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Tag Archives: christmas
It’s Christmas Eve, the wee one is asleep and we’re finishing up the last of the presents. Time for a little midnight snack. This Cranberry Apple Crisp makes kissing by the Christmas tree taste so good!
3 organic granny smith apples, peeled, cored and sliced into 1/2 inch strips
6 oz fresh cranberries
1/4 cup organic sugar
3/4 cups organic brown sugar
1/2 cup organic all-purpose flour
1/2 cup rolled oats
3/4 teaspoon nutmeg
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/3 cup organic butter, softened
Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
Rub a pie pan with butter wax paper covers (I save them in the freezer for greasing baking sheets and pie pans and such). Add apples and cranberries to the pie pan. Sprinkle with sugar and toss until coated.
Combine brown sugar, flour, rolled oats, nutmeg, cinnamon and butter in a medium bowl until well incorporated. Sprinkle on top of the fruit.
Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown.
You can serve it hot with ice cream. I like it warm by itself on a cold winter night.
It’s the afternoon before Christmas Eve, and my 8-year-old daughter is itching for something to do. Presents are wrapped. Too early for a movie. We turn into Cookie Monsters and bake up a batch of Gingerbread Cookies!
3/4 cup (or 1 1/2 sticks) organic butter
3/4 cups organic brown sugar
1/2 cup molasses
1 egg, organic and from free range chicken
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups organic all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Beat butter and sugar together in a medium bowl until smooth. Add molasses, egg and vanilla. Whisk very well. It will take quite a bit of elbow grease to make it smooth, but carry on. It will be worth it.
Add flour, ginger, cinnamon, baking soda, nutmeg and salt. Beat with spatula until well incorporated.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough a little bit at a time to 1/4 inch thickness. Use cookie cutters to cut shapes. Lay an inch apart on baking sheet. (Since I don’t use non-stick cookware, I save the wax paper covers of butter in the freezer and rub my baking sheet with it when I’m baking.)
Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until cookies begin to brown. Cool on wire racks, then decorate.
Our Christmas tree is up! With the move we were a little worried we wouldn’t get our Christmas tree up in time, but we made it.
We had to cut off the lowest branches to make our tree fit our stand, so I had a lot of extra branches to make a wreath with. Only I wasn’t planning on making a wreath. I’ve never made a wreath before, and I have no idea where to begin.
I looked at websites about making a wreath, and of course Martha Stewart had something to say about it too. But I didn’t have any of the fancy wreath forms and I didn’t feel like going out to buy any. (It’s cold out!)
So here’s my take: How to Make an Evergreen Wreath the Hard Way.
Get those tree loppers, needlenose pliers and some wire. All I had at home was my husband’s sculpting wire. It’s thick and hard to bend, but with leather gloves on I muscled it. First I lopped the branches into smaller twigs. I connected those twigs using the wire, and made a long garland, then turned the garland into a circle and wired it up. I was going to trim it so that it didn’t look so bushy, but then I decided I could only mess it up at this point, so whatevs. I made a loop with the wire, for hanging. And hung up more toys on it, to complement our toy-laden Christmas tree.
There was still more extra branches so I made a little carpet underneath the fireplace. Our house may still need a lot of work, but it’s warm and it smells like pine. We’re home!
This recipe was passed on to me from my husband’s grandmother, who sent us care packages of her special Pumpkin Cookies every Halloween. Mammie used Crisco Oil and it made her cookies very moist and last for weeks. I used organic canola oil as a healthier alternative, and this makes the pumpkin cookies moist, light and fluffy. If you like your cookies crispy on the surface, use organic butter instead.
This was previously posted at Pumpkin Cookies, but the way I had written it was confusing. I’ve revised the recipe to make it easier to follow. These Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies have become such a family favorite that I have a feeling I’ll be making several batches of it throughout the holiday season.
Mammie’s Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies
2 cups organic sugar
1 cup organic canola oil (or softened organic butter – 2 sticks)
2 organic eggs
2 teaspoons organic vanilla
2 tablespoons raw organic milk
1 can organic pumpkin
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder, aluminum-free
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
4 cups organic all-purpose flour
1 large bag semi-sweet organic chocolate chips
Preheat oven 375 degrees F. Whisk sugar, canola oil, eggs, vanilla, milk and pumpkin together until well incorporated.
Add flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon and stir slowly with a spatula or a wooden spoon until smooth. Add chocolate chips and mix.
Spoon rounds onto buttered cookie sheet (use wax paper covers to grease the baking sheet) and bake for 12 to 15 minutes. Take the cookies out as soon as they are showing a bit of brown around the outer edges.
This Christmas was a challenge for my family. We had to move out of our home in November because of a mold issue in the house that was making us ill. My mother offered us my childhood home in the Philippines.
It excites us to think of spending a little time in the place where I grew up. A few years ago we spent a year in Maine where my husband grew up. My daughter, then only two years old, still has strong memories of kayaking in the lake in the summer and playing in the snow in the winter. The Philippines is as far away from Maine as can be, and I can’t wait to make new memories there.
First we had to move out of our home. We were all battling health issues from the mold, but we had to face the task head-on. For 15 days my husband and I packed up our belongings into boxes and drove them into a storage space. We donated a lot of things to Parca, and packed up necessities for keeping with us while we were in transition.
My daughter had been rehearsing for the annual children’s theater holiday production of Wizard of Oz since September. It was a blessing that she was kept occupied with the show. It allowed my husband and I more time to do all the packing while she was out of the house, and it also gave her a distraction from the impending goodbyes to school, her friends, her home.
My family has an empty home in the country two hours away that we are staying in for the holidays, before we leave for the Philippines. We made ourselves comfortable and hosted Thanksgiving Dinner. After Thanksgiving, we warmed the home with Christmas fare.
We were barely home. We spent a lot of time in a hotel back in the San Francisco Bay Area, during dress-tech rehearsals and the shows following. It was the culmination of all my daughter’s preparations for the holiday show. At this point she was homeschooling, and the theatre provided her with a social outlet and a feeling of accomplishment. We had to let her finish what she started, no matter the cost to us.
We traveled with a little Christmas tree and nativity scene, so we could set up Christmas with us wherever we went. My daughter performed in evening shows on Fridays and Saturdays, matinees on Saturdays and Sundays all December. We drove back to my family’s home in the country on the weekdays. When school let out for Christmas break, my daughter performed matinees on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, and evening shows on Wednesday, Thursday and closing night on Friday.
We finally came home on December 24, thoroughly exhausted, under the weather, but fully rewarded by an unforgettable experience. There’s no place like home… and home is where the heart is.
Ever since I learned how to cook a traditional Thanksgiving dinner from my husband’s grandmother, I’ve been cooking and serving the same special meal my family looks forward to year after year. This year’s menu is no different. I keep it simple, but make everything from scratch.
The tricky part is organizing and scheduling which dish to make when, so that everything is served nice and warm on the table at dinnertime. Here’s what I did:
Set the turkey out to thaw the day before Thanksgiving. The night before Thanksgiving, roast a pumpkin and leave on the table to cool overnight. Also, make the stuffing and chill in refrigerator overnight.
3 sweet potatoes Peel and cut sweet potatoes into 1 inch slices. Steam for an hour, then mash. Transfer the mashed sweet potato to a pie pan and let cool. Top with marshmallows. I wait until the turkey is out of the oven before I put the Sweet Potato Marshmallow in the oven to heat. Take it out and serve once the marshmallows are browned slightly.
Sweet Potato Marshmallow
1 bag large marshmallows
3 sweet potatoes
Peel and cut sweet potatoes into 1 inch slices. Steam for an hour, then mash. Transfer the mashed sweet potato to a pie pan and let cool. Top with marshmallows. I wait until the turkey is out of the oven before I put the Sweet Potato Marshmallow in the oven to heat. Take it out and serve once the marshmallows are browned slightly.
Even toys get cold in the winter. So I knit these tiny pompom hats to keep these toy elephants warm. A sweet little present for my husband, who collects and make toys.
Last year we made a gingerbread house from a Wonka box kit and we had a great time doing it. This year, we got a little bit more ambitious and attempted building our gingerbread house from scratch.
We got the Gingerbread recipe and instructions for building a gingerbread house from Family Fun magazine.
We started off wrong when we picked a box that was too big for the recipe. We had to make another half-batch of dough so our house would have a roof! But since we would up with more dough than we needed, we were able to make trees and a bunny.
I’m not very good at geometry, so I made mistakes measuring the walls and it took us all day to get the house standing. We had to keep trimming the walls until we had just the right measurement that would support the roof. I kept thinking about those $15 gingerbread house kits that have perfectly measured parts. Those sure would have saved me time and money!
We finally got to decorate our gingerbread house after dinner. It was a lot of work, but in the end it was worth it. We all learned the virtue of perseverance and teamwork, and felt a swell of pride in our chests after it was all finally done.
From my family to yours, we wish you a love-filled holiday season and a new year full of sweet blessings!
Bored with the usual Gingerbread Man design? Check out these unique Gingerbread designs:
Gingerbread Sock Monkey
Gingerbread in Pink
Recipe for Gingerbread Cookies
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
3 1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
3/4 cup molasses
1/4 cup water
- Beat softened butter with sugar until creamy.
- Add the remaining ingredients and knead until it forms a dough.
- Chill the dough for at least 1 hour.
- Preheat the oven at 350o F.
- Roll out the dough on a clean floured surface. When the dough is about 1/4 inch thin, use a cookie cutter to make cookie shapes.
- Line up the cookies on an ungreased baking sheet, about 1/4 inch apart.
- Bake for 12 minutes.
- Set the hot cookies out on a wire rack to cool.
- Decorate with cookie icing.
Today we busied ourselves making a gingerbread house from the Wonka box kit (we love Bottlecaps, Nerds and Runts). If only we could live in a house made of cookies, cake and candy. Later on this evening we baked sugar-frosted butter cookies and arranged them around the gingerbread house. Santa will have a great time tonight!
From our home to yours, we wish you a warm and happy holidays. Blessings in 2010!!!