As Christmas draws nears, I like to sit in the evening in the living room looking at my Christmas tree as I drink hot chocolate, nibble cookies, and listen to Christmas carols. In my DVD player right now are Diana Krall, Andy Williams, Oscar Peterson, Bing Crosby, and a Phil Spector compilation with Darlene Love, the Ronettes, and Bob B. Soxx and The Blue Jeans. A wonderful mix of holiday sounds.
Oh, and the hot chocolate. I keep a container of Alton Brown’s recipe: www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/hot-cocoa-recipe/index.html. It is really good. I opt to eliminate the cayenne pepper.
I have a 4 foot Christmas tree that shares a table with the Snow Village commercial district or as my grandchildren call it “the mall.” As you can see in this photo, my cat Olivia is sitting by the tree trying to decide which ornaments she will remove when no creatures are stirring – except Olivia. Each morning I usually find two ornaments that she has decided would be fun to chase around the living room floor. No harm, no foul.
The ornaments on my tree are all unbreakable. They were made by me or my mother or the daddies.
The long necked creature at the left of the photo is “giraffe lady.” It was made by my older son when he was just a lad. The crocheted snow flakes were made by my mother about 40 years ago. Each year I carefully pack them away between layers of cloth diapers (remember those?). I have given each of my sons’ families some of the snowflakes to enjoy on their trees. I made Donald Duck, the elephant, and Bert. I did have Ernie and Oscar and Big Bird also. But cats of the past managed to attack and conquer those creatures. One morning I found a trail of yellow feathers and alas, big bird was no more.
Here are some of my Winnie the Pooh family. Kanga and Roo are just out of view. You can see a peek of the Raggedy Andy. The majority of my ornaments were made about 38 years ago or so when the daddies were young. The counted cross stitch ones were stitched by me about five years ago.
And the cookies I nibble.
Recently I found in a scrapbook a recipe written in a familiar hand. It was one that my mother had written down years ago. Now that’s a keepsake. She made these cookies every year.
Almond Bark Cookies
Ingredients: 2 lbs. almond bark, 1 cup chunky peanut butter, 2 cups dry roasted peanuts, 3 cups Rice Krispies and an optional ingredient of 2 cups miniature marshmallows.
My mother said that she put the almond bark in her crock pot set on low. When the bark melted, she turned off the crock pot and stirred in the remaining ingredients.
Then she dropped tablespoonfuls of the mix onto waxed paper. Allow to thoroughly cool. Cookies can be stored in an air tight container. Yield about 24 cookies.
Here is a recipe for vegan Thumbprint Cookies that I make and take to my grandchildren who live 3 hours away.
The ingredients are: 1 cup Earth Balance Buttery Spread, 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, 2 cups flour, 1/2 cup finely chopped pecans, fruit preserves. I used cherry – yum, good.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
Cream together the vegan butter, sugar, and vanilla. When well mixed, add the flour, little by little. Mix well.
Place chopped pecans on a plate. With a one inch cookie scoop, drop balls of dough onto the pecans. Roll the balls in the pecans and place on parchment paper covered cookie sheets. The cookies do not spread much, but leave an least an inch between cookies. Next using the end of a wooden spoon make an indentation in each ball. Drop 1/4 teaspoon of preserves into each indentation (thumbprint).
Bake for 14-16 minutes or until the edges of the cookies are turning a light brown. Remove the cookies and allow to cool on baking rack. Store in an air tight container. Yield about 20.
Chocolate Almond Cherry Crisps
I found this recipe in the December 2007 issue of Cooking Light.
Ingredients: 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips, 3/4 cup white chocolate chips, 1 and 1/2 cups Rice Krispies, 3/4 cup dried cherries, 1/3 cup slivered almonds, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla.
Cover a large baking sheet with waxed paper. Melt the semisweet and white chocolate chips in a microwave or in a double boiler. Stir until smooth. Add cereal and remaining ingredients; stir quickly to combine. Drop mixture by tablespoonfuls onto prepared baking sheet; chill 1 hour until firm. Yield: 36. Store in a covered container in a cool place.
Hm, maybe I need a cookie break right now.
Thank you for visiting Grandma in the Mailbox. I wish you and your family a Happy Holiday season. I hope you enjoy your traditions and your family and friends. You will be making memories to last for years.
Next week I am taking a break to spend time with my grandchildren. I’ll be back in 2012 talking about – hm, well, we shall see.