What is the Holidays without lots of eating!? One of my absolute favourite parts of the Christmas and Holiday season is the food. I love everything about it – cooking it together, tasting it, and the memories and nostalgia that come with it too!
I thought it would be fun to share some of the things I will be eating this holiday season and share a little bit about my Christmas food traditions from my family.
Normally the recipes I share here on Cooking Adventures are of my own creation or my own fusion of many recipes, however today I will be sharing some other people’s recipes that I have enjoyed using for the past few years as well as some other products. Be sure to follow the links to their websites and blogs!
This Christmas and Holiday season will definitely be a little different. We won’t be going to my mom’s house who normally cooks a lot of the holiday meals, and therefore we won’t have all of her traditional creations. Instead, most of our meals will be cooked by me – no pressure. I also decided early in the season to plan-ahead knowing that shortages and stocking changes could impact what I could cook due to the pandemic. But I’ve managed to work in quite a few of our favourites, so no-matter-what there will be lots of good eating.
Sweets and Treats
The traditional Christmas dessert in my family is shortbread. I cannot imagine a holiday season without it. Shortbread cookies are just so buttery, rich, and satisfying. Perfect with a hot cocoa, coffee, or tea. They are relatively easy to make and keep well – so you can enjoy them throughout the season. I will link the recipe I have used for our Christmas shortbread for about the last 3 years. I also have some family recipes too, but this is the one I have been using and enjoying.
This year I am planning to do half as regular shortbread and half as chocolate dipped shortbread. What I like about this particular recipe is that it is very basic so you can add an extract, some decorations, or some other twist and you easily can make many different kinds of shortbread with it. But even on its own it is tasty and also makes a nicer quantity if you have a smaller group (single batch is about 15 cookies).
I am also going to try to make some Hello Dollies this year. A classic treat for many families around the holidays. My grandmother and my mom would often make Hello Dollies around Christmas. They are a quick and easy but a really delicious treat with lots of different flavour and texture. They also keep well and don’t go stale too quickly. This is the recipe I will be using this year – I haven’t used it before but suspect it will be good!
Another recipe I have made for the last few years and will make again this year is Puffed Rice Marshmallow Treats. I use my mom’s recipe that she made for us as kids all the time, but you can also find a ton of different recipes for them online. This is a new tradition for my husband and I that I started only about 2 years ago. The key to making really great marshmallow treats is butter and vanilla extract. Those two ingredients really add to the flavour and texture of the square and truly elevate it to a higher level of dessert. At Christmas I often decorate them with red and green chocolate and some festive sprinkles. Fun, easy to make, and something that everybody loves!
Here is the recipe!
What you’ll need:
1/4 cup of Butter
5 cups of Mini Marshmallows or about 40 large marshmallows
1/2 tsp of Vanilla (this is so important!)
6 cups of Puffed Rice Cereal
- In a large microwave safe bowl melt the butter. Add in the marshmallows and mix together. Heat marshmallows slowly and on low in the microwave until they are completely melted. Careful to not let them overheat and explode.
- Once melted and combined, stir in the vanilla extract.
- Mix in the puffed rice cereal with a spatula, careful to thoroughly coat it all.
- Butter a 9×9 pan and pour in the marshmallow mix and smooth down with the spatula. Allow to set for at least 15 minutes before slicing.
Christmas Eve Dinner
For Christmas eve this year, I really wanted to keep things simple while also bringing in our favourites and a festive feeling.
For the 24th, we will be having tourtière which is a traditional French-Canadian dish often served on Christmas eve. I am purchasing a pre-made one as I have not yet mastered the art of making them, and I want to have less stress and enjoy our Christmas eve. I will serve it with a selection of pickled foods: pickles, beets, and peppers. And then, also some steamed veggies and baguette and cheese. Simple but delicious.
Christmas morning it is a tradition in my family to have a huge breakfast. After waking up early and opening presents we sit down to a huge buffet of breakfast foods and some much needed coffee.
Some of my favourite parts of this breakfast are kolbassa and panettone. My grandfather on my mother’s side is Polish-Ukrainian and so we eat kolbassa as a part of his Polish-Ukrainian cultural heritage. The Panettone tradition I believe was started by my mother.
This year, likely due to a COVID related shortage, I have not been able to get a panettone and so we will not be having one. Instead we will be having cinnamon buns – different but still a nice sweet pastry. I’ll pair those 2 with some fresh scrambled eggs and fresh fruit, salty and sweet, healthy and not. The best combinations.
Lastly, I am here to say, you should not feel pressured to make things complicated or elaborate when it comes to holiday cooking – especially this year. For example, could I make a tourtière from scratch? Yes. But, that would add a lot of stress to my Christmas eve and I just want to enjoy it. I want to be present and have quiet moments spent with my family (husband and fur-kids), not be stuck in the kitchen and stressed out making sure everything is perfect.
So, if this year you don’t cook at all, that’s okay. Or if, you just make one of your traditional homemade dishes when you would normally make 5, that’s okay too. Enjoy whatever it is you choose to do because ultimately that is what makes the Holidays special.
This year, I am also particularly grateful just to have food on the table at all when so many others don’t.
I’d love to hear what your favourite Christmas and Holiday recipes are, please share them in the comments below! Also, let me know if you try any of these recipes, I’d love to hear your thoughts.