Who doesn’t like Holiday goodies? Anyone?
Part of the “feel goods” of Holiday gatherings are from the comfort foods, and treats that we would otherwise not indulge in. Food has always been a big part of my family gatherings whether it’s a summer barbecue or Thanksgiving or Christmas, or whatever other get together we had.
I miss those days. I miss the summer barbecues with my dad basting pork steaks in Maul’s/beer combo until it was melt in your mouth good. I miss the Thanksgiving feast and mom’s stuffing along with 8 different kinds of pie – because not everyone liked pumpkin. But most of all I miss the Christmas traditions that were long-established since I was a small child.
On Christmas eve we used to go to my grandparents. It was the one time of year when you got to see everyone – the aunts, uncles, cousins – and sample some of my Grandpa’s homemade wine. Sometimes his wine was more akin to moonshine but there were other times when it was like nectar of the Gods. I remember distinctly his banana wine, watermelon rind wine, and Missouri grape wine. He never entered any competitions for it, it was reserved for family and friends. Sampling Grandpa’s wine was an honor and something that we looked forward to.
Then sadly Grandpa passed away, because eventually we all pass. Then the baton was passed to my parents, and the gatherings grew. I have four siblings who are all married. Three of them have kids, and their kids have kids. The Christmas before my mother passed had a full house! Five siblings and spouses, (10) the grandkids and spouses, (+19) the great grandkids – plus there are more now (+18) plus my mother. 48 people crowded into the house, but it was a joyous occasion and we never considered it crowded.
We always had finger foods, never a full-blown meal. There were the traditional, Mom would buy a ham and have a variety of bread for sandwiches. There were always numerous sides to choose from, chips, dip, cookies cakes – so much to choose from and we often overindulged.
Now the torch has passed to us, we no longer have the big family gatherings. I feel sad that my kids have been short-changed by missing out on our traditional family gatherings. As most of the parents out there will understand, I tend to overcompensate and overindulge my kids.
It is a difficult thing when the traditions are taken from you and you have to come up with your own.
Baking sugar cookies and decorating them, making my Grandma’s snickerdoodles, and of course the Gingerbread men – these are things that have bonded me with my girls in the kitchen for the holidays. I think we had the most fun the year we made Gingerbread cookies as characters from Louise Rennison’s Angus Thongs and Full Frontal Snogging. That book was hilarious, and the gingerbread people definitely had character! We had Mark Big gob, Slaggy Lindsey, Dave the Laugh, Jaz, and of course Robby and Tom.
I tried a couple of different things over the years, but the only thing that has really stuck has been baking treats. So, in honor of our traditions, here are a few recipes to share:
Traditional Sugar Cookies
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- 1 cup butter or margarine, softened
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- 1 egg
- 2 1/2 cups Gold Medal™ all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
- Granulated sugar or colored sugar
- 1 Mix powdered sugar, butter, vanilla, almond extract and egg in large bowl. Stir in remaining ingredients except granulated sugar. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours.
- 2 Heat oven to 375ºF. Lightly grease cookie sheet.
- 3 Divide dough in half. Roll each half 1/4 inch thick on lightly floured surface. Cut into desired shapes with 2- to 2 1/2-inch cookie cutters. Sprinkle with granulated sugar. Place on cookie sheet.
- 4 Bake 7 to 8 minutes or until edges are light brown. Remove from cookie sheet. Cool on wire rack.
This is the traditional cookie from my ancient Betty Crocker cookbook. We decorate some with frosting, some with sprinkles and colored sugars. These are great blank canvases for your own creation!
(I have never ever had this fail) Grease 9 X 13 pan with butter.
3 cups granulated sugar
3/4 c margarine or butter
2/3 cup evaporated milk
1 (12 oz) package of chocolate chips
1 (7 oz) jar marshmallow creme
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 tsp vanilla.
Combine in large heavy saucepan sugar, margarine and evaporated milk. Stirring over medium heat bring to boil for 5 minutes. Boil until in soft ball stage.
Remove from heat, stir in chocolate chips, until melted thoroughly. Beat in marshmallow creme, walnuts, and vanilla. Mix thoroughly.
Transfer to pan and let cool before cutting into 1 inch squares.
What are your holiday traditions?
Write on my friends and enjoy those holiday goodies!
Till next time ~~~~
P.S. You can check out my other post over on Eclectic Bard Books today as well!