Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Holiday preparations

Well, its the week before Christmas and I'm happy to say that we're in pretty good shape.

All 125 holiday cards went out in last Friday's mail.  This year I used mostly coastal-themed cards with lovely beachy Christmas scenes.  Some had a lighthouse adorned with a wreath and garland, another had 3 decorated Christmas trees on the beach, another had a coastal home/barn/lighthouse decorated with lights, and other had a wreath adorned with ribbon, starfish, sand dollars, and sea shells.  Its a Coastal Christmas!

All gifts have been purchased.  We're still awaiting the arrival of some of the gifts, so the wrapping certainly isn't done yet, but at least we know everything is either here or is on its way.  Tomorrow I'm off so I'm going to wrap everything that's here.  The items currently en-route will be wrapped on Sat. I'll also do all the baking on Sat.

And I've already planned what I'm baking to take with us.  My initial plan was to bake cookies, but I've since decided against that.  First, cookies are labor-intensive.  Although we have 3 racks in our oven and can bake 3 trays simultaneously, you've still got to move the trays around so the bottom ones don't bake faster than the upper ones, then they've all got to be transferred to cooling racks, then once cooled, transferred to cookie tins.  Second, my sister-in-law always brings a huge platter of assorted homemade cookies, so mine would just be extra.

So instead of cookies, I've decided to bake brownies.  Specifically, I'm baking Mounds brownies and Reese's brownies.  For the Mounds brownies I'll take a box brownie mix and add chocolate chips and coconut.  For the Reese's brownies I'll add chocolate chips and peanut butter chips to a box brownie mix.  I can bake them in disposal foil pans which will transport easily and will save me lots of time over baking cookies.

I'm also going to bake a pair cake.  My recipe is also simple like the brownies and doesn't require lots of extra handling.  I'll start with a yellow box cake mix, pour 1/4 of the batter into the round pan, then place pair halves in the pan, then pour the balance of the batter in and bake.  Once out of the oven, I'll pour a combination of pair juice and St Germaine liqueur over the top to create a 'wet cake'.  Just before serving I'll dust the top with confectioner's sugar.

I'll also bake breakfast casseroles for Christmas morning.  They consist of hash brown potatoes, eggs, cheese, cooked maple sausage links, milk, and salt and pepper.  I bake these at home on Sat in ceramic baking pans, let them cool, then refrigerate.  On Christmas morning we'll warm them in the oven and enjoy.

I hear TV/radio commercials, see Facebook posts and hear actual people talking about how "stressful the holidays are" and I think to myself "they're really only as stressful as you allow them to be".  If you feel you must make 50 dozen homemade cookies, then I guess it could be stressful.  But YOU have the ability to make different decisions that can result in less or no stress during the holidays, like making brownies instead of cookies, or making bake-ahead food that just needs to be warmed up.  Mostly, being prepared and not waiting until the last minute are the best stress-reducers.

Its up to YOU.


Sixpence Notthewiser said...

Yum! Now I want brownies.

anne marie in philly said...

I second sixpence on the brownies!

and yeah, fuck dat "gotta do everything" xmess shit! do what ya feel you can handle and the rest can go to hell.