Christmas is on its way! Basically, one week from the day you get this paper, Christmas will be a memory! Think about it…this paper is dated December 19th, and seven days from now is the 26th! It truly makes my head spin, especially since I’ve been attending Christmas parties, beginning the 3rd of December and have another to attend this weekend, and I still haven’t finished my shopping.
My brother and his wife came in from north Texas for the weekend and we had an early Christmas dinner on Saturday evening with them and some friends at my sister’s home. It was wonderful visiting with everyone. My sister hasn’t had a chance to decorate as yet, due to having new flooring put into her home, but that didn’t matter, it was the company that was great.
The only reason that I have my tree up and some decorating done is because my son came in last week and helped me. My Christmas cards are finally finished; at least I think they are, with only half a dozen still to be mailed. A couple of early mornings, I mixed up cookie dough and stored it in the fridge, then, I baked some of it up as I was making a basket of goodies for my brother and sister-in-law, and also needed some to take with me for dinner on Saturday. This week, I will have been in Devine on Tuesday and Wednesday for bunco and some shopping and then I’ll head home on Thursday to try to make sure everything is done here at my house for my guests. Christmas plans have been made and changed a couple of times, but everything will work out OK in the long run! Have a wonderfully, beautiful Merry Christmas, and enjoy every moment you have with your family.
The Story of Cookies for Santa
Almost as much fun as the toys under the tree for a young boy and girl are the other signs that Santa Claus really did come to visit during the night—the glass of milk is empty and all the cookies are gone, nothing left but a few crumbs.
Nobody seems to know just who first came up with the idea of leaving a snack to keep Santa’s energy up during his whirlwind Christmas voyage. One researcher has traced the tradition as far back as 1908 to an article that appeared in a New York newspaper.
The story reported that children in one family left a meal of sandwiches, cake and coffee for Santa. To their delight, the next morning the food was gone and in its place was a note from Santa thanking them for their kindness. It wasn’t unusual in the early 1900s for thoughtful children to remember Santa’s reindeer. Accounts of children leaving carrots for the team, and of rural youngsters, leaving piles of salt on their windowsills abound. The reindeer probably have not fared so well in recent years, although Santa may be sharing some of his milk and cookies. It is a wonderfully whimsical food tradition, the stuff a child’s dreams are made of.
Here is some real “Did You Know” information. It was in a newspaper several years ago after the holidays and I kept it simply because it was unusual. Have you ever thought about the names of Santa’s elves? Neither have I, but according to the little article, they are as follows: Askaslekir, Bjugnakaekir, Faldafeykir, Stekkjarstaur, Gattathefur; Gijagaur, Gluggagaegir; Ketkrokur, Og Kertasnikir, Pottasleikir, Skyrjarmur, Stufur, Thvorusleikir. Now, that’s enough trivia for today.
1 jar marshmallow cream
1½ cups granulated sugar
2/3 cup evaporated milk
¼ cup butter
¼ teaspoon salt
12-ounce package chocolate chips
1 teaspoon vanilla
¾ cup chopped pecans
Combine marshmallow cream, sugar, milk, butter and salt in saucepan; bring to a boil, stirring constantly for 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in chocolate chips, vanilla and pecans. Spread into 9-inch square pan. Chill until firm. Cut into 1-inch squares. Store in airtight container.
Margaret’s Pecan Pralines
2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup buttermilk or clabber
1 level teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup pecans (can use halves or chopped)
Use a large pot and slowly boil to soft ball stage (240º to 250ºF), the sugar, buttermilk and baking soda. This mixture turns brown as it cooks and needs to be stirred constantly. Take off heat when it reaches soft ball stage and stir in vanilla and pecans. Stir and beat with a spoon (wooden is best) until it looks as if it is going to turn to sugar. Drop by spoonfuls onto waxed paper or foil Cool completely. Store in airtight container.
Before you start making this, cover a cookie sheet with foil, butter well, and sprinkle with granulated sugar to coat. Set aside.
1 cup sugar
1 cup white corn syrup
2 cups shelled, raw peanuts
1 teaspoon baking soda
Combine sugar, peanuts and syrup. Cooking stirring constantly until it is light brown in color, about 16 to 20 minutes.
When mixture is light brown, remove from heat and stir in baking soda. This will cause mixture to foam up. Immediately pour onto prepared cookie sheet and spread to sides of pan. Allow to cool completely, break into pieces and store in airtight container.
1 cup sugar
2 cups raw peanuts
½ cup water
¼ teaspoon red food coloring (if desired)
2 to 3 drops cinnamon oil (if desired)
Mix all ingredients in iron skillet and boil until water is gone. (Stir frequently). Pour on cookie sheet; bake for 15 minutes at 300ºF. Pour out onto foil lined cookie sheet and allow to cool completely before serving. Stir in airtight container.
The following Date Roll Candy is a recipe that is a little time consuming, but is really delicious. My aunt, my grandmother and I used to get together to make this; usually on the same day we made anise cookies! We had a really good time doing so.
Date roll Candy
4 cups granulated sugar
½ pound pitted dates
1 cup milk
1 cup chopped pecans
Combine above ingredients in a medium pot; bring to boil and cook to soft ball stage. Remove from fire and beat until stiff. Add pecans and mix very thoroughly. Pour mixture onto damp cloth and shape into 2-inch roll. Allow to cool completely. Slice into ¼-inch thick slices to serve.
Buckeye Peanut Butter Candy
2 lbs. creamy peanut butter
2 lbs. powdered sugar
2 sticks melted butter or margarine
Mix above ingredients thoroughly together and then shape into small balls, place on waxed paper or parchment paper and set aside.
1 package (12-oz) chocolate chips
1/2 bar of paraffin
Melt one package chocolate chips and ½ of a bar of paraffin together and dip the balls half way into this mixture and then set back on the waxed paper or parchment paper to harden. (You want to be able to see the peanut butter, this is what makes it look like an eye!
The following is for a favorite “Gift in a Jar” that I’ve made and used many times. In fact, one year at our craft show, we sold the 10 or 12 jars we took with us and then made more to sell in the gift shop! It is delicious, I recently made it for myself just using the ingredients in the order listed and then following the rest of the instructions.
Soup Mix in a Jar
1 package (1.61 oz) Pioneer® Brown Gravy Mix
2 tablespoons mild red chili powder
2 teaspoons dried oregano leaves
1 teaspoon ground cumin (optional)
2 teaspoons dried minced onion
½ teaspoon garlic salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
10 regular-sized tortilla chips, coarsely crushed
1 to 1¼ cups uncooked, small to medium sized pasta (such as wheels, shells or elbo macaroni)
Pour gravy mix into wide-mouth pint jar. In small bowl (I use a small jar,) place the chili powder, oregano, cumin, onion, garlic salt and black pepper. Stir or shake to mix well. Pour into jar to make second layer. Add layer of pasta, then crushed tortilla chips. Seal with lid.
Attach tag with the following directions:
Directions for making soup:
Additional ingredients needed: ½ pound ground meat, 7 cups water, 1 can corn with red and green bell peppers (15 ounce), and one can chopped tomatoes (16 ounce.
Brown ground meat in large saucepan or Dutch oven. Add contents of jar, along with water; heat to boiling, stir in corn and tomatoes. Reduce heat: cover and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes or until pasta is tender, stirring occasionally. Serve topped with additional crushed tortilla chips and shredded Monterrey Jack cheese, if desired.