Traditions are important to me, especially during the holidays, but sometimes I like to break out and try something new.
I don't mean I want to start abandoning my Christmas tree and decorating with bushes or serving tofu instead of my turkey. No, the big things will the way they always were. And I will tell you that the day I stop putting up a tree is the day I've gone crazy!
But maybe some of the sides will change and so will my table setting. Those items aren't something really traditional to me and I like seeming a little spontaneous for a traditional meal. It keeps things fresh. :)
First, take a look at my favourite scalloped potato recipe. It's easy to prepare it in advance and tastes as great as mashed potatoes do.
Then, take a peek at how I'm setting my table this year. It's a riff off the korknisse or "cork elves" popularized by blogs a few years ago and brought back into light by Canadian Living this year.
4 medium / large potatoes, peeled and sliced into thin circles
2 tablespoons of butter, divided
2 tablespoons of flour
1 cup or so of milk
1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese, grated
1 pinch of salt and pepper
1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
2. Grease the bottom of a pie plate with half of the butter. Then lay the circles of potatoes around the plate in concentric circles.
3. Cut cubes of the remaining butter and sprinkle them over the potatoes. Season with salt and pepper. Dust with the flour and cheese. And pour milk over the potatoes until you are about the cover the top of the potatoes.
4. Bake for 45-60 minutes or until the liquid is all soaked up and the cheese begins to brown.
Little Elf Present Table Settings - makes 6 elves
6 toilet paper rolls
6 small gifts, wrapped
Scraps of wrapping paper
Letter stickers (or just label with your marker again)
1. Take a piece of scrap wrapping paper and glue it to the bottom half of each of the toilet rolls so the bottoms are fully covered and when a present is hidden inside, it will not be able to fall out the bottom.
2. Slip a wrapped present into each roll and draw a face on each one.
3. Take another scrap of wrapping paper and glue it around the top half of the rolls, twisting the top to form an elf hat.
4. Stick a letter to the back of each elf that corresponds to with the first letter of all your family or friend's names and use the elf as a table setting for dinner so everyone knows where to sit.
I can't tell you what's inside my elves this year because then my family will know their little presents, but I will tell you it was fun picking out the little gifts!