Festive Foods for Family and Friends

For unto us a child is born—Emmanuel, God with us! It’s time to celebrate! It’s time to gather with family and friends and share the joy of this amazing gift!

How do you celebrate? How do you share God’s love with others? Do you get the family together to decorate the Christmas tree? Have a party with friends and neighbors? Tour the city looking at all the Christmas lights? Cozy up near the fire and watch a Christmas movie? Whatever the event, my guess is that there is food involved. Here are some ideas to help you plan a festive get-together.

Eggnog:    https://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/homemade-eggnog/

Mulled Cider
4 cups apple juice
4 cups cranberry juice
4 cups hot tea
2 cups orange juice
¼ cup lemon juice
3 sticks of cinnamon
12 whole cloves
½ cup sugar
Orange and lemon slices
Place all ingredients in a large pan or slow cooker and heat.

Veggie Snowman (cauliflower, mushrooms, grape tomatoes, celery, baby carrots, snap peas)

Christmas Tree Spinach Dip Breadsticks:    https://www.itsalwaysautumn.com/christmas-tree-spinach-dip-breadsticks.html

Cheese Ball
Shared by Jan Babcock
2  8-oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened
1 c. shredded cheddar cheese
¼ c. crushed pineapple, drained
1 Tb. chopped onion
1 tsp. salt
1 Tb. finely chopped green pepper (use red & green for Christmas)
sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, or chopped pecans for coating

Mix all ingredients. Form into a ball (or two smaller balls). Lay out plastic wrap and sprinkle seeds or nuts on the plastic wrap. Place cheese ball on the seeds/nuts and sprinkle more seeds/nuts on top and sides. Wrap up. Chill for at least 2 hours before serving.

Cream cheese and pepper jam
Sliced cheeses & meats 
Relishes (olives, pickles, pickled asparagus)
Dried fruit (apricots, dates, mango)
Fresh fruit (grapes, strawberries, apple slices, blueberries)
Nuts (mixed nuts, cashews, peanuts, candied pecans, savory almonds)
Pretzels (plain, savory, chocolate-dipped) 

Caramel Crispix Mix
adapted from https://www.thetaylor-house.com/20-days-of-christmas-cookies-day-1-caramel-crispix
1 12-ounce box of Crispix cereal
1 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
¼ cup light Karo syrup
¼ teaspoon vanilla
¼ teaspoon baking soda
Place cereal in large bowl and set aside.
In saucepan, melt butter, then add brown sugar and bring to a boil. Add Karo syrup, vanilla, and baking soda. Pour mixture over cereal and stir well. Place mix in 9×13-inch pan. Bake for an hour at 200°F, stirring every 15 minutes.  (If you’re short on time, microwave the mix instead of baking – place mix in large paper bag, microwave for 2 minutes, shake, microwave again for 2 minutes, shake.)  Spread mix on wax paper to cool. 
Variation:  Add 1 cup peanuts and/or 1½ cups mini pretzels to the mix before baking.  If you want to add some color, add ¾ cup m&m’s when the mix is completely cooled.

Peppermint Bark Fudge  

Peanut Clusters

1 lb. candy coating (chocolate, white chocolate, or a mix of both)
1 12-oz package semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 lb. peanuts, roasted and salted
To melt chocolate, cut up the candy coating and place it and the chocolate chips in a large glass bowl; microwave about 5 minutes at half power.  Stir until smooth.  Mix in peanuts.  Drop by teaspoon onto waxed paper.  Cool completely.  Yield: 4-5 dozen clusters.

Orange Cranberry Cookies

Snowball Cookies
1 c. butter
1/3 c. sugar
2 tsp. water
2 tsp. vanilla
2 c. flour
½ c. chopped walnuts
Cream butter, sugar, water, and vanilla.  Stir in flour, then nuts.
Form dough into 1-inch balls and bake at 325°F for 15 minutes. Remove from pan and roll in powdered sugar. Place on cooling rack to cool completely.

Pecan Tassies

Peppermint Cheesecake (Instant Pot recipe submitted by Kitty Moore)

Janet Smith and her husband Dan have been members at Faith since 2005. After years of homeschooling their four children and leading a homeschool group, she now works in the Faith office as Assistant to Care Ministry. She serves in Stephen Ministry and in Women of the Word.

Outside of work and ministry, Janet enjoys baking, reading, hiking, crocheting, and spending time with her kids and grandkids.