Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Christmas Cooking

Cooking is a great way to stir up some Christmas memories at our house. I love cooking and baking and pull out old standby recipes I've made over the years but also try a few new ones if I can. Sometimes they become the new traditions. Christmas at our house wouldn't be Christmas without the gingerbread cookies and pretzels dipped in white chocolate and sprinkles my daughter and I make. If you can get the kids to help, it's even more fun. Oh, and don't forget to put the music on while you're baking.

Last Christmas someone in the family brought over some of those flat pretzel thins dipped in white chocolate with peppermint sprinkles from Trader Joes and I haven't forgotten them. Much better than the ones we make ourselves from thicker pretzels. I found that Trader Joes runs out of these fast. A few weeks ago I picked up 2 bags but we've gone through one already. They're just too good to save for Christmas . . . .

If you live near me and happen to be at a Trader Joes, save me a bag, please!

As a back up in case I cannot find them, I bought a bag of pretzel thins and will try to make my own by melting white chocolate and then dipping the pretzels and sprinkling them with crushed peppermint sticks.

I love making anything peppermint at Christmas! If you happen to be a new blog reader of mine, see more peppermint recipes I posted last year (a recipe for delicious peppermint bark and also the pattern for a small peppermint pinwheels quilt. Merry Christmas! )

I know people who are so organized they get their shopping done in July or September and their Christmas cookies made by October and can actually keep them in the freezer until the holidays. (This NEVER works in my house -  we all know they're there and then I still have to make more in December.)

Some of you may imagine that I am so organized but I often start to stress around now because I doubt I'll have time to make all the things I want to make. But here's something that helps me. I try to make a point of setting aside one day or evening - and put it on the calendar  - for baking even just a few batches of cookies. If I don't make that cookie appointment with myself, it may not happen. I like to honor my commitments and will stay up late baking cookies while everyone else has gone to bed.

Well, almost everyone .  . . . "Are those cookies done yet? It's almost midnight!"
~  .  ~  .  ~
I am also trying hard to do my shopping even though it's so depressing that we have not gotten any snow yet here in Illinois (No snow! How can I shop?). Last weekend we went shopping and later I got sick from eating mall fast food (Shrimp - at the mall - what was I thinking??) So, instead of rushing around and eating fast food after or during shopping I vowed to do better this week, and decided to cook dinner beforehand, refrigerate it and then just throw it in the oven or microwave when I get home to save time.

Have you tried vegetable lasagna rollups? Here's a  recipe - I've made this before and recently pulled it out of my recipe box when I was looking for cookies (cookie recipes, I do NOT keep cookies in that same box but wouldn't that be a nice surprise if I did? I'm usually hungry when I go through my recipes.).

My recipe is a little different. I use one egg instead of 3 (and cottage cheese instead of ricotta if I do not have ricotta), mix spinach, zucchini and carrots, no mushrooms, one cup of grated mozzarella instead of 2, and I also use Prego (Prego? The shame! My mother will be rolling over in her grave right about now. What, no homemade sauce??))

Cooking and baking are great ways for me to get into the spirit of the season. If you're not a baker or don't have time, get some store-bought or bakery cookies, serve them on cute Christmas plates and sit down and have yourself a cup of tea or cocoa in a Christmas mug. Works every time to get that Christmas spirit going for me.

I love to put Christmas music on, turn out the lights and sit in front of the tree watching those lights twinkle. Oops, as you can see, the tree is bought, the lights are up but I haven't quite gotten the ornaments on yet. That will happen right after I finish sewing and cooking and baking and shopping, sigh. But you get the idea. I still have 12 days left . . . .



Sarah said...

We also have no snow here in WNY, home of lake effect snow, so I am just not in the Christmas mood yet. I have barely decorated the house or finished buying gifts. I made cookies 2 weeks ago because it was the only Sunday Mom and I both had available. I hope the snow comes soon.

John'aLee said...

You are an inspiration!

Susannah said...

Kathleen, Your post was very interesting. I may try some of your peppermint recipes.For sure, I will be making your veggie lasagna rollups. Sarah (above) is right snow here in western New York. I want some for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day......after that it can stay away until next year. Have a pleasant week and thank you for the nice pinwheel advice, too.

Me and My Stitches said...

No snow here in SE Iowa either - that must be why I'm not full of Christmas spirit yet! Thanks for the recipes, I love peppermint this time of year too.

Beth said...

No snow and this crazy weather is making it hard to find my spirit for sure. I might have to make some cookies and pepperminy bark and watch a Christmas movie or two.
Happy Holidays

Merilyn said...

Have a wonderful safe Christmas Kathy!!! Looks as though you are well prepared this year, wish I could say the same LOL!!!! All the very best for 2013!!!


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