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Thread: My annual tradition - Bunco in January - want to help w/ideas?

  1. #1
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    My annual tradition - Bunco in January - want to help w/ideas?

    I purposely pick hosting Bunco in January EVERY year. I like to use this as an excuse for getting through the "clean up Christmas" doldrums and as well as give myself focus for the end of the month. And, besides, it's always fun planning! I've looked for ideas and suggestions on the board for years, and you guys always come through!

    This year, I'd like to do something related to the Olympics. The Olympics will begin about two weeks after Bunco so will be really good timing. I can go as simple as an invitation that features the Olympic flag....and can go as far as planning the menu around it. The Olympics are being held in Vancouver this year. (Yeah for the Winter Olympics!)

    Very sketchy ideas/questions so far include:
    * Are there Canadian foods that I should highlight?
    * Going with a more international menu to spotlight various participating countries (I guess that provides almost limitless options!...but also more of a chance of a discombobulated mess.)
    * Choosing menu items that match the colors of the Olympic rings
    * Choosing round/circular items?? (HA...so far, I've come up with quiche and a cake. )

    I'm obviously just getting started with this idea. I have about two weeks or so to come up with a menu.

    All suggestions welcomed and appreciated!
    Thanks!

  2. #2
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    duh....

    Melman - a Canadian dessert comes to mind (well, actually it doesn't ), but maybe if I describe it you will know what I'm taking about. Some kind of bar cookie thingie? I was riding in your car a few yrs ago and you had a Canadian Living mag that featured it

  3. #3
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    Nanaimo bars? I actually have thought about those. Never made them but know there's some type of pudding mix in them that we don't have around here. I think I've seen substitutes though.

    I've started checking out the Vancouver newspaper to see if the food section offers any good suggestions as well.

  4. #4
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    Poutine comes to mind. I think it sounds good and would definitely be a conversation piece, eh?
    Just another Susan

    "Peggy, here I am tryin' to contain an outbreak, and you're drivin' the monkey to the airport!" Hank Hill

    www.thebreastcancersite.com Click here to fund free mammograms!

  5. #5
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    nanaimo!

    Yep, that was the word I was trying to think of. My brain was thinking 'eskimo' and somehow I knew that didn't make sense . Maybe some of the Canadian CLBB'ers will chime in with some ideas as well. OTOH, the idea of a Greek theme is very cool, too!

  6. #6
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    LOL- I read these posts quickly, and thought that Poutine was the dessert that Zoey was trying to think of.... Then I clicked on the link to see what it was, and tried to wrap my brain around french fries, cheese curds, and gravy being served for dessert.... then I experienced a huge craving for Poutine, which I've never even heard of, but it sounds REALLY yummy as it combines 3 of my favorite things!!!

  7. #7
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    I have never heard of poutine, but WOW! I sometimes try to include healthier items (since we are talking January and all those resolutions). I think this would blow any potential diet completely out of the water. (Actually, I'm secretly hoping to find that word in the food/drink daily trivia!!! I'm ready!)

    Thanks, Susan...cool idea!

  8. #8
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    There's lots of variations to Naniamo bars recipes - I'm sure you'll be able to find one that suits you.

    Here's some other Canadian classics:

    Fish & chips (stolen from the British, of course)
    Poutine (already mentioned)
    Fiddleheads (from the fern - I've only had these freshly picked and cooked once and they were fabulous!)
    Toutiere (quebec meat pies)
    Swiss Chalet chicken with dipping sauce (chain restaurant serving rotisserie chicken - the dipping sauce is the key ingredient)
    Tim Horton's coffee (!!!!)
    Beaver tails, bear claws, etc. (deep fried donuts/pastries)

    I know you are far from the border, but maybe this might help inspire other ideas.
    Springtime is my time of year!

  9. #9
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    You could make this recipe from Sweetnicks (see http://www.sweetnicks.com for a picture) via Taste of Home, but in the shape of the Olympic rings instead of a tree

    Herbed Pull-Apart Rolls
    1 tube (11 oz) refrigerated breadstick dough
    1/4 cup sun-dried tomato pesto (I used regular pesto)
    1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (4 oz)
    2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
    2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
    1/4 teaspoon crushed dried rosemary
    1/4 teaspoon cracked pepper
    1 egg, lightly beaten
    assorted fresh herbs and ribbon bow, optional
    Preheat oven to 350. Coat baking sheet with cooking spray. On lightly floured surface, unroll dough. Spread pesto over dough; sprinkle with cheeses, parsley, rosemary and pepper. Separate dough at perforations. Beginning at short end, roll up each dough strip jellyroll style. Arrange, spiral side up and sides touching, in tree shape on pan. Brush with egg. Bake 25 minutes or until golden. If desired, garnish with herbs and bow.

  10. #10
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    Thanks to muriel3002 and erin elizabeth for your suggestions. I suspect that most of the ingredients needed in the suggestions by muriel3002 are probably unavailable around here (or they would have a southern twist to them making the final dishes unrecognizable!) The Pull-Apart Rolls may be an idea though!

    I'm beginning to lean toward making all Greek dishes. I have a fabulous Pastitsio recipe, and I'm sure I could put together a decent Greek salad. The Rolls could be a nice add on. I've never made baklava, but this could be the reason I've been needing to try it. I'm trying to come up with a side dish or appetizer though... or something that would nicely round out the whole meal. Suggestions are appreciated!

    I'm definitely still in the planning stages though. Last year, I was headed in one direction when someone made a suggestion that made me completely change directions. Until I head to the grocery store with shopping list in hand, anything is still possible.

  11. #11
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    I would say anything with salmon since the Olympics are being held in BC. My Mom’s side of the family is from British Columbia and it seems they enjoy the English or Scottish style of cooking which means usually no garlic and no spicy food. I grew up in California and cooking for them is like having to cut off my right arm first. These are older folks and I suspect with the Asian influence there now the food might have lighten up a bit (I hope). I found most of the meals were mostly meat and potatoes type dishes. Totally opposite of my meals which are mostly produce based.

    Shortbread cookies are always nice or pub grub might be fun. I will keep thinking about it and see if I get anymore ideas.
    Beware of the dog and I wouldn't trust the cat either ~ on a sign somewhere

  12. #12
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    How 'bout these?

    Mini-Spanakopitas (Greek Spinach Pies)

    SOURCE: Cooking Light YEAR: June 2001 PAGE: 158

    INGREDIENTS FOR 20 SERVINGS:
    Filling:
    1 (10-ounce) package fresh spinach, coarsely chopped
    1/3 cup (about 1-1/2 ounces) feta cheese, crumbled
    1/4 cup 1% low-fat cottage cheese
    2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
    2 teaspoons olive oil
    1-1/2 cups chopped green onions
    1-1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh or 1-1/2 teaspoons dried dill
    1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1/4 teaspoon black pepper
    2 large egg whites, lightly beaten
    Remaining ingredients:
    1 tablespoon olive oil
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1 large egg white
    5 sheets frozen phyllo dough, thawed

    INSTRUCTIONS:
    "I like to make individual bundles and serve them as appetizers or as an
    accompaniment to a fish or meat dish for dinner. They taste best with fresh
    spinach. You can prepare the filling well ahead of time and keep it in the
    fridge." --Jan McFarlane, Scottsdale, AZ

    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

    2. To prepare filling, place spinach in a large skillet or Dutch oven. Place
    over medium heat; cook until spinach wilts. Place the spinach mixture in a
    colander, pressing until barely moist. Combine the spinach and cheeses in a
    bowl; set aside.

    3. Heat 2 teaspoons olive oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add
    the green onions; saute for 2 minutes or until soft. Stir the green onions and
    the next 5 ingredients (green onions through 2 egg whites) into spinach
    mixture.

    4. Combine 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1 egg white in a
    small bowl, stirring with a whisk. Working with 1 phyllo sheet at a time, cut
    each sheet lengthwise into 4 (3-1/2-inch-wide) strips; lightly brush phyllo
    sheet with egg mixture (cover the remaining phyllo dough to keep it from
    drying). Spoon about 1 tablespoon spinach mixture onto one end of each strip.
    Fold one corner of the opposite end over mixture, forming a triangle; keep
    folding back and forth into a triangle to the end of strip.

    5. Place triangles, seam sides down, on a baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees
    for 20 minutes or until golden. Yield: 20 appetizers (serving size: 1
    triangle).
    Just another Susan

    "Peggy, here I am tryin' to contain an outbreak, and you're drivin' the monkey to the airport!" Hank Hill

    www.thebreastcancersite.com Click here to fund free mammograms!

  13. #13
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    You may already know this but THIS recipe for Poutine is in the Jan 2010 Cooking Light issue.
    Jill

    "Be kind to your neighbor... he knows where you live." -Brian Copeland

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by oct2189 View Post
    You may already know this but THIS recipe for Poutine is in the Jan 2010 Cooking Light issue.
    Wow! Talk about wild timing. When I looked at several recipes right after Bopeep made her post, I could almost feel my arteries hardening just reading! A CL variation. I wouldn't have thought that was possible! I just received the January issue yesterday and haven't even opened it. Thanks for pointing it out.

    Bopeep, would you think having both baklava and spanokopita would be a little much in the phyllo dough category? I may have the nerve to try one dish, but I'm not sure I'd be up to tackling two items. BTW, I LOVE spanokopita but have never made it either.

    Vinca, I love salmon as well, but I'm a little nervous serving fish as the primary entree. My group seems to be very adventurous with pretty much anything that's ever served, but if I had to guess, "fish" may be one item that doesn't suit everyone. No garlic and no spiciness? Yikes! As far as shortbread, I adore it! That's something to keep in mind if I step away from the Greek idea.

  15. #15
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    Good luck with whatever you decide. Love to hear what the final menu choices are!!
    Springtime is my time of year!

  16. #16
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    Yes, Mel, I think it might be overkill to serve too much phyllo... but that's just me. Both dishes are decidedly Greek, and it might be kinda fun to have them both. You probably have numerous apps to choose from, but how many desserts do you have?
    Just another Susan

    "Peggy, here I am tryin' to contain an outbreak, and you're drivin' the monkey to the airport!" Hank Hill

    www.thebreastcancersite.com Click here to fund free mammograms!

  17. #17
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    Soooooooooo...whadja decide on?
    Just another Susan

    "Peggy, here I am tryin' to contain an outbreak, and you're drivin' the monkey to the airport!" Hank Hill

    www.thebreastcancersite.com Click here to fund free mammograms!

  18. #18
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    I'm going with a Greek menu - Greek salad, pastitsio, green beans w/ tomatoes, and baklava. Those are some of my favorite items during our local Greek festival, so I figured they'd be fine. Thanks for asking!

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