The Season To Be Jolly

Tis’ the season to be jolly and to me that means it’s time for my husband and I to have our annual open house Christmas party. Our parties have changed over the years depending on where we have lived. While living in Miami, there was the glitz and glamour of catered affairs and guests dressed in holiday attire. Now living in New England, it means having a small group of  friends over for a casual affair where we do all the cooking and guests come in jeans and sweaters. No matter how hard I try, one thing remains the same at each party…everyone loves to hang out in our Christmas kitchen.

I know why everyone enjoys what was originally the historic keeping room in our New Hampshire home. It has a warm feeling with its red walls, comfy seating, large cooking fireplace, and several Christmas trees.

Our Kitchen Is Where Everyone Likes To Stay During A Party

Our Kitchen Is Where Everyone Likes To Stay During A Party

The large tree is our favorite…covered with red beads and clip on ornaments. A collection of snowmen stand beside it along with a wooden train filled with teddy bears.

Favorite Ornaments

Favorite Ornaments

A Collection Of Snowmen

A Collection Of Snowmen

Teddybear Train

Teddy Bear Train

A small tree in front of the windows in the sitting area is decorated with red bows, small gold beads, birds, and little twig nests.

Christmas Tree Decorated With Birds And Nests

Christmas Tree Decorated With Birds And Nests

Gone are the days when we had a bartender make cocktails and someone pass around hors d’oeuvres…now it is finger food laid out buffet style where everyone can help themselves. A bar it set up at the bakers table for guests to make their own drinks. Guests stand around the large island and our kitchen table visiting with friends and sample their favorite nibbles. The only time they leave the room is when they go into the dining room where I have desserts set up on the dining room table.

During A Party Everyone Gathers Around The Island Where Food And Drink Will Be Spread Out

During A Party Everyone Gathers Around The Island Where Food And Drink Will Be Spread Out

When I start planning my open house party, I think of what was popular from previous parties. Shrimp of any kind has been a popular party dish…actually seafood in general. Boiled shrimp served cold with a horseradish cocktail sauce has been served at every party we have ever had and is usually the first item that needs to be refilled on the buffet.

What I wouldn’t have expected to be popular at our Christmas parties in New Hampshire are Mediterranean inspired dishes such as spanakopita, stuffed grape leaves, hummus, baba ganoush, and tzateiki but they seem to be a favorite of most guests. This is great for me because all these items can be prepared ahead of time. I also make homemade pita chips brushed with olive oil and seasoned with salt and cumin. They go nicely with most of the dishes that I am serving. Spicy lamb meatballs go well with the other Mediterranean dishes and can be prepared in advance and frozen until the day of the party. They can be prepared with a mild taste from a few fresh herbs or made spicy with additional herbs and seasonings for those more adventurous guests.

Lamb Meatball With Hummus And Tzatziki

Spicy Lamb Meatball With Hummus And Tzatziki

Spicy Lamb Meatballs

  • A seasoning mix made from 1 tsp. each of salt, pepper, ground cumin, smoked paprika, ground coriander, sumac and cinnamon.
  • 1 lb. ground lamb
  • 1/2 c. fresh breadcrumbs
  • 1 egg
  • 2 Tbsp. ketchup
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 tsp. harissa or to taste
  • 1/2 c. onion, minced fine
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh mint or cilantro (which ever you prefer)

Mix all ingredients together. Heat a couple of tablespoons of  olive oil in a non stick pan over medium high. Take a small sample of the mixture and cook to see if it is seasoned to your taste…add additional seasoning, if necessary. Once the taste is correct, form the mixture into meatballs about 1 inch round. Add the meatballs (in batches if necessary) to the pan and cook until golden and cooked through. They may also be baked in a 375 degree oven for about 25 minutes (depending on size) or until done.

I like to serve the spicy lamb meatballs with either humus or tzateiki alongside. The meatballs are also nice finished in a sauce of tomatoes and fresh herbs. The meatball recipe is flexible and can easily be adjusted to your individual taste by eliminating or adding spices to the mixture or changing the meat to your preferred choice.

If you would like to see more photos of our kitchen you might enjoy:

Our Kitchen Is Filled With Sweet Smells

About Karen

I travel the back roads of New England and beyond, sharing great food and interesting places.
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188 Responses to The Season To Be Jolly

  1. Okay, that’s just perfect New Hampshire. How fun to go from Miami to that. I’d love to hear that story.

  2. You have such a beautiful home, all decked out in Christmas attire. I need to try those meatballs. They sound, and look, wonderful.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Richard, I think our home has a lot of character and I do love decorating it for Christmas. Meatballs are always a popular item at a party and these are a little different with the spices that are used. Thank you for your nice compliment.

  3. Karen Harris says:

    The warmth of the kitchen just has a magnetic pull for party goers. Your kitchen is beautiful! Merry Christmas!!!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Karen, Our kitchen is the “place to be” in our home when we have a party…I’m glad you like. People would rather stand around the island than sit soft in our family room. Merry Christmas to you.

  4. Happy holidays to you as well Karen. Your home is beautiful and I admit I’m envious of that wonderful island in your kitchen. Your party menu is mouthwatering and I can imagine how much your guests enjoy it.

    • Karen says:

      Thank you Cathy and the same to you. I’m glad that you have enjoyed the photos of our home. I love the island…it is 8 feet long. I enjoy all the space it provides when putting out food for a party. I serve traditional party food as well but most of our guests enjoy the Mediterranean items.

  5. Tandy says:

    I would love to pop around for your more casual and comfortable Christmas Karen 🙂

  6. viveka says:

    My favorite meatballs are made of lamb – just love them … but it’s a while since I made them. Have to dig out the recipe. I love you Christmas spirit in your home. Always said that there is nobody that do Christmas like you, Americans. I really like your home – the old architecture and the rustic interior – wonderful and cozy. Wouldn’t mind getting into Christmas spirit there with you. Have a fantastic evening, because I don’t think you had our Christmas open party yet or ???

    • Karen says:

      Hi Viveka, I agree with you about lamb…it is so flavorful. I do enjoy decorating our home for Christmas…many years I have a tree in every room. Spending time with friends is so much fun and our guests seem to enjoy themselves. Wish you lived around the corner instead of across the ocean.

      • viveka says:

        Karen, I have never had a Christmas tree in my homes around the world. I adore and admire others – but never fancy one myself.

        Yes, maybe I will the lottery .. and I be flying over between Christmas and New Year.

        You have a stunning home – so warm and inviting.

      • Karen says:

        We lived in a hotel in Santo Domingo for six months and were there at Christmas time. I had a wreath on our hotel room door and a tree in the room. I love everything about Christmas.

      • viveka says:

        I love the lights Christmas brings, the cards, the music – but the rest I can live without. Most people like Christmas – I have very mixed feeling because it has gone out of hands. It’s all about the gifts .. and most people pay of this Christmas when next years comes.

      • Karen says:

        I agree about the gift giving…we don’t do gifts anymore.

      • viveka says:

        That’s fantastic … you went to the top of my Christmas tree now. *smile

  7. Bonnie says:

    I can see why guests would want to be in your lovely kitchen. I, too, would seek out a place there.
    The glitz of a holiday gala is nice but I’m at a place where I prefer the cozy comfort of a relaxed gathering.

    Wishing you a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year!


    • Karen says:

      Thank you Bonnie, for your nice compliment. No one likes a dressy affair more than I do but I’m with you about a relaxed gathering. New England lends itself to a cozy gathering of friends…especially this time of the year. I hope you have a wonderful Christmas and New Year as well…thanks.

  8. I’d like to be invited to your party please!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Jeannee, Too bad we have that ocean between our homes or you would have had an invitation.

      • We’re back in the U.S. now (most of the time), but it would still be a long trip 🙂 So, no worries, you don’t have one more to feed at your party.

      • Karen says:

        I know you have talked about being back but I didn’t realize it was permanent. You are right…it would still be a long way. My husband says, “you don’t want to be embarrassed in front of your friends” so I always have way too much food.

  9. Your home is oh so lovely! I could feel the warmth and joy from your photos. I am sure your party will be a wonderful affair. Only one thing……… invitation must have gotten lost in the mail. lol………….Wishing you and yours the very, very BEST for the Holiday Season! Have a glass of bubbly for me!

    • Karen says:

      Thank you Emil, for your kind words. I’m glad you have enjoyed the photos of our home…we think it is special. Everyone seems to be missing their invitations. LOL. I hope you enjoy the holidays as well. I will definitely be opening a bottle of champagne…they are in the fridge now.

  10. Norma Chang says:

    I would hang out in the kitchen also, so warm, comfy and where the goodies are. I too have a collection of snowmen, keep a few out on display throughtout the year as they always put a smile on my face. Love your homemade pita chips brushed with olive oil, sea salt and cumin, should keep this idea on file, a change from my Asian sesame oil and sprinkled with sesame seeds.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Norma, I’m glad you like my kitchen…it tends to be the most popular place in our home. I just love the snowmen…they always make me smile when I see them. Homemade pita chips are so much better than anything store bought. I’ll have to make your version next.

  11. homeownerchick says:

    Hi Karen,

    The house looks so festive and cozy. And I have to share that I have the Santa version of the snowman with tree decoration. It is one of my favorite Christmas decorations. I loved seeing the snowman version.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Sarah, Thank you for stopping by for a visit and your nice compliment. I haven’t seen the Santa version but I bet it would make me smile like my snowman does.

  12. I love your kitchen! Everything looks beautifully decorated too, enjoy the holiday party!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Ksenia, I’m glad you enjoyed the photos of our kitchen…it is a wonderful spot to set up a party. I love decorating our home for Christmas…it is my favorite time of the year. Thank you for your nice compliment.

  13. It is starting to look a lot like Christmas at your home. I really love that huge center island area for the family to hang out and of course with all of your great food they will be eating and eating. I would need several of those little meatballs to test. Have a super holiday. BAM

    • Karen says:

      Hi Bam, It does look a lot like Christmas at our home…my favorite time of the year. I joke that if I ever sell the house, I’m taking the island with me. Of course, I know I’d have to build a house around it. LOL. Thank you for your nice wish, I hope you have a wonderful holiday as well.

  14. Mad Dog says:

    I bet you throw great parties! Lovely meatball recipe too 🙂

  15. Aw, Karen, your home is warm and inviting for gathering friends and family — so lovely! Festive decorations, delicious food, just add people and it is perfect. 🙂 Your meatballs sound wonderful, a recipe I know we would really enjoy and I will have to try. Have a Merry Christmas and I wish you all the best in the coming New Year!

    • Karen says:

      Thank you Judy, for your kind words…they are very much appreciated. I love making different kinds of meatballs, especially for a party…perfect bite size goodies. I hope you and your family enjoy the holidays as well…thanks.

  16. Great kitchen and wonderfully simple food ideas. I can see why no one leaves the kitchen ( it’s bigger than our house) – have a very Happy Christmas:)

    • Karen says:

      Hi Roger, I’m glad you like our kitchen. Yes, our kitchen is big. Our whole house is much bigger than is needed for two people but that is what happens when you fall in love with a house. Your rational thinking goes down the drain…this has happened to me more than once. I would love to own a little stone home in France to spend my last years but I’m afraid of what my heart might fall in love with.

  17. Isn’t casual so much more fun than glitzy? I can just hear the laughter, and feel the warmth…
    Merry Christmas!

  18. Larry says:

    Looks like you’re set for a fine party – your New Hampshire version sounds like the one I’d want to attend.

  19. Colonial houses are so perfect for Christmas. Your place looks gorgeous! And the weather in New England is much more seasonal than Miami! We lived in Florida (Tampa) for a bit over a decade, and always found it rather amusing to find ourselves putting up outdoor lights (we loved to wrap palm trees to look like candy canes) in shorts, while slapping at mosquitoes. Nice meat ball recipe — I love lamb, and it’s a great meat for meatballs. I usually use cilantro with the sorts of flavorings you have in your recipe, but the mint is a really good idea. And it’s been so warm here in St. Louis that our mint is still growing! Good post — thanks so much.

    • Karen says:

      Hi John, Christmas in New England is like being in a Currier and Ives painting that has come to life. When we lived on the water in Key Largo, I told people that no shorts were allowed at my Christmas party even though some of them came by water. Shorts and Christmas just didn’t seem to go together…any other time of the year it didn’t matter. I have used and cilantro and mint with these spices and they both work well. Some people just don’t like the taste of cilantro. I’m glad you enjoyed the post…thank you for your nice comment.

  20. petit4chocolatier says:

    Your home is gorgeous and one can feel your passion, love and kindness within every picture.
    I love the lamb meatballs. I have only prepared Italian sausage and ground beef meatballs. Lamb is such a great change of pace! Spicy lamb meatballs, yummy!!!

    • Karen says:

      I truly appreciate your very kind words, Judy. I’m so glad that you have enjoyed the photos of our home…my husband and I think it is a special place to live. Meatballs are always a popular item. Lamb really is a nice change of pace and these are a little different because of the spices. Thank you for your compliment.

  21. Conor Bofin says:

    Fantastic post Karen. When I am over that way, I might interlope my way into your open house.
    Best from Dublin,

  22. A_Boleyn says:

    Your lovely Christmas decorations make me smile with delight. And after a tour of the house, I’d be happy to join you in one of those tasty meatballs and the other nibbles you have on offer. The Greek buffet sounds wonderful especially washed down with a cold glass of sparkling champagne. I may be convinced to have a second glass and the offer of a ride home afterwards. 🙂

    • Karen says:

      What a lovely compliment, Boleyn…I’m glad the photos of my Christmas decorations made you smile. There is always champagne served at our parties…it is my favorite drink. I’d be happy to enjoy a glass of two with you as you had a nibble. Now as to that very long ride home, we would have to figure something out. LOL.

  23. Your house is so festive and welcoming! The lamb meatballs look very good and seem like it would go nicely with hummus and tzatziki. Merry Christmas Karen! I hope your holidays are filled with laughter, good food, and warm-fuzziness!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Ming, The lamb meatballs do go well with the hummus and tzatziki. Thank you for your sweet wish. I hope your holidays will be wonderful as well.

  24. Karen, your kitchen looks like such a warm and welcoming place, I’m not surprised that’s where everyone wants to be! Have a great party, and a wonderful Christmas! x

    • Karen says:

      Hi Celia, I’m glad you like my kitchen…it is the most popular room in our house when it comes to our guests. Thank you for your nice wish…I hope your holidays will be wonderful as well. I hope you enjoy time spent with family and friends.

  25. Eva Taylor says:

    Such a beautiful kitchen, Karen, I recall your post last year and being totally envious (and I have a lovely kitchen too, but then the grass is always…). These spiced meatballs sure wouldn’t last long at one of our parties either. I can just imagine how lovely your parties are, you would be the most gracious host.
    I’ve never employed a bartender, but I did hire a woman to help with keeping the table and glasses filled, she was so lovely, we kept hiring her for every party for about 7 years. The last party was two years ago for my nephew moving out west and she gave me the bad news that she wouldn’t be doing that any more. I suspect it’s the reason I haven’t had another big party, I just don’t want to do all the work.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Eva, I appreciate your compliment about our kitchen as I do know you have a lovely one as well. Everyone does seem to have a good time at our parties and that makes me happy. When we lived in Florida, my parties were for 50 to 80 people and help was definitely needed. Now my parties are usually for 20 or 30 and that is manageable for my husband and I to do by ourselves.

  26. Gary Lum says:

    Your home looks so beautiful.

  27. Karen, you have a HUGE and beautiful kitchen!
    My husband adores all different kinds of meatballs, this seems like a great one too.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Angie, We do have a huge kitchen even by modern standards. We have taken it back to the way it was many years ago. During the restoration we found evidence that in the 1700’s our home had been a way stop for stage coaches between Portsmouth and Concord and that our kitchen had an area that sold drink to the travelers. I think your husband will enjoy the meatballs, especially if served with tzatziki and hummus.

  28. I can see why your kitchen is the gathering place -it’s so warm and welcoming. Plus it makes it so much easier on you to be able to keep an eye on the food & replenish. The decorations are lovely and fit so well with the room.
    I’d guess that your guests enjoy the Mediterranean food because it’s not something that many people would venture to make for themselves. Although shrimp is definitely always at hit at an party I have too.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Diane, Thank you for your nice compliment. It is easier for me if my guests are in the kitchen where I can keep an eye on the food and still visit with my guests. I tend to think you are right about why everyone enjoys the Mediterranean food. I think shrimp will always be at the top of the list of which was the most popular food served at my parties.

  29. I’ve only recently started to eat meatballs, and I love all of your ingredients. As for your kitchen, it’s hardly surprising your guests prefer to stay there! I know I would.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Johnny, If you like lamb, then I think you would enjoy the meatballs with all their spices. I’m glad that you enjoyed the photos of our kitchen…everyone seems to enjoy spending time there.

  30. Sissi says:

    What a festive atmosphere, Karen! Very jolly indeed! And I even don’t have a Christmas tree yet… The meatballs look luscious. I also like spicy meatballs best.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Sissi, I can understand you not having a Christmas tree yet. When we spent two Christmases in Austria, the trees weren’t put up and decorated until Christmas eve. I always put my trees up the first of December so that I can enjoy them for awhile. I know you and I have the same tastes when it comes to spicy foods and you would probably want to use more shiracha in the recipe.

  31. Beautiful and Ready for the Holiday Celebration – thanks so much for sharing – love it! Have a Great One:)

  32. Ruth says:

    Wow! Now that is a Christmas room! So beautiful, Karen. You’re guests are going to have a fantastic time!

  33. Thanks for letting me a guest at your Open House – I especially loved the meatballs, lamb is one of my favorites! Your home is so tastefully done, I felt a little like we were in one of those wine or Jaguar commercials where the home, food, and people look hip, cool and perfect — so much fun!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Kelli, I’m glad you could imagine yourself at our open house party. I appreciate your for your nice compliment about our home. I don’t know about hip…we do have a lot of fun at our parties and there is lots of good food. Thanks!

  34. Eha says:

    Love your precious collection on Christmas display: have scrolled up and down more than once! And have reached out for your meatballs [oops, hope you didn’t notice!]: like your use of sumac! Your Hampshire festivities would be beautiful to gatecrash . . . oh, well, perchance by next year I’ll have perfected becoming a genie 😀 !

    • Karen says:

      Hi Eha, I’m glad you enjoyed my Christmas decorations…my favorite time of the year is Christmas. I love using sumac…I like its subtle lemony flavor. You don’t have to be a genie to be a guest at one of my parties…blogging friends would always be welcomed.

  35. Idyllic and so welcoming! (and a recipe worth bookmarking!) Thank you for sharing ~ Kat

  36. Patrick says:

    I know which party I’d prefer to go to. I do miss all the glitzy advertising agency and client parties I went to before being paralyzed but now I too enjoy the simpler life.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Patrick, At certain times in our lives we may get a chance to do both and that is wonderful. There is just something nice about a small group of close friends getting together to share food, drinks, and conversation during the holidays that I love. Thank you for your comment.

  37. ChgoJohn says:

    I’ve said it before, Karen, you’ve a lovely home, especially so at Christmas. Your kitchen does have that warm feeling to it and when you add the aromas of the dishes you’ve prepared, it’s no small wonder that everyone congregates there. Those must have been some mighty wonderful desserts to get your guests to leave the comfort of your kitchen for the unknown of the dining room. 🙂

    • Karen says:

      Thank you again John, for our nice compliment. I do like the way our house looks at Christmas…a little fun and festive. After the parties, there is always food leftover. You know who will be eating the leftover fruitcake, cookies, etc. It is a good thing it is sweater season:)

  38. Karen, your kitchen is beautiful. It is very common to gather around kitchen islands indeed. No matter where you start the party, it slowly moves towards that island and all the fun happens there… I told my husband I want an open kitchen area with a big island, I don’t care about any bedrooms…:)
    Have a lovely time!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Marina, It is true that everyone gravitates to the source of the food. An open kitchen with an island is a wonderful place for a party. People tend to mingle instead of sitting in one place all night and that is important.

  39. What a beautiful home you have Karen! Thanks for letting us in there! 😀

  40. Your home looks so festive and those meatballs sound wonderful!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Laura, Festive is a good term to describe our home at Christmas when we are having a party. It is the people that give a home its life. Meatballs are always a crowd pleaser no matter how they are prepared…these are a little different. Thank you for your nice compliment.

  41. What a wonderful home, Karen, and I can easily see why the kitchen is the gathering spot! It’s warm, charming and so inviting. And the fare you’ve planned so far sounds just wonderful to me. THe gathering as you describe it is the kind I find most enjoyable. I love a gathering of friends, informal attire, and good food in a warm place! I’ll be sure to r.s.v.p. before I make my travel arrangements! 🙂

    • Karen says:

      Hi Debra, An informal gathering of friends in our home is something my husband and I enjoy having and our guests seem to have a good time. Thank you for your nice compliment…I’m glad you enjoyed the photos

  42. My Kitchen Stories says:

    Times have certainly changed. Its nice to have more casual parties isnt it.? Mediterranean food was made for parties and I guess everyone agrees

    • Karen says:

      Hi Tania, I think that we tend to have more parties when they are casual. Less to plan and definitely easier on the pocketbook. The Mediterranean appetizers do seem to be crowd pleasers and are easy to prepare.

  43. hotlyspiced says:

    I would love to be a guest at your open house party. What a great host you are. And thanks for the tour inside your home all decked out for Christmas xx

    • Karen says:

      Hi Charlie, I wish there wasn’t thousands of miles between us…I’d through a few of the shrimp I make on the barbie for you to make you feel at home..:) I’m glad you enjoyed the photos of our home at Christmas…thank you!

  44. I love your kitchen! The stamped tin cabinets are my favorite. Did you do those yourself?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Julie, I’m glad you enjoyed the photos of our kitchen. The stamped tin was made by a company that specializes in tinware. The carpenter added it when he built the cabinets. Thank you for your compliment.

  45. I’ve always had a soft spot for New England homes and yours is gorgeous Karen. We have a few early American antiques that we’ve dragged all over the country, including to the Caribbean. Your style of decorating always grabs my heart. Your party looks delightful and a lovely way to entertain friends for the holidays. We too have gone from our own catered black-tie parties in Mississippi with bartenders to laid-back casual where you leave your shoes at the door.

    Merry Christmas.

    • Karen says:

      Thank you Sam, for your lovely compliment. When we built our home in Key Largo, I designed it to be similar to the Caribbean plantation homes that had mahogany furniture and English and American antiques. Most all of the furniture in our home was brought from Florida when we moved and fit perfectly in this old New England home. Our casual lifestyle now suits me fine. I think we have a lot in common.

  46. your kitchen is fantastic Karen!! We’ve moved to a new house and we plan to have a kitchen dinner room where to receive our guest. Your cooking space is inspiring!! I love informal parties more than formal, I’m sure your friends will have great time with all this good SPICY food

    • Karen says:

      Hi Rita, It is nice to know that you enjoyed the photos of our kitchen…it is a perfect place to entertain. Our friends seem to always enjoy themselves when we have a party. I know you will enjoy your new home when you entertain. Thank you for you lovely compliment.

  47. ladyfi says:

    Fabulous house you have! Enjoy the party.

  48. Your kitchen has so much warmth and personality, it’s just beautiful! The meatballs sound amazing and since my husband just saw the recipe over my shoulder, he has requested them for Christmas Thanks for the great recipe.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Mary, I do think our kitchen is special. I’m happy you enjoyed the photos…thank you. It is nice to know you like the meatball recipe. Be sure to cook a sample to adjust the seasoning to your liking. I always do that when making meatballs. I hope you will enjoy them.

  49. spree says:

    Your home looks wonderfully, nostalgically decked for the holidays, Karen. It must be such a joy for you to share it!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Spree, Thank you for your nice compliment. Our old house is fun to decorate at Christmas. We love having our friends over to share in the festivities of the season.

  50. megtraveling says:

    I can understand why your guests like to be in the kitchen! It’s beautiful and inviting with plenty of seating. Thanks for sharing pictures from your wonderful home 🙂

    • Karen says:

      Hi Meg, Everyone loves congregates around the island and kitchen table where all the food is when we have a party. I’m glad you enjoyed the photos of our home. Thank you for your lovely compliment.

  51. Susan says:

    We have decided that in our next house, we need a large kitchen, with huge island, open to a big “keeping room” with fireplace, and a bedroom….everyone ends up / stays in the kitchen anyway, so why bother with all of those other “extra” rooms in the house?!?LOL!

    BTW – what time should we be there?!! Tee hee! Your home is lovely!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Susan, You gave me a chuckle with your comment. I have friends that could do the opposite of you and have a bedrooms and no kitchen. I do love our kitchen as it is a nice place to spend time with friends, enjoying food and having a lot of laughs. I’m glad you enjoyed the photos of our home…thank you for your compliment.

  52. Michelle says:

    So beautiful, Karen! Hope you have an absolutely lovely holiday.

  53. lvaletutto says:

    Wow Karen I love the open floor plan of your kitchen and I really adore your brick fireplace. This would be one of my favorite places to be too!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Laura, The kitchen is a wonderful place to spend time it…the layout works real well. One of these days I should be brave and try cooking something in our fireplace…it has a beehive oven. Thank you for your nice compliment.

  54. You have a beautiful home. My entertaining style is casual. If the weather cooperates, I think we will have a bonfire. I wish you a very happy Christmas.

  55. I’ve been looking at Christmas decorating photos.. and just love what you’ve done in your home, Karen. You’ve made such a warm and inviting family room and kitchen.. I might just have to do a little more red next year.. I miss it’s happy colour!! Have a very merry Christmas!!! xxx

    • Karen says:

      Thank you Smidge, I’m glad you like how I have decorated…it just seems to go with the old house. Our kitchen is dark so I thought the red would give it a certain warmth. As you say, it is a happy color. I hope you have a wonderful Christmas, as well.

  56. Rosa Mayland says:

    A cozy house, lovely decorations and scrumptious meatballs!

    Happy Holidays!



  57. Amy says:

    Love your kitchen! The island counter is just beautiful…and how appropriate that your walls are red at Christmas time 🙂 I can’t wait to have a house to have people over!!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Amy, I’m glad you enjoyed the photos of our kitchen. I do like the island…it is especially good for entertaining. I know what you mean about wanting a home…all in good time, I’m sure. Thank you for your lovely comment.

  58. Love your historic home. So pretty and cozy. Absolutely love the wooden train with the teddy bears. So nice to have a party every year to bring together friends and family.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Ducky, I enjoy living in our home with all of its history. It is so different from our homes in Florida. It does have a cozy feel and is perfect for entertaining. I do like the wooden train and teddy bears…they make people smile.

  59. You kitchen is certainly inviting, Karen, and the light coming into the room is just gorgeous! Love your decorations…as I’ve said on our tour of your home. The little bird ornament is my fave. These meatballs look delicious, and like something I need to try because I’m such a huge fan of Mediterranean food and flavors. Who wouldn’t love coming to one of your parties? Happy Holidays to you!

    • Karen says:

      Thank you for the compliment, Betsy. Most of the time our kitchen is on the dark side as the windows are north facing. The light in the photo was being reflected from the snow on the ground. I love the little tree with the birds…I’m glad you like it. I think you would enjoy the meatballs, especially served with tzatziki and hummus. I hope you have a wonderful holiday season as well.

  60. Kristy says:

    Your home just looks so inviting. I imagine it was a very wonderful party! Your food sounds delicious. Have a very Merry Christmas Karen!

  61. Karista says:

    Karen, how spectacular! You have the perfect gathering and cooking kitchen. What a warm and cozy space, so beautifully decorated. Looks like a lovely New England Inn. Thank you for sharing your home! I’m taking notes on that kitchen. 🙂 Merry Christmas and wishing you Happiest of New Years!

    • Karen says:

      Thank you Karista, for your lovely compliment. I’m happy that you enjoyed the photos of our kitchen. I do love working and entertaining in it. I hope you have a wonderful Christmas and New Years as well.

  62. Karista says:

    Oops! Forgot to mention the spicy lamb meatballs sound and look delicious! Perfect party food or an entree. Yum!

  63. The perfect Christmas home! Truly warm and cozy. I’ve been wondering what to bring as an appy to my friends house and this sounds lovely and something everyone would enjoy!

    • Karen says:

      Hi France, I does look and feel a lot like Christmas at our home. I’m glad you enjoyed the photos…thank you for your compliment. Meatballs make a nice appetizer…I hope everyone enjoys them if you decide to make them.

  64. dishinwithdidi says:

    Karen I absolutely love your stories, your kitchen, your home, your Christmas tree AND ADORE your food!!

    I look forward to every post arriving in my inbox!!

    Have a Merry Christmas!!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Didi, Thank you for stopping by and your lovely compliment. I’m happy to hear that you enjoyed this post and my blog. I do look forward to your return. Have a Merry Christmas as well.

  65. spicegirlfla says:

    Ooh I never liked the glitzy Miami parties! I prefer these homey, real people get togethers!! Your home is lovely Karen and seems to fit you perfectly. The lamb meatballs sound fabulous and make ahead is definitely what I like! Happy holidays!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Linda, I always refer to Miami as la la land (I hope I don’t offend anyone). We love the down to earth atmosphere of New England. Thank you for your nice comment…I do think this house suits me…I’ve always been very traditional. I’m glad you like the meatballs…they are something a little different. Have a wonderful Christmas and I hope 2013 turns into a wonderful year for you.

  66. Thanks for the continued tour of the house Karen and we’re wishing you and yours very Happy Holidays!! See you next year!

  67. Sounds like a wonderful party Karen. We can never get our guests from the kitchen to the living room. I try to light the fireplace and put on music…I almost herd them. And sometimes I just get out more stools so everyone can crowd around the kitchen island!
    I do love the couch you have there in the kitchen area. I would like that someday.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Wendy, When you have a party, guest tend to want to be where the food is. I have tried your tricks too. I’ve move desserts into our family room where my big tree is, a fireplace, music, etc. The kitchen always wins out. I do love having a couch and comfy chair in our kitchen, especially in the winter. When I’m cooking for just a couple of friends, they can sit in front of the fire and still talk to us while my husband and I are getting food on the table. Thank you for your nice comment.

  68. A Very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you Karen and your family

    I have a STAR over here for you


    • Karen says:

      Thank you Eunice, for thinking of my blog for this award…I really appreciate an award from another blogger. I hope you have a wonderful Christmas and New Year.

  69. lulu says:

    I can’t think of a more comfortable place to be during the holidays than yours. I’d just have to be careful not to overeat!

  70. Your home looks so festive and perfect for the holidays! I’ve always been a fan of cozier family gatherings, anyway — they’re much more fun. And the lamb meatballs look delicious, especially given my inclination towards any sort of Middle Eastern food.


    • Karen says:

      Hi Halie, Thank you for your compliment. It appears that people enjoy the wonderful flavors in Middle Eastern dishes. I think the lamb meatballs are a nice item for a party.

  71. Happy Holidays, Karen! Your kitchen looks invitingly warm and elegant. Now you’ve inspired me to declutter our kitchen and deal with the piling mounds of Xmas catalogs and other irrelevant stuff that appear the moment I look away 😛 I’m going to put the kids to work…

    • Karen says:

      Hi Ragini, Thank you for your compliment. My island is the landing place for all our mail and yes…those Christmas catalogs too. I hope you and your family enjoy the holidays.

  72. Your kitchen is so pretty and festive with the decorations. No wonder everyone gravitates there during parties! All the Mediterranean dishes sound delicious. I’d love to find this spread at a holiday party!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Lisa, I’m glad you enjoyed seeing the photos of our kitchen and how we decorate it for Christmas. The Mediterranean dishes do seem to be popular with all our guests…I know that they are easy to prepare. Thank you for your nice compliment.

  73. Suzanne says:

    What a perfect red room for Christmas – absolutely gorgeous. Merry Christmas and have a lovely break.

  74. Carolyn Chan says:

    Your home looks so wonderfully warm! I looove the big table and can definitely see that as the gathering area for guests during parties. Merry Christmas and happy new year!

    • Karen says:

      Thank you Carolyn, for your nice compliment. I’m glad you have enjoyed the photos of our home at Christmas. Everyone does like to gather around our table and island as that is where all the food is. Merry Christmas and happy new year to you as well.

  75. twbarritt says:

    I think if I came to your Christmas open house, I would never leave your gorgeous kitchen! Hope you have a very merry holiday!

    • Karen says:

      Hi T.W., If you came to our open house, I’d offer you something to drink while you had some appetizers in the kitchen. I’m glad you enjoyed the photos of our kitchen…thank you for your nice compliment. Have a Merry Christmas.

  76. So that’s where all the wonderful food comes from 🙂 Thank you so much for sharing your home and your holiday decorations with us, Karen! Looks amazing. Meatballs look amazing too!

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from NYC!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Daisy, Yes…now you know where I create all the recipes. I’m glad you enjoyed the photos of my kitchen and historic home decorated for Christmas. I appreciate your compliment. Thank you for your wishes and I hope you have a wonderful Christmas and New Year as well.

  77. rsmacaalay says:

    Love the Christmas photos very festive anyways Merry Christmas to you and your family

  78. What an absolutely gorgeous home! And yes I do love old New England Architecture. Thank you for stopping by!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Elizabeth, Thank you for stopping by for a visit and your lovely compliment. I’m glad you enjoyed the photos of our home decorated for Christmas.

  79. W H Stoneman says:

    What a beautiful home you have! Merry Christmas to you and family!

  80. Susan says:

    Your home is calling my name. I love everything about it, including my favorite colors! I wish I could move it to our wooded lot 🙂

    • Karen says:

      Thank you Susan, for your lovely comment. We do think we have a special house…I’m glad you like it as well. Our home’s colors are all historic and I love them.

  81. I love seeing photos of your lovely home. It truly is special and seemingly made for Christmas.

  82. Andrea says:

    Karen, your home is decorated in such a loving and festive and warm way – I have to sigh (with joy) when I look at your pictures – your open kitchen seems so inviting and like the perfect place for a party, any time of the year. With respect to your recipe for Spicy Lamb Meatballs – I will have to try it and let the kids taste, they actaully love lamb meatballs and do not mind a bit of spiciness, so this will probably a perfect treat for them and a welcome change of taste from my usual recipe!

    • Karen says:

      Thank you Andrea, for your lovely compliment. I’m glad you enjoyed the photos of our kitchen…it is a good spot to spend time with friends and food. I hope you will enjoy the lamb meatballs.

  83. Whine Less says:

    Your home is beautiful! It looks very warm and welcoming. I’m sure the parties are wonderful!

  84. Mary says:

    You’ve captured the quintessential New England Christmas in your home! It’s just lovely & I’m sure a fun time was had by all! Especially if they got to drink out of the Baccarat Massena! One of my favorite crystal patterns!

  85. It all looks and sounds wonderful and I think I´d prefer a New Hampshire Christmas to a Miami one!

  86. What a lovely peek into a delightful New Hampshire home. My daughter and I drove through New Hampshire from Vermont on a college road trip. It was truly magical!

    • Karen says:

      Thank you Sarah, for stopping by for a visit and your nice compliment. New Hampshire as well as all of New England has some wonderful places to enjoy.

  87. Nami | Just One Cookbook says:

    Your red wall is beeeeeeeautiful!!! I love your home Karen! I’ve been to NH when my husband worked for a company which headquarter was there. It’s a beautiful place, especially fall!

    • Karen says:

      Thank you Nami, for your lovely compliment. The red is a historic milk paint color from the 1700’s which we found when we were restoring our home…I’m glad you like it. New Hampshire is a beautiful state and I hope you get a chance to visit again.

  88. cabinet stew says:

    ahhh Christmas … a distant memory now but those meatballs!! Yum and they could be a nice twist on an upcoming easter meal! hmmmm…..
    The funny thing about New England is many, if not most, pizza and sub places are greek-run (as well as many of the local “family style but still wait for a table on a saturday night” restaurants) and spanakopita as well as other related items are not so far-fetched as one might think in New England! Plus they just make great “finger food!”

    • Karen says:

      Hi Carol, you are right about so many of the family style restaurants being owned by Greeks. The greek appetizers do make great finger food at parties.

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