If you’re anything like me, you’re probably pretty busy right now. Maybe you still have baking you want to do, shopping you need to take care of, oh-dear-God-you-forgot-a-gift-for-Uncle-Henry, or maybe you have guests coming over for dinner.
(Did you clean your baseboards? They’ll look you know. Better get on that.)
This time of year always makes me a little nostalgic, so I’ve been thinking about past Christmases — actually Christmas Eves, because that was always the bigger holiday for my family. That was when the entire family would gather together. There’d be a big meal, the gifts would be opened, then we’d go to the candlelight service at church.
But now that I’m an adult, things are quite different. We celebrate on Christmas morning, because Husband always works Christmas Eve, I don’t cook a big dinner because frankly, I don’t want to cook a big dinner, and this year we’re going to see Star Wars on Christmas Day because … well, it sounds like good fun, so we’re going to do it.
Which brings me to my main point in writing today: However you choose to celebrate Christmas or not celebrate Christmas, I wish you the most joyous worship service/gift-giving-melee/merely a day off work that you ever had. Far be it from me to preach to you how you should celebrate the day, or throw some corny slogan at you.
(I’m sorry, but exactly how many people have seen a church sign with the words “Jesus is the Reason for the Season” and thought, “Oh wow, what a perfect rhyme! My life is changed! I shall now forsake all my ways and join this church!”)
My apologies if I sound kind of snarky. Cheesy rhymes do that to me.
Speaking of holidays though, I’ve noticed a few bloggers are using this time to take a short hiatus from their blogs. Which I think sounds rather brilliant, so I’ll be joining their ranks. My next new post will be January 2.
But just so you don’t forget me, next Wednesday I’ll find some old post to throw at you again. That might be tricky since I haven’t been in this game for a full year yet, but I’ll dig something up. Never you fear.
Moving on, I have a few recipes I want to share with you. Well, actually that’s a lie. I’m going to give you a couple of links to soup recipes and only give you one of my recipes.
When I started thinking about what sort of soup was traditional for Christmas, I could only think of two, neither of which I make.
First up: Back when we lived in the Midwest, we discovered it was a tradition for many families to have oyster stew on Christmas Eve. I don’t know how it originated, the people who invited us to their homes didn’t know either (I asked). Anyway, I’m not opposed to oysters, per se. There are many ways I like them, but swimming in a milky broth isn’t one of them.
But then I got to thinking that maybe I wasn’t having good oyster stew, so I checked Saveur.com, which can always be trusted for great recipes, and I found this. I didn’t make it, but I found it. (I’m not about to shuck 28 oysters for soup.) If you have your heart set on oyster stew, give it a go. I’ll be interested in hearing how it turns out.
Next up: For the past four years, following our Christmas Eve service, we go to a family’s house for a traditional Ukrainian meal called Sviata (or something like that). Actually, this is Son’s ex-girlfriend’s family, whom he’s still good friends with and we’re still good friends with and yes, it’s all very strange, but whatever. They’re good people and the meal is yummy. It includes 12 meatless dishes, including two soups.
One is a sweet poppy seed soup with wheat berries that tastes more like a breakfast cereal than a soup, but it’s rather good. No idea how to make it or even what it’s called. The other one is a beet soup, like borsch. This was the first time I ever had beet soup and I was surprised how much I liked it. Still haven’t made it though, but here’s the recipe I’ll use when I get around to it.
Okay, so now for the recipe I actually make: Hot Fudge Pudding Cake. This has become my standard Christmas Day dessert because it’s easy, fast, and chocolaty good. It’s not fancy, but it’s delicious, and that’s all that really matters.
Hot Fudge Pudding Cake
Heat oven to 350 degrees.
In a 9-inch square baking pan, mix together:
- 1 cup flour
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 2 and 1/2 tablespoons cocoa
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
Using a fork, mix in:
- 1/2 cup milk
- 3 Tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Stir until smooth. In a small bowl, mix together:
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/3 cup cocoa
Sprinkle over top of batter; don’t stir in. Pour over top:
- 1 and 3/4 cup very hot water
Again, don’t stir. Bake in 350 degree oven for 40 minutes.
Serve warm with ice cream or whipped cream, spooning the sauce over the top. Yum!
Tip: To make it easier, mix together the dry portions ahead of time and put them in ziploc bags with labels (“cake mix” & “topping”). That way when you’re ready for dessert, you can assemble it lickety-split and enjoy your holiday that much more.