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Teach your children traditions

December 13, 2018
Kiki Angelos , MOV Parent

December is a very exciting month for children and adults of all ages, mainly because of the anticipation of the arrival of Ol' St. Nick. Children are making their list for Santa weeks before and children waiting for the store catalogs showing all the different selections of toys and items for all ages and prices. With the arrival of Santa at the Grand Central Mall, little ones line up with their list of things they want to find under the Christmas tree Christmas morning. Many have very happy faces and anxious to sit on Santa's lap to tell him everything they want, while others are afraid and reluctant to go up close or set in his lap. Then there are the after thoughts where some may wonder how it is possible for Santa to fill all those requests and deliver them.

Of course, at the same time, parents are using the excuse and take advantage of the coming Santa to make sure they finish their school homework, do home chores and be on their best behavior realizing that after Dec. 25, all will go back to the normal routine.

I know that Santa does his very best to fill all the wishes and requests from all the children. It is also important to keep in mind that not all children receive everything they ask for and are less fortunate and therefore we adults along with their children need to donate toys and items to the organizations that make sure that all have a merry Christmas.

It is also nice for parents, grandparents and relatives to teach their little ones family Christmas traditions and customs that they would like to see them carry on through out life.

Our family has one main tradition during the Christmas season of making certain pastries and desserts. The most popular is, of course, "baklava," which is a very popular Greek dessert.

We plan a special day where all 8 of my grandchildren come to my kitchen table and each make their own pan of baklava from scratch.

Baklava is made with layers of fillo dough, with fresh butter and nuts between the layers ( there are usually around 20 - 25 layers of fillo dough.) You bake the baklava until it has a nice golden brown color and then come the secret of preparing the syrup that is later pour over the baklava. When the project is completed, each grandchild takes their very own homemade pan of baklava home afterwards.

It is good to pass on your special family recipes to your little ones and let them be hands on and give them praises for their accomplishments.

Another tradition that not only our family has but I am sure many others do, is that we pick an evening to go to friends and relatives home and sing Christmas Carols. We also prepare and take cookies and desserts to various friends to enjoy. We also set a time for all of us to get together to decorate a tree at grandmas and granddads house, drive around to view all the Christmas lights and nativity scenes, and sleepovers with all the grandchildren. Most of the grandkids help out at with the donations at the Festival of Lights at the City Park one evening, and we also take part representing Auntie Anne's Pretzels and Chick fil A with the grandchildren carrying the banners and passing out candy at both the annual Vienna and Parkersburg Christmas parades.

Most important, teach them the real meaning of Christmas and attend church.

Merry Christmas and wishing you a Happy and Healthy 2019!

Below are recipes to try with your little ones.

Until next month.

Double Chocolate Cranberry Chunkies

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup butter, softened

1 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 cups semisweet chocolate chunks or large chocolate chips

3/4 cup dried cranberries or dried tart cherries

additional granulated sugar

Preheat oven to 350. Combine flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt in a small bowl. Beat butter, 1 cup granulated sugar and brown sugar in a large bowl at medium until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla until blended. Gradually add flour mixture on low speed until blended. Stir in chocolate chunks and cranberries. Drop dough by level 1/4 cupfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet, spacing 3 inches apart.

Flatten dough until 2 inches in diamter with bottom of glass that has been lightly greased and dipped in additional sugar. Bake 11-12 minutes or until cookies are set. Cool for 2 minutes on sheets; transfer to wire racks.

Jingle Bells Chocolate Pretzels

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 cup white chips, divided

1 tablespoon plus 1/2 teaspoon shortening, divided

about 24 salted or unsalted pretzels

Cover tray or cookie sheet with wax paper. Place chocolate chips 2/3 cup white chips and 1 tablespoon shortening in medium microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high for 1 minute; stir. Microwave an additional 1-2 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds until chips are melted. Using fork, dip each pretzel into mixture; tap fork on side of bowl to remove excess chocolate. Place pretzels on tray. Place remaining 1/2 cup white chips and remaining 1/2 teaspoon shortening in small micowave-safe bowl. Microwave on high 15-30 seconds or until chips are melted. Using tines of fork, drizzle chip mixture across pretzels. Refrigerate until coating is set. Store in airtight container.

CrackeR Toffee

72 buttery round crackers

1 cup unsalted butter

1 cup packed brown sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

2 cups chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 375. Line a jellyroll pan with heavy-duty foil. Spray with nonstick cooking spray. Arrange crackers in pan. Combine butter, sugar and salt in heavy saucepan. Heat over medium heat until butter melts, stirring frequently. Increase heat to high, boil 3 minutes without stirring. Pour butter mixture evenly onto crackers, spread to cover. Bake 5 minutes. Remove from oven; immediately sprinkle chocolate chips evenly onto crackers. Spread melted chocolate to cover crackers. Sprinkle with pecans, pressing down. Cool to room temperature. Refrigerate 2 hours. Break crackers into chunks to serve.



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