January 1, 2024

New Year’s Party Menu

Things have been a little nutty around here as I pack up my home and prepare to move to my dream home in the foothills this Friday! (I can’t believe it’s only 5 days away… I’m excited but there is still so much to do.) With all the stress of moving, I completely neglected to send a New Year’s party invite until Thursday, three days before New Year’s, but I was thrilled to still have about 20 dear friends join me to close out 2023 and ring in 2024. I guess everyone else was similarly ambivalent about committing to a late night party, so my early evening filled a void? But also, it makes me feel wonderful to have so many good friends – I was genuinely excited each time an RSVP came in, all, “omg YAY so-and-so is coming!” Life has been good lately, and it’s going to be a great year ahead!

Lauras_Besties_on_NYE
I am so excited about 2024 for me and my best friends!

A few years ago, I held a “New York New Year’s Eve” party, which was a huge hit; since I hate staying up late, I decided to repeat the theme. We watched the live celebrations from Times Square, which meant that we got to watch the ball drop at 10pm MT, and toasted all around! As luck would have it, I ended up staying up till 11:30pm chatting with the final stragglers and cleaning up the house, but that was still a much better bedtime than 1:30am had we done a more traditional party 🙂

The menu – all New York themed foods!

Buffalo chicken dip, served with tortilla chips and baby carrots – this is one of my favorite recipes, and always reminds me of my friend Caitlin. Her husband, Adam, loooooooved this dip so much, and requested it for all my parties, to the point where I started making two batches of it so that one bowl could be all for him 😂

A cheese board, prominently featuring a New York cheddar 🙂

Waldorf salad with Izzy’s epic dressing – I first made this recipe back in 2006, when I learned to cook by watching Rachael Ray’s 30 Minute Meals. The dressing recipe in particular is amazing, though I cut the oil in half to lighten it up a bit. And for my party, I skipped the walnuts, since my best friend Rachel is deathly allergic to nuts. Still delicious!

Slow cooker fried rice (to represent Chinatown) – the easiest, most amazing fried rice recipe I’ve ever found. It’s actually not fried at all, but the sesame oil and combo of flavors make it seem like restaurant quality.

New York pizza – I used frozen pizzas to keep things simple; my favorite kind is actually Safeway’s Signature Select brand, which has a surprisingly fantastic crust.

New York cheesecake – normally I’d make this, but my friend Elisabeth offered to bring mini cheesecakes, so that checked the box for me 🙂

Black and white cookies – someone asked me why these represent New York, and even after Googling, I’m not sure. They just… do?

Magnolia Bakery banana pudding – in my 20s, I dated a guy who lived a block away from the UWS Magnolia Bakery, and I was obsessed with their banana pudding. This copycat recipe is wonderful!

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I didn’t get pictures of the food, but here’s the whole gang posed on the staircase, prom-style, with tons of boxes in the dining room below 😂
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