I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas and are enjoying the New Year!
For this year’s family dinner, I was responsible for a few of the side dishes and some desserts.
I decided to cook smarter and not harder with the goal of minimizing my kitchen clean up. 😉
Slow Cooker Side Dishes
I made peas, collard greens, and sweet yellow corn for the sides and used one of my new, 3-in-one slow cooker units to cook and transport the dishes.
I started the collard greens in a traditional, stove top pot and allowed them to become tender before transferring them to the slow cooker.
The corn and peas were SUPER easy because they were done in the slow cooker from start to finish.
Fix-It Fran’s Secret to Yummy Veggies: Season them like you would season your meats (i.e. Use butter, pepper, and poultry/steak seasoning)….. and if you have bouillon USE IT! 😉👍👌
Fix-It Fran’s Christmas Cookies
Last year, I shared a Christmas Cookie recipe that I repeated this year (minus the Hershey’s Kisses and using my favorite shortcut) and came up with a Christmas version of the Chocolate Lasagna that my family loves (I added Christmas Sprinkles to the Cool-Whip Topping. It’s the little things).
You can make the cookies from scratch or you can grab some pre-made cookies like I did and dress them up with some sprinkles.
I got a SLEW of sprinkles on clearance last year from Wal-Mart.
I mean, REALLY good deals.
Like 25 cents for a 6 portioned container of sprinkles. (I’ll talk more about Christmas Clearance in a post later this week.) I baked about 5 different batches of 24 cookies each. One was for a dinner with some girlfriends, another was for Christmas Day, and the final batch was an after Christmas get-together. Again, this is where using the pre-made cookies can be a lifesaver. I was tired and cookies became my go-to contribution!
I’ve included a few photos to give you some inspiration. I followed the directions on the package, while using the shorter baking time and keeping an eye on the sprinkles.
Here’s a Fix-It With Fran Tip: I usually bake my Sugar Cookies for about 10 minutes and then allow them to stand on the cookie sheet for an additional minute. This keeps the cookies soft and allows them to come to temp before you try to remove them from the sheet. No one likes a hard sugar cookie and if you try to bake them for 12 minutes you’ll have to rush to take them off of the sheet which will make them tear/crumble in the process because they are still too hot to be moved.
From Christmas To Mardi Gras
My favorite part of wrapping up from the Christmas Holiday happens as we transform our Christmas Tree into a Mardi Gras Tree!
If you’re one who’s big on tradition, the Epiphany (aka the 12th day of Christmas– that’s where the song comes from 🙂 )January 6 marked the end of the Christmas season and was the deadline to put away your Christmas tree.
However, this Carolina Girl is living in Louisiana and around here, January 6 is also known as Twelfth Night – the start of the Carnival season and that means it’s time to swap out Christmas ornaments for Mardi Gras ones.
This was something I got into after we got married. Being that my husboo is from New Orleans, Mardi Gras is a holiday he grew up celebrating– my little North Carolina self DID NOT, but I’m a good sport and one night we were out for dinner and I encountered my first Mardi Gras Tree and fell in LOVE!
We’d already started a tradition of having purple and gold ornaments on our main Christmas Tree, so I only needed to add some green accents, Mardi Gras beads, and a few Mardi Gras masks to make my tree POP!
Each year I discover a few new trinkets to add to the tree and I look forward to the evolution of the tradition over the years.
In 2015 I found the cutest purple and gold cupcake.
I’ll be starting on this year’s tree later this week, but here are some photos from past years:
That’s pretty much the wrap up for the 2016 Christmas Holiday Season.
I’ll post a photo of the Mardi Gras Tree on Instagram once it’s complete, so keep an eye out for that and Mardi Gras season is in full swing, so I’m going to get my hands on an apple filed king cake one day soon!
Please let me know what your holiday traditions are! I’d love to exchange ideas.
Do you celebrate Mardi Gras? Are you already thinking about preparing for Lent? Let me know in the comments 😊
Also, If you’re looking to snag some savings, some stores still have holiday markdowns out on the floor. My local Wal-Mart had the Christmas items I purchased marked down at 75% off. The selection is probably limited, but it may bump up to 80% this week!