Charleston Holiday Heirloom Recipes

This month we’ve been highlighting everything we love about our beloved Charleston. We would be remiss not to include the manybenne wafers heirloom holiday recipes we hold dear this time of year.

You won’t find a cranberry sauce recipe or an average sugar cookie on this list. We are covering our favorite holiday recipes-Charleston style.

1. She Crab Soup– Often called Charleston’s signature dish, She Crab soup is an evolution of Scottish seafood bisque. A rich-in-flavor recipe that melds succulent blue crab meat with a hearty cream soup that is finished with a dash of dry sherry, the dish dates to the early 1700s and was famously served to President Taft (1909 – 13) during his visit to Charleston. Synonymous with special occasions, She Crab soup often appears on local’s Christmas Day dinner menus.

2. The Benne WaferIn our last blog, we mentioned how these yummy treats make the perfect unique gift. They are a delicious example of plantation era ingenuity, a recipe born of a few basic ingredients-butter, brown sugar, flour, and toasted sesame seeds. Said to invoke good luck, Benne wafers pack a crunch and make a popular holiday party host gift!

3. Historic St. Cecilia Punch-Formal balls, a revered social ritual in the Lowcountry, traditionally take place at Christmastime, when the plantation aristocracy historically arrived in town for debutante season. The custom of presenting a signature punch dates back to the 1700s. Vintage cocktails are in vogue, so why not offer a centuries-old libation to your guests this holiday season?

4. Eggnog, Peppermint Bars, Santa Mice CookiesThe Bakehouseonly uses wholesome ingredients to create delectable preservative-free treats. Peppermint takes center stage during the holidays when the bakery pulls out its favorite Christmastime recipes to produce seasonal sweets. The Santa Mice cookies are always a hit!

5. Shrimp and Grits– You didn’t think we’d forget this did you?! Shrimp and Grits is a quintessential Lowcountry recipe. Originally served as a hardy breakfast during the plantation era, contemporary interpretations of the dish are popular for both brunch and supper—and especially during festive holiday gatherings.

Do you have a favorite Charleston Heirloom Holiday Recipe? Please share it on our Facebook page!

How to Enjoy Christmas Parties without Compromising Your Waistline

Christmas CookiesChristmas is one of the most challenging times of year when it comes to watching your weight. Temptations are everywhere, and difficult to resist. Here are a few ways to watch your waistline while still enjoying holiday festivities.

Decide which parties to attend.

If you’re invited to three parties in one night, it might be tempting to attend all of them, but if you do, you’ll have three times the food and drink. Perhaps going to one or two is a better idea.

If you can, find out what will be served.

Some parties serve a full meal, while others have only snacks and drinks. If you know ahead of time how much food and drink will be available, you can create a plan and stick with it.

Don’t go to the party hungry.

If you’ll have a meal, eat a light snack before you go so you won’t overindulge in appetizers. It seems like meals are always delayed at parties! If you’ll enjoy snacks only, eat a small meal before you leave. You’ll be less likely to eat too many Christmas cookies.

Decide how many drinks you can have.

If you’re driving, ideally you shouldn’t drink at all—but if you decide to indulge, have no more than one glass or wine, one beer, or one single-shot mixed drink per hour. And yes, watch the clock. Your liver can process approximately one drink’s worth of alcohol every 60 minutes. Wait an hour after your last drink before driving.

Better yet, have a designated driver, or plan to call a cab.

Follow the 30-minute rule.

Take half of the amount you really want to eat, enjoy it, and then wait 30 minutes before you eat anything more. It takes that long for your stomach to signal to your brain that it’s full. In that 30 minutes, you’re likely to get involved doing something else and won’t miss eating more.

Eat two or three bites of anything you wish.

If you can’t resist Aunt Millie’s Mississippi mud pie, have a small slice and eat just a couple of bites. You’ll get the taste you want without too many extra calories. The same applies to high-calorie drinks—order that raspberry margarita, enjoy three sips, and then give it to someone else.

If you overindulge, make up for it the next day.

Don’t skip meals, but if you overindulge one day, eat less the next couple of days, and be sure to drink plenty of water.

What’s your favorite waistline-watching tip?

6 Fun Christmas Food and Drink Ideas

holiday seasonChristmas is a great time to experiment with new food and drink. Following are some fun ideas you may not have thought of—and some would make fun gifts for the person who has everything.

Golden Honey Granola

A new twist on breakfast cereal, try this oatmeal granola recipe with sliced almonds, dried cranberries and apricots, brown sugar, cinnamon, and honey.

Parmesan Grissini

These amazing breadsticks work with everything from hearty tomato soup to a fine steak dinner. Crushed fennel seeds, sea salt, and crushed red pepper make them savory and spicy.

Russian teacakes or butterballs

These small cakes are typically served on holidays and are also called Mexican wedding cakes. They are made from flour, ground nuts, and butter and formed into balls before baking. After coming out of the oven, they are coated in powdered or confectioners’ sugar once while hot, and then they receive a second coating after cooling.

See a typical recipe here.

Marinated Goat Cheese

This would make a wonderful gift for the cheese lover on your list. Simply take a log of goat cheese, add spices and olive oil, and allow to steep in a glass jar. Not only is this a delicious gift, but the colorful spices and olive oil make this a beautiful gift too.

Mulled wine

A staple in Germany, mulled wine is typically red wine mixed with spices, such as cloves, nutmeg, and cinnamon, and allowed to heat (but not boil). Heating the wine with the spices brings out a unique flavor, and the drink is perfect for a chilly evening.

The Food Network has a simple mulled wine recipe. Click here to view it.

Hot buttered rum

Another cold-weather drink, hot buttered rum is a timeless favorite that can be made one mug at a time if you choose. Simply place a slice of soft butter at the bottom of a mug and add some brown sugar and spices such as cinnamon, allspice, or nutmeg. Mix the spices and butter well before adding the hot water and rum. Stir and steep for a moment before enjoying.

What are your favorite Christmas food and drinks?