It’s the day after Christmas.  The presents are unwrapped.  Leftovers from dinner reside in the refrigerator.  Long lines that now form at the stores are for returns instead of gift-buying.  Some folks return to work after the holiday, while others enjoy a few more days off.  All the efforts we made to make sure those we love had a wonderful celebration were either worth it or not.  Christmas is over for another year.

Now we look toward something else being over – 2018.  I have heard many remarks about how it has flown by.  For some, it was a good year; for others, not so much.  Or it could have been one of those years that was steady and uneventful, which can be a blessing in and of itself.  No matter what 2018 has held, it will soon be nothing but a memory.

2019 looms before us with its blank slate.  We wonder what it will hold for us – will it be a year we will later look back and treasure or a time that we will desire to erase from our history?  Usually, every season holds some of each type of event.  And much of what will make up our memories is our own attitude towards the situations.  Love and forgiveness make for better recollections than do anger and bitterness.

As we begin our New Year, let’s all resolve to leave the ugliness we may have encountered during 2018 in 2018.  We should clear our mental closets of grudges, resentment, vengeance, and the overwhelming desire for “more.”  Things we can carry over are faith, joy, love, peace, and contentment. 

A good resolution for 2019 is the determination to be an encourager.  One way to do this is to pray for individuals, even for those who you feel have done you wrong.  Ask the Lord to see people through His eyes and not your own.  I can testify from my personal experience that this type of prayer makes it easier to deal with what I consider to be the foibles of someone else.  If we are busy encouraging, we will have less of a tendency to be negative.

Many folks attend (or host) parties to ring in the New Year.  With that in mind, here are some recipes you may want to try.   I made the Cheesy Sesame Seed Turnovers quite some time ago.  My family loved them, and when I took them to a church function, there were others that found them quite tasty.  Surprisingly, I have not used the recipe in Cooks’ Corner.  The others have been used before, but not for a while.

Cheesy Sesame Seed Turnovers

2 (3-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened

1 cup butter or margarine, softened

2 cups all-purpose flour

3 eggs, beaten

2 cups (8 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese

2 tablespoons grated onion

1/2 teaspoon hot sauce

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 egg white, beaten

3 to 4 tablespoons sesame seeds

Combine cream cheese and butter in a large bowl; beat at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth.  Add flour, and beat well.  Divide dough in half, and shape into 2 balls; wrap in plastic wrap, and chill at least 1 hour.

Combine eggs and next 4 ingredi­ents, mixing well.

Roll pastry to 1/8-inch thickness on a lightly floured surface.  Cut into 2½-inch rounds. Place 1 teaspoon cheese mixture in center. Brush edges of pastry with water, and fold in half; seal edges. Place on ungreased baking sheets, and brush with beaten egg whites; sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes or until golden.

Yield: 5 dozen.

Note: To freeze, place baked turn­overs on a baking sheet; freeze. Transfer to a plastic bag, and freeze up to 1 month. To serve, bake frozen turnovers at 375 degrees for 5 minutes or un­til thoroughly heated.

Enchilada Meatballs

2 cups crumbled corn bread

1 can (10 ounces) enchilada sauce, divided

1/2 teaspoon salt

1-1/2 pounds ground beef

1 can (8 ounce) tomato sauce

1/2 cup shredded Mexican cheese blend

In a large bowl, combine the corn bread, 1/2 cup enchilada sauce and salt.  Crumble beef over mixture; mix well.  Shape into 1-inch balls.  Place in a greased 15-by-10-by-1-inch baking pan.  Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 18-22 minutes or until meat is no longer pink. 

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, heat tomato sauce and remaining enchilada sauce.  Drain meatballs; place in a serving dish.  Top with sauce and sprinkle with cheese.  Serve with toothpicks.  Yield: About 4-1/2 dozen.

Individual Cheese Balls

2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened

1 cup (4 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese

1 to 2 tablespoons chopped onion

1 to 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

1 to 2 teaspoons lemon juice

1 to 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

1-1/2 to 2 cups ground walnuts

Assorted Crackers

In a small bowl, combine the first 6 ingredients; mix well.  Shape into 1-1/2-inch balls.  Roll in nuts.  Chill thoroughly.  Serve with crackers.  Yield: about 20 servings.

Savory Chicken Bites

1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese

1/2 teaspoon lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon dried basil

1/4 teaspoon onion salt

1/8 teaspoon dried oregano

1/8 teaspoon dried thyme (optional)

1 cup finely chopped, cooked chicken

1/2 cup finely chopped celery

1 (2-ounce) jar chopped pimento, drained

2 (8-ounce) cans refrigerated crescent dinner rolls (I used reduced-fat)

1 egg, beaten

1-1/2 teaspoons sesame seeds

Combine cream cheese, juice, and seasonings; mix well. Stir in chicken, celery, and pimento.

Separate dough into 8 rectangles. Firmly press perforations to seal. Spread each rectangle with about ¼ cup cheese and chicken mixture, leaving a 1/2-inch margin on one long edge and no margin on other edges. Roll up jelly roll fashion, beginning with long side with filling spread to edge; pinch seams to seal edge. Brush with egg and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Cut rolls into 5 pieces each (40 total). Place, seam side down, on greased cookie sheet. Bake at 375 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes or until golden brown.  Yield: 40 appetizers.

Note: To reheat, bake, uncovered, at 375 degrees for 4 to 6 minutes.