Monday, December 23, 2013

Christmas is almost here!

In these last few days before Christmas, we're baking and wrapping and putting those final touches on everything.  I've decided that I'm enlisting help this year and the kids will be wrapping most of what is not for them.  It's not about how nicely it's wrapped but in the love that is put into the effort.  Yea, I'm going with that!

We're baking cookies as well.  Not just for munchies around here but we're also putting together little boxes for some neighbors.  We are going to help again this month with putting together bags for the homeless that we pass out and we're making extra cookies to put in those.  

We're adding something different too.  My son learned about a Yule Log at school, the cake not firewood.  I keep teasing him because I knew it as Buche de Noel and call it that.  He tried a store bought one at school and I told him the homemade ones are way better.  So we're going to make one.  I made one years ago and it's yummy but time consuming.  But he wants to make one so we're going to make one.  It'll be fun!  Here is the recipe we'll be using to make Buche de Noel.  This would be a fun gift for someone too!

Another thing that I have done to put together a fairly inexpensive gift is what I call a "dinner in a box".  I include homemade egg noodles.  Since I'm a little rushed today, I'm copying this recipe from another blogger but this is the recipe I use that is in the Joy of Cooking.  I like that this blogger includes the techniques in making the noodles.  I usually make large batches of these and I take my wooden clothes dryer and cover the dowels with plastic wrap and drape the noodles over that to dry.  Once they are dry, you can store them in a Tupperware type container or, as I do, one of those popcorn tins that everyone seems to get during the holidays!

In the dinner box, I'll include enough noodles in a large Ziploc bag.  I'll also include a can of chicken and a large chicken broth (If it is someone close by that this won't be waiting to be opened, I'll include frozen chicken and frozen homemade chicken broth).  I'll throw in some homemade dinner rolls that are par-baked that way when they are warmed up they won't over cook.  (Par-baked means almost done, if a dinner roll says to cook 11 minutes, I'll cook it for 7)  I will also include some type of dessert, cookies, a cake, pie, whatever I have time to make.  This is a gift that you might take to an older person who would enjoy a home cooked meal that might not be able to make for themselves.  This is also a good box to take to someone who's been ill.

Regardless of what you do or how you do it, try to include something homemade in your Christmas celebration.  Even if you just get a roll of pre-made cookie dough and bake them with your kids, it's still doing something together.  And being together is one of the best things about the holidays.  Enjoy your family and if, like us, you're going to try to make a Yule Log with a 9 year old, just remember, it doesn't have to be perfect, it just has to be done together and with love!

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