Visit my Monthly Winter Holiday Pages! * January * More to Come!
My porch one winter morning in Woodinville, WA, 2005...
Winter is a nice time to curl up by the fire and share good food with one another...
Garlands are fun to make for holidays, you can hang them around the house or on the Christmas tree. Everyone has made paper chains from colored construction paper as kids.
You make little strips of paper, about one inch wide and five inches long. Then put glue on one end of the strip, or staple the ends together, to make a loop. Then put another
piece of paper inside that loop, and connect the ends of that loop together making a chain, then repeat. It is fun to make chains out of unusual papers, too. Such as color
comic strips. Or find an old piece of sheet music, and cut strips from classical music scores. Foreign newspapers with languages other than those you speak also make
interesting garlands, as do strips made from regular playing cards. For very young children, you can have them make garlands out of cut up pieces of straws and stiff twine.
When I was a kid, we only had white straws with red or green pinstripes on them. Now you can get florescent straws, straws with cartoon character themes, etc. So this is much
more fun now than when I was young. Older kids can a use thread and needle to make garlands of marshmallows and gumdrops or traditional popcorn garlands.
Christmas and Winter Solstice Holidays make us want to make festive, colorful food to brighten the dark winter and to celebrate the
coming of spring and lighter, longer days. Below are some recipes and craft/gift ideas to make your winter brighter!
Feeding Vegetarians and Vegans In Your Family For The Holidays This article was written for both the vegetarians and vegans who have been going through what I have just described for years with their family, but also for those family members who would like to show some extra care, as a gift, to their vegan and vegetarian relatives and guests. Feel free to forward this article to relatives.
Waste-Free Holidays My home town of Seattle, has teamed up with King County, along with several other cities and counties in the area, to offer a website full of ideas for gift giving that give *experiences,* rather than *things* (http://www.wastefreeholidays.com). For ten years, King County has been promoting "stuff-free" holiday gift giving, and I think this is a very good step in the right direction on many levels. Not only does this program reduce environmental waste, but it also supports the arts and increases the local population's exposure to culture. These types of programs also encourage people to spend time with each other doing things, which I think is healthy to reinforce in this world of video games and private stereos. Kitsap and Thurston counties, along with the city of Tacoma, are also offering information about waste-free holiday alternatives on this website. Seattle is boasting 120 participants in its program, which offers 15 to 50 percent discounts on tickets and gift certificates for music, plays, sporting events, museums, restaurant meals, massages, and much more.
You will be amazed how much people will appreciate you giving them a platter of handmade cookies for the holidays. I first began making Christmas cookies with my mom as a child, and
I have fond memories of those times. Then I made them with my son, and then later I got together with some girlfriends and we each baked a few of our favorite cookies, then we swapped,
so each gal left with a plate full of many different kinds of cookies. We spent all day cooking together, and made enough so that each of us could give a few platters to friends and family as well. Those
parties making cookies were fun and we also learned from each other. I never knew how much easier rolling cookies could be until I used one of my friend's
pastry cloth and rolling pin cloth.
I highly recommend you get these two cheap accessories if you use a rolling pin very often. They will make your life a lot easier. And because they use less flour when rolling,
your dough will be lighter.
Decorated Sugar Cookies with Colored Sugars
4 c. sifted flour * 2 1/2 t. baking powder * 1/2 t. salt * 2/3 c. softened butter * 1 1/2 c. sugar * 2 eggs * 1 t. vanilla extract * 4 t. milk
Sift together the flour, blaking powder and salt in a bowl. In another bowl, mix butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla until creamy. Mix in flour mixture alternatively with the milk. Chill the dough
in the refrigerator. To bake, roll dough out on floured board with rolling pin, and then cut with cookie cutters. Place the cookies on an oiled cookie sheet, 1/2 inch apart.
Decorate with colored sugar, m&m's, cinnamon buttons, raisins, chocolate chips, etc. before placing in oven (If you want to ice them, cook them plain and ice once cooled.) Cook at
400 degrees for about 8 minutes.
Colored sugar always makes cookies and desserts more festive. You can make your own colored sugars. Put the colored sugars in pretty containers and give them to friends who
enjoy baking, or use them yourself to make beautiful colored cookie creations. To make colored sugar, combine 1/4 t. food coloring, 1/4 t. water, 1/2 t. vanilla extract and
1/4 c. granulated white sugar. Mix the ingredients together, then spread out in a thin layer to dry. Rub the lumps between your fingers to make the powder uniform. Use more
food coloring for darker colors, and less food coloring for lighter hues. Sprinkle on cookies before placing them in oven for the sugar to set into cookie.
Chocolate Dips This is another easy cookie recipe that you can add to your gift platter. Other things you can add to a baked goods gift platter for a friend at Christmas are banana bread,
baked whole wheat bread or braided bread, sugared plums, chocolate chip cookies, gingerbread, gingerbread people cookies, fruitbread, etc.
Chocolate Dip Cookies
2 c. flour * 1/2 t. salt * 1 c. softened butter * 1/2 c. powdered (confectioners') sugar * 2 t. vanilla extract * 1 c. oatmeal * things to decorate tops, such as crushed peppermint
sticks, chocolate sprinkles, chopped nuts, coconut...
Sift flour with salt in a bowl. Mix butter, sugar and vanilla in a bowl until well mixed. Add flour and salt mixture, then oats. Mix well and then shape into little round balls,
by rolling spoonfuls in your palms. Place the balls on an ungreased cookie sheet, 2" apart. Bake 25 minutes or until lightly browned on bottom, at 325 degrees. Cool. Once cooled,
dip the tops of the cookies into the chocolate dip (below), then into one of the toppings. Let sit and dry. Make wonderful presents in tins.
Melt 12 oz. semisweet chocolate chips with 1/4 c. light white corn syrup, and 1/4 c. water over hot, not boiling water. Keep over hot water while using tongs or forks to dip top of each cookie in chocolate.
Dry Your Own Fruit You can dry your own fruit to add to holiday punch or mulled cider, cookies, muffins, breads, fruitcakes, etc.
In a 200 degree oven, on a rack over a cookie sheet in the oven, spread fruit out to dry...The following are approximate drying times for different fruits:
Apricots, halved, peeled and pitted, 5 hours * Grapes, 5-6 hours * Kiwis, peeled and sliced, 3-4 hours * Mangoes, peeled and cut into wedges, 3-4 hours * Peaches, peeled, pitted, and halved, cut into
wedges, 5 hours * Pineapples, peeled, cored, in slices or rings, 4 hours.
Apples and Cranberry Wreaths for Birds Cut 2 apples into very thin rings. Keep the apple slices in a bowl of salted water as you work with them. Fold the apple slices into quarters then skewer them with a piece of wire, or thread them with a needle and thick thread, putting a cranberry in between each apple slice. When done, attach both ends of thread or wire to make into a circular wreath. Hang the wreaths on tree branches outside. (For more bird
These are one of my favorite things to make with children. Kids always enjoy using cookie cutters, and these ornaments are not only fun to make, but they look
beautiful and last forever, it seems. These ornaments can be hung in windows, on Christmas trees, in closets, etc. And they ship well in the mail, with proper packaging. To
make cinnamon ornaments, you will need: 1 cup applesauce, 1/2 cup flour and 3/4 cup cinnamon. Mix the ingredients, and add more cinnamon slowly until the dough is smooth and
not sticky. Roll the dough out as you would to make cookies, to about 1/4" thickness. Then use cookie cutters to make shapes. Use a straw to make a hole for the string to go
through. Leave straw in as ornament dries and remove once dried. These take 3-4 days to dry thoroughly. (Note: sometimes you can find cheaper cinnamon in bags in the Mexican food
part of the store.)
Cream Cheese Nut and Fruit Cracker Spread 8 oz. cream cheese * 3 T. honey * 3 T. apple juice * 1/2 c chopped apples * 1/2 c. seedless grapes * 1/2 c. pecan, toasted and chopped
Soften cream chese, then mix together in bowl, all ingredients, except the pecans. Spread the cream cheese mix on crackers,
then sprinkle toasted pecan pieces on top.
Kirsten Anderberg. All rights reserved. For permission to reprint/publish, please contact Kirsten at firstname.lastname@example.org.