December 3, 2010

The Stockings Were Hung......

The Maine House is hanging our stockings over the mantle this evening...a long steadfast family tradition! What is the history of hanging our Christmas Stockings?

The Dutch Theory
Some say the Dutch introduced the Christmas stocking to America. It was told that during the 16th Century, children in Holland would leave their clogs by the hearth filled with straw for the reindeer or "donkey".
A treat for Santa was left in the house near the fire. In return "Sinterclass" would leave the children treats. Later the clogs would become stockings, and the Saint known to all would become "Santa Claus."

The Poor, Kind Nobleman Theory
Many believe there was once a kind nobleman whose wife had died of an illness leaving the man and his three daughters in despair. After losing all his money in useless and bad inventions, the nobleman and his daughters had to move into a peasant's cottage. When it came time for the daughters to marry, the father became even more depressed as his daughters could not marry without dowries.
One night after the daughters had washed out their clothing, they hung their stockings over the fireplace to dry. That night Saint Nicholas, knowing the despair of the father, stopped by the nobleman's house after the family had gone to bed. He peeked in the window and saw the daughters' stockings hanging by the fire.
Inspiration struck Saint Nicholas, and he took three small bags of gold from his pouch and threw them carefully, one by one, down the chimney into the stockings. The next morning when the daughters awoke, they found their stockings contained enough gold for them to get married. The nobleman was able to see his three daughters marry, and he lived a long and happy life.

While hanging your stockings with your little sure to have plenty of snacks around.....prepare your favorite recipe for hot cocoa, turn on some beautiful Christmas music and decorate!

The grandbabies favorite Hot Chocolate! We whispered this to Santa.....Ho!Ho!Ho!

Serendipity's Frozen Hot Chocolate
6 half-ounce pieces of a variety of your favorite chocolates
2 teaspoons store-bought hot chocolate mix
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 cups milk
3 cups ice
Whipped cream
Chocolate shavings

Chop the chocolate into small pieces and place it in the top of a double boiler over simmering water, stirring occasionally until melted. Add the cocoa and sugar, stirring constantly until thoroughly blended. Remove from heat and slowly add 1/2 cup of the milk and stir until smooth. Cool to room temperature.
In a blender place the remaining cup of milk, the room temperature chocolate mixture, and the ice. Blend on high speed until smooth and the consistency of a frozen daiquiri. Pour into a giant goblet and top with whipped cream and chocolate shavings. Enjoy with a spoon or a straw.

Estelle's Buffalo Chicken Dip
1 1/2 lbs chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
1 (12 ounce) bottle hot sauce (use whole bottle or just half, if desired)
2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1 (16 ounce) bottle bleu cheese salad dressing
2/3 cup chopped celery
3 cups monterey jack

Preheat oven top 350.  In a large bowl, mix shredded chicken, celery and cheese.  In a saucepan over medium heat, combine cream cheese and salad dressing and stir until smooth. Stir in bottle of hot sauce. Pour heated mixture into bowl with chicken mixture. Stir to mix well.  Pour into a round, slightly greased baking dish. Bake uncovered for 40 minutes or until bubbly. Let stand for 10 minutes. Serve warm with celery or other veggies and crackers.

Estelle's Artichoke Spinach Dip
1 cup thawed, chopped frozen spinach
11/2 cups thawed, chopped frozen artichoke hearts
6 ounces cream cheese
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup grated Parmesan
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

Boil spinach and artichokes in 1 cup of water until tender and drain. Discard liquid. Heat cream cheese in microwave for 1 minute or until hot and soft. Stir in rest of ingredients and serve hot.
Tucker loves the snow!
"He who has not Christmas in his heart will never find it under a tree."
 ~Roy L. Smith

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