Friday, December 7, 2012

“Poinsettia Cocktail” & “Mexican Wedding Cookies” To Get You In The Holiday Spirit!

Christmas is almost here! I am so excited! Christmas is my very favorite holiday. Each year I start to plan my decorating strategy from the summer. Where to put my tree, what decorations should I use, and what new ideas have I learned throughout the year? If I could I would have Christmas all year long, but I don’t think my family and friends would appreciate seeing Santa next to the Easter Bunny. The colors I usually use at Christmas are the traditional gold, greens, and reds. My green tree is decorated with mini white lights and strings of white pearls as a garland that shimmers in between the glowing lights. I use many ornaments on my tree from beautiful sparkling balls to memorable items that have been made or given to me from family or friends. On top of my radiant Christmas tree I place a white Angel that glows just like a beacon of light as she shines on all of the spectacular decorations. One of the last items I will purchase to finish off my magical Christmas is some beautiful red Poinsettia plants that just bring the warmth of family and friends to any room. It just screams Merry Christmas to one and all!

Speaking of Poinsettias, December 12th just happens to be “National Poinsettia Day!” On this day it is a tradition to give a poinsettia plant to someone in your family or a friend, so they can enjoy its colorful beauty for the holiday season. The Poinsettia is also known as the Christmas flower. According to legend a child who couldn’t afford a gift to offer to the Christ child, was told by an Angel to pick some weeds from the side of a road. The tale continues that a humble gift, if it is given with love, would be acceptable in God’s eyes. The weeds turned into brilliant red blooms which we now call the Poinsettia. The Star-shaped pattern of the Poinsettia leaf is said to symbolize the Star of Bethlehem.
The Poinsettia is indigenous to Mexico and Central America. Its English name came from Joel Roberts Poinsett, the first US Minister to Mexico, who introduced the plant into the United States in 1825. The plant has dark green leaves and it colored leaves can be in a pale green, white, pink, cream, marbled, and of course flaming red. Poinsettias are also known as the Winter Rose, Lobster Flower, Mexican Flame Leaf, and the Christmas Star. Poinsettias are grown as indoor plants and need exposure to the morning sun and then shade in the hotter part of the day. In North America, Poinsettias are the number one selling potted plant, grossing more than $250 million in sales during the 6 week period before Christmas. 90% of all Poinsettias are exported from the U.S. and California is the top producing state. So, this year be sure to give someone you love a Poinsettia plant. After all it is “National Poinsettia Day!”

This week I have two recipes to share. One is a “Poinsettia Cocktail” that will put you in the spirit of the holiday season. The other is in honor of the Poinsettia called “Mexican Wedding Cookies”. Both are simple and scrumptious that you will add these two recipes to your Christmas celebrations every year. Enjoy! 
Poinsettia Cocktail

1 part of Vodka
1 part of Champagne/sparkling white wine
2 parts of cranberry juice
Some cranberries for garnish

Chill Champagne flutes before serving. First add the cranberry juice and vodka into a glass, mix well. Then just before serving, gently top off this mixture with the bubbly. Garnish with cranberries, even over crushed ice is nice. Merry, Merry Christmas!!!

“Mexican Wedding Balls

1 cup of unsalted COLD butter (2 sticks)
3/4 cup of granulated sugar
1 teaspoon of Vanilla extract
2 cups of all purpose unbleached flour; plus more for dusting hands
1 cup of chopped pecans or walnuts
Powdered sugar to coat balls

Preheat oven to 300° F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper. Using an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar at low speed until it is smooth. Beat in the vanilla.
At low speed gradually add the flour. Mix in the nuts with a spatula. With floured hands, take about 1 tablespoon of dough and shape into a ball. Continue to dust hands with flour as you make more cookies. Place onto prepared cookie sheets. Bake for 20-30 minutes. When cool enough to handle but still warm, roll in confectioners sugar. Cool on wire racks. Yield: depending on the size of the balls you make. This recipe makes about 2 dozen. Enjoy!

Till Next Time…………………………….

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