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Tree-Trimming Food


Chris Amirault
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Off to cut the tree this morning, and I realized that I've never quite figured out the best food for trimming the tree. Criteria:

  • Kid-friendly (12 & 4 1/2 here);
  • Not messy;
  • Ideally, made by all, but made by me is fine;
  • Substantive but snackable.

I've gone with popcorn, cheese cubes, clementines, and Goldfish crackers in the past, none of which really meets all of the criteria. Eager to hear back!

Chris Amirault

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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Spiced nuts are a favorite here at the moment. The egg white method is pretty mess-less and quick. You can custom mix spice blends to taste, which I find lots of fun and am still exploring.

What about some sort of turnover, whether it be empanadas, pasties, calzones or some other variation? (Even potstickers.) Lots of fun to assemble together and you can vary fillings to taste (and to make as kid-friendly and mess free as possible).

Corinna Heinz, aka Corinna

Check out my adventures, culinary and otherwise at http://corinnawith2ns.blogspot.com/

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Agreed on hot chocolate. And hot spiced tea. How about potato skins/stuffed potatos? I use the fairly small ones, convenient to pick up and eat by hand. Having a variety of toppings on hand (bacon, olives, chrimp, cheese, peppers, whatever else strikes your fancy) and condiments (sour cream, more cheese, other dipping sauces), and a convenient broiler means everyone can build their own, and they can be substantive enough to stand for a meal.

Other ideas...popovers, gougeres, a big sandwich built on a baguette and sliced into manageable slices.

Don't ask. Eat it.

www.kayatthekeyboard.wordpress.com

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Spiced cider and plain cider, for the picky ones

Carmel corn with nuts, although it's kinda messy, could be made with gingerbread spices.

Cheese straws, make different flavors with different cheeses

Mini pizzas -make one batch of dough then separate into small rounds, have a toppings bar set up

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what about wraps? choose the fillings and roll, slice if you want finger sized (or are you looking for some thing specifically warm?) Would a fruit & nut/honey stuffed mini brie wheel wrapped in dough and baked be too much trouble (I cheat and use frozen phyllo or crescent roll dough)? Stuffed mushrooms would probably be too labor intensive. You could do mini-quiches. Purchase the pre-made mini pie shells and have a quiche base pre-made then folks could add what ever they want (spinach, crab, bacon, ham, onion, &c) then bake.

Use soft peppermint sticks as straws/stirrers for your hot chocolate, tea, or cider for a festive touch.

in loving memory of Mr. Squirt (1998-2004)--

the best cat ever.

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Instead of cinnamon rolls, use the same dough for mini pizza swirls: roll out the dough, spread with pizza sauce, sprinkle with shredded cheese, diced green peppers or whatever filling, roll and bake as you would cinnamom buns.

These appeared on Day 7 of my 2004 egullet foodblog - towards the bottom of the page.

http://www.hillmanweb.com/soos/foodlog7.html

Dejah

www.hillmanweb.com

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Smoked oysters/chicken livers/water chestnuts wrapped in bacon and baked until crispy were items my mother made for tree-trimming, which, hmmmm, always coincided with my parents' cocktail hour. We kids were in charge of securing the bacon with toothpicks.

Margaret McArthur

"Take it easy, but take it."

Studs Terkel

1912-2008

A sensational tennis blog from freakyfrites

margaretmcarthur.com

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Smoked oysters/chicken livers/water chestnuts wrapped in bacon and baked until crispy were items my mother made for tree-trimming, which, hmmmm, always coincided with my parents' cocktail hour. We kids were in charge of securing the bacon with toothpicks.

My mum always did this with prunes wrapped in bacon when we had company when I was a kid, until everyone stopped eating bacon. :hmmm:

I like the idea of the pizza swirls. We used to get "pepperoni rolls" from our local pizza joint when I lived in NYC. Just pizza dough, some seasonings, and pepperonis. No sauce, which will keep the mess factor down.

Are pigs in blankets too tacky? Maybe a variation on that with nice sausages?

Empanadas with frozen dough (preferably La Salteña, if you can get it) are pretty quick. I made a bunch for a party with a variety of fillings: traditional ground beef, humita (corn in a cheesy white sauce with roasted red peppers), calabaza/pumpkin (squash mash with cinnamon & nutmeg) and pulled pork, which turned out to be the favorite of the night!

Corinna Heinz, aka Corinna

Check out my adventures, culinary and otherwise at http://corinnawith2ns.blogspot.com/

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Interesting that you raise this. The College Student is Now a Vegetarian. We've always done wings, deviled eggs, etc. for our family tree-trimming. What do I do with a veg?

You do nothing beyond frying bacon the first morning they are home. That should take care of the issue right there :smile:

Just cook what you are cooking and try not to chew the inside of your cheeks raw from the stress of it all. No college student has ever starved to death on a visit home. Last one that came into my house piled his plate with everything except the turkey, then slathered the whole plate with gravy. Apparently vegetarian is a rather elastic concept for some kids :laugh:

A big pot of lentil soup in the fridge should help fill any nutritional gaps. And if you are really hard up, I can send you my recipe for pineapple and peanut butter stew with kale. Very vegetarianesque.

Don't try to win over the haters. You're not the jackass whisperer."

Scott Stratten

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Has anyone else mentioned stuffed mushrooms? The easiest (and yet still my favorite) are cremini mushrooms caps, spritzed with olive oil, stuffed with boursin, and baked at 375 for 15-20 minutes until the cheese is browned. My only problem is that I typically try to eat as many of these as possible, and barely manage to leave any for guests!

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For those who are truly veg, and for whom the smell of bacon induces nausea and an urge to flee, any honest attempt would be appreciated.

Mini pizzas don't have to even have cheese, the sauce and vegetables generally cook into an appealing flavor. This can veer off into focaccia territory as well: caramelized onion, sauteed eggplant, all make great toppings.

Mini tostadas (get the round tortilla chips and dress them) can be made with beans, salsa and vegetables -onion, peppers, mushrooms and corn for hot toppings, tomato, lettuce and avocado for cold toppings.

Fries

Sweet Potato Fries

Roasted Cauliflower (trimmed before cooking into smaller chunks) Check the EG thread on this topic.

Stuffed Mushrooms, portabella or otherwise, possibly tucked into puff pastry if they eat dairy...

Hummus plain or flavored

Tabouleh stuffed into cherry tomato cups

assorted olives and pickles

Stuffed grape leaves, stuffed with rice & spices.

Ravioli stuffed with veggies: eggplant, mushroom, purees of squash or broccoli. Served steamed or deep fried.

Eggrolls, spring rolls, summer rolls, etc.

Peanut Noodles

Vegetable Sushi

Finger sandwiches: cucumber sandwiches, watercress sandwiches, almond butter sandwiches, well, you get it...

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Wow, there is so many directions you could go with this, but one thing I always like to do is samosas, carmel popcorn, hot cocoa, bread sticks that I have made and wraped a thin strip of prosciutto around before baking, various olives, or an olive tapenade with chips to dip, spiced nuts. If you wanted more sweets, what is better than classic iced sugar cookies. :wub:

"I eat fat back, because bacon is too lean"

-overheard from a 105 year old man

"The only time to eat diet food is while waiting for the steak to cook" - Julia Child

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We always had caramel corn.

And for the adults, eggnog. Made with bourbon, rum, and a little brandy for the kick (see eggnog thread).

And also for the adults, a bottle of Tuaca sitting alongside the spiced cider. The grownups can add a splash of Tuaca and a dollop of whipped cream to their mug of cider. That makes the most delightful winter drink - a Hot Apple Pie.

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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I've never made them, but Pierogi's Butterscotch Pretzels from the "Holiday Gifts" thread sound like they might fit the bill:

Take a bag (or 2) of butterscotch morsels, and add in about 1T of neutral cooking oil (corn is what I usually use) per bag. Melt in the top of a double boiler. Take the mini-pretzel twists, and dip them into the melted butterscotch. I usually use a roasting fork to flip them over and fish them out. Plop them down on wax paper, and if you're feeling really frisky, sprinkle them with red & green Christmas sprinkly things for a seasonal twist. PURELY decorative, the pretzels taste just swell without them. But they do look nice, you can even find the sprinkly things that look like holly leaves and berries. Let them dry on the wax paper, then peel them off, put them in tins, cartons or baggies and watch your guests turn into drooling fools over them.

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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