Month: December 2015

And the winners are…

The most important decision I make every year around Christmastime has nothing to do with shopping and everything to do with baking: which cookies will win a coveted spot on my annual cookie platter? Each year, I churn out anywhere from 12-18 dozen cookies for Christmas; it’s my favorite holiday tradition. It has been twenty years since I first started giving gifts from my kitchen. Back then, I thought it was genius idea since I had little money for gifts. As the years passed–and I could actually afford gifts–I opted to keep on baking as a little extra something. My family gets excited about our cookie platter every year; the anticipation grows until they get their very own take-home box–it’s even more fun to see if their boxes are emptied before they make it home.

How do I choose the winners? After I pore over the pages of my favorite holiday cookie magazines and family recipe cards, I take a potential list to a vote with my husband and son. There is one rule–each of the five cookie “food groups” must be represented: something chocolatey, something oatey, something fruity, something spicy, and something nutty. I usually throw in some kind of candy for fun. Two cookies never up for dispute are my Grandmother’s Snickerdoodles–which are unlike any snickerdoodle you’ve ever had–and Oatmeal Scotchies.



Where do the holidays take you? Christmas is all about family for us, but since my son was born, we no longer rush to multiple houses on Christmas Day; we compromised to make the day less chaotic. Christmas Eve is now spent with my in-laws: first, dinner at Carrabbas and then back to our house for presents and cookies. Christmas Day is always dinner at either my Mom’s or sister’s house. This year, it’s my turn to host my family for a Christmas brunch. Me…make breakfast food? I’m sure you’re shocked. At this point, I should be seriously thinking about renaming my blog Breakfast 24/7. At any rate, our holiday table will be a veritable buffet of my favorite brunchy foods–the catch is, they need to be practically effortless. This brings me to quiche–or as my son, Everett, used to call it, egg pie.


Meet the Florida Cranberry…

I distinctly remember the day last year when I finished my Florida Cracker Cranberry Jam from Urban Canning Company. I was so bummed; I took a picture of my last bite of toast spread thinly with the last speck of jam that I could scrape from the jar. That was the first time that I actually felt aware of the seasonal nature of produce–and that’s a shame. I think we take for granted the variety of produce that we can get year-round, despite the fact that a true growing season is anything but year-round. Our produce is typically shipped in from all around the world just so that we can have everything that we need–whenever we need it. Not so with this local cranberry specimen: it’s so unusual, you won’t see it at your local grocery store and once it’s gone, you’ll have to wait until its season comes again.