Contributed by Barb Traxler, Mankato

Family Love Night

During the month of December, we plan one evening for our immediate family members to be together. We set the candlelit table with our finest dishes, dress in comfortable clothes, and sit down as one family and enjoy a meal.

Our meal usually consists of steak on the grill (which we do outside — no matter what the weather), baked potato, Strawberry Poppyseed Salad, and a frozen vegetable that we grew in our garden during the past summer.

“Our children look forward to this Family Love Night. The menu is unchanged, the questions are the same, and the time shared together remains priceless.”

We have a special steak marinade that we’ve used for years and the salad has red and green holiday colors. Our dessert for the meal is easy too. It’s a purchased fancy pie from one of the local restaurants.

The prep time for the meal is minimal, but the highlight of the mealtime is after we are finished eating. There are three small gifts at the center of the table. We have one person open a gift at a time and read the message inside. Then everyone at the table responds to the question.

The questions remain the same each year.

  1. What was one of your highlights of the past year.
  2. Say something nice about the person sitting on your right.
  3. What is one thing you are looking forward to in the year to come?

Our children look forward to this Family Love Night. The menu is unchanged, the questions are the same, and the time shared together remains priceless.

Strawberry Poppyseed Salad

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 2 tablespoons poppy seeds
  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar
  • 1 bunch Romaine lettuce or mixed greens
  • 1/2 small red onion
  • 1 pint fresh strawberries (or seeds of 1 pomegranate)
  • 1 cup pecan halves

Directions

  • Combine sugar, poppy seeds, mayonnaise, milk, and vinegar in a small bowl. Mix well. Store in refrigerator.
  • Toss the fresh ingredients with the dressing mixture right before serving