Magic Reindeer Food

A neat Christmas trick from Seton’s Simple Pleasures for the Holidays: Magic Reindeer Food

“Here’s an inexpensive gift idea for Brownie leaders, teachers, and anyone elses. Or you can just make if for your kids. I fill a Ziplock baggie with about 1 teaspoon of red and green glitter and add a ¼ cup of instant oatmeal. I then attach a Xeroxed picture of a reindeer and the following saying: “On Christmas Eve, sprinkle this Magic Reindeer Food on your lawn. The magic Glitter sparkling in the moonlight and the smell of oats will guide Rudolph to your home.” To make it even cuter, I glue a red pom-pom to the reindeer’s nose. It’s always been a hit with everyone I’ve sent it to. Remember to sweep up the oats after the kids have gone to bed because they will ask the next morning why Rudolph didn’t eat them.”

Old Fashioned Rice Pudding recipe

A Winter Solstice recipe from Susannah Seton’s Simple Pleasures for the Holidays: Old Fashioned Rice Pudding

Here’s a warming treat for any cold winter’s night, but especially good for solstice. And it couldn’t be easier to make.

  • 3½ cups milk
  • ½ cup sugar, divided
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ cup long-grain rice
  • 2 egg yolks
  • ½ cup whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Heat milk, ¼ cup sugar, and cinnamon in saucepan just to boil; stir in rice and reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer 35-45 minutes. In a separate bowl, whisk egg yolks, cream ¼ cup sugar, and vanilla. Add gradually to rice. Bring to a boil and cook, stirring, for three minutes longer. Makes 4 servings.

A Christmas tradition for the environmentalist

Here’s an idea for Christmas or Winter Solstice from Seton’s Simple Pleasures for the Holidays: here’s a Christmas tradition for the environmentalist. Instead of cutting one down, plant a Christmas tree. Kids can pick seeds from the nursery instead of a tree from the lot (or you could do both). Fir or flowering, oak or elm, the tree you plant will last a couple hundred years longer than the one in the living room, and you can feel good about replacing the tree that became decoration. The tradition is true to the Native American proverb: “We do not inherit the earth from our grandparents. We borrow it from our children.”

A Hanukkah snack

A Hanukkah snack from Susannah Seton’s Simple Pleasures for the Holidays: Snack Peas

This delightful snack, originally created for Purim, comes from Saul’s Deli in Berkeley, California. Says owner Karen Edelman, “Traditionally, intoxicating beverages are consumed during the meal for Purim and fried peas are the perfect accompaniment to a drink.” However, it also makes a nice munchable as family members open their presents.

  •  Olive oil
  • 2 cups cooked chick peas, drained and towel-dried
  • salt and pepper to taste

Fill cast-iron skillet with 1-inch of olive oil and heat slowly. Do not allow to smoke. When hot enough, carefully drop peas into oil with a slotted spoon (be sure not to splatter yourself.) Allow to cook for 20 seconds or until crispy, and then remove with slotted spoon to a paper towel-lined bowl to drain. When excess oil is absorbed, remove to serving bowl and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serves 2-4.

Hanukkah and the gift giving season got you stumped?

soap-bubbleTry this idea of Seton’s Simple Pleasures for the Holidays: homemade bubble bath! This is something even tiny kids can make as a present. The trick is to have a pretty container to put it in and to never tell how you made it.

  •  2 cups Ivory (or other unscented) dishwashing liquid
  • 1/8 ounce of her favorite essential oil (vanilla is my favorite)

Drop oil into the dishwashing liquid and let sit, covered, for 1 week. Pour into beautiful bottle, add gift tag and ribbon, and instructions to use ¼ cup per bath. Makes 8 baths.