Making Meals Memorable: Using Themed Meals to Keep the Holiday Spirit Alive

Is your house all decorated for Christmas yet?  We’re going to be traveling for much of December and at my in-laws’ house over Christmas, so we went really light on the décor this year.  We actually don’t even have a tree up, other than a mini one in our boys’ room.  In addition to being gone, I don’t want to have to guard the tree from our one-year-old. (True story, as I’m writing this, I literally had to stop to take a Lego out of her mouth…)  In spite of all this, I still let the kids decorate the front window with our snowman window clings.  I love decorating with snowmen.  I think they’re cute, plus I love how different they can look, even though they all start with the same three snowballs.

I started thinking about how I could make it feel Christmas-y around here, even with minimal decorations up.  That’s when I came up with the ideas for these snowman themed meals!  The first one came about because of our decorated window.  For a Saturday morning breakfast, I pulled some pancakes out of the freezer (whenever my hubby makes pancakes, he makes extra so we can have them ready in the freezer for a quick, filling breakfast).  Each boy got a plate with three pancakes on it, plus a muffin tin full of decorating supplies. 

Included in the tin was coconut, raisins, mini marshmallows, a mix of peanut butter and butterscotch chips, syrup, bananas and two orange M&Ms. Each snowman ended up looking really different, and they didn’t use nearly as many of the toppings as I thought they would.  Jonah asked me for help, so his looks like a very traditional version.  We used slices of bananas for arms, raisins for the buttons, chocolate chips for eyes, peanut butter chips for the mouth and an M&M for the carrot nose. 

Jacob went a different route, as he often tends to do.  His snowman has an M&M nose, but nothing else on the face.  He did use the banana arms and put mini marshmallows on just so he could eat them.  My favorite part was that he used the coconut as snow and sprinkled it onto the plate from several inches above! 

They really had a lot of fun with this hands-on breakfast!  We used a lot of candy on our snowmen, but it was the weekend and I knew I wouldn’t be sending the boys off to school all sugared up.  This could also be done with different types of fruit – blueberries, strawberries, bananas and coconut would be a great combination!

The second meal was one that I made and served for Jonah.  He is only in preschool in the mornings, so he’s home at lunchtime.  Sticking with the snowman theme, Jonah has a homemade Uncrustable sandwich decorated with raisins for the mouth, peanut butter for the nose, and candy eyes.  I used three banana slices for another snowman, with pretzel sticks for the arms and candy sprinkles for the buttons and face.  The third snowman is made of three marshmallows stuck together with peanut butter.  Again, I used pretzel sticks for the arms.  I stuck mini chocolate chips into the marshmallows for the face and buttons.  It’s hard to see in the photo, but I used an orange jimmie sprinkle for the carrot nose.

Having winter-themed meals really has helped us forget that our house doesn’t look like Christmas this year.  They were all really easy to put together and just used things that we always have on hand.  Remember, it doesn’t take much to make your meals memorable!

Leah Zanolla

About Leah Zanolla

Leah grew up in a little farming town in Illinois, right on the Mississippi River. Her Chicago-born husband, David, left the city for her, and they're now raising their three children (Jacob, Jonah and Lydia) just 12 miles from her hometown. Some of Leah's favorite ways to spend time are going to Disney World, shopping, watching movies with her husband and doing crafts with her kids. Oh, and it's a pretty rare day that she doesn't sneak at least a little chocolate in!

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