special

A cheese Christmas wreath

So we went to a Christmas in July dinner last week and I wanted to take something special to add to the Christmas spirit. I think I ended up with a Christmas look and, as everyone kept coming back for more, a yummy treat all in one.

Baked cheese Christmas wreath on a wooden board

Making the cheese Christmas Wreath

 

In the simplest of terms, I prepared a baked cheese and surrounded it with green and some red ‘decorations’.

Ingredients

325 g ricotta cheese
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons finely chopped grilled red capsicum

decent handful of rocket leaves
bunch of basil
cherry tomatoes (or use stuffed bell capsicums)
couple of pieces of grilled capsicum, sliced into strips
some roughly chopped parsley leaves as a garnish

Method

The baked cheese is very easy and based on a recipe from Taste – I just adjusted it by using herbs we had growing at home and added the capsicum to give it more Christmas colour! Basically, you just mix the ingredients and bake it in a cake tin.

Baked cheese wreath before cooking

After 25 minutes baking, I turned the cheese onto the serving board facing up (ie don’t just turn the tin upside onto the serving dish! Facing up has a bit of colour showing and keeps a better shape as the top is firmer than the bottom of the cheese.) I decided to have a rustic look so used a wooden chopping board underneath the wreath.

Once it had cooled a little, I surrounded it with rocket and basil leaves.

I then added some Christmas baubles (being cherry tomatoes and stuffed baby capsicums).

baked cheese surrounded by green leaves to form a Christmas wreath

For fun, I draped capsicum strips over the baked cheese and greenery as ribbons of tinsel and then scattered chopped parsley leaves over it all for flavour and to break up the red decorations a little.

Baked cheese Christmas wreath on a wooden board

I was really pleased  with my Christmas cheese wreath – it looked festive and tasted delicious!

Do you think this would be a good snack to leave out for Santa (well maybe leave in the fridge for him to get if it’s a hot  night!)?

 

A Christmas Movie With a Message

    watching TV at Christmas time with bowls of foodWith all the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season, sometimes it’s hard to find a moment or two to sit down, let alone time to relax. Watching anything on tv sometimes needs to be scheduled into our holiday to do list, much less the time for a favorite holiday show or movie. Frosty, Charlie Brown, Rudolph just to name a few, all filled our children with magic, delight and reinforced that Santa would be coming to town soon. They all had their favorite and if you were lucky they would not air at the same time, because everyone wanted to see their favorite Christmas show.

As a child I also had a favourite, but I also remember one particular movie that aired time and time again. No matter the channel or time you were sure to see it airing. I remembering thinking to myself, a Christmas movie with old people, in black and white and with no Santa or reindeer in sight. How could this be a Christmas movie? Never giving it a second thought or chance, I turned the channel on to what I called a Christmas show, one with lights that flash, one with Santas and elves and one with snowmen being decorated.

Seeing the ultimate Christmas move for the first time

That all changed when I met my husband. Our first Christmas together was magic, and with one small suggestion a new Christmas memory and tradition was born.

Christmas was just a few days away, and my husband and I were out running last minute errands. We stopped at the local video store, being tired I decided to wait as he choose the latest release – or at least I thought he was. We get home put away our packages and got comfy to settle down to watch the movie.  

I was surprised by the black and white picture that panned into view; ‘maybe it’s one of those movies that start black and white and flash forward turning into color,’ I thought. Then suddenly there it was, the movie I never paid attention to, the movie with old people and the movie with no Santa , It’s A  Wonderful Life  flashed before my eyes. Complaining a little , but finally caving in, I gave it a try.
             
             What a truly wonderful movie. Life not always being fair, pulling together when times are tough, giving, loving and being a family. The message is priceless.

people helping eahc other, elves making gifts and Santa giving a present

Helping and giving are the real Christmas message

I honestly sat completely involved in every twist and turn George Bailey had to endure to find the true meaning of not only Christmas but life. As the credits rolled up on the tv screen I thanked my husband, for not only choosing this movie  but for urging me to watch it.

The Christmas message

 Since that first Christmas, every Christmas no matter what we have on our to do list, a few days before Christmas we get all comfy, settle down and snuggle up to watch It’s A Wonderful Life. Now, I’m the first person to say yes, a movie with old people, yes a black and white movie, yes a movie without Santas and reindeer is absolutely a Christmas movie, it isn’t about the images that represents Christmas , it’s all about the message.

Your Magical Santa Moment

Santa peering around a Christmas treeWhat is your favourite Santa memory? That time when the magic of Santa fully hit you and left you feeling on top of the world.

Maybe it was a special gift he left you, or the signs he left behind as he rushed to the next house of sleeping children.

Maybe it was one of Santa’s helpers you saw at a party or shop that did something special, or maybe it was a family tradition in preparation for Santa’s arrival.

Now is your chance to share that precious memory and bring a smile to our faces, too 🙂

A tree of thanks

If you want to have a Christmas tree that is a bit different or has a different significance, you might like this idea. It can be in addition to your usual Christmas tree or instead – and it is a lot cheaper, too.

So, get a tree – it can be the branch of a tree, an artificial Christmas tree, a candelabra or even a pine cone!

Make the decorations for your tree – maybe once a week or once a day, or make lots early in December and randomly choose one each day to hang on your tree.

The decorations are all hand-made by everyone in your family/household. They can be squares of paper with a few words, or you can cut various shapes and draw pictures on them – whatever feels right for you.

What is important is to write on each decoration about what you are thankful for. It can be anything, but some examples to get you started are:

A Christmas Tree made of Thanks

Being thankful in the Christmas spirit

  • thankful the family is healthy
  • thank you for a great year
  • thanks for having a place to call home
  • I’m grateful to be part of this family
  • thanks for the spirit and magic of Christmas

Each time you look at this special tree, you will be reminded of the good things in your lives. And you can make a special time on Christmas Eve or even Boxing Day to read the decorations together and value what is important.

It may be a great activity in the middle of Christmas Day if the kids are getting too caught up in presents.

Merry Christmas, and thanks for sharing the spirit and magic of Christmas with us.

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