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Even though there’s a downside, that one more year puts one more candle on my birthday cake, I’m glad to see 2017 come to an end and I plan to celebrate with longtime favorites.

While I’m all for a good party, come New Year’s Eve I like to celebrate with family and close friends. I have no desire to mingle with the masses in Times Square. I can watch the ball drop in the comfort of my home. However, these days it’s usually from the back of my eyelids.

This week, I’m sharing some of my favorite New Year’s Eve finger foods.

Always tasty, here’s great dip I got years back from daughter Wendy’s Bay Area friend Paula Macormack: a take on the classic Reuben sandwich that we all know and love.

Reuben Dip

2 c. Swiss cheese, shredded

2 c. mayonnaise

1 c. sauerkraut, drained and chopped

½ lb. corned beef, shredded

Rye bread

Mix cheese with mayonnaise, sauerkraut and corned beef. Spread into a 9-by-13-inch ovenproof dish. Bake in a 350-degree oven for 20 to 30 minutes, or until bubbly. Serve with rye bread slices or rounds.

I love neighbor Mark Hesford’s stuffed mushrooms. With a combination of spicy and mild sausages, these have just the right amount of a kick without overwhelming the delicate mushrooms. Easy to fix, these tasty morsels are always a hit.

Mark's Mushrooms

45 to 60 large mushrooms

6 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp. olive oil

One 12-oz. pkg. Jimmy Dean sage sausage

One 12-oz. pkg. Jimmy Dean hot sausage

16 oz. cream cheese, cubed

Clean mushrooms and remove stems. Chop about 20 stems and saute with garlic in olive oil until mushrooms begin to release their liquid. Add sausage and cook until crumbly and thoroughly mixed with mushrooms and garlic. Drain oil and return to heat, add cream cheese and stir until mixture is creamy. Stuff mushroom caps with sausage mixture and bake at 325 degrees for 30 to 45 minutes or until browned.

With all the partying, let’s not forget New Year’s Day and some of the results of those festivities.

One year while at Wendy and Robert’s for the holidays, Wendy whipped up a great breakfast dish. After mining the contents of the refrigerator, she came up with an easy, tasty, layered concoction that was perfect for our post-partying and pre-Rose Bowl day.

Wendy's 'Morning After' Breakfast

1 large pkg. frozen shredded potatoes, thawed

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Leftover meats (sausage, ham, bacon, etc.)

Onions, chopped

Green chilies, diced

Tomatoes, chopped


8 to 10 eggs

Cheese, grated

Butter a 9-by-12-inch glass baking dish. Cover bottom with grated potatoes. Add meat and layer with chopped onions, chilies, tomatoes, etc., and top with strips of bacon, if desired. Beat eggs and pour over top. Refrigerate overnight. Next morning, bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 45 minutes. Remove from oven and cover with grated cheese. Allow cheese to melt and, when cooled slightly, cut and serve.

A tradition in my family is eating black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day to ensure good luck during the coming year. Not sure where or why this custom started, only know that it was not to be taken lightly.

So, superstition or not, you can bet I’m not going to tempt fate. Black-eyed peas will be on the menu at my house come New Year’s Day, and here’s a simple way to fix them.

One package of black-eyed peas, washed and sorted, a smoked ham hock, an onion or two, some garlic and water or chicken stock to cover, about 2 cups liquid to each cup of beans is all it takes. Bring to a boil, turn down to simmer and cook until tender and creamy.

Happy New Year.

Santa Ynez Valley resident Elaine Revelle can be reached at