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Annual Christmas and Holiday Thread

Posted on 11/27/2006 8:32:55 AM PST by HungarianGypsy

I'm not being politically correct when I add holiday to the title of this thread. There are so many things to do in the next few weeks. But, my favorite holiday is actually New Years. Probably because it's my anniversary.

Also, I have no free time the next few weekends. So, it would be wonderful to have some quick meal ideas as well.

So, have some fun. Share your food and your memories. I'll go dig up mine sometime before Christmas. ;-)

TOPICS: Chit/Chat; Food
KEYWORDS: christmas; food; freeperkitchen; newyears
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A Christmas memory. Doesn't involve food. Thought I would share anyhow. The year I was 8 we came home from Midnight Mass and my dad let me sleep on the couch. This was so cool to me. I did. Then, a few hours later found the couch not so comfortable and wandered back to bed. When I awoke I was in a brand new pink canopy bed and a guitar was next to the bed. I used this story the next year in school to argue the existance of Santa Claus. No one argued with me after that story.

Years later my dad said it was the hardest thing for him to sneak all that in and set it up. He was so sure I would wake up ahead of time.

1 posted on 11/27/2006 8:32:55 AM PST by HungarianGypsy
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To: Andy'smom; bradactor; politicalwit; Spunky; mplsconservative; don-o; boadecelia; freeangel; ...
**Freeper Kitchen Ping**

Get off the Thanksgiving thread. It's time for Christmas!!

2 posted on 11/27/2006 8:34:36 AM PST by HungarianGypsy
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To: HungarianGypsy

Around this time of year I can get a little blue or down. When the blues DO hit, I pull this out and reread it until I again remember what this season is REALLY all about.

May it also carry you back to those special people and times now gone and what THEY meant to you.

Merry Christmas -- and God bless us every one!

In a few days, much of the Christian world celebrates Christmas. Please forgive me if this sounds somewhat self-indulgent but, though the specific details will certainly vary, I think it's more than possible that many of you will identify with what follows.

For about a month now, I, like a lot of you, have found myself growing increasingly melancholy as I drift back to wonderful memories of Christmases past and loved ones now long gone.

I was blessed with good parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. I never knew my mother's father. He died when I was still a baby. And, though I loved them and they loved me, my Dad’s folks were very reserved and "proper" people. Having raised 5 of their own, perhaps there wasn't a great deal of them left for that many grandkids.

I smell the pungent pine aroma of a Christmas tree and suddenly I'm back in the modest living room in the little house on Hall Avenue in Lakewood, Ohio. Mom, Dad and my brother Karl, sister Jeanine and two cats and two dogs anxiously await the arrival of Grandma Grace and Aunt Helen, my mother's Mom and sister and, for a lot of reasons, next to Mom and Dad, our favorite people in the whole world.

They were not rich in any material sense, but they worked hard and on Christmas Eve made the long and, in Cleveland at that time of year, frequently treacherous trip along the southern shore of Lake Erie to the West Side. They were in show business and because they spent many hours on the road, Helen always drove the biggest car they could afford. It was usually a behemoth of a 4 door Oldsmobile.

Around 6:30 or 7 pm, we 3 kids would gravitate to the stairs facing the large full windowed front door and sit like fans in the bleachers at a ballgame. Every few minutes one of us would turn to Mom or Dad to ask: "When will they be here?" or "What time is it?" The sound of the crisp new snow crunching under the tires of each approaching car would bring us to our feet. Leaping to the door, we’d press our noses to the frigid panes, hoping to be the first to spot their Olds sliding to a stop in the unique cold and gloom for which Cleveland winters are justifiably infamous.

Then the long awaited cry goes up. "THEY'RE HERE -- THEY'RE HERE!! We've had our coats on for 20 minutes and now fly down the porch stairs, slip and slide down the walk and there it is: A BACK SEAT CONTAINING 3 HUGE WICKER LAUNDRY BASKETS PILED TO THE CEILING WITH BRIGHTLY WRAPPED GIFTS! Hugs and kisses all around, a great deal of squealing and Dad and Mom and Grandma and Helen and kids struggle under the load and somehow manage to get it all into the house where it joins the sizable quantity of goodies already under the tree.

The addition of the contents of the back seat of Helen's car creates a traffic problem as the new arrivals spill out from under the tree into the archway between the living and dining rooms.

Now, it's true that Christmas is about much, much more than abundance and gifts. But when the abundance and gifts are surpassed by the love that flowed between three kids and these two totally unselfish and wonderful women, it transcends the material and becomes something special. And it has helped me to understand the love God must have for us to have sent His only begotten Son to take away the sins of those of us who believe in Christ Jesus.

These two women were, as are we all, here for just a brief time and they and our folks now repose in Lakewood Park Cemetery. But even today, 40 years later, I can still hear the merry tinkle of Helen's laughter as we opened our gifts. I can still hear my Grandmother warning me, with great gravity, that all that candy would make me sick. Of course, she was right! And as long as I live, they -- and my Dad and Mom and all the others who have gone on -- will live also.

And it is those incredibly warm memories of departed loved ones and a much simpler life that brings the melancholy this time of year -- that brings a tear when I hear one of the old carols. "O Holy Night" gets me every time. I have many favorite carols, but none so beautifully – and correctly -- summarizes the true meaning of Christmas.
What wonderful words:

"Long lay the world in sin and error pining,
till He appeared and the soul felt His worth."
A thrill of hope the weary soul rejoices,
For yonder breaks the new and glorious morn,
Fall on your knees,
O, hear the angel voices!
O, night divine,
O, night when Christ was born!”

It's all there, isn't it? The sin of this fallen world! The salvation from that sin Christ offers all! The need for us to surrender to Him and His Grace for that salvation! Yeah, it's all there!!

And it is that knowledge which finally brings me out of my seasonal melancholy. That and my understanding that I now must be to MY grandchildren the positive and loving influence that my Grandmother and my Aunt Helen were to us. I'm certain that they, too, suffered the same melancholy and feelings of loss over those who had preceded them. After my Mother died, we found her early diaries. In one of them, she wrote that Helen fainted at their Dad’s graveside. But except for an occasional inexplicable and swiftly brushed away tear or a little crack in their voices as they spoke about their early years -- often during the playing and singing of the old carols -- it seldom visibly surfaced. They felt an obligation to keep this most joyous of seasons just that, joyous!

And so must we all who call ourselves Christians.

Oh, I'm not saying that we must never allow ourselves to shed tears for OUR departed loved ones. To do otherwise would be a futile and unhealthy effort to deny the very humanity with which God imbued us all.

But after we shed those tears, we must yield to our spiritual side and offer our praise and thanks -- and joy -- to Him for sending Jesus.

We must finally remember that our joy at this time of year flows from the fact that "God so loved the world, that He sent His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life."

You see, my temporary melancholy succumbs to the certain long-term knowledge that I'll see my dear Grandmother, my beloved Aunt Helen, my Dad and Mom and the others again some day.

In the meantime -- Happy Birthday Jesus.

And a Merry Christmas to all of you.

3 posted on 11/27/2006 9:04:06 AM PST by Dick Bachert
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To: HungarianGypsy


4 posted on 11/27/2006 9:13:03 AM PST by varina davis
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To: Dick Bachert

What a wonderful story and an important reminder to all of us. Thanks so much for sharing it.

5 posted on 11/27/2006 12:23:22 PM PST by TruthSetsUFree
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To: Dick Bachert

Beautiful story

6 posted on 11/27/2006 12:59:22 PM PST by RightWingMama
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To: Dick Bachert

What a wonderful story.Thank you for sharing it.

7 posted on 11/27/2006 6:08:23 PM PST by tapatio
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To: Dick Bachert

Really lovely post..
Thanks so very much..

8 posted on 11/27/2006 11:32:25 PM PST by MS.BEHAVIN (women who behave rarely make history)
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To: HungarianGypsy

I have a book which is all about Christmas and pre Christmas things to do I will scan a couple of pages and post on this thread tonight.

Including some English Christmas recipes that you may find interesting.

9 posted on 11/30/2006 6:44:43 AM PST by snugs ((An English Cheney Chick - BIG TIME))
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Comment #10 Removed by Moderator

To: Andy'smom; bradactor; politicalwit; Spunky; mplsconservative; don-o; boadecelia; freeangel; ...
**Freeper Kitchen Ping** again. :-) Last night was our first freeze warning. Which meant we had to figure out how to get our furnace running. I still remember how much I loved the sound of the furnace as the kid. It made me feel secure. Now I have a recipe for everyone. Beef Tamales

2 lbs. of corn mix (ex. Masa Harina)
1 lb. of Roast beef
1/2 cube soft margarine (I will probably end up using butter this time)
1/2 bag chile pasilla
3 T. olive oil
2 cloves garlic
1 T. flour
1 t. baking powder
1 bay leaf
1/4 t. cumin
1/4 t. marjoram
4 small green tomatoes (also known as tomatillos)
1/4 of an onion

Cook the roast beef in 1 qt. water. Add onion and salt to taste. Cook approx. 2 hrs. After meat is cooked, take meat and shred. Save beef broth. Cook chile pasilla in 2 c. water. Add the tomatillos to chile and cook 15-20 minutes. After blending in blender for 2 minutes strain through a strainer. Fry the flour with oil until brown. Mix the chile pasilla sauce with the flour and oil. Add shredded meat with 1 c. of beef broth. Then add the rest of the spices to sauce and boil 20 min.

Dough: Put the corn mix in a bowl. Add the margarine and remaining beef broth to corn mix. Add baking powder and salt to taste. Mix for 25 min. by hand or with mixer. Soak the corn husks in hot water for 30 min. Rinse with cold water. Spread light layer of dough on corn husks. Add meal sauce. Fold tamales. Put to one side. Put in tamale pot with corn husks. Simmer for 1-1/2 hours. Optional: You can also add olives.

11 posted on 11/30/2006 1:11:11 PM PST by HungarianGypsy
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To: Dick Bachert

Hallelujah and a big AMEN! Merry Christmas to you as well.

12 posted on 11/30/2006 2:17:48 PM PST by girlscout
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To: HungarianGypsy

Thanks Gypsy! Tamales have been a family Christmas Eve favorite for as long as I can remember.

13 posted on 11/30/2006 2:18:59 PM PST by girlscout
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To: HungarianGypsy

Christmas tamales! I have mine in the freezer, because I have a large number of suppliers, lol. Every single mamacita in my 'hood. Door-to-door.

Laura Bush announced this morning on GMA during her preview of the White House Christmas tour that they will, as always, be having their traditional Christmas tamales in the White House for Christmas dinner.

The BIG NEWS, additionally, was that for the first time, another of the Christmas dinner offerings will be:


It took this long for her to talk the chef into it!

CFS rules!

14 posted on 11/30/2006 5:43:31 PM PST by Rte66
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To: HungarianGypsy
Well, I tried to post on the Kraft Guacamole Dip thread, but it has been pulled because it was from the LA Times. Boo!

I wanted to say that I eat avocados all year round, but seldom make guacamole anymore (and only tasted that silly Kraft Dip once - who in the world would confuse that with real guacamole, or expect it to *be* guacamole?).

It's because I just really, really like the vaccum-packed Classic Guacamole. It's perfect, to me, because it won't go brown when I just want a little bit and need to put it back in the fridge for another day - and because it can be frozen.

One of my friends thinks it's too acidic from the lime juice - but I like that and I especially like how garlicky it is. I highly recommend it, compared with finding good ripe avocados (altho the same company vacuum-packs avocado halves, too, so that's not a problem anymore) and saving the seed to put in the guacamole, then all the work involved to make it just right.

Love this stuff!

15 posted on 11/30/2006 6:07:25 PM PST by Rte66
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To: Rte66

Love that stuff, do you store it in the bag it comes in or put it in something else? I have always taken it out of the bag and then covered it with saran wrap which does a pretty good job of keeping it from going brown on me. Just wondered if there was an easier way.


16 posted on 11/30/2006 8:07:14 PM PST by Cudjo
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To: Cudjo

I just snip the corner off the bag and squeeze out whatever I need, then kinda roll the bag back down from the corner I snipped.

The first time I did it and the corner was accidentally left open, I was amazed that it never turned brown, so I'm pretty confident in it. I was more afraid to take it out like you do, but evidently, that's OK, too.

I like it on burgers sometimes, so I took one package (of the two in the box) and put it into little cups to freeze it - then put those little frozen dollops in a Ziploc, so I'd have just a little bit to put on my burgers.

If I thought of it in advance, I'd just take one out and put it down in the fridge for a while; otherwise, just put it straight on the hot burger and it would be thawed before I even took a bite.

I also love it just as a side salad on top of some shredded lettuce, like in Mexican restaurants. I found I could freeze small amounts of shredded lettuce if I mix it with a salad dressing or other "oily" coating - so I mix a little bit of Classic Guac with it and freeze it in little patties in small plastic containers - then put those in Ziplocs.

Then I can thaw out some Guac and lettuce both in the fridge for my salad. Yumm!

17 posted on 11/30/2006 8:18:36 PM PST by Rte66
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To: All

Don't think I could ever impersonate another poster or hide my posting identity if the word *vacuum* is in the post, lol.

My most consistent typo! My fingers think hitting "c" twice is the same as hitting "u" twice ... almost every time! Sorry to spelling police I may have offended.

18 posted on 11/30/2006 8:25:42 PM PST by Rte66
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To: HungarianGypsy
Not that quick and not really a Christmas recipe but a nice warm meal on a cold night

19 posted on 12/01/2006 5:22:38 AM PST by snugs ((An English Cheney Chick - BIG TIME))
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To: snugs
Re post 9 - life intervened but will attempt to do tonight.
20 posted on 12/01/2006 5:26:36 AM PST by snugs ((An English Cheney Chick - BIG TIME))
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