Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Christmas Traditions

In our family we have a tradition of eating Clam Chowder on Christmas Eve. This year 3 of our 4 children and their families will be at the cabin for Christmas Eve in Island Park, ID. I suggested Clam Chowder from a can but was vetoed. This week Hailey helped me make our traditional Clam Chowder. I guess family traditions aren't traditions unless they are the same every year. The recipe for our traditional Clam Chowder follows. I got it from my visiting teaching companion who brought us a jar one Christmas. She was a wonderful lady who taught me many things.

Bratten's Famous Clam Chwder

2 cans (6 1/2 oz .) minced clams
1 c. finely chopped onions
1 c. finely diced celery
2 c. finely diced potatoes
* 1 cube butter
1/2 c. flour
*1 qurt half and half
1 1/2 t, salt
2 T. red wine vinegar (optional I leave it out and instead add a couple squirts of Louisiana hot sauce to enhance the flavor. It does not make it spicy hot, just makes more flavorful. I add it to many things for that reason - cream sauces, gravies, eggs, etc.)
a few grains of white pepper ( I usually leave this out too and just let people seson at the table.)
Saute onions and celery in a thump of butter. Drain juice from the
clams and pour over the vegetables (potato, celery and onions0 in a small saucepan. If necessary add enough water to barely cover vegtables. Simmer covered, over medium heat until barely tender.
In the meantime melt 3/4 cube of butter in large saucepan. Add flour and blend; Cook and stir for 2-3 min. Add half and half. Cook and stir with french whisk until thick and smooth. (about 7 min.), always stirring in the samd direction. Add undrained vegetables and clams and heat through. (Never boil after clams have been added as the clams will toughen.) Males 8 servings

* really necessary to bring out the flavor of the clams

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Christmas Cookies

This week Hailey helped me make gingerbread cookies to take up to the cabin for Christmas. Three of our kids and their families will be there which surprises me because their families are getting older and hauling eveything up to the cabin becomes more and more complicated.
I love gingerbread so I have to admit this was a bit self-serving. I have some cookie cutters shaped like gingerbread houses so we used those. We shall see if grandkids are excited when I tell them that each one gets to decorate their own gingerbread house and eat it all if they want. I hope they won't be too disappointed when they find out it is just a 5"x5" gingerbread cookie. Here is the recipe we used:

Rolled Ginger Cookies

1 c. shortening
1 c. granulated sugar
1 egg
1 c. molasses
2 tbsp. vinegar
5 c. sifted all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. soda
1/2 tsp. salt
2-3 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground cloves
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Cream shortening and sugar. Beat in egg, molasses and vinegar. Sift together dry ingredients and blend in. Chill dough 3 hours.
Roll dough 1/8 in. thick on slightly floured surface. Cut in shapes. Place 1 " apart on greased cookie sheet. Bake at 375 degrees for 5-6 min. Cool before frosting. Makes about 5 dozen.

Another Christmas eve tradition is setting up the creche which we call the manger scene. Grandpa reads the Christmas Story from Luke in the Bible. As each character is introduced, the figure is set by or in the stable. This year at the cabin we are going to make the figures out of what we have up there which is construction paper.
Each grandchild will be assigned to draw a part of the manger scene and we will set it up as grandpa reads.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Party Mix

This past week Hailey helped me make Party Mix. I like this recipe because it is different than any I've seen and it makes a festive gift for neighbors or "home teaching" families. I got the recipe from my sister, Kerry. Besides, I think it tastes good.

White Chocolate Party Mix
10 oz. or 1 1/4 c. small, round pretzels
5 c. cheerios
5 c. corn chex
2 c. salted nuts
1 lb. m & ms
Mix the above ingredients together in a large bowl and set aside.
2 12 oz. packages white chocolate chips
3 T. vegetable
Microwave white choc. chips and oil for 2 min. on med. high. Remove and stir. Return to microwave and cook for 10 seconds. Remove and stir again until smooth.
Pour over dry mixture and mix well. Pour out onto waxed paper and let set up. After mix has set up store in plastic bags.

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


Hailey and I did not cook last week but Ralph and I had a wonderful vacation. I probably shouldn't speak for Ralph but both of us enjoyed being at the cabin. Ralph cooked a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner and we had delicious leftovers every meal afterward. I struggled with the "wonderful" symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis but I would rather do it in that beautiful environment than anywhere else. Ralph was able to work a little more on his "Homes of the Prophets" book and make some shutters for the back window so the deep snow doesn't break the glass. We both watched the Utah/BYU game on TV and enjoyed a slow pace over the holidays. Hope your Thanksgiving was as enjoyable. Now it is on to the Christmas Holidays!