Recipes to kick off the New Year

Honey Vanilla Spiced Almonds by

Doesn't it feel strange to be saying "Happy New Year!" already?  It feels like the New Year creeps up on us faster and faster each year.  Maybe we should be greeting everyone with the same question on their mind - "Where did this year go?" 

However you've felt about the past year, it's time to celebrate.  Celebrate the greatest year of your life, or celebrate that it's finally over and a New Year is upon us.  And that means it's time to start thinking about all the good food you're going to make and enjoy for the big party, or intimate dinner with friends, or at home with the family.

I know, it may still be a bit early.  You're probably still feeling bloated from the buffets of the holidaze.   But by New Year's Eve, your hunger will return and you'll be rushing to figure out what to make. 

So here we share a few of our favorites - mostly light & small bites - for a low-stress, yet delicious New Year’s celebration.

Honey Vanilla Spiced Almonds (top picture) - Get your party started with an addicting snack like Honey Roasted Almonds spiced with cinnamon & vanilla.

Salmon Sashimi Wonton Cups by

Salmon Sashimi Wonton Cups - How about welcoming your guests with an appetizer they won't expect, but will be asking for seconds?  This platter of Salmon Sashimi Wonton Cups will be a hit with your friends who love Japanese food.  Get everything done ahead of time and place the avocado slices last when ready to serve.

Fattoush - the Middle Eastern Bread Salad by

Fattoush - Do you crave salads more than anything else after the heavy-laden foods of Christmas? Spiced with tart sumac powder and tossed with a base dressing of olive oil and lemon juice, this Middle Eastern bread salad is wonderfully refreshing, and festive looking on a party table.

Blood Orange and Avocado Salad by

Blood Orange & Avocado Salad - It's just the beginning of blood orange season, so surprise your guests with their first blood orange of the New Year - in a salad!  These brilliantly-colored citrus fruits make a gorgeous salad that your friends and family will love.  If you can't find the oranges, simply replace with tangerines or mandarin oranges.

Sichuan Chicken Wings by

Sichuan Chicken Wings - These chicken wings have zing!  They're spicy and vinegary and bursting with flavor.  You and your guests will bite in, and get a taste of the Sichuan Pepper Experience.

Toasted Coconut & Chicken Lettuce Cups by

Toasted Coconut & Chicken Lettuce Wraps - With a few dashes each of our Lemongrass Powder and Smoked Serrano Chili Powder, these tropical-inspired appetizers pair very well with bubbly champagne or sweet wine.  For a vegetarian version, sub the chicken with small cubes of crisp, baked tofu.

Flaky Tomato & Cheese Tart by

Flaky Tomato & Cheese Tart - Who can resist the crunch of this scrumptious, comforting, savory pastry?

Christmas Mulled Wine by

Mulled Red Wine - Did you receive or buy too many bottles of red wine this holiday season?  Take the bottle you like the least, and spice it up into a real treat. The addition of a few warming spices like cinnamon, nutmeg and bay leaf can turn the lowest quality red wine into something special that everyone appreciates.

Dark Chocolate Ancho Chili Truffles

Dark Chocolate Ancho Chili Truffles - Pour everyone a glass of mulled red wine and serve it with these decadent dark chocolate truffles spiced with Ancho Chili Powder & Ceylon Cinnamon.