Today’s guest writer is Jennifer Blackledge, who used to work with my husband in the professional recruiting section of Ford Motor Company. They’ve stayed in touch since leaving the company. Jen is also a poet and the mother of two teenaged girls. Today she gives us an easy, stress-free way to prepare yummy holiday snacks.
I’ve always been a worrier and a procrastinator, which is a stressful combination. As a kid, I remember taking the plethora of pre-feminist print and TV ads to heart. They implied poor planning and/or surprises would expose one as a less-than-competent hostess:
“Oh no, drop-in guests? But I have no tasty snacks on hand!”
“Surprise! My husband’s boss is coming to dinner in two hours, and he forgot to tell me.”
“Timmy just told me at bedtime that he needs to take treats to school tomorrow.”
An obsession with easy recipes
Combine the worry and procrastination with a slight tendency toward hoarding, and it explains my obsession with recipes that use things I can keep ready in my pantry or freezer. I snap to attention when I see the promise of something delicious and socially acceptable made from only a cake mix , a can of peaches, and a 12-ounce soda.
You could look at this as either a) resourcefulness, b) a cavalier disregard of fresh and nutritious cooking, or c) arrested culinary development , circa 1976. (See“Circus Peanut Jell-O, in Feed the Spirit from May 26 for a clear example of this.)
Best of all, these are usually recipes even a toddler can make. If you’ve got kids of any age, a penchant for last-minute living, an irrational hatred of the grocery store, or severe holiday burnout, I present to you the ultimate treat for endless social obligations. Salty, sweet, endlessly variable, delicious, and homemade (if only in the sense that a)you can’t purchase the final product in a store, and b) you look like you actually tried a little instead of putting Oreos on a special plate, of course)…I give you pretzel/Rolo combos!
Feed the spirit by taking it easy
I’d love to be known for some special recipe like cranberry walnut cookies or homemade fudge, but at this stage in my life (come to think of it, probably my whole life), this is what works for me. Feeding the spirit is sometimes about taking it easy on yourself and watching “Modern Family” reruns instead of Rudolph while you unwrap a million Rolos with your kids. (This is where kids really come in handy – they like these so much that they will offer to make them, and I can just volunteer to unwrap Rolos while watching TV).
Did I mention you don’t even have to search for your ridiculously specific Tupperware cupcake transporter or special thermal casserole-carrying dish to take these somewhere? All you need are some cute paper plates and a big Zip-loc bag.
A procrastinator’s Yuletide wishes
My final Yuletide wishes for you:
- May this recipe save you a trip to the supermarket on the afternoon of New Year’s Eve.
- May this recipe prevent a midnight run to 7-11 for eggs or butter while simultaneously crying and cursing your family’s inability to write things on the giant centrally located calendar.
- May this recipe keep your kids occupied for at least an hour of the two weeks of “boredom” they’ve anticipated since September.
(The photo with the recipe is “Reindeer Noses” by Julia Pfaff Daley via Flickr Creative Commons.)