Photo Credit: Explore Italian culture
As promised, here are my menus for Christmas eve and Christmas day for this year. I searched the interwebs for more information about traditional Italian holiday menus and found more ideas for this year. Some of this may not be truly traditional but it’s all around just good Italian food.
Christmas eve feast before and after church will consist of a meatless meal of giardiniera salad, which is a cold salad of various pickled vegetables with cauliflower being the main ingredient. I have bought some jarred mix and will add in artichoke hearts and baby corn. Along with this we will eat cheese filled tortellini with marinara sauce made from homemade roasted tomatoes. We took a trip to an Italian market and I found some great deals on Roma plum tomatoes and fresh basil. The basil leaves were as large as my hand! I think I got about 10 pounds of tomatoes and made them into one batch of creamy tomato basil soup and one into the sauce for Christmas eve. I took the rest of the basil and made pesto. I was very happy to find pine nuts in my freezer for this purpose. I’m going to make some rosemary bread since everyone here loves it and eats so much of it that I can’t keep up with their hunger for the stuff. When we get home from church, we’ll make fresh hot homemade Auntie Ann’s pretzels from a kit I won at the cookie exchange I went to earlier in the month. I hope we’ll be able to just relax and enjoy some quiet time before the next day.
On Christmas morning, I’ll get up before all the guys and make homemade cinnamon rolls and coffee, put out some orange juice and then wake everyone for breakfast and presents. We’ll clean up from round one of the gifts, lay out a nice anti-pasti platter with prosciuttini, mortadella, provolone cheese, olives-several varieties including oil-cured black olives, brie with pepper jelly and crackers, and anything else we feel like adding to the lunch. I think this will be plenty of food to hold us off until dinner. Lauren and Isaiah will come over for lunch and more present opening and fun time.
Dinner will be Italian wedding soup, more bread, braciole with marinara and possibly ricotta gnocchi if I’m feeling the energy to make those this week. We have panettone and a cookie tray for dessert and I bought some of that chocolate wine. I really can’t wait and as you can see, we really are about the food.
But in the midst of all the food and presents, we will take time to read from the Bible the story of Jesus’ birth and reflect on what His presence means to each of us. I will also get out my children’s nativity story book and figures to read to Isaiah since this year, with him being three, I think he will understand a little more than last year.
I am more prepared this year for Christmas than any other year and that is mostly due to the fact that I have four cookie classes for kids to run this week. I’ve done one already and know what changes to make for the next three. Since I knew this week would be crazy with food and classes all of my gifts are bought and wrapped. No Christmas eve gift wrapping marathon for me. Probably for Phil but not me. It feels weird but a good kind of weird.
Now if only I could remember the one gift I bought months ago, hid and now can’t find. That right there is traditional for me. Just ask my kids.
Photo credit: Italian ornaments
Buon Natale and may you find the real meaning of Christmas this year as you spend time with those you love.