From left, Margaret Rodgers, Janet Testerman Crossley and her daughter, Janet Testerman, prior to digging into the cookies.
One of my favorite parts of the holiday season is the annual cookie exchange my friends and I have. The only folks who like this event more than we do? Our husbands and children. Margaret Rodgers says her son actually counts down the days!
I can see why. The cookies truly are fantastic. They range from fancy to simple. From super sweet to savory. But one thing they have in common: they are all delicious. They should be! We’ve had enough practice. This is our 19th year to do it. (We missed 2020, of course.)
The noise level in our J.C. Penney Building condo was quite high!
Dawn Ford pitched in to tend bar at the wine and beer station. Madge Cleveland was swamped at the Bloody Mary station! You never know what the most popular libation will be. It changes from year to year. This year it was the Bloody Marys. That’s Sheena McCall behind Dawn.
Here’s an old recipe that’s always a hit – sausage balls! Yep, the directions are on the back of the Bisquick box!
And you can’t go wrong with any recipe from The Barefoot Contessa, a.k.a. Ina Garten. This is her smoked salmon dip.
I have no idea what these three were looking at! From left, Janet Testerman Crossley, Cathy Briscoe-Graves and Gay Lyons.
Janet Testerman, left, and Margie Nichols.
The ladies love their salads. Here’s a pear and blue cheese tossed salad along with a macerated berry salad (that may or may not have had some amaretto in it!).
Macaroni salad and lentil salad rounded out the lunch offerings. Along with garlic bread.
Loved Cathy Briscoe-Graves’ flamingo sweater!
Kristin Grove, left, and Judith Foltz at lunch.
The cookie table looked great!
Jacque Hawks, left, and Monique Anderson considering their options.
Tami Hartmann always brings these adorable mice made out of chocolate-covered cherries and Hershey’s kisses!
Here’s a close-up. Their ears are made of sliced almonds!
Janet Testerman brought “Love Me Tender Elvis cookies” containing peanut butter, bananas and bacon! That photo is of Janet Testerman Crossley meeting Elvis when she was First Lady of Knoxville! How cool is that?
Margaret Rodgers brought those bright thumbprint cookies.
Monique Anderson brought these! Aren’t they cute?
When this party first started 20 years ago, we’d bring typed copies of our recipes. Later, we started providing links to the online version of the recipes. Now, look where we are! QR codes!
Annette Winston dividing up her cookies. We have learned that you need to bag similar cookies together — peanut butter will contaminate the others with their strong flavor. So will peppermint. So, we bag like flavors together.
I bought these cute little trees at Publix for $6 each. Guess what. They are alive! I have to water the darn things — and find someone with a yard to plant them in after the season!
Those are soft amaretti cookies on the left. You can get the recipe by using the QR code earlier in the post!
Cheddar cookies! Great with wine!
Bear paws at the top from Kristin Grove. Mintha Roach couldn’t come, but she sent sea salt caramels. She said the worst part was wrapping them!
Sara Rose brought lavender cookies.
Lauren Miller brought Nutella cookies!
I don’t know anything about these cookies except they were delicious.
Oatmeal cherry white chocolate chip cookies were from Dawn Ford.
Saltine peppermint bark.
Judith Foltz has been collecting our recipes over the years and asked for help with some that are missing! What a job!
From left, Margaret Rodgers, Madge Cleveland and Kristin Grove.
Once again, happy holidays! I encourage you to organize a cookie exchange with your favorite folks next year. But, be warned: once you start, your families will not let you stop!