The Christmas season is fast upon us! This year my whole family will be together, so we are all very excited. Our family has grown over the years to include our children, their spouses, two grandchildren, three dogs and a cat. We are so happy that everyone will be together and now the fun of thinking and preparing for the food festival that will certainly happen has arrived. To my delight there have already been several conversations about what we will feast on Christmas Eve Night as well as for the Boxing Day Buffet.
There are so many occasions to celebrate during the holidays and in my family they seem to all involve food. The first step is always to make a plan. Start by creating categories; baking, candy, appetizers, and meals (cooking) and then list the foods that need to be prepared under each heading. Starting in early November allows the time needed to consider dietary restrictions and food preferences, ensuring there is something delicious for everyone.
Creating a list and a timeline for when cookies, pies, appetizers etc. can be prepared helps make those hectic days in December a bit more manageable. First, decide which items can be made in advance of the big day, after all, time spent with family and friends enjoying holiday celebrations is the best part of the season.
Most candies can be made before hand and stored in air tight containers for at least a month. Pie dough can be made ahead of time and refrigerated or frozen until ready to be rolled out, filled and baked. Many cakes, cookies and squares also freeze very well. Plenty of appetizers can be pre-made, frozen, thawed and reheated as needed.
Planning Can Save Food Dollars.
Once the list is created and recipes are decided upon, inspect the pantry and cupboards to determine the ingredients that you already have. Don't forget to check to see if they have expired and need replacing. Be sure to look at the back of cupboards and shelves, it’s easy to overlook items, such as spices, resulting in repurchasing something that you already have. Ensure what you do have, has enough of the ingredient for what you will be making. There is nothing worse than being in the middle of preparing a dish and there isn’t enough for the recipe!
Stocking up during the month of November and into early December, allows time to take advantage of ingredients that go on sale. Purchasing what you need over a few grocery orders, spreads out hard earned dollars. Buying everything in one large grocery order can be a bit of a shock to the wallet.
Common Ingredients for Holiday Baking & Cooking
Spices: nutmeg, cloves, allspice, cinnamon, ginger
Sugars: brown, white, confectioners
Chocolate: unsweetened, bittersweet, semisweet, white
Nuts: almonds, hazelnuts, pecans
Essential Tools for Getting the Job Done
Dry & Liquid measuring cups
Rimmed baking sheet
Once the list is made and checked twice it’s time to go shopping!
Holiday Baking, Appetizers & Christmas Dinner!
Trish is the top spoon at