I’m joining The Novel Bakers with Southern Living Christmas All Through The South: Joyful Memories, Timeless Moments, Enduring Traditions
Christmas All Through the South captures and celebrates the quintessential experience of Christmas in the South. Presented as a timeline of the Christmas season, each event depicted tells a highly visual story of local Southern traditions and classic holiday parties. Each event will captivate readers with an expansive collection of vibrant, full-page images, and festive, complimentary menus accompany many of the events.
Combining all the elements for which Southern Living is known and revered – food, travel, and homes, this book is a journey of celebrations through the South, from the low country and the pan-handle to the Texas ranch and Williamsburg farmhouse.
This book is a feast for the eyes and tastebuds! I was delighted with all the Christmas inspiration to be found in this book, divided into sections: Joyful Anticipation, Delightful Destinations, Heartfelt Gatherings, Sparkling Celebrations and Festive Recipes. There is so much to choose from, with cookies, cocktails and carols to a Holiday Supper by the Sea, A Wintry Yuletide Feast and Merry and Bright Christmas Eve Dinners and Brunch and more!
Warning : Photo heavy post ahead, grab a mug of something warm and your merriest plaid blanket and enjoy!
I was chomping at the bit ;) to have a Hearty Picnic in the Pines with some Christmas Season Tailgate Fare!
Here’s your invitation to gather for the annual Christmas tree hunt. Dress appropriately in your cozy tartan attire and warm boots to end the day with a hearty picnic!
Fetching a tree should not be done on an empty stomach and the make-ahead picnic menu is designed to travel well and taste delicious cold: Fried Chicken, Carmel drop Banana Bread Trifle, Apple-Cabbage Slaw, Rosemary-Scented Cold Cider and Sweet Potato Salad
No “woody” was available for our Christmas tailgate and picnic, but my hubby’s Jeep was ready and waiting to deliver the tree.
Word to the wise: Whatever you do, do not call my hubby’s Jeep “cute”. A Jeep CJ-8 Scrambler with a crate 350 motor, NV 4500 transmission, Dana transfer case, Dana front and rear axles and the Warn Winch’s durable 3-stage planetary geartrain and operation series-wound, high-speed motor is not cute. . .
. . .unless it’s decked out with tartan and plaid ;)
Fetching the Tree:
“The source of the tree, the size, and the variety, matters less than the act of bringing it home. The details very from family to family, but the effort is always communal, memorable, and comfortably familiar. It is the ritual that, year after year, launches the season of togetherness.”
“Some families make a trip to the Christmas tree farm to walk among the stands of fragrant branches nodding in the winter wind. Others walk into the woods with an ax or saw. The arc of the hatchet, the sound of the steel teeth gnawing wood, is a beautiful sound echoes through generations. The hauling of this precious timber is a drunken waltz or an awkward team effort, branches in faces and limbs upon limbs. When it is done, we wrap frozen hands around a mug of hot cider, or rub them in front of the dashboard vents, until the sting of the cold melts away.”
We cut a scrub cedar tree from a patch of woods to fit my vintage tree stand I’ve had for 20+ years.
I did a quick search and identified it from one on eBay as a 50’s Poloron Litho Coloramic Metal Christmas Tree Stand, thank you eBay :)
I was more enamored with its cheery graphics with a barn, tree cutting and sledding scenes, than its pedigree when I found it at a flea market years ago.
“The tree may come from a Boy Scout troop, their young cheeks lit by a sap-scented barrel fire in the parking lot of the church on the hill. The Scouts pull out each tree and shake it loose for us to admire, compare, and imagine in our home. The choice may be a democratic vote, or the proprietary of the littlest one with the strongest faith in Santa. We tie our prize a top the minivan or lay it down in the back of the pick up, and wrestle it into the living room raining a trail of green needles.”
“A Christmas tree doesn’t have to be watered to be real. It may be carried down from the attic in a box, its forever green branches snapped into place and fluffed with no less love and devotion. The assembled tree has its own distinct smell, the scent of Christmases past. It may be of attic dust or a wintergreen scented candle.”
Help yourself to a mug of Rosemary-Scented Cider. . .
With apple cider, cranapple or cranberry juice and ginger ale.
Go ahead and to add a little holiday cheer to your cider, with the addition of some prosecco or cava for a sparkling celebration, ’tis the season to be jolly!
Let’s eat dessert first, it’s the holiday season after all! Caramel Drop-Banana Bread Trifle is a delicious variation of banana pudding and easy to assemble with a few shortcuts!
The recipe calls for assembling this banana bread trifle in a 9 x 13 baking dish. I assembled it in jars to make it portable and because everything tastes better out of a jar. ;)
Instead of the traditional vanilla wafers, this banana pudding/trifle uses banana bread. Use your favorite banana bread recipe or pick up a loaf at the bakery section of your grocery store.
As luck would have it, there was no banana bread at my grocery store, but banana-nut muffins were readily available and a delicious substitution.
The caramel-drop in this banana trifle comes from a can of dulce de leche which you can usually find in the grocery store on the Mexican foods aisle. You can also make you own dulce de leche in about 3 hours using cans of sweetened condensed milk. To build your trifle, layer your banana bread, custard or pudding with dulce de leche and sliced bananas. Top with whipped topping and chopped pecans.
Sweet Potato Salad can be served warm or chilled.
I added some Yukon gold potatoes to the sweet potato and some parsley for freshness and green color. I forgot to buy mustard seeds that would be a welcome addition.
The Apple-Cabbage Slaw is an easy and delicious twist on coleslaw with the addition of dried fruit and nut mix to add flavor and crunch with one ingredient!
This is a lighter and fresher-tasting alternative to a mayonnaise-based coleslaw and would be particularly good in the summer months!
Christmas Tree Tailgate and Picnic Details:
Tartan and plaid blankets/ HomeGoods and Kohl’s
Wood Tray/ HomeGoods
Tree Slice Chargers / Bed, Bath & Beyond
Skotch Jug, Picnic Basket, Tree Stand / Vintage
Tartan Plaid Pillows / HomeGoods, Target
Galvanized Picnic Caddy / Pottery Barn
Galvanized Lanterns/ Target, several years ago
Mugs/ Lenox Winter Song
Sweater embossed salad plates/ Michaels, last year
Tartan Dinner Plates / Ciroa, HomeGoods
Flatware / World Market, several years ago
Napkin & Napkin Rings / HomeGoods
Visit Novel Bakers Jain, Michael Lee, and Linda for Christmas All Through the South