The Christmas and New Year holidays are upon us again. Many are saying "How'd they get here so fast" or "I have no time to get anything done." Well, if you are one of these people, take a deep breath and get organized.
Figure your guest count. Determine how many meals you need to plan. Make a list (not your Christmas gift one either) of what needs to be done. Get rid of any items you truly don't have time to do. Now put the list in order by days of what you need to accomplish on each one. Big tasks look and are much easier when you break them down. Then just worry each day about what you need to be doing that day. If you attack each day this way, the big day or days will be a piece of cake for you.
Besides the meals to satisfy the company that will be dining with you during these days. What else to you want to do special for the holidays? Do you want to make holiday treats or breads (sweet or savory) for guests and/or give to special friends to enjoy?
Unless you have lots of time or start early in November, I'd limit the number of different types of items. Each year I make different jellies, jams and salsas early for holiday gift giving too. I like doing 3 or 4 different specialties that I do well. All though I will add an item or two if they are quick and easy at the last minute. I also like to add a new item each year to help with the variety. If it is a big hit, then I'll bring it back the next year and drop something else.
I usually ask our children what their top two desires are for this season. Surprisingly it does change over time. This year for the first time I can remember, all four had the same item as their top one. That item was My Favorite Thumb Print Cookie (V). The recipe says 2 dozen for what you'll get out of it. But the scoop that I use gives me around 2 1/2 dozen. I also double the recipe when I make it and get about 5 dozen cookies per batch.
There are already several good holiday recipes on the "Desserts & Baking Recipe" tap above besides this one. Be sure and check them out. Also great ideas for those holiday meals you're planning too.
Let's talk candy for the holidays. I think most people shy away from this because they think it is too difficult. Not always true. What it does take is having the right equipment for the recipe. The most important one is probably a "candy thermometer" to make sure you reach the correct temperatures required for a particular recipe. Another is following the recipe and it's instructions. If you have everything ready before you start and have the equipment needed, candy can be fun and easy. Not to mention the bonus of having to taste your results before you let others.
Just to give you a taste of the ease and fun that candy making can be, I've got two recipes for you this week. I'm starting you with ones that don't require any special equipment. They are both easy to make (fool proof all most), taste great and will give you the desire to try more recipes. The first is "Easy Fool Proof Fudge." The second one is for "Whole Frosted Pecans." Please give them a try and share your results with friends and family.
"Happy Cooking" until next week.