When I write ‘little’ I should clarify… it did start out that way. With the very best intentions – of giving the proverbial “Charlie Brown tree” a good home for the holidays, but somewhere along the line, my affinity for Christmas overtook the ‘tiny’ well-meant intent. Fair to say now that “Little Tree BIG Tradition” has grown into a much bigger and more beloved part of our SEAsonal celebrations. It was even featured in SEA AND BE SCENE tv’s Celebrating the SEAson 2014 Special (WATCH the video at the bottom of this post)
Our annual tree-chopping trip to my cousins’ Steve and Charlotte’s camp marks the start of Christmas each year and involves all the family making the trek down their back road to suss out the ‘good ones’.
Interestingly enough the prime picks – almost in tandem with The Sidekick herself – continued to grow year after year. Yes – if this keeps up we’re going to have to cut a hole in the ceiling.
After we’ve found just the right one – we return to their lovely cabin for something yummy to eat and drink (be sure to see my recipe for “Christmas in a Bowl” below – and watch my Lakeside Makeover of their cabin here). Then we load tree into the car for the ride back home. Yes – if this keeps up we’re going to need a bigger vehicle too!
While the Christmas trees have gotten bigger and the tree choosers have gotten older, one thing – the best thing – about this tradition remains constant – FAMILY!
Little Tree BIG Tradition Original Post: December 19, 2012
If you were to say the phrase “I’m looking for a Charlie Brown tree”… at least 9 folks out of 10 could totally picture it…. a way beyond modest tree…spindly and frail are the branches, with plenty of bare spots. A real underdog of a specimen.
Well, that’s what we wanted for a lonely woodstove-less hearth in our house – so a few years ago, the sidekick and myself journeyed to my cousin Steve’s camp to find ourselves the ‘perfectly far-from-perfect’ tree. We found one and a whole lot more. We started what has become a Christmas tradition.
Their little cabin is a cozy retreat and Steve’s wife Charlotte is the greatest cook – this year’s menu included her awesome chili – to warm us on the chilly day
This year their oldest son Shane and daughter-in-law Samantha joined us on the journey (their little dog Lilly stayed behind) . Another one of my traditions each year is the family scarf – ie. every single person in the family living here there and everywhere – gets the same scarf… (this was last year’s – and yes that’s the New Brunswick tartan – very Christmassy!)
Mission accomplished – now it’s back to the cabin for my Christmas In a Bowl dessert (recipe below).
We love finding a tree with…oh let’s say…inner beauty and then giving it a place of honour in our house. More than anything though we love having a holiday tradition that includes spending time with family – that’s the real magic of Christmas. sb
Recipe for Christmas in a Bowl
You know that old saying “necessity is the mother of invention”… well that pretty much describes how this dessert came to be. Spontaneous dinner guests led to me piling a whole bunch of Christmas stuff into…you guessed it… a bowl.
So you know assembly is a snap with just a few festive ingredients – you’ll have a crowd pleasin’ treat. You’ll need…
– Candy Cane Ice Cream (I like the Presidents Choice version because it comes with shards of dark chocolate)
– Cocoa Brownies (see the simple recipe below)
– Chocolate sauce (heated to just warm)
– Smashed up PEPPERMINT candy cane bits (any other flavoured variety just isn’t a candy cane…FACT!!!)
– Marshmallows (big or little – your call)
This recipe is a ‘one bowl’ variety made with pantry staples – so if you’ve got a midnight hankering or you’re in a rush to make something this is a great go-to.
I found it in the WONDERFUL – “Good Housekeeping Baking” book page 31 and I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve made them.
ALWAYS ALWAYS a hit…with a cup of tea, a glass of milk or with all the Christmas business listed above piled on top.
1/2 cup butter (or margarine) 1 stick (I use butter)
1 cup of sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup of coarsely chopped walnuts (optional) (we’re nut free so I naturally I don’t use them and it’s great without)
1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease 9″ x 9″ metal baking pan.
2. In 3 – quart saucepan, melt butter over low heat. Remove saucepan from heat. With wooden spoon, stir in sugar.
3. Stir in eggs, 1 at a time and then add vanilla until well blended.
4. In a medium bowl, combine flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt: stir flour mixture into saucepan until blended. (Stir in nuts at this point if you’re going to use them.
5. Spread batter evenly in the prepared pan. Bake for 25 minutes, or until toothpick inserted 2 inches from centre of the pan comes out almost clean. Cool completely on wire rack.
6. When cool, cut into 4 strips, then cut each crosswise into 4 pieces
MAKES 16 BROWNIES