Delicious Dishes- Christmas

It’s that time of year again. Tis’ the season to go home to family members asking what your major is, how long you have until graduation, and the ultimate favorite… are you dating anyone yet? The good news is, these family recipes I’ve gathered will taste so great that your family will be asking for your cooking secrets instead.

Sparkling Holiday Punch – Rebekah Drennon 

  • 32-ounce bottle cranberry juice cocktail, chilled
  • 1 quart orange juice, chilled
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice, chilled
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 bottle dry white wine, chilled (optional)
  • 2 bottles champagne, chilled (optional)
  • Orange slices

Combine juices and sugar until dissolved.

Add wine and pour over ice.

Stir in champagne before serving.

Add orange slices for garnish.

Festive Cranberry Salad – Linda Gordon

  • 2 packages lemon-flavored gelatin
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 4 cups fresh cranberries, ground
  • 1 orange
  • 2 large apples
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • Lettuce leaves
  • Mayo or salad dressing

Dissolve gelatin and sugar in boiling water.

Add next 4 ingredients – stir well.

Pour into bundt pan – chill until set.

Un-mold on lettuce leaves.

Fill center with mayo or dressing.

Garnish with orange slices.

Christmas Roast – Bill Gordon

  • 1 shoulder roast
  • 1/2 cup beef broth
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 sliced onions
  • 5 small red potatoes halved
  • 1/2 cup baby carrots

Brown roast on all sides.

Combine next 6 ingredients.

Add onions and carrots – simmer 2 hours.

Add potatoes – cook 45 min.

Homemade Sugar Cookies – Misty Jones

  • 2 & 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 cup softened butter
  • 1 & 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.

In a small bowl, stir together flour and baking soda, set aside.

In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in egg and vanilla. Gradually blend in dry ingredients.

Roll rounded spoonfulls into balls.

Place on un-greased cookie sheet. Cook 8-10 minutes.

Chocolate Mousse – Rachel Drennon

  • 6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate morsels
  • 1 tbsp. sugar
  • 3 eggs, separated
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
  • 1/4 cup sugar

Combine morsels and 1 tbsp. sugar in top of double boiler until chocolate melts. Let cool.

Combine egg yolks and vanilla. Stir into chocolate mixture.

Beat egg whites and cream of tartar until foamy; gradually add 1/4 cup sugar beating until stiff peaks form.

Fold egg white mixture into chocolate mixture. Stir well.

Cover mousse. Chill for one hour.

Christmas Fruit Squares – Linda Gordon

  • 1/2 cup softened butter
  • 1 & 1/2 cups brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup self rising flour, divided
  • 2 cups chopped pecans
  • 1/2 pound chopped red candied cherries
  • 1/2 pound chopped candied pineapple
  • 1/2 cup flaked coconut

Cream butter and gradually add sugar while beating with electric mixer. Add eggs one at a time. Add 3/4 cup flour. Stir well.

Combine remaining ingredients. Dredge into 1/4 cup flour.

Stir fruit mixture into batter. Spoon into greased and floured square pan. Bake at 300 degrees for 1 hour 10 min.

Cool on wire rack and chill before cutting.

Christmas Traditions

Christmas traditions are about more than just celebrating a season.  They are about celebrating family and keeping the magic of Christmas alive for generations to come.

Christmas is my favorite time of year, and though my family gets busier and busier, our traditions bring us together and keep us close.  We always make a big deal out of Christmas.  However, the gifts are not the main focus of the holidays for my family.  Keeping the magic of the season alive is the most important thing.

Today, I am sharing a few of my most precious Christmas traditions. These traditions truly make this the most wonderful time of the year.

  1. During the Great Depression, money was tight.  That didn’t stop my mother’s side of the family from giving the gift of love.  On Christmas Eve, and again on Christmas Day, the family members would hug each other and say, “Christmas Eve Gift” or “Christmas Gift.”  In fact, it became a game to see who would be the first to offer their Christmas Eve or Christmas “gift.”  The tradition has evolved over time, and now we race to be the first one in the family to greet someone with Christmas Eve Gift or Christmas Gift.  We even wake people up at midnight with the greeting, just to win the game.
  2. Christmas isn’t just about gifts in my family.  We celebrate the true meaning of Christmas by helping others.  We all try and help others all year round, but at Christmas, we try and make it extra special.  We want our children to be grateful for what they have and to always have a giving heart.  With that said, every year, we, along with the Texas High School Tigersharks, adopt a family for Christmas.  We all buy gifts for the children and adults alike and provide them with a full Christmas dinner.  If the children we adopt are young enough, my dad even volunteers to play Santa and pays a visit to the children personally.
  3. My family and I get a real Chrismas tree from Evergreen Christmas Tree Farm.  This tradition started about 5 years ago because my husband was frustrated trying to put up our fake tree.  We drove out to the lot, picked a tree, and watched as they cut it down and shook all the lose needles out of the tree.  The kids LOVED it.  We drink cocoa with the family that owns the tree farm and huddle by the wood burning fire inside the barn.  But the most special part of this tradition is finding random golf balls, from the nearby golf course, throughout the farm.  Each year, we bring home a golf ball and write the year on it and hang it from our tree.
  4. This tradition is very messy, and not for the faint of heart.  Every year, we buy each person in our family a package of tinsel.  But before we put it on the tree as decoration, we have our annual icicle fight.  We run around the house, jumping over dogs, furniture, and occasionally each other, throwing tinsel at each other, like snowballs.  It is not uncommon to find tinsel buried in the couch in February.
  5. Christmas Eve night, we make cookies for Santa and reindeer food to scatter outside for Rudolph and the gang.  Here is the recipe I use for reindeer food.

    Photo courtesy of

    6. During the day on Christmas Eve, my sister and I “plant” individually wrapped peppermints in a soil-filled small pot, with my three-year-old nephew.  When wakes Christmas morning, the peppermints have magically grown into candy canes.

    Photo courtesy of Pinterest

    7.  Lastly, on Christmas Eve night, the kids are allowed to open one gift each.  Each of them gets new pajamas, house shoes, and a coffee mug.  After they open the gifts, I make homemade hot chocolate, while they change into their new pajamas and we all sit down to watch a Christmas movie before bed.

These are just a few things that make Christmas extra special for my family.  I hope the traditions are passed on when my kids have children of their own.  What are your favorite Christmas traditions?

Mistletoe Fair 2017

This weekend, the Junior League of Texarkana kicks off the holiday season with the 32nd Annual Mistletoe Fair at the Four States Fairgrounds.

Junior League member Courtney Boeckmann says “Mistletoe Fair is a great way to kick off the holiday season.  From holiday shopping for friends and family, to seeing the magic of the season with the arrival of Santa Claus, to watching a showcase of local animal shelter pets in need of a home called Strut the Mutt, there is something fun for everyone at Mistletoe Fair!”

Day passes can be purchased for $7.00 at the door. For events like “Breakfast with Santa,” “Story Time with Santa,” and “Santa’s Workshop” it is a good idea to purchase in advance because they sell out fast. Tickets can be purchased at the website listed below.

General Admission Hours:

Friday, November 17th Noon-8:00 PM

Saturday, November 18th 9:00 AM-7:00 PM

Sunday, November 19th Noon-5:00 PM

Strut the Mutt:

Sunday, November 19th from 2:30-3:30pm