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appetizers Christmas Gluten-Free Holidays Recipes vegetarian

MIXED NUTS MOLE

The Professor and I have been participating in the Verizon Midwest Savvy Gourmet program since June and we’ve had a blast testing a few of the products they offer – specifically the Motorola XYBoard and the LG Intuition. Both are fun to use, but more importantly, both are powerful workhorses and have served us well in our travels these past several months.

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Christmas Cookies desserts Holidays Recipes

GLUTEN-FREE ROSEMARY-TANGERINE BISCOTTI

‘It’s the most wonderful time of the year!’ croons Johnny Mathis on a classic holiday tune now blaring from my speakers. I’ve thought about that line quite a bit these past couple of holiday seasons wondering exactly who is having a good time? No, this isn’t going to be Negative Nellie post but seriously, I know I’m in good company when I say that by the time the calendar says November, it’s a dead run until the end of the year.

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cake Christmas desserts Gluten-Free Holidays New Years Recipes Thanksgiving

GLUTEN-FREE SOUR CREAM CHOCOLATE BUNDT CAKE

For more years than I care to admit, I’ve carried yellowing, smudged, brittle and torn recipe pages up and down the West coast, then to the Midwest – always tucked inside a bulging 3-ring recipe binder that is home to hundreds of other recipes I’ve collected over the years. Like old, worn, favorite toys scattered about in a child’s room, these recipes have been ripped from newspapers and magazines, scribbled on scraps and bits of paper, napkins, the backs of envelopes and, during those times I was organized, real recipe cards. Whenever I’m feeling nostalgic, I plop that 3-ring binder on the dining room table and pour over these old recipes until I find one that fits my mood as well as the occasion.

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candy Christmas desserts Holidays MEDIA Recipes Winter

PEPPERMINT MARSHMALLOWS

If you’ve never made marshmallows at home, you’re in for a treat! And the best part? You make them with five ingredients, they come together in less than 30 minutes and while you’re waiting for them to set up, you have plenty of time to work on other projects . . .

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Christmas Cookies desserts Holidays Recipes

RUM RAISIN SHORTBREAD COOKIES

Christmas in September . . . and before you look to toss your nearest sandal at me . . . at least I didn’t say ‘Christmas in July!’

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Christmas Holidays Winter

JOY RISING


We’d like to wish you joy, peace, laughter and much love always – but especially this time of year.  And while the season tends to be so busy for the majority of us, The Professor and I wish you moments of child-like wonder, times of stillness to be present in the moment and grateful hearts for friends and family that surround you with love.  May you experience Joy Rising this season – BIG HUGS!!  Oh, and be sure to scroll down to the bottom of this post – our resident Digital DJ aka The Professor has put a nice playlist together for your enjoyment – now celebrate!

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candy Christmas desserts Holidays Recipes

MOM’S VANILLA FUDGE WITH WALNUTS


I’m not really sure where my mom got this recipe but I remember her making it every Christmas we lived in Walla Walla in the little house on Ankeny Street. I remember the tiny galley kitchen with the light blue painted cabinets, white electric stove and the shiny Waring dutch oven in which she made this fudge – I’m pretty sure she still has that dutch oven.  I remember watching her stand at that stove – stirring, stirring, stirring the syrupy, amber-colored, walnut-studded candy. And every once in a while, she’d drip a tiny amount of the mixture into a bowl of cold water to see if it would roll into a ball – that meant the candy had reached the ‘soft ball’ stage and was ready for my dad to take over.

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Christmas Cookies desserts Giveaway Holidays Martha Stewart iPad Cookie App Winter

CROSBY & TAYLOR GIVEAWAY & RUM RAISIN SHORTBREAD


Musical pairing – Silver Bells by Jim Brickman

WE HAVE A WINNER!  TRACY, who said, ‘I love the pewter measuring cups and the dog treat jars at Crosby & Taylor!’

Tracy, contact me with your address so I can get this beautiful measuring spoon set out to you!

I have a confession to make: I have a thing for handmade artisan pieces whether it’s pottery, glass, paintings or other types of handcrafted art. I worked for a famous singer/songwriter years ago who said, ‘When someone handcrafts a piece of work, they give a part of their soul into whatever it is they’ve created – that piece is a part of the artist.’ Those words have stayed with me and describe the kinds of pieces I want surrounding me in my home.

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breakfast Christmas coffeecake desserts Holidays Recipes

CRANBERRY VANILLA COFFEE CAKE



Musical pairing – Please Come Home For Christmas by The Eagles

This will be one of those posts I beg forgiveness in advance about my photos (which I normally don’t do); you see, I made this coffee cake last year for Christmas before I started blogging or had any inkling about photography.  At the time, I had no idea to bounce light, style a shot or even how to use natural light.  And not that I do these things perfectly now, but let’s just say I’ve been practicing . . . regardless of what you may think about the photos, I am begging you to make this Cranberry Vanilla Coffeecake!!!  Notice the triple ‘!!!’ – that means this cake ranks quite high on my very snooty nose in the realm of coffee cakes!!!  And it’s perfect, perfect, perfect for Christmas morning while opening gifts or any other holiday brunch table!!! Oops – I did it again!!!

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Christmas Food & Wine Holidays jam Recipes

RED APPLES, GREEN PEARS & PEAR JAM WITH VANILLA BEAN


Musical pairing – Winter Song by Sara Bareilles (with Ingrid Michaelson)

As a child, I remember my mother canning tomatoes, making grape juice in jars, putting up pickles, freezing green beans and corn and making jams; in fact most families did because we lived in a rural town surrounded by the Blue mountains and farms. Everyone gardened during the summer months and fruits and vegetables were seasonal – meaning that apples were in the stores in the fall and strawberries were in the produce aisles during the summer – ‘year-round’ produce wasn’t available. So we canned or preserved what we could get our hands on while it was in season.

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appetizers Christmas Holidays Magazines & Cookbooks

DATES STUFFED W/PARMESAN SLIVERS & WALNUTS


Musical pairing – Where Are You Christmas? by Faith Hill

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, I was a single mom of two boys.  And as any single parent knows, putting food on the table can be a real challenge but I was very, very fortunate in that I always lived near my parents or family members who made sure we didn’t go hungry. I was also on welfare a few of those years while I went back to school so that I would be able to support myself and my kids longterm – and $75 in food stamps didn’t buy much, even then. But still, we never went hungry . . . ever. And I am forever grateful.