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holiday eating, + down time

December 6th, 2013 | 3 Comments »

The space between Thanksgiving and Christmas feels so much shorter this year, like a freight train coming at us, all decorated in sparkling lights, tinsel and bows. I love Christmas a lot, and the decorations are only a part of what makes it so appealing. But we’re barely past Thanksgiving and December is already roaring in to greet us, all proclaiming the glory of the season.

It’s time to turn the focus on the real meaning of the season.

But first….. we need some good food for celebrating, don’t we??

I tend not to post a lot in the last month of the year. My job becomes so incredibly busy this month and the uptick in activity drains a lot of energy out of me, leaving little time for extra effort in the kitchen to make, photograph and write about a divine treat, or beautiful holiday option. Plus, I just don’t think anyone needs yet another food blogger spelling out Christmas cheer in concentrated posts between now and the end of December. It’s become so saturated with those, hasn’t it?

But I do have some delicious treats, side dishes and snacks from past years that I think are wonderful, and thought that I’d just share a few of them with you. Some are old (but all things old are new again, aren’t they??) and some are new; some spell Christmas loud and clear, and others are just a darn good idea, but all of them can be incorporated at some point over the next weeks in to your holiday repertoire.

May your season be cheerful and bright, however you celebrate.


The ultimate Christmas treat: Sugar Plums

If you’ve never made this classic holiday treat, this should be the year you do. They are superbly simple, with a delicious taste that only gets better as they sit, waiting for Christmas morning. They’re quite healthy, too.

Sugar Cookies. The perfect blend of butter, sugar and vanilla, and just what you need to roll out and cut with fancy cookie cutters for decoration.

 

A Nutmeg Cake that smells like Christmas:


White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies- Christmas perfection.

Swedish Holiday Fruit Bread (Fruktkaka), tasting like a long forgotten memory.

Nutella Pound Cake, anyone?? Can’t get much richer and decadent than that, can you?

Earl Grey Tea Cookies- made with the beautifully aromatic tea leaves, these taste like a gorgeous Winter day and are a great afternoon treat.

Authentic German Stollen, which I must make again this year. This recipe was glorious. (Photo is from 2008- no judging!)

Great snack option, or perfect for gift giving, Dark Chocolate Nutella Muddy Buddies:

For a very hearty appetizer, this Chili Bean & Queso Dip is spectacular:

For something completely different, try making this Middle Eastern spice and nut blend called Dukkah. (again, photo from 2008- no judging!!)

Make Christmas magic with this unique and delicious Red Rice Pulao with Roasted Vegetables as your side dish:

You can substitute your favorite hearty green in this Boursin Spinach Gratin, and still get an amazing, rich and creamy side dish:

May the magic and beauty of Christmas, and all the holidays be kept close to your heart, now and all the year through.

merry christmas to all…..

December 24th, 2012 | 2 Comments »


We have the smallest amount of snow possible, the rock hard leftovers from the 15 inches that fell on the 9th, then melted, re-froze and eventually got rained on a week later. So technically, we’ll have a white Christmas, but not the magical white, sparkling like a lit up spruce tree. We’ll definitely have cold too, as a deep freeze seems to be settling over Minnesota.

But our Christmas won’t look like this. We woke to this on Christmas Day of 2009 and it was magical.

I have plenty of cookies in the pantry, thanks to a cookie exchange with online friends, the kind of friends that share tiny tidbits of daily life through Twitter, or Instagram, some who have never met but feel like old friends the moment you’re in the same room. There was a lot of hugging at this cookie exchange. Because there was a lot of love. There was wine, beer and simple food. The cookies were secondary; it was time for girls to gather and hearts to open and time to connect. This last week or so held a lot of love between friends. It was just what I needed.

There will be family. There will be food, no doubt. There will be time in the car as we scurry from one house, then back home for a second celebration. There is a tall and regal fir tree in the corner, groaning under the weight of a lifetime, collected carefully and hung like a finely choreographed play, dripping in tinsel, tin icicles, twinkling lights and promise. Garlands are strung, wreaths are hung, and packages arrive, empty boxes and bags here and there, things stashed in closets and under desks and stern looks are sent ’round to not snoop or peek. Eli sits under the brightly lit Christmas tree, gazing at nothing. It warms my heart every time I catch him doing it.

The sky bleeds reds and golds, both morning and night, casting purple shadows across the landscape, the solstice has passed and even caught deep in the throes of Winter darkness and cold, we all know the days are getting longer, and it’s only three months until Spring. The trees know, stark and black against the sky, and the ground knows, frozen solid under our feet, it’s roots asleep. Even our cats know, as we open the door each frigid morning, they sniff the air knowingly, before they retreat back to the warmth. It’s expected, and the extra blankets, throws and lap covers have come out of storage and drape the sofas with promise. Promise of warmth on a cold night. Promise of a season, brief and quiet.

But for now, it’s Christmas. It’s magic and shining eyes and the birth of our Savior. It’s carols and warm embraces and people we love. It’s a fire, a glass of wine. It’s reaching out more and holding back less. It’s hope and affirmation.

From my family to yours, we wish for you the Merriest Christmas, full of light and hope,
and a blissful coming New Year!!

 

{{My blog will be undergoing a big makeover, and I likely won’t be posting much between now and when it’s complete.
Hopefully before the first month of 2013 is over, we’ll sort the details, dot the i’s, cross the t’s,
wrangle the why’s and how’s and begin anew with a quiet ‘Ta-Da!’. See you then, friends!!}}

A very Merry Christmas to all and a huge Thank You!!

December 24th, 2008 | 1 Comment »

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You’ll notice the orange fluff to the right of this photo- that’s Harmon, trying to get in on the Christmas action by the tree.

So it’s Christmas- again. We have lots of fun family time planned for the next few days and I hope you do too, if you indeed celebrate something this time of year, whether Christmas or Hanukkah or anything. I hope you do celebrate, raise a glass of cheer and see smiling faces all around you. We all deserve, and need that.

The Fur-Boys say ‘Merry Christmas!!!’

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There’s one little box of new toys under the tree for the cats, as is the norm each Christmas for our catnip addicts. New toys are always appreciated, and often fought over. We need to be fair and make sure there is an equal share or we might see trouble.

Griffin, at 14 shows some excitement for Christmas, but it isn’t the same as when he was, oh maybe 4 or so. He likes getting gifts but he loves the food more, and better yet, hanging out with family. That’s the best part for him. Last night he surprised me before heading to bed by crawling- as best a 130-lb boy can manage- into my lap and snuggling with me, listening to me reminisce about my most favorite Christmas memories of him when he was little. I would have kept him there all night except my leg started to tingle. And to think he once fit perfectly on my forearm.

We continue to get great snow, and the landscape is beautifully white and very Christmas-like. I’m enjoying my cross-country skis, taking twilight excursions through the park near our house. It’s great for de-stressing.

My wish for everyone is to have a wonderful Christmas, and I want to say Thank You from the bottom of my heart for your comments, visits and feedback. Words cannot express how much I appreciate your readership and support. Enjoy the holiday! I’ll see you all soon!