Christmas hard candy mix
The old fashioned varities of hard pieces of Christmas candies has been around since the days of our parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents. These flavors of Christmases of long ago are still around. Flavors of peppermint, wintergreen, spearmint, horehound, grape, apple, lemon, raspberry, strawberry, lime, cherry, orange, and pineapple. Hard mixes in the forms of Christmas trees, Santa’s, candles, gingerbread houses, and ribbon shapes. Hard mixes of all kinds and flavors can be found at many candy stores, supermarkets, country stores, produce markets, and in historic Mount Airy along Main Street. At many old fashioned stores, you can scoop it up out of wooden kegs and place it in bags by the pound.
Making Christmas ornament dough
Making your own Christmas ornaments can be fun and you can make many Christmas memories with your children and grandchildren. To prepare this dough recipe, you will need three cups plain flour, one-and-a-fourth cups cold water, three fourth cup of salt, and one teaspoon of powdered alum. In a large bowl, combine the salt, flour, and powdered alum and mix well. Add water and stir until smooth. Shape the dough into a ball. Knead the dough on a lightly covered wax paper lined surface sprinkled with flour for 5 minutes until smooth. If dough is too stiff, sprinkle with water, or if it is too moist, sprinkle with flour. Form shapes of Christmas trees, Santa’s, snowmen, candles, stars, candy canes, and gingerbread houses with cookie cutters or by hand. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 10 to 15 minutes. Cool and paint with acrylic paints. Extra dough can be stored in covered plastic containers. Use a nail to punch holes in the top of the ornaments for ornament hooks before baking. You can roll the dough into sticks and make candy canes for your old fashioned tree.
Making Christmas eggnog piggy pudding
Rice pudding is a whole lot like Old English “piggy pudding” (also known as figgy pudding) in English literature. Eggnog adds the Old English flavor to the recipe. It is an easy recipe to make at Christmas time. In a medium bowl, mix one pack of Minute or Success cooked rice, two large eggs and one cup of sugar, half teaspoon of nutmeg, one cup of eggnog (regular or low fat), one teaspoon vanilla, one cup golden raisins, two tablespoons plain flour, half teaspoon cinnamon. Mix all the ingredients and pour into a 13X9X2 inch baking dish or pan sprayed with Pam baking spray. Bake at 350 degrees until firm and golden brown (usually around an hour and maybe a bit more). You can substitute quartered red and green candied cherries instead of golden raisins for a Christmasy look. It is great served hot with ice cream but even better served cold.
Making some red peppermint julip
This is an interesting pepper-upper on a winter evening. Run a small bag of Starlight peppermints through the blender in grate mode and sit aside. Mix two packs of watermelon Kool-Aid, two cups of sugar, four cups of water, one teaspoon peppermint extract, one two liter bottle of Canada Dry ginger ale. Mix all together and pour in the grated Starlight mints.
Plenty of Christmas green in the garden plot
Part of our garden plot never goes to sleep in winter because green is our favorite color and we love something green and growing all winter long. Green in the winter garden is highlighted by the Carolina Jasmine, mustard greens, Siberian kale, collards, purple top turnips, broccoli, cabbage, and onion sets. It is always fun in every season to see something green in the garden.
Country stores and special places
The spirit of Christmas past and some of the present is alive at the country store or at some extraordinary stores near you. It is there you can experience the sights, scenes, and smells of Christmas that will take you back in time. There is Ronnie’s Country Store on Cherry Street in downtown Winston-Salem that features country ham. slabs of bacon, W.G. White old fashioned country ham, assorted candies, fresh vegetables, fresh fruits, hoop cheese, and many Christmas traditional goodies. A little further up the hill at 516 North Trade street is Mast General Store where they feature old fashioned items, candies, special treats, toys, gadgets, dolls and other special items. In Kernersville, there is Musten and Crutchfield Market. They feature homemade pimento cheese, chicken salad, bottles of old fashioned soft drinks and fresh meats and vegetables. They are at 245 North Main Street. Across the state line in Cana, Virginia, there is Carolina Virginia Produce with wood floors and huge isles filled with wooden keys of old fashioned candies especially at Christmas. You can buy already mixed and weigh out candies in plastic bags or select your own varities from wooden keys. They also have jams, jellies, pickles, relishes, pickled eggs, assorted meats, vegetables and fruits by the bushel or pound. They have fruitcakes and hard to find items such as old fashioned dark chocolate drops, orange slices, ribbon hard Christmas candy, coconut macaroons, spice and fruit gum drops, and stick candy in all flavors as well as coconut ribbon candy and coconut bon bons. Historic Mount Airy has several blocks of wonderful specialty filled all year round and especially at Christmas time when Main Street is decked out in lighted snowflakes. You can visit the ice cream shops, old hardware’s, great dinning places, and enjoy a pork chop biscuit at Snappy Lunch. Many variety stores and specialty shops line Main Street. You can find hoop cheese, country ham, Jelly Bellies in all flavors, dill pickles from jar and many other extra special items that will pave the way to an interesting day of shopping and fun as well as dinning. Take the family on an old fashioned shopping adventure this Christmas season.
Buying a Christmas cactus as a gift
Give someone special a gift of Christmas cactus so they can enjoy it all during the Christmas season as well as for many Christmases to come. You can now purchase Christmas cactus in full bloom at Home Depot, Lowe’s Foods, Lowe’s Home Improvement, Walmart, Food Lion, and most nurseries. Buy a large bag of Miracle-Gro cactus potting medium and a large container and re-pot the cactus as soon as you bring it home. Rewrap the container in bright Christmas foil before giving it to someone special so they can enjoy the flowers.
The mystery and charm of mistletoe
One of the mysteries of the elusive mistletoe is just the fact that it exists. It is as charming today as it was to the ancients for centuries. It is also a mystery how it can propagate itself against such great odds even in this 21st century when many acres of oak and hickory trees are being bulldozed for real estate and business development. It is also a mystery how it evolved into a decoration at Christmastime.
Mistletoe is unique with its olive green thick leaves and semi-transparent white berries that are so dainty with their tiny seed in them. Mistletoe is a parasite that mooches off hickories, oaks, and other hardwoods to sustain itself. Mistletoe reproduces itself when birds peck or bury the tiny seed into the limbs and branches very high up in the trees. It is amazing that mistletoe always thrives at the tops of these mighty hardwoods protected by God from storms and humans.
The mistletoe revels itself to us in late autumn and early winter when leaves fall and reveal huge clumps of elusive mistletoe in the tops of these mighty oaks and hickories. This brings us to another mystery in the very fact that we didn’t break our neck trying to retrieve it as kids back in the 1950s when almost every oak had a clump of mistletoe tempting us because a kiss awaited if we could chase the girls at school and dangle the mistletoe over their head.
I now believe those sweet fourth grade girls realized the risk involved in retrieving that mistletoe and the rarity of seeing mistletoe or maybe mistletoe charmed them like it did the ancients over the centuries and maybe, just maybe, they really wanted a Christmas kiss! Every December, we look for elusive mistletoe in the mighty oaks in the forest and woodlands of Surry County and it still exists in the tops of oaks and hickories, but now out of our reach because we are old enough to not fool around in the tops of mighty oaks, but we are not to old to kiss under a sprig of mistletoe!
Time to dream about a white Christmas
As we move farther into December and winter is a little more than a week away, is there any possibility we could have some snow before Christmas? In 2017, we had a huge amount of snow the second week of December. It does not have to be cold to snow, or freezing, or not even very cold if conditions are favorable aloft. At Christmas, what better time for the dream of a white Christmas to come true.
Hoe hoe hoedown
“Voices of reason.” When I see a Christmas cookie, I hear two voices in my head. One voice says, “You need to eat that cookie.” The other voice says, “You heard him, eat that cookie!”
“Pie crazy.” Diner: “Is this pumpkin pie or eggnog pie?” Waitress: “Can’t you tell by the taste?” Diner: “No, not really.” Waitress: “Well, then what difference does it make?”