Keeping Holiday Food Simple

Welcome to the November edition of the Simply Living Blog Carnival – Enjoyment cohosted by Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children and Laura at Authentic Parenting. This month, we write about what food and how we simplify things related to it in our lives. Please check out the links to posts by our other participants at the end of this post.

We tend to be pretty low key on the holidays. Foreseeing issues of demands on holidays, we made it rule when we first were married that we would spend holidays at our home. If we invited someone to share the day(s) with us, that was fine, but we were not going to be dictated to concerning where we would spend our time. Our family traditions and festivities have changed a bit through the years, as we have blended the traditions I grew up with and the ones my husband grew up with, cut out ones that didn’t speak to us, and added others that had meaning for our family. Becoming parents has helped us a lot in that aspect, as we look at what we really want to do with our children and what baggage would be better left behind.

Food is a struggle for many families. I can’t tell you how many horror stories I have heard about getting the perfect holiday dinner on the table. I can’t say I really understand. In my experience, you really can’t mess it up. Trust me, my husband has unintentionally tried messing up the  turkey in multiple ways, and the truth is, no matter what has happened, they always come out nice and juicy with wonderful flavor…all without the martyrdom of getting up at 2 AM to cook the perfect meal.

So how do we simplify things to keep the crazy out of the day? To start with, we have a holiday dinner. It makes the meal feel a little more special, and there is no mad “running around like a chicken with its head cut off.” (Thanks to my mother for her visual descriptions which still pop into my head to this day.) There is no rush and we can take our time and start dinner on our schedule. If people are visiting from far away, they have plenty of time to arrive or wake up at our house and just chill.

A crucial part of the day, though, is that we don’t cook any other meals. That doesn’t mean we starve our children. That would be a disaster. Instead, all food leading up to the main meal is finger food/appetizer stuff. We have veggie platters with dip, fruit platters with fondue, platters with meats, crackers, and cheese. We make our favorite appetizers that we normally wouldn’t make. All of these activities are family time. Our children love making fun and unique food, and since we have so many other appetizers, there isn’t a need to make a ton of any of them. People graze all day, going into the kitchen when they are hungry and helping themselves. You can’t get any more low key than that. Visting friends and family also love it. They can wander in and not feel like they have to take something or shouldn’t take something. If they bring food, we just add it to the buffet. And with all of the resulting free time? We get to do whatever we want: watch a family movie, play board games to our hearts content, snuggleup with a good book, or just talk.

It’s a tradition that has worked well for our family for a long time and one that I absolutely love.

photo credit: tres.jolie via photopin cc


Thank you for visiting the Simply Living Blog Carnival cohosted by Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children and Laura at Authentic Parenting. We hope you will join us next month!

  • Seeking Balance – At Sagetribe, Kelly speaks about how their journey as a family has very much been marked by their journey into finding and learning about real food. From veggie burgers made and immediately frozen to homemade breads and cheeses, they’ve found the best way to find balance in their food story, is to keep simple ingredients on hand.
  • Keeping Holiday Food Simple – At Living Peacefully with Children, Mandy shares how her family has developed a holiday tradition with food that allows her family to enjoy the day rather than slaving away.
  • Grain-Free Crock Pot Baked Potato Soup Recipe – A hearty and delicious crock pot soup recipe helps to simplify food planning and preparation for any family. Amy at Anktangle shares her tried-and-true recipe for loaded baked potato soup—made without any grains or flours. What’s more: it freezes well for reheating later!
  • Feeing a Family in the Middle of Nowhere – At Authentic Parenting, Laura writes about the many ways she has found over seven years of living in the middle of nowhere to feed her family paleo.
  • The Mind is a Wonderful Thing to Taste – Zoie at TouchstoneZ sees cooking with her family as a mindfulness practice and as service to her family.

Share your posts on simplifying meals, great simple recipes, healthy eating, and more. Just link up any old or new posts between now and December 19, 2013.

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