"To eat is a necessity, but to eat intelligently is an art." - La Rochefoucauld

Sunday, November 14, 2010

The boys making our annual holiday popcorn balls.

The kids having fun decorating the Christmas tree.

Holiday Traditions!

As the holidays approach, I always try to come up with family traditions. I love the idea of my kids, when they are all grown, smelling a certain food and having a rush of family memories come back to them. Food brings such comfort and love. My mom and grandmas spent hours in the kitchen over the years, slaving over holiday dinners for our family. They hardly would even sit down...they were so busy rushing around making sure every one had what they needed. They never complained about their food being cold, they were just happy to have us all gathered around the table, enjoying a meal together. If that isn't love, I don't know what is...

I have copied many traditions from friends and families. Here are some of my current food/holiday traditions:

1. Halloween: Homemade Sloppy Joes in the crock pot, stolen with love from my mother-in-law.

2. Thanksgiving Weekend: We make huge batches of Monkey Munch and deliver it to the NICU nurses that have to work on the holiday.

3. Decorating the Christmas tree day: Make popcorn balls. See recipe below. My vision for this is to string popcorn for the tree and have a contest for who can come up with the best tasting popcorn balls.

4. Christmas Eve Dinner: My dad always makes an amazing Pasta Fagioli soup that we eat before dinner. It is wonderful and always makes me think of our family Christmas.

5. Christmas Morning: Monkey bread. My husband always complains that we don't have a lot of junk food in the house but for the holidays, I like to mix it up and make some naughty food for the fam. We all deserve special treats from time to time.

That is all I have come up with so far. I am hoping to come up with something for New Years, Easter and the fourth of July. I know...it is pretty cheesy. I just know how much I enjoyed our family traditions and would love to do the same for my kiddies.

Here is the popcorn ball recipe. I looked high and low for a healthy one. Many of the popcorn ball recipes use corn syrup. This one had all of the favorites and was soooo yummy.

  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 5 cups hot-air popped popcorn--Be sure NOT to use microwave popcorn. Microwave popcorn has toxic carcinogenic chemicals in the lining of the bag. (Please know I am not telling anyone this to make them paranoid. I am just stating the facts. My opinion is that knowledge is power. The more knowledge we have about the food we eat, the healthier we will be.)
  • butter for handling
1. Place air-popped popcorn in a large bowl and set aside.

2. In a 2-quart microwave-safe bowl, combine honey, sugar, cinnamon and 1 tablespoon of softened organic butter. Microwave for 40 seconds.

3. Pour honey mixture over popcorn and stir to coat with a wooden spoon then set aside to cool.

4. After thoroughly washing your hands first, butter your hands then shape popcorn into balls.

Makes 6 popcorn balls.


Christine said...

Cute post! I love traditions!! Can you post a recipe for monkey bread and monkey munch!!! xo

Kelly O. said...

Love food traditions! I used to do popcorn balls for Halloween (giving out to the kids we knew for trick or treat) but my recipe used JELLO and it was such a sticky gooey mess that I couldn't hardly get the pot clean let alone everything else. Going to try this recipe!

Christina said...

love reading about the traditions and that photo of jake holding his baby photo is the BEST!

Learning As I Go Blog said...

Thank you!!! Christine just shared the cutest holiday tradition! Every year, her nieces expect a visit from the candy witch...a few days after Halloween. She collects the candy in exchange for a gift for the kids. Then the "witch" donates the candy. What a great idea...give the kids a few days to enjoy the candy and then say "SEE YA!" Sooo cute! Thanks, Christine! XO Danielle

Maria said...

Danielle- I got your family a "tradtition" gift for Christmas so I can't tell you about it now....it's soooooo cute! We do the turkey trot every thanksgiving and christmas carol at the senior home the weekend before christmas! For our anniversary-we watch our vows, I have a anniversary book and we video tape/interview each other. I got that one from danielle. It's so fun to look back at the skinny me with a cat in the background to the pregnant me then to having ruby babbling in the background!

emily said...

fun! we make popcorn balls (the old fashioned kind with corn syrup) at my mom's for the holidays every year, along with loads of cookies, but i'm going to swap it out for your recipe this year. our annual traditions include going out to cut down our christmas tree the day after thanksgiving and decorating it that weekend, while watching our favorite christmas movies and drinking hot chocolate. looking so forward to starting some new holiday traditions with harper, too. love your ideas.