Friday, December 3, 2010

2010 Virtual Advent Tour

I heard about the Virtual Advent Tour and thought it sounded like a lot of fun so I immediately went to the dedicated blog and signed up.  The Virtual Advent Tour is hosted by Kailana from The Written World and Marg from Adventures of an Intrepid Reader.  The idea behind it is: 
The Virtual Advent tour first started when we pondered why should the kids get all the fun of opening a box on the advent calendar and finding a treat in there, and how could we have some blogging fun with a similar concept? So the Virtual Advent tour was born.

Each day anyone who wants to participate takes turns sharing a treat with our friends here in blogland. For example it could be something about your family traditions, recipes, your country's holiday traditions, or a favourite Christmas memory, movie, book, song...anything you like. Even if you don't celebrate Christmas we would like to hear about what your family does during the holiday season, whether it be celebrating Hanukkah or Kwanzaa or whatever it is that you do during this time.

I've decided to share with you a little holiday tradition, which involves a recipe.  Every year my Mom has a Christmas party for her side of the family and close friends.  I grew up looking forward to this party so I could play with my cousins and eat yummy cookies.  My Mom always made a ton of cookies. The holiday season always seemed to start, for me, when cookie baking time started.  We made butter cookies, sugar cookies, chocolate chip, oatmeal raisin, yankee noodles, fudge, heath bars, peanut brittle, and I'm sure I'm missing some.  It's no wonder I grew up with a love of baking.   The best part, as any kid knows, is the dough.  Butter cookie dough is by far the best dough ever.  I remember a lot of times while baking my Mom would be doing laundry, and every time she went downstairs to do the laundry my sisters and I would rush to the fridge to grab some dough and eat it before she came back upstairs.  Healthy? no.  Incredibly yummy?  oh yeah. Do we still sneak butter cookie dough?  You betcha. 

The thing that I find funny, and my sisters do to, is that we all love the butter cookies and the heath candy, yet we never make it.  For us it's a Christmas holiday treat, that's the only time of year it's actually made.  That's how it was growing up, and that's how it's continued (for some strange reason).

As far as the party went, when we were younger all the kids would end up downstairs playing with the pool table.  It was rare for us to actually play pool, instead we would just roll the balls as hard as we could towards the opposite end and it always ended with somebody getting their fingers smashed and my Dad yelling at all of us. Lol!  That would stop us for a bit, and then we went right back to doing it.

These days everyone is grown and most are married with kids of their own.  There are some families who never come to the Christmas party, some who come every other year or so, and then there are those who come every year.  It is tradition after all.  Plus, most of us don't see each other on Christmas since we have other families to celebrate with, so my Mom's Christmas party is how the extended family celebrates Christmas now.  Considering my Mom was one of 8, 7 of which are married, 5 of those 7 still live in the St. Louis area.  Those in STL who are married (5) had either 2 or 3 kids.  Most of those kids are married or dating.  Most of them have 2 or 3 kids. You can imagine that even though everyone doesn't come, it's still a full house and can get very lively and chaotic.  I wouldn't have it any other way though.

One thing I left out, and the post important, is that my Mom always made party mix.  You might know it by another name, chex mix.  We always called it party mix and I didn't even know what chex mix was, or that you could actually buy it in the store, till I was much older and out on my own.  It's not the same though, homemade party mix is soo much better than store bought chex mix.   Party mix is another food item that is only made around the holidays.  In fact, you knew it was the holiday season when October rolled around and my Mom made it for my birthday party.  I love party mix.  I eat it till I'm sick.  Oh yes, that was present tense because I still eat it till I'm sick.  Because, once again, party mix is only made around the holidays.  Why, no idea.  What I do know, though, is that it makes the holidays that much more special for me.

I'm going to share with you my party mix recipe.  We got the recipe from my Aunt Fern.  Well, really, it was my Mom's Aunt, but we always called her Aunt Fern too.

3 tsp celery salt
3 tsp onion salt
3 tsp garlic salt
2 1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup + 1/8 cup Worcestershire sauce
wheat chex
rice chex

Preheat oven to 225F.

Melt butter in a saucepan, add the Worcestershire sauce and the salts.  Let cool.

Mix together the cereal, pretzels, and peanuts.   Pour the sauce mixture, stirring constantly.

Put in a large oven safe container and cook in the oven for 2 hours.  Stir every 20 minutes.  After 2 hours, remove from the oven and spread out to cool.

***  My Uncle says he cooks party mix in the microwave, but I've never tried it that way nor do I know how long he cooks it for.

I realize I don't have sizes for the cereal, pretzels, and peanuts.  You can pretty much do whatever you want.  I believe we use the larger boxes for the cheerios and rice chex.  I use a smaller bag for pretzels.  Sometimes I don't even add peanuts.

My Mom cooks the party mix in a big container, what you would use for cooking a turkey I think.  She puts some in the  pan and some in the lid, and puts both in the oven.   I don't have a large container so when I make party mix I use cookie sheets or baking pans such as those used for sheet cakes and brownies.

We usually cut apart paper grocery bags and lay those on the table.  This is what we spread the party mix on to cool.

I always use unsalted butter.  Due to the seasonings being salt I feel that the unsalted butter gives it a better taste and doesn't make it too salty.

I hope you enjoy the party mix if you decide to make it.  Sorry if the directions are so vague, I've been making this or helping to make it since I was a little girl so I know what I'm doing and it's hard to write directions, I'm sure I missed something (although not any of the ingredients since I do have those written down).

Thanks for visiting my blog as part of the Virtual Advent Tour.  It was fun to share some of my Christmas memories with you.


bermudaonion said...

A huge family party like that sounds like so much fun to me since I've never lived near much of my family.

Julia Smith said...

'I love party mix. I eat it till I'm sick.'


I also loved:

'it always ended with somebody getting their fingers smashed and my Dad yelling at all of us.'


Ah...good times...

Really enjoyed this stop on the Advent BLog Tour. Merry Christmas, Kris!

Jennie Marsland said...

Hi, nice to meet you! I'm really enjoying the Advent tour. Your recipes sound delicious. Happy holidays!

Caroline said...

I am very intrigued by this recipe. I have never heard of it "over here", meaning continental Europe. I love things salty (too much). It is funny how there are some things others cook for us but we would never do for ourselves. We know how but it would simply not be the same.
Thank you for sharing!

Kris said...

Bermudaonion - The party is a lot of fun. It can be a bit intimidating or hard for some of the folks who married into the family (or out-laws as we call them) who aren't used to such huge gatherings though.

Julia - haha! I do eat it till I'm sick. In's about time my Mom started making the party mix, perhaps I'll have to stop by and grab a bag. lol Thanks for visiting and I'm glad you enjoyed my ramblings.

Jennie - Thanks for visiting! I'm hoping to visit all the blogs that have participated so far today or this weekend, when I have more time.

Caroline - oh..if you like salty I bet you would like this. I say give it a try. It's really easy to make, it's just time consuming. However, each time I stir the mix in the oven, I take a handful out to eat. It's so good warm. lol It is funny how we have some food traditions isn't it?

sprite said...

What a fun way to celebrate the holidays!

Dave and Tami said...

It's interesting how many of our memories are connected to food. Sounds like a wonderful family Christmas! Thanks for sharing.

Linda P said...

Hi there from the UK! Thank you for your post. Your party sounds great fun. My husband is Italian and we love BIG family parties.
Thank you for your savoury mix recipe - my husband loves savouries so it's a good one for us!
Happy holiday and Buon Natale!

jan said...

How lovely to have all the family get together like that. Loads of good memories from childhood and lots more created each year.

I miss our family get togethers but your's sound much bigger and as you say possibly a little bit scary for the newcomers. lol

Great Advent stop on the tour thank you.

Margot said...

We make party mix only for Christmas and Super Bowl parties. You're right - it doesn't belong at other times of the year and the stuff in the store doesn't compare.

Krissi said...

Your mom's house must bulge at the seems but that is so awesome to celebrate the holidays with your family. Thank you for the great post and recipe.

sallyfromoz said...

Thanks for the recipe for party mix - i have seen it with crispy fried onion in it - but didn't taste as good.

Also a belated thankyou for visiting mt blog :)

CindyS said...

I have to say that other than the mixings I wouldn't have guessed any of those seasonings for Party Mix - lol.

One of my friends made us a tin of mix one year that my hubby and I almost fought over. Thing is, she gave us three different containers and to this day, she has not be able to repeat the one we loved.

And I'm glad the party's still going ;)


samstillreading said...

That sounds delicious, I'm going to recommend this to my mum for Christmas :)

Kailana said...

Catching up on the tour is making me hungry. People keep posting good food! Thanks for joining in with the tour and Happy Holidays!

Beth F said...

I'm always looking for a good snack for holiday parties. I may do that this year. So much better than just opening a bag of chips.

I loved getting together with all the cousins, aunts, and uncles at holidays. It's sad that we're so scattered now.

Kris said...

Beth - I hope you like it if you do try it. I've already had way too much this Holiday season.