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Meet my mom.

Linda Ballance.

The main reason why I have so many wonderful memories of Christmas growing up. She did everything in her power to make the holidays special for her sons, our families, friends, people in the neighborhood, and pretty much anyone who wanted to stop by during the season. On Christmas Eve, every year, our house was Party Central. Everyone knew that at our house, the party snacks would be plentiful and the booze would be flowing. Mom was the keeper of the holiday flame.

Over the past few years, as mom got older, we all felt a certain something was missing from the holiday season. As much as we wanted to create a wonderful holiday for her, we could never live up to the standards she set, but did what we could.

When Mom passed earlier this year, no one in our family knew what Christmas would feel like. But, the important thing is keeping her memory alive. I saved as much as I could on her laptop, not knowing what she had saved over the years. Mercifully, she was diligent in cataloguing years of family recipes that had been handed down to her, that she perfected over the years. With that...the memories of the food she would whip up for those epic Ballance Family Christmas blowouts would live on. So, in honor of our eternal Queen of Christmas, I offer up...for the first time anywhere...some of our favorite holiday recipes.

HOLIDAY DIP

 

1 JAR BACON BITS
8 OZ. SHREDDED CHEDDAR CHEESE
1 PACKAGE SLIVERED ALMONDS
GARLIC POWDER TO TASTE
1 ½ CUPS MAYONNAISE
4 GREEN ONIONS

 

Mix all ingredients well.

Garnish the top with paprika for color.

Serve with Ritz Crackers or your favorite chip.

This was always the show starter. She would usually serve this along with an assortment of cheeses and black olives, which I would gorge on before dinner.

CHEX PARTY MIX

1/4       CUP MARGARINE OR BUTTER

5          TSP. WORCHESTERSHIRE SAUCE

1 1/4    TSP. SEASONED SALT

1/4       TSP. GARLIC POWDER

2 2/3    CUP CORN CHEX

2 2/3    CUP RICE CHEX

2 2/3    CUP WHEAT CHEX

1          CUP MIXED NUTS

1          CUP PRETZELS OR CHEERIOS

  1. Melt margarine in open roasting pan in preheated 250 F. oven. Stir in seasonings.
  1. Gradually add cereals, nuts and pretzels.
  1. Bake 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Spread on absorbent paper to cool.  Store in large zip-lock bag.

Makes 10 cups.

What party is a party without CHEX MIX????

 

MEATBALLS

2-3       LBS. GROUND BEEF

1          ONION

1          EGG

BREAD CRUMBS

PARSLEY FLAKES

SALT & PEPPER TO TASTE

Mix all ingredients well.  Form mixture into meatballs.  Brown in skillet.

2          CANS CREAM OF CELERY SOUP

1          CAN WATER

1/4       CUP DILL PICKLES (CHOPPED)

2          TBSP. DILL PICKLE JUICE

Combine all ingredients and simmer.  When mixture is hot, add meatballs.  Serve warm.

This is a great recipe to make meatballs ahead and freeze.  When ready to serve, thaw and heat in sauce mixture.  Keep warm in a roaster type pan.

Mom's Meatballs were a meal all to themselves, and we always ran out...every year.

 

Apricot Slush

4          TEA BAGS

2          CUPS BOILING WATER

7          CUPS WARM WATER

2          CUPS SUGAR

1          12 OZ. CAN FROZEN ORANGE JUICE

1          12 OZ. CAN FROZEN LEMONADE

1          PINT APRICOT BRANDY

 

Pour 2 cups of boiling water over tea bags, let sit until very strong.  In large freezer proof container, mix 7 cups of warm water and sugar to tea.  Stir until sugar dissolves.  Add frozen orange juice and lemonade.  Stir well until until juices are completely melted and blended with tea mixture.  Add Apricot Brandy.  Place container in freezer.  Mixture will not freeze completely solid because of the Brandy.  When ready to serve, scoop mixture out and fill glass 2/3 full.  Finish filling with 7-Up.  Stir Well.  Drink will be slushy and can be served with a long ice tea spoon.

Now, THIS was the star of the show.  Everyone would drink LOADS of this stuff, so my Mom had plenty of "slush" on hand. It was a giant hit. She actually kept a couple of big containers of this concoction in our stand up freezer in the garage, ready to go. Of course, when you have 4 sons who are slightly rambunctious, we enjoyed sampling teh frozen slush with spoons like ice cream, and only had a slight inkling as to WHY we always felt amazing, and slightly hammered.

I hope that you can share in these holiday memories in some small way, keeping our mother's memory alive at her favorite time of the year.

Miss you, Mom...Merry Christmas. Say Hi to Dad for me.

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