Happy New Year!! How in the world is it 2014? Back when you were partying like it was 1999 (because, well, it was 1999) did you ever imagine that we'd really ever get to 2014? I mean, I wasn't hoping for an apocalypse or early demise or anything like that. But 2014 just seemed so surreal! Like, I have to go back at least three (if not four generations to find a relative born in the 1800s. And that is at least still the same millennium! My kids can tell their kids and their kids and their kids after that that their parents were born in the previous millennium! It's just hard to wrap my arms around that sometimes!
Anyway, let's get back to the business at hand. A theme party. I'm a big fan. I like theme food. Theme costumes. Theme decor. Theme gifts. Yes, when I threw my son a pirate party, he received pirate gifts (toys, books, etc) from us. The next year, when he had a circus themed party, we gave him some Disney movies that centered around animals (Dumbo, Lion King, etc). Who knows what the next party will bring!?
But themed parties and the new year got me to thinking. Why can't I throw a little theme party here in my kitchen every month? I already typically plan the recipes I share around a theme. It might be recipes from a similar cookbook. The dishes might center around an element of a meal (appetizers, desserts, sides, etc) or have some central thread that links them together (pasta, seafood, Christmas cookies, etc). So my plan for the new year really isn't all that new. But this year, my monthly themes will allow the recipes from that month to be grouped together to create an entire meal revolving around the theme. I'll provide recipes for the main course, side dishes, and either a dessert or themed cocktail (or both!).
By way of a sneak peek, here's what I mean:
January: Happy New Year! Elegant dishes fit for your china and crystal. Rich ingredients that call for a special occasion. A meal that requires champagne.
February: Love is in the Air! A romantic meal for two, when eating in just seems right. Eat together as a family, or send the kids to bed before sitting down to a candlelit table with the one you love. Totally acceptable to feed each other!
March: Laissez les bons temps rouler! Let the good times roll! It's Mardi Gras, and we're serving up a Cajun feast fit for a King (of the Carnival, of course).
April: Island Fever. My husband and I are celebrating our sixth anniversary this month, so we'll revisit the flavors of Jamaica, where we spent our honeymoon just before we both deployed with the Navy!
May: BBQ King. Summer is just around the corner, so get ready for your Memorial Day cookout with this fabulous meal plan!
June: Southern Flare. I don't know what it is, but summer gets my Southern blood boiling, so this meal is all about my favorite comfort dishes (that make a great picnic too)!
July: Hot Spanish Nights. I also deployed right after we got engaged, and during a port visit to Spain, my then-fiance was able to fly out and meet me. This month's meal is a nod to our adventures in Seville.
August: Summer in the Garden. Even if your garden is really a trip to the Farmer's Market like mine, our meal this month pays homage to the wonderful fresh produce of the season. Enjoy all the colorful fruits and veggies!
September: Are you ready for some football?! It's time for a tailgate, game watch, or inter-family rivalry with all these Game Day Favorites!
October: Mid-Week Heartiness. By now the kids are back in school and the air is getting cooler. Time for those stick-to-your-insides meals your mama used to make.
November: Holiday Brunch. A great menu for a Southern Brunch during your next holiday gathering. I served this menu for Christmas Brunch 2013.
December: Holiday Cocktail Party!! Who doesn't love hosting a great party for all your closest friends and family?! These are just fancy enough for an up-scale soiree, but easy enough to keep the stress level down!