Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Work, Home and Family - New Years Traditions

A very bad photo of our "traditional" New Years Day brunch.  Those are apples, oranges and grapefruit on the fruit plate, just in case you were wondering.
When I was a child, we had "traditional" things we did every year. Things like baking certain cookies at Christmas, particular meals for holidays and birthdays, and other things that just be better described as habits.  I looked forward to these every year.  John, on the other hand, did not have this (except for one Christmas 'tradition') and thought all of that sounded like a lot of 'extra work'. 

As we established our own household together, he agreed with me that having a rhythm to life and having things to look forward to was a great idea.  One of the things that John and I have been trying to do, especially since the children were born, is to establish some "traditional" things that our family does every year or for certain milestone events.

Our New Year's Day tradition has been watching the Rose Parade on TV with Buttermilk Coffee Cake, fruit and sparkling grape juice.  About 6 years ago I bought a "Happy New Year" banner on clearance and we hang that on New Year's Eve and we have "Happy New Year" crowns and wands as well.  The decorations don't have a year on them so we can use them year after year.  The wands have jingle bells, which the children loved when they were younger and now make enough a little "happy noise" for ringing in the New Year.

Last year, we started letting the children stay up with us and ring in the New Year by watching the ball drop in Times Square, also on TV.  We tried chocolate fondue with fruit and angel food cake but decided that homemade pizza was a better option this year.  We play boardgames until about 1130pm and then "snuggle in" together to watch the actual drop.  Then we say "Happy New Year!", John and I share a kiss and we all head off to sleep! :)

 It's nothing fancy, lavish, expensive or overly time-consuming.  It's something that we and our children look forward to every year.

Just for fun, here's the Buttermilk Coffee Cake recipe I use to make our New Year's Day 'brunch':

Buttermilk Coffee Cake
Adapted from The New Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook  (1996)

2 1/2 c flour
1 1/2 c packed light brown sugar
1/2 t salt
2/3 c butter-flavored shortening
2 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1 t ground cinnamon
1/2 t ground nutmeg
1 t vanilla
2 beaten whole eggs
1 1/3 buttermilk or sour milk

Grease bottom and sides of a 13"x9"x2" baking pan and set aside (I prefer glass).

Combine flour, brown sugar and salt.  Cut in shortening until mixture resembles course crumbs.
Remove 1/2 c crumb mixture and set aside to use for topping later.
Add baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and nutmeg to remaining crumb mixture.  Mix well.

In a separate container, mix eggs, buttermilk and vanilla.  Add all at once to crumb mixture and mix well.

Pour batter into prepared pan and spread evenly on the bottom.
Sprinkle reserved crumb mixture evenly on top.

Bake at 350F for 35-40 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.

Best served warm.

Makes 18 generous servings at 214 calories each. 

What do you do for New Years?  

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