Savoring the Holidays

The holidays are quickly approaching and my thoughts turn to cherished traditions. In our house, these traditions frequently include re-creating favorite dishes and treats. I have been blessed to have inherited a penchant for baking and a collection of recipes from the talented cooks in both my family and my husband’s family. To me, these recipes are priceless. For on the pages of these tattered and sometimes yellowed pieces of paper are memories of long ago. Some of these recipes are spotted with ingredients such as butter or chocolate that didn’t quite make it into the bowl. Others are vague in the exactness of the amount of ingredients required, unless you understand what a pinch or a dollop really is 🙂 Nevertheless, I continue to persevere in my attempts to grace our holidays with their flavors. How about you? Are there recipes or cookbooks that you and your family once treasured? How about pulling them out of the cupboard and sharing their secrets once again?

For inspiration, I wanted to share a couple of our favorite family recipes. The first recipe was shared with me by my Mom. Mom always created these homemade bread rolls for our large family gatherings. This recipe was handed down to her from my step-grandmother and it never fails to please. It does take a little bit of preparation, but the fluffy, buttery rolls are worth it in the end. (Just ask anyone who has ever tasted them.)
  Yeast Rolls
2 1/2 c. warm water                       1/4 c. instant potatoes
1 pkg. dry yeast                                1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. oil                                             1 beaten egg
1 tsp. salt                                             flour
Mix all ingredients in order given. Add flour until dough can be handled and kneaded. Turn out onto floured board (or counter) and knead until smooth and elastic (8-10 minutes). Add flour as needed so that dough can be worked and isn’t sticky. Place in greased bowl and grease top of dough. Refrigerate over night. Can be kept in fridge up to a week after using what you want and returning to fridge.
1. To make dinner rolls, grease muffin pan. Pinch off golf-ball sized pieces and put in pan sides not quite touching. Let rise 1-1 1/2 hours in warm place. Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 25 minutes. Butter tops while hot.
2. To make bread loaf, place 1/3 of dough in greased loaf pan and bake in 350 degree oven for 45 minutes to an hour. Butter top. Repeat for remaining 2/3 of dough. Recipe makes 3 whole loaves.
YUMM! I can smell the rolls baking already.

This second recipe was shared with me by my husband’s Aunt Rose. Rose is well-known for her love of baking in our neighborhood and family. She discovered it in a magazine years ago and frequently made it for birthdays and other special occasions. It is definitely another family favorite.
Cocoa Cola Cake
2 c. flour                  2 c. sugar                       1 c. butter or Oleo
2 Tbl. cocoa            1 c. cola (not diet)       1/2 c. buttermilk
2 beaten eggs        1 tsp. baking soda       1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 c. miniature marshmallows
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 13″ x 9″ pan. Combine flour and sugar in large mixing bowl. Melt butter, add cocoa and cola, heat to boiling point. Cool slightly. Pour over sugar and flour mixture. Stir until blended. Add buttermilk, beaten eggs, baking soda and vanilla. Mix well. Stir in marshmallows. Pour in pan and bake 40 minutes. Remove from oven and frost in pan while cake is still hot.
Coco Cola Frosting
2 Tbl. butter or Oleo          2 Tbl. cocoa                 6-8 Tbl. cola (not diet)
1 pound powdered sugar                                        1 c. chopped nuts (optional)
Combine butter, cocoa and cola in saucepan. Heat to boiling. Pour over powdered sugar and mix well. Stir in nuts (if using) and frost cake.
Here’s wishing you and yours a holiday season filled with gratitude, hugs and family traditions. Remember to take the time to celebrate ALL of the simple pleasures of life!

“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.” -Melody Beattie


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