Saturday, November 14, 2009

Ready... Set... Do We Have to Go Yet?

by Tawny

Can you believe its holiday countdown time? You know that time of year, the one where we start thinking about what gifts we'll get. If we craft, what we'll make. The Thanksgiving menu. How soon to pull out the silver for polishing. Decorating themes. Shopping. Oh man, the shopping. Shopping for food. Shopping for craft supplies. Shopping for gifts. Shopping for wrapping. Shopping for pain relievers.

It all kicks off with menu planning. What will we have for Thanksgiving. I'm not sure why I sit down to plan a menu each year, since every single year I do and then the family, upon seeing it, pouts and asks why we aren't having all their standard favorites. Then there's the baking menu. Which cookie will we make this year? Which candies? I think we've narrowed it down to gingerbread, peanut butter blossoms, fudge, caramels, almond roca and nut brittle. I think. (do you make cookies and candy? I'd love ideas!!)

And then there's the shopping!!! I'm determined - this year, I'll be through shopping by Thanksgiving. Which is a lovely idea, then leaving the entire month of December to focus on crafts and decorating and baking and candy making and Disneyland and the plethora of December birthdays we have in the family. But I didn't realize until I was jotting down the Thanskgiving menu ideas to pitch to the family (spurred by JoanieT's blog post yesterday aboutparades) that Thanksgiving is just around the corner. OMG less than 2 weeks until feasting day!!!

And less than 2 weeks to get my shopping done! I started immediately, picking up a few things to go in a luxury bath basket I'm putting together for my mom and some yarn to knit the cutest little body scrubs. I am nagging my kids daily (my nagging actually extends to my nephews, much to their chagrin) for their wish lists.

In the odd creative moments during my last deadline, I broke in my new scrapbook corner by making a dozen handmade holiday cards, but never quite finished all I needed --which means I either have to find time to make more, buy some or fall back on the usual holiday card copout and skip it this year (Actually, if I could find them, I probably have about 4 years worth of cards tucked away that I never got around to sending - oops).

And then there's the wrapping and the decorating. When we bought this new house, both my daughters and I said the same thing when we walked through the front door. Its a perfect Christmas house!!! The banister, the curved staircase, the entire scene just screams out for holly and pine boughs and twinkling lights!!! I'll be honest -most years we end up doing the minimal decorating because my husband 'claims' he can't find the decorations. Ha- got him this year, they haven't even made it up to the rafters yet!!!

Despite the craziness of the season and all the demands, I love this time of year. It all comes back to the things I love most... shopping and food. Kidding ;-) It all comes back to family and giving. I tend to float through November and December smiling, giving hugs and taking the time for the things that really matter most to me - spending time with my kids and family, making things, thinking about people I love and relaxing as I remember all the blessings in my life.

But... as much as I love it, I'm so NOT ready yet - are you? Are you one of those tidy, have-it-all-ready-early kind of people? Or are you the wrestle-through-the-crowd last minute kind? I'm plopped firmly in between the two *g* And if you're an early-bird, are you already getting set for the holiday fun? And how about those candy and cookie making ideas... what are YOUR faves?


Anna Campbell said...

Hey, a Rooster for me!!!!!!

Anna Campbell said...

Actually, Tawny, I think the chook saw that picture of his cousin from Turkey and decided he'd be safer in Australia where we don't celebrate Thanksgiving.

What a lovely post. Honestly I don't know how you fit everything into your day. I think you've got elves! I love the idea of a Christmas house. I hope your first Christmas in your new residence is just what you've dreamed of!

mariska said...

TEE Hee..Congrats Anna ! :) i was busy posting my comment on one of your interviews.. I missed the GR again :P

Tawny said...

Way to snag that rooster, Anna :-) And to save him from the ignominy of the turkey viewing. LOL Actually, I'm with him. As a vegetarian, the turkey isn't my fave dish by far. But even with 4 vegetarians at Thanksgiving dinner, we still do a bird. Luckily, my mom is visiting this year so she'll make it. I kinda feel bad for those who had to eat my attempts the last few years *g*

I do want elves, though!!! I'm so excited about the holidays in this house and all the fun we're going to have!! I figure as long as I can get my partial turned in by Thanksgiving weekend, I'll be able to do it all! Heck, I'll foist the cookie making off on the kids and call it home economics *beg*

Tawny said...

LOL Mariska, I'd definitely say posting on one of Anna's interviews is definitely worth missing the rooster for!!!

Helen said...

Well done Anna he is sure to have fun in the pool if it is as hot up north as it is here in Sydney.

I am so far behind for Chrissy this year it is not funny I have made one Christmas cake I have another 5 to go I also have Corey and Jake's 1st birthdays in about
4 weeks, I haven't even bought the Chrissy cards yet to post and I have so much to do and working 40 hours a week just makes things harder. Then I will start to stress but you know what I always get there in the end I am hoping to start the shopping next weekend once I have started that I always feel better.
But I gotta say I love Christmas time especially now that I have grandchildren to spoil.

Have Fun

mariska said...

Yeap, I'm agree with you Tawny! coz i believe Anna will be kindly enough to share her TIM Tams with me:)

My mom taught me to be an Early person when to prepare anything. and since i don't celebrate thanks giving, i'm not so sure what's my favorite candies or cookies ( i think 'triple chocolate cookies' sounds very good, don't you think?)

hey, do you have Chocolate Cheesecake squares for thanks giving or christmas ? coz i love that cake : )

Jane said...

Congrats on the GR, Anna.

Hi Tawny,
I always say I'll do the shopping and decorating early next year, but it seems I'm always racing the clock. We do manage to put up the tree right after Thanksgiving, but it takes me a while to set up the lights on the windows.

Christie Kelley said...

Tawny, it hit me last night that Thanksgiving is less than two weeks away. Since I'm not hosting it this year, it hasn't been on my mind. But now I'm thinking about all the Christmas shopping I still have left to do. Like you, I had planned on getting it all done before Thanksgiving.

I don't think I'm going to make it this year.

This December, I'm hosting my chapter's Christmas party and my neighborhood's December book club meeting. What was I thinking!

Okay, I'm off to do some online shopping.

Joan said...


Could I just, you know slip MY Christmas shopping list under yours?

You won't notice those additional dozen things will you?

I'm so zoned about the holidays. Will be off for Thanksgiving but as it looks right now will be another solitary one. I'll buy myself a turkey breast, make stuffing and nap.


As to Christmas gifts I actually have some ideas for people this year! Yay!

Suzanne Welsh said...

Geesh, Tawny! After reading that, I'm exhausted!! And I've barely begun to crack the ice on any of it!

Every year, I start shopping early so I can pay mostly cash. Small things like Christmas ornaments and stocking stuffers as I see them. The majority of shopping however, takes place in December...sigh.

I also buy bits and pieces of the Thanksgiving meal early and yes, I have to make certain foods every year or I hear nothing but whining, too. What I buy early is the non-perishable items. The makings of corn casserole, the bread for the stuffing, the pie fillings. The perishable stuff...fresh veggies, oysters and turkey...I buy a few days before the mad cooking begins.

This year we're having something different for desert. By popular demand we're having the pumpkin cheesecake I made for my daughter's shower.

Since my girls are now grown and have their own homes, I insist they MUST bring one item to the meal. Lyndsey brings caramel-apple pie and Alison makes this maple-pecan-sweetpotato casserole.

Suzanne Welsh said...

Thanksgiving also signals the mad-baking that takes place at my house.

Massive amounts of cookies are made. One year, I had a bum shoulder, and hubby was so worried about "the kids" not getting their cookies, he bought me an early present...a KitchenAide stand mixer. Of course he asked if I'd make his favorite first! (Yeah, I saw that coming.)

Here's the list:

Buckeye candy....9 dozen
chocolate chip cookies
chocolate mint cookies..2 batches (kids)
peanut blossoms (daughter)
date pinwheels
Mexican wedding cakes, (hubby's)
cranberry and white chocolate
blackberry/coconut thumbprints (son's)

Suzanne Welsh said...

Oh, I forgot...iced sugar cut out cookies.

I may let the granddaughter help make those this year!

Susan Sey said...

Tawny, what a great and timely post! I was lying in bed just this morning thinking about my Thanksgiving menu.

We're on a three-year holiday rotation--one year for my husband's side of the family, one year for my side, and one year AT HOME! I love the at home year, and this just happens to be one. Thanksgiving and Christmas in my own home. We're not even having company for Thanksgiving so it can be all laid back and just us. We're inviting friends in similar circumstances over for a day of board games and leftovers on the Friday after. And I can't tell you how much I'm looking forward to just being here.

As for Christmas decorations, though, bah humbug. I'm not a knick-knack girl & I just don't enjoy hauling stuff out only to put it away a few weeks later. I totally appreciate other people's efforts, I just can't muster up the enthusiasm for it myself.

One year, my children decorated the vacuum cleaner with toys from their toybox. I said, "Okay, I know I've left the vacuum out a little long but what gives?"

They wanted to decorate a Christmas tree and I'd failed to provide one in a timely fashion, so they decorated the vacuuum. My mother nearly called Child Protective Services on me. :-)

Joan said...

Oh, Susan! You just send those precious dears down here to KY...I'll let them help me decorate my tree!

And wow Suz....major baking is right. Years ago, I'd bake myself silly to give different ones small bags of goodies at work...not so much anymore.

My brother LOVES the sugar iced cut out ones but....aside from white icing and sprinkles I don't have the energy!

But maybe...just maybe....I'll dredge some up this year.

Joanie trying to dredge up energy to start painting her wall.

Helen said...

What a lot of cooking but it all sounds wonderful.
I make Christmas Cakes for friends and I have to have 2 for our family they are quick to mix but take 3 1/2 hours to cook so I can only make one a day and seeing as how I only have 2 days a week off and with all the other things I do like babysit my life is going to be busy between now and Christmas LOL

Have Fun

PJ said...

I can't believe Christmas is just a little over five weeks away. I'm way behind in my planning this year.

I decorate the house the weekend after Thanksgiving and start baking the following week. I usually bake and make candies from then until a few days before Christmas. The goodies for out of town pkgs. get done first then I start on the pkgs. for the locals. I'll fit a kids candy day in there somewhere too. I'm not doing one for adults this year.

Some of the things I'll be making are:

Spritz Cookies
Bourbon Balls
White Chocolate Fudge
Grandma's Fudge
Citrus White Chocolate Macaroons
Chocolate Dipped Log Cookies
Cherry Snowballs
Dog Biscuits
Maple Pecan Butter Balls
Marble Bark
Oreo Bark
Peppermint Crunch Bark
Tangerine Crunch Bark
Tiger's Butter
Chocolate Dipped Pretzels
Marshmallow-Nut Clusters
Festive Fruit Bark
Orange Spiced Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
Peanut Butter Cup Cookies
Frosted Sugar Cookies
Oreo Truffles
Filled BonBons
Assorted Molded Chocolates
White Chocolate Chex Mix
Elegant Chocolate Dipped Cherries

Tawny said...

Helen :-) It does, somehow, always get done, doesn't it? I'll bet yours is going to be amazing with the grandbabies to celebrate with. The holiday is always more magical and fun with kids around for me. Or maybe thats just because they are so excited to do the cookie making and popcorn stringing LOL

I hear you on feeling better once the shopping gets started - I'm the same way.

Tawny said...

Mariska... tell me more about these triple chocolate cookies!!! Triple chocolate ANYTHING sounds delish :-)

I do the bulk of my baking and candy making for Christmas. My SIL usually brings pies for Thanksgiving. I'm a huge cheesecake fan, though - so that one sounds really good, too!! If you want to share recipes, my tummy would thank you *g*

Tawny said...

Ooooh, Jane, I'll bet the lights in the windows are gorgeous. I love having a tree up for the entire month of December - I'm such a little kid, it seems to spread out and make the holiday last longer, doesn't it?!

Good luck getting through early this year :-)

Tawny said...

Whoa!! Christie, you're gonna be busy in December. Do you have a different type of party when its book related?

Thats a lot of hosting :-) But aren't the parties fun! I am waffling on having an open house- we never had a housewarming party and this seems like the perfect excuse. But then I think of all the work involved...

Tawny said...

JoanieT, I might not notice, but believe me, my credit card would ;-)

I wish we all lived closer, then we could really bash it up for the holidays - you could come party with me!

Pissenlit said...

LOL Congrats Anna!

I'm sort of an have-it-all-ready-early kind of person when it comes to gifts mostly because I dislike the crowds. If I'm making something, I may start it early but it might not be done on time. Currently, I'm crocheting little granny squares to make a throw. I recently did the math and realised that I'm only halfway done. :(

We're not a baking household and I've never baked anything from scratch before. Though, there is this one recipe I've been wanting to try out for these squares(I forget what they're called)...all I know is that they're super yummy and there's chocolate involved.

Tawny said...

Suz, thats such a great idea to shop bits and pieces over time. I'm a fan of paying cash, too.

I would so love to check out your Thanksgiving table, I'll bet its amazing - all the food you've mentioned sounds incredible, thats for sure.

How awesome that your daughters bring goodies too - and the pumpkin cheesecake... mmmmmmm. Do you share the recipe???

Tawny said...


Suz, my mouth is watering and I'm jonesin' hard for cookies now!!! I've only had buckeye's once -Lindsey Brookes (who rocks) sent me a package of them for the holidays. OMG delish!!

Your list of cookies is amazing and looks so yummy. I'm inspired!!

Tawny said...

OMG ROFLMAO Susan!!!! A vacuum cleaner box tree *ggg* That is too funny!!

I hear you on the blessed joy of staying at home for the holiday!!! We've always hosted Thanksgiving -we claimed it when we got married because we knew we'd spend Christmas bouncing from house to house. We used to have to do my hubby's parents, his aunts, my parents, then finally get home to our own. Its exhausting.

Congrats on getting to hang out at home this year - your Thanksgiving sounds wonderful.

Tawny said...

C'mon Joanie - lets bake cookies!!! I'll bet you are a champ, huh? :-)

What color is your wall going to be? I need to start painting my kitchen - bright sunshine yellow :-)

Tawny said...

PJ, my eyes crossed reading your list. I think it was a dreamed-of-sugar-high. Oh man, what an incredible list!!! I'll bet they are all delicious. I hear rumors about your turtles, too!!!

Tawny said...

Mmm, Pissenlit, anything with chocolate involved is definitely worth trying to make!! Maybe you'll find you've got a knack for baking??

I'm so with you on the dislike of crowds. Even more, I hate waiting in line - drives me nuts thinking of all the other things I could/should be doing LOL

I have an afghan I'm knitting as a gift, too. I started last January. Its not even halfway done, either LOL. I'm thinking I might need to come up with an alternate gift... just in case.

Fingers crossed you get all your squares crocheted in time :-)

Anna Campbell said...

Mariska, you missed out on the rooster for a good cause. I've bundled him up in a box and I'm sending him right over!

And it's nothing to do with the fact that he devastated my pantry and tore up my garden. No, nothing at all! (Anna blinks innocently and smiles!)

Anna Campbell said...

Helen, it's really nice up here. Just pleasant - I'm still under a sheet at night which is great for this time of year. But the pool's a perfect temperature. Ask the rooster - I had trouble getting him out. Oh, man, he's a sight in his Speedos!

Pat Cochran said...

I always say I'm going to be ready
early: Thanksgiving, shopping, the
cards, decorating, wrapping! Hah!
The closest was last year when "we"
couldn't find all the outdoor items
that we usually use! I'm just going to do my best, especially because we'll have to fit in extra choir rehearsals for Midnight Mass. P.S. One change we have instituted: Honey now helps with gift wrapping and Son #1 now volunteers to do all the stocking stuffing for me.

Pat Cochran

Virginia said...

CONGRATS Anna, on getting that rooster, you should have a lot of fun today. Maybe he will help you get ready for the holidays.

I am not even close to be ready for these things. I have to cook a large dinner in a couple of weeks and dreading it. Christmas I don't even want to think about.

Joan said...

Hopefully Tawny it will be close to the same medium hunter green the rest of them are.

This is the LONG overdue painting after they cut a hole in it to repair plumbing back in the summer.

I know. I'm a slug.

Pissenlit said...

Tawny - Its not even halfway done, either LOL. I'm thinking I might need to come up with an alternate gift... just in case.

Hee hee hee! It just so happens that I have an alternate gift...just in case. Though, to be fair, I'm generally not this organised. It's just that my best friend's birthday is in February so I usually plan both presents ahead of time because I tend to make at least one of them. :D

Tawny said...

Anna, we should create a Golden Rooster calendar. The GR in a speedo, the GR in camo, the GR in a smoking jacket. You know, all his best looks.

Of course, knowing him the sitting fee would be insane and he'd want all the profits.

Tawny said...

Pat, I'll bet the choir sounds amazing. How long have you been singing?

I'm a big fan of getting the family involved in the work, too :-) I use the theory that they'll appreciate it all more, but really... I just don't want to have to do it all myself LOL.

Tawny said...

Ooooh, Virginia- now thats an idea! We'll put the rooster in charge of the holiday prep for the Lair Party.

hmm... that could get scary.

I hope you have a fab-o dinner. Is it a holiday meal or something else you're preparing?

Tawny said...

JoanieT said: This is the LONG overdue painting after they cut a hole in it to repair plumbing back in the summer.

You STILL HAVEN'T painted that wall?

Paint, woman, Paint!!!


Tawny said...

Pissenlit said: Hee hee hee! It just so happens that I have an alternate gift...just in case. Though, to be fair, I'm generally not this organised. It's just that my best friend's birthday is in February so I usually plan both presents ahead of time because I tend to make at least one of them. :D

LOL - Smart woman!!! That says organized to me!!!

Nancy said...

Ready? Are you kidding me?

We still don't have the seasonally available fruitcake components, which we have to buy before they disappear for the year next week. If we don't grab them, we have to scour the city to find them.

For the record, I have bought no gifts, wrapped no packages, and cannot stand to be in the stores the Friday after Thanksgiving. Or during any portion of that weekend.

The mind boggles at what you've already done!

However, I do love this season. Having Christmas merchandise in stores before Halloween, let alone Thanksgiving, takes off some of the bloom, but I revel in the decorations sentiment.

Anna, congrats on the rooster!

Tawny said...

Mmmm, Nancy -what do you have to get that's seasonal for your fruitcake? The only fruitcake I've ever had was filled with candied cherries -which doesn't seen seasonal to me.

I'm with you on the insanity of Thanksgiving weekend shopping. I try not to leave the house that weekend if I can help it!!! The crowds make me crazy.

Caren Crane said...

Fosey, I can't beleive you nabbed the bird! Be gentle with him. No threats of cook pots, please! *g*

Tawny, I am somewhere in the middle with the gift buying. I have had some gifts for a couple of months and have picked up a few things here and there. I have not asked my children what they want, because frankly I am sure I can't afford whatever it is. *g*

This seems to be a take-what-you-get Christmas, which is very odd in my family. But the budget is the budget and times are hard!

Thanksgiving will be oddly smallish this year. Only my mom, one of my sisters and her girls and my little family. Hopefully my son and his girlfriend will join us. That's only 8 or 9 altogether and usually we have 14 - 21. Really weird. We're all confuddled about how much food we need. *g*

I am SO looking forward to the holidays, though. I'm not ready but I can't wait!

Beth said...

I love to get started early on the holiday planning! I was LOL as I read your post because I just started writing up my holiday lists *g*

My daughters and sister and I will hit the malls on Black Friday and I'll do quite a bit of my shopping on-line. Then I'll get a bit here and there during the month of Dec until I'm done.

I'm also excited about making holiday goodies this year! We always have white trash, sugar cookies, peanut butter blossoms, chocolate chip biscotti and for Christmas Brunch; overnight French toast :-)

And now I'm hungry!

Caren Crane said...

Nancy, I am happy to report that I spoke to my mother this morning and she said she is going to make a fruit cake for Christmas. YES!!! Mama makes the best fruit cake EVER. None of that nasty orange peel, either. Hers is full of raisins, dried cherries, dried cranberries, dates, nuts and goodness. *g* She does use a limited amount of candied cherries, but sliced into smaller pieces, not halves. LOVE IT!

Caren Crane said...

Beth, we usually have the infamous Breakfast Casserole for Christmas brunch. You know, the standard with bread pieces, eggs, cheese, sausage, etc. My youngest thinks that is close to Heaven. I never make it during the year. I'm expecting her to request for her birthday one year. *g*

MsHellion said...

*LOL* My sister called me last week about Thanksgiving plans. As if we've deviated from the SAME plan every year since 1990 (about the time I took over the bulk of the cooking.) She brings desserts, cranberry relish, and deviled eggs. I, the control freak, does everything else. I might lump the stuffing onto her this year though.

Oh, it's not Thanksgiving dinner if we don't have Green Bean Casserole and Scalloped Oysters. Try to mark either off the menu and my brother (25 years older) SULKS. Never mind he doesn't offer to cook. (Okay, it's possible I don't want him in the kitchen, watching me as I do stuff. But still...he doesn't offer! He just watches!) He also claims he doesn't know how to make the scalloped oysters, even though the recipe was one he got years ago. *eye roll*

I have a new place this year so I'm going to put my Christmas tree up as soon as reasonably possible. (I considered doing it after the 4th of July when the first decorations came out, but I think I might restrain myself until the weekend after Thanksgiving.) I'm very excited. I have all sorts of POTC and HP Hallmark ornaments to put on my'll be very eclectic.

Cooking treats? Probably. I won't be able to help myself. There is a saltine cracker-toffee with a thin chocolate layer that is VERY yummy. I might make more of that.

I'm not sure about sugar cookies...they're too much work, though delicious. And I'm never, ever making another gingerbread house. I have a friend who loves to do crafty projects and we got an idea to make a gingerbread house, and we tried to make this elaborate thing, it was HIDEOUS...and exhausting. We were so sick of it in the end. *LOL* It was funny, but every time this year we exchange looks and go: "NEVER AGAIN!" and then we plan simplier stuff, like candy or cookies.

nicolerko said...

I absolutely love this time of year. It's my favorite. I love decorating, baking, wrapping gifts, sending out Christmas cards and reading the Christmas books. I'm pretty much done Christmas shopping. Just have 2 people to get for.

I already decided what cookies to bake. I'm doing cut outs, chocolate chip, thumbprint, and M&Ms.

I'm counting down the days until I can decorate for Christmas. The house just looks so nice and homey. I also enjoy going through the ornaments, remembering when I got them and what for.

Susan Sey said...

Caren wrote: Beth, we usually have the infamous Breakfast Casserole for Christmas brunch. You know, the standard with bread pieces, eggs, cheese, sausage, etc. My youngest thinks that is close to Heaven.

Your youngest is extremely bright, Caren. :-) My family thinks that's a winner, too. We call it heart attack casserole, and we do love it. It's closely related to heart attack CORN casserole, which is that lovely jiffy corn bread mix combined with a stick of melted butter, a cup of sour cream, a can of corn & a can of creamed corn. heaven on a plate.

Susan Sey said...

PJ--two questions:

1) Have you been sainted yet? I mean formally? Because if I were the Pope I'd totally have you canonized for that baking list of yours.

2) Can I please come to your house for christmas? Because I bake maybe four kinds of Christmas cookies & expect heaps of praise for putting myself out. I think I might like to enjoy the holidays as a member of your brood. I still think fondly of your turtles from DC this summer....

Beth said...

Caren, I almost forgot about the casserole I take up to my sister's Christmas morning! We go up and watch her kids unwrap their gifts a few hours before the brunch and I'll bring a casserole of crescent rolls, sausage, cheese, eggs and milk. It's tasty ;-)

Beth said...

Susan, I LOVE corn casserole! I made it not very long ago as a matter of fact. Good stuff *g*

Joan said...

There's a lot of barking going on at your house PJ!

Man, I remember the days I used to do that much....

I'm kind of getting the urge again for this

But if it's anything like my painting schedule, I'll have them baked by Valentine's :-)

PJ said...

Susan, come on down! There's always room for one more! :)

Christine Wells said...

What a lovely post, Tawny. You're making my mouth water... for all that loving and giving of course. Ha!

Wahhh! I'm definitely not ready yet! But I'm giving thanks that we don't have Thanksgiving on top of Christmas Downunder. Don't know how you all do it over there.

Christmas is HUGE at our house. As soon as December hits, we play carols (preferably Dean and Bing and Satchmo and the Andrews Sisters but sometimes Neil Diamond and Elvis sneak in -- Gah!) When we were in England we bought a wonderful advent calendar that tells the story of Dickens's Scrooge--in tiny booklets, one chapter per day. The kids love it and I adore seeing them sitting all cuddled up to dh while he reads. Those are the kind of moments Christmas is all about!

Fo, congrats on the rooster! We'll be decking the golden fowl with holly soon enough, won't we?

WriterGirl said...

not even remotely close to being ready for the holidays!! My friend and I usually do a cookie day for all of our holiday baking. We usually make White Chocolate Cranberry Cookies, Kolachea (an apricot cookie), Rocky Mountain Chip (oatmeal choc chip), fudge and almond brittle. Now I'm hungry!

Julia Smith said...

I'm a certified Christmas maniac, so everything all year waits upon Christmas Eve. That said, I am in no way an organized person. My cards go out late, my tree goes up late, I'm usually wrapping a few last minute presents on Christmas Eve or even on Christmas morning, two seconds before it's going to be opened.

But I don't care! I love the whole thing.

mariska said...

here's the recipes for the cookies and the cake, Tawny ( i post it on a different comment)

Triple Chocolate Cookies :

* 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
* 1 teaspoon baking powder
* 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
* 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
* 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
* 8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick)
* 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
* 2 large eggs
* 1 large yolk
* 1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
* 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
* 6 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
* 6 ounces white chocolate chips


Whisk the flour, baking powder, salt, baking soda, and cloves together in a medium bowl. Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Remove pan from the heat, add the bittersweet chocolate, then set aside until melted.

Whisk the eggs, brown sugar, and vanilla together in a medium bowl, then slowly whisk in chocolate. Stir in the flour mixture to make a loose dough. Don't overwork the dough. Fold in the chips. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, about 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (or 325 if convection option is available).

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Form dough into balls, about 2 inches or 1 1/2 ounces each, and put on the prepared baking sheets, leaving a couple inches between the cookies. Bake until outside is crackly, but the center is still moist, about 13 to 15 minutes, or 12 in convection. Cool on a rack.

(from Food Network)

mariska said...

and here's for the Chocolate Cheesecake squares :

Chocolate Cheesecake Squares
Origin: Everyday Food
Yield: Makes 9 squares
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 35 to 40 minutes
Inactive Prep Time: at least one hour, preferably overnight

● Nonstick cooking spray
● 2 cups chocolate wafer cookies, (I used Chocolate Teddy Grahams)
● 8 ounces (One bar) reduced-fat cream cheese
● 1 cup reduced-fat sour cream
● 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
● 2 tbsp. cornstarch
● 3/4 cup sugar
● 1 large whole egg plus 1 large egg white
● 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips, (you can substitute finely chopped dark chocolate or bittersweet chocolate if you prefer)
● 1/4 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Coat an 8-inch square baking pan with cooking spray. Line with two crisscrossed pieces of parchment or wax paper, spraying between sheets. Spray lined pan; set aside.

Process cookies in a food processor until finely ground. Gently press crumbs into bottom of prepared pan (do not rinse processor bowl).

Blend cream cheese and sour cream in food processor until smooth, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Add cocoa, cornstarch, vanilla, sugar, egg, and egg white; process until smooth. Pour into pan; sprinkle with chocolate chips.

Bake until just set, 35 to 40 minutes; cool completely in pan. Refrigerate at least 1 hour, but overnight is better. Invert onto a tray; peel off paper, and reinvert crust side down. Cut into 9 squares.

Well wrapped, you can store the squares in the refrigerator or freezer. I prefer slightly frozen from the freezer but if you prefer a softer cheesecake square, let them sit in the fridge 30 minutes prior to serving.

(taken from Slow like honey blog)

Tawny said...

Caren, I hear you on the budget. We trimmed way back on the lists this year and I even used coupons today shopping LOL. Its a tough year.

We've cut back, too, on the Thanksgiving numbers - with so much of the family living out of state now its not the same. But I still end up making the same amount of the dishes I always do, just not making quite as many dishes LOL. Somehow, those leftovers get eaten.

I'm with you on looking forward to it all. I'm hitting that giddy happy stage LOL. It helps, too, that my iPod is loaded with holiday tunes because the story I'm working on now is for a Christmas anthology next year :)

Tawny said...

Beth - really??? You really, on purpose, deliberately go to the malls during that crazy time????

OMG you brave thing, you :-)

Mmmmmmm... I forgot about the overnight french toast! YUMMMMMY. That and the casserole are my faves. Delish for sure.

We score this year because my dad and stepmom are with us at Christmas and she'll make cinnamon pecan sticky rolls for breakfast. They are the best!! But a savory casserole would round them out nicely, hmmm?

Tawny said...

Caren, the fruitcake sounds delish. I seriously need to taste me some good fruitcake.

doesn't it have to soak in booze for, like, ever, too?

LOL -that definitely appeals to me.

Tawny said...

ROFL Ms. Hellion - I hear you on the kitchen control. Its so much easier if people just do the dishes, right?

It sounds like you and the retailers are on the same pages about the holidays- the earlier the better, right? I love putting the tree up right after Thanksgiving -and Thanksgiving is so late this year, isn't it?

We do a Hallmark ornament each year for the girls. My oldest has a huge collection of angels, and the youngest of animals. I, sadly, only have a couple of Captain Jack ;-)

Tawny said...

Nicole, you DEFINITELY have the Christmas Spirit :-D Wow... I'm inspired.

Isn't it wonderful when the house is all decorated and pretty? My MIL used to decorate to the hilt, not only the tree and outside, but right down to the bathroom and what towels and pot holders were used. I miss that LOL. Not enough to go get all the stuff and decorate quite that much, but I do miss that holiday immersion.

Tawny said...

Mmmmmmm, Susan.

I have that recipe but haven't tried the corn casserole yet. Methinks I'm due for some butter-overload and might try it next week :-)

Is it amazing?

Tawny said...

C'mon JoanieT ;-)

Give in to the urge. Go crazy.

Its fun *g*

How'd the painting go, btw?

Tawny said...

Oooh, Christine, the image of your little ones listening to daddy read made me melt - you're so right, those are the precious memories that really make the holidays amazing, aren't they?

you said: But I'm giving thanks that we don't have Thanksgiving on top of Christmas Downunder. Don't know how you all do it over there.

We it by gaining a LOT of weight :-) Thats a tradition too LOL

Tawny said...

MMMMMMM Writergirl - now I'm hungry too. Especially for fudge.

I'll bet its even more fun to do the baking with a friend, huh?

We do a cookie day for the kids. All the nephews and nieces and friends gather to decorate cookies I've already baked. A couple times we did gingerbread houses instead, but the cookies are easier - they actually get finished LOL

Tawny said...

Julia!!! Where can I get that same certification??? I want to be a Christmas Maniac too ;-)

Its wonderful fun isn't it???

Tawny said...

Oh Mariska - I'm trying both recipes. Thank you so much, they look AMAZING!!!!!

Pat Cochran said...


We're a choir family: DD1 has been singing with the choir since she
was 14, Honey has been with the
group since the early 1980s and and I've been a member since 1984. All of us have put in 25 years and more! And yes, it is a great choir.

Pat Cochran

Gillian Layne said...

I'm not ready, but it's all good--the girls will throw themselves into it with me right after Thanksgiving.

Those double chocolate cookies look yummy!

Cassondra said...


There. That tell you whether I'm ready or not?

Heck, I can't even get my house clean. We're renovating closets right now, and everything that should be in them is out in the middles of the floors. It's been that way for a couple of weeks. This does not bode well.