Alright, last week I recapped my crafts from this past Christmas.  This week is…food!!!

I love food, but I am no chef or professional baker.  And to be truthful, we kept the food list on the smaller side this year.

As I’ve probably mentioned before, (and will probably more and more) my parents had to move to Maryland a few years ago.  So every year for Christmas, they come down and stay with us.  Normally, they are able to come a few days before Christmas Eve and we all have stuff that we prep.  However, this year, they weren’t able to come until very late on the night of the 23rd.

In our family, we’ve always had a get together on Christmas Eve with various finger foods, cookies, and fun stuff.  As kids, we used to open the contents of our stockings from my mom and saved gifts for Christmas morning.  But as we have all gotten older with extended families, we now all get together on the Eve and exchange gifts then.  The tradition we have kept is the finger foods.  In the recent years, my mom and I have experimented with some new treats, but we always have the same base items.

Sadly, I do not have “in detail” professional food pix of each item, but I have enough so you can get the picture.

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With my parents coming so late this year, I wanted the day of Christmas Eve to be as easy as possible since I knew they would be tired.  I am the world’s best procrastinator (I believe I’ve shared that before) and I am usually running around trying to do everything at the last minute.  So, in the idea of keeping it simple, we narrowed the cookie choices down to just a handful and I even asked my mother-in-law to bring a couple of our favorites that either my mom or myself make.  My food prep started the week before Christmas.  I made the dough for my sugar cookies (best sugar cookies EVER!!!) and my peppermint cookies, wrapped them in wax paper (next time will use plastic wrap or parchment) and put them in the fridge.  The next day, I rolled and cut them and set them on layers of parchment, put them a cookie sheet, covered the whole thing in plastic wrap and then foil and put in the freezer for a few hours (at least 6 or so, they have less chances of sticking together when you put them in a bag if they are completely frozen).  Once completely frozen, put into gallon size zip top bags.  SAVE the parchment paper, fold up and put in zip top bags.  I only bake on parchment so I save mine and am able to reuse it to bake the cookies on.  Then on the 23rd, I took the cookies out of the freezer.  Lined the kitchen counter with sheets of the parchment, placed the cookies an inch apart.  I let them thaw while the oven preheated.  I rotated my three cookie sheets and then just baked them, one sheet at a time.  Making cut out cookies is my LEAST favorite thing to bake.  I can not stand all the mess from mixing, the annoyance of cutting them and them sticking to the counter and losing their shape, the sweating of doing all of this while the oven is on and trying to pay attention to taking cookies out of the oven every 7-8 minutes, resting on the sheet for 2, then moving to a cooling rack.

So here is my tip to you!

Day one…Mix dough, divide in half, wrap in plastic, put in fridge…clean up.

Day two…Roll dough, cut dough, place as many as you can on sheets of parchment (size of cookie sheets), layer sheets, wrap, put in fridge…clean up.

Later on day two…transfer cookies to zip top bags and return to freezer (don’t forget to safe the sheets of parchment).

Day three…(anywhere from a couple days to a few weeks past day two)…thaw cookies on sheets of parchment, preheat oven, then just rotate your little heart out!

Easy peasy!!!

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On top of not liking to bake cut out cookies, I do not like icing them.  I am in love with the idea of perfectly piped on icing or evenly smeared on frosting, I do NOT like to DO it.  It’s too tedious and I am way to impatient for that.  So in the interest of time and saving from having an anxiety attack, I melted some semi-sweet chocolate and dipped the peppermint cookies in it.  You might notice, if you click the link for the peppermint cookies, that I did not follow the instructions for making them into candy canes.  Again, too tedious.  I did it once when I was younger and I figured they would taste just as good in rounds.  So what I did do was when I separated the dough to do some red and some white, I then divided the red and white doughs in half.  When I rolled them out I placed one color on the other and rolled to the 1/4″ (ish) thick and they kind of became marbled.  Loved it.  With the sugar cookies, I made up some icing out of margarine (out of the tub), powdered sugar, milk and a little vanilla.  I do not have a recipe or anything close to it as I just throw it all together, mix it, add more of whatever I think it’s missing, ask my mom how to fix it, keep adding stuff until it’s right.  Put it in a zip top bag, cut a small section off one corner and just squeeze and zigzag over all the cookies.  (Have y’all figured out that I’m lazy yet?” 😉 )

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Complete list of what we had at our Christmas Eve finger food party:

~Relish tray with black and green olives and various types of pickles

~Rice Krispie treats (via my grandmother and aunt)

~Veggie tray with veggie dip

~Cracker tray with cheese dip

~Pepperidge Farm Beef stick

~Deviled eggs (via my sister and my FIL, they are in constant competition every holiday)

~Snowballs and Pecan Tarts (via my MIL, who also brought homemade mac n cheese, not pictured)

~Fudge (also…MIL)

~Also not pictured, were Frickadillers (Danish meatballs passed down from my Great-grandmonther)

I’m sure there was more in the kitchen that I can not remember right now, but it’s all yummy and gone now…can’t wait til Christmas!

~And Last but not LEAST!!!  Kringlers (Danish cookies also passed down from my Great-grandmother)

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These special pretzel shaped cookies are a tradition in my father’s family on his mother’s side.  Only a few family members know how to make them (maybe 4 or 5 (and I think only like 3 people actually make them) ).  I just had to send this picture up to my Uncle to show my grandmother and great-aunt that I made them all by myself.  Definitely, the highlight to my holiday and so proud that I can now carry on the tradition and my son will grow up knowing what these yummy little cinnamon and sugar covered cookies are.  The best part about making them was having my parents home with me when I did.  Also, giving my father a kringler, warm out of the oven, and him telling me that in all of his years of eating kringlers, he had never had one straight from the oven.  Bucket list item…checked off!

I would love to hear about your family’s Christmas traditions, especially the food!   Bonus points if there is some ethnic or cultural heritage behind it!  I love to learn!

Thank you for stopping by…next week some photo bloopers.  My son thought he’d help me take pictures of my Christmas crafts…

Have a great Tuesday!!!