Christmas Leftovers: Ham, and Mac and Cheese

Mac & Cheese is another one of my favorite childhood foods. It is cheesy and packed with carbs. Just thinking about it makes my mouth water! My mom made a roux based sauce, that is butter and flour, then we add milk and an entire block (8 oz) of cubed white sharp cheese. The recipe below is enough for pretty much just me and my husband since I love it so much, however there is enough in the recipe to serve another person if it is paired with a protein and a veggie.
Also, some cheese brands don’t melt as evenly as others, so if your cheese tastes a bit gritty once it’s cooked, you should probably use a different brand next time. I usually use Aldi’s brand, cracker barrel brand, or Kraft. We have had Cabot work out sometimes while other times it is gritty, and Helluvagood always comes out gritty.

  1. Cook 1 1/2 cup of macaroni to al dente and drain.
  2. While that is cooking, preheat oven to 375 F. Dice 1 small onion (1/2 cup) and cook in 4 Tbsp of butter until translucent.
  3. Once onions are translucent, add 4 Tbsp of flour stir, then add 2 cups of milk. Heat to a slight simmer.
  4. While that is heating, cube one block of cheese (8 oz) by cutting the block in half the short way, then slicing into slices 1/4 inch thick. Once milk is simmering, remove milk from heat and immediately add cheese and start stirring until all cheese is melted.
  5. Place drained macaroni into a 2 quart size or bigger backing/casserole dish. Then pour the hot cheese over top and carefully stir.
  6. Bake your mac & cheese for 30 minutes until the top has begun to brown and is bubbling hot.
  7. With only 10 minutes left, slice ham and fry in a frying pan with 1 Tbsp butter. Serve together.

Christmas Leftovers: Ham Salad

Ham salad has been one of the foods that my mom has had since she was a little girl. This was the recipe her mom and grandmother used during the great depression to make ham last a few extra meals. For this recipe, they would use their own recipe for Thousand Island pickles, however, you can also use sweet relish or sweet pickles to accomplish the same task, however I canned some Thousand Island pickles this summer, so I’ll be using those. You will also see that I am using toast. I always freeze my bread since it’s just me and my husband and we don’t want to waste food, and toasting tends to work really well in cooking/heating up the bread again.

  1. Cut ham into cubes. Approx. 4 slices cut into 1″ x 1″ cubes (1 1/2 cup)
  2. Place these into a chopper, blender, or meat grinder. For chopper/blender, pulse until all of the ham takes on the small pebbly texture, or until you’ve chopped all of the cubes.
  3. Take sweet pickles (1/2 cup) and process into a relish.
  4. Finally, Mix Ham (1 1/2 cup), Relish (1/2 cup), and Mayo (1 cup). Chill or serve immediately on bread or toast.

Deviled Eggs

My family has been making deviled eggs for almost every picnic and family party since I was a child. We’ve made them on the trunk of our car before, tried to transport them made, and made them at home and stuffed them at our destination. My family also tends to make our deviled eggs more liquidy than others do.

  • Hard boil the half the number of deviled eggs you want. I used 3 for this recipe. (Boil water, and once boiling lower eggs into water using a spoon and set a timer for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, immediately submerge in cold water, and refresh with more cold water if it begins to warm for about 10 minute.)
  • Peel 3 eggs and rinse under cold water to remove excess shell/shell fragments. Place eggs on plate and cut the eggs in half with a butter knife. Cut from top to bottom of egg slowly to not damage the egg white.
  • Once cut in half, grab another bowl, and place egg yolks into the bowl. The easiest way to do this is to invert the egg half over the bowl, and gently pull back on the egg whites around the edge of the yolk. If it’s really stuck, you can also lightly tap the back side of the egg while holding back the yolk till it falls out.
  • Mash up the yolks with a fork. Add 1 tsp of mustard powder, 1 1/2 Tbsp of yellow mustard, and 1 cup of mayo or equivalent. Mix and adjust to your taste.
  • Using 2 spoons or a piping bag, fill the egg halfs. Reserve extra filling to add to potato salad, make a sandwich, smear over ham, or enjoy on it’s own as a snack.
  • Finish the deviled eggs by gently taping some paprika over top. Refrigerate covered or serve right away.

Scrambled Eggs, Cheese and Salsa

Scrambled eggs and salsa is always one of my favorite breakfasts. If I ever have any left over salsa from tacos or fajitas, you can guarantee that I will be making scrambled eggs. I also like to put ham in my eggs, however since I made this only a few days before Christmas, I didn’t have any ham on hand. I’ve also used taco meat in the eggs before, and if I do add them, I add them at the same time I add the first amount of cheese. I used white extra sharp cheddar and whole milk however you can use anything you want!

  • In a large bowl, crack 4 eggs and add 2/3 cup of milk. Whisk until homogeneous.
  • Heat pan to medium heat, and melt 1/2 a tbsp of butter.
  • Once the butter begins to brown, add your egg mixture and begin sprinkling shredded cheese (1/4 cup) evenly over the eggs. Since the eggs are still liquidy, the cheese should sink into the eggs.
  • At this point, you can just scramble the eggs; Stirring and flipping until all areas of raw egg are gone.
  • Remove from heat and add another 1/2 cup of shredded cheese evenly over the top. Let the eggs rest for one minute, then serve with a side of salsa.

The Bayberry Candle, A Christmas Tradition

One of the most prevalent traditions every Christmas was the burning of a bayberry candle. Every year we would light our taper at about 5 pm on Christmas eve, and it would burn until it extinguished at about 3 am on Christmas morning. Though it seems weird, but our tradition was that it needed to burn into the next day, and that it needed to burn completely. By lighting the candle at 5 pm, it was usually well burnt down by the time we were going to bed, at about 10-11 pm. If the candle wasn’t burnt enough, or the candle wasn’t firm in the holder, we would simply place the candle in our empty sink for the night.

Origin & Old Saying

The story I have seen from several websites was that bayberry candles were made by the colonists for a special occasion, because their normal candles had a foul odor as they rot, and it took many bayberries, 15 lbs, to make one candle (2019; Bowen, 2016; SallyeAnder, 2017). Now, Bayberry candles are burnt as a tradition for luck and blessing for the coming year, and bayberry candles are burnt either Christmas Eve or New Year’s Eve ( 2019; Bayberry Candles:Beeman-candles, n.d.; Bowen, 2016; SallyeAnder, 2017).

There are also a few versions of the old saying including:

  • “This bayberry candle comes from a friend for on Christmas eve I do send.For a bayberry candle burned to the socket, will bring joy to the heart and gold to the pocket.” (2019)
  • “A Bayberry candle burned to the socket brings food to the larder and gold to the pocket.” (Bayberry Candles:Beeman-candles, n.d.)
  • “This Bayberry candle comes from a friend, so on Christmas Eve burn it down to the end – for a Bayberry candle burned to the socket will bring joy to the heart and gold to the pocket.” (Bowen, 2016)
  • “For a bayberry candle burned to the socket brings joy to the heart and gold to the pocket.” (SallyeAnder, 2017)

(2019, October 16). Retrieved from http://www.alleghenycandles.com/bayberry_candles.html.
BAYBERRY CANDLES: beeman-candles. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.shopbeemancandles.com/bayberry-candles.
Bowen, E. (2016, October 11). The Bayberry Candle Christmas Tradition. Retrieved from https://colonialcandle.com/blogs/news/bayberry-candle-christmas-tradition.
SallyeAnder. (2017, January 26). Bayberry Candles: An American Tradition. Retrieved from https://sallyeander.com/bayberry-candles-an-american-tradition/.

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