Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmasy Food

What do you eat on Christmas? Do you eat the same thing every year? Do you use that day as an excuse to try fancy new recipes? Thanksgiving has the turkey, what foods spell Christmas to you? In our house Christmas day usually means ham. Too bad the only ham we could find costs a fortune and is at a store that has had ongoing problems with it's cold storage system resulting in random meat spoilage. No ham this year. This is truly the first year I can remember without a ham.

To add to the culinary failure in progress Christmas Eve means tamales and chili. Since I made tamales and chili a few weeks ago as part of Dakota's week long leaving home feast we are all tamaled out, although the kids have let me know they will take another Big Red, thanks. So what to do this year? How to make it feel like Christmas despite the 90 degree weather, no ham, and tamale overload?

David suggested gnocchi which is one of our favorites, but there was a unanimous "Not Knee-Yucky!" chorus from the kids. Sick little critters. In fact pasta was shot down across the board as not "Christmasy enough". There were suggestions for turkey which I politely ignored, once a year is quite enough. I thought of steak but somehow that seems more like summer BBQ than Christmas dinner. Of course it is summer here, so maybe it isn't such a bad idea.

We finally settled on baked chicken with green beans, potatoes au gratin, cranberry sauce out of a can (BLECH), homemade bread, and creme brulee for dessert for Christmas Eve. Christmas Day we will have a beef stew, fresh rolls, and apple pie with ice cream for dessert. Simple, homey, comfort food. Well except for Colin's creme brulee and even that's not too hard to make.

In case you think I for got about breakfast on Christmas Eve we will have pancakes made by Alonzo. He makes the best pancakes light and fluffy and just a tiny bit sweet. On Christmas Day will will have beignets otherwise know by my kids as donut holes. And while we are opening the presents hot cocoa with marshmallows. Yummy!

Today's adventure was making the marshmallows. I have looked all over town and can't find a bag of marshmallows anywhere so I tried making them. I say tried because I am not sure yet if they are going to set up the way the are supposed to but when I licked the bowl it tasted like the best marshmallow fluff ever. So my fingers are crossed it all worked out and we will have pretty homemade marshmallows melting in our hot cocoa come Christmas morning, if not I am just putting a big spoonful of marshmallow fluff and calling it good enough. I will post an update later with pictures if they work out. If you are dying to try making some yourself the recipe can be found at


Emily said...

I would like to be like you. Or at least eat/cook like you. I am jealous of your culinary skills.
Merry Christmas and happy eating.

Donna said...

I struggle with this every year. With 2 vegetarians, it seems silly to make another turkey (my tradition). But the kids balk at "fancy" food - gnocchi, risotto, etc.

This year I'm doing Georgian food (Soviet Georgia) for Christmas Eve - kids love hachapuri, and my eldest requested this - and I'm doing a mini-Thanksgiving, with roast chicken, for Christmas.

Gonna have to try the marshmallows, considering your caramel turned out to be so delicious.

Shannon said...

Emily there was lots of trial an error and watching Saturday afternoon on PBS when all the cooking shows used to be on. There were many many things that even the dog turned his nose up at, it still happens I just don't blog about it much.

I lost all my cookbooks on our first overseas move (Please God let them be in storage!) So now I use the internet for most of my recipes. I only use sites that allow for reviews and only use recipes that have good reviews. A few of the sites I use are and

Donna if you do try the marshmallows the recipe I used was this one
Surprisingly easy but a bit messy. I am not sure I would want to try it without a stand mixer. I have a kitchenaide so that makes it easier.

Happy Holidays All!

Connie said...

We picked up a frozen ham at the co-op at Thanksgiving. I did not ask my husband what the price was. A new thing this year will be angel food cake... yes, from a box mix (thanks to Brad's cousin in the US who mailed it to us!) because I actually want it to turn out to be angel food cake. That would probably not happen if I tried it from scratch. We have beautiful fresh strawberries. I'm not sure if it's Christmas-y, but I'm sure it will be yummy! Other than that, and some typical sides, the kids are asking for mac&cheese, because it goes with ham, in their book. Not my favorite .. at all.. but it's Christmas, so why not??

Merry Christmas!!

Monica said...

i want to live with your family when i grow up. sheesh. since malcolm's birthday i have burned brownies, gingersnaps, AND ed's fav cookie: pecan fingers. UGHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! so discouraging. i so want to give up, but the kids want to make more cut-out cookies today and ed is demanding more of his cookies. BOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!! it's tamales and honey baked ham for us. since i have nothing to do with those they should be YUMMY! miss y'all lots. enjoy your feasting. :o)))