Ring Out, Ring In

Around here we say goodbye to the old year by cooking, baking, slicing, dicing, and setting up for our annual New Year’s Day bash. The bash rings in the new.
I think it’s a fine way to spend the last day of the year–at home, with some wonderful helping hands, making tons of food. By ten I have over 120 meatballs simmering, two big-ass hams in the oven and a pot of red beans going.
My sweet Kayla is the first to arrive for kitchen duty. At thirteen she’s gotten the hang of things, and I have a couple of dishes earmarked for her. She always makes the bread pudding, from a recipe passed down from my father’s side. And I’ve taught her how to make pasta salad. She’ll also make the brownies for the chocolate trifle. She’s on it. It’s fun for me to have this time with her, with her chatting away, making food, and eating far too many cookies.
The finished trifle on the right of the side board.
Kat and Jason arrive next and dive right in. The dogs are mostly banished outside, and Parker doesn’t appreciate it. They manage to sneak in, must be banished again. Logan heads up to help with manly set up. And Laura arrives to help out. I’ve boiled three dozen eggs to devil. My girls are all over the peeling of same. And the chopping of many, many raw veggies for a crudite.
These were gone within an hour of the start of the party.
The results of Laura’s chop and Kat’s presentation.
We cook, stir–Kat is doing BW a solid by keeping up with the dishes. We chop and bake, and hey, it’s the last day of the year so we pop some champagne while we work.
Finished food must be stuffed into refrigerators, and when room runs out put outside on the deck–HIGH where certain dogs can’t get to it.
By evening Laura heads home, as do the kids. Jason and Kat will stay the night and be here to help in the morning. More champagne, and watching the ball drop. (Anyone else notice Ryan Seacrest has elf ears? Just wondering.)
I’m up early as there are things to do on the day. Like an enormous Waldorf salad–or my version thereof. I tell Kat when I see it’s nearly 11–and the party starts at 1–that every year I think I’ve budgeted my time well, and every year I wonder where the morning’s gone. But we get it all done. Pre-made food warming in the oven or on the stove, platters and bowls hauled in, set out. Kat’s artistic arrangements of veggies and cheeses, the bar set and stocked and so on. And I manage to get out of my pjs and dressed with about ten minutes to spare.

Just a few of Nora’s champagne glasses.
We didn’t have a full house. We had a bulging house. I think when the holiday falls on a Friday or Saturday people are more inclined not just to come but to hang out. And we did hang, cheerfully.

The gracious hosts just before the crowd descended.
It’s so good to have a day with friends, family, with kids running around, dogs wandering around, with food being devoured and enjoyed. After the party gets going I do about ten pounds of spiced shrimp. I think we have a little sandwich baggie of that left and a few scraps of ham. My pals JoAnne and Larry always bring a big pot of crab soup. We have one little serving left so BW can have it for lunch. Otherwise, those bowls, platters, casseroles and serving dishes were pretty much empty by the end of the party.
The new year started off with an appetite–which is satisfying for the cooks.
Good food, good friends, some sparkling beverages and a lot of noise. It’s a great way to write the first page on the story of a new year, as spending time in the kitchen with my girls was a great way to write the last page on the old.
Now I’m packing for a week at the spa, where there will be NO cooking for me!! 
Here’s wishing you all the happiest, healthiest, and most loving of new years.

27 thoughts on “Ring Out, Ring In”

  1. And to you and yours as well! Any chance you’d consider adopting me? I’m pretty low maintenance and a great kitchen helper!:-)
    Health and happiness to all. Susie

  2. I love how you include your readers and fans in your life. Please know, Nora – or JD – that both you and Laura are two – or is it three? – people for whom this avid reader – a retired English teacher/guidance counselor after 45 years – is most grateful!!! Wishing you and yours a very Happy and Healthy New Year!

  3. Sounds like a fabulous time with family & friends. Wishing you a very Happy New Year and lots of inspiration for the new books to come. Thank you for keeping us avid readers entertained for so many wonderful years!! Enjoy your week at the Spa.

  4. Happy New Year to you and your family Nora and to Laura and your family. Thanks so much for all the wonderful books under both names. Thanks for sharing a little of your life with us. Thanks Laura for all you do too!

  5. What a lovely way to ring out the old and ring in the new! Thanks for sharing the description plus pictures of same.

  6. The best of all to you and yours in 2016! Thank you for starting my day with a smile. I love the way you share. Wonderful picture of you and BW.

  7. Happy New Year to you and may this year, only get better. Love to you and your family. Thank you for sharing. A beloved fan, Dolores Winquest

  8. What a lovely way to bring in the New Year! Thanks so much for sharing the preparations, reminds me of times (and people) long gone. So glad your generations of kids are making great memories. Love, love, LOVE the beautiful champagne glasses! Gorgeous! Have a wonderful time off and Happy New Year!

  9. What a fun couple of days. It’s nice to share in a tiny part of your holiday but as a grandmother I always enjoy hearing about the grandkids. I remember when Kayla and Logan were born and have enjoyed watching them grow and hang with you & BW. Great kids, good family. Happy New Year to all. 2016 is going to be a wonderful year!

  10. Happy New Year. Thank you for including us (your fans) in your life! Have a happy and healthy New Year.

  11. Happy 2016 Nora. enjoy your spa to relax. Well deserved. I am looking forward to Brotherhood in Death.

  12. It was so enjoyable reading about your preparation of all the foods you fixed and boy did it look fantastic. Sounds like you all had a great time ringing out the old and bringing in the new.
    I had a tame New Years Eve. but loved every minute. My three year old grandson Jasper came up to spend the night with Grammy

  13. Wishing you all a Happy, healthy & prosperous 2016 from Lincolnshire UK. Looking forward to the new books as always.

  14. Sounds like a wonderful end and start to the year. Have a good time at the spa and we’ll see you in February. Stay safe and Happy New Year to you, Laura and your families.

  15. Happy New Year! Sounds like you had a great evening. Wishing you and your family a wonderful year! We missed the last couple of book signings because of the holidays but hope to see you at the next one.

  16. Happy New Year to you. Thank you for posting this. I feel like I was there. I can tell warmth was in the air.

  17. Wow – wish you were related to me!

    Happy New Year to a very special person — your books are such fun to read (and re-read), and it’s lovely that you take the time to communicate with all of us as well. Thank you!

  18. Thank you for sharing Ms Roberts. You make a difference with every post & with each book you write. You have a way of reaching the heart & soul of your readers.
    Sincerely your fan from Minnesota
    Melissa B

  19. Absolutely scrumptious! Sweet and happy New Year!

  20. Happy New Year to everyone. It sounds like a great time. Nora, I think you need to write a cook book (I know in your spare time, LOL). You always make such interesting things.

  21. Nora,
    HAPPY NEW YEAR to you and your family!!!!
    I have to tell you how very much I enjoy your books!! The Nora Roberts and J.D.Robb books!! I have been a faithful fan of yours
    for many, many years !! My husband and I hope to make it up
    to the Inn at some point!! I’m thinking it would be an awesome road trip on the Harley !! Just have to put it together !!
    Thank you for all the enjoyment that your books have brought to me !!

  22. I hope your new year is going great. I wanted to let you know I love the way your mind works. You are not predictable. There is always a twist of some sort and you make me laugh. I feel like I am a part of the story I’m reading or rereading. Thank you so much.

  23. Love to cook & bake–my cookbook collection numbers well over 1100—Would you consider sharing the bread pudding recipe-it’s my daughter’s favorite dessert. Maybe Summerset could make it for Eve & Roarke. Best to you and your family .

  24. Dear Nora

    I could hardly believe my eyes when I saw the photo of your sideboard taken at your New Year’s Day Party. This is almost identical with the one which has been in my husband’s family for a very long time and which has been in the holiday cottage in Wales which my husband inherited from his father. We recently sold the cottage after hanging on to it for twenty years, but our eldest son quickly commandeered the Welsh sideboard so it is still in our family where it belongs.

    How about that – one has been residing in Wales for goodness knows how long and the other is across the Atlantic in the USA.

    Best wishes,

    Gwen, U.K.

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