Adult Beverages Appetizers

New Year’s Eve Party Cheese Balls and a Family Friendly Cocktail/Mocktail!

Christmas might be over but there is still one holiday knocking on our foodie doorsteps. New Year’s Eve! This is something that literally everyone can celebrate and should celebrate. It’s a chance for a restart, new beginnings, or (if you are like me) another excuse to make some yummy food with family and friends.  

Also, be sure to take a look at the full segment from Good Day Columbus featuring all three recipes! View it here: extended family on my Mom’s side celebrates Christmas the weekend after Santa visits. Typically, that means we are celebrating on or around New Year’s Eve. Since most of them are traveling from out of town and staying for a few days, there is room at the table for snacks, all the snacks. However, these mini cheese balls might be front and center this weekend. My Aunt Lynda typically brings a cheese ball similar to this one but with bacon on the outside. While it’s delicious, I’ve decided to take it up a notch and make these yummy little morsels for the family. While one version has bacon bits on the outside, the other has crushed up nacho tortilla chips. It kind of reminds me of our recipe for Taco Pie, which I’m now craving. I used a cookie scoop to make these cute little evenly made cheese balls. But, you could just use a spoon and then mold into a ball if you wanted smaller ones. We also didn’t just use cream cheese but added some shredded cheddar and pepper jack cheese! Oh, and cilantro to stick with our Southwestern theme. 
So this is my favorite part of the mini cheese balls. You toss a mini pretzel stick on top and it’s a personal cheese ball! If you aren’t into sharing germs, then this is the perfect appetizer to bring to a party because there is no double dipping here. Way more sanitary and way cuter. I promised more than one recipe here! Since we are on the theme of snacks, this is probably the easiest one to whip up. It also makes an excellent hostess gift if you are visiting someone’s house for New Year’s Eve. 
All you have to do is grab a container of Marcona almonds from your local Whole Foods Market. Seriously, I can only find them at Whole Foods Market int he cheese area. Since they already have all that yummy oily goodness, you just toss them in a bowl or two and add your favorite seasonings! We made a lavender sugar, harrissa, and cinnamon sugar version. So easy and so perfect. What kind of New Year’s Eve party would it be without a cocktail? Or a mocktail if you are the DD, preggo or under the age of 21. Even though this drink would be great during the summer, I love the refreshing aspect smack dab in the midst of winter. Since this cocktail literally only has three ingredients, you’ll want to spice up the presentation to make it a little more alluring. Grab whatever cute cup you want to drink out of and spin the rim in lemon juice and then sugar for an insta-worthy beverage.  Then, you’ll add the blueberries to the bottom and can even muddle them for some extra flavor. Then, you’ll just mix equal parts champagne and lemonade in yuor glass. Serve with a cute straw and voila! If you wanted to make this for a whole party, you could even make it a punch and serve in a communal carafe. I like the personal version but it’s totally up to you if you want to play bartender for the evening. As promised, the kid version is just as simple! Follow all the same instructions but substitute 365 lemon-lime soda from Whole Foods Market. Here is the link again to the full news segment! 

Mini Cheese Balls + Seasoned Marcona Almonds + Sparkling Blueberry Lemonade
These recipes are super easy whether you are hosting or visiting for a party!
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Mini Cheese Balls
  1. 1 package cream cheese, room temperature
  2. 1 heaping cup pepper jack cheese, shredded
  3. 1 heaping cup cheddar cheese, shredded
  4. 1 Tablespoon fresh cilantro, chopped
  5. Wellshire bacon bits
  6. 365 nacho cheese tortilla chips
  7. pretzel sticks
Seasoned Marcona Almonds
  1. 1 cup Marcona almonds
  2. 1-2 teaspoons favorite seasonings such as - lavender sugar, cinnamon and sugar, harrisa
Sparkling Blueberry Lemonade
  1. 1 lemon (half for juice, half for garnish)
  2. 1-2 Tablespoons sugar
  3. 1 part Champagne (or lemon lime soda)
  4. 1 part lemonade
  5. blueberries
Mini Cheese Balls
  1. Mix cream cheese, shredded cheeses, and cilantro in stand mixer until fully combined. Set in fridge until ready to form into balls.
  2. Using food processor, chop tortilla chips until very fine almost like sand.
  3. Lay tortilla chips and bacon bits on separate flat plates for rolling.
  4. Form cheese mixture into about 1inch wide balls. Roll into bacon bits or tortilla chips until fully coated.
  5. Set on serving plate. Stick top with a pretzel stick.
  6. Leave in fridge until ready to serve!
Seasoned Marcona Almonds
  1. Pour Marcona almonds into dish. Top with favorite seasoning, use spoon or fork to fully coat almonds.
  2. Serve in clean dish or put in mason jar and give as hostess gift.
Sparkling Blueberry Lemonade
  1. Juice half of a lemon, pour in shallow bowl or curved plate. Cut remaining pieces of lemon into slices or wedges for garnish. Pour sugar onto a flat plate.
  2. Dip rim of glass into lemon juice then into sugar to coat.
  3. Toss a handful of blueberries into bottom of glass.
  4. Pour one part Champagne (or lemon lime soda) into glass and top with one part lemonade.
  5. Garnish with lemon peel or wedge and cute straw.
  6. Order a Lyft if you have one too many.
The Beard And The Baker

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