Cozy (or crazy) Christmas Eve

Wanna know how I spent my Christmas Eve day off? You might call me crazy, but I braved Walmart — twice — and hit the grocery store. I also went to the bank and treated myself to the movie I promised myself.

If you can believe it, Safeway was actually busier than Walmart. Here’s proof:

Craziness at the grocery store.

Look at that solid wall of people lined up to check out. That’s truly nuts. I expected the crowd at Walmart. But at the grocery store? Shouldn’t people already have planned and shopped for their holiday meals before Christmas Eve? (Guess if they got paid today, like me, they have good reason to procrastinate.)

I did say I went to Walmart twice. The first time, I was finishing up my Christmas shopping for my roommate (and the dogs. Bought them a box of Milk Bones and a bag of Beggin’ Strips). While I was there, I decided I wanted to try the Italian-flavored party mix I’d seen on someone’s blog. I actually printed out the recipe, but left it at the office.

Without remembering exactly where I saw it, I grabbed Rice Chex, mixed nuts and pretzel sticks — all things my Mom put in her Party Mix. (She also added Cheerios and the other two kinds of Chex cereal, but I’m on a limited budget here. Besides, I hate Cheerios in my Party Mix.)

I also picked up some more butter, thinking I needed it for the party mix. When I got home and found the recipe for Cheesy Italian-Seasoned Snack Mix at Savvy Eats, I realized its base is olive oil.  (Oh well. I can always bake some more butter cookies before I send the tin off to my brother.)

I didn’t have time to make the snack mix before my movie … or so I thought. The movie actually didn’t start until 5 p.m. (instead of the 4:20 I incorrectly remembered from the newspaper). When I got to the theater and saw that, I went back to Walmart.

That’s right. I decided to treat myself to a present I knew no one else would give me … mainly because I didn’t ask for it: the Ninja Master Prep blender. I’ve been sucked into that infomercial more than once. I love my Magic Bullet for some things, but it seems as if the Ninja might work a little better. And it was only $30. You can’t beat that!

After “Meet the Fockers,” I headed back home to make the snack mix.

Cooling Cheesy Italian Snack Mix.

I didn’t follow the recipe exactly, though. I used 3 cups Chex, 1 cup Goldfish crackers, 1/2 cup deluxe mixed nuts, and 1 1/2 cups of pretzel sticks in my mix. In my book, you can’t have Party Mix without nuts.

I also mixed mine in a big zip-top baggie instead of a mixing bowl. I tossed all the dry ingredients together and shook them up, then added the seasoning and shook again. It seemed easier than using a bowl and spoon.

While the snack mix baked, I started dinner. Well, that’s not entirely true. I put some Smoky Links in the Crock Pot with barbecue sauce, Dijon mustard and a little sugar-free, seedless raspberry jam before I left for the movie.

But in my family, the Christmas Eve tradition was to have a dinner of cheeseball and crackers with summer sausage. I had no cheeseball or summer sausage, but I still wanted little nibbles instead of real food.

Mishmash dinner

To go along with my BBQ Smokies, I made potato skins and ham and Swiss on a Sandwich Thin. I also had a handful of fresh-from-the-oven snack mix. The potato skins consisted of one potato with most of its innards scooped out, topped with a little white cheddar, bacon bits and chives. When they came out of the oven, I topped each one with a dollop of plain Greek yogurt.

Dessert

It was just what I wanted, especially when I finished it off with a couple of cookies, some milk and a glass of “special eggnog,” complete with alcohol. Mmm. So tasty.

Again, I can say I’m really starting to get tired of sweets. Amazing!

Yes, I enjoyed my cookies. But I certainly haven’t been back in the kitchen looking for more.

I did, however, kidnap a couple more pieces of snack mix. That salty, cheesy flavor is to die for. The rest I put in a tin to take with me to the Boyfriend’s tomorrow.

Cheesy Italian Snack Mix in a pretty holiday travel tin.

Hmm. Speaking of that, I guess I’d better go to sleep now. morning will come soon.

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