Christmas Traditions

Sitting around the table at a Christmas party we were asked what were some of our Christmas traditions?  I never really thought about it, but we actually do have Christmas traditions.  Some that have lasted over the years and new ones that are fun to start.

It would seem like the traditional feast and what is served would be a big one!  Turkey or ham?  It was fun to go to a friends house once that served traditional Italian food.  My sister-in-law prepared a nice traditional favorite after Christmas dinner (which was around lunch time).  So around 8pm it was nice to have a little snack.  Being that we are in Texas, it’s no surprise that there is a lot of Mexican influence.  A nacho recipe from my brother-in-law’s mother was the traditional treat my sister-in-law made.  These are not just any nachos though!   You use corn tortillas and cut them in quarters and then fry them in a pan. Then transfer them over to a baking sheet and slather some refried beans (from the can) on them.  Then you place deli thin sliced colby-jack cheese on top and bake them at 400 degrees for 10 minutes or until the cheese has melted. To top them, add sour cream a jalapeno (from the can) and sliced avocado.  These were sooooo good!  This was enjoyed while watching a Christmas movie and playing Texas Hold’em.

Needless to say I felt a bit self conscious when an elder person told me to watch and not eat so much.  He’s right, but I’m like really?  I mean o.k., so I did over do it the day before and had a stomach ache.   Then I barely mentioned I was going to go running and kept getting asked when I was going to go?  Seriously?  I did eventually go and dragged some people with me and the dog, which was fun, I’ve never ran with a dog before.  With the weather so damp in south Texas, there hasn’t been much opportunity to get out and do things.

Who doesn’t have the tradition of last minute shopping?  I mean, even if that isn’t a planned decision it always ends up happening.  My daughter and I had so much fun shopping Christmas eve.  You would think there would be massive lines and misery. Luckily this was not the case.  We found some amazing deals on clothes.

Scanning over social media it was really fun looking at other people’s traditions.  Holidays can be stressful.  Not every one has warm moments or memories that are happy around this time of year.  It doesn’t mean you can’t start a new tradition.  My sister-in-law has many sayings displayed throughout her house.  One in particular caught my eye, and that is, “Do something today that makes you happy”.  It doesn’t have to be anything big.  Even when you have little, there is something to be grateful for.  I’m grateful for my family and the warmth we celebrated this year.

christmastraditions

 

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Christmas Traditions

Christmas spirit mood

Finally we are getting some cooler weather.  And the days are definitely darker.  This is exactly the type of inspiration to get into the holiday spirit.  Little by little the decorations are coming out.  I struggle with liking the same decorations every year, but once they are up I love the atmosphere.  Especially at night or in the early morning when you look at the soft glow.  It’s cold outside and raining.  We’ve enjoyed a fire in the fireplace twice this season.  With it usually so warm in south Texas, when it gets into the 40s, it’s cold inside. I have fought not to put on the heat and so far haven’t had too.

christmasfireplace

Another big mood setter is Christmas baking, every year I bake something to give away.  This year I wanted to try making Christmas tree brownies.  I always give myself an opportunity to try in case it doesn’t work out, that way adjustments can be made before the final product is gifted.  So this recipe called for an 8×8 pan, when I made the brownies they came out way too thick.  So I cut them in half and will use half the batter next time.  I guess I could use a bigger pan, but the brownies at 1/2 the size are perfect! My nana always made brownies, blondies, toll house cookies and rum balls for Christmas ! I really loved that ! Miss her ! I aspire to be like her , active, friendly , helpful, fun ! She was a beautiful person !

christmas-tree-brownies

I made chili too.  Texas is FAMOUS for chili.  Tonight couldn’t be a better night for it.  I have adjusted my recipe over the years and this is the one my family really likes.  The most important ingredient is the meat.  The grocery stores will provide chili meat which is usually chuck 80% lean and it looks like 1/4 inch thick tubes.  Here is our recipe for 4 people:

1 lb of chili meat

1/4 green pepper (diced)

1/4 onion (diced)

1 clove garlic

1/2 can of 14 oz pinto beans

1/2 can of 14 oz kidney beans

1/2 can of 28 oz crushed tomatoes

seasoning (1 tablespoon of cumin, 1-2 tablespoons Gebhardt chili powder)

Directions: Brown beef and add to a crock pot.  Then add diced peppers and onions, garlic, drain beans and add crushed tomatoes to the pot and put it on low to warm for 1-2 hours.  It may seem wasteful to leave the rest of the can.  If we liked leftovers, we would add more meat and use all of the contents of the cans.  Otherwise, we can just use the beans and tomatoes for something else.  We top it with shredded cheese and serve it with frito corn chips (just the regular kind) I guess I would name it low key chili.   It’s not really spicy and it doesn’t give anyone indigestion.

The rest of this evening needs to be spent next to a roaring fire with a Christmas movie. Just need the football game to finish 😉

Christmas spirit mood

Christmas Party Guest

Last night I went to a party hosted by one of my tennis friends.  There were about 30 women young and old that went to the party and it was a blend of her friends, family, neighbors and co-workers.  Guests were to bring a dish and a $30 gift for a gift exchange.

When I arrived I was in awe with the amount of Christmas decorations she had in her home.  It was truly spectacular. Everything was decorated Christmas.  There were amazing nativity displays.  And she had so many angels.  I mean in her living room she had all of the cubbies that house other things during the year decked out with all things Christmas.

So my friends kind of stuck together and we didn’t mingle too much.  We did enjoy ourselves.  I should mention that the hostess is Venezuelan.  And her aunt made the most amazing dish…bollos pelones.  OMG this is to die for.  They are a meat dumpling in a corn flourish dough.  I just googled the recipe and pinned it on Pinterest.  I know that there is no way I will be able to come close to this, but I might try for fun someday.  Side note… I’ve tried to make other culture recipes that were an absolute flop.  Like Brazilian Pao de Queijo :*(.

Back to the party, so we ate and had some eggnog martinis.  And do what women do best!  Then we gathered by the tree for the gift exchange.  I must say it took about an hour to go through the entire gift exchange game.  So here is how it goes, everyone draws a number from a bowl.  The person that gets number 1 goes first but can steal a gift if it hasn’t been frozen (stolen 2 times) at the end.  So I was number 9.  And my friend was number 1.  I stole a pair of Kendra Scott earrings, but that was quickly stolen from me and I ended up with cream.  The items that were popular were the earrings of course, two capes like red riding hood…(interesting), a really cute robe that looked kind of cheetahish but the spots kind of looked like hearts, a really pretty vase and a jewelry box.

So I gave a really nice bottle of French wine and some cheese and breadsticks.  I was the only one that gave that, so I hope it was ok.  I would have been happy with it!  I also had a tough time with what to bring for the side dish.  I ended up bringing a tortellini salad (BLT) so it was bacon, spinach, cherry tomatoes and cheese filled tortellini in a sour cream ranch dressing.  My family gave it the thumbs up so that is what I went with.

elvia xmas party

elvia xmas party2

All I can say is I’m happy that I was invited and I really love my friends.  ❤

 

Christmas Party Guest