*This post was sponsored by Pyrex, but (as always!) all opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that make Lake Shore Lady possible!
While the holiday season is wonderful, it isn’t always the most relaxing. Growing up, we were the only crew in the midwest – every single member of my Mom and Dad’s families were either in New Jersey or New York. That meant that my parents used to pack us all up, shuffle us from O’Hare to LaGuardia, and drive us from Long Island to New Jersey and back to ensure that we saw all of our extended family… all over a span of a few days. The older my siblings and I got, the more we’ve realized that no matter how exhausting it was for us, they had it WAY worse. ?
Now don’t get me wrong, this was still an amazing way to spend Christmas. Santa would sometimes surprise us and come to our house early, or he’d still swing by on Christmas which meant extra presents as soon as we got home from the airport! But beyond the double gift situation, these trips ensured that we grew up knowing our grandparents, Aunts & Uncles and cousins. It wasn’t always easy to live far away from everyone as they created their own tight bonds, but that made our Christmas trips even sweeter.
In addition to that, I have very specific memories of helping my Nana prepare for holidays at her house. My mom and sister and I would ask what we can do, with Christmas carols playing in the background. And when we sat down to eat, the chaos would calm down ever so slightly.
But now that both my brother and sister have gotten hitched, and my nephew Mikey is in the mix, we’ve decided to start new traditions here in Chicago. It’s definitely bittersweet, but it’s nice to finally experience what so many other people think of as normal. It’s little things, like simply taking the train to the suburbs, waking up in my parents’ house, opening gifts under the tree with our old Christmas ornaments hung on it. And it’s coming back to the city at the end of it relaxed and rejuvenated. Like I said, it’s bittersweet, but definitely not all bitter ?
Okay but Lauren, how does this tie into brussels sprouts and Pyrex?
I’m getting there I promise! I wanted you to know that backstory, because it colors the way my family and I are treating the holidays now that it’s just us. And it turns out that Pyrex believes in a lot of the same principles I do. Above anything, the food you cook around the holidays should be made with love.
For example, my mom could make Stuffed Mushrooms for Christmas Eve by herself. But if we can do it together while listening to Christmas music – wouldn’t that feel more like we’re at Nana’s? Likewise, if we’re embracing the lack of chaos this year, I’m happy to leisurely make our favorite Candied Pecans beforehand, store them in a Pyrex Storage Container and bring them over for everyone to enjoy! And since we’re still forming our new traditions, there’s always room for new recipes – like these Bacon Wrapped Brussels Sprouts!
I actually got this recipe from Food Network, but I ditched their creamy dipping sauce because it’s really not necessary. Plus, they make your kitchen smell so amazing, no one will be able to resist them as is!
Once everything is made, I like to store it all in Pyrex containers. I stopped buying plastic containers a few years ago, once I realized the magic of these guys! I feel so much better about putting everything in glass, I think it keeps the food fresher, you can put them right in the oven, and they are SO easy to clean. Plus, some of smaller ones have the cutest little holiday decorations on the side – I’m obsessed!
Ready to celebrate!
PS. This carrying case is the best if you’re transporting anything you’ve made ahead of time. It perfectly fits the 9 x 13″ baking dish, and has hot and cold inserts. So useful – and you can snag everything for 20% off with code PYREXLOVE20 right now!
What do you guys contribute to your holiday celebrations?
Do you usually cook with your family? Or are you responsible for bringing over a dish? I’d love to hear your traditions!