Christmas Countdown

December 10th Why is it that the whole year drags until September and then these four months fly by? I am really getting busy with only two weeks left until Christmas.

Lydia. Lydia is a prosperous woman from a region in Greece that is famous for its purple dyes. She has been very impressed by the teachings of a visiting missionary named Paul, and has hosted him and his followers in her home. Recently she was baptized into the new Christian religion. Lydia's presence at the nativity symbolizes the early acceptance of Christ's message by people from every class of society.

* I need feedback on the nativity. Are you enjoying it or is it too religious? No one has mentioned anything about it and I am not sure if I should keep posting it? Help me out here! I don't want to become boring!

Santa carrying a decorated tree.

This vintage Santa twirls and plays Silent Night.

Remember that pile of ingredients I showed you a while back? I asked what you thought I might be making with it. Most of you guessed fruit cake. Ewwww...I don't like fruit cake too much! I made mincemeat. Maybe you all are saying ewwwww to this. Mincemeat is quite yummy when made properly. In this pic I am using a vintage grinder to grind fresh lemon. You really don't get the right consistency using a food processor. The key to good mincemeat is using as many fresh ingredients as possible. Using candied peal makes the mincemeat too sweet.

Here I have ground apples, lemons and oranges.

You want the mincemeat to be a uniform consistency so I grind dried cherries, cranberries, figs, golden raisins and regular raisins so none of them will be whole.

I also don't like an extremely boozy mincemeat so I add port instead of hard liquor.

The meat part of mincemeat is suet. You need to find a butcher that buys whole sides of beef (think of the scene in Rocky). This is where the suet comes from. Have him grind it for you. You mix the suet in with the other ingredients (forgot to take that pic) and put it in a 225 degree oven for about 3 hours. Stir it occasionally. The house begins to smell wonderful! The suet liquefies and coats all of the fruit. You can substitute butter or crisco but it does not have the wonderful deep earthy flavor the suet adds.
After you remove it from the oven, place it in a sealed container in the refrigerator. It should be made at least 3 weeks before using but could be made much farther ahead of time.

See those small dark dots. Those are currents. They are the only ingredient which is not ground before adding because they are the size of the other ingredients after they are ground. Though it takes much more work, I am making these into small tarts. I don't like the ratio of crust to filling in a standard mincemeat pie. They are much tastier and prettier when they are small. I will show you pictures of the tarts when I make them closer to Christmas.

* Someone commented the other day that they wished they knew how to turn the music off on my blog. I thought I should mention that all you have to do is turn of the volume on your computer.


Jaz, I'm enjoying your Nativity Scene characters very much because they're a wider and more diverse group than the "standard set." I love the "background info" on each person. And, on another note, I LOVE mincemeat. Christmas is just not Christmas without mincemeat tarts (or a pie, if I can locate one. They're harder to find).
Suzie said…
Jaz, I'm enjoying your narrative of the Nativity Characters too. Even though I don't share the beliefs of the faithful, your fleshing out of the people that I've never heard of before makes for interesting reading!
My hubs loves mincemeat, and I've always told him that I'd make one from scratch sometime. Now that I see how relatively easy it is, I won't keep procrastinating. :-)
No risk of You getting boring! Please continue with the nativity. To be honest, I never knew there were so many people in it, perhaps it´s because we are Lutheran protestants? Anyone called saint or not the main caracters are mostly unknown here :-)

I haven´t mentioned the advet house either. But I just wants to say how much I like it!

Mince meat pies are really ok I think, but almost impossible to find over here.
Have a great day now!
tournesol said…
I too am enjoying the Nativity, I didn't know the other characters either. I love your music, and the snow pictures, your whole site is wonderful, one of my favorites.
Autumnforest said…
Wow! I can almost smell it! I'd love to be a cat curled up on your kitchen sill when you're cooking. I love the advent calendar. Every time I see it, I hear the music from "Christmas Vacation." hee hee
Maluszeq said…
My Granny name's Lydia :)))
I do enjoy your nativity!!! There are so many people in it I always thought its Mary, Joseph, Baby Jesus, three Kings :)

Thank you for sharing.
Dessa said…
I've never had mincemeat. It looks interesting--I will say that. Hey, if you are into such things, I have tagged your wonderful blog for a holiday survey thingy. If interested, you can find it here:

Hope your holiday season is warm and wonderful.
I don’t know if you should keep the nativity thing or not. I try not to look or be to religious to fleshy for me.
If we do everything in the spirit of goodness and joy I believe we are better off.
The funny or maybe it strange I like mincemeat pie.
Coffee is on.
Rue said…
The way you make everything from scratch and always say how easy it is, blows me away - giggle! This almost looks do-able too!

Really enjoying the advent house and nativity!
Pricilla said…
I've never been much of mincemeat fan but it's interesting to see how it's put together.
It was a form of preserving and using the fruits and meat yes?
Anonymous said…
wonderful post; i will have to catch up with your posts.
i've never tried mincemeat before. maybe i'll try it.
by the way i love your music!
William Bezek said…
I happen to love Fruitcake and because of constant bashing (by many who have never even tried it) they are becoming quite hard to find! Buy one from the bakery and soak it in bourbon or rum...yum. So just how many more villagers are in this nativity? I was joking about the Christmas whore but now I'm not so sure...You may actually have one.
that is really interisting. I never knew so much went in to making mincemeat