During Christmas time, I remember going out and getting a real tree, the smell of fresh cut wood and fir in our garage, and the excitement of decorating the tree. Going to church for Christmas Eve service and singing “Silent Night” as we lit candles. Plus one tradition I’m going to share with you – our Christmas Eve dinner.
The best part of traditions is when two families become one and you start to share. The Big Guy says he doesn’t remember any traditions of his family that differed greatly from mine, so it was an easy combination. I have been blessed to share some of my childhood traditions with him and start a few new ones just for us, things that we can pass on to our kids.
At first I tried to watch Miracle on 34th Street on Thanksgiving night with my family, but we found our own tradition. So we kick off the Christmas season with Buddy the ELF. I still try and make the Christmas Eve dinner every year, but our tree is fake – though that doesn’t make it any less fun to decorate – and we started the tradition of opening one present on Christmas Eve (pajamas, of course!) and a yearly reading of a very special Christmas book. We went into the bookstore back in 2009 and the illustrator was on site, so we bought The Conifer Court Competition and he did caricatures of all three kids inside the back cover (shown above). (If you have not had the chance to read it, take the time to check it out. It’s about the true meaning of the season.) Then, just before bed, we read The Night Before Christmas.
- 3/4 lb shrimp, peeled, deveined, tail off
- Sliced bread, buttered
- 1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
- 1/3 cup butter, melted
- 2 tbsp flour
- 2 cup milk or half and half (can substitute with 1 cup cream + 1 cup water)
- 1/2 tsp dry, ground mustard
- a pinch of smoked paprika
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Parmesan cheese, shredded (I use a combination of Parmesan, Romano, and Asiago)
- In a regular-sized muffin tin, place a slice of buttered bread in each cup.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until toasted.
- Saute mushrooms in butter.
- Stir in flour, mustard, paprika, salt, and pepper.
- Add milk (or half and half) and simmer until thickened.
- Add cheese (measured to preference) and stir shrimp into sauce. Cook thoroughly, about 3-5 minutes.
- Pour over bread cups and serve.