Friday, December 14, 2012


   This year I thought it would be nice to see what we are all eating on Christmas day – so I am going to start the ball rolling by telling you what people in various nations will be eating.  This will be a nice way for us to all get to know the nicer details of Christmas.

Eastern Europe
708Px-Wigilia Potrawy 554

   In the areas of the former Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth (e.g., Poland, Ukraine, Lithuania), an elaborate and ritualised meal of twelve meatless dishes is served on the Eve of Christmas (24th December). This is because the pre-Christmas season is a time of fasting, which is broken on Christmas Day. As is typical of Slavic cultures, great pains are taken to honour the spirits of deceased relatives, including setting a place and dishing out food for them.
   A traditional Christmas meal in the Czech Republic is fried carp and potato salad. This tradition started after excessive increase of fishpond cultivation in the Baroque era. Many households also prepare a great variety of special Christmas biscuits to offer to Christmas visitors. These preparations take place many days and weeks prior to the feast and take a long time to decorate with the remainder usually ending up on a Christmas tree as a decoration.


   On Christmas Eve (Noche Buena), the extended family join together for a succulent dinner around the turkey, stuffed with ground beef and peanuts and decorated with fresh slices of pineapple and cherries; roast potatoes and apple sauce. The desserts include marzipan and assorted bowls with raisins, almonds and the panettone, accompanied by a cup of thick hot chocolate. At midnight, a toast is made, and good wishes and hugs are exchanged. A designated person runs to put Child Jesus in the Nativity scene. Then, the family members take their seat in the dinning room while singing Christmas Carols.


Joulupöytä (translated “Christmas table”) is the name of the traditional food board served at Christmas in Finland, similar to the Swedish smörgåsbord. It contains many different dishes, most of them typical for the season. The main dish is usually a large Christmas ham, which is eaten with mustard or bread along with the other dishes. Fish is also served (often lutefisk and gravlax), and with the ham there are also laatikot, casseroles with liver and raisins, as well as potatoes, rice, and carrots. The traditional Christmas beverage is either alcoholic or non-alcoholic mulled wine (glögi in Finnish).

Gb Roast Turkey

   In English Canada, Christmas dinner is similar to that of its colonial ancestor, England, as well as to its neighbour the United States. Traditional Christmas dinner features turkey with stuffing (dressing), mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce, vegetables and plum pudding for dessert. Eggnog, a milk-based punch that is often infused with alcohol, is also very popular around the holiday season. Other Christmas items include butter tarts and shortbread, which are traditionally baked before the holidays and served to visiting friends, at various Christmas and New Year parties, as well as on Christmas day.
   Other ethnic communities may continue to use old world traditions as well. For example, a Ukrainian Canadian family may eat a traditional Christmas meal of 12 meatless dishes, or may simply add perogies to a westernized meal. In French Canada, traditions may be more like those of France.

Gl Ggekstrakt

   In Denmark the traditional Christmas meal served on December 24th consists of either roasted pork, goose or duck. This is served along with potatoes, red cabbage and plenty of gravy. It is followed with a dessert of rice pudding, often with an almond hidden inside, the lucky finder of which is entitled to a present referred to as the almond gift. Traditional Christmas drinks are Gløgg (pictured above) and traditional Christmas beers, specially brewed for the season. These usually have a high alcohol percentage.


   Christmas dinner in The Netherlands is a bit different from customs in neighbouring countries. One typical Dutch tradition is that of ‘gourmet’. This is an evening long event where small groups of people sit together around a gourmet-set and use their own little frying pan to cook and season their own food in very small portions. The host has prepared finely chopped vegetables and different types of meats, fish and prawns/shrimps. Everything is accompanied by different salads, fruits and sauces. The origin of gourmet lies most likely in the former Dutch colony Indonesia.
   The Dutch also enjoy more traditional Christmas-dinners, like roast beef, duck, rabbit, pheasant or roasted or glazed ham. This generally served with different types of vegetables, potatoes and salads. In recent years, traditions from Anglo-Saxon countries have become increasingly popular, most notably the UK-style turkey. Pictured above is the Dutch version of Santa Claus.

Christmas Table

   In France and some other French-speaking countries, a réveillon is a long dinner, and possibly party, held on the evenings preceding Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. The name of this dinner is based on the word réveil (meaning “waking”), because participation involves staying awake until midnight and beyond. Common dishes include goose or duck liver (foie gras); oysters; smoked salmon; lobster; roasted duck, goose or turkey with chestnuts and stuffing; and, for dessert, a traditional christmas cake called “La Buche de Noel” (Christmas log), a cream cake that comes in different flavours (chocolate, hazelnut…) and which has the shape of a log. The beverage served is traditionally Champagne. In Provence, the tradition of the 13 desserts is followed: 13 desserts are served, almost invariably including: pompe à l’huile (a flavoured bread), dates, etc.

New Zealand
Gb Pavlova

   The Christmas customs of New Zealand are largely identical to the United Kingdom due to its status as a former British colony, the ethnic Caucasian population being almost exclusively British or Irish in descent, and the still pervasive British cultural influence on the country courtesy of constant movements of people between New Zealand and the UK. Christmas dinner consists of roast turkey, roast vegetables, stuffing (or dressing, as it is known in North America), cranberry sauce. Alternatively, roast ham may be offered as a main course and lamb is also very popular.
   One important exception from British dinner is the absence of goose, as it is not raised in New Zealand and the government prohibits importing foreign meat products. Desserts are almost without exception mince pies or Christmas pudding (or plum pudding) and brandy butter, inherited from British practices. Enjoyment of non-British Christmas foods, such as stollen from Germany, Bûche de Noël from France, and panettone from Italy, was virtually unheard of in New Zealand until the late 1990s and is still extremely rare today. Due to New Zealanders celebrating Christmas in the summer, it is also common to barbecue, and eat seasonal fruit such as cherries and strawberries. Pictured above is a Pavlova – a typical New Zealand meringue based pudding often served at Christmas (and throughout the year).

United Kingdom
Roast Goose Apple Stuffing

   Christmas dinner in the United Kingdom (and Commonwealth nations) is usually eaten in the afternoon. Dinner in the United Kingdom and in Ireland usually consists of roast turkey or roast goose (although duck is common alternatives depending on the number of diners), sometimes with ham or, to a lesser extent, pork; roast potatoes; vegetables (usually boiled or steamed), particularly brussels sprouts; stuffing; chipolatas or pigs in blankets; cranberry sauce; with dessert of Christmas pudding (or plum pudding) and brandy butter.
   In England, the evolution of the main course into turkey did not take place for years, or even centuries. At first, in Medieval England, the main course was either a peacock or a boar, the boar usually the mainstay. After the French Jesuits imported the turkey into Great Britain, it became the main course in the 1700s.
   A common tradition in the United Kingdom is to use the turkey’s wishbone to make a wish. Two people pull opposite ends of the wishbone until it breaks, with the person holding the larger fragment of the bone making a wish. The dessert of a British Christmas Dinner is almost always Christmas Pudding. Mince pies, a Christmas Cake or a Yule Log may also be eaten.

United States of America
Pumpkin-Pie01 High

   Many Christmas customs in the United States have been adopted from those in the United Kingdom, although customs from other European countries are also found. Accordingly, the mainstays of the English table are also found in the United States: cranberry sauce, turkey, stuffing or dressing, corn, squash, and green beans are common. Dessert often reflects the ethnic background of the participants, but examples include pumpkin pie (pictured above), marzipan, pfeffernusse, sugar cookies, panettone, fruitcake, apple pie, carrot cake, oreo pie, and mince pie. Ham or roast beef is often served instead of turkey, particularly since turkey is the mainstay at dinner for the American holiday of Thanksgiving in November.
   Regional meals vary: Hawaii has Turkey teriyaki, Virginia has oysters and ham pie, and the Upper Midwest includes dishes from the predominately Scandinavian backgrounds such as lutefisk and mashed rutabaga or turnip. In the Southwest, especially New Mexico, a traditional Christmas dinner might include posole, tamales, empanaditas (mincemeat turnovers) and biscochitos.


   This recipe for these wonderful cookies, was found at www.whatmegansmaking.com . I hope you enjoy making a batch of these for the holidays.

Lofthouse Style Soft Frosted Sugar Cookies

Lofthouse Style Soft Sugar Cookies

I knew I had to have a great recipe to kick off the 12 Days of Christmas Treats 2011, so I’m starting with one of my absolute favorites! You know those soft Lofthouse sugar cookies that pop up in grocery stores around all the holidays? The kind with colored icing and sprinkles? I’ve been looking for a homemade version for awhile now and I’m happy to tell you I finally found it!  I used to (and still do!) love the Lofthouse cookies. I remember having them as snacks at our tennis matches in college and how I always grabbed a cookie after I was done playing, even if we were headed straight to dinner. 
These sugar cookies are so close to the grocery store staples that I almost couldn’t believe it. From the soft and fluffy cookie to the thick and creamy icing…these cookies are good! They’re perfect for any holiday – just change the color of the icing and adjust the sprinkles. I won’t tell you how much money I spent on Christmas sprinkles this year, but looking at these happy festive cookies, I think it was worth it. 

Lofthouse Style Soft Frosted Sugar Cookies


Lofthouse Style Soft Frosted Sugar Cookies

Yield: 2-3 dozen large cookies


For the cookies:
4½ cups all-purpose flour
4½ tsp. baking powder
¾ tsp. salt
1½ cups (3 sticks) butter, at room temperature
1½ cups sugar
3 large eggs
5 tsp. vanilla extract
For the frosting:
5 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1/3 cup (5 1/3 tbsp.) unsalted butter, melted
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
7-8 tbsp. milk (plus more, as needed)
Food coloring (optional)
Sprinkles (optional) 


To make the cookies, preheat the oven to 350˚ F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking powder and salt, and whisk together to blend. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the butter and sugar and beat together on medium-high speed until soft and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Beat in the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition and scraping down the bowl as needed. Blend in the vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, add in the dry ingredients mixing just until incorporated and evenly mixed. Cover and chill the dough for 1 hour.
When you are ready to bake the cookies, scoop a scant quarter cup of dough and roll into a ball. Flatten the ball slightly and place on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining dough, spacing the cookies at least 2-3 inches apart. Bake about 10-12 minutes or just until set. (Do not overbake! The edges should be no more than very lightly browned if at all.) Let cool on the baking sheet for several minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
To frost the cookies, place the confectioners’ sugar in a medium bowl. Add the melted butter, vanilla, and milk to the bowl and whisk until smooth. Whisk in additional milk as necessary, 1 teaspoon at a time, until you reach your desired consistency. Tint with food coloring if desired. Use an offset spatula or spoon to frost the cooled cookies. (If the frosting begins to thicken as you decorate, just continue to whisk in small amounts of milk to keep it workable.) Top with sprinkles if desired. Store in an airtight container.


Double-Decker Layered Fudge

   Dark chocolate? Check. White chocolate? Of course. 

Double Decker Layered Fudge

  • 2
    cups sugar
  • 1
    cup evaporated milk
  • 1/4
    teaspoon salt
  • 1
    12 ounce package white baking pieces
  • 1
    ounce jar marshmallow creme
  • 2 1/2
    teaspoons vanilla
  • 4
    ounces dark chocolate, chopped (3/4 cup)
  • Finely chopped dark chocolate (optional)
1.Line an 8x8x2-inch baking pan with foil, extending the foil over edges of pan. Butter foil; set pan aside.
2.Butter the sides of a 3-quart heavy saucepan. In the saucepan combine sugar, evaporated milk, and salt. Cook and stir over medium-high heat until mixture boils. Reduce heat to medium; continue cooking for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
3.Remove saucepan from heat. Add white baking pieces and marshmallow creme. Beat mixture vigorously with a clean wooden spoon for 1 to 2 minutes or until mixture starts to thicken. Pour half of the mixture (about 2 cups) into a bowl. For the white chocolate layer, stir 2 teaspoons of the vanilla into mixture in bowl; set aside.
4.For the dark chocolate layer, add the 4 ounces chopped dark chocolate and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon vanilla into mixture in saucepan; stir until chocolate melts and mixture is smooth. Remove 1/3 cup of the dark chocolate mixture; set aside. Immediately spread remaining dark chocolate mixture evenly into the prepared pan.
5.Gently spoon the white chocolate mixture over the dark chocolate mixture; spread fudge evenly to edges of pan. Swirl in the reserved dark chocolate mixture. Cool for 15 minutes. If desired, sprinkle with additional finely chopped dark chocolate.
6.Cover; chill for 2 to 3 hours or until firm. When fudge is firm, using the edges of the foil, lift fudge out of pan. Cut fudge into squares.

To Store:
  • Layer fudge between sheets of waxed paper in an airtight container; cover. Store at room temperature for up to 2 days or in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.


This comes from www.plumadorable.com . Enjoy making a few of these as adorable gifts for friends, family and other people close to your hear.

Waterless Snow Globes

I have so many fun things to show you. I am really excited to share with you what my good friend Courtney did with my mantel. She transformed it into a Christmas wonderland. But, it will have to wait a couple of days because I am busy getting ready for this craft fair that Jess and I are doing on Saturday. For now I will show you how cute and easy these waterless snow globes are.



snowglobe labels

snowglobe labels2


snowglobe labels3
It really does make me smile.


    Christmas Day in Ireland is December 25.
    Here the Christmas celebrations last from Christmas Eve to the feast of the Epiphany on January 6, which is referred to as "Little Christmas". Christmas in Ireland is a religious as well as a festive occassion. Northern Ireland is a part of the United Kingdom and hence, Christmas traditions here echo those of the western countries.
   In preparation for Christmas, Irish families bake Christmas cakes, puddings and mince pies. Mantelpieces are decorated with flowers (such as holly) and ornaments. A popular tradition here, as in other western nations, is hanging the mistletoe in a doorway and to kiss under it. Before the holidays, families give gifts (usually money) to all those who provide service to them throughout the year, such as the plumber or the milkman.

Chirstmas shoppers

   Homes are cleaned and often whitewashed, as a means of purification. Christmas trees are set up and decorated with tinsel, colourful lights and a star or an angel on top. Many kids recieve an Advent Calendar which have slots for each day in December, each of them containing a chocolate treat.
On Christmas Eve, all the extended members of Roman Catholic families in Ireland come together and attend the Midnight Mass. In windows of individual homes, lighted candles are placed to signify symbolic hospitality for Mary and Joseph. The candles are usually red in color, and decorated with sprigs of holly. Traditionally, Irish women bake a seed cake for each member of the house. They also prepare three puddings, one for each day of the Epiphany such as Christmas, New Year's Day and the Twelfth Night.

Oconnell Street in Dublin

   Christmas dinner in Ireland consists of almost the same foods as Thanksgiving with the main dishes being turkey, ham, cranberry sauce and the like. The more traditional Irish dishes include spiced beef (spiced over several days, cooked, and then pressed) to be served either hot or cold. Dessert is usually composed of mince pies, Christmas pudding, and brandy or rum sauce.
    During Christmas, everyone in Ireland wishes another "Nollaig Shona Dhuit" meaning "Merry Christmas" in Irish-Gaelic language.