I love Christmas time, the decoration, the music, I even love Christmas shopping and wrapping presents. I do try and make sure everything like Christmas presents are bought long before the madness so that probably helps keep my love for the season so strong. But one killer for most people is the stress of the Christmas meal. Even myself, a lover of cooking even for large groups and a lover of the season, finds myself more stressed then I need to be. So I have come up with 5 tips that are helping me with my sanity this year and I hope that they help you. One thing that I am doing is making these tasty bread rolls several weeks before hand so that they are ready to do on the day without too much hassle.
1. Write down your Christmas dinner in menu form. Seeing all the dishes you are planning on making on paper will help you better figure out if you are overdoing it. I often just have an idea in my head of all the things I want to do and just get the ingredients and start doing it, only to discover I am doing way too much and haven’t planned enough time to do it all. Write out all the dishes, how long they take to prep and cook and see if it is even possible for you to make all the dishes with the amount of oven space and hob space you have.
2. Cook ahead. In part with the writing down figure out what dishes can be made ahead of time to lighten the load on Christmas day. For example this year we have decided to start cooking the turkey the day before. We have so many people round the table that we never get to set the bird down on the table to display any way so this year to make life easier we are cooking the bird and slicing it so it can be reheated the next day. This is going to free up our oven for other things like our roast vegetables and stuffing. It will also ensure a prompt dinner start as the turkey is often the thing that takes even longer then you predicted.
3. Don’t be afraid to delegate. If you are like me you bite off more then you can chew every year. This year we have 20 adults and 3 kids to feed. Plus I have a 8 week old baby that also needs me so there is no way it would be sensible to do it all on my own. So instead this year we are dividing the load amongst us and doing as much as possible the days leading up to Christmas so the day can be spend fellowshipping together and not spent stressing over cooking. Because lets face it, even if you love cooking like myself it can be very stressful on the day.
4. Don’t experiment on the day. Have a new dish you have been wanting to try on Christmas day that you have never done before. TEST IT BEFORE HAND! Do not attempt something you have never done on the day. You are only opening the door to a stressful day and possibly a dinner failure on Christmas day when all the shops are closed. Either stick to what you are familiar or test the dish out a few weeks before hand.
5. Don’t go overboard with fancy table decor. I know you have been pouring over images in Pintrest all year feeling like a failure compared to the lavish table displays you see. But first of all most of the amazing things you find on pintrest are from photoshoots where the photographer had all the time in the world to setup their table, no hungry people wondering where the food is. Also remember your table is going to be full of food so unless you have a table that is big enough you are going to end up having to remove most of the decorations before the food is put on the table which kind of defeats the point. Instead stick to small simple ideas that can be prepared the day before and be delegated to someone else to setup on the day.
Remember Christmas should be a fun, wonderful day spent with family so don’t allow it to become a stressful environment and open up the possibility of stress related arguments on the day.
Make ahead bread rolls
400g strong bread brown flour
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp easy-blend dried yeast
1 tsp caster sugar
250mL warm water
I want to go a little bit off topic for a second. Have you ever heard the phrase “You don’t know what you have until it is gone”? I actually hate the phrase. I think one of the most important things we can do is stop and appreciate what we have because if we only realise what we had when it is gone then we aren’t paying enough attention to life and it is passing us by. I am unbelievable blessed and I know it. With family that is incredibly supportive, a child that amazes me every day and mostly with a husband who is the most incredible partner in life. So today I wanted to share a recipe that is special because it is the first thing he ever cooked for me when we got together. It is such a simple breakfast but it has become a special treat that he makes me from time to time and every time he does it reminds me how blessed I am to have someone like him in my life.
Scrambled Eggs on Cheesy Toast
2 eggs per person
2 slices of toast per person
Wouldn’t you know it right when I am finally feeling better physical wise I end up having lots of technical difficulties with the blog as well as my computer. I only just got my computer back from having the hard disk replaced when I turned it on one day to find these horrible pink lines going all over the screen and it wouldn’t load. Come to find out the video card is bad and has to be replaced. So I am minus my computer and having to use my husband’s laptop which doesn’t have Photoshop loaded. Then I run an update on WordPress only to have it crash the website. So all in all it has been a bad time for Laura and technology. But I found a recipe that I can share until I get the computer back up and running that is so simple I shouldn’t even call it a recipe. Avocado toast is in my opinion the best breakfast ever. If I had cheaper and better access to fresh avocados I would probably eat it every day and never get tired of it. It is something that for me has been a dish that has just always existed so it seems funny when I tell people about it and they look at me like I have two heads. If it sounds like an odd thing I want to challenge you to give it a try because not only is it simple and delicious but it is a very wholesome way to start the day.
If you have already enjoyed avocado toast and enjoy serving it another way I would love to hear it. While I love the standard I am always up for new ways to jazz up my favourite breakfast.
Salt and Pepper to taste
I had no idea what eggy bread was when I first got together with my husband. He would talk about breakfasts that he loved as a child and this was one of them. But not being a fan of french toast I never gave it much thought. But a year ago I got curious about the difference, I knew there had to be something different because my eggy bread loving husband didn’t like french toast either. As far as recipe and cooking methods there isn’t a big difference between the two. But the biggest difference is eggy bread tends to be less sweet. In fact many people, my husband included would never thing to add something sweet to their eggy bread. It is a dish that to their mind should always be savoury. So after looking it up the idea of a more savoury version of french toast did appeal to me. I know this makes me very un-American but I really don’t like sweet things for breakfast. I know it is an American staple to serve breakfast with lots of sugar, syrup and cream but it is just not what I want first thing in the morning. Eggy bread like french toast is very simple to throw together and paired with some bacon is my idea of a perfect way to start the day.
8 slices of thick white toast
60mL (1/4 c.) milk
1 Tbsp dried mixed herbs
salt and pepper to taste
So this week Sunday Supper is talking about recipes to prepare for your Super Bowl party. Now we aren’t a football family, and even if we were living outside of the US we don’t have access to watching the Superbowl. But what we do love is party food so any excuse for fingerfood and we are ready for the challenge. I really wanted to make something unique that I have never attempted before. Chris has been asking me to make Buffalo chicken wings for a while but for this post I wanted something a little outside of the box and chose Buffalo Chicken filled Pull-Apart Bread. After failing to find anyone else who has attempted this I decided I was on my own and needed to experiment. It is always interesting when you experiment with recipes. Sometimes I play around with a recipe several times before I share it but this time I decided to post it as is and share the lessons I learned while making it.
First off I decided to be “clever” and make this dish somewhat healthier by taking a bread recipe of mine and adding a lot of extra wholegrain goodness. This is not recommended, the dough was very hard to work with and make the appetizer too heavy. Also since this takes a while to roll out each dough ball I would recommend using something like pre-made dinner roll dough. If you do use the bread recipe I used then I recommend using all white bread flour.
Don’t forget to check out the other amazing game time food ideas from the rest of the #SundaySupper crew.
Buffalo Chicken filled Pull-Apart Bread
500g (1 lb) diced chicken
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
60mL (1/4 c.) hot sauce (I used Franks Hot Sauce)
80g (1 c.) Cheddar
80g (1 c.) Mozzarella