“What greater joy, what greater fun, could there ever be
Than family all gathered to decorate the Christmas tree”
(from a poem by the author)
Decorating your Christmas tree should be more than just an annual chore but then, you already know that. So this Christmas season when your family and close friends are gathered for that decorating party, serve them up a little smorgasbord of some food, fun snacks, and delightful drink. Here are some ideas for you.
Barbeque Meatballs: I make ’em simple. Mix Italian bread crumbs and ground beef. Roll into balls. Bake at 350 until done. Cover with your favorite barbeque sauce and heat a few minutes. Serve
Veggie/Fruit Snack Tray: Here’s an easy one. Buy carrots, celery, strawberries, and grapes. Get some Ranch Dressing and some Fruit dip. Set out on tray.
Hot Chocolate: If it’s cold outside nothing tastes better than hot chocolate on the insides.
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
3/4 cup white sugar
1/3 cup boiling water
3 1/2 cups milk
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract (real stuff is best)
Various sprinkle toppings (chocolate chips, coconut, candy spinkles, etc)
Combine the cocoa, sugar in a saucepan and then add the boiling water. Bring to a mild boil while stirring for two minutes. Keep stirring so you don’t burn it.
Stir in the milk and heat until until hot but not boiling.
Remove from heat and add vanilla. Serves 4; double for 8 etc.
Whip up the whipping cream and then let everyone top off their mug
Old Virginia Christmas Eggnog (variation on an 1890 recipe)This one takes some advanced planning and preparation
5 cloves, whole
4 cups milk
4 cups cream
3 cups light rum
1 ¾ cups sugar
2 ½ teaspoons vanilla essence
¾ teaspoon nutmeg, ground
In a saucepan over low heat blend the milk, cloves and half a teaspoon of the vanilla essence.
Keep stirring while mixture heats and remove from heat just before it begins to boil (How do you know? You’ll know).
Crack your eggs and separate the whites from the yolks.
In a bowl mix together the sugar with those egg yolks and then whisk until light and fluffy
A bit at a time pour in the milk mixture while continuing to whisk.
Transfer mixture back into your saucepan over a medium heat and keep stirring until it reaches the consistency of custard
DON”T LET IT BOIL
Pour and strain the mixture into a jug, making sure to remove the cloves.
Stand jug in the fridge for an hour or two.
Afterwards stir in the cream, light rum, remaining vanilla and ground nutmeg.
Let stand in fridge overnight
Before serving beat up egg whites a little sugar (or use whipping cream instead of whites and sugar) and place on top. Sprinkle with nutmeg and some cinnamon or cocoa.
Serves 8: Everyone likes it when I make it- at least those who like eggnog
Sugar Cookies (Variation on a 1908 recipe): This can be a project for older kids while others are decorating. Bake up a batch of sugar cookiers and decorate them too.
1 1/2 cups butter, softened
1 cup sour cream
2 cups white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
Cream together butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Stir in the sour cream.
Add the flour, baking powder, and salt. Cover, and chill dough for at least one hour (or overnight).
Preheat oven to 400 degrees
Roll out dough on floured surface 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick. Cut into shapes with Christmas cookie cutters. Place cookies 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheets.
Bake 6 to 8 minutes in preheated oven. Cool completely.
Frosting: confectioners sugar, milk, vanilla extract. Start with about 4 cups sugar and add milk to desired consistency. Add a teaspoon of vanilla. Divide into several bowls and add Christmas food coloring. Decorate your cookies with frosting and colored sprinkles.
There you have it; a family tree decoration party with enough food for a meal including dessert.