The Ghost of Christmas Past…a

Ah, Christmas.  It’s a season heavy with tradition–the songs, the decorations, the food.  

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Oh, yeah, the food.  

Now I’m a pretty traditional girl–it’s not Christmas for me without a big ol’ hunk of my mom’s Dutch apple pie.  It’s not the day after Christmas without a hunk of that same pie posing as breakfast, either.  

For my husband, it’s not Christmas without a giant pan of mac-and-cheese on the table.  (My mind boggles at the idea of mac-and-cheese for Christmas dinner, but whatever.  You marry a guy, you marry his traditions.)  

But on the very first high holiday we spent together as a couple, just the two of us, we went outside the box.  We made pasta.  

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Yeah, pasta.  By hand.  

Don’t ask me what we were thinking.  We were giddy with love & having an adventure.  We had no idea we were even getting married someday, let alone hatching a life-long tradition.   We just happened to both be family free for the holiday & decided to do something crazy.

Like make pasta.

By hand.

So, fast forward about fifteen years.  Throw a kitchen aid mixer with the pasta attachments into the mix.  Throw in a couple of kids & a few in-laws.  Cover the whole thing in flour, & you’ve pretty much got the pasta adventure we staged last Christmas chez Sey.   The pictures really do say it all, but here’s the basic recipe & procedure: 

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Basic Egg Pasta:

4 large eggs

1 tablespoon water

3 1⁄2 cups sifted all-purpose flour 

1⁄2 teaspoon salt

Place eggs, water, flour, and salt in mixer bowl.

Attach bowl and flat beater. Turn to Speed 2 and mix 30 seconds.

IMG_2777Exchange flat beater for dough hook. Turn to Speed 2 and knead 2 minutes. Remove dough from bowl and hand knead for 1 to 2 minutes. Let it rest for 20 minutes.

Divide dough into 4 pieces before processing with Pasta Sheet Roller attachment.

Okay, at this point, you’ll have four balls of dough.  When they say “process with the pasta sheet roller,” they mean to run it through the attachment on your mixer that essentially squeezes each ball between a couple of rollers that look like a mini-laundry mangle.  (Anybody old enough–or read enough historical fiction–to know what a mangle is?  I know I do!)

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This will get to you the point you see in the first picture where I’m dealing with an incredibly long, flat sheet of pasta.  At this point, I flour a bunch of parchment paper & cut the sheet of dough into noodle-sized lengths–maybe a foot?  I let them sit between layers of floured parchment while I switch out my pasta roller for my pasta cutter.  I like the fettuccine one.  I feel like this width cooks nicely.

So then you run the sheets through the cutter (as seen in picture #2) & you end up with…fettuccine!  It truly is like magic.  (Picture #3 shows some of the sheets waiting to be run through the fettuccine cutter, & some that have already been through.)

Drop each little coil of fresh pasta into boiling water, cook for about 6-7 minutes, & voila!  You have actual, honest-to-goodness, edible pasta.  

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It might look like a flour bomb went off in your kitchen, but you can deal with that after dinner.  

Just drain that gorgeous pasta, top with your favorite sauce–we went with pesto, though at least one of my girls went with just straight up olive oil & salt–and eat that deliciousness right up. 

And if you lick your plate, I’m not going to judge you.  

So how about you?  Have you ever done anything strange for the holidays, & had it turn into a tradition on you?  Share!

And to reward you for swinging by the Bandit’s 12 Day of Christmas, we’ll be gifting one lucky commenter with a copy of Susan’s last release TASTE FOR TROUBLE, kindle or paperback, winner’s choice!  (And you’ll want to read it soon as the follow up TALENT FOR TROUBLE is coming out in January!) You’ll also receive a fabulous Rooster ornament for whatever you choose to decorate this time of year!

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Comments

105 Comments

  • Kaelee says:

    That’s great looking pasta. i love straight olive oil as a topping sometimes.

    Two things have developed into must haves with my family. I have to bring gluten free pumpkin cheesecake and avocado, roasted corn and red pepper salad to any gatherings we have.

    • Jeanne Adams says:

      Yum on the Avocado salad! :>

      Congrats on nabbing Himself for the day. Rooster-free pasta, anyone? Snork!! (You’d never keep him out of the salad, although he might leave the pasta alone….)

    • Susan Sey says:

      Oooh, Kaelee, pumpkin cheesecake? I’m not even gluten-free & I’d jump all over that action! And you put avocado on *anything* & I’ll eat it. Even the cheesecake. I can’t control myself when it comes to avocado. You can come to my Christmas party anytime!

      You can even bring the rooster. That guy livens up a party, doesn’t he? Good luck with him today!

    • Kaelee says:

      Someone posted this recipe a couple of years ago. I’m sorry I can’t remember who did it. If you don’t need to be gluten free use any gingerbread cookies for the crust.

      Gluten Free Pumpkin Cheesecake

      Christmas goodies and desserts are a problem when you’re trying to eat gluten free. My family loves pumpkin pie but I now make this for our Christmas dinner dessert:

      Crust:
      Melt ¼ cup butter and add to 1 1/2 cups crushed gluten free gingerbread cookies
      Press into bottom of springform pan.
      Bake @350 for 10 minutes
      Remove and cool.

      Filling:
      Beat 2 – 8 oz packages of softened cream cheese until smooth, then add:
      2/3 cup white sugar and beat again until smooth
      2 eggs, beating after each addition
      14 oz canned pure pumpkin;
      1 teaspoon cinnamon;
      1 teaspoon nutmeg;
      1 teaspoon ginger;
      ½ teaspoon salt
      and beat until smooth

      Baking:
      Pour cream cheese mixture over crust. Bake @350 for about 50 – 60 minutes until firm. Chill. Serve with whipped cream and a square of good dark chocolate for garnish.

    • Kaelee says:

      Salad ~ use as many avocados as you think you will need. I usually use four for 20 people. It’s rich you don’t need a lot. Multiply the ingredients below.

      one avocado diced
      one quarter of a red pepper diced
      one quarter cup frozen corn

      Put frozen corn into a non stick pan and cook stirring once in a while until roasted, some browning will occur. Dice the avocado and pepper while corn is roasting.

      Toss the ingredients with your favorite oil and vinegar dressing.

      Simple easy and quick.

  • Debbie Oxier says:

    When our church started having candlelight services on Christmas Eve, we began having Hot Teen Tuna buns and tater tots for dinner. Something simple and quick. We continued it for several years until my parents passed. After the service we would come back home and play games for the rest of the evening.

    • Jeanne Adams says:

      Debbie, that’s cool! Now….what the heck is a Teen Tuna Bun? Snork! I can imagine, but it’s probably not appropriate for this early in the morning. Grins.

    • Susan Sey says:

      What a lovely tradition, Debbie!

      Also, I just enjoy saying Hot Teen Tuna Buns. I have no idea what that is, but I like saying it. Hot Teen Tuna Buns. Hot Teen Tuna Buns.

      Plus tater tots? I’m in!

  • Laurie G says:

    My oldest son and his wife are vegan. Whenever they visit for the holidays we have several interesting dishes featuring hummus, black beans, northern beans , avocados and tofu. I’m not a fan but my husband enjoys the bean soup, black bean patties and veggie patties.

    My daughter loves mac & cheese. She makes it every Thanksgiving and Christmas. She also prefers bread stuffing. I make my stuffing with hamburger meat. So now we have two stuffing dishes too.

    • Susan Sey says:

      Having a member of the family go vegetarian (or vegan!) is a great way to establish new traditions. My sister is a vegetarian, & she’s brought many new & wonderful things to the table. My favorite has always been rice lentil polou. It’s a simple pilaf involving brown rice, lentils, raisins & tomato paste. Sort of sweet-and-savory dish, & it’s delicious! Plus it’s a complete protein & vegan! Let me know if you want the recipe with which to dazzle your vegan relatives this year!

  • Jeanne Adams says:

    Hey Susan! Wow! Homemade pasta! WOW!

    I’ve not ventured into that area….it’s scary. I have a KitchenAid, and it would be fairly easy to buy the attachments, but….yeah. I can see the flat sheets disappearing into a dog’s gullet the moment I draped it over my hand to process it…*shudder* that would so totally suck. Hahah!!

    I’d love the result though!

    As to odd traditions, we have a big roast every Christmas eve, and sometimes for lunch on Christmas day. One year I opened the turkey and it was bad so we had roast instead. So now, sometimes…we have roast with stuffing and pie and all the regular fixings. :> Oh, and corn pudding. Yum

    A friend of mine has a cool tradition, that if I could I would adopt. She and her daughter get new PJs at Christmas. On Christmas eve, they get into their brand new PJs, play games and then stay in those brand new PJs all Christsmas Day. This would be so fun…if I could get my sons to wear PJs. Sigh.

    • Susan Sey says:

      Oh no on your poor, bad turkey! It’s funny how many traditions are born of disaster, isn’t it? But I’ll bet the roast is delicious!

      My girls get new pjs every year, too, but I gave up on them ever wearing a full, cutie matched set & now just give them pj bottoms. They are their mother’s children, after all. We just strip off our jeans, throw on our pj bottoms & call it a night. I’ve never seen the point of pj tops. Not when I wear a tank top under everything for the extra warmth anyway.

      Layers. It’s how to do Minnesota.

    • Susan Sey says:

      Also, every kitchen experiment involves dogs eating the food out from under you . When I was a kid, we moved into this house (where my folks still live) with some extreme 60s decor. My folks have spent the last 35 years updating it but when we moved in the kitchen was carpeted. CARPETED. Ick! Talk about difficult clean up!

      Plus, the carpet was plaid. PLAID! We were baking cookies one time, cracked an egg & accidentally dropped it. (The way you do when you’re eight.) We could not find it Seriously. The plaid carpet was so very plaid that we were like, “Huh. Watch your step.”

      The dog saved us. He zipped around the corner like he’d been summoned, stopped on a dime like the road runner (boiiiiiiiiiing) and hoovered that egg right up. He was delighted & so were we.

      God bless dogs in the kitchen.

      • Cassondra Murray says:

        Susan, I thought this would be the one benefit to having dogs in the house (SOMETHING needs to make up for the dog hair in every nook and cranny) Last night I was making Sloppy Joe Corn Bread and I dropped a bit of cooked ground beef onto the floor. I called the dogs over. They looked at the floor. they looked at me. they looked at the floor. They looked at me like, “wut?”

        I just shook my head and said, “y’all are useless.” I had to find the beef and throw it away.

        • Susan Sey says:

          Well for heaven’s sake! Your dogs totally missed the memo on that one. You were absolutely right to express your disgust. They fell down on the job, no question.

  • Colleen C. says:

    I love home made pasta! The hubby and I lived across the country from our family for quite a few years so we started a few of our own traditions that carried on even after we moved back close to family.

    • Susan Sey says:

      Hi, Colleen! Isn’t it funny how many traditions happen when you aren’t paying attention? You just think you’re filling in the blanks when far from family & next thing you know you’ve got A Thing. Who knew?

  • Kaelee, just make certain you don’t mention chicken alfredo in front of the GR !!

    Homemade pasta! That looks DEE LISH !! There would be pandogmonium if I tried that here.

    I guess one of our newer Christmas traditions started over twenty years ago when I missed Thanksgiving with my family for the first time. I was in Germany and couldn’t get back home until Christmas. My Mom’s made from scratch chicken and dumplings were a Thanksgiving dish, but that year my Mom made them for Christmas as well because she KNOWS they are my favorite! From that Christmas on she has made chicken and dumplings and I always take the leftovers home once I fight my youngest brother for them.

    • Susan Sey says:

      Ah, the traditional Christmas fight! My husband & his brother have one about whether or not it’s permissible to open a present on Christmas Eve, or if they should all be opened on Christmas morning. I myself believe in waiting until the actual day, unless there’s a pressing reason to open it early. Like a piece of jewelry or a pretty scarf to wear to midnight mass, for example. Just in case Mr. Sey is listening…

  • Debbie says:

    I don’t know if it’s strange but it turned into an unknowing tradition. A few Christmas mornings of pictures of the kids opening their gifts in old pajamas gave me the idea. So Christmas Eve I let the kids open 2 gifts one of their choosing and one of mine, new pjs for them to wear that night. I did this for a few years and one I didn’t, I was shocked to see how disappointed my kids were that they didn’t get new pjs. My oldest is now 24 and still looks forward to it.

    • Susan Sey says:

      Aw. The new pjs is a great gift! Plus you know there’s going to be a whole morning full of pictures on Christmas, so why not make sure everybody’s wearing something cute? Good thinking!

    • Sarah says:

      My mom has been giving me pjs on Christmas Eve since my first Christmas. She does it for my sister too. And now all the grandkids. I am on Christmas number 40 and still getting pjs on Christmas Eve.

      • Susan Sey says:

        My dad gives us earrings. The poor guy had four daughters–FOUR–so he had to do something. We all got our ears pierced when we turned eight, & while we were delighted, I think he was relieved. He finally had something to give us we would always want.

        At this point, however, I”ll admit that I do have a ridiculous number of earrings.

  • arethazhen says:

    Hi Susan, woowwww awesome looking pasta! love it. crazy tradition would be a 24 hour non-stop watching movies :). We usually have lots of new stocks of movies 🙂

    • Susan Sey says:

      Oh, I dearly adore the post-present movie marathon! We used to have those. Then we had kids & the post-present-period turned into a mad hunt for batteries & screw drivers. I imagine we’ll have movie marathons again some day but for now we’re enjoying the madness. Enjoy your movies!

  • ellie says:

    We do have our traditions. Your pasta looks delectable and special.

  • diane says:

    Cannolis are a big part of our Christmas. Each year we make them and give them out to friends.

  • Deb says:

    OOOH, Susan. I make homemade noodles. I am not patient like some people and let them dry for days on end; I usually make them in the morning for that night’s supper. I remember PJ from TRD telling me once that she and her husband would have dangle them on hangers and having those hangers all over the house, even in the shower.

    My family does do something different for Christmas dinner. (I make a small turkey and all the trimmings during January because we miss the traditional fare.) We choose a country and make a typical Christmas dinner from recipes found in cookbooks or the web. This tradition started a long time ago in about 1972 or so with my mom’s side of the family. My sisters have wanted to continue the tradition. We did do 1940s Americana a few years ago just so we could have turkey and all.

    This year’s country is Venezuela. Our faves in years past have been England, Scotland, Russia, Denmark, and Italy…..and 1940s Americana. 😉

    • Susan Sey says:

      Whoa, Deb! Dinner AND a history/geography lesson! I bow to your superior mom skills! Where do you do your research? Do you just find a country themed cookbook, or do you go farther afield? Would love to hear more about your favorite menus…

    • Cassondra Murray says:

      Deb that’s really cool. I’d love to hear more about that too.

    • Deb says:

      Well, it is so easy now to find recipes on the internet, but it was hard several years ago when you had to rely solely on cookbooks. We also try to use decorations that might be typical for that country. For example, for England, my sister made firecrackers/poppers and filled them with candy. For 1940s Americana, we had a picture of Bing Crosby in a Santa hat and I handed out the lyrics to “White Christmas”. My sister had found some old magazines from that era and made up a game for us to play. So, yes, we research not just the recipes, but the country’s Christmas traditions.
      This year’s menu includes a chicken salad with pita crisps, a cubed ham/cheese concoction in puff pastry, bean dip, fried cheese sticks, tamales, tomato salad (tomatoes, avocado, apples, almonds, cilantro, lettuce), coconut cream pie, and egg nog.

      • Susan Sey says:

        You had me at Bing Crosby, Deb. I’m going to have to give this a try soon. We have another “at home” year coming up in 2015, so that’ll give me plenty of time to plan…

  • sandyg265 says:

    We don’t celebrate Christmas so I grew up going out for Chinese food on Christmas night. Now I have family who celebrates so my boyfriend and I have Chinese for lunch and then visit family.

    • Susan Sey says:

      That sounds delicious! Plus I love the idea of lunch out on a big meal day. If I’m cooking all day surely somebody should take me out for lunch. Chinese food, preferably.

      Now I want a spring roll.

  • pjpuppymom says:

    What a yummy post! As Deb said above, the late hubby and I used to love making our own pasta and would hang it out to dry all over the house. I may have to revive that tradition. It’s been a long time since I enjoyed my own fresh pasta.

    My Christmas tradition is clearing the house of all the goodies I’ve spent the month of December making. I start my elf deliveries today and will finish up on Christmas Eve. They go to friends, neighbors, the Vet, my hair stylist, etc. It brings me much pleasure to see all those faces light up when I come through the door with platters of cookies, candies and more! 🙂

    • Susan Sey says:

      You’re an incredible Christmas elf, PJ! It makes me wish I were your hairdresser, or dog walker, or newspaper carrier. Anything for a turtle!

      And, hey, what do you do about the eggs in the pasta? I’ve been afraid to let them sit out to dry because I don’t want to kill anybody with my eggs. Do you use pasteurized eggs, or does all the bacteria die when you cook the pasta? Help!

    • Deb says:

      PJ, I hope you don’t mind that I mentioned you and your noodle-y experiences with your late husband. I just remember you telling me that and think it is such a sweet memory.

  • Connie Fischer says:

    Hi, Susan! I guess I have to admit to doing all kinds of “strange” things all the time. 🙂 I have never made homemade pasta but would love to try my hand at it sometime if I had the proper equipment. Yours looks delicious.

    Merry Christmas, everyone!

    • Susan Sey says:

      Tell you what, Connie, that KitchenAid mixer changed my life. I have an ice cream maker attachment, too. (Cue the angels singing.)

      If you ever get a chance to try to pasta adventure, I’d recommend it. It’s hilarious, if nothing else.

  • anne says:

    Love pasta and especially home made. We created our traditions years ago. Latkes, applesauce, apple cake.

    • Susan Sey says:

      Latkes! I {heart} latkes. There’s a children’s book about them, I can’t remember what it’s called but my girls love it. It involves a magic pan that makes latkes endlessly until you remember the magic phrase to stop it. I have always deeply desired this magic pan, but so far, no luck.

  • So, here’s the story of Buckeyes…

    One year I made a batch and took them into work. I was just out of nursing school with a new apartment. I knew better than to leave those things at my place. Well, one of the doctors asked if he could buy some. So, I stupidly said…yes.

    108 dozen later, I’d made quite a little bit of spending money for Christmas presents, but also learned a lesson.

    NEVER volunteer to make and sell Buckeyes to anyone. Make one batch and give them away!!

    • Susan Sey says:

      This sounds very much like the lesson I learned last year about volunteering to bake holiday pies for a church fundraiser. See, pie baking is a quasi-religious experience for me. I would no sooner buy a pie for my holiday table than I would wear pajamas to Christmas Eve Mass.

      My mistake was in assuming this was true for everybody.

      In fact, a great many people would be incredibly grateful for somebody to bake them a pie, because they were planning to get one from baker’s square or something. And homemade = less guilt. Plus a built-in donation to church? Positively virtuous!

      I made three dozen pies & hand-delivered them before I was truly convinced of the error of my ways.

      But I did raise for cash for our little church.

      That said, I’ve never had a buck eye. Any chance you’ll drop one in the mail to me??

      🙂

  • Amy Conley says:

    When the kids were little we began having my in-laws come to our house first thing in the morning on Christmas day. This way they could enjoy watching the kids open all their gifts and they wouldn’t have to leave them. Also the kids knew they could only get out of their rooms to go to the bathroom until grandma and pa got to the house.Since we were doing the majority of the cooking we wanted breakfast to be fast and easy but filling so I learned how to make gravy and we’d all eat bisquits and gravy for breakfast. Even though no kids live here anymore, they all expect b&g for breakfast as soon as they get here with their families. Probably not going to happen since this year, for the first time in at least 25 years we are doing Christmas at the in-laws’house. It will just be easier on my mil this way.

    • Susan Sey says:

      Ooooh, biscuits & gravy! Sounds very southern to this northern girl! We have cinnamon rolls whenever we’re having an “at home” year–the home-baked kind that have to rise overnight. Mmmmmmm….

      • Amy Conley says:

        This post is now funny to me. My daughter called me about some things this morning and she said, ” Tell MY DAD I want Turkey for Christmas. Also tell him if I sound like I am whining it is because I am and it’s all his fault.” My hubby loves cooking and trying new ways to make old favorites. Several years ago he got a smoker and began making smoked turkey for the holidays. There are only two people who’ve ever eaten it and not fallen in love with it, yep, me and my mother. Everyone else just always expects him to smoke a turkey. When I gave him this message this afternoon before he went to work his response was, “A turkey? Uhhh.” I told him she didn’t specify about it being smoked so we would be safe if we just baked one, LOL
        For all I know she and grandson #2 will show up here Christmas morning wanting her B&G. She’s living with my in-laws to help take care of her grandmother, and maybe this year she’ll do the b&g and expect us to show up there, early! OMG that would the pits. Since hubby works nights, even the nights he’s off he stays up late and I’ve always been a night owl so mornings are not our friend anymore.

  • pearl says:

    pasta, pasta. Love it and enjoy it. What a delight. A big favorite. What we make is a big batch of roasted veggies, bagels, and smoked salmon.

    • Susan Sey says:

      Bagels! Do you do them from scratch, or buy them? I’ve never made bagels, but I have made pretzels, so I’ve done the whole boiled-and-baked thing. Have always wondered how it translates to bagels…

  • flchen1 says:

    Wow–homemade pasta? That looks amazingly delicious! DH’s mom used to make her own (mostly things like wonton wrappers, and so on) and actually gave us her little Pasta Sheet Roller. I think we may have used it once before sending it over to DH’s brother…

    As for the creation of traditions? We do typically do some sort of homemade treat for the holidays. A few years ago, a friend brought chocolate graham toffee bark to a party and I couldn’t stop eating it. I tried the recipe myself, and now it’s our Christmas treat tradition of sorts. So far this year, we’ve made 22 batches, nearly 15 of them for the kids’ school alone (there are a lot of teachers and staff for a relatively small school, so I hate to leave anyone out!) 😉 We still need to make it for friends, so the treat-making continues…

  • Susan…I have to tell you, you’ve inspired me to ask for a pasta sheet maker and cutter attachment for my Kitchen Aid for Christmas this year! I had no idea what I wanted…but NOW I do!

  • wow Susan – that pasta looks delicious. We generally try adding one new dish to our Christmas menu every year. The danger is – if the recipe turns out well – we’re stuck making it every Christmas after LOL. I think that’s probably why I make enough food to feed an army.

    The only thing that my dh did that turned into a traditiion was that on Christmas Eve – I’d make a homemade deep dish pizza. The thought was we’d be eating a lot of turkey after Christmas so this would be something different. Now it’s sacrosanct. Wish, though, that we’d chosen something a little less messy to prepare on the night before company arrives 🙂

    • Susan Sey says:

      I’m up for a deep dish pizza any old time! But Christmas Eve sounds about right. 🙂

      We do chicken noodle soup on the eve. It’s my husband’s family’s tradition, & I don’t quite get it, because don’t you do soup AFTER the holiday, with the carcass of your holiday bird??

      Ah, well. It’s still nice to come home from midnight mass with the crockpot going & a midnight snack all set.

  • catslady says:

    I really don’t have a certain menu for Christmas. This year it’s turkey only because we were given two this year lol. Some years it’s ham. My grown children’s schedules have a lot to do with it too. And it depends on how close it was to my tree trimming party (which is a tradition I started many, many years ago). I had it early this year but some years it’s been only 2 days before Christmas – those years I have lots of leftovers lol. Some years the side will be lasagna if not potatoes. But I’ve never made homemade even though my one grandmother made some of her own but my mom wasn’t the cook in our family lol. I use to always read The Littlest Angel to my girls which made me sob every year.

    • Susan Sey says:

      Oh, catslady, WHY do they love the stories that make us cry? My kids had a thing for “Love You Forever.” Finally I had to put a ban on it unless it was a special occasion because I just couldn’t take the emotional beating every time they felt like hearing a story.

      Lasagna as a side sounds okay to me, btw. I’ve never used my pasta sheets as lasagna noodles, but I’ll bet that would be darn good. I’ll have to give it a go…

  • Cassondra Murray says:

    Susan, I am envious of your superior domestic goddess skills.

    I have a Kitchen Aid, but I don’t have any extra attachments. I’ve only had homemade pasta one time, (at someone’s HOME) and to be honest, it was kind of a letdown. I have always wondered if something was wrong with that particular pasta, or if I’d built myself up to think homemade pasta was going to be as different from dried, store-bought as a bakery cake is from a scratch cake. I expected the same “OMG” experience, and I couldn’t tell that much difference.

    Now I will say that two years ago in Atlanta I was at a restaurant downtown and had their pumpkin ravioli. I’ve never put anything in my mouth that was that good, I since this was a good restaurant (meaning chef in the kitchen), it is my suspicion that said ravioli pasta was made right there by him.

    SO…I’d love to know what you see as the differences. Is it texture? Flavor? I love pasta like I love air to breathe, and I want to be in the know about this.

    As to Christmas traditions…ours are traditional. We often host the local “orphan” dinner–for friends who aren’t going to be with family, so the traditional fare kind of suits that occasion. But I’ve always wanted to do some kind of special Christmas Eve breakfast or dinner–something unique to form a tradition where everybody gets together. I haven’t managed that yet. Never organized enough.

    • Susan Sey says:

      Cassondra, I know *just* what you mean about being underwhelmed by some homemade pasta. I have underwhelmed myself many a time with my own pasta. When I do it right, the angels sing in my mouth. When I do it wrong..gah.

      That said, it’s hard to describe exactly what “right” tastes or feels like. The best word I’m coming up with is toothsome. There’s a tenderness to the bite that is incredibly pleasing, & the way it grabs onto the sauce? Oh my.

      But it’s super easy to do it wrong & get something either gummy or tough. I’ve been considering ponying up for actual semolina flour, just to see if it really makes that big a difference. Will keep you posted..

  • Susan, I think you are SUCH a cool dude! Handmade pasta for Christmas dinner? Fantastic! Mind you, I’m a bit shocked at mac and cheese for Christmas dinner too but different strokes, I guess.

    • pjpuppymom says:

      Anna, for people native to the southeast U.S., they’d be shocked to NOT have homemade mac ‘n cheese on the holiday table. It’s pretty much a given that it will be there right next to the mashed potatoes. 😉

      • Susan Sey says:

        Interestingly, the mac & cheese things springs from the English/Scottish side of the family. Is that a thing in the UK? My mom’s Irish & I’d never heard of it. I’m thinking of just chalking it up as a quirk of that side of the family tree. Because the farthest south they’ve ever gotten is Des Moines, Iowa, & that doesn’t seem southern enough to me to justify the mac & cheese thing.

      • See, PJ, mashed potatoes don’t strike me as right either. We go for roast potatoes here for Christmas. Interesting all the different traditions, isn’t it? The trad Christmas dinner here, however climatically inappropriate, is roast turkey, roast potatos, gravy, some sort of green, stuffing. And then you can add extras as desired like sweet potatoes and pumpkin and ham and pork or whatever. But no mac n cheese and no mashed potatoes! Our trad dinner is very English.

  • Kim says:

    We have a regular tradition of making clams casino as an appetizer and cheesecake for dessert, but nothing as ambitious as pasta from scratch. Have a great Christmas.

    • Kim says:

      Forgot to add that we also make lasagna, too. Everything is from scratch except the pasta. I can’t imagine making that from scratch.

      • Susan Sey says:

        It’s a hoot, Kim–an adventure if nothing else. You should try it! If you’re doing lasagna, all it would take was a rolling pin & some elbow grease! Let us know if you give it a whirl–I’d love to know how it turned out!

  • Helen says:

    Susan

    I have never made my own pasta and not sure if I had the energy to do so LOL but I am sure it would be awesome.

    As for traditions that have started many years ago when my children were young we often had bikes etc to put together and Hubby is not so handy with things like this so I would leave all the presents I had bought for my kids at Barb’s place and her hubby would help us get them together and so Barb and her Hubby started coming up on Christmas Eve and after the kids were in bed a sleep Barb and I would duck back down to her place to get all the presents and bring back to put under the tree and since then Barb and her hubby have always come to our place Christmas Eve for a few drinks and nibbilies while we watch the big Carols by Candlelight on the TV and always look forward to it 🙂

    Have Fun
    Helen

    • Susan Sey says:

      Helen, that sounds lovely. I would be so nice to have another couple to share the evening with, especially after the kids have gone down & it’s just down to screwing the bikes together & having a medicinal glass of wine. 🙂 Hope it’s a lovely evening for you all again this year!

  • Laney4 says:

    At 48 years of age, we tobogganed on New Year’s Eve with neighbours my husband’s age (58) and our kids (all early 20s). Now, six years later, we GT/toboggan every New Year’s Eve when there is snow (after ensuring I got a long wooden toboggan first, as you won’t catch my overweight body AGAIN crouching down to a GT at 5’10” tall with a 37″ inseam!).

    • Susan Sey says:

      Some friends of our bought an honest-to-goodness toboggan a few years ago, & invited us to try it out. That thing was fun! And FAST! It fit a family of four easily, or about six to seven kids, & man did we fly! Hope you have plenty of good snow this year!

  • Minna says:

    No. can’t recall ever doing anything strange for the holidays that would have turned into a tradition. Rather, we have dropped some traditions. It has made everybody’s lives around the Holidays easier.

    • Susan Sey says:

      Sometimes that’s totally the way to go, Minna! You’ve got to simplify. You wouldn’t know it from this post, but I’m ruthless that way. I’m all about cutting things out that don’t have some intrinsic value or purpose. We’re flying home for the holidays this year, so my entire Christmas has to either fit in my suitcase, or ready to go a week early for shipping. It’s definitely made me take a hard & ruthless look at what exactly Christmas truly entails.

  • may says:

    Wow.. I wish I have your patience for cooking. I make sugar cookies for Xmas and that is it! The noodles look great!

  • Smoov, there is nothing better than home-made pasta. Love it! You really don’t need sauce when it’s homemade.

    I suppose we were never terribly traditional about what we ate for Christmas. For us it was lobster thermidor for many years. Which is not really appropriate for our stiflingly hot Christmas Day weather! Thank goodness that tradition died a natural death. We still have cold seafood, though, which is perfect for the climate.

    • Susan Sey says:

      Oooh, lobster thermidor! I have no idea what that is but it sounds terribly exotic to this land-locked midwestern girl!

      And I agree–if the pasta turns out properly, you can eat it straight out of the pot, no sauce necessary.

  • Jane says:

    The only thing we do is make a non traditional dessert like cheesecake with an Oreo crust or chocolate lava cake.

  • bn100 says:

    No, I haven’t

  • Becke Turner says:

    Susan,
    My granny used to make home made noodles and hung them over the back of a chair to dry. My mother reminded me of this at Thanksgiving.

    My favorite different recipe is quinoa made with craisins and slivered almonds. I’ve been hooked on that for lunch for several months. The nice side effect: I’ve lost weight without changing anything but substituting the quinoa for a turkey sandwich.

    I’m sorry to say we don’t have a Christmas tradition. Perhaps we should follow one of these suggestions and start one. HO. Ho. Ho.

    • Susan Sey says:

      Mmmm, quinoa! I adore that little grain but my kids look sideways at it no matter how many times I lovingly introduce it. I keep trying, though, because I adore it so. One of these days they’re going to like it, & then I’m set.

      Meanwhile, I’ll just dream about your cranberry almond quinoa salad….

  • gamistress66 says:

    Alas, no strange happenings here & certainly none that turned into traditions, rather its a constant adaptation to the current needs & happenings 🙂

    • Susan Sey says:

      It’s a fine line with traditions, isn’t it? You want them to be fun & wonderful, not burdensome. So sometimes you just have to let stuff unfold the way it’s going to unfold & not force it.

      It’s all about saving your sanity this time of year, I find.

  • Mozette says:

    yeah… we’ve got this sparkley Santa Hat which we hand around to various members of the family who can play Santa each year.

    One year, it’ll be Mum, the following year, it’ll me my brother, Gabe, then it’ll be his daughter the next year, then me the year after that… we all have to wear the hat and hand out the presents. BUT! We must sit next ot the tree, pick up the presents and act like Santa, saying a hearty: ‘HO! HO! HO!’ as we hand the pressies out! How cool and funny can ya get?

    And yes, there’s photography involved too… no getting outa that! 😛

    • Susan Sey says:

      My uncle Bill used to be our santa. Same kind of thing. We made him wear a goofy hat & dig out the presents, make a deal out of presenting them.

      He didn’t have kids—had no idea he could just say no. We enjoyed that for YEARS.

  • Charlene says:

    Chinese food on Christmas Eve!

  • Mary Preston says:

    One Christmas Eve we all felt like pizza for dinner. It is now a must do.

    I love traditions that make my life easier.

  • Maureen says:

    The pasta looks delicious. My husband and our grown children have our own dinner on Christmas Eve before seeing extended family on Christmas day. We usually pick a different dinner every year which we all agree upon.

  • Dianna aka Hrdwrkdmom says:

    My family always had my mother’s spaghetti for Christmas, I have no idea when or why it started but it was always part of Christmas dinner.

  • CateS says:

    That pasta looks lovely, would you mail me some??? I’ve found a lovely shop that specializes in olive oil & sent some lovely stuff to friends and family!!