Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Holiday Baking, Music, and More

by Maggie Sefton


The Holidays are definitely here, folks. We're shopping for gifts, decorating our houses (well, I'm not because I'll spend Christmas in Texas with daughters Serena, Melissa, and Maria), and the weather is cooperating by sending lots of cold and snow. In Colorado's case, lots of snow. We just had two snowstorms in three days, each depositing about six inches of fresh Colorado powder. The High Country got way more, of course, and they're deliriously happy because that means our ski resorts have even MORE snow and are filling up with happy skiers. All is well. I'll buy a fresh evergreen wreath to adorn my front door and call it good. Every three years most of my daughters choose to return "home" to Colorado for Christmas, and that's when I haul out boxes and boxes of cherished decorations. On the other years, I get to travel to their houses and help them decorate. :)

But what really signals the holiday season for me is when I start buying ingredients for my family's beloved holiday goodies and start cooking! I always start by pulling out all the favorite CDs of Christmas music to accompany my culinary efforts. Those songs and each singer's particular renedition of each are engraved in my memory because I've listened to them for so many years. One of our family's faves is a 2-disc set of Christmas Music by Time-Warner. It's ages old, and I pray it doesn't suddenly give out. (Note to Maggie: Record CD to digital file over the holidays, just in case). One of my daughters actually ordered a more recent version of the set but it was different! It didn't include all our favorites!

This weekend, I started with my Gingersnap recipe. I included it in the five recipes at the end of the 6th Kelly Flynn Knitting Mystery, FLEECE NAVIDAD. I purposely had more recipes in that book because of the holiday setting. I "gave" the recipe to Kelly's beloved (and departed) Aunt Helen. I had Kelly find Aunt Helen's recipe and learn to make it (the only thing Kelly has ever cooked. :) Her friends, aka The Gang, absolutely love the gingersnaps, so Kelly contributes the cookies whenever there's an occasion to do so. Otherwise, if Kelly can't nuke it, it ain't happening.


I always double that recipe because I send Holiday Goodies to all my daughters. Daughter Christine and family get a double/triple package. Not only are there Gingersnaps, but I also include my Chocolate Mint Fudge, and an assortment of the following: Pumpkin Nut Bread, Cranberry Orange Nut Bread, Chocolate Pecan Rum Balls, Toffee Bars, and various other recipes I've made over the years. Lots and lots of yummy things to choose from. Sometimes, I've made pinwheels, other times sugar cookies with colored icing, 7 Layer Bars. . .and many many more. Later in December, I promise I'll post these two recipes while I'm off enjoying the holidays with my daughters in Texas.

On Sunday, I started making the first two pans of fudge. I will make many more pans of fudge, believe me. I also send Holiday Goodies to several out of town friends who are like family, plus I give them as gifts to my close neighbors and friends here in town. So. . .you can see that's a LOT of Holiday Cooking. But, I enjoy it all. The familiar carols and music and the wonderful scents and flavors that rise from the mixing bowls and the oven. It's all part of this wonderful Holiday Season for me.

What are some of your favorite holiday activities? Do you cook or bake? Or do you make gifts? Share with us.

14 comments:

Heather said...

I do like baking, when I can afford the ingredients, but most of my time and effort is put into making gifts, ornaments and my own Christmas cards.

Samoa Hacienda said...

Thanks for sharing nice post. i have
been looking information on "Holiday Baking, Music, and More" . This discussion has slove my concern to a great extent. i am very grateful.

Samoa Holiday Home

Aryn said...

I baked cupcakes with green frosting and sprinkles over the weekend with my 3 yr old. I think he got more green frosting in his mouth and on his shirt than on the cupcakes and there were more sprinkles on the floor than on the cupcakes (the dogs were happy), but we had a wonderful time!

Aurian said...

Neither. I don't bake or cook, my father is the one cooking christmas dinner. And I buy gifts, not make them myself. I have totally missed the creativity gen I believe.

I wish you all a very merry Christmas!

Brenda Hyde said...

I bake cookies and bread-- can never have too many recipes to try each year. I love gingersnaps too:)

I cook too-- I'm trying to decide what to make this year. Christmas Eve we always have a mini buffet with appetizers and play board games.

Anonymous said...

I don't do much baking but I do like crafting gifts for family and friends, gifts such as quilts, no sew fleece blankets, and pillowcases.

Shirley in Baltimore

ev said...

I love to cook and bake. I've already started. New to the list this year- Snowcapped Red Velvet cookies and Chocolate Gingerbread cake. Both to die for.

I don't do the handmade gifts much anymore, but every gift has thought behind it. It's kind of fun tracking down something no one else would think of, but ends up being just the right gift. I also start shopping the day after Christmas. LOL

Maggie Sefton said...

Heather---I hear you. I hope you enjoy the holiday season. Cooking and decorating were my main creative expression for years and years. Then I started writing the stories that came. :)

Maggie Sefton said...

Samona Hacienda---You're welcome. I'm glad I was able to give you some information. If you'd like the recipes for my gingersnap cookies and my chocolate mint fudge, check out this blog in two weeks. I plan to post both recipes then.

Maggie Sefton said...

Aryn--What fun! I remember doing that with all my four kids. Loved it. And all the girls turned into very good cooks and LOVE cooking. Keep making memories, Aryn. :)

Aurian---Don't be so hard on yourself. Creativity comes in many forms. You're creative when you choose curtains and throw pillows for a room or plant a garden. And---especially when you help other people find theirs.

Maggie Sefton said...

Brenda--I love it! We used to play board games during the holidays with our kids, too. Usually on Christmas Day we always watched one of our favorite holiday movies we had recorded or on tape. Those were the days when we actually taped on our VCRs. Wow, that sounds like ancient hisotory now.

Maggie Sefton said...

Anonymous---Wow. . .quilts and no sew fleece blankets. I'm impressed.

ev---Snowcapped Red Velvet cookies, boy do they sound delicious. I know what you mean about home made gifts. I don't have the time any more but I really think the "hunt" for the right gift for each person is fun and a challenge quite often.

Christine's Pantry said...

I love to cook.

Maggie Sefton said...

Christine's Pantry---I guess you do. . .judging from your signature. :) Enjoy the holidays!