Merry Christmas all! Did you grow up with any Christmas traditions? In our house at Christmas it wasn’t so much about the sweet treats – although we did Christmas baking. It was about the memories that were created from our own Christmas traditions ( and funnily enough none of them cost anything – says something for the simple things in life doesn’t it?).
Here is my list of my fave traditions in our family- what are yours? I’ve also included my step by step instructions of how to make bacon wrapped water chestnuts below.
My Top 5 Fave Traditions Growing Up (in random order)
- Attending Christmas Eve mass complete with Christmas Pageant. I grew up in the country, so every year for Christmas Eve, my parents would bundle my sister and I in our Christmas dresses, and load us up with snowsuits in the car (because you had to be prepared in case you ran off the country roads in the ice/snow(which we did one year) – no cell phones back then!!) and we would go to mass and watch the Christmas story unfold. When we were young my sister and I participated in the pageant and I can remember all the buzz at the back of the church with all the kids getting ready to come out to do their parts. Shepherds, Wise Men, Joesph, Mary, Angels, Sheep & other misc animals. Once we got older it was still delightful to watch the younger kids in the parish participate in the pageant – it makes me smile even now.
- Christmas Pajama’s! Christmas Eve, once we got back to the house from church, we would be allowed to open our one Christmas Eve gift – which was always new PJs – to be worn that night. Somewhere my parents have years of my sister and I in front of the tree wearing matching PJs (in different colours) smiling in anticipation of the big guy coming.
- Listening for Santa sitings on the radio. My parents always found the station that was broadcasting Santa & reindeer sitings around the world. As a child I can remember being glued to the radio listening to where Santa had just been sited.
- Oranges in the fire. We always had wood burning fireplaces in our houses. So Christmas morning, we would burn the wrapping paper in the fire while we were unwrapping presents. Santa always put a mandarin orange in each persons stocking and Mom always had extras out (along with the box of turtles yum!) out to munch on while we unwrapped presents. The orange peels all got thrown in the fire so it made a nice orange smell – funny this was the only time of year we did that!
- Christmas Appy’s/Munchies – I blame my love of tapas and appy’s 100% on my Mom! Our family always grazed through the day on shrimp rings, cheese balls, dips, crackers, cheese & pickles and everyone’s fave – Bacon Wrapped Water Chestnuts! – I mean come on – whats not to like about bacon??? Because I know a lot of you just said Oh, yum! I want those! Here is my recipe – taken from my Mothers origional and Joy-ified a bit.
Mouthwatering Bacon Wrapped Water Chestnuts
What you need:
- 1 LB bacon – cut in half – try to get the low sodium type and less fat
- 1 large can whole water chestnuts (or two smaller cans)
- 1/2 c soy sauce – sodium reduced
- 2 TB brown sugar
- about 4 dozen tooth picks
- Mix the brown sugar and soy sauce together until sugar is dissolved – set aside
- Lay the bacon out on your hand and place a water chestnut on it, then roll it up tucking the ends in
- Use a toothpick to secure the bacon wrapped chestnut together
- Place in tupperware or glass lasagna type pan & pour marinate over
- Place in fridge for a minimum of 2 hours.
- Remove from marinate, place bacon wrapped chestnuts on a cookie sheet or stoneware
- **hint you will need one with edges to keep the grease and excess marinate on the pan and not all over your oven
- Bake slightly higher than the middle rack, at 425 degrees for 20 mins. – you may need to drain off fat/excess marniade part way thru cooking, and then continue to cook until bacon is cooked – EnJOY
- While marinating, flip the bacon over and reinsert the toothpicks to get the flavour all the way thru
- If you don’t want to pour off the fat all the way thru (or think you may lose all the pieces in the sink :), you can place a oven safe rack (like one for a turkey) sprayed with cooking spray on the cookie sheet and place bacon wrapped chestnuts on top – the fat/grease/marinate will drip onto the bottom of the pan and you will be saved a step – note this may shorten cooking time – keep your eyes on them!
What do ya think? Going out to buy some bacon yet? From my kitchen to yours – happy holidays!
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