Turning Everyday Food into Holiday Sensations
"Then he slunk to the ice box. He took the Whos' feast, he took the who pudding, he took the roast beast. He cleaned out that ice box as quick as a flash. Why, the Grinch even took their last can of Who hash."
I love trolling the book sales for holiday recipe books and magazines. Everything tastes better when it is sprinkled with holiday magic. Not only cookies and desserts, but breakfast lunch and dinner, too! A large part of the holidays involves food and get-togethers around the table. Why else would the Grinch bother stealing the holiday food out of the Who's refrigerator if he didn't think it was an important part of celebrating the holidays?
However, I am a lazy cook when it comes to whipping up something special for the holidays. I like celebrating, don't get me wrong. I just want to use plain old everyday food and turn it into that festive food everyone loves, especially the kids. And let's face it, there's always a little kid in each of us when it comes to the holidays.
A good compromise for my style of food and fun is to troll the book sales for holiday recipe books and magazines. I found some great ideas to make ordinary food turn into holiday fun, starting with Christmas morning:
From the McCormick website, I fell in love with these Christmas Tree Waffles. While you may use their “from-scratch” recipe, the food coloring can go into any waffle mix, as long as you have a circular waffle iron.
You can also create Christmas characters out of pancakes by adding any red or green fruits, spreads and sauces, like those pictured below.
For side dishes, I love to arrange veggies or fruit into holiday shapes, like this tray of watermelon slices. I've made veggie trays of green, red and yellow sweet pepper slices, which form the boughs of a Christmas Tree. Don't like to shape? Just arrange your veggies in rows of green and red! Easy to arrange and creates a wow factor. If you're serving a dip or sauce with your fruit or veggies, you can sprinkle red and green candies for fruits, and chopped scallions and red pepper for veggies, and you have instant holiday!
When it comes to dessert, I have two things that are my go-to foods: rice krispie treats and jello.
With rice krispie treats, there's a whole world of holiday "crafting" open to you. Shape them with your hands, use molds, color them, dip them, decorate them - I have done it all. Just be careful if you decided to color them. I always end up with red and green fingers!
Admit it, rice krispie treats are not just for kids! If there's a plate of assorted sweet treats in front of me and those crunchy goodies are on there, they're mine! And they are so easy to change into holiday goodies. And so easy to take along to a party, or give away to departing guests. Win-win!
As for Jello, I have made a seven-layer "cake" whose layers are colored with Jello, jigglers shaped with holiday cookie cutters and a Jello mold made with lime Jello and whole strawberries.
My favorite dessert presentation is to make Jello in clear glasses. Tip the glass while the Jello is chilling for a new slant on style. Add some whipped cream and a couple sprigs of mint or a strawberry for extra pizzazz.
When it comes to giving a party, whether for family, neighbors or your child's classroom, making the food as festive as the decorations and cards goes a long way toward being the ultimate hostess (or room mom).
We're all crafters here. Changing up your media from paper and ink to food stuffs and food coloring will be easy! Your art will go a long way toward putting everyone in the holiday spirit, including yourself!
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