Save room for dessert

Shelly Norman

My favorite Christmas recipe is anything my mother-in-law puts on the table for her Christmas Eve party. That woman can really cook -- and entertain.

This is the 23rd Christmas since I've joined the Norman family and I've been to almost that many Norman Christmas Eve parties.

It is -- without fail -- an evening of fun and tradition that my family starts looking forward to on New Year's Day.

I'm not much of a homemaker so the dinner is especially mysterious and magical to me. I have no idea how Molly serves a several-course meal all at the right temperature, with full place settings, on fine china (most years) with a houseful of guests.

However, lest you think I'm a slacker, I do contribute to the Christmas Eve dinner. For many years Molly would have me bring a relish tray -- I'm sure because it doesn't (typically) involve using a stove. Hmmm, maybe that was where I went wrong ....

Anyway, a few years ago she asked me to bring dessert. (Something must have been amiss with the previous relish tray.) She thought I would swing by the bakery and pick up a couple of pies -- again, no cooking required.

And although I'm certain that first year she had store-bought "pie" in mind, what she asked me to bring was "dessert."

So I made deep-fried Milky Way sundaes.

Now I'm assigned to dessert every year, mostly for entertainment value, I suspect. I always try something new. And it's no-harm-done because nobody is actually hungry when we get to the dessert-part of the evening anyway.

For example, last year I made Oreo cheesecakes in little canning jars (thanks to my new addiction to Pinterst). They were so cute ... and mostly edible.

This year, hmmm, I'm not completely decided yet. But I have a board on Pinterest dedicated to the possibilities. If you want to help me decide, search Pinterest for the board "TCH Christmas Eve dessert possibilities" and "like" the one that you would take to the party.

I also pinned the deep-fried Milky Way recipe if you want to try it. Or you can go to the same board to get the recipe for Jello worms, which I'm seriously considering bringing -- and sneaking into the relish tray.

Merry Christmas!