Christmas Reflections (and a GIVEAWAY)

I didn’t take very many pictures this Christmas.

Mostly, I just ate a lot of good food.  I laughed a lot.  I took a bite or two (or three) of every single dessert (we have a family of wonderful bakers.)  I hugged, I remembered, I enjoyed.  And I savored every moment of food, family and faith.

Christmas embraces a lot of memories for me and I didn’t want to miss a second of anything.

I quite simply allowed myself to not be in charge of anything.  Instead, I jumped head first into savoring each delicious moment.

It felt absolutely wonderful.

(That would be me, my stocking, and a bag of Godiva Truffles on Christmas morning…I may have acted just a tad over-excited about this. 😉  )

I did, however, help prepare some things on Christmas Eve, when the family came over for dinner.  I also made some pecan bars and baked up some gluten-free/vegan cookies which turned out quite good, if I say so myself. 😉

Recipe here: Veganomicon’s Wheat Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

After one too many of those…

…and this French-Canadian meat pie (homemade by my cousin Melissa)…

…and Nicole’s lemon cake…

…and these…

…I’m feeling a little like an overstuffed French toast.

Thank goodness I have a fridge full of healthier snacks to get my digestive system back in working order. 😉

And thank goodness (for you!) there are some very generous people over at Chobani who want to share THREE tubs of their new 32-OZ containers (0%, 2% and vanilla) with one lucky reader.  Note: It’s only open to US readers and Canada readers (except for the vanilla, which isn’t yet offered there, but they’ll send you two big tubs of their plain…the 2% is by far my favorite!!!)

All you have to do is leave a comment letting me know what your favorite part about this weekend was and you’re in the running.  I’ll let you know who the winner is on Thursday morning. 😀

To Enter The Chobani Giveaway: Tell me what the best part of your weekend was…winner will be announced Thursday morning!


Shortbread Cookies.

I’ve been feeling a little awry this past week.  Not quite sick but feeling on the verge of something iffy and yucky and altogether sick.

Thankfully, that feeling has gone away just in time for me to get my baking on.  Because yesterday, today and tomorrow I will be going, going, going.

On the cooking/baking list for today and tomorrow:

  • Gluten Free/Vegan Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
  • Sticky Pecan Bars
  • Vegetarian Chili (for dinner tonight with Kelsey and Matthew)
  • Granola (for Sunday morning)
  • Overnight French Toast (for Sunday morning as well)
Not to mention all the chopping and dicing of vegetables that needs to be done.  I’m leaving the all too expensive meat products to mom.  😉

I had felt a little behind on the cookie bandwagon this month and yesterday I made up for it with some shortbread cookies, courtesy of a recipe by Ina Garten (aka, the Barefoot Contessa.)

Aside from having some issues with blending (my butter wasn’t warmed enough!), they came out terrific.  Would definitely make them again, with some added coconut or walnuts or pistachios/cranberries on top!  A dash of sea salt would be nice too. 😀


I hope you all have the most Merriest of Christmases!  Enjoy your time with family and friends!

And then come back here on Monday for a very fun giveaway.  Trust me.  You’ll like it. 😉

Ina Garten’s Shortbread Cookies
  • 3/4 pound unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 to 7 ounces very good semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix together the butter and 1 cup of sugar until they are just combined. Add the vanilla. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour and salt, then add them to the butter-and-sugar mixture. Mix on low speed until the dough starts to come together. Dump onto a surface dusted with flour and shape into a flat disk. Wrap in plastic and chill for 30 minutes.
  3. Roll the dough 1/2-inch thick and cut with a 3 by 1-inch finger-shaped cutter. Place the cookies on an ungreased baking sheet and sprinkle with sugar. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the edges begin to brown. Allow to cool to room temperature.
  4. When the cookies are cool, place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Put 3 ounces of the chocolate in a glass bowl and microwave on high power for 30 seconds. (Don’t trust your microwave timer; time it with your watch.) Stir with a wooden spoon. Continue to heat and stir in 30-second increments until the chocolate is just melted. Add the remaining chocolate and allow it to sit at room temperature, stirring often, until it’s completely smooth. Stir vigorously until the chocolate is smooth and slightly cooled; stirring makes it glossier.
  5. Drizzle 1/2 of each cookie with just enough chocolate to coat it.