served at room temperature) with gourmet crackers and toast points.

A variety of gourmet olives, stuffed and plain.

An abundant bowl of red, purple and green grapes.

Chilled tail-on shrimp with cocktail sauce.

Apple Sausage Meatballs (served warm)

Hopefully this light menu will please every palate, nobody will leave hungry but nobody will be passed out on the sofa in a food coma! My recipe for Apple Sausage Meatballs is below - you will love them!

Gentle Reminder: Back to Normal After WLS

A Collection of Neighborhood Recipes
by LivingAfterWLS Neighborhood
Editor: Kaye Bailey

This 175 page spiral bound book contains 300 recipes submitted by the members of the LivingAfterWLS online support community. These are authentic recipes weight loss surgery patients are using to support their healthy diet goals and feed their families well. Categories include: Appetizers and Beverages; Protein Breakfasts; On The Go Protein; Healthy Snacks; Condiments & Sauces; Soups & Salads; Vegetables & Side Dishes; Main Dishes; Sensible Desserts and Healthy Grains. Now in the second printing this book has made it around the world and consistently receives positive feedback from those who own it.


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Poinsettia Sipper
May be served warm or chilled. I prefer to serve this tasty sip from a slow cooker set to warm. Festive coffee cups garnished with a cinnamon stick make it a particularly pretty treat.

2 cups cranberry juice cocktail (low sugar)
2 cups apple juice
1/4 cup Splenda
2 oranges, juiced
3 whole cloves
2 (3 inch) cinnamon sticks
4 cups water
Garnishes: orange rind, cinnamon sticks or fresh cranberries

Combine first 7 ingredients in a saucepan or crockpot, stirring until combined. Bring to a low simmer, cover and cook 30 minutes. Remove cloves and Cinnamon sticks. Serve warm or chilled. Garnish with orange rind curls, cinnamon sticks or fresh cranberries.

For adults add 1 ounce flavored vodka or spiced rum to each serving.

Cinnamon Candy Punch
This is a refreshing drink that should be served over crushed ice. You may substitute 1/3 cup of Splenda for the 1/2 cup of sugar if you like. Adults will enjoy this with one ounce of light rum and a splash of Triple Sec.

1 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup cinnamon decorator candies
2 (46-ounce) cans unsweetened pineapple juice, chilled
8 cups prepared raspberry-flavored Crystal Light

Combine water, sugar and candies in a small saucepan: bring to boil. Reduce heat, and simmer, uncovered, 5 minutes or until candies melt, stirring occasionally. Cool Completely.

Combine cinnamon mixture and juice in a large punch bowl: stir well. Add prepared Crystal Light and several cups of ice cubes.

Coffee Royale
We have many friends who enjoy an evening cup of coffee, so this is a perennial favorite. I make two batches: one with the amaretto and one without and label the carafes accordingly.

1 1/4 cups 1% low-fat milk
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 3/4 cups hot strongly brewed coffee
1/2 cup amaretto
6 (3-inch) cinnamon sticks (optional)

Combine first 3 ingredients in a medium saucepan: stir well. Place over medium heat, and cook 2 minutes or until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat: stir in coffee and amaretto. Pour into a pre-warmed carafe and set alongside festive mugs. Garnish with cinnamon sticks if desired.

Nonalcoholic version: Omit amaretto: increase coffee to 3 1/4 cups and add 1 teaspoon almond extract.

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Apple Sausage Meatballs

I love these meatballs! Don't skip the shredded apple; you will love the moisture and flavor it brings to a predictable recipe.

1 pound sausage
1 large granny Smith apple, cored and shredded
6 ounces cheddar cheese, cubed
1 Tablespoon olive oil
2 Tablespoons apple jelly
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar

In a medium bowl combine the bulk sausage and shredded apple.  Divide mixture into 24 equal portions. Form portions into meatballs with one piece of the cheese in the middle of each meatball. Use to care to fully enclose the cheese. Cover with plastic and chill for 30 minutes.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Working in batches cook the meatballs searing all sides. As they are seared place in a glass baking dish that is large enough to hold all the meatballs in a single layer. Once all meatballs are cooked wipe the skillet clean of any burned particles. Return the skillet to low heat and gently warm the jam and balsamic vinegar. Pour sauce over meatballs tossing gently to coat.

Place meatballs in a preheated 325F oven for 20 minutes to finish cooking. Test for doneness and serve warm. Additional jam and vinegar sauce may be served on the side.

Oven browning: If you prefer to oven brown the meatballs instead of on the stove, which can be quite messy, place a wire cooling rack on a sided baking sheet. Preheat the oven to 375F. Spray the rack with cooking spray and place the meatballs evenly spaced on the cooking rack. Bake for 20-25 minutes and test for doneness. Meanwhile make the jam and vinegar sauce in a small glass bowl gently warming in the microwave oven.

Servings: 12
Yield: 24 meatballs

Notes: Vegetarian Option: Use 1 pound of meatless sausage, 1 egg lightly beaten and 1/4 cup bread or cracker crumbs. Follow the recipe as directed. We found the meatless sausage required binding ingredients in order for the meatballs to hold their shape. Depending on taste additional seasoning may be required.

Serving Ideas: Meatballs may be served from a slow cooker or electric skillet set to low or from a chafing dish over a flame.

More Recipes at the LivingAfterWLS Neighborhood
Cooking Light Five Star Recipes:
The Best of 10 Years
Published by Oxmor House from pages of CookingLight Magazine

This cookbook, published in 1996, contains the finest recipes from CokkingLight's first 10 years. The recipes are more complicated than some of their other titles (5 Ingredient 15 Minute Recipes and Simple Weeknight Supper) and are suitable for entertaining and special occasions while focused on lightened cooking methods and fresh seasonal ingredients. This is another book with inspiring pictures and helpful techniques. And of course, nutritional information is included with each recipe.

Meal planning is made simple with 8 "Easy Menus" including: Quick Skillet Dinner, Easy & Impressive Dinner and Easy, Fresh & Fit for Company.

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List Price: $29.95
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