Tag Archive | "Christmas food"

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Cooking Christmas Cookies with the Kids

Christmas cookies are as much a part of the Christmas tradition for many as a visit from Old St. Nick himself. The cookies are often prepared in hopes of his pending arrival by children that are as excited as they can possibly be with all sorts of visions of great things to come dancing around in their bright and shining little eyes. Preparing the cookies in these instances can be a great time of bonding with your little ones but can also be a trying time if you don’t follow a few of the tips and hints listed below.

If you want to make cooking Christmas cookies and/or candy with your little ones the very best experience for you all that it can possibly be make sure you do it on a day when this is the only thing on your calendar. You do not want to rush through this time that is not only important for bonding with your child as a parent but also a time that is an important opportunity to lock in a few precious memories of great times you’ll spend together. This is one thing that you want your children to look back at Christmas and remember doing with you and you want to be able to look back on Christmas and remember doing this with your children.

You should also make sure that everyone is well rested and well fed before beginning the process. This is important now more than ever before, as we know more about the dangers of foods, such as raw eggs, that are included in cookie dough as well as the dough for many of our favorite Christmas confections and candies. You do not want to risk the health of your children through temptation over raw cookie dough.

Be sure that every child gets a turn with the fun stuff. This includes of course using the mixer and watching things spin around as well as choosing their personal favorites for the next batch of cookies. You should also make a few cookies that you plan to let them paint, decorate, and play with just for fun and their own personal enjoyment. This will guarantee a few smiles while also scoring a few brownie points for mom.

Be patient and expect spills and messes. If you can afford a cleaning service once a year, the day after your cookie extravaganza is the day you want to splurge. Seriously, don’t sweat the small stuff. We make little messes every day it shouldn’t be such a shock when they make a really big mess in one day. This is one of the reasons why you want to plan your cookie making on a day when the calendar is clear-you will need time for clean up when all is said and done.

Make sure you have all the necessary ingredients for each and every single recipe before you begin. This is very important as cookie dough doesn’t wait well for that final egg and children don’t understand very well when they are interrupted from one project to run a quick errand (also, when was the last time you made it in and out of the grocery store in under an hour?). If you can make it through all the steps above you should be in for smooth sailing and Christmas cookie cooking.

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holiday food traditions

Developing Your Own Holiday Food Traditions

Every holiday season, many of us look forward to eating special treats made using long-held and cherished family recipes.  Many families have holiday food traditions they hold dear.  There are those who cannot imagine a holiday without Grandma’s date pinwheel cookies or Great Uncle Peter’s cornbread stuffing.  Year after year, we enjoy these treats and use them as a way to stay connected with our families and personal histories.

More than mere sustenance, the traditional foods we enjoy year after year are a source of family pride and lead to conversations about family members and fond memories of holidays past.  Family food traditions can be one of the most important parts of the holiday season for many people.

There was once, however, a time in each and every family history before those recipes existed.  Grandma had to make those date pinwheel cookies for the first time.  When she did, she may have placed them right next to sugar cookies made with her Grandma’s secret recipe, having no idea they would become such an integral part of the holiday.  Great Uncle Peter’s cornbread stuffing only came about because Great Aunt Beth was sick years ago and he had to come up with some way to stuff a bird himself on Christmas morning.  His reliance on a simple recipe card with a few personal touches started a family tradition, too.  Grandma and Great Uncle Peter didn’t intent to create a longstanding tradition that generation after generation would enjoy.  They simply hoped that they could add a little bit to the holiday meal by doing something different.

The holiday food traditions to which we now look forward were the byproducts of experimentation.  The creators of the original dishes may have never intended to make them again.  They just happened to feel like doing something different or adding something new to the holiday table.

Holiday food traditions are special to many of us, and it is wonderful to experience those comforting recipes each and every holiday.  It’s a great idea, however, to remember how those traditions began.  By realizing the source of those traditions, we can be spurred to create our own.

This holiday season consider doing something new.  Think about adding a different plate to the dinner or treat table.  Make a side dish not generally found on your holiday table or produce a cookie with which you are not familiar.  Try a few new ideas and see what happens.  Some of the new notions may not be universally well received.  Others may be enjoyed, but not to the extent of your family’s holiday classics.  One, however, might receive such rave reviews that you decide to try it again next year.

Over time, that simple decision to experiment may turn into part of your family’s traditional holiday table.  The new cookie recipe you find in a holiday recipe collection this year may eventually become a staple item that your great-grandchildren cannot imagine missing.

Traditions are important and enjoyable.  They form part of the essence of one’s family.  Wouldn’t it be nice to add your generation’s mark to the food traditions you all hold so dear?  Inventing new holiday traditions has no precise formula.  One cannot really intentionally “design” a new holiday food tradition.  They tend to grow over time.  However, new traditions do require a willingness to prepare an inventive new dish.  This holiday season, consider your potential role as a creator of a meaningful holiday tradition and add something new to the holiday feast.

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Christmas Dinner Ideas

Christmas Dinner SetupWhen the stockings have been filled then emptied and after Santa has made his appointed rounds families around the globe begin the preparations (or in some instances continue them) to prepare the family feast that is most often associated with Christmas Dinner. There are many traditions around the world though sadly far too few families have the opportunity to experience some of the rich traditions and delicious foods that mark the Christmas holidays in other corners of the globe, or even across each individual nation.

In certain parts of Italy, because of the Catholic tradition of abstaining from red meat on Christmas Eve day, there is a tradition of having fish for the evening meal. This is commonly referred to as a 7 fishes dinner and is a fascinating tradition for those who enjoy seafood. It’s certainly a new and refreshing dinner idea for many people if you are looking for something a little different from the ordinary. Even if fish really isn’t your food of choice there is no rule that says you can’t prepare a nice Italian feast for your Christmas dinner. The important thing is that you have friends and family gathered near and prepare the food with love. You do not have to have turkey or ham in order for the meal to qualify as Christmas and there is no reason that you have to stick with traditions that you really do not enjoy.

A traditional German Christmas dinner might be a neat tradition to try in America as well if you are looking to introduce your family to various cultures or just want to do a little something extraordinary for Christmas this year. One thing to note is that many Germans have their Christmas Dinner on Christmas Eve rather than Christmas Day. A traditional German Christmas dinner often consists of dishes such as stuffed Christmas Goose, Potato Dumplings, Red Cabbage, and Baked Apples for dessert. Of course you do not have to choose a traditional Christmas dinner for your Christmas German cuisine there are plenty of great German dishes that can be enjoyed if you wish to bring a German theme to your Christmas table. Do whatever tastes good and it might be best to choose foods that are relatively easy to prepare rather than those that are time consuming so that you can enjoy time with friends and family rather than cooped up in the kitchen.

If a taste of the UK is what you have in mind for your Christmas Dinner table then you might find the foods bring a flavor that is a little closer to home than you may realize. Popular Christmas dinner favorites in the UK include dishes such as roasted turkey, roasted potatoes, brussel sprouts, dressing, and pudding pie. One interesting tradition that is popular in the UK is that of Christmas crackers, which hold little gifts and goodies inside.

Another interesting choice for your Christmas table may be to include your favorite Mexican dishes for dinner. Most Americans have a soft spot for Mexican cuisine and it is definitely warming to eat on a cold winter’s day. The point is to make your Christmas dinner menu fun to eat, fun to prepare, and something that is likely to make your guests smile while building fond memories of your Christmas day.

The same may be said of most cuisines, even those from cultures that do not traditionally celebrate Christmas. Thai, Indian, Chinese foods make wonderful themes for a Christmas table if you are knowledgeable about the cuisine and willing to undertake the tasks of preparation as part of your Christmas dinner plans. The trick is really in finding dishes that are relatively simple to prepare, difficult to mess up, and can easily be skipped in the event that something does go wrong. There are tons of distractions on Christmas in most households and you do not want Christmas dinner ruined because one dish is proving difficult or impossible or (heaven forbid) gets burned, dropped on the floor, or eaten by the dog.

Check out our Gifts page where you can get free Christmas recipes

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