A Collection of the Best Flavors of Christmas

Reader Contribution by Candi Johns
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Hustle and bustle — this pretty much describes my life this week. I am loving having an entire week to plan, bake, wrap, and savor the days before Christmas. I don’t know if it is because Christmas is on Sunday or because my children are getting older and I no longer have to wipe various parts of their bodies anymore … but Christmas has slowed down a bit and I love it.

I am baking and roasting and decorating like an elf. My Christmas menu is coming to fruition, and it’s so exciting. I have wonderful things planned to make for this weekend. I am thinking of mixing things up a bit, yet staying true to the traditions we have around here.

As I was going through all the fantastic flavors I indulge in every year at Christmas, I was thinking of you. Tis the season for giving, and I have some goods for you!

Not only are these ideas treasured in my home, these are some of the hottest recipes off my personal blog. They have been around for years, are tried and true, and are sure to be a success at your table, too.

How to Brine Your Turkey and Why You Should

If you have never brined a hunk of meat, or do not know what brining is, or think brining is a waste of time, then this is for you — the whys and hows of brining. Once you understand the goal and process of brining meat before cooking it, you can get wild. Make it your own. Add your favorite herbs and be blown away by your turkey. Brining is amazing. You won’t be sorry!

How To Roast a Turkey the Old Fashioned Way

If you’re gonna brine a turkey, you should probably go ahead and cook it. Here’s the only way I cook turkeys. Mamaw taught me how to do it, and it’s a can’t-lose. Moist, flavorful, crispy skin and you’ll have a pan filled with the most glorious broth you’ve ever seen.

Scalloped Potatoes with Cheese

If you want a change from the standard mashed potatoes, this may be the answer. This dish is so good. The best part is that it all happens in one giant, cast-iron skillet. From stovetop to oven to table in one pan. Delish.

Meringue Shell Cookies

If you’ve ever wanted to eat an angel, here’s your chance. I can eat 20 of these in one sitting (which causes me to have a problem with my pants). These are light, crisp, and they melt when they hit your tongue. There is practically nothing in these but egg whites and sugar. My youngest daughter ate 6 yesterday and said, “Mommy, this is how I like my eggs.”


Homemade Chex Mix courtesy of my grandmother. Crunchy, salty, yummy. Feel free to cut this recipe in half, because you will have enough to feed the neighborhood (or county depending on your whereabouts)!

Roll Cookies

These are the bomb. I usually like to admire these decorated, covered-in-icing, sparkly cookies. At all bakeries and cookie exchanges, I applaud the artwork, but I don’t eat them. It’s always a letdown.

But not these. These are rockin’. Buttery, crisp, sweet. Yum.

German Roasted Nuts

Not only are these the best snack in the world, they are super easy and make a great gift.

Cranberry Sauce

This is a festive side dish that will get along with a turkey, a chicken, a leg of venison, or a standing rib roast.

Pumpkin Pie

I don’t know if it’s because of Bing Crosby, or the songs, or what, but I want a pumpkin pie to pass around on Christmas.


This one can be knocked out in five minutes and saved in the refrigerator for days. My youngest daughter always makes this for special occasions.

Coffee Cake

Christmas morning would not be complete around here without this incredible cake. It’s a sour cream cake, so you know it’s gonna be moist, soft, and creamy.

Sausage & Rice Casserole

It sounds so weird, but you must make this before you judge! It’s not like anything else I cook. It is so full of vegetables that you’ll get your vitamins and not even know it because it’s so dang delicious.

Apple Tart

If you want a fresh ending to a heavy meal, this is the right dessert. It’s light, refreshing, filled with cinnamon and spice, and just sweet enough to be a dessert. Oh, I also eat this for breakfast — you could have this Christmas Eve and Christmas morning!

Wilted Salad

I haven’t decided yet on the salad for our Christmas menu, but this one is in the running. It’s a classic, and everyone loves it. Cold greens, warm dressing, bacon — so satisfying!


This is the easiest appetizer to pull off. I usually eat it in warmer months, but love it anytime. If you want to set out something for your guests to munch on while you finish roasting the turkey, then this is incredible.

Pumpkin Bread

Yes, I think pumpkin goes just as well with Christmas as it does with Thanksgiving.

I have lots of cooking and baking on my agenda this week.

In addition to living in my kitchen, I will be spending my afternoons selling assorted firearms at our pawn shop, because “Nothin’ says ‘love’ like a new gun.”

Oh, one more thing, I wanted to tell you how much I appreciate you this Christmas. I am so blessed to be a part of the GRIT blogger community.

I am so thankful for everyone who has followed along to hear all my shenanigans in raising food, adventures in farming, and delightful, tasty recipes. If you aren’t following yet, you should! I send out a post or two a week. It’s totally fun, usually helpful, and always free. Topics I generally rant about fall into three categories:

Growing Food (vegetarian style): garden, roots, herbs, berries, veggies, fruits, and everything else

Growing Food (carnivore style): farming, raising livestock, small animals, feeding, fencing, housing, keeping, processing, etc.

Enjoying all Your Food: cooking, preserving, freezing and canning all your hard-earned groceries.

You can expect all things homesteading and lots of fun from this blog. Go here to send me your email address, and I’ll put you on the list.

Merry Christmas, Y’all!

Have a great week!



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