Tag Archives: Christmas

Christmas Cooking on a Rainy Day

img_4090More rain. Yes, yes, it could be a lot worse—freezing rain or mounds and mounds of snow. The snow, at least, would be prettier than this rain, which makes the December landscape look like March. Did we ever have such weather in the olden days, say, when I was a kid in Maine? No, we did not. Well, we humans have changed the climate, and now we must cope with what we have wrought.

On a more positive note…Today I will commence with Christmas cooking. My plan is to make one of the two ice cream pies that have become a tradition for dessert on Christmas day. The whole family agrees that homemade chocolate ice cream is good any time of year. Add a graham cracker pie shell and some hot fudge or caramel, and you have a pretty tasty dessert. But the best thing about this dessert is that it can be made ahead of time. One less thing to do Christmas week.

I’ll also bake two pumpkins so that I have purée for a spicy peanut soup I’ll be making for Christmas Eve and for pumpkin bread. This time around, I’ll be lining the bread pans with something—foil or parchment paper—so that the loaves won’t stick to the pan the way they did at Thanksgiving. The bread was still tasty, but it looked sorry and hunched over, as though it had traveled too many miles to get to the table.

But before I bake the pumpkins, I will make yeast bread, one loaf for immediate use and one loaf to tuck in the freezer. I hope to make another batch this weekend so that I have extra for French toast over the holidays. (Let’s just say that French toast is especially delicious when it’s made with homemade bread.)

Anyway, damn the rain and on with the cooking!

Thanksgiving is over—onward to Christmas

IMG_7065Thanksgiving is over, and thanks to the snowstorm, how hectic it was. No power for twelve hours and a foot of heavy snow to shovel and throw on Thanksgiving morning. As I mentioned in a previous post, thank goodness Shannon was hosting this year.  After clean up, Clif and I were ready for a nap. We, of course, resisted the impulse and headed to South Portland in a timely manner.

But, our two travelers—our daughter Dee and Mike’s sister, Liz—made it safely to Maine. The table was lovely, the food was tasty, and the three dogs were good. (Shannon wisely bought the dogs big crunchy bones, which they got just before dinner. Those bones pretty much kept the dogs occupied for the entire meal.)

Now on to Christmas. My shopping is almost done, which is the way I like it. I hate running around at the last minute, trying to think of gifts for my family. Much better to plan ahead of time. The season is more enjoyable, and it is also better for the budget.

That leaves decorating and menu planning. Although I have a collection of Santas that I always display, I like to decorate primarily with greens and other natural items. Yesterday, in the woods by our house, I collected winter berries and bittersweet for the outside pots. Today, the dog and I will head into the woods to collect pine branches. The weather isn’t supposed to be good tomorrow, but the branches will be stored in our little shed, and they, along with the bittersweet and winter berries, will keep until the weather allows me to use them. (I like arranging the pots outside.)

For inside, pine branches and cranberries in vases are simple and pretty. I’ll have to make more than one trip into the woods for the branches, and this will please the dog.

As for cooking…I am not one who enjoys making lists, but I find I must do so for my Christmas cooking. There’s just too much for me to keep it straight without a list. This weekend, I’ll be making apple crisp for a dinner we’ve been invited to, and some kind of special muffin for friends who are coming over on Sunday. Next weekend, different friends are coming over for cheddar cheese soup, a holiday favorite in our house.

Add ice cream pies, gingersnaps, thumb print cookies, pie dough knots, peanut butter balls, and perhaps some toffee bars to the list. And yeast bread and pumpkin bread to freeze ahead.

No wonder I need a list.