We are officially one week away from Christmas and I'm still behind on my baking and shopping. I have a feeling my whole family will be donning their aprons and sous chef hats come Saturday morning in an effort to help me catch up on my holiday to-do list, which actually sounds like a fabulous way to spend the weekend, if you ask me.
Because I'm not offering you a new and exciting seasonal recipe this week, I thought I would dip back into my archives and introduce or reacquaint you with some of the more popular posts from Christmases past. All of these dishes have been in popular rotation for a few years now, and it wouldn't taste like the holidays if most didn't make an appearance on our table at some point in the season.
Perhaps that's my favourite part of this time of year; I absolutely adore traditions - food related and otherwise - and love knowing that my kids associate certain special occasions with specific dishes. For example, while I've yet to share a recipe on the site, I always serve tourtiere for our Christmas Eve dinner. I don't make it any other time of year, and we look forward to that meaty pie each December 24th.
How about your family? What is your favourite food tradition of the holiday season? I'd love to know!
Cheesy Christmas Tree: This is one of my most popular Instagram photos ever, so naturally the recipe found its way into the pages of our book. It doesn't really need a formal set of instructions though as you can just take a look at the image and mimic the formation to create your own holiday cheesy Christmas tree.
Ruby Red Christmas Salad: Here we have jewelled beets, rosy-red pears, pomegranate seeds and tart pink grapefruit. The fruits and vegetable are topped with crumbled feta and crushed pistachios, and together the ingredients form a cozy blanket for a bed of crisp baby spinach leaves. Doesn't that sound refreshing?
Overnight Gingerbread Pancakes: What I like about this recipe, besides the cinnamon, ginger, molasses, brown sugar, maple syrup, buttermilk and nutmeg, is that it's prepared the night before you need to make the pancakes. Everything is whisked into a scented batter that perfumes the kitchen, and then is stored in the fridge until morning. Brilliant.
Gingerbread-Glazed Ham: The thing about ham is it’s practically perfect for holiday entertaining. Kids love it, adults devour it, and it works just as well with potatoes as it does with rice. You can glaze it, or not, stud it with cloves or fresh fruit, or bake it au natural. I’m partial to cooking my ham and serving it carved alongside a hearty basket of buns or biscuits, some assorted mustard and chutneys, and leaving everyone alone to fend for themselves. If you cook it on the bone, used it to flavour of pot of pea soup the next day giving you two meals for the price of one. Speaking of cost, ham is fairly inexpensive as far as proteins go, making it ideal for feeding a crowd.
Chocolate-Dipped Clementines with Pistachio Sprinkles: A welcome change to the traditional tastes of the holidays, it's nice to offer the kids something other than peppermint, gingerbread, and eggnog for holiday-inspired snacking. Sadly, I can't send these citrusy sweets into the classroom thanks to the pistachio sprinkles, but a quick swap of toasted coconut in place of the nuts can make them a school-friendly snack in just a jiffy. While it seems as though I'm only touting these as treats for the kids, be sure to make extras for the adults you have hanging around - I know quite a few who would be thrilled to find these plated alongside a stack of homemade cookies and other decadent dessert squares.
Eggnog Pancakes with Hot Eggnog Syrup: I kicked off the holiday spirit by making these eggnog pancakes earlier this week. I was working on an assignment that required me to make cocktails with holiday beverages (eggnog, pomegranate juice, etc.) and the leftover dairy was used in place of milk in our favourite breakfast recipe. While the pancake is tasty, it’s really the syrup that brings out the flavour of the eggnog. It’s hot and thick, not to mention sweet and seasonal, and I have a feeling we’ll be eating it on waffles and French toast, too.
Aunt Kathy's Peanut Butter Balls: Nothing tastes like Christmas quite like my Aunt Kathy’s beloved peanut butter balls. These salty sweet treats are a staple around our holiday dinner table, and our entire family used to eagerly wait for her to pass out her tins of candy each December. Although I have consumed more than my fair share of these over the years, I wasn’t aware they contained bits of chopped dates and walnuts until she emailed me her secret recipe nearly a decade ago.