On Friday evening, we celebrated Christmas with the first of 4 family Christmas dinners. I was blessed to see my grandpa and his wife and every single one of my dad's siblings, their spouses, and most of my cousins. It was no small feat to get everyone in the same place at the same time. My dad has 5 siblings. It was everything a family Christmas should be...great food, catching up with loved ones, fun games (Guitar Hero and Poker til' after midnight) and of course, great food. Oh, did I already say that? I couldn't possibly highlight every single dish and cookie from the night, so I have narrowed my report down to 3 categories. Favorite Tradition, Favorite First Timer, Favorite Recipe That's Been Around for a While, But I Just Discovered It This Year...let's just call this: Honorable Mention.
Favorite Tradition: My Aunt Becky's Santa Cookies. I love these cookies. I look forward to them every year. I stacked up 5 to take home with me soon after I walked in the door. That's one for each member of my family and an extra for me. Truth be told, before the week is out, I will probably eat every last one. These cookies go back to my earliest Christmas memories. And bless my Aunt Becky for taking the time every year, even now that we're all grown up. These must take some serious time. The cookie itself is soft and perfectly sweet. Santa has raisins for eyes and I believe that Aunt Becky actually paints on his smile. The rest is red sugar and a delicious frosting. Santa's beard is sprinkled with coconut, which may turn some of you off, but it absolutely makes this cookie for me. I love them! Did I say that already?
Here is my Favorite First Timer:
Making their debut at Christmas this year: Red Raspberry Cream Cheese Tarts. I'm not sure if that's actually their official name, but it is an accurate description. My other Aunt Becky made these. Two of my uncles married women with the same first name, so I have two Aunt Beckys. I also have more than one Aunt Sue, but that's completely beside the point. Phyllo dough mini tarts, seedless raspberry preserves, cream cheese, sweetened condensed milk and a hint of lemon...beautiful red raspberry on top. Not only is this recipe right up my easy and delicious food preparation alley, it was pretty too. I loved these little tarts. I'm not sure of the correct recipe name or even ingredients, but this was good. Maybe if we're lucky, Aunt Becky is reading and she'd be kind enough to post the recipe in the comments section of this post.
Last, but certainly not least, the Honorable Mention. This year it is Cinnamon Pudding. The shout out goes to my mom. I remember seeing this over the years, but I never took advantage of this heavenly sweet and spicy trifle. Honestly, I didn't eat it Friday night at the family dinner, either. I stayed through the weekend and I helped myself to this dessert as leftovers the next day. Whoa! Was I surprised! She bakes one of those cakes(from scratch) with the gooey cinnamon sauce on the bottom and then layers it with whipped topping. Oh, it is good.
I know, all desserts. The 2 lbs of giant shrimp I consumed at the party were also very good, but the desserts just seemed to stand out this year. I also managed to attend 3 other parties while back home this weekend. One of them was a holiday open house hosted by one of my sisters. I was able to help her prepare the appetizers, so keep watching this week... I plan to feature some of my favorite appetizer recipes before Christmas day! My gift to you : )