Christmas is a memory

My title does fit, since when y’all are reading this, it will be after Christmas! Hopefully, weather and circumstances permitting, I will get to be in Devine for Christmas Day, and I am so looking forward to seeing the rest of my family. We really got lucky, as my oldest granddaughter who is in law enforcement is able to be with us for most of the holiday. Everyone who has a family member working in the medical field, law enforcement, fire department or nursing home knows they may not get to be with that family member for holidays. We live with it and make do the best we can!
It does not seem possible, but another year has passed us by with its usual good things and bad things. Some days, it seems that there are more bad things than good ones and other days, it’s the other way around. Each week as I read The Devine News, there are more and more good friends who have their names in the obituary column. To their families, I offer my heartfelt prayers and deepest sympathy. While it is difficult at any time to give up a loved one, it is always more difficult at this time of the year.
Christmas was different for many of us this year, with it falling on a weekend and folks having Sunday and Monday off. Christmas is being celebrated for several days rather than just on Christmas Eve/Christmas Day. (Sam used to say that the girls and I could make any celebration last a week or more, usually more!). About half of my family was in on Saturday for us to celebrate and exchange gifts for a total of about twenty, including my sister and her husband. It was fun having all five of my great-grandchildren together and watching them interacting. (I wish everyone could have seen the face of my three-year old great-grandson, when he was outside and the deer started coming up to the feeder, they tell me his expression was priceless! You have to understand, the deer were within 30 or so feet from him, but still closer than he had ever seen any before.) We would have been several more, but one granddaughter-in-law had to work. She is a cardiac nurse and was called in at 4:30 Friday morning, and my son had to work, so we were missing several folks. My youngest daughter is spending her first Christmas in five years with her son and family who now are back in the United States and living in Pennsylvania! She is extremely excited about getting to be with them.
Christmas Eve, my sister, her husband and I, along with her children were together for dinner and some gifts and then some of us attended Mass at my favorite little country church. Monday morning found me on the road headed to Devine for yet another Christmas with family and friends.
We had a small celebration for New Year’s Eve, as it was my sister’s 70th birthday!
My sister-in-law and I went to Victoria shopping while she was here and since we were in her car, I didn’t have my usual hot/cold bags with me, and they were sold out of them at the store. We improvised to keep our cold stuff cold on the ride home and beyond by using a cardboard box, a bag of ice and a couple of our bags from Wal-Mart. My brother laughed at our ‘ice chest’, but it worked, everything was just as cold when we got home as it was in the store.
For dips and such, consider placing ice in one of the deeper disposal aluminum pans, filling it with ice and setting the bowls of dip down into it, or, a larger bowl filled with ice with a smaller dip bowl sitting in it. Cheese balls are best at room temperature; just don’t leave them out over a couple of hours. If you are serving a hot cheese dip, serve it in your crock-pot. Available now, are smaller slow-cookers that are made for serving dips and such.
Here are a few recipes to try for your party!
May you have a Happy, healthy and prosperous New Year, and may God Bless you and your family.
Chalupa Dip
Mix together the following and spread in a 9×12 glass baking pan or on a large sandwich tray:
1 or 2 cans refried beans
1 package taco seasoning mix
Mix together and spread over the above:
Mash avocados with fork or potato masher, add lemon juice and garlic or use commercially made guacamole if desired
3 large avocados
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 very finely minced clove of garlic
Mix together and spread over the above:
2 cups sour cream
¼ cup picante sauce
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
Top this mixture with the following in order listed:
1 small head of finely shredded lettuce
3 sliced green onions
1 can sliced black olives
1 ½ cups shredded sharp cheese
You can also add a layer of diced tomatoes after the lettuce if desired.
Jo’s Cheese Ball
2 packages (8-oz each) cream cheese
¼ cup finely chopped bell pepper
2 tablespoons finely chopped onion
1 jar (2-oz) very well drained diced pimento
2 cups chopped pecans, (divided use)
1 small can, very well drained crushed pineapple
Chop pecans and set aside, reserving ½ cup in separate container. Beat cream cheese until smooth, stir in remaining ingredients. Shape into a ball, roll in reserved ½ cup chopped pecans. Refrigerate for several hours. Serve with crackers or chips.
Hot Broccoli Dip
1 package frozen, chopped broccoli
½ teaspoon salt
¼ cup boiling water
1 small chopped onion
2 tablespoons butter
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 roll garlic cheese spread (6-oz)
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon hot sauce (Tabasco, etc.)
1 can sliced mushrooms, drained
Add salt to water, cook broccoli. Drain well. Melt butter in skillet and sauté onions until limp Add soup, cheese, Worcestershire sauce and hot sauce. Cook on low heat until cheese melts and mixture is smooth. Add broccoli and cook 1 minute, stir in mushrooms. Serve in chafing dish with tortilla chips.