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A Taste of the Holidays

For many of us, growing up we would celebrate Christmas Eve having a huge feast surrounded with all of our family. When I was little, my family would go over to my grandparent’s house where we would meet up with all of our other cousins, aunts, uncles, etc. We would have an amazing dinner that I looked forward to all year long. After dinner, we would have an assortment of different desserts then shortly after we would open some gifts. Having all of our family come together celebrating this holiday with wonderful food is by far my favorite time of the year. Now, 30 years later, I celebrate Christmas Eve at my house. My husband, three kids and I started doing this 8 Christmas season’s ago. Everyone loved my grandma’s food so I knew it would not be easy. After the second Christmas, I felt that I knew the perfect dishes.

To start, I would have an assortment of different appetizers. A fan favorite is the cheesy garlic pull-apart Christmas tree I make. This is one of my favorites as well because it is in the shape of a Christmas tree so it fits the holiday! My family loves seafood so it wouldn’t be right to not include something from the sea. For the past couple years, I have chosen to make broiled garlic butter shrimp with lemon aioli. Not only does this taste delicious, but it has very little prep time. For the third and final appetizer, I make a raspberry baked brie. This is also super easy to make, simple take crescent dinner rolls, fill them with raspberries and brie cheese, then bake! People usually come hungry to a Christmas Eve dinner so it is always smart to have a variety of different appetizers to choose from.

For the main meal, I do an oven roasted turkey. To season the turkey, I mix a ¼ cup of butter, a little paprika to give it a kick, garlic (not the salt, garlic cut up into little pieces), a little salt, black pepper, and finally some Italian seasoning. I put this mix all over the turkey but save some for after it has been in the oven. Once the turkey has been in the oven for an hour, I use the remaining mix to pour on top of the turkey. Along with the turkey I have a variety of sides. A traditional side I make is stuffing. In my stuffing, I like to include chopped onions, celery, and other types of herbs. There are other stuffing recipes that I have tried in the past that have other ingredients in them such as sausage, chestnut, etc. but I like to keep it traditional. Another side I include is mashed potatoes. I personally feel like when you have turkey you got to have mash potatoes. A side that everyone loves is my three-cheese macaroni and cheese. The combination of sharp cheddar, american, and gouda cheese is the perfect mix for a delicious mac n cheese. Before putting the macaroni and cheese in the oven I sprinkle a generous amount of bread crumbs on top to give it a crunch.

The last course of this three course Christmas meal is dessert. A cute dessert I like to make are Strawberry Santa’s. This desert is super easy to make. You simply get a strawberry, cut off the bottom half (save for later), flip the strawberry around, add frosting for the head and chocolate chips for the eyes, then place the chopped off part of the strawberry for the hat! A crowd-pleasing dessert that I always make is white chocolate peppermint bark. This peppermint flavor dessert also fits the holiday. The final desert I make is a chocolate almond cake with cream cheese frosting and raspberries on top. I like to make a few different desserts because everyone in my family has a very different sweet tooth. These desserts cover most of them. From the people who like fruit desserts to the chocolate lovers, there is something for everyone.

Something my husband and I started doing last Christmas is including a Penless sticker to all of our nieces and nephew’s gifts. They absolutely loved this. My niece took a family picture of everyone and attached it to the Penless sticker we gave her. She then put that sticker on her notebook for school. Now, whenever she wants to see the picture she just has to scan the QR code with her phone. As they always say, “Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year”.


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