Everyday Mom's Meals: Childhood Christmas {Indiana Family of Farmers}

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Childhood Christmas {Indiana Family of Farmers}

When I was a little girl, Christmas was never spent here in Indiana. See, each year we would go "home" to Pennsylvania for the 2 weeks of Christmas and New Years. All of our family is there, and we would load up the car with presents and suitcases and not see the Hoosier state again until the New Year. It was what Christmas meant to us; and I can be honest and tell you as life and circumstances changed and we started celebrating the holidays in our own home...it wasn't easy! In fact, I would say that first year waking up in my own bed on Christmas morning and just having it be the 3 of us was down right weird. But we began making new traditions and pretty soon Christmas in the Hoosier state was our normal.

In fact, I now know we were very lucky to call this state home, because it has more to do with Christmas than I ever realized! Did you know Indiana ranks #4 in the country for peppermint production? And we are also #11 in the US when it comes to growing Christmas trees, with more than 20,000 tree farms that produce more than 200,000 trees annually! I guess Indiana was more "Christmas-ey" than we thought!!

And now that I'm a mom, I want to give my son a little piece of those Christmases from my childhood. Even though we don't celebrate in PA anymore, and he will never know those two week long vacations of family every day, great food and memories galore, I want to bring a little piece of that into our holiday traditions; and there is no better way than through food.

Every year, there were two desserts my Grandma made for the holidays that we looked forward to more than any other. I've already shared one with you in my Cherries Jubilee, which is both yummy and beautiful. Now I'm going to share with you the other...Grandma's Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars. These were always my favorite and I could never get enough of them. I realized this year that I have never made them myself, and I knew it was something I wanted to share with my little boy. I wanted to be in the kitchen with him, stirring, baking, and telling him about all those wonderful Christmas memories from when I was his age. I wanted to take him back to that kitchen in the big white house in a valley in Pennsylvania when times were simpler and I was the happiest little girl in the world.

Family traditions, both old and new, are some of the most precious things about the holiday season. I hope you and yours are busy remembering ones of the past, and making brand new ones to enjoy for years to come.

Manning the mixer

Stirring in the chocolate chips

Grandma's Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars
1 (12 oz) package semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 1/4 c. flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 sticks butter, softened
3/4 c. white sugar
3/4 c. packed brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs

Preheat oven to 375. Grease a 15x10 jelly roll pan. Combine flour, salt and baking soda in a medium bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat butter, sugars, and vanilla in a large bowl. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in chocolate chips. Spread into prepared pan. Bake 20-25 minutes until golden brown. Cool in pan on wire rack. Cut into squares.
*NOTE* We love these in the freezer. Grandma always made hers into "icebox" chocolate chip bars! Just thaw a few minutes before eating.

Shared on Lady Behind The Curtain Nov. 28, 2012
Shared on Miz Helen's Country Cottage Nov. 29, 2012
Shared on The Country Cook Nov. 30, 2012

Please visit Indiana Family of Farmers for more info and tips. You can also find them on Facebook and Twitter. I was provided with a gift package for inspiration. The thoughts and opinions are all my own. 


Anonymous said...

I love cooking with my little man. He just started wanting to help and I'm enjoying every minute - even the spilled oatmeal on the floor today. All those spills and the extra time it takes to bake with his hands helping remind me how blessed I am.

Miz Helen said...

I just love old family recipes that bring back such awesome memories! Hope you are having a great weekend and thank you so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday.
Come Back Soon!
Miz Helen