Cheers to the Red and the Green

Christmasholly Susan Sarah here, offering in goodly Word Wench tradition (at least this month) some further thoughts on holiday-themed food. I’ll offer, too, a signed copy of my December Avon release, TO WED A HIGHLAND BRIDE, to be awarded to someone whose name will be picked at random from our blog commenters.

James MacCarran, Viscount Struan, is a practical, scholarly sort who is not Twahbscan_2_2ready to take a bride, despite family pressures…but when a stormy night in the Highlands brings an unexpected encounter with beautiful, fey Elspeth MacArthur, James is suddenly rethinking his stand on marriage…and though he doubts that the local Highland legends have any truth to them, he realizes that the mysterious Elspeth is more than a weaver’s granddaughter. But she will not reveal all her secrets to him–well, not just yet….

"Exquisitely woven of the fairy lore told in Celtic song and legend … a masterful romance." — Barbara Samuel in BookPage

My sister Wenches have come up with some great recipes and thoughts on holiday food traditions, and I have to confess, at this juncture, that cooking is just not one of my strong points. I come from a family of good cooks and great recipes (my uncle has a very successful restaurant based in part on family recipes) — and I’m a pretty good cook when I have to be … but for the most part I’m not much of a foodie, and that does make a difference. I’m not compelled or fascinated by cooking and I’m known to avoid it. But I do bake at Christmas time, and I’ll cook some family Italian dishes in particular.

So yes, I’m a lazy Wench when it comes to putzing around in the kitchen — especially right now, when I have a deadline, galleys, revisions and web site material all sort of due at the same time, a situation I hope never to repeat — but I’ll share one of my favorite and quickest holiday recipes:

0003 Christmas Pizza: So simple — all you need is a phone and a $20 dollar bill!

We’re lucky enough to live near a pizzeria that does a fantastic pizza with fresh spinach, broccoli, and tomatoes — it’s available all year round, but it’s a particularly festive meal in December, so we often order take-out on December 23, as we did this year — it’s a great convenience and a good meal while some of us are finishing up our shopping, and the rest of us are facing a long night of wrapping presents!

Cookies3 Now that I think about it, there are a lot of Red and Green foods prepared at Christmas time!

Cookies…who can live without them at this time of year. I do love to bake cookies —  sugar cookies with red and green sprinkles, or red and green frosting … and of course Gbread_cookies_2 there are gingerbread men and their ginger ladies … pfefferneuse and molasses, snickerdoodles and chocolate chip (some dare to claim the CCs don’t count as Christmas cookies, but hey — anything with chocolate in it is welcome in my house at any time of year!).

Gbread_house When my kids were younger, we would make gingerbread houses and decorate them lavishly, with royal icing and green and red gumdrops, with peppermint candies and candy canes, gobs of snowy icing and colored sprinkles, non-pareils for the roof shingles, and lollipops filling the windows for a stained-glass effect. We would put marshmallow snowmen in the yard, and even if the walls sagged and the snowmen were tilted, we had a great time (this one was made by the ladies at www.ConfectionObsession.com, a local bakery).

On Christmas Eve, or sometimes it will be Christmas Day if family members are arriving at different times, we’ll have a buffet with a variety of foods — and the array of red-and-green themed foods continues. I always make a spinach lasagna (I’m making two tomorrow for family and Lasagnafriends), or chicken cacciatore, or spaghetti and meatballs… in our family, anything Italian is considered a Christmas-y food. Maybe because we’re part Italian — but it’s also because Italian dishes are often red-and-green foods!  Nothing looks nicer on a Christmas table, I think, than an array of steaming, spicy, brightly-colored dishes made with fresh ingredients…in reds and greens.

Yes folks, turkey and all the trimmings is for Thanksgiving — lasagna and gingerbread houses are for Christmas (yeah, I know, maybe it’s just us)!  There are years that some family members have tried to sneak in roast beef or ham, but there’s no getting away from the Italian dishes at this time of year!

Spinach_tomato_salad And to clear your palates — we have looked at a lot of sweets and rich foods — there’s also the fresh, bright tomato-reds and lettuce-and-cucumber greens of a big bowl of salad! Yum!!

The list of red and green combination foods goes on and on… let us not overlook red and green peppers, or strawberries for dessert and for daiquiris … olives and pimentos, maraschino cherries and green jello, cranberries and green beans … sugar cookies with red and green sprinkles …. I’m sure you all have your own favorites to add!

Saint May whatever holiday you celebrate at this time of year be filled with love and warmth, with joy and generosity. I wish all good things for you this week, and may that carry through into your New Year….

Susan Sarah

75 thoughts on “Cheers to the Red and the Green”

  1. We had a Susan Sarah feast last night at our house with spaghetti and salad so we fit right in. This year my daughter is tackling the cooking, and I couldn’t be more tickled. I love to set a pretty table, but what’s on it doesn’t much matter! Have a wonderful Christmas!

    Reply
  2. We had a Susan Sarah feast last night at our house with spaghetti and salad so we fit right in. This year my daughter is tackling the cooking, and I couldn’t be more tickled. I love to set a pretty table, but what’s on it doesn’t much matter! Have a wonderful Christmas!

    Reply
  3. We had a Susan Sarah feast last night at our house with spaghetti and salad so we fit right in. This year my daughter is tackling the cooking, and I couldn’t be more tickled. I love to set a pretty table, but what’s on it doesn’t much matter! Have a wonderful Christmas!

    Reply
  4. We had a Susan Sarah feast last night at our house with spaghetti and salad so we fit right in. This year my daughter is tackling the cooking, and I couldn’t be more tickled. I love to set a pretty table, but what’s on it doesn’t much matter! Have a wonderful Christmas!

    Reply
  5. We had a Susan Sarah feast last night at our house with spaghetti and salad so we fit right in. This year my daughter is tackling the cooking, and I couldn’t be more tickled. I love to set a pretty table, but what’s on it doesn’t much matter! Have a wonderful Christmas!

    Reply
  6. Happy Holidays!! 🙂 You know, pizza and cookies sound just fine to me! 🙂 And if you have leftover birthday cake from a birthday a couple days before, then you can have Christmas pizza, cookies and cake! 🙂
    Lois, who finished the bday cake today, so nope, none for tomorrow. LOL 🙂

    Reply
  7. Happy Holidays!! 🙂 You know, pizza and cookies sound just fine to me! 🙂 And if you have leftover birthday cake from a birthday a couple days before, then you can have Christmas pizza, cookies and cake! 🙂
    Lois, who finished the bday cake today, so nope, none for tomorrow. LOL 🙂

    Reply
  8. Happy Holidays!! 🙂 You know, pizza and cookies sound just fine to me! 🙂 And if you have leftover birthday cake from a birthday a couple days before, then you can have Christmas pizza, cookies and cake! 🙂
    Lois, who finished the bday cake today, so nope, none for tomorrow. LOL 🙂

    Reply
  9. Happy Holidays!! 🙂 You know, pizza and cookies sound just fine to me! 🙂 And if you have leftover birthday cake from a birthday a couple days before, then you can have Christmas pizza, cookies and cake! 🙂
    Lois, who finished the bday cake today, so nope, none for tomorrow. LOL 🙂

    Reply
  10. Happy Holidays!! 🙂 You know, pizza and cookies sound just fine to me! 🙂 And if you have leftover birthday cake from a birthday a couple days before, then you can have Christmas pizza, cookies and cake! 🙂
    Lois, who finished the bday cake today, so nope, none for tomorrow. LOL 🙂

    Reply
  11. Hi Susan Sarah,
    We’re doing finger food on Christmas since travelers will be arriving throughout the day and one never knows whether planes will be on time and when (or if) folks have eaten. . .I’m off to the grocery store to find a few varieties of goat cheese to supplement the sausage, shrimps, raw veggies, dips, etc.
    I hugely enjoyed To Wed A Highland Bride (inhaled it within days of release, LOL)–and dare I ask if there will be sequels for James MacCarran’s siblings?–and which one will be next? (I have my hopes up for one in particular. . .)
    A Very Merry Happy to You and Yours,
    Melinda

    Reply
  12. Hi Susan Sarah,
    We’re doing finger food on Christmas since travelers will be arriving throughout the day and one never knows whether planes will be on time and when (or if) folks have eaten. . .I’m off to the grocery store to find a few varieties of goat cheese to supplement the sausage, shrimps, raw veggies, dips, etc.
    I hugely enjoyed To Wed A Highland Bride (inhaled it within days of release, LOL)–and dare I ask if there will be sequels for James MacCarran’s siblings?–and which one will be next? (I have my hopes up for one in particular. . .)
    A Very Merry Happy to You and Yours,
    Melinda

    Reply
  13. Hi Susan Sarah,
    We’re doing finger food on Christmas since travelers will be arriving throughout the day and one never knows whether planes will be on time and when (or if) folks have eaten. . .I’m off to the grocery store to find a few varieties of goat cheese to supplement the sausage, shrimps, raw veggies, dips, etc.
    I hugely enjoyed To Wed A Highland Bride (inhaled it within days of release, LOL)–and dare I ask if there will be sequels for James MacCarran’s siblings?–and which one will be next? (I have my hopes up for one in particular. . .)
    A Very Merry Happy to You and Yours,
    Melinda

    Reply
  14. Hi Susan Sarah,
    We’re doing finger food on Christmas since travelers will be arriving throughout the day and one never knows whether planes will be on time and when (or if) folks have eaten. . .I’m off to the grocery store to find a few varieties of goat cheese to supplement the sausage, shrimps, raw veggies, dips, etc.
    I hugely enjoyed To Wed A Highland Bride (inhaled it within days of release, LOL)–and dare I ask if there will be sequels for James MacCarran’s siblings?–and which one will be next? (I have my hopes up for one in particular. . .)
    A Very Merry Happy to You and Yours,
    Melinda

    Reply
  15. Hi Susan Sarah,
    We’re doing finger food on Christmas since travelers will be arriving throughout the day and one never knows whether planes will be on time and when (or if) folks have eaten. . .I’m off to the grocery store to find a few varieties of goat cheese to supplement the sausage, shrimps, raw veggies, dips, etc.
    I hugely enjoyed To Wed A Highland Bride (inhaled it within days of release, LOL)–and dare I ask if there will be sequels for James MacCarran’s siblings?–and which one will be next? (I have my hopes up for one in particular. . .)
    A Very Merry Happy to You and Yours,
    Melinda

    Reply
  16. Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas to all the Wenches!
    We do fish tonight for Christmas Eve, getting in the red and green with linguine – red sauce, and another bowl with broccoli and garlic.
    Merry feasting tonight.

    Reply
  17. Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas to all the Wenches!
    We do fish tonight for Christmas Eve, getting in the red and green with linguine – red sauce, and another bowl with broccoli and garlic.
    Merry feasting tonight.

    Reply
  18. Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas to all the Wenches!
    We do fish tonight for Christmas Eve, getting in the red and green with linguine – red sauce, and another bowl with broccoli and garlic.
    Merry feasting tonight.

    Reply
  19. Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas to all the Wenches!
    We do fish tonight for Christmas Eve, getting in the red and green with linguine – red sauce, and another bowl with broccoli and garlic.
    Merry feasting tonight.

    Reply
  20. Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas to all the Wenches!
    We do fish tonight for Christmas Eve, getting in the red and green with linguine – red sauce, and another bowl with broccoli and garlic.
    Merry feasting tonight.

    Reply
  21. Merry Christmas, Suasan/Sarah! Love your Christmas Pizza. That’s my kind of cooking.
    And I love HIGHLAND BRIDE’s cover. Very sultry w/o being over the top.
    Nina

    Reply
  22. Merry Christmas, Suasan/Sarah! Love your Christmas Pizza. That’s my kind of cooking.
    And I love HIGHLAND BRIDE’s cover. Very sultry w/o being over the top.
    Nina

    Reply
  23. Merry Christmas, Suasan/Sarah! Love your Christmas Pizza. That’s my kind of cooking.
    And I love HIGHLAND BRIDE’s cover. Very sultry w/o being over the top.
    Nina

    Reply
  24. Merry Christmas, Suasan/Sarah! Love your Christmas Pizza. That’s my kind of cooking.
    And I love HIGHLAND BRIDE’s cover. Very sultry w/o being over the top.
    Nina

    Reply
  25. Merry Christmas, Suasan/Sarah! Love your Christmas Pizza. That’s my kind of cooking.
    And I love HIGHLAND BRIDE’s cover. Very sultry w/o being over the top.
    Nina

    Reply
  26. Merry Holidays to the Word Wenches.
    We had the pizza yesterday evening when DS2 and family arrived last night from Northern CA.
    Happy New Year to all.

    Reply
  27. Merry Holidays to the Word Wenches.
    We had the pizza yesterday evening when DS2 and family arrived last night from Northern CA.
    Happy New Year to all.

    Reply
  28. Merry Holidays to the Word Wenches.
    We had the pizza yesterday evening when DS2 and family arrived last night from Northern CA.
    Happy New Year to all.

    Reply
  29. Merry Holidays to the Word Wenches.
    We had the pizza yesterday evening when DS2 and family arrived last night from Northern CA.
    Happy New Year to all.

    Reply
  30. Merry Holidays to the Word Wenches.
    We had the pizza yesterday evening when DS2 and family arrived last night from Northern CA.
    Happy New Year to all.

    Reply
  31. Yummy, do those dishes look good, almost as good as the book.
    Hey, I’m a reader, not a cook, though I always used to love baking at Christmas. Uh, that is, I used to make the dough but…well, often it was subverted into…yep, into my stomach. It was usually the Spekulatius spice cookie made from a German recipe, though the Dutch make it too.
    I wish you all a very merry Christmas and all the best in 2008.

    Reply
  32. Yummy, do those dishes look good, almost as good as the book.
    Hey, I’m a reader, not a cook, though I always used to love baking at Christmas. Uh, that is, I used to make the dough but…well, often it was subverted into…yep, into my stomach. It was usually the Spekulatius spice cookie made from a German recipe, though the Dutch make it too.
    I wish you all a very merry Christmas and all the best in 2008.

    Reply
  33. Yummy, do those dishes look good, almost as good as the book.
    Hey, I’m a reader, not a cook, though I always used to love baking at Christmas. Uh, that is, I used to make the dough but…well, often it was subverted into…yep, into my stomach. It was usually the Spekulatius spice cookie made from a German recipe, though the Dutch make it too.
    I wish you all a very merry Christmas and all the best in 2008.

    Reply
  34. Yummy, do those dishes look good, almost as good as the book.
    Hey, I’m a reader, not a cook, though I always used to love baking at Christmas. Uh, that is, I used to make the dough but…well, often it was subverted into…yep, into my stomach. It was usually the Spekulatius spice cookie made from a German recipe, though the Dutch make it too.
    I wish you all a very merry Christmas and all the best in 2008.

    Reply
  35. Yummy, do those dishes look good, almost as good as the book.
    Hey, I’m a reader, not a cook, though I always used to love baking at Christmas. Uh, that is, I used to make the dough but…well, often it was subverted into…yep, into my stomach. It was usually the Spekulatius spice cookie made from a German recipe, though the Dutch make it too.
    I wish you all a very merry Christmas and all the best in 2008.

    Reply
  36. Christmas Pizza — how delicious (and how easy). The second reason is always the first thing I check when I tackle a recipe and wrest sucess from it.
    Merry Christmas!

    Reply
  37. Christmas Pizza — how delicious (and how easy). The second reason is always the first thing I check when I tackle a recipe and wrest sucess from it.
    Merry Christmas!

    Reply
  38. Christmas Pizza — how delicious (and how easy). The second reason is always the first thing I check when I tackle a recipe and wrest sucess from it.
    Merry Christmas!

    Reply
  39. Christmas Pizza — how delicious (and how easy). The second reason is always the first thing I check when I tackle a recipe and wrest sucess from it.
    Merry Christmas!

    Reply
  40. Christmas Pizza — how delicious (and how easy). The second reason is always the first thing I check when I tackle a recipe and wrest sucess from it.
    Merry Christmas!

    Reply
  41. TO WED A HIGHLAND BRIDE seems excquisite! I need to go find it… though it will have to wait after the holiday frenzy!
    Merry Christmas 🙂

    Reply
  42. TO WED A HIGHLAND BRIDE seems excquisite! I need to go find it… though it will have to wait after the holiday frenzy!
    Merry Christmas 🙂

    Reply
  43. TO WED A HIGHLAND BRIDE seems excquisite! I need to go find it… though it will have to wait after the holiday frenzy!
    Merry Christmas 🙂

    Reply
  44. TO WED A HIGHLAND BRIDE seems excquisite! I need to go find it… though it will have to wait after the holiday frenzy!
    Merry Christmas 🙂

    Reply
  45. TO WED A HIGHLAND BRIDE seems excquisite! I need to go find it… though it will have to wait after the holiday frenzy!
    Merry Christmas 🙂

    Reply
  46. In New Mexico, when one is asked “red or green” (to signify red or green chile sauce for the enchiladas) the proper response is “Christmas”. That means a little of both, please.
    We had the young ‘uns over for Christmas Eve dinner. There was a mediteraanean theme: dolmas, baked brie, focaccia bread and pasta e fagiole. A wonderful time was had by all. I hope you and yours had the same.

    Reply
  47. In New Mexico, when one is asked “red or green” (to signify red or green chile sauce for the enchiladas) the proper response is “Christmas”. That means a little of both, please.
    We had the young ‘uns over for Christmas Eve dinner. There was a mediteraanean theme: dolmas, baked brie, focaccia bread and pasta e fagiole. A wonderful time was had by all. I hope you and yours had the same.

    Reply
  48. In New Mexico, when one is asked “red or green” (to signify red or green chile sauce for the enchiladas) the proper response is “Christmas”. That means a little of both, please.
    We had the young ‘uns over for Christmas Eve dinner. There was a mediteraanean theme: dolmas, baked brie, focaccia bread and pasta e fagiole. A wonderful time was had by all. I hope you and yours had the same.

    Reply
  49. In New Mexico, when one is asked “red or green” (to signify red or green chile sauce for the enchiladas) the proper response is “Christmas”. That means a little of both, please.
    We had the young ‘uns over for Christmas Eve dinner. There was a mediteraanean theme: dolmas, baked brie, focaccia bread and pasta e fagiole. A wonderful time was had by all. I hope you and yours had the same.

    Reply
  50. In New Mexico, when one is asked “red or green” (to signify red or green chile sauce for the enchiladas) the proper response is “Christmas”. That means a little of both, please.
    We had the young ‘uns over for Christmas Eve dinner. There was a mediteraanean theme: dolmas, baked brie, focaccia bread and pasta e fagiole. A wonderful time was had by all. I hope you and yours had the same.

    Reply

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