Sunday, December 19, 2010

Christmas Traditions - Nuts and Bolts

As we struggle with shopping lists and invitations, compounded by December's bad weather, it is good to be reminded that there are people in our lives who are worth this aggravation, and people to whom we are worth the same. - Donald E. Westlake

Life can be hectic, stressful, and fast moving.

Year by year, we string the Christmas lights, pull out cherished decorations, and hang our tinsel - all the while shaking our heads in bewilderment that another year has passed.

"Where does the time go?" we wonder as we look across the table at adult children who were squealing with delight at the sight of Santa Claus just yesterday.

As our hair grows more gray and our joints a little creaky, we marvel in gratitude that the eyes of the person we vowed to cherish forever are still as blue, and that the love we felt for that little girl or boy sitting so proudly on Santa's knee has not diminished but has instead grown stronger with time.

When Christmas comes, we are overjoyed to be in the company of friends and family we may have taken for granted once upon a yesterday when we were young and thought we had all the time in the world.

Such are the nuts and bolts of life.

And why I have become such a believer in tradition as a way of thickening up the richness of life's moments.

Familiar ornaments, decorations, smells, and flavours that remind us, "This is where I belong."

"These are my people."

"This is Christmas in our house."

With that being said, I thought I would share some of my favourite traditions with you. Those things that say welcome home to friends and family coming together at this time of year.

And what better to start with than a tradition that many of you probably share:

Nuts and Bolts.






















As far back as I can remember, my mom would make trays of this wonderful little snack every year around mid December.

















She would set it out in bowls on the coffee table throughout the holidays to snack on and package it up to give as gifts.





















A tradition I have long since adopted.

This is a simple recipe - and while I know there are probably many variations out there for Nuts and Bolts, this is the one I grew up with.

Crunchy little morsels of shreddies cereal, cheerios, pretzel sticks, and peanuts enjoyed while I watched Yes, Virginia There is a Santa Claus or It's a Wonderful life.

If you've never made nuts and Bolts,it might be a tradition you'd like to start.

Especially if you have little ones.

My son always "made" the nuts and bolts when he was little and many brightly decorated containers went to his teachers and coaches over the years.

Lou Lou Who: "I'm glad he took our presents. You can't hurt Christmas, Mr. Mayor, because it isn't about the... the gifts or the contest or the fancy lights. That's what Cindy's been trying to tell everyone... and me. I don't need anything more for Christmas than this right here: my family."

xoxo

Nuts and Bolts

Ingredients
  • 8 cups Cheerios cereal
  • 5 cups Shreddies cereal
  • 2 1/2 cups unroasted
  • unsalted peanuts
  • 4 cups pretzel sticks
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 1/2 cups butter
  • 1 tbsp celery salt
  • 2 tsp onion salt
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
Instructions
  1. Melt butter and Worcestershire sauce in a large roasting pan.
  2. Stir in spices.
  3. Add remaining ingredients and stir until well coated.
  4. Bake at 200 degrees for two hours, stirring well every twenty minutes.
  5. Store in an airtight container.


6 comments:

  1. Thats funny my daughter just asked me to make some of this. So much better than the stuff from the bag !
    Merry Christmas Lyndsay and to your family :)

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  2. LYNDS,

    MY EX MOTHER-IN-LAW TURNED ME ON TO PROBABLY THIS VERY VERSION OF NUTS AND BOLTS BACK IN THE DAY WHEN I WAS STILL MARRIED AND I FELL IN LOVE WITH IT IMMEDIATELY!

    4 THE ALMOST 9 YEARS I WAS MARRIED,
    IT WAS AN ADOPTED TRADITION I LOOKED FORWARD TO EVERY HOLIDAY SEASON, ALTHO I NEVER LEARNED TO MAKE IT MYSELF TO KEEP IT "SPECIAL" AND "TRADITIONAL" AND NOT JUST SOMETHING HO HUM EVERY DAY SNACK.

    YER RECIPE DEFINITELY TAKES ME BACK
    TO ANOTHER TIME IN MY LIFE THE WASN'T ALWAYS GOOD, BUT THE WISDOM I GAINED TELLS ME IT WAS NECESSARY IN CREATING THE WOMAN I AM TODAY, AND I THINK SHE'S PRETTY COOL!

    THANKS 4 THE MEMORY.

    MERRY CHRISTMAS, SWEET PEA!

    LOVE U!

    TOWANDA, BABY!

    ~ERIN~

    ReplyDelete
  3. I just came back from the market with everything to make this because my husband mentioned that I hadn't make any yet this Christmas - how coincidental! My recipe is quite like yours, and I'm looking forward to sitting down with a glass of wine and bowl to munch on.

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  4. I grew up eating this mixture also, we always had bowls of it out and bowls of ribbon candy and whole nuts. Like many children, I'd pick out my favorites and leave (the pretzels) for someone else.

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  5. My cousin recommended this blog and she was totally right keep up the fantastic work!

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  6. "Such are the nuts and bolts of life.

    And why I have become such a believer in tradition as a way of thickening up the richness of life's moments.

    Familiar ornaments, decorations, smells, and flavours that remind us, "This is where I belong."

    "These are my people."

    "This is Christmas in our house.""


    I know exactly what you mean and I consider myself so fortunate that the magic of Christmas never died when I became an adult. It changed of course, it has to change, but it was important enough to my parents to make sure that there was still plenty to love about Christmas. The nuts and bolts, as you say.

    I love the cooking with my Mum, making the things we always do and trying something new each year. I love how many traditions have been formed by the new things we try. We used to buy all our Christmas chocolates, now we make as many of our own as we buy. I love planning the next "Christmas markets" holiday with both my parents. I love scheming with my Dad as to how we're going to surprise Mum this year. I love decorating the tree. I love that ever single decoration has significance, that someone could point one out, say "tell me about that one" and either Mum or I could say where we got it, why we love it.

    That said, I'm always absolutely terrified that I'm going to forget. That one day, I'll only remember that a particular decoration was significant, with no idea as to what the significance was. So I've taken to scribbing down notes about where I was, who I was with at the time, why they caught my eye, how much they cost and anything else I want to remember. Then I write it all up and put it in the packaging or if there's no packaging, I take a picture of the ornament and save the notes on the computer. I first started doing this when I was in Cologne with my parents, we'd gone there for the Christmas markets. There was one on this boat, and it was largely antiques and second hand Christmas decorations. And I saw the exact same set of decorations that my Mum has, ones that I loved and thought I'd never be able to get because they were so old. I paid far more than they were worth, but I'd've paid much more too. I always want to remember that bouncing up and down, "Look Mum, look!" feeling that I had when I saw those decorations and that feeling is sellotaped to the lid of the box. :)

    ReplyDelete