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Family Central: Christmas Classic Movie Night

A family movie night is just the kind of low-key evening you probably need about now. So gather the kids and cousins, pick one of your favorite holiday movies, and then take it up a notch, by matching your movie-night snacks to the film. A little holiday inspiration:

A Christmas Story
The movie: All Robbie wants for Christmas is a BB gun – but his mother is convinced he’d put his eye out.
The snacks:  Chinese food, of course! (This is obvious if you’ve seen the movie, but if you haven’t, we don’t want to give it away.) Create a family dim sum feast with ready-to-heat snacks from our frozen section, like red-bean rice buns, coated in sesame seeds; steam-and-go buns, filled with pork or chicken and easy to heat in the microwave; or mini spring rolls. (Ling Ling, in chicken or veggie, is one to try.)

A Christmas Carol
The movie: The classic Charles Dickens story of Tiny Tim, Scrooge and the ghosts of Christmas. Merry Christmas, every one. There are tons of versions, including a sort-of-creepy animated flick from 2009 starring Jim Carrey, but we like the 1999 one, with Patrick Stewart as Scrooge, and the 1951 black-and-white British version.
The snacks: Traditional English desserts, of course. For adults, try a bread pudding with a brandy butter hard sauce; the one we stock, by Wilkin and Sons, is very traditional. Kids might like a simplified version of an English trifle (cake, custard, fruit and whipped cream.) Or, go even simpler, with scones and jam. We always have them fresh-baked in our bakery if you don’t care to make your own.

It’s a Wonderful Life
The movie: I know several families that don’t consider it Christmas if they don’t watch this Jimmy Stewart classic at least once. Some kids may feel it’s a little slow going, but if you can get them hooked, softer-hearted kids may be tearing up by the end.
The snacks: All-American, simple fare matches this one best: Hot chocolate, mulled cider, and popcorn. If you’re really feeling nostalgic, get the kids to help you make some popcorn balls. This recipe is super-easy, though it works and tastes much better if you make popcorn on the stovetop, the old-fashioned way.

Christmas Marshmallow Popcorn Balls
Makes 12 to 14

12 – 14 cups popped popcorn
1 stick butter
1 (16 oz) pkg miniature marshmallows
Pinch salt
Few drops red food coloring (optional)
6 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips

Pop popcorn; set aside. If you must use microwave popcorn, select one with as little salt and butter as possible.

In a large, microwave-safe container, melt marshmallows and butter on high for about 45 seconds; remove and stir. Microwave on high an additional 30 seconds to 90 seconds, or until mixture is smooth.

Stir in pinch of salt, and, if desired, red food coloring. Pour marshmallow mixture into very large bowl and add about half the popcorn, stirring to coat. Add more popcorn, a cup or two at a time, until you get the desired consistency – sticky enough to hold together, but not too gooey. About 13 or 14 cups of popcorn is probably about right.

When popcorn mixture is cool enough to handle, shape a handful, about one cup, into in a ball, packing it together lightly. Transfer to a cookie sheet to finish cooling.

While popcorn balls finish cooling, melt chocolate chips in microwave-safe bowl, for about 90 seconds, or until smooth, stirring every 30 seconds or so. Using a small spoon, drizzle chocolate over cooled popcorn balls. Allow to set before serving, at least 1 hour.