Christmas Mail

I love sending cards and notes.  Sometimes I wonder if it’s just going to stop, people will get too used to Facebook and Twitter.  My mom keeps her Christmas card list on index cards.  I keep a list for each year in my mac address book.  So I love it when cards come in throughout December.  I love to see what people are doing, see the kids grow up, new pets, new travels.  I like cards without pictures.  I like them all.  Thought it would be fun to make a little collage.

I’ve become the complete opposite of my grandmother.  I don’t save.  Just no space.  So I document everything digitally, which is just easier to flip through on a rainy afternoon anyway.

Thank you friends and family for all the nice mail!





Christmas Cookies: Mom’s Best

To say that I overindulged over the holidays might be an understatement.  Just a few chocolates, cake, and cookies.  The other week I attempted Nutmeg Logs.  My mom does a better job with them, I’ll admit.  I  just got back from Ellington and had to share a few from the recipe box of Judy.

The Judy version of the Nutmeg Logs, with the right amount of extract and the right kind of sprinkles:

My favorite, the Brownie Mound:

My sister came through with the Peanut Butter Blossoms:

My mom’s favorite, the Crackled Sugar Cookie:

And the crowd pleaser, the Oatmeal Chocolate:


Christmas Cookies: Nutmeg Logs

Back in October, the cookie swap sounded like a good idea!  I love to bake, why not?  It seems so much different 2 days before when I have a full day of activities Sunday and the cookies need baked an frosted.  I gave up on the chocolate dipped shortbread after I couldn’t find peppermint extract or rice flour.  So pulled out the recipe book and went to the Nutmeg Logs from mom.

My first issue was when I was about 2 steps into the recipe and decided I didn’t just double, but tripled (and maybe more) the rum extract.  Doubling the recipe and picking up the tablespoon instead of the teaspoon might have been the cause.  But I went with it.  There was just no going back, I wasn’t about to start over.

After rolling and cutting for 3 hours.  And then some cooling, they got frosted and dusted with nutmeg.  Which is not the real recipe.  But my little grocery around the corner didn’t have sprinkles.  No red and green, no rainbow.  Not even any of that red colored sugar.  And I couldn’t go down the chocolate sprinkle route.  So I gave up and got creative.  Oh, I forgot to mention I think I doubled the extract in the frosting, too!  This actually caused me to wake up at 4 am wondering if they would be ok, or too rum tasting.  But it was too late, and they were going to the swap no matter what.

So, after a few modifications we had nutmeg logs.  Which I bagged and tied before the 6 am train out to Princeton.  I was told that the cookie vessel was also important.  Don’t forget the vessel (and I didn’t, care of the Container Store).  I actually sampled them and they reminded me of eggnog.

And I realize now what a saint my mom is.  She’s made us a bunch of cookies every year, never fail.  Brownie mounds, the almond ones, the anise ones, molasses, spice, sugar, peanut butter kisses, peanut butter oatmeal, new ones over the years.  Thank you mom!

Panettone: Trader Joe’s Over the Top One

I love panettone.  I ate quite a bit of it last year, but don’t feel as though I’ve gotten in my share this year.  So will have to remedy that.  We saw the ad for the chocolate covered panettone, but didn’t see it in the store on our first attempt.  And then we found it, in the freezer section!  It’s cream filled and chocolate covered.

It was good, but I think I prefer the traditional cake.  There was a lot going on here with the cream and chocolate.  So, I think we’ll go back to the original.  And we still need to fit in the Eataly one.  Expensive yes.  Really good?  Yes.

Christmas Sweets: Stollen

Wow, has it been a week since my last post?  It’s been busy.  But that hasn’t stopped me from eating.  And eating more.  And anything tasty that only comes out around Christmas time.  I started off the day with a Marzipan glazed doughnut (in the shape of a star!).  And ended the day with Marzipan stollen.  It must be the Eastern European in me.  I like this cake, I like poppy seed rolls, I like it all.

I bought this to bring home with me at Christmas because my mom put in a request for the one a got her last year.  This is a different brand as the other one came from a store that went out of business.  It’s been here a week now, and after she told me she found one, we decided to eat this one.  And if it was good, I’d get another to bring home.

Stollen is a bread/cake like baked good, traditionally a German thing.  Usually covered in powdered sugar, and studded with raisins and fruit.  This one tasted a lot like panettone (which I ate a ton of last year).  I have to give it a thumbs up.  The marzipan in the middle was a little treat.

Almost White Christmas!

I love being home for Christmas. My mom really does the holiday and does it well. We have a real tree (cut down at the tree farm), lots of decorations and lots of treats. I’ve had the same knitted stocking since I was little.

I think my mom has threatened to cut out the cookies for years, but of course they are back. And I’ve already eaten about a dozen. There are only six or so we must have each year (but we always have more than that), everyone has a favorite.

My sister pitched in for the peanut butter kiss ones. My dad delivers a plate to all the neighbors late morning on Christmas Eve and when I get home early afternoon I help with the chocolate pie. Well, all I really do is melt the chocolate. But the timing is CRITICAL to the success of the pie!

Saw almost all the neighbors from my little street in Ellington and even discovered the new Trivial Pursuit on Christmas Eve (you can bet!) at our annual Christmas Eve gathering across the street.

I am back in New York now where it is windy, snowing, and now thundering and lightening. So will be in for the evening where I may snack on a few more cookies…

Holidays & Coffee

I love that even my favorite coffee place embraces the holidays, spreading holiday cheer one chalkboard at a time.

The picture on the right is from last weekend, and today’s holiday/winter message is on the right.

It’s almost Christmas time and I couldn’t love it any more. The streets are packed with people in to enjoy the city lights and sights, maybe too many in some areas. But fun and festive.

Holiday Time is Here!

Oh, do I love the holidays. I’m a big fan of NPR on my drive to and from the train station, but I’ve given it up for the 100% Christmas music radio station. And I hear the same songs over and over. I don’t care.

While my apartment is too small for a real tree, I love to see them out on the street. I love the lights in the parks and on the streets, the buildings decorated, and the window displays. Just a few shots from our travels this weekend…

Holiday Bike in Soho & Magnolia Bakery on the Upper West Side:
New York City Tree “Farm” on the Upper West Side:
Union Square:
W 57th (the KKR building) on the way to the Time Warner Center:
My favorite tree guy (family) on 9th Ave in Chelsea. I spoke with the owner of this tree place, he is from New Jersey. They were located across the street in front of the new apartment building before it was condos. I’m so glad they haven’t gone far!