Wednesday, December 31, 2008

New Year

The Happiest of New Years to you and yours. 2009 will be a wonderful year!

Ok, I've borrowed the following from Killer Fiction's blog.

Commitment is what
transforms a promise into reality

It is the words that speak boldly
of your intentions
And the actions which speak
louder than words

It is making the time
when there is none.
Coming through time after time
after time
Year after year after year

Commitment is the stuff
character is made of,
The power to change
the face of things.

It is the daily triumph
of integrity over skepticism.

What a great saying! I hope your New Year commitments truly define your dreams.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve Delight

Here We Come A Wassailing

Jane Austen's Christmas, available from BarnesandNoble.ComChristmas is mentioned in all of Jane Austen's novels and even in some of her short stories. The Christmas season in Georgian England was a time of balls, parties and visiting and celebration. The Kinghtleys visit the Woodhouses, the Gardiners visit the Bennets, Lady Russell visits the Musgroves, John Moreland visits the Thorpes (with sad results), William Price visits his sister at Mansfield Park, the Westons hold a party, and John Willoughby distinguished himself when he, "danced from eight o'clock till four without once sitting down." These incidents and more are covered in Jane Austen's Christmas: The Festive Season in Georgian England by Maria Hubert.

All this company, visiting and merrymaking requires a lot of food. One popular holiday drink was Wassail. Wassail comes from the Anglo-Saxon toast "Waes Hael" or "Be Whole". The first "Christmas Carols" were Yuletide drinking songs and singers caroled their neighbourhoods carrying their wassail bowls with them.

Holiday Punch Holiday Wassail
1 gallon apple cider
1 large can pineapple juice (unsweetened)
3/4 cup tea (can use herb tea)

Place in a cheesecloth sack:
1 Tablespoon whole cloves
1 Tablespoon whole allspice
2 sticks cinnamon

This is great cooked in a crock pot. Let it simmer very slowly for 4 to 6 hours. You can add water if it evaporates too much. Your home will smell wonderful! Serve warm, garnish with orange slices.
Serves 20.

May you have a peaceful, blessed, and romantic
Christmas Eve. May the lights on your tree sparkle, the eggnog flow, and the presents find themselves wrapped before midnight.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Christmas Snacks

Chocolate Chip Cheese Ball

8 oz. cream cheese
1 cup real butter
1/2 tsp. vanilla
* cream all these together

*Gradually add:
3/4 cup of powdered sugar
4 Tablespoons brown sugar
3/4 cup of mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

Chill for 2 hours or more. Form into a ball and then roll in chopped walnuts or pecans. Serve with graham crackers; I serve with cute Teddy Grahams.


Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Christmas Cheer

Happy December to all of you!! I'll share a few of our favorite recipes this month, even though I'm not very fond of cooking, because making food as gifts is fun. And this recipe qualifies as a gift, whether it's given away or enjoyed by the maker on a cold December night. :)

Cranberry Vodka

1 pound cranberries

1 cup sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract or 1 vanilla bean, split

1 bottle tonic

Lime slices, for garnish

Place cranberries, sugar and vanilla in a medium saucepan. Place pan over medium heat and stir. Simmer cranberry mixture until the berries burst, about 5 to 6 minutes.

Divide mixture in half and pour into large, clean mason jars. Pour vodka into the jars to cover the berries. Set aside and allow to sit for 1 week. After 1 week, strain out the cranberries and store cranberry vodka in a clean jar in the refrigerator.

Any favorite Christmas drinks you'd care to share?