Family Traditions

December 29, 2010

Chocolate Advent Calendars, Walking Taco Dip, Little Smokies, Peanut Butter Almond Bark Balls, Homemade Chex Mix.... these are a few of my favorite things!

Actually, these are some of the many holiday food traditions in my family. When I was younger we always got together on Christmas Eve and New Years Eve, not to mention Christmas Day and New Years Day. There was ALWAYS tons of food! It is what the holidays were about, or so it seemed. Sorry family - who I know are reading this - but you know how true this is.

As I’ve worked towards losing weight the last couple of years, I’ve had to find a way to keep some of the traditions that are important to me, while at the same time trying to alter the intense focus I’ve always had on food at this time of the year.

I won’t lie… it’s been hard. Even today, I found myself making a shopping list for New Year’s Eve and Day that included an Asian appetizer night and filet Mignon with a peppercorn sauce!

One of my family’s most important traditions is making (and eating of course) Lefse. According to our friends at Wikipedia, “Lefse is a traditional soft, Norwegian flatbread. Lefse is made out of potato, milk or cream (or sometimes lard) and flour, and cooked on a griddle.” According to me, “Lefse is a potato tortilla.” I have NEVER made lefse before until this year. Mostly, I didn’t own the griddle it requires, so appropriately name a “Lefse Grill”.

Imagine my surprise, when about 2 weeks before Christmas I had a GIANT package from Amazon outside my door. I opened it up to discover this:
There was no card, nothing explaining this to me… but I had a suspicion… so I called my mom. “Uh, mom…Why is there a lefse grill outside my front door?” My suspicions were correct – an early Christmas present from my mother. Now, I too, would be required to follow the family tradition and make lefse.

So last Thursday, I set out on my lefse adventure. I had boiled the potatoes the night before, and I mixed in milk, butter, and flour. I rolled into balls, and plugged in the lefse grill. Bzzt and then total darkness… the lefse grill blew the fuse in our kitchen! After sending my husband to reset the fuse, and realizing it was possibly the combination of coffee pot, toaster oven, microwave, and lefse grill all running at once – yes I’m a multitasker – we turned some of those off, and finally were ready to go.

I rolled, and flipped…

And I finished with a big pile of lefse!

A lefse-making virgin no more!

Now you are probably wondering what we do with Lefse… well of course you take the biggest spread of cheese you can, and the biggest sausage you can find, and roll up inside for a Christmas morning breakfast delicacy! YIKES!

As I said earlier, I want to keep some of the traditions alive, but I have to find a way to adapt things like lefse filled with cheese and sausage. So what’s a good, weight watching, Norwegian girl to do? Well… find some low-fat apple, Gouda sausage of course, lite Kaukauana port wine cheese, and enter the lefse into the recipe builder at to determine the PointsPlus value (4 if you care) and enjoy! It’s a maybe twice a year treat… that can now fit into my life and my plan.

The final verdict on my first lefse by my family… yummy!

So… how do you fit family food traditions into your healthier lifestyle?

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  1. That sounds so delicious. I love how you adjusted it and made it still a tradition. Moderation is the key. I can't even think of any specific food traditions we have except just lots of sugar and so for us, it's just about trying to focus on people and time spent together instead of just the food. Still need to work on that, though for my kids! :)

    Happy New Year!


  2. Those look wonderfully yummy!

    My Dad makes homemade Chex Mix every year, and we all look forward to it. I also have a good friend who makes peanut butter balls each year.

    I don't have a signature dish or baked good.

  3. That is one of our traditions is to eat lefsa although I didn't have any this year. I ate too much of the other cr.. We also make chocolate peanut butter crakers and peanut clusters (anything chocolate I love) ...oh and cut out cookies (not my favortie)

    I am trying to get back on track. I too ate what I wanted and am paying for it now. Shame on me!

  4. Sadly we do not have any family food traditions. I wish we did. Sounds like fun. The only thing that I make that everyone wants is my coffee cake. I got the recipe from my 7th grade home economics class. Yes we had that class back then!! Anyway it's a great recipe and the cake is fabulous. I have not modified the recipe and I've not made it in a long while. The family is asking for it, but I just can't go there for now.

    Keep focused my friend!!

  5. I absolutely love lefse! I had no idea how to spell it before now, but I grew up eating the stuff once a yeat at my dad's office Christmas party. One person brought it every year. The only way we ate it was with butter or plain--both ways are great to me. It's been a few years since I had it but over the weekend I visited some family whose friend had left them with some lefse so I had it to enjoy again. I love it so much. Perhaps I should learn to make it and add this to my holiday tradition list. Hmmm. Now that I know how to spell it the world is my oyster! ha ha


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