It’s just about to be the most amazing time of the year. You’re almost done with finals, and you’re tired, hungry, and ready for a well-deserved Winter Break. Hot cocoa, warm blankets, and fires at home are about to make for a relaxing holiday vacation away from those dreadful things we call textbooks and lectures. Here are some tips and ideas well worth doing in order to make this almost month-long holiday extra special:
A. Get out the baking sheets, sugar, butter, and flour. It’s time to bake. You can’t spend time off without baking. Decorate sugar cookies with your little sisters and brothers. You’ll be sure to brighten their days. To make the process even more fun, cut the dough into cute shapes like reindeers and stockings.
B. Wrap! It doesn’t matter the size of the gift or even necessarily what the gift is. If it’s wrapped nicely, it makes all the difference in the world. Whether you’re wrapping up a package of chocolate covered cherries for your neighbor or an expensive piece of jewelry for your mom, the paper and bows must be super pretty!
C. Cook some delicious food! You’re sick of dorm food and you’re sick of having to heat up cheap meals in your apartment back at school, so why not cook up some delicious food? It’s always fun to make dinner for your family or boyfriend. They’ll love it. Here are some of my personal favorite recipes that are always a hit with my friends and family:
Herb-Baked Eggs (Serves 4)
1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Grease four ramekins with butter and line each one with one piece of ham.
2. Beat up three eggs, 1 tsp. of prepared mustard, and ¼ c of plain yogurt. Stir in ¼ c of shredded Cheddar cheese.
3. In another bowl, mix together 2 ½ tsp. of freshly-chopped chives and 2 ½ tsp. of freshly-chopped parsley. Add ½ of these herbs to the egg mixture.
4. Stir the new mixture and divide it evenly into the ramekins. Sprinkle with the leftover herbs and ½ c cheese.
5. Bake the eggs for 25-30 minutes. When they’re finished, turn them out onto serving plates and enjoy!
Appetizer – GREAT for a holiday party:
1. In a large bowl or a food processor, combine the following ingredients: 2 c sour cream, 1 c mayonnaise, 1 (1.8 oz) package of dry leek soup mix, 1 (10 oz.) package of frozen, chopped, & well-drained spinach, ½ c chopped parsley, ½ c chopped green onions, and 1 tsp. dry dill.
2. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Enjoy with assorted raw vegetables such as snap peas and baby carrots, or eat with sourdough bread dippers baked in the oven until slightly crispy.
Roasted Butternut Squash Soup & Curry Condiments
1. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Cut 3-4 lbs. of butternut squash (peeled and seeded), 2 Red Delicious apples (peeled and cored), and 2 yellow onions into 1-in. cubes.
2. Place chopped items into a bowl and toss with 3 T olive oil, 1 tsp. salt, and ½ tsp. pepper. Divide onto two sheet pans, spread out in a single layer. Roast for 35-45 minutes.
3. Heat up 2-4 cups chicken stock (depending on how thin or thick you want your soup to be) until it simmers.
4. Put vegetables into a food processor or a Vitamix and blend until smooth or coarse – your preference.
5. When everything is well mixed, placed the blended soup into a large pot and add the chicken stock. Add in ½ tsp. of curry powder, 1 tsp. salt, and ½ tsp pepper.
6. Reheat soup and serve with chopped green onions sliced diagonally, toasted coconut flakes, chopped roasted & salted cashews, and diced banana.
Trust me, you’ll wow your guests with these dishes. They’re to die for.
D. Put your cell phones down and really cherish the moments you have with your family and loved ones. The holidays only come once a year; you can add a picture to your Instagram or update your Facebook status anytime. Turn on some Mariah Carey Christmas music (only the best, of course) and RELAX.
Sources: "California Sizzles" cookbook, "Marlene Sorosky's Cookery for Entertaining" cookbook, and "Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics" cookbook.