Readying for Christmas | Press Banner Community – The Tracy Press

   My refrigerator is practically empty, with only a few jars of condiments and a vegetable or two gracing its shelves.  I have created two major Christmas party menus and have spent the last few days of this month writing a long grocery list; its length, for a single person, seems a bit overwhelming. 

   Not so for the past two years.  Those years I was simply over-whelmed with grief in losing my beloved Hubby, who I have written so much about in these past columns.  I have come to realize that no one benefits from this sad behavior of mine.   Hubby Norm, who, when I would bring up sad memories from the past, would tell me to ‘put that behind you, forget about it and move forward.’ 

   I believe I have found a way to do just that, a way in which others will benefit as well as myself.  VOLUNTEER MORE.  And so I have.

   I have, once again, volunteered to ‘Ring the Bell’ for the Salvation Army’s Kettle in Felton on the weekends.  Now the benefit from this is two-fold.  One…the money that will benefit those who need so much, and two, myself who will have the benefit of watching people giving to others and the wonderful conversations I will have with those donors. 

   In the past I have had a gentleman bring me hot cookies directly from his oven and a woman brought me hand warmers from the CVS pharmacy next door, and I am thanked over and over for my service. 

   I like to ask the shoppers what type of dinners are going to be cooked on the big day, i.e., are you an omnivore, one who will have a turkey or a roast beef in their oven or will there be a platter of fish or simply veggies on their table. 

   Over the past years of being in charge of which foods my family ate, I have had to adjust to the new words being introduced into my vocabulary regarding food types, the Paleo Diet Movement which began in the 1990s. was one of them.  Keeping in mind that I am not an expert regarding any of these diets, I have refrained from cooking only one type of food group, and always eager to try any of the new foods which seem to crop up quite often, coming from different countries, all made possible by plane and ship.

   The Paleo Diet is followed by people that believe in eating only foods that are high in nutrients, unprocessed and based on the foods that were available and eaten by humans in Paleolithic times.  Excluded from this group are dairy and grains.

   Opposing this diet is the group called Vegetarians.  The sub-groups are either Lacto-vegetarians (no animal-based foods except for eggs, dairy and honey), Fruitarians, Pescatarians(fish) vegetarians, and Vegans, no animal-based foods including honey.

   There is the Raw Foodism group whose food is three-quartered uncooked and ideally organic.

   Many of you are aware of the Mediterranean diet, all foods from this region also including Portugal.

   There have been so many diets over the past which doctors have considered dangerous…one example is the Western diet, high in sweets and fried foods, the Keto diet which reduces carbs and ups fat intake.  The Atkins diet which is hi protein and fat, and the Zone diet which included 40% carbs, 30% proteins and 30 % fats.

   Holiday dinners, as far as I believe, must include traditional foods…turkey or roast beef, gravy, potatoes of some sort, green beans, fruit salad (sometimes a green one) and always, ALWAYS, my aunt’s Parker House dinner rolls.  Ohh…those soft, billowy rolls, hot from the oven, slathered with butter and always at the ready to ‘sope up’ the gravy.  The smells these buttery rolls produce while the turkey is resting remain long after the dinner is finished remain with you always.   Make these rolls for those you love, you will be ever so happy you did and so will they. 

   Should we meet across the ‘red kettle’ while you are shopping, say hello and tell me about a new or old recipe you will be cooking for the ‘big dinner’.  Happy Cooking!

Aunt Betty’s Parker House Rolls…makes 18-20 three-inch rolls.

In large bowl combine:

3 cups all-purpose flour

½ cup instant mashed potato flakes

¼ cup nonfat dry milk

2 ½ tsp. (1 packet) dry yeast

3 Tbsp. gran. sugar

1 ¼ tsp. salt

Add using mixer’s dough hook…

6 Tbsp. very soft butter (not melted)

1 cup warm water

   (dough may be a little sticky on bottom which is OK).

Knead with mixer running on slow for 6 minutes.

Place in well-buttered bowl and cover.  Place in warm

   spot until doubled in size.

Butter your breadboard and turn out dough.  Using a

   large spoon, cut pieces of dough about 3 Tbsps. in

   size and lightly form a ball, pulling and tucking edges

   under to form a smooth top.  Place in well-buttered pan.

   Cover and place in warm spot until doubled in size.

Bake in preheated oven @350 deg. for 20-25 min. or

   until nicely browned.  Remove from oven and

   generously brush with melted butter.   These freeze well.

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