Cleaning house physically, emotionally, and mentally.

Posts tagged ‘Christmas traditions’

And a Ho Ho Ho to All

Merry Christmas to everyone!

Family tradition is to go to my mom’s for brunch on Xmas morning. After a lengthy discussion , we figured out we have been doing this for at least 60 years. Some minor changes, such as location, but brunch on Xmas morning endures.

This year there were 15 at the table.
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The plate on the left with food is my daughters. She is vegan, so her ever considerate uncle set aside some roasted potatoes that were not tossed into the traditional egg omelette mix. I usually make a fruit salad with whip cream. So I also made some without whip cream for her and anyone else.

Afterwards, we did a gift card exchange, using revised white elephant rules. I got my selection stolen 3 times, before I got what I wanted. Home Depot here I come.

Some family member–how shall remain nameless–was getting a little territorial about his selection.
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Just kidding!! There was a conversation and show and tell about personal weapons. In my warped mind, I thought the photo was kind of typical in an odd sort of way.

Hope you all had a marvelous Xmas as I did.

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Traditions – Christmas Breakfast

Ever since I can remember, we have always gone to my aunt and uncle’s house on Christmas morning for brunch. That tradition still continues some 60 years later, except now it is at my mom’s house (step-mom, aunt – see Here’s My Family Tree to figure that one out).

Everyone pitches in for brunch, but the main course is what is affectionately called land goop. (I have always called it land gorp, but have been shown the error of my ways, but I still think gorp sounds more appetizing than goop). My brother Gary is the main chef. Land goop is a kind of omelet, but very heavy-duty. It contains eggs, potato chunks, sausage, and cheese. People fight over land goop; Gary has learned to always make extra to prevent fisticuffs.

Gary cooking land goop/gorp

YUM -- the star of the breakfast show!

Gary’s eldest son, Nick, has been the king french toast maker for several years now. Nick has this down to a science and I think everyone agrees that Nick’s french toast is the best in the world.

Nick making world's best french toast

This year there were 17 for breakfast.

Before the chaos begins.

Let's eat, drink, and be merry!!

Traditions – Holiday Libations

Oh, let’s all have a meaningful toast to the holidays. As a person who doesn’t drink much (either alcohol, pop, or even water), I must admit to looking forward to the annual holiday libations; specifically homemade Bailey’s Irish Cream–served in a mason jar!

About 30 years ago I started making homemade liquor for Christmas presents. Kahlua and Baileys were my favorites. As the years went by, I limited the drinks to just Baileys. And started to provide a half-pint jar to all those of age in the family. Sometimes there is a bit of fighting in the family if someone takes someone else’s Baileys. Some of my closest friends and peers at work also receive a jar.

I used to provide more professional packaging, but decided that the simple jar is the perfect container. As the younger generation got older and reached legal drinking age, they also received the Baileys. This year, I am making about 20-25 jars. I have the next 10 days off so a nightly sip is called for.  Next Christmas, my daughter will be eligible to imbibe. I can’t wait, because she may not like it and then there is more for me.frothy

My recipe has only made one slight change over the years. I use to add raw eggs to the mix. They added a very frothy texture to the drink. But I no longer add them due to the risk of salmonella poisoning. So fear not, the following recipe is tried and true–and incredibly tasty!!

Here’s my recipe (of course I will accept samples for quality taste testing; I have 30 years experience in this product):

  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk (such as Eagle Brand)
  • 1  2/3  cup Irish Whiskey (I always use Irish Whiskey, such as Bushmills. As long as it is Irish, it is OK).
  • 1 cup  whipping cream (not whip cream) or Half and Half  (either one is fine, whatever you have on hand)
  • 1 teaspoon dried instant coffee  granules
  • 2 tablespoons Hershey’s chocolate syrup (the kind you would dribble over ice cream)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2  to  1 teaspoon Almond extract  (adjust amount to your taste)

Blend in a blender until thoroughly blended!

Each batch makes enough for about 5 half-pint jars, depending on how much you sip during quality taste tests.

Be sure to refrigerate and to shake well (really well) before drinking. I personally like mine over ice. Some people put a little in their coffee. Or add a bit of milk, some ice cream, and make a Baileys shake (be still my heart).

Now you know why Santa leaves my house with rosy cheeks saying a hearty “Ho, Ho, Ho!” And where do you think Rudolph gets that shiny red nose?

Traditions – Ornaments for Daughter

Since Daughter was 8 months old, each Christmas I have bought her a Hallmark “Daughter” ornament for that year. And also bought her another ornament that would provide a memory for each year. The idea behind this tradition is that when she is out on her own and has her own Christmas tree, she will have a collection of ornaments that hopefully provide many loving memories. As of this Christmas, she has 42 ornaments–a good start!

Here are her ornaments for this year.

Daughter - 2011

Harry Potter and Friends ornament

And because I collect mouse ornaments, I am always on the lookout for new additions to the tree. Here’s this year’s ornament.

Who can be "mousier" than Minnie? (Except for Mickey, of course)