This week has been filled with nativity shows, Christmas fayres and Christmas jumper days, my daughter even managed a pantomime with school. I have made the effort to take my youngest out to see the world, my toddler managed to survive her first few hours in an audience without any major melt downs. Inspiringly celebrating her sister ‘I am so proud of her she looks beautiful!’ fantastic words from someone not even three!
The fayres were filled with wonderful handmade biscuits, small Christmas trees, reindeer and decorations. I returned with a wonderful crochet heart for our tree and the children enjoyed a few festive treats while we waited for the raffle to be drawn, although not winning this year they were amazing to see as they were filled with Christmas cheer!
It made me think what would be my perfect hamper for Christmas!…
Firstly I have lived a life of savoury bliss! I find the taste of Sunday Dinner pure heaven, with peppers, leeks and onions to flavour there really is nothing better! A bonus that my children love it to, as I know at least once a week they get everything they need, I often add the vegetables to chilli mid-week again good for warding off the cold!
I like to make pigs in blankets and Christmas tree shaped stuffing for the festive days, not one the children will eat but they do not get wasted over the festive days, stored and saved can be added to sandwiches and other meals over the festive season! So it would definitely be set in my Christmas hamper.
So far then it is a ton of fresh vegetables, Potatoes, Broccoli, cauliflower, Peppers, leeks, carrots, swede and Parsnips!
Roast’s are essential and with several holidays to celebrate one is never enough! Turkey is the obvious choice, however gammon, pork, chicken and beef are all added over the festive season. I find each has an added bonus, Gammon with honey glaze, pork with mint or apple sauce dependant on your taste! If steak is an addition pepper sauce is a must and I find the co-op sachets of sauces do a wonderful job allowing enough to ensure a family can enjoy.
Sauces; On vegetables instead of cauliflower cheese, the sauce is fantastic on potatoes, and roasted vegetables. If cooking space is an issue you can pre-cook the veg and roast them in the last half an hour adding the sauce when you serve. I found it a wonderful change from the usual, mint or onion gravy added to your chosen joint.
Sausages; are a staple in our house, I use as a primary for my children as they love them and find them easier to eat than the main meats. However they will all eat a little of the roasts the older they get, the sausages then become a great filler to an already packed meal. Pigs in Blankets are easy to add around the roast but I find that they are better if they are not sat in gravy.
Yorkshire puddings and Roast potatoes; I do often long for plate size puddings, big enough to fill with your whole meal! I have yet to find the time or a recipe to develop my own skills so for now ‘Aunt Bessies’ or supermarket equivalent will do.
Frozen Corn Cobs; We all adore these so if available locally they will be on my list! Whether steamed or boiled, with or without butter they taste amazing and add a taste of summer to your winter feast!
Drinks; Grape juice being my drink of choice this year! A spritzer of pear wine and lemonade to see in new year will be my treat and a few bottles of fruit cider for my hubby will suffice. Additionally the children will enjoy some tropical juice, to add vitamins over the colder months and a small selection of pop for those who enjoy it! I have to say Lidl do an amazing fresh juice which has carrots in that I love would really be a must for my hamper, not expensive but Moorish and one to drink sparingly as although made from fresh fruit it is still packed with sugar.
Desserts; in my previous post, strudels, crumbles and Christmas pudding or cake are the main seasonal treats. I would say for real indulgence I would say gateau and cheesecake would be clear favourites! These I have indulged a little since the arrival of our daughter as I am finally in need of the extra calories to feed her! My family enjoy doughnuts, swiss rolls and a large selection box.
Selection boxes; Additionally to chocolates, A good cracker selection added with a selection of mixed cheeses are great, my favourite is Boursin and if I ever fancy something different the garlic and herb is my favourite. Home made pizza takes a close second for those days you feel like getting the family to help make their own dinner. (see Previous post – Homemade Pizza or search recipes)
Biscuits; A selection for all is great in general but we tend to make several batches of vanilla biscuits over the festive season, which brings us together as a family and fills our old celebration tubs with something home made and free to share. (see previous post – Vanilla Biscuits!)
Christmas cake; we have a great recipe that is really easy as I have taken out all of the none essentials and reduced it down to the basics. Again I tend to make a few throughout the year to add in when we need something more than the weekly shop. I use the old celebration tubs to store them as they fir a 30cm cake perfectly, and they can easily be despatched to school sales and fayres if necessary.
Ice creams; a great dessert which allows a wide selection of choice, although requires a lot to keep stock for a variety of festive meal. The stock of festive varieties look good they are rarely more than a morsel out of the packaging.
Processed; Finally some food from the dark side, chicken nuggets, kiev’s and pies something quick for those days were you do not have to be extravagant and allow you to put something in and return in 45 minutes to processed perfection.
Christmas Crackers; mainly added to the table for decoration are a must along with candy canes for the tree! would be on most lists but I find in reality everyone together whether your family alone or with friends it is good to be with those you love, sharing whatever you have together!
So whether I manage my full wish list to provide for our family or the basic essentials I will be glad to share this Christmas, at home with my husband, children, settled and enjoying the hustle and bustle of family life, and the peace and quiet of evenings snuggling up with our precious gifts!
Grand total of presents so far?; I have managed to build a family calendar to share our favourite photo’s of the last few years, of the children’s ? zero, the one collection of girls, bands, bows and bobbles was used over the school week after being raided by our resident Diva! So this week will see us paying the essentials and filling the order with the many presents on our children’s Christmas list….so Santa can deliver them this Christmas!
So is there something I am missing? that is essential to your Christmas festivities? let me know!
Happy last minute shopping!