You may not be aware but the holiday season is still upon us. Today is Christmas.
This is the maybe the 4th or 5th time in the last 18 years that I have not been working at one of many local malls on this a hallowed day of shopping. There is so much more to do (watch on television...Swiss Family Robinson on Hallmark!) when you are not at the mall on Christmas Eve. All television watching aside I did shower and participate in human activity today.
As Just Joni manages the whole Christmas Eve meal for a dozen plus of her closest family and friends I was not fully participatory in the preparation of evening's meal. I did, however, make the garlic bread. I used the tried and true Betty Crocker White Bread recipe found here and also found here in a book with my name in it. The only adjustments I made were using BUTTER!!! and not shortening, and then I whipped up some garlic butter to baptize the bread in when it came out of the oven. As the bread WILL BE the centerpiece of the table we need a side dish - Just Joni's spaghetti with meatballs, garden salad and maybe a cocktail. Did I mention I made the bread?
Following the feast of garlic bread there is the binge of cookies. Last week Just Joni and Aunt Sharon opened up their own Pepperidge Farm-like factory and churned out a few hundred of the most delicious cookies you could ever imagine. My favorite is the Peanut Butter/Powdered Sugar concoction accessorized with a dollop of semi sweet chocolate. I think it's an updated version of a Buckeye for those of you using your church cookbooks. The cookie buffet will be my go to for the next two days. And trust me when I tell you that there are many of the "buckeyes" hidden throughout the many freezers, ice boxes, back porch and garage that I will find and consume. It is a once a year event.
At the suggestions of my dear friend Reba last year I introduced Christmas Crafts to the family. Last year we attempted to make homemade snow globes. This year they are lovely dried out holiday tschotskes on the mantle. Our craft this year was totally stolen from Reba's previous year. We made very useful felt poinsettia napkin rings. Everyone was jealous. You should be too.
Craft time will be followed by a trip to a Duluth haunt known as the Pickwick. It's riddled with scandal in that both Just Joni and Lawyer have been employed there. And there was a whole union mess a few years back. It's not the same smoke filled, stuffed creatures on the wall sort of joint that made it special. But they still make the best Tom and Jerry holiday concoction conceivable.
This past month has been a whirlwind of activity in my kitchen (both work and home). I had some exciting opportunities that you will hear about in a few weeks. But for the most part I was super busy food styling. I had the pleasure of assisting some very talented stylists work on a well established line of packaged food (confidentiality people - I'm keeping tight lipped about the product. Just know that it looks amazing and you see it every time you go to the grocery store). Another chunk of my month was taken up baking for a cause. Last year Boyfriend introduced us to The Aliveness Project of Minneapolis. They help folks living with HIV/AIDS. During the holiday season this great organization delivers enormous gift baskets filled with presents and cookies to those in need. When I had a free minute this month I did my best try and pump out a few dozen cookies for the cause. If I personally know you next year I will hit you up to donate ingredients. Last year The Aliveness Project needed 700+ dozen cookies. I want to make them ALL.
I'm going to wrap this up and continue on with the Indiana Jones marathon for the afternoon. Nothing says Christmas like snakes, commies and Harrison Ford.
Bring on the New Year.