Holiday Food Prep: Love It or Lose It

Over the years I’ve listened to many women complain about all they have to do at the holiday

Cracker Candy

Cracker Candy

season. And, it’s very true that the lion-share of the work to make holidays happy days is left up to women. What I’ve had a hard time reconciling is many a woman’s belief that they are being held hostage by the expectations of others, that they have no control over how much they have to do.

In the baking/food prep arena, for example, some women think they have to keep making all the special dishes that every family member loves even though their family members do little to help lighten their mom’s load at this busy time of year. These women sacrifice their own sanity and enjoyment of seasonal activities to please often ungrateful family members–because it’s what she’s always done. And, some women continue to make baked goods and food items because they think that’s what’s expected or that it wouldn’t be Christmas without them.

I recommend a new approach in the area of food prep. Make those special dishes and baked goods that you enjoy making, that you have time to make without stress, and offer to teach family members to make those dishes or baked goods that they want that you don’t like making. Or, purchase comparable ready-made items to substitute for those that are a hassle to make or too time consuming to make.

I once spent many an hour baking a variety of cookies because I thought I “should.” By Christmas I was exhausted, and I’m not certain anyone really cared about all my creations. In a desperate attempt to simplify my schedule and enjoy Christmas more, I began limiting my baking to just one item, the one everyone loves the best, Cracker Candy. It just has 4 ingredients. One batch takes 20 minutes to make. I give it to friends, family and to say thanks to people who have helped me during the year. I love the process of throwing a batch together. I love the simplicity of ingredients and creating a luscious batch.

Can you simplify food prep during the holiday season? Give Cracker Candy a try!

Cracker Candy

Ingredients

2 sticks margarine (Fleishman’s original — other’s don’t work)

1 cup sugar

1 12oz. pkg semi-sweet morsels

1 pkg saltine crackers (1 of 4 that comes in a big box)

Do This:

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Use a cookie sheet with sides. Line it with tin foil.
  3. Line up crackers on cookie sheet. They should almost fill the sheet. Don’t worry about it if they don’t.
  4. Melt margarine and add sugar. Bring to a boil and boil for 3 minutes stirring constantly. Mixture should be frothy.
  5. Pour mixture over crackers to cover all cracker surfaces.
  6. Bake 8-11 minutes. Time needed will depend on how hot your oven is. Butter mixture should be a golden brown all over with small areas on the side beginning to get dark brown (burning!). If you don’t cook it long enough, it will be chewy.  If you cook it too long, it will burn. I know. I have done both!
  7. Remove from oven and immediately use wooden spoon to push all crackers back together (they drift apart while cooking).
  8. Pour semi-sweet morsels over crackers and spread with a spoon. The heat of the crackers will melt the chocolate so it will spread like icing.
  9. Refrigerate until cool.
  10. Break into pieces and enjoy! Beware! It’s addictive!