16 December 2014

One Sick Mama, Risotto, and the Tree ...

Well, I could make one more cookie cutter Christmas. I'm good at that ... making cookies, pulling all the same stuff out of the closet and sorting through it meticulously. This year, though, things are a bit different. The kids will be making Christmas Eve dinner. We are attending a different church. I am sick with a horrid cold and don't feel great. I need comfort food, a slow approach to all the decorating and hub-bub. I have been doing a series of home made gifts that I really want to concentrate on and damn the commercial end of things. Thank goodness, I got most of the foodie gifts made before I turned into Typhoid Mary ... now I can sit around on my ass and stitch the rest of the presents ... and hopefully, ditch this sickness!

09 December 2014

An Aside ...

This week the elves have been busy! There is so much baking, sewing, and puttering with design here in the grey cottage!  I've been experimenting with a spelt flour crust - something that will hold up to very wet fillings like quiches or gravy-based meat pies.

The result is a nutty flavoured crunchy crust, not at all like the typical, flaky, light white flour pie crust, but rustic enough that I think it would work with meat pies. The floppy crust looked cool, but it got far too crunchy hanging out in that hot oven. Next time, I'll trim it right up. The ham and spinach quiche was very tasty, though. Just loaded with stringy caramelized onions and plenty of Jarlsberg cheese.

Sigh ...

Making another batch of Christmas cookies was positively therapeutic. There's something about rolling warm cookies in sugar that makes me feel like a kid. Looking at them all lined up in the Christmas cookie tin made my afternoon complete!

German Sandkeks , the traditional shortbread cookie that always graces the cookie tins at the grey cottage! perfect with a glass of milk or better yet, a hot cup of tea!

Finally, the apricots that were left over from my chutney-making session got soaked with some prunes and turned into a sweet gooey sauce with Asian flair. After thickening up in the oven, it was poured over pork scallopine that had been pan-seared and rested to a perfect pink center. Fast and easy dinner for this Christmas elf!

Are you managing to get your Christmas projects done while juggling regular chores or is your house going to smithereens like mine? I'm cooking, but cleaning and laundry have gone by the boards for a few days. Might be time to do a major sweep ... or maybe I should wait until the tree gets dragged though and set up. Yeah ... I should wait.

Okay! Glad we got that settled! 

06 December 2014

Gifting Homemade Moroccan Spiced Apricot Chutney - IHCC

Apricots, tomatoes, apples, golden sultanas, purple onion, citrus juices, ginger, cayenne pepper, and honey ... simmer and stir and you will have a spicy slurry of gold ... a worthy gift for foodie friends

01 December 2014

A Baker's Dozen Foodie Finds for Christmas 2014


Thanksgiving comes and goes ... and while we relish holding on to the memories and Thanksgiving Day leftovers for a few days, there's no denying that Christmas preparations kick into high gear within days of the carving of the turkey and the brief pause to reflect on our blessings! That being said, here is a fun selection of gifts that you just might find fun for giving to the favorite foodie in your life. Wrapping things up in creative fashion is always part of the fun too ... check out Charm Bracelet Diva's website for a fun Christmas post on wrapping and decorating!

I had such fun scoping the Internet for some of these ... and of course, you KNOW that most of them fit my interests. I'm only hoping that my taste reflects just a bit what others in the blogging world think is fun and worthwhile...

23 November 2014

Magic Cookie Bars - Hello Cookie Season!

This weekend brought a host of holiday fairs to the Monadnock region of New Hampshire. Our little church was one of the many churches that rolled out the baked goods and homemade gifts. Every household does its part to contribute to the long bake table at the church fair. These chewy, sweet cookies bars were bagged up and offered along with a loaf of cranberry nut bread and a big round boule of herbed bread. I baked all day on Friday!

18 November 2014

Another Meatball Soup ...

Yesterday was such a lousy, rainy day! It was a day for spending under a blanket on the couch with hand sewing or a good book or a willing partner. But no. I had to schlep wood for woodboxes and deliver some food to a friend who is ill, return overdue books to the library and schlep grocery bags from the store to the car to the house. By the end of the day, my toes were wet because my clogs have sprung a leak. My hands were clammy and chilled and my hair was damp from the trips between car and errand locations. And the rain and bluster just kept blustering. UGH!

11 November 2014

We Should Cocoa - Spicy Chili Chocolate Cookies

This batch of cookies will last a nanosecond, once Silent Bob gets winds of their smell. They're full of dark chocolate and cayenne pepper and they deliver a hot kick when you've swallowed a bite - that warm chili-spice heat that stays with you until you swallow some milk.