Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Prep with My Family

(i.e. cookies, cider, crispix, and some decorating!)

Christmas vacation!! An amazing movie, and an amazing concept, even if my vacation only consists of two days off work...that's more than last year, so I'll take it! And there's nothing quite like going home to my parents' houses and spending time with the family.

Thursday started with Pat and I making a visit to Mass General Hospital for a doctor's appointment for him. Pat has a funny little habit of skipping doctor and dentist appointments, so now I've made a habit of going with him. Its more fun if you turn it into an adventure and are rewarded by a fun meal afterward! The doctor's office was right around the corner from a Whole Foods, so we got our lunch there. I told Pat that being close to a Whole Foods is reason enough to move to Boston (there are no Whole Foods stores in NH!).

I got a cup of Triple Squash Soup (Butternut, Acorn and Pumpkin) and some roasted vegetables and sesame tofu.

Pat had some tuna sushi made fresh at the sushi stand and got a side of fruit salad.

My soup was good, although Pat and I agreed that it would be better with less sweetness (maple syrup) and more of a kick. I'm going to try making this soup at home and change the flavor palate of it. Pat's sushi was incredibly fresh and we both enjoyed it.

After lunch we went our separate ways, Pat went to spend some time with his mom and brother, and I went to get down to some very serious business: baking cookies.

Baking cookies was a lot of fun because my brother, sister and I were all in my mom's kitchen and all helping to make the four kinds of cookies: gingerbread, Italian rum, hazelnut with dark chocolate icing, and strawberry walnut thumbprints.

Strawberry Walnut Thumbprints:
Hazelnut with Dark Chocolate Icing:


Italian Rum:


Table of cookies (only about half the amount we made):

Snacks are a big deal for my family. Well, I guess that's not totally accurate. Snacks are a big deal for me, and thus I've made them a big deal for my family. I always say that I like to plan for activities ahead of time by choosing what I will wear, what I'll be eating, and what I'll be drinking. So snacking is an important piece that goes into my planning. I made a big batch of homemade Chex Crispix Mix to enjoy on Thursday with my family (I made enough so that I could also send some with Pat for his family to have). I found this recipe on Mama Pea's blog and made some adaptations and additions.

Christmas Crispix Mix

My family's mix with milk and white chocolate chips and almonds
Pat's family's mix with Christmas m&ms

I made this mix in two dishes so I could separate my mix from Pat's. I added almonds to mine, but none to his since he doesn't like them. Otherwise the mixes were the same going into the oven.

After baking for an hour, I spread the mixes out on paper towels to allow to dry and cool.

Then I added the chips to mine and the m&ms to Pat's and packaged them up to bring home!

  • 12 cups Crispix 
  • 1 1/2 cups peanuts
  • 1/2 cup almonds
  • 1 1/2 cups pretzels
  • 7 tbsp butter (7/8 stick)
  • 5 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • Christmas colored m&ms
  • Milk chocolate chips
  • White chocolate chips

  1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
  2. Put cereal, pretzels and nuts in 2 large baking dishes.
  3. Melt butter in a measuring cup, then add Worcestershire sauce, salt, and garlic powder. Stir until combined and pour over cereal mix. Stir to coat.
  4. Bake for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes.
  5. Spread mix on paper towels to cool then store in an airtight container.

After a day of baking cookies, we decorated the Christmas tree. Jim made a delicious mulled cider for us to enjoy as we admired all of our hard work.

He poured a gallon of apple cider into a large pot on the stove and added the following spices: cinnamon, allspice, cloves, nutmeg, and chipotle. He also squeezed the juice of one clementine into the mix and then heated until simmering, and served!


This was delicious, with a little kick of spice, and really warmed you from the inside out. Thank you Jim!

Merry Christmas Eve!

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