Cooking and Baking 2017 Holiday Season Recap...

Discussion in 'Holiday Cooking' started by AuntJamelle, Dec 28, 2017.

  1. AuntJamelle

    AuntJamelle Well-Known Member

    Wondered if anyone wanted to dish, haha, on how their cooking and baking experiences went this year?

    Were you happy with how meals turned out? New recipes that you loved? Things that went wrong? Things you want to try to do differently?

    What were some of your favorite menus or recipes you made? Did you make too much? :)

    Did you make food related gifts from the kitchen this year?

    Look forward to hearing how this went for all!
    Minta likes this.
  2. Minta

    Minta Administrator Staff Member

    Make sure I have enough of all the ingredients for baking and for the meals on hand. Had to brave the stores to get more butter and brown sugar.

    I always make 4 types of breads: orange cranberry, pumpkin spice, banana and applesauce however the last 2 are the favorites and are the ones everyone goes after first so next year I will skip making the orange cranberry and pumpkin and just make triple batches of the banana and applesauce breads. I also plan on making these earlier in the month and freeze until I need them.

    I make and handout several cookie tins and platters each year and all went over very well however I am thinking about cutting back some next year. I say that now but next year I may wind up doing more LOL. One thing I have never done was make and freeze cookie dough to bake at later date so this summer I will be giving this try. I did however make a couple different cookie doughs the night before I started my baking so that made the 1st day of baking go fast and easier.

    We did 3 big sit down meals 23rd - 25th and while everything was good and I pulled it off with out any mishaps or stress it was still very tiring, We are hosting the same 3 days next year so the 23rd will be a buffet, going back to doing the 7 fishes dinner on Christmas eve and just have a relaxing day on the 25th and just eat left overs however I think I will pre-make a tray of lasagna and freeze just incase there isn't a lot of leftovers.
    Holiday_Mom likes this.
  3. MrsSoup

    MrsSoup Well-Known Member

    I normally make food gifts for friends and neighbors. Being fairly new to the island, I don't really have any friends yet and we don't really talk to our neighbors here so I didn't do food gifts, which means that everything I did bake kind of went to waste. :(

    I didn't make my typical amount of baked items, leaving out cut out sugar cookies and PB fudge. I did try a new cookie that was a winner and ended up giving those to the USO. My family ate the PB Balls and the Oreo Balls and the gingerbread are still sitting on the counter going to waste. I should have given those away too. :oops:

    We didn't do a big dinner on Christmas, I made fettuccine and that was perfect. We all liked it and ate it and I wasn't cooking all day for nothing. Next year will be different because my friend and her family will have moved here by then, so I imagine we'll be spending the holidays together to some extent.
    Holiday_Mom and Minta like this.
  4. teachermomof2

    teachermomof2 Santa's Elves

    Were you happy with how meals turned out? New recipes that you loved? Things that went wrong? Things you want to try to do differently?

    I only cooked one big meal. It all came together well. Having the day off before Christmas Eve makes things go more smoothly.

    What were some of your favorite menus or recipes you made? Did you make too much? :)
    I could have probably made a smaller lasagna, but M has been enjoying the leftovers.

    Did you make food related gifts from the kitchen this year? I gave Cindy to the secretaries and 2 teacher friends. I took a cookie tray to mil's and sent some toffee home with my mom. I'll take a cookie tray to our aunt too.
    Holiday_Mom and Minta like this.
  5. AuntJamelle

    AuntJamelle Well-Known Member

    Minta - I hear you on the "I plan to cut back next year" thought - and I always do the same thing too - I get excited and do more, I do extra, I do too much! LOL The lasagna in reserve in the freezer is a great idea! I highly recommend the freezing of cookie dough - or even baked cookies which I've started doing some of the last couple years.

    MrsSoup - Sorry to hear that some of your baking wasn't gobbled up as I'm sure it deserved! Your fettuccine dinner sounds lovely!

    teachermomof2 - Those extra days off to prep for big events are really life savers! I try to do that whenever possible!

    My food related activities were severely curtailed this year due to being ill all month. I did have all my cookie dough or baked cookies in the freezer before I got sick. Once I knew I wasn't contagious and never had been I did get some of it gifted out - cookie tins shipped and some trays given to others. But there is a LOT left in the freezer still!

    I made a cheesecake for Christmas Day - a new recipe for Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Cheesecake and DH said it was the favorite of all the ones I've made so far!

    It really was good! :)

    I still have a freezer full of frozen appetizers that were made for our party we had to cancel. Going to use some for New Year's Eve for us but working on having some folks over to use up the rest!

    Hopefully next year will not have such challenges and I'll be able to USE all the things I prep ahead - LOL
    Holiday_Mom and Minta like this.
  6. sweetpumkinpye

    sweetpumkinpye Well-Known Member

    Overall we did well.
    My mum and I tried one new slice and my family did not like it at all. It tasted burnt or bitter. Sadly it went in the bin.
    Baking wise we did OK. We baked early in December so most of it was gone well before Christmas. I did not do a lot of baking throughout the year so the kids gobbled up the baked goods. In 2018 my mum and I are planning to do more baking days (maybe once every 6 weeks) so maybe by the time Christmas comes the kids won't be so excited to see baking in the house.

    Dinner as always was gorgeous, my mum dies a wonderful job. Because we have cold meats and salads it means we eat well for the few days after Christmas. I don't think we will be changing much there.

    DH does not want a big breakfast so I will have to come up with something that is different to the every day but is light and easy for DH. Maybe look at some french toast and fruit...not too sure.
    Holiday_Mom and Minta like this.
  7. halimer

    halimer Well-Known Member

    I still have chocolate covered oreos and peanut butter balls left. Otherwise the baked goods pretty much went. I usually make more than I expect because DH will always do " do you have a little something for...." two or three times.

    Will make fewer salads for our Hanukkah party
    Holiday_Mom and Minta like this.
  8. Miss JoDee

    Miss JoDee Well-Known Member

    I over baked. I have a lot left Just made one batch of 4 cookies chex mix and rolls. The 3 kids that were here for Christmas didn't eat many and DS's family is gluten free so I had to quickly pput everything in the freezer. I will pull out a little at a time and make it last until Valentines Day.
    Minta likes this.
  9. Cindylouwho

    Cindylouwho Well-Known Member

    Lets add Chinese to our freezer list for the next holiday! Making a note on that!

    Weeknight Freezer meals -- went great this year. A life saver!
    Cookie doughs -- bummed I didn't have the sugar cookie dough done in advance.
    Christmas Eve -- Still didn't get GF Lasagne figured out. Need to try during the year. Did a yummy soup.
    Gluten Free Breads -- no time to figure this out either.

    Biggest cooking problem: Freezer Space. (Well, and time.)

    I have three freezers:
    the small drawer one in the kitchen fridge.
    A half side-by-side in the basement
    A freezer chest in the basement.

    The quarter share of grass-fed beef arriving in October takes up all the space! And so do the Costco bags of chicken and such. I had nowhere to put more frozen items. This is what I need to figure out for next year. I've already purged out all the junk food and we don't do meals that come in boxes so that isn't it. And produce takes TONS of room in the fridge.

    *scratching head*
    Holiday_Mom and Minta like this.
  10. Cindylouwho

    Cindylouwho Well-Known Member

    AJ -- that cheesecake looks awesome! Wow!

    And Minta - do you have those recipes posted? Do you make those breads in big batches? DS would LOVE if I would get on the Pumpkin and Banana Bread train. I just never get it done!

    Oh -- and I overbought on baking supplies AGAIN!! Because stuff didn't get baked and in January I'm back into healthy eating! Argh!
    Minta likes this.
  11. Lana

    Lana Well-Known Member

    AJ that cheesecake looks awesome!

    I baked and made candies about right. Need to do some more peanut butter balls for my ex BIL to take to Texas.
    Minta likes this.
  12. Minta

    Minta Administrator Staff Member

    Here are the recipes I used as a base but do tweak them a bit
    Banana bread - will do a double or triple batch. Make a couple large loaves and several smaller loaves
    I have been known to replace the 3/4 cup of sugar with 1/4 c sugar and 1/4 c honey. (cut out 1/4 c sugar
    I also replace 1/4 c of flour with 1/4 c ground flax seed.
    replace oil with coconut oil or butter

    this will make 2 large loaves or 4 to 6 mini loaves
    replace the 3 cups of sugar with 1 to 1 1/2 c of sugar and 1 c of honey (cut out 1/2 c to 1 c sugar)
    replace 1/2 c flour with 1/2 c ground flax seed
    replace oil with coconut oil or butter
    replace water with apple cider (if using apple cider then I do cut out 1 full cup of sugar since the cider is sweet)
  13. Holiday_Mom

    Holiday_Mom Well-Known Member

    I enjoyed reading through what everyone else had to share. :)

    Were you happy with how meals turned out?
    I was so thankful for the freezer meals made in October and November. I used them more than I expected to during December. It was so hectic but it was nice to have a home cooked meal to defrost from the freezer.

    Christmas Eve dinner was a buffet with salads and hot beef sandwiches. Appetizer were vegetables and dip and a cheese platter. We had enough leftovers not to make dinner later in the week.

    New recipes that you loved? We pretty much stayed with our 9 typical cookies. I did add Rice Krispy treats with the red and green colors for those who were gluten free. Kids loved them too!

    Things that went wrong? I wouldn't say things went wrong but differently. I let my daughters bake all but my favorite Christmas cookie. I stayed out of the kitchen and didn't offer tips while they made the cookies. We learned a lot from that experience. Nothing went bad but the cookies didn't turn out they way they typically do with me.

    Things you want to try to do differently?
    Something I tried this year was to divide the cookies into freezer bags for the four Christmas parties. This help eliminate the urge to snack on a cookie and we never ran out of cookies. In the past, I'd leave the cookies in tins sitting in the dining room and little by little they'd disappear and we'd have no cookies 5 days after Christmas. This year, we actually have some still in the freezer. We have one more Christmas party on Jan. 6th to attend and they'll go to the party.
    Minta likes this.
  14. AuntJamelle

    AuntJamelle Well-Known Member

    I'm finally seeing the end of the cookies in the freezer!!! Baked up a bunch last night and took a 9x11 foil pan full to a friend's house this morning!

    Have some other friends coming over tomorrow and will give the rest to them!

    I did overbuy on baking supplies too - I think I have 5 bags of King Arthur flour in the freezer, lol

    Lots of sugar, brown sugar, powdered sugar left too.

    BUT it will all get used! The first Saturday in May is my son's big school fund raiser - a Fish Fry - and parents volunteer to make the desserts that are served. I'll just roll the extra supplies into my plans for that event!

    Our weather is really cold and snowy which makes me just want to BAKE! But no one wants that sort of thing right now - so I'll just contain myself. And do some dreaming and planning for baking to come...
    Minta likes this.
  15. Sugarplum

    Sugarplum Well-Known Member

    I really could have baked more!! I started first weekend in December, and did the next two weeks. I sent a lot to DD and brought to my sister who doesn't bake but loves our mom's cookies that I make. DD has now learned how to bake so I think I will just send her a cookie press to make her favorite Spritz cookies! Costs a ton to send overseas!!

    By the time Christmas week came, I had to make more cookies to bring to work. I think I need to make the cookie dough earlier and freeze it. I did the make the night before and bake but still it takes so long.

    I bought a 12 lb. bag of flour from Sams and it lasted just fine. So did the granulated sugar. I should have brought the large Nestle chips as I had to buy additional. I ran out of my fave green and red sugar and they were out in the store, until just before Christmas and I had finished those cookies. Have 1 small bag of brown sugar, that will last. I have all my ingredients on a spreadsheet so I know how many pounds, etc. to buy of everything. I ended up making more cookies, and could have made more batches this year!

    I gave a tin of cookies to a friend of DH's who has throat cancer. He was able to eat the cookies and raved about them, so I was glad he enjoyed them! He will be getting his voicebox removed soon unfortunately, so a small thing to make someone happy who will be going through a hard time.

    All in all, it went pretty well this year. I didn't get sick, and was able to distribute all that I made!
    Minta likes this.
  16. MinnieCo

    MinnieCo Well-Known Member

    So this one I have positive comments on. I kept it real simple..

    Prime Rib
    Scalloped Potatoes
    Broccoli in Cheese Sauce
    Balsamic Brussel Sprouts with Cranberries

    My family loved ALL of it... I don't normally buy Prime Rib, but we buy our meat by the cow now so I saved it all year for Christmas. EVERYONE raved about the brussel sprouts. I mean they ALL loved them. My daughter even told me it was one of the best Christmas dinner's we've every had. I was like HOLD UP..okay...that was easy enough!

    BUT I mentioned in one of the other post I opted for a store bought dessert. I chose the Tiramisu dessert thing from Costco and I didn't care for it. We're all big Tiramisu lovers so after much thought in Costco.....I literally felt like I was making a life changing decision......I bought the dessert. Well yeah..not sure I'll do that again. It wasn't bad, it just wasn't what I was wanting.

    I didn't do ANY baking, so nothing to report there. I back bread in the fall and I'm just not much of a cookie person. i don't have the patience for that nonsense. ;)
    Holiday_Mom likes this.

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