Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Specially Christmas: Mandy Style

A few weeks back, in the aftermath of the holidays, I wrote about traditions that make the Christmas holiday special. I also invited people to share stories!

My dear friend Mandy at Twin Trials and Triumphs wrote this beautiful post for me to share here.

It's lovely.

The images and feelings it conjures make me tear up a little bit (in a good way).

It makes my mouth water.

Best of all---she shares of bit of her family's Christmas tradition with all of us!

Thank you, Mandy, for sharing a piece of your soul here.

When I think about the holiday traditions I grew up with, my mind goes right to my grandmother’s house. Our small family would congregate there for all the major holidays, and some minor ones, too…an opportunity to relax, enjoy each others' company, and there was always the most delicious food.

Green beans at Easter…slow-grilled ribs for the summer holidays, along with my aunt’s potato salad (always eaten on the patio, generations’ old quilts lining the swings)…butter beans at Thanksgiving…”knick knacks” at Christmas, including pastrami and mustard on pumpernickel and the world’s best Chex mix.

My heart swells and my mouth waters just thinking about it.

While it saddens me that my girls will never experience the joy of running up the walk to my grandmother’s house, knowing they’d be greeted by the biggest of bear hugs, I am thankful that I can at least pass along some of our family’s recipes to them. I think the senses of taste and smell are so incredibly powerful, and I hope to instill a sense of family in our girls’ hearts with some food traditions of our own.

In our girls’ three years, I have taken some family recipes, as well as some of my own, and have begun to associate certain dishes with particular holidays.

Valentine’s Day = strawberry cake with cream cheese icing.
St. Patrick’s Day = brownies with mint filling.
Easter = carrot cake.
Summer holidays = ribs, baked beans, potato salad, and banana split pie.
Thanksgiving = homemade cranberry sauce and Watergate salad.
Christmas = cinnamon pull-apart bread.

When the girls get a little older and are able to actually help in the kitchen, I have plans to make a photo book of our traditional recipes, complete with pictures of us cooking together. For now, I know they enjoy the yummy food, and I hope one day they’ll enjoy having that record of our own little family’s traditions.

As part of Julia’s Specially Christmas, I’m sharing my Christmas recipe. It’s nothing gourmet, but it’s quite yummy, and easy enough for the hustle and bustle of Christmas morning. And I hope one day that the smell of cinnamon wafting from the oven transports my girls back to the Christmas mornings of their youth.

Cinnamon Pull-Apart Bread

¾ cup granulated sugar
1 Tbsp. ground cinnamon
2 cans (7.5 oz. each) refrigerated buttermilk biscuits
½ cup butter, melted, divided

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut biscuit dough into quarters with scissors. Mix sugar and cinnamon in a large zipper seal bag. Add dough quarters to bag and shake to coat. Place half of coated pieces into greased 12-cup fluted tube pan. Drizzle with ¼ cup melted butter. Top with remaining biscuit quarters and melted butter. Top unbaked loaf with remaining cinnamon sugar mixture. Bake 40 - 45 minutes, or until golden. Let loaf stand 5 minutes and invert onto plate. Top with glaze.

4 oz. cream cheese, softened
½ cup powdered sugar
1 - 2 Tbsp. milk

Beat cream cheese with powdered sugar with electric mixer until well blended. Add milk until desired consistency is reached. Spoon over warm loaf.
From our family to yours…I hope you had a fantastic holiday, filled with wonderful traditions and good eats, too!


MandyE (Twin Trials and Triumphs) said...

Thank you for the beautiful introduction, Julia...and for the opportunity to be a part of your blog family. :)

Once Upon A Time said...

What a good idea! Pinning it to remember. :)

Helene said...

Such fabulous memories! And I love the idea of creating a scrapbook with pics and the recipes for when your girls are older!!!!

Marcia (123 blog) said...

LOVELY post, Mandy, and such kind words, Julia :)