Friday, December 17, 2010

Christmas cooking makes you happy!

Christmas is the best holiday in the whole world! I love the traditions that each family adopts for their own. There are no rules at Christmas. Some have turkey and some have ham, while some do expensive cuts of beef to celebrate. We have some things that just can't change on Christmas morning or my husband and son get a little out of sorts. We have to have eggnog with freshly grated nutmeg and orange juice with ginger ale. I love the fact that so many dairies now do a low fat eggnog so you feel a little less guilty. My husband and son would think I had been replaced by aliens if we didn't have Little Smokies and Orange Danish rolls from the can. I know, from the can isn't real creative but it's what makes them happy and that makes me happy! I don't do many prepared foods, but I make exceptions for the holidays on some things. This year I am going to stretch a little and kick up the orange rolls with a little toasted pecans. The little sausage are just begging me to do something to make them more festive but I'm still pondering that idea. I know I can leave those alone because Christmas dinner is all mine!!!

We start our holidays with Seafood Sausage Gumbo on Christmas Eve. Now finding the ingredients for this recipe in Nebraska can be a challenge. I have located a local sausage maker who does a fabulous Andouille sausage and our local grocery store is now carrying fresh raw Gulf shrimp. I know for those of you on the coast that doesn't seem like such a big deal, but for those of us in the landlocked's huge! Cajun food is all about using what you have to make something that warms your heart and soul. Texans are lucky to share so many cultures with our neighbors and I just call our food Southern Soul. If it warms your soul and makes you smile....then the cook is happy.

Last week my website was published on line. It's a very limited site right now but by next week should have more spices and dip mixes available. In hindsight I should have let someone else do the site and I should have focused on production of the products, but I have a teeny little control issue. My products are all free of msg, artificial colorings and preservatives. I have two nephews who are on the autism spectrum and I will be donating a portion of the profits to several Autism groups. Autism affects 1 in 110 children and 1 in 70 boys according to Autism Speaks website. When it affects your family the statistics do not matter. The thing that matters are those sweet little eyes that look up at you and are trapped without words. As a nurse I know that genetics play a part, but I feel that removing or limiting preservatives and other additives in our food would be a place to start. The new catch phrase the last few years is "Old School" , well that's what home cooking is all about. Old School can be new school in an old way and that's why my company is called New Southern Pantry. Our grandmothers and mothers called it cooking from's more work but well worth the time. If we can do that more than 50% of the time then we are starting to make a difference in our families health.

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