Oh, the things we consume during the holiday season! Excesses upon excesses:
Sausage Breakfast Casserole
Kneaders Chunky Cinnamon Bread French Toast with Buttermilk Syrup
Ham & Scalloped Potatoes
Figgy Pudding (Just kidding)
Hot chocolate with marshmallows and . . .
The cookies! If I am lame and lazy with decorations, I am the complete opposite with Christmas cookies. As a little girl, my mom always made a wide variety of cookies and candy, stored them in the freezer during the month of December, and then we delivered plates to the neighbors as well as gorged ourselves on Christmas Eve and Day.
I've kinda sorta kept up with this tradition, except when I haven't. Sometimes it's (obviously) just too much. Two years ago I only made mass quantities of toffee. I think it's fun when families have their own signature food gift you can look forward to every year, but when I did that I ended up feeling like I kind of missed out on some of my childhood favorites that only show up around Christmas time. I mean, I guess I could make them any time of year, but it's kind of like listening to Christmas carols in July--just not right.
Last year I just didn't feel like a sugar fest, especially since we found ourselves in an especially generous circle of friends that brought more than enough treats to our door, so I gave out cute little bags of peppermint hand soap with candy canes.
But this year . . . I really wanted to bring back the old favorites. (Maybe because we're in a new place that doesn't yet feel like home.) I came up with a great way to do it without getting too sugared out OR too overburdened in the kitchen. Starting early in the month, every two or three days I would make a batch of whatever we wanted to eat, we'd enjoy a little, and take the rest to a neighbor. Perfect!
Remember that diet Brandon and I were on? Well, we've had to switch to maintenance mode, and my personal strategy during this week of intense sugar saturation (because you know those treats have a boomerang effect among neighbors/co-workers/friends) is a little embarrassing: I don't eat much real food, just treats. Yep, today I had a submarine sandwich, a bunch of oranges and pistachios, and then 3 truffles (toffee, milk chocolate, and oreo), 2 caramels (the big, gloopy kind), some toffee, and a York Peppermint Patty. Nice, huh?
So what are the childhood favs? I wish I had pictures of them all, but most were eaten and delivered way too fast. It's a little embarrassing to look at this list, but man, it's been one sweet month.
One of my all-time favorites: Russian Tea Cakes. Will made his own nut-less batch for scouts because he's allergic. (Christmas is a dangerous time of year for him - he had a reaction the other day from some hazlenut creme hidden in a swedish cookie.) Before rolling his in powdered sugar, he made a little snowman:
Chocolate dipped and decorated pretzels
Last but not least, my new personal favorite (gotta try one new recipe each year):
And even though it never really tastes good, my kids just love to decorate a gingerbread house every year. This is the same one we got last year from Target for $10. Everyone gets one surface to decorate:
Treats I didn't get around to but missed: thumbprints, fudge, seven layer bars, and muddy buddies.
It really is kind of sick. I'll repent in January. That's what New Year's is for, right?