Just the other day I heard about a fabulous idea for a “Girls’ Night In.” It’s called a Favorite Things Party.

Have you heard about these? You probably have. Because I’m always late to the game on whatever the latest trend is. And this one is apparently all over Pinterest. I’m hip to Pinterest, obvi, but my pins and the pinners I follow are roughly 99% food-related. At this point, that’s enough for me – no need to check out coasters I don’t have time to make and nurseries for the babies I don’t have! You get the idea.

But just in case you’re more oblivious than me, I’ll give you the run down on what I’ve learned about having a Favorite Things Party.

First, you invite all your girlfriends. Moms, Grandmas, Aunts, coworkers, neighbors, dental hygienist and hair dresser included. The more the merrier. Is this sounding like one of those parties intended to make you feel obligated to buy crap you don’t need? Don’t worry, it’s not.

Then ask each of your ladies to pick out oneĀ  of her Favorite Things. Favorite what? Well, it could be anything. Her favorite soap. Her favorite book. Her favorite lip gloss, nail polish, kitchen gadget, or even that amazing bath tub cleaner. Something she simply cannot live without and thinks everyone else should know about. Each guest should pick ONE favorite thing and bring several of that item. The hostess sets the price range and the number of items to bring. For a larger party, five of a favorite $5 item would be good. For a smaller party, maybe 3 of a $10 item would be nice. It’s up to you.

As the guests arrive at the party, they may be treated to the hostess’s favorite wine, favorite snacks or favorite cupcakes. Again, you get the idea. Each guest will write her name on 5 slips of paper (or however many favorite things were brought), and all of these are put in a bowl. Then, each gal is to pull 5 names from the bowl (not her own, of course! And not more than one of the same person.) Now the fun really begins. One by one, each person tells everyone else about their favorite thing, and then gives one to each of the ladies whose names she pulled. At the end of the party, each guest will take home 5 gifts. Not random, “why did I just waste my money on that” items but 5 favorite things hand-picked by another party-goer.

I served these Brussels Sprouts with Chorizo, Raisins and Almonds along with another favorite vegetable: roasted delicata squash.

My gal pals have already nominated me to host a Favorite Things Party. Of course this has me thinking about which of my favorite things I’d like to gift. I’d like to stay away from food, because that would be such an obvious choice. But that doesn’t stop me from recalling some of my favorite ingredients discovered in 2011.

Soy chorizo (specifically Trader Joe’s brand, but I haven’t yet tried any others), where had you been all my life? I mean, other than sitting next to the tofu and tempeh, glaring at me every time I chose one of the other vegetarian soy options. Confusing me in that “could you really be that good?” kind of way. Well, I’m so glad you finally found your way into my shopping basket one day. So happy to discover your smokey, spicy flavor. So thankful that you contributed to three of my most favorite recipes from 2011, which happened to be a hit with everyone else who tried them too.

Since them, I’ve been telling anyone who will listen that soy chorizo is one of my favorite things. Which obviously makes Brussels Sprouts with Chorizo, Raisins and Almonds one of my new favorite vegetable dishes. I think that anyone who counts brussels sprouts among your favorite vegetables (and I know there are a bunch of you) will agree. And for those that don’t? This could very well be the recipe to convert you.

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Brussels Sprouts with Chorizo, Raisins and Almonds

Yield: 2 servings

Shredded brussels sprouts sauteed with smokey, spicy chorizo sausage, plump sweet raisins and crisp slivered almonds. A gluten-free, dairy-free main or side dish.


1/4 cup (1oz) raisins (dark or golden)
1lb brussels sprouts
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/4 cup finely chopped yellow onion
1 clove of garlic, minced
3oz soy chorizo, crumbled
2 tablespoons (1/2 oz) sliced almonds
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper, to taste


Place raisins in a small bowl and cover with hot water.

Trim the stems from the brussels sprouts and remove the outer leaves. Using a slicing attachment on a food processor, slice the brussels sprouts. Set aside.

Heat olive oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-low heat. Place onions in the skillet and cook for 4-5 minutes, stirring often, until softened and beginning to brown. Add garlic and cook 1 minute more. Add the brussels sprouts, increase heat to medium-high, and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. The brussels sprouts should be crisp-tender and browned in spots. Add the chorizo and sliced almonds. Drain raisins and add to the skillet. Cook, stirring, 3 minutes more, until mixture is heated through. Season with salt and black pepper to taste.

Nutrition Facts:

Amount Per Serving
Calories 267.5
Total Fat 12.9 g
Saturated Fat 1.8 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1.1 g
Monounsaturated Fat 4.5 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 611.7 mg
Potassium 777.8 mg
Total Carbohydrate 33.9 g
Dietary Fiber 9.1 g
Sugars 13.6 g
Protein 12.2 g