Thanksgiving Stress You Don’t Want and Toffee Bar Cups!

Hi everyone! I decided to repost what I wrote a few years  back to help you with your holiday stress if you have some. I also want to share a quick and  easy twist on the Silver Palate’s Toffee Bars-Toffe Bar cups that my daughter created for her class.

Also, I will be sharing tips on my TBK Facebook page up until T-Day that I won’t be posting here so please “like” the page and learn, learn, learn!:

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Take-Back-the-Kitchen/132788611808?fref=ts

But first:

As Thanksgiving and all the other holidays are approaching, I thought I would put on my therapist hat for a moment and touch on some Holiday related stress avoid-ers………

How to Take Back the Holidays With the Family

If holidays are supposed to be fun, why are we often so stressed out about them before, during and after? It is important to remember that the holidays are short lived, we’ve gotten through them before, and we if we just prepare mentally for even a minute before the crowd comes, we can stave off some of the tension that often accompanies the holiday season.

Practically speaking there are some very simple steps we can take to limit the amount of stress and increase the joy around this time:

* Don’t be a cooking martyr-ask for cooking help! If you cook EVERYTHING, you may feel overwhelmed and resentful. Most people don’t mind bringing a dish and enjoy feeling like they have contributed.

* Buy some of the dishes prepared and cook the other half

* If it is the mess you can’t stand, divide up the labor-ask certain family members or guests to help with the dishes, the putting away of the chairs and tables, the china, the silverware. Again, people like to feel like they are doing their part.

* Remember the “3 Ps”: Planning, Prep and Positivity:

Planning: If we plan our menu, our recipes, our shopping lists, our place settings, our decorations at least a week before , we will not feel the last minute crunch. Check lists are great for this.

Prep: make as much of the recipe as you can in advance by chopping vegetables and freezing them in ziplocs for a special holiday soup, making and freezing the cornbread for cornbread stuffing weeks before, or making cookie dough balls and freezing them in preparation for part of the holiday dessert . You will be surprised at how much prep can be done before hand to alleviate stress the day of the event. You may even be able to put your feet up before your guests arrive! There is no better antidote to entertaining stress than being well prepared.

Positivity: Trying to have a positive outlook on how the holidays will go can really change how we feel and behave. If we can just spend a minute before our guests arrive, reminding ourselves that we want to enjoy ourselves, that we will be prepared to try to let negative comments and/or behaviors roll off our backs , that what really matters is that everyone have a good time, we may actually be able to ignore comments and/or behaviors that would have upset us in the past. We may be able to laugh at the fact that Uncle Tim never helps while really appreciating the help we receive from cousin Barbara.

Being an observer at your own party can give you a clearer and more interesting perspective on why people behave as they do, instead of it being an irritant that bums you out.

Here’s the Recipe from the Silver Palate but made in little cupcake papers:

Toffee Bar Cups:

2 sticks softened butter

2 cups white flour

1 cup brown sugar

one egg yolk (the Silver Palate uses this but I never do-no disres0pect to the Silver Palate ladies)

1 tsp vanilla

1 1/2 cups chocolate chips

mini cupcake papers and a mini cupcake tray

Steps:

Stir the brown sugar and flour into the softened butter until combined

Add in the vanilla extract, combine until incorporated

Fill all the cups 3/4 full and bake for 15-20 minutes, until golden brown

Remove from the oven, add a few chocolate chips on each cupcake and place back in the oven for one minute

Remove from the oven and spread the chips that are now melted all over the cupcakes with a small spatula

Let cool or refrigerate. Best eaten the same day or the next day

Makes 24

 

 

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