Have yourself a merry little Christmas

By Wednesday, December 18, 2013

let it snow, snow, snow!
As my dear Pickle reminds me daily, Christmas is fast approaching! As of today, we’re T-minus seven days and counting till we celebrate Jesus’s big day and Santa Claus’s magical visit.
As the grocery stores get busier and busier with each passing day, I like to menu plan for the days preceding December 25, so I don’t have to battle the crowds and I can enjoy my holiday with my three boys to the fullest.
We want lots of memory-building moments that – of course, with me – involve sharing food together. Pizza dinners while watching holiday movies, hot chocolate with marshmallows after a snow-walk, comforting dinners to end a busy day with lots of homemade cookies in between the big meals.
As someone who wants to eat as healthfully and wholly as possible during these decadent days, I have the fridge and pantry filled with health snacks:
  • Locally grown popcorn and extra virgin coconut oil for the best movie-watching snack
  • Pumpkin puree for whole-wheat muffins and baked pumpkin-spiced steel-cut oats
  • Dried fruit and toasted and caramelized nuts for impromptu trail mix
  • Clementines and Satsuma tangerines for a refreshing snack
  • Smoothie-making ingredients: almond milk, kefir, frozen OJ, frozen mango, blueberries and banana
Here's my favorite Christmas song to get you in the holiday spirit (if you're not there already).

p.s. Here’s what we’re eating from December 20th on to the big day …
Friday, the 20th: winter pizza margarita with apple-celery slaw
Saturday, the 21st: A Family Christmas Party
Sunday, the 22nd: Swedish meatballs with sautéed cabbage and apple-cranberry sauce
Monday the 23rd: Slow-cooker chicken in milk with mashed potatoes and steamed broccoli
Tuesday, the 24th: Christmas Eve dinner after church — braised beef ragù with cavatelli, citrus salad with pickled red onions; cookies for dessert
Wednesday, the 25th: Happy Christmas! Breakfast of Panetonne strata, roasted bacon and sausage, fresh-squeeze OJ … and lots of coffee for our early morning gift opening!

p.p.s. Here’s some of the cookies I made this year:
Buckeyes: sans rice krispies – the only way, in my opinion, to make them!
Classic gingerbread (a Bay Bakery classic from Milwaukee)
Cardamom-scented Mexican wedding cakes
Aunt Bill’s Brown Candy
Chewy ginger cookies

p.p.p.s. And, finally, to get you through the holidays, some VERY seasonal cocktails:
Can a cold cocktail be comforting? Here's one I think fits the bill ... milk punch:
Puerto Rican eggnog, anyone? Um, yes! The Coquito
The Midwestern classic: The Tom & Jerry
Anything with grapefruit this time of year, just tastes so, so good: the 522 North Pinckney Cocktail
Wishing you the merriest of Christmases!
Happy holidays, -s.

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