He’s making a list,
And checking it twice;
Gonna find out Who’s naughty and nice.
Santa Claus is coming to town!
SOURCE: J. Fred Coots, Henry Gillespie (c) 1934
8 days till Christmas!
Today is the perfect time, to plan + prepare for your Christmas day entertaining. Use the following checklist to help you with your planning:
- Finalise your menu plan + drinks
- Think about what you can cook in advance? Why not whip up a batch of Tangy Cranberry Sauce (made with dried cranberries)
- Write your shopping list
- Plan the table setting – what do you still need?
- Christmas Crackers
- Have a look through your crockery, cutlery, serving dishes and glasses. Do you have all the serving spoons that you will need? Make sure you have enough of everything, for all your guests. (Every year I seem to lose some cutlery – I don’t have the vaguest idea how!)
Cheers, Make Ahead Mum xxx
11 days till Christmas Day
Have you gotten to that time of year, when everything is busy busy busy? Too busy! You want it all to stop, but it just keeps coming! I have! So today, I decided to spend the day at home, doing something that I love – yes you guessed it – cooking! Today I made my Easy Traditional Christmas Cake. Yum.
Up until a few years ago, I was terrified of the thought of making a fruit cake. They seemed so complicated and steeped in traditions, from days gone by. I was sure that I would make a complete mess of it! To my surprise, I didn’t and it was actually very easy!! If you are afraid of fruit cakes, (like I was) please give this a go. You can buy some lovely Christmas cakes, but they are expensive and won’t even begin to compare, to this home-made beauty. Plus, people will think you are an absolute superstar for making this delicious Christmas Cake! It will be worth it just for the praise!!!
Remember: Measure your ingredients properly + stick to the recipe = Success!
I would love to hear from you. Please email your questions, or drop me a line and tell me how you went with your Christmas Cakes. Cheers, Make Ahead Mum xxx
13 days till Christmas Day
I have a confession to make. I have been having a love affair! I am totally smitten!! I know it is wrong, but I just can’t help it. No, not that kind of love affair, I am having a love affair with my favourite new cookbook. Not Your Mother’s Make-Ahead & Freeze Cookbook, by Jessica Fisher! I just can’t put it down! I even went away on holidays with it!! I love it so much, that I just had to share it with you. I think this book would make an awesome Christmas gift for a foodie friend.
The book focuses on my favourite topic, which is recipes that can be made in bulk and frozen. It is the perfect reference for a beginner (or an expert) to bulk / batch cooking. The book is clever because it provides several bulk cooking plans, with grocery lists, prep lists, cooking plans and the awesome recipes. It also has a fantastic chapter on creating your own cooking plans from scratch, with worksheets to assist you with the planning. This cookbook puts a modern spin on the concept of freezing meals and caters to a wide range of tastes, featuring 200 healthy family friendly recipes.
I have to tell you a little something about the lady who is responsible for this great book – Jessica Fisher. I have been a fan of her blog Life As Mom for a few years now and am amazed by this woman! She is a mother of 6 kids (I know – how does she do it???) + she home schools + writes 2 blogs daily + finds time (some how) to write an awesome recipe book! My hat is off to her! You know the book must be family friendly, if the recipes have been taste tested by a family of 8!
18 days till Christmas Day
How do you cook your Plum pudding? Do you stay home for hours, to watch that the pudding doesn’t boil dry?
Last year was the first time I cooked a Slow Cooker Plum Pudding. It was such a success, that I think they should rename the slow cooker to “Plum Pudding Cooker”. I love using my slow cooker because it does all the hard work for you. You can pop your pud on the stove to cook, but you will need to stay at home for several hours while it cooks. If you use the slow cooker method, you can pop it on and then walk away! Perfect for anyone who is busy!
Today whilst my plum pudding was cooking, I did the following: went out for lunch, bought petrol, did the banking, kinder pick up, attended school mini beasts presentation and purchased school uniforms for next year! At this time of year, I don’t have the spare time to stay at home and watch my Christmas pudding boil.
On a side note, did you know it is traditional to cook your Christmas pudding on ‘Stir-up Sunday’. We have missed it this year, as it was on 25th November in 2012. In case you want to plan ahead for next year, it is on 24th November in 2013.
Happy slow cooking, cheers Make Ahead Mum x
22 days till Christmas Day
Presents galore! Stores advertising their fantastic sales everywhere!
It is time to Shop, Shop, Shop! or is it?
I find at this time of year that it is lovely to give a home-made gift. It means so much to the person receiving it, to know that you made their gift yourself. It can be a juggle to find the time to make gifts, but Festive Fruity Granola is super simple and quick to pop together. Why not make a double batch and make several jars as presents. I know I would love to be given a jar! What an awesome present! This will be on my breakfast table on Christmas morning. Cheers, Make Ahead Mum x
What is your favourite home-made gift idea?
26 days till Christmas Day
Wow, what a day! Today the temperature here in Melbourne reached a top of 40°c (or 104°F)! I really thought I was going to melt! You know it is hot, when you have to queue to buy a slurpee! You know it is insanely hot, when the slurpee machine isn’t able to freeze the drinks fast enough and all it is making is cold liquid drinks!!! For my northern hemisphere readers, I realise that this weather update will be hard to comprehend ! Oh, how I long for a little snow right now!!
With Australian climatic conditions in mind, today I am posting a chilled festive dessert recipe - Cherry Panettone Icecream Torte. It sounds fancy, looks fancy and tastes fancy – but it couldn’t be simpler! It includes a total of 4 ingredients! What an awesome recipe to have in your collection. Perfect to serve at a barbecue with friends or even as a cold dessert option on Christmas day!
Seriously, you can whip this up in 20 minutes (+ freezing time) – give it a try! Cheers, Make Ahead Mum x
‘Make Ahead Christmas’
DID YOU KNOW THERE ARE ONLY 28 DAYS TILL CHRISTMAS!!
Well it is that time of year again. There is now officially less than a month till Christmas!! How does it come around so quickly? So much to do – cooking, shopping, cleaning, sprucing up…the list is long! Usually I try and get a jump start on Christmas a little bit sooner than this, however, I have to admit that I am just starting my planning and preparation now.
How are you feeling about your Christmas preparations?
- Are you yet to start your Christmas cooking?
- Are you nervous about cooking on Christmas Day?
- Would you love to know how to make more Christmas recipes?
- Are you cooking Christmas for the first time this year?
- Do you just feel a little lost and not know where to start?
If you answered “YES” to any of the above, then I know you will love my new series ‘Make Ahead Christmas‘. It is an inspiring series that will take the stress out of preparing food, for all your silly season entertaining. In each post I will share a new Make Ahead Christmas recipe. Each recipe will include step by step instructions with photographs, so you will be able to easily make them at home. Recipes will include: Christmas Mince Pies, Christmas Cake, Plum Pudding, home-made gourmet gifts and more.
I WILL BE RUNNING THE ‘MAKE AHEAD CHRISTMAS’ SERIES FROM TODAY UNTIL CHRISTMAS.
I hope you will join me for a Merry ‘Make Ahead Christmas’, so you can enjoy your family on Christmas Day- instead of being busy in the kitchen! Cheers, Make Ahead Mum x
I am an Aussie girl through and through, but tomorrow I am going to be celebrating Thanksgiving! A few year back I became friends with a wonderful girl Rachel, who is from the USA. She has kindly included my family in her annual Thanksgiving celebrations since. Each year she has put on a wonderful spread with turkey, mashed potatoes and all kinds of amazing pies. Just thinking about it is making my mouth water! When I first attended her party I had not ever tasted a pumpkin pie before. Now I am very much looking forward to a slice!
My contribution to the meal is always the same. I make the most American thing I can come up with – Sweet Potato and Marshmallow Casserole. I have to admit that I made it the first time, because I couldn’t fathom how anyone could consider this a suitable combination, to serve beside such a special meal as roast turkey. However, once I tried it I completely understood it’s unique quirky appeal. The spices combined with the sweetness of the marshmallow and potato, transform it into something that is not only delicious, but I suspect quite addictive!
Love it or hate, is up to you. I am a definite fan of this American culinary classic!
How do you celebrate Thanksgiving? What is your favourite dish?
Happy Thanksgiving to all my American readers,
Cheers Make Ahead Mum xxx
PS: Thanks Rachel for your wonderful friendship & hospitality!
Wow, doesn’t time fly when you are having fun! My apologies for the distinct lack of recipes recently, but the weeks have just been flying by! Recently we had our school fete, which my children absolutely adored! I wanted to contribute the the day, so I popped my name down to make something for the cake stall. However, as the day approached, I realised that I was going to be out all day, on the day prior to the fete. I had a minor flash of panic, trying to work out how I was going to have time to cook something for the fete! Then I put on my Make Ahead Mum Hat! Instead of making something that had to cooked the day before, I chose meringues, which I could make a day earlier! Problem solved!
Last year, I was lucky enough to host a Tupperware party with all my girlfriends and we had a fabulous time drinking champagne, gossiping and making meringues! This recipe is adapted from the meringue recipe, that I learnt at that Tupperware party. I used a Tupperware Bake 2 Basics Squeeze It for this recipe. It is an terrific little tool and it makes piping so easy! These meringues are delectable and could be served in many different ways. They would be equally good at a kids party, or jazzed up as a dessert, by joining two together with whipped cream. You can adapt the colouring of the meringue to suit the occasion.
Happy baking, Make Ahead Mum xxx
Are you a working mum? Do you find cooking at the end of a long work day exhausting? Do you try preparing an extra dinner on your day off, so you have something ready when you work next? Let me guess how that looks:
1. Cook tomorrow’s dinner – recipe 1.
2. Cook tonight’s dinner – recipe 2.
3. Clean up 2 x dishes and mess!
4. Pull your hair out and go and lie down!