From my Hart: Christmas Traditions

Sitting around with my family each Thanksgiving morning, watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is one of my favorite things. When Santa & Mrs. Claus make their way in front of Macy’s & officially bring in the Christmas Season, I cannot help but well up inside with joy.

As a matter of fact, watching tentatively for Mr. & Mrs. Clause to close out the parade is the first Christmas tradition I’ve mentioned in this post! In my post on Monday, I made a nod to some of our traditional decorations, & you can read about them here. Aside from decorations, I wanted to share with y’all, some of my most treasured, & albeit quirky, family Christmas traditions!

Puffs:

puffsIt’s fried dough with raisin when you get down to the bare bones of them. But to any “Palm” family member, “puffs” are an old Irish tradition that has been passed down for at least five generations! These delicious breakfast treats are made the night before, and are laid out to rise. On every major holiday, you can guarantee that my Grandmother will be making puffs. Once fried, they are served up hot; my Christmas (& other holiday) morning memories, are made up of this smell! To eat, you cut them in half, add some butter, jam or syrup & enjoy!

Cookie Day:

Screen Shot 2017-11-25 at 1.41.12 PMI would assume it fair to say that most people dedicate a day in December to baking cookies. Each year, we try our best to gather together and bake my Grandmom’s famous sugar cookies, & any other delectable treats we decide. It’s so nice to just set aside time to bake and be with family. I love simple, delicious memories that last a lifetime.

Sandy Claus’ House

My boyfriend and I always joke that he underestimated the size of my family & I underestimated how much his Grandmother decorates for Christmas. These pictures, will not do it justice, but I hope they help convey her Christmas dedication.15726440_10208829022702675_8970409879492576412_n

Mammaw, as she is lovingly referred to, is the sweetest woman with the best decorating skills I’ve ever seen. Her home has been featured in a magazine, & rightfully so. The first time I ever walked into her home at Christmas, I fully lost my mind.

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Everyone has an almost life-sized nativity set in their sun room… right?

Taking a tour of her her home (three floors & the out doors), is one my favorite things to do during the Christmas season. Each room is decorated by her & done differently each year. It is magical and full of Christmas joy!

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This isn’t the only full-sized sleigh Mammaw has in her home. An ice dream y’all- a winter wonderland!

Christmas Eve Eve:

No I did not mistype, I meant Eve Eve. Every Christmas Eve Eve, so December 23rd, my cousins and I dress up in outlandish Christmas pajamas and hats, and go to Walmart at midnight. So, technically, that would be Christmas Eve, but the festivities start on Christmas Eve Eve!

This started many years ago, when my cousin needed to get more tape and other goodies to finish up her Christmas gift wrapping. Now, all who are able, pile into cars, and go shopping at midnight. We used to stop on the way back and act as Santa’s Elves, and decorate some of out unsuspecting family homes. But today it’s really just an excuse to hang out & enjoy Christmas together. What could be better?

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2016 Clan: Jake, myself, Stephanie (Piper just began growing in her tummy), Awesome Walmart Associate who outdid us in outfit & Sharon

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This is the most wonderful time of the year because I am able to spend so much time with the ones I love, making memories. These traditions are my favorites all year long, and I look forward to creating new traditions as the years go on.

Please share your Christmas traditions with me- I would love to learn what you do during this time of year that brings you joy.

Merry Christmas Y’all!

(the feature image for this post is from Hampden Hon- Baltimore’s Miracle on 34th Street)

My friend Hillary took us on a tour last year, my first time to see the lights in person, which is when I took this picture, it was wonderful – a must do!

From my Hart: Brie Appetizer

I don’t mean to toot my own horn…. but yes I do! Y’all this appetizer could not be more simple and festive! I’ve been bringing this to holiday parties for years now & people cannot get enough of it.

Ingredients:

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  1. Brie cheese wheel, on in this case quarters
  2. Caramel nut topping from Wegmans
  3. Ginger Snaps

Of course, you could get really fancy & make your own topping. I’ve done this before by just crabbing caramel sauce, some dried cranberries, nut of my choice, dried apple slices & spices. However, when Wegmans makes this by the tub, I just grab it to go and assemble at home, or work!

 

How to:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
  2. Place brie wheel in an oven safe dish & top with topping
  3. Let the brie warm through in the oven- about 15 minutes
  4. Remove from oven, add ginger snap and enjoy!

 

The ginger snaps really set this dish apart. I had been using crackers, but the snaps just help elevate the flavors of the already delicious dish. It’s so festive, and addictive!

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Dishes:

I usually use my Temptations Cookware from QVC, because it is dishwasher, freezer & oven safe. It also comes with a lid, trivet and wire carrying rack, which is perfect for entertaining! My set in currently in storage, but I HIGHLY suggest getting this for all of your holiday dishes.

 

 

From my Hart: Banana Bread

Today feels like winter, and as much as I am a summer-girl, I love the fall/winter holidays and what comes with the change in weather. For me, the shift to colder weather usually means more of one thing: baking!

We happened to have a lot of extra bananas on this cold day, and I thought I would make some bread! This post will not just be the recipe, but also some tips and tricks we use in our kitchen. Let’s begin:

The Recipe:

  • 6 ripe bananas
  • 2/3 cups of melted butter
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 beaten eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 cups flower
  • fresh nutmeg and cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Mash up the ‘naners real good & stir in the melted butter. Then mix in the rest of the ingredients. Simple ya’ll!

 

Tip #1: If you see the big red markings on the red bottle of vanilla: that’s the expiration date! When we buy pantry items & spices, we write the expiration date big on the item so we can keep track of freshness!

What I love to do is to spice up (pun intended) a recipe, so at this point you can add chocolate chips, spices or nuts. I added fresh cinnamon & nutmeg to give the bread a nice fall feel.

 

Tip #2: Line your baking pans! I did this once and will never bake without it again! Buy parchment paper in a roll or in the pre-cut portions, trim them to fit any size/shape pan! Spray with Pam and add the parchment paper.

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Once you have lined your pans, add the batter and pop in the oven for one hour! This makes two loaves.

After the loaves have cooled completely, I place them each in a zip loc bag, remove the air and popped them into our freezer!

Tip #3: You don’t always have to eat your baked goods right away. Store in the freezer and pull out when having a party, guests, or when the craving strikes!

Enjoy y’all!