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Showing posts with label Christmas recipes. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Christmas recipes. Show all posts

Friday, December 14, 2012

Trees and Trims

Our Christmas house has more than one tree to trim.  We have artificial trees these days, but the decorations that dress them have been on many trees in many different places.  After the spare snowflake and string ball trimmed tree of our 1964 Christmas, Joe and I added an ornament or two or three every year.  So that our sons would have their own Christmas ornaments when they left to begin their own traditions and families, we let them choose an ornament for their own each year which was stored in a box.  I love visiting their homes and seeing a few of those childhood choices on their trees this time of year.  This tree is in my kitchen.  It celebrates family and the cooking we enjoy together, and is trimmed with cookie cutters I used when I was a little girl, cookie recipes handwritten  by grandmothers and friends, and little gingerbread boys and girls. The gingerbread family is over 35 years old, so of course is not real gingerbread.  When my sons were all in the same elementary school, one year we made baker's clay ornaments colored with instant coffee for all their teachers plus some for our own tree.  They come back out to dance on our tree and remind us of many happy Christmas times together in our kitchen.

My granddaughters are a delight all year 'round, but Christmas brings more fun than ever.  We enjoy making this tea tray with a tiny tree, teacups and teapots. We add a mix of pretty tea bags and Joe's mother's small spoon collection plus the book A Cup of Christmas Tea.

Thursday, January 12, 2012


I guess the beginning of a new year is a time for thinking about beginnings of all kinds. This little box is a recipe box. Joe painted and decorated it for me for our first Christmas after we were married. It was pretty empty for a long time because I didn't have many recipes. The only thing in the box was a small note pad on which I had written menus and my grocery lists for the first six weeks we were married – our beginning meals! I even kept tabs on how much I spent for groceries – part of our beginning budget!

I enjoyed cooking and learning to make new dishes, but I was definitely a beginner. The little white box was, too. As I collected recipes from friends and family, the box filled until it needed tabs and labels for indexing – the beginning of a large cookbook and recipe collection. I think all these beginnings led to the start of a lifelong love of cooking and joy of hospitality. I am grateful for the beginnings.

I am sure I do not have to tell you - not all beginnings have happy endings. That same Christmas I knitted Joe a green mohair sweater. He was proud of it but the sleeves were twice too long and the yarn (purchased on sale for such a good price!) was so itchy he could not bear to wear it. I still love to knit, and have produced lovely baby shawls, warm capes, and colorful scarves... but I have never tackled another sweater.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Licking the Spoon

Licking the Spoon

Sliced red apples sweet and crisp

to dip in hot caramel

Pumpkin Bread and Gingerbread

Candy Cane Cookies, Thumbprints, red jam in the middle

Toffee with almonds spread quickly to cool

German Butter Balls rolled in powdered sugar

Peppermint Bark

Fudge cooked in an iron skillet, the old fashioned way

poured onto a buttered platter

Cranberry Crisp

Turkish Delight

Pecan pralines tasting of brown sugar

Haystacks – butterscotch and chow mein noodles!

Sweetest of all -

Licking the Spoon.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Recipe for Remembering

I have been doing Christmas baking and candy making the last few days. As I got out my recipe box and files to choose which meals and treats I would make this year, I realized one more time how many of these are traditions in our family, but also the numbers of friends and family who passed these recipes on to me. Most of the recipes are handwritten, and include the name of the person who gave them to me originally. As I read through them, and particularly as I cook that special food, I think of those names, and am grateful for all the ways they were and are part of our family story. A few reflect a family experience that resulted in the collection of the recipe. This year I made a list of 18 recipes and contributors and smiled as I realized most of them I have been using for 40 years or more! Some of them were:

Dr. Pepper Bread: this came from a booklet handed out at the Texas State Fair in 1978! A family trip to the fair resulted in a recipe we have used ever since.

German Butter Balls, courtesy of my friend Nancy Johnson in San Antonio in 1970.

My sister in law, Iris' recipe for Toffee.

Candy Cane Cookies, clipped from a Ladies' Home Journal in the late 1960's This is an alltime family favorite, and the one my grandchildren like best to make as well as to eat!

Ice Box Cookies, my mother's recipe and a cookie I remember eating for well over 60 years!

Thumb Print Cookies, from Pat Tarver Taylor, our good friend for over 40 years.

Mexican Stack Up: given to us by C.W. and Mary Bess, a dear pastor and his wife, in a book of Christmas recipes in 1982.

All Bran Yeast Rolls, from Billie Housman in 1963.

Orange Spiced Wine, from Georgie Ingram, 1972

Poppy Seed Dressing for fruit salad, from Opal Carl. She was my Public Health Professor in Nursing School in 1962.

Chicken Tetrazinni, from Jean McGuire, our neighbor in San Antonio in 1966.

I am grateful for friends past and present. I love remembering with recipes.