There is no doubt the holidays are always a busy time of year. However, the last few years it’s become a reason to put the brakes on. Or at least slow down long enough to savor the season.
I find myself turning off my computer earlier in the evening, leaving the iPad on my desk, losing my phone (ok… I do this year round), and hanging out by the fire watching old holiday films, sipping my new fave wine and enjoying the company of my beautiful family.
It’s amazing how something as simple as a Christmas movie and a good cup of cocoa can bring everyone into the family room.
For me, the holidays are also a time of reflection. Reflection on the unexpected blessings, the mountainous hurdles that have been jumped and long winding roads that were crossed.
The joy of being a mom of two beautiful and sassy gals, the ever present love, laughter and hilarious adventure with a man who is my best friend. Reflection on the love of family and friends, and new friendships.
One evening at a food blogging event this past summer, I found myself standing alone at a tall table in the corner of a large barn like building. I was trying to look casual holding my cocktail and putting my pride in check after a disappointing moment. I’m typically eager to meet new people and make new friends. However, sometimes I forget others are not so eager.
So with my pride somewhat bruised and mentally giving myself a good lecture, I stood there watching the crowd as if I were on the outside looking in.
I checked the time on my phone and only half an hour had passed. Oh well, I thought. It’s time to pack it in, go home, put on the pajamas and read a good book. There were also three Bennett’s at home that would give me no shortage of conversation.
Just as I was fishing around my handbag for my keys, a lovely lady with a bright as a Christmas tree smile introduced herself. I probably looked stunned. I’m sure it took me a minute but I soon realized she was speaking to me and I should probably speak back.
Melanie is genuine. She presented me with a kindness I will never forget. Along with a few more lovely women from the event, Melanie became a new friend.
Melanie is the author of the blog Melanie in the Middle and now her newest project, A Beautiful Bite, Where Passion and Plate Collide. Fresh, fun, beautiful and mouthwatering recipes. And she has the best giveaways!
So, in honor of A Beautiful Bite, I thought I’d share these lovely little Stuffed Olive and Sausage Bites. Perfect starters for your holiday table.
Or if you’re like me… you eat them for lunch. 😉
Happy Holidays and Loads of Love,
Stuffed Olive and Sausage Bites
Makes about 18-20 depending on size of the olives
1 jar (or about 20) feta or bleu cheese stuffed green olives. Sometimes I can find orange peel stuffed olives and these are fabulous in this starter.
About ½ – ¾ panko style bread crumbs
1 pound sweet, mild or hot Italian sausage
Line a baking sheet with parchment. Make sure you lightly paper towel the olives so the sausage will stick.
I usually place the olives in one bowl, the sausage in another and the bread crumbs in a third bowl.
Flatten out a tablespoon sized portion of sausage in your palm. Place an olive in the center, then shape the sausage around it, enclosing the olive.
Roll the sausage wrapped olive in the bread crumbs. Continue to shape it and pressing the bread crumbs into the sausage slightly. As olives are prepared, space them apart on a baking sheet.
Repeat with the remaining olives.
The olives can be prepared a day in advance and refrigerated. Cover tightly.
At least 20 minutes before baking, remove them from the refrigerator and pre-heat the oven to 450F. Bake the olives for about 12-14 minutes, until the sausage is cooked and lightly browned.
Serve on a long olive tray or speared with fun picks.
Recipe slightly adapted from the fabulous Chef Kathy Casey, Sips and Apps