Thursday, December 23, 2010

Holiday Senses: Touch

Our heated mattress pad. 'Nuff said.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Holiday Senses: Touch

I can't talk about touch this season without mentioning our new bunny. She has been a wonderful new addition, and boy is she SOFT. Her fur is a color the breeders called "fawn" and that's true. Underneath the fawn, she is snowy white, and so's her belly. Her ears are soft, but she generally prefers petting about the jaws and behind her ears.

Also on her rump. Especially when I, whose nails have grown out since my guitar playing is on a winter hiatus, scratch her, she extends into what we like to call "loaf pose".

Le lapin est une baguette!

Petting her has taken time out of my day. She needs her human companions, and as the one with a fairly flexible schedule, I often go to spend time with her in the mornings or afternoons before the arrival home. Not a problem. I swear I think my blood pressure plummets when I'm with her. She's so sweet and loving, and the softness of her fur is truly remarkable.

So even though we've been busy and maybe even stressed (though not too bad - amazing how you can keep stress at bay if you don't let it take over your life) this season, our soft little bunny has helped us remember the message of the season: love.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Holiday Senses: Sounds

Holiday Senses: Taste

I'm not near a good a cook as many of my friends. Nor am I creative in the kitchen. Friends of mine make homemade limoncello, toffee, breads, and shortbreads. I cannot. But. I know what I like. The tastes of the holidays, of fall and winter, are perhaps my favorites. (Ask me about this when the basil and tomatoes ripen...but for now...)

I did some baking last week - shocker, as last week was filled top to bottom with musical events and in between those, parties. Fun parties, too! A rainy Saturday afternoon pre-party time was just right for cooking up a bunch of pick-up bars.

I made:

Lemon Squares

Easy 7 Layer Bars


Almond Bars

I took those to my book club event. Tasty. The event before that called for heavy hors d'oevres. My husband wanted White Trash Dip (which is really Buffalo Wing Dip) but someone else was bringing that. So we made his long-time favorite, Cheese Olivettes, aka Olive Balls.

People are very passionate about the olive balls. We made some last year that didn't turn out - because we attempted to use real butter and high-end cheese. Nope. Get the extra sharp giant block of yellow cheddar, and for best results, I daresay some margarine. You'll thank me later.

Cheese Olivettes
from "Under the Mulberry Tree", a recipe book published by Mulberry United Methodist Church in Macon, GA.

1/2 lb extra sharp cheddar chees


Dash Worcestershire sauce

garlic salt to taste

1 1/2 C sifted all-purpose flour

1 bottle stuffed green olives (smallish)

Grate cheese and mix with soft MARGARINE. Add Worcestershire sauce, garlic salt, and flour. Blend well. Roll bits of dough, press thin, and wrap a piece of the thin dough around an olive, rolling in palm of hand to completely encase olive. Bake at 375 for 20 minutes. Makes 40 plus (or not - whatever).

I went to a social for my handbell choir that featured a few nice, newish things I'd not had. Tea biscuits (found in your freezer section) with country ham (though my friend said she often used honey-baked as well) with a blackberry preserve/dijon mustard sauce. I believe she said 1 c. preserves to 3 tbsp mustard. Pretty AND delicious.

Our hostess had a lovely mid-centry decor and everything to drink - mimosas, hot mulled cider, coffee, iced tea that was wonderful. What was in it, I asked? Oh, just half a jar of Knudson's apple-cranberry juice! And some sliced oranges and lemons. I can't find apple-cranberry juice on their web site but I'm pretty sure that's what she used.

I did get creative for a cocktail recipe. You know I love the bubbly. Cooking Light featured a quickie cranberry liqueur that you pour in champizzle for a cranberry "Kir Royale". YUMMO!

And finally, we are having a snow day today. No school, and for me, no final Christmas concert with my preschool kiddies - who've worked so hard!! I'm a little sad about it. But it was really pleasant this morning to pour, instead of milk, egg nog into my French toast batter....and to use the wonderful cinnamon chip bread one of my talented friends had given me, and to linger over coffee with my husband and children, watching our beloved new pet hop around under the Christmas tree.

(And yes, the coffee was, naturally, Christmas Traditions. I know they changed the name 15 years ago, and I don't care. I LOVE THAT STUFF.)

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Holiday Senses: Sounds

I like moody, minor-key hymns and carols, and also obscure European ones. A lot.
The YouTube videos here are clunky and messing with my pristine design esthetic, so I'll just list, then show. Ok?

1. Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence
We used this one this past Sunday. Creeptastic, but also has a nice expectancy which I suppose is what Advent, anyway, is all about.

2. In the Bleak Midwinter
This one has an actually uplifting major resolution, but the title! Yes!

3. Lo, How a Rose E'er Blooming
I challenge you to not like this one. It's been my favorite for many years.

4. Coventry Carol
My dad has always liked the version of this that was on "A Very Special Christmas, volume ONE" - by Allison Moyet of Yaz and Erasure. I adore my daddy; that recording was one of the only songs we ever both liked.

5.Fum, Fum, Fum
This version is technically great but the one time I sang it, in English, it was fun to sing "on December 5 and 20". Trips off the tongue, doesn't it?

Monday, December 06, 2010

Holiday Senses: Sight

We had a little snow on Saturday. It. Was. PERFECT. Pretty, short-lived, melting now, and on a weekend. Living in the South, one doesn't see a sight like I did this weekend very often: our tree, just put in the tree stand, with white powder clinging to the branches. My sweater, coming in from outside, dusted with snow. Our yard almost fully blanketed, with swaths from the sledding attempts (not bad!) cut through it. Through my window during a brief break in the madness, the flakes showering down from a steel-grey sky.

That night we braved the roads to head to an old friend's annual soiree...and the Christmas lights and the shiny roads made the snow twinkle. That's right, twinkle. Bundled in my coat (due to my bare legs, arms, and strappy shoes), I loved looking at the rare sight of the bowing trees and frosted branches.

It still hasn't melted all the way. Yay.