Monday, November 12, 2012

Preparing for Holiday Baking

The holidays will soon be here and it can be a bit overwhelming trying to make all those favorites that make this time of year special.  There are some things we can be doing now to make things easier on us- other than making list after list after list (which is my tendency).  I have two suggestions and then I want to hear yours.

1) Make and freeze lots of pie crusts.  I posted my recipe years ago here.  To freeze, simply place wax paper between pie plates and slide the stack into plastic bags tied off with a twisty tie.  They're ready when you are.

Not only will they save you time when you want to bake a pie, but they're also super handy for quick dinners of quiche on a busy evening.  Paired with muffins and applesauce, quiche is our go-to healthy meal (and often our detox meal after returning home from a weekend of holiday over-indulgence).

2) Bake, mash and freeze!  Repeat.  Detailed instructions can be found here.

I LOVE all baked goods and desserts that have anything to do with pumpkin and sweet potatoes BUT, if you make the recipes start to finish they can take awhile.  If your sweet potatoes and pumpkins (we use butternut squash) are already baked, mashed and waiting for you in the freezer, the time commitment for these amazing goodies is cut down significantly- just remember to set the containers out to thaw and refreeze what you didn't use to save for next time.

Cheat Sheet for Freezing Amounts (in case you like to be exact)
Pumpkin Pasta - 3 1/2 cups
Mom's Pumpkin Bread - 2 cups
Pumpkin Streusel Bread  - 2 cups
Pumpkin Pie - 3 cups (makes 2 pies)
Creamy Sweet Potato Muffins - 1 1/4 cup
Sweet Potato Pie - 2 cups

Okay, your turn.  What do you do ahead of time to get ready for holiday baking?
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  1. My kids and I like to bake a lot of cookies. We give them for gifts to almost everyone (teachers and family members especially). They like making them, and everyone enjoys receiving them. However, making them all at one time can really drive you crazy. So, starting this weekend, the kids and I will be baking at least 2 types of cookies per weekend. We'll do this at least 4 times before the middle of December - then we'll be done! I put them in the freezer as we go and then we bag them up closer to Christmas. We don't snack on these because they're for a designated purpose and because that would defeat the point of doing it early. On our list this year, and every year... lemon bars, no bakes, gingerbread men and a gingerbread house, chocolate ginger cookies, roshke, butter cookies, chocolate peppermint pinwheels and rice crispy treats.

  2. What gorgeous crusts! And so nice to have them ready to go.

  3. I may be born and bred Mennonite, but what's 'baking?' :D When my parents got married, Dad told Mom he never wanted to see another pie again. He was tired of them, every day, twice a day. When he changed his mind about pie, it was too late for me. I'm the oldest and rather spend time in the barn!

    DH won't eat a two crust pie, and the one he loves he can't have as he is diabetic. So, I did well in choosing a spouse.

    The chickens aren't laying right now and the thought of buying eggs is very, very difficult. I just might give in so I can bake cookies, DH's favorite, Angel Food. I'll probably toss in a couple of other kinds. What kind will depend upon what tickles my fancy when I open the cookbook.

  4. wow, that is a lot of crusts!! I never dreamed of having that many pie pans or that much freezer space! Honestly, right now we are trying to eat out of the freezer because our part of a beef is coming this weekend. I don't do a lot of extra baking over the holidays, I guess. Or I just bake as I need to.

  5. I try to have most holiday prep done before December that weird? All gifts are bought, the decorations go up the Monday after Thanksgiving because my husband always has the day off school and any of the kids that are in the school do too, cookies are made and frozen, we have the activities that we want to do planned and prepped for our family (Jesse tree, traditions, parties, etc. whatever it is we have chosen to do THIS december......always changing, refining :) The only thing that INEVITABLY I forget to do well is Jesus' birthday cake. It's Christmas Eve and I say OH MY GOSH I HAVE TO BAKE A DANG CAKE......which I am sure is oh so honoring to sweet baby jesus as I try not to lose it over a birthday cake for a savior that has already been born, killed and risen again :) And no I don't really stress in November because it doesn't seem URGENT to do it then and I spread it out.

    1. Oh, Mandye, you made me laugh and laugh with your birthday cake 'tradition'. Praise the Lord we're not saved based on how well we keep traditions, right? :-)

  6. Are those disposable pie plates or how do you get so many? I thought I was doing well to have four, lol. My husband was just admiring the array of crusts.

    1. Some of them are disposable in case I'll want to take someone a pie or quiche- then they don't have to worry about returning it. I do have a lot of pie plates- some are old metal ones from my grandmother. Others are glass ones that I bought when doing pies for a wedding. Pyrex glass pie plates are actually pretty cheap online if you watch for their free shipping deals. :-)

  7. Just looking through some of your older posts. Don't think I have ever commented here. Came to your site via Mavis.

    I see you use the same pie crust recipe I do expect that yours is doubled. I get 5 crusts...5 c flour, 1 egg, 1 T vinegar, 1/2 C water, 1 T sugar etc. I only use Crisco shortening plain as that is what is specified in the very beaten up hand written copy I have. I love to have the 5 crusts and all the possibilities they provide.

    I save foil and metal plates for my freezer crusts.

    Annabel Lee


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