Tag Archives: Christmas

Merry Christmas! Happy Holidays!

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To all who celebrate Christmas, Merry Christmas!  And if Christmas isn’t your thing I hope you’re still having a wonderful day. :]

I also hope you all enjoy these pictures of our bunnies, Cypress & Pinto, dear readers.  Happy Holidays from our home to yours!

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Warm regards,
Melody

p.s. See you on Thursday for a New Year’s-related recipe!

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My Visit with Santa Claus

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For some children, getting their picture taken with Santa is a yearly event.  I only had my picture taken with Santa once when I was a child, probably because we didn’t have very much money, but I don’t feel like I missed out at all.  The one picture I do have is darling – at least to me.

“My” Santa had a real beard, and was a kind and jolly-looking fellow – a great emissary for the real Santa.  I was around 4 years old when this photo was taken, and I was clearly happy to see Mr. Claus. He, in turn, was probably happy to have a non-screaming and non-squirming child on his lap!

I had exactly one “fancy” dress back then, this light blue one, but didn’t have the fancy shoes to go with it.  Had I not cropped the photo when I made this scrapbook page years ago, you’d see my scuffed, everyday brown leather shoes peeking out from the hem of my dress.  I loved to dress up as a girl (still do, I suppose), and though this dress/shoes combo was a definite fashion faux pas, I was too young and innocent to know better.  I was just thrilled to be wearing my special dress for my visit to Santa.

This year I had my picture taken with Santa at my office holiday party, but opted not to publish it here on my blog. My inner child and I are very close, which is why I had the picture taken at all, but pictures with Santa aren’t as cute when you’re over five feet tall and it’s no longer proper to sit on his lap!  So this picture from years past will stand in for both past and present.  After all, much of the wonder, joy and excitement contained in that little girl of four still lives inside me today.

My next post will come on Sunday, after Christmas has come and gone, so I’ll wish those of you who celebrate this holiday a very Merry Christmas.  And to those of you who celebrate something else entirely, I hope you enjoy this Saturday as well.

As the year is winding down I’d like to take a moment to thank you for reading my blog.  Thank you, too, for any comments and/or kind words you may have shared since my blog’s launch in August of this year.  I’m glad you’re keeping me company, and appreciate your kind words and feedback.

Warm regards,
Melody

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Ida’s Coffee Cake Recipe

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This coffee cake is delicious and would be a wonderful addition to a Christmas or New Year’s Day breakfast, which is why I’m posting this recipe now.  That said, once you’ve tasted it you’ll likely want to make it year-round!

I’d like to thank my dear friend, Ida, for providing this recipe.  Originally called Jewish Coffee Cake, I renamed it in her honor.  Ida said she made her coffee cakes with Imperial margarine, and I made mine with butter.  I’m sure the cake is equally delicious both ways…

Ida’s Coffee Cake

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Cake

Cream the following together:
2 sticks butter or margarine
1 cup sugar
3 eggs, one at a time
2 tsp. vanilla
1 cup sour cream

Sift the following together:
3 cups flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
3 tsp. baking powder

Add sifted ingredients to creamed mixture to make the cake batter.  Batter will be thick and somewhat sticky.

Topping & Middle

Mix together:
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 cups chopped walnuts

Assembling the coffee cake:

Spread half of the cake batter in un-greased 10″ tube pan (also known as an Angel Food Cake pan), and sprinkle 3/4 of the sugar/cinnamon/walnut mixture over cake the batter.  Spread the remaining batter over sugar mixture with a frosting spatula, and top with remaining mixture of sugar/cinnamon/walnuts.

Bake at 350 degrees for 40 – 45 minutes. Check with a wooden toothpick or skewer for doneness.  Let cake stand for 15 minutes before removing from pan.  Cake will be very heavy.

Tips:

1. Have ingredients at room temperature before mixing.
2. When creaming your ingredients, use an electric mixer on medium.
3. Mix the sugar and cinnamon together, THEN add nuts.
4. Before removing the cake from the pan, loosen the cake by inserting a long metal spatula or sharp knife between cake and pan.

Oh, and if the cake isn’t completely devoured on the first day, try warming your slice in the microwave for about 40 seconds before eating it on subsequent days.  It’s delicious with a glass of cold milk!

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as Ida and I do!

Warm regards,
Melody

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Magic Cookie Bars Recipe

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I love the holiday season: the special time with family and friends, the decorations, the music, and the food!  I love that each family celebrates differently, too – unique traditions, meals, recipes.  Now that I’m an adult it’s fun to hold on to old traditions and create new ones.  Before I get to this month’s recipe, here are a few of my favorite holiday-related “ingredients”, typically enjoyed during the month of December:

The smell of fresh Christmas trees – Enough said.
Decorations – I especially love the lights!
The song “Feliz Navidad” – I remember dancing around to this song when I was a kid.  It made me happy, and still does.  The original version by José Feliciano is the best!
Holiday baking – When I was young we had sugar cookies, Magic Cookie Bars (recipe below), and fudge at Christmas.  Yum!  This is one tradition I’ve chosen to carry on.
“Waltz of the Flowers” – When I was eleven and taking ballet, my class performed a dance to this song from Tchaikovsky’s The NutcrackerThe Nutcracker is on my play list every December, and it invokes feelings of both nostalgia and festivity.
Tamales – One of my husband’s family’s traditions is making tamales, and they’re SO good!  Whether you choose a tamal that’s sweet or one that’s savory, they’re corn husk-wrapped goodness.

On to the Recipe…

This month’s recipe is brought to you by my childhood.  My mom found this recipe on a can of sweetened condensed milk when I was very young, and it’s been a must-bake recipe ever since.  These babies are dangerous; I could literally eat a pan all by myself, but they’re also quick, easy, and great for sharing.

Some people make a version of these bars with butterscotch chips as well, which I think is total blasphemy.  Don’t do it!  If you follow the recipe exactly, including the layering order of the last three ingredients, you’ll be very happy with the results.  Everyone who eats them will be, too!

So, without further ado, here is the recipe for Magic Cookie Bars. Simple, but soooooo good!

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Magic Cookie Bars

(Makes 24 bars)
½ cup butter or margarine
1½ cups graham cracker crumbs
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1½ cups angel flake coconut – sweetened
1 cup chopped nuts (preferably walnuts)
6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate morsels

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  (325 degrees for a glass dish)  In a 13×9-inch baking pan, melt butter.  Sprinkle graham cracker crumbs over butter; pour sweetened condensed milk evenly over crumbs.  Top evenly with remaining ingredients (coconut, then the walnuts, then the chocolate chips); press down gently.  Bake 25 to 30 minutes, or until lightly browned.  Cool thoroughly before cutting.  Store, loosely covered, at room temperature.

I hope you enjoy these cookie bars, and I hope your ingredients for a festive December all come together beautifully.

Warm regards,
Melody

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