Tuesday, December 30, 2014

"Buon Anno!” or “Happy New Year!” Time To Celebrate With “Cheesy Bacon Bites”

As the clock strikes twelve midnight, on December 31st, people all over the world will wish each other a “Happy New Year.” For many people, this symbolizes the beginning of a better year than the previous one. New Year’s is thought of as a time for hope, new goals, and new opportunities. Many people celebrate, by going to parties, drinking champagne, eating, dancing, fireworks, and especially by being with their loved ones.

"First Foot Day" or "First Footer"

“First Foot Day” or “First Footer” marks the beginning of the New Year and is said to bring good luck. It is said that the first male person who enters your home on New Year’s Day, will bring good fortune for the coming year. The First-Foot usually brings several gifts, including coins, bread, salt, coal, or a drink usually Whiskey. This represents financial prosperity, food, flavor, warmth, and good cheer. This tradition started in Scotland and England. So watch who steps into your house first! It is also believed that the more you eat on New Year’s Eve the more money you will have for the year.

St. Silvestro
Celebrating New Year’s Eve in Italy is called Capuano (the “head of the year”) or Notte di San Silvestro (the night of St. Silvestro). St. Sylvester I was the 33rd Pope. In Italy, there are rituals or traditions that are really not followed anymore in today’s world. Some of these rituals include throwing old possessions out the window, in the hopes of forgetting past misfortunes and clearing the way for good luck in the New Year. Many people make Struffoli which are round little dough balls held together with honey. These are to symbolize the year coming full circle. Firing up the Yule Log on the last day of the year, is an invitation to the Virgin Mary, who can warm the baby Jesus and then the ashes would protect the house from damage.

Some of the lucky foods that are eaten are round fruits such as oranges and pomegranates which symbolize coins and bring a prosperous New Year. The dinner menu consists of pork sausage and lentils. The lenticchie (lentils) represent coins, being round in shape and is eaten at midnight, one spoonful per bell. This is supposed to bring good fortune. The eating of pork is said to represent the fat, or riches, of the land. Cooked collard, spinach, cabbage, and kale are all to symbolize paper money. Black Eyed Peas and Cornbread is a traditional Southern dish in the US. Fireworks and lots of noise also “scare” away the bad spirits. (Now I know why my mom would let us bang pots on New Years Eve)

Did you know that if you eat 12 grapes one at a time as each chime strikes at midnight on the clock, it is supposed to guarantee sweetness and fortune in the coming year? Each grapes follows a month, (first grape is January etc.) so if you happen to get a sour grape along the way, it is said to predict that month will be a challenging one in 2015. Fish is also a lucky food choice as since most fish swim forward and the scales are believed to symbolize silver. Do not eat lobster or crab as they walk sideways and backward. You want to go forward in the New Year!

Begin an Italian-American, the chance to celebrate New Years Eve with family, friends and the kids were welcomed at my parents’ home. I remember when I was very young my mother would tell us to take a nap in the daytime so we would be able to stay up till midnight. As I tried to nap, I could hear all the hustle and bustle in the kitchen preparing the food for those evenings’ festivities. I could hear the clicking of the wine and champagne bottles that were to be on the table that night. As I drifted off to sleep for my nap, I could smell the aroma of fried vegetables cooking and the sweet smell of onions with sausage with peppers being prepared for our party. The smell of food cooking was a delightful aroma that meant love and family to me. 

As the guests began to enter our decorated house from Christmas, you could see all the dishes of goodies that were being placed on the tables. As the party continued, it was almost that time, when the New Year was approaching. Everyone put on their hats, crowns, had noise makers and we would count down the time, 10, 9, 8, all the way to Happy New Years. This to me was my favorite part of New Years Eve. My mom would give us kids, spoons and the covers to her pots, and we were allowed to go out in the street, and bang on them and we would yell, Happy New Year. As kids, this was the best part of the evening and will be remembered for a lifetime.

So, as I close this post, on the last days of “2014,” I want to wish everyone across the world a very “Happy New Year.” Thank you all for a fabulous year and for reading all my stories and recipes. The fact that you actually read what I write is such a gift and such a privilege, thank you for making me part of your world. May “2015” bring happiness, health, blessings, prosperity, and most of all “love” to you and your families.

I also have a recipe to share, which is called “Cheesy Bacon Bites.” I hope that you enjoy this easy, yummy, appetizer and make it your tradition for New Years as well. I made these for Christmas Eve...

                                                     “Cheesy Bacon Bites” 

2 tubs (8 oz.) Philadelphia Chive and Onion Cream Cheese Spread
2 packages of cream cheese, softened
1-2 tbsp chopped onion
3/4 cup cooked bacon, chopped
A few dashes of cracked black pepper
2 rolls of Pillsbury Crescents

Preheat the oven to 375°F.  Spray jelly roll pan with cooking spray. Mix cream cheese and the next 3 ingredients until well combined. Remove crescents from package. Unroll so it’s flat and seal up any cracks. Spread cream cheese mixture over dough and roll up lengthwise. Slice and bake until golden, about 15 minutes. Serve warm.

Till Next Time………….

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  1. Good afternoon dear Dottie ,
    I have just about caught up with myself . You post is full of much needed information as usual and I have enjoyed it very much . I do hope You and your dear family had a happy and joyful time . It's hard not to eat to much everything is so delicious .
    Have you notice , lots of cultures have the same traditions about New Year ?
    I love bringing in the New Year with family and friends and as you say they bring lots of goodies .
    I laughed when you said eat the twelve grapes at each chime of the clock until midnight . We do that and always hope we don't get a sour grape ;-D . Cheesy Bacon Bites , now those will be very welcome New Years Eve or anytime and so easy , the kids will love helping me make them .
    Glad you like the gifs , my New Year post will be up after midnight tonight . You are welcome to use any or all of them I get them from the web . They have a lot of free ones for all occasion .
    Thanks for sharing dear friend .
    Happy New Year to your family from mine . Nee :)

    1. Good evening Nee,
      Thanks for your comment and for your visiting me. It is so true, you try to just taste, but it is so good that you have to have more. Everything is so delicious! I did notice doing my research that many countries have the same or similar traditions. It is always fun to celebrate with family and friends. We also do the twelve grapes at midnight. It is a fun was to countdown to the New Year. I am glad that your family does the same thing. I think your children will love this recipe of Cheesy Bacon Bites especially if they help you. They really are so good, I made them for Christmas Eve and my whole family went crazy for them. Yes, I love the gifs, I have been looking for them on the web and have found some. Thank you for sharing them with me. I think it just adds to the post or story. They are fun to look at. Thanks for your wishes on New Years...Just hope that 2015 will be a good healthy New Year for all of us. Enjoy, Talk to you next year as they say....
      Dottie :)

  2. Hi Dottie!
    Yet another wonderful and informative post:) When we were kids we use to bang the pots and pans on New Year's Eve. I can still hear them clanging, lol...I can't remember any of the food though except for possibly fish.

    Ah, those were the days of Old Lange Syne:)

    Marion and I wish you and yours a very healthy and Happy New Year Dottie. It has been another wonderful year of getting to know you and your blog and I look froward to another GREAT and tasty year!!! Louise

    1. Hi Louise,
      Thanks so much for your comment and for visiting. Yes, this time of the year brings back many memories for me especially at New Years. Yes, I do remember the fish too, I think it was Herring, that is supposed to be good luck. So glad that you enjoyed my post. Look for more goodies moving forward in the new year. I wish you and Marion a beautiful New Year filled with every day being a blessing. Thanks also for your friendship as well. If it wasn't for you I never would have met so many wonderful friends with "Foodie" blogs.
      Love and hugs Dottie :)

  3. Dear Dottie, I love to read all your posts and even if I was born in Italy there are many many things I still don't know about Italian culture. I love when you mention hystoric facts too.
    Your cheese bites are delicious. I wish you a wonderful 2015 and thank you for being always so kind and supportive. I have really enjoyed your friendship!
    Tanti tanti bacioni!

    1. Dear Alida, Thank you for your lovely comment. I am fascinated with all cultures especially Italy as that is where our family came from. I am glad that you are enjoying my posts and recipes. I love your blog as well, because you do the same, share your traditions and love when you go outside of the kitchen to share your travels with us. Yes, these cheese bites are really yummy. They are easy and a perfect finger food. Next time I am going to try them with chopped up pepper and maybe some chopped up fine mushrooms. Alida dear friend, I wish you as well and your family a very Happy New Year that is filled with all wonderful days ahead in 2015! It has been a pleasure to be friends with you and thanks for all of your recipes, wish I had the time to try them all. Vi auguriamo il meglio nel nuovo amore anno e abbracci (hope I said this correctly) Dottie :)

  4. Great Blog Dottie. Keep up the good work.

    1. Hi Orlando, Happy New Year!
      Thank you for taking the time to visit and your comment! So glad that you enjoyed this post and the recipe. Hope that you have a wonderful weekend! Dottie :)