Last week was filled with Thanksgiving preparations.The pumpkins were all cooked up into delicious soups, pies and breads. Cranberry compote and apple pies bubbled away in the oven. Winter squash and potatoes were brought up from the cellar and readied to be roasted along with the turkey that we got from a small family farm a few miles away.The house was scrubbed and shiny clean . My girls all came home. I had so many things to be thankful for. This Thanksgiving in particular we were all acutely thankful for each other. Time is so fleeting and things can change on a dime. This was a good holiday to remember to treasure the moments and those that share them with us.
Thursday’s turkey remnants are simmering on the stove. The good stock will make delicious soups and stews for these cold winter nights. Christmas is coming and there will be lots of baking, decorating, sewing, and cooking, making my herbal concoctions and painting. This house is ready to be filled up with the joy and magic of the Season.
My daughters have been calling in requests for things that they want me to cook for Easter. I don’t know how many generations have been making our family recipes but since my Mother died 4 years ago, it’s been my turn to keep them going.
Yesterday I made nut roll. There’s a lot more cooking left to do and some of the ingredients aren’t available in the regular grocery stores. I took a little trip to a town about 40 minutes away that has a strong, Eastern European community and a good ethnic market. There was a 45 minute wait to get into the shop. In line, the mood was festive. Everyone was excited about the holiday. We were all talking and laughing with each other. Since many of us were making the same traditional Easter dishes, the conversation turned to recipes and cooking anecdotes. It was fun and the time flew by!
The store was pretty big and had a lot of interesting things that aren’t in the regular grocery stores. Many of the items had labels that weren’t written in English. I got everything I needed, had a good time looking around and found a few interesting things for the Easter baskets.
Ten days until Christmas! It’s windy and cold outside. Our little town is bustling with holiday busy-ness… Carolers singing on church lawns, a Christmas play at the old Town Hall, our annual town festival with boy scouts selling wreaths on the green and all of our churches hosting craft fairs, white elephant sales and holiday luncheons. New York was great for a visit but I am very happy to be living in my little town, especially at this time of year.
Finishing up projects, baking and playing Christmas music has kept me busy between all the fun events. I found this little Linzer cookie kit last year for $5, recipe included. The cookies were very easy to make, the dough handled well and they taste good!
There’s nothing like a good cup of hot chocolate at this time of year. It’s simple and delicious to make from scratch. I use honey instead of sugar and add some holiday spice.
1 1/4 cup milk
1 tsp. honey
2 tsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ginger
Dash of nutmeg
Heat milk and honey over low heat, stirring until honey is dissolved. Add cocoa, continue stirring and add spices. When the milk starts steaming, it’s done.
This is so easy and can be modified to your own taste. My daughter likes to add a touch of cayenne pepper to hers. My other daughter prefers it with just cocoa and honey, no spices added. Cardamom is nice, if you have it. Of course, freshly whipped cream would be delicious on top too:)
Decorations can get elaborate. Sometimes it’s just as satisfying to use what is on hand. These candy canes are cute and festive and a few bows left over from last year add a little color and hide the construction. I used a plastic lid, punched holes in it and wired the candy canes, still wrapped, on to it. Simple but homey and cheerful in my cozy old kitchen.
I hope everyone is enjoying this beautiful season. Thanks for stopping by!
Such a fun time of the year! The weather has been icy, rainy, snowy and overall dreary but it doesn’t matter, I’ve been busy inside baking and trying to finish Christmas gifts. This picture will be for for one of my daughters. My Dad’s 79th birthday was this week so I made a batch of his favorite cookies. It’s the same recipe his Grandmother used when she made them for him. I had a lot of felt from my Mother’s sewing room so I’ve been playing with making these ornaments. I had them all hanging in the kitchen window. My girls noticed them on Thanksgiving and took home what they wanted. You learn to share everything when you come from 3 sisters and have 3 daughters, lol! I’m glad my daughters liked them. I hope all of you are enjoying the season!
These cookies bake from 7-10 minutes. It’s best to refrigerate the dough, for about 15 minutes, before rolling it into little balls. Set them a couple inches apart onto the cookie sheet, they do spread.