Still plenty of time left to do your Chanukah shopping! Nah! So who do you buy for? What do you buy? So far I have only bought for my beloved husband and our neighbors. Today is the day I have to sit down with hubby, access our finances and see who we still need to buy for. Definitely our family needs to be taken care of….the grandkids are no fun any longer, they just want money. I miss the days of choosing gifts, making my own cards and taking the time to wrap the gifts. Paul, my a better half, would usually join me in wrapping. Truth be told, he is a much better wrapper than I am. He’s so exacting though. He would turn the boxes this way and that way and try to save as much paper as he could. He was also stingy with the tape. I’d always have to tell him, “Use more tape!!! Otherwise the pack will come undone!!!” Now if you know my hubby, or even if you don’t, he is one of the most generous, giving people you will ever meet, but he had this thing about wrapping paper and tape.
I also miss decorating my house. I always decorated for the holidays. One year I decided I wanted to make a Chanukah centerpiece of my dining room table. I went to one of our local craft stores and I bought blue and white Christmas ball ornaments and silk flowers. It turned out so well that it’s still up, though now sits on my coffee table in the living room. Blue is one of the colors in both my living room and dining room. Thinking about it now, my house is always decorated for Chanukah. My cousin, Susan Z., would never approve. She’d say it’s tacky. Know what? I could care less. You see, many years ago, when I was totally involved in the gaming world, one of my gaming family made me a gorgeous Chanukah runner for the mantel over my fireplace. I never take it down. Upon it I have a silk flower arrangement in a gorgeous vase that was a wedding gift from one of my old bosses. They vase has a lot of blue in it. Then I have four menorahs, one of which was a gift from my game-husband, two we bought and one was a gift from the eldest daughter of a member of our gaming family that she made. There is also a set of four good-sized Chanukah-themed tea lights from the youngest daughter of this same gaming member. I look at these and remember great times and mostly great people. To me, you don’t put things like that away, and I think it looks very pretty. If I could, I’d add more menorahs to my collection, but some things are not meant to be.
And most of all, I miss the baking. I’d always bake two or three kinds of cookies. I remember one year when we were still driving to Buffalo every year to celebrate Christmas with good friends, I made 5 different kinds of cookies, made over 100 cookies in total, for four adults and one small child to enjoy. Needless to say, I came back home with plenty of cookies that year!!! I miss the smells as much as I miss the taste.
I miss making the latkes. Last year Paul made them, using my recipe. They came out very good. And my step–son invites us for a Chanukah dinner at his home every year now. He does a wonderful job too.
And I miss going to our dear friends, Leo and Laura’s, home for our annual Chanukah party, wondering what recipe Leo would decide to make his latkes with that year. I miss them so much. They moved to Buffalo. I would always make the dessert and I had fun trying to decide what kind of dessert to make. Also, this was the time of year when we would get to see my gaming-husband, as he became a big part of our family. We haven’t seen him in many years now. It’s like all our friends have left us. I also was the one who began having this party. But after my great friend, Beverly passed away, Laura decided to take the celebration over. She and Leo did a much better job than I did.
Remember, in my last post I told you have Christmas and Chanukah traditions merge in my life. Laura’s party was a big part of this. Being a dual-religion family, she always decorated part of the house for Chanukah and part for Christmas. She also always made sure that we were invited to her home for Christmas Eve Dinner and Christmas Morning Breakfast. Her kids were like my first grandchildren and I love and miss them all. I miss Bev’s family. I wish I knew how to reach Jill and Linda! I miss everyone so much. I must call Leo and Laura. Also, you can see I incorporated Christmas ornaments into my Chanukah centerpiece, and of course, you have to know that I often made my Italian Christmas Cut-Out Cookies. This year, I wanted to borrow another Christmas tradition and put a Chanukah spin on it. I wanted to make ginger bread cookies cut into houses and decorate them with Chanukah designs. I may still do it, I don’t know…or maybe I’ll try to make it during or after Chanukah, we will see. I’ll need lots of help from Paul and three days to do them in. I so envy the gorgeous ginger bread house my Face Book friend, Carol L. made!!! I have never made ginger bread cookies, have you? Here is a recipe I found on the internet that I hope to use:
Home Cookin Chapter: CHANUKAH 2014
Paula Deen’s Gingerbread Boys & Girls
Active time: 50 minutes
Bake time: 10 minutes per batch
Total time: 1 hour 30 minutes plus chilling, cooling, and
Makes: 3 1/2 dozen cookies
Gingerbread Cookie Dough:
3 3/4 c. all-purpose flour
2 tsp. ground ginger
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 c. packed dark brown sugar
1/2 c. butter (1 stick), softened
2 lg. eggs
1/4 c. molasses
3 c. confectioners’ sugar
3 to 4 tbsp. milk
Assorted food colorings (optional)
1. Prepare Gingerbread Cookie Dough: In medium bowl, combine
flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. In large
bowl, with mixer on low speed, beat brown sugar and butter about 3
minutes or until well blended, occasionally scraping bowl with
rubber spatula. Add eggs and molasses, and beat until combined.
With spoon, stir in flour mixture until well blended.
2. Divide dough into 3 equal pieces; flatten each into a disk.
Wrap each disk in plastic wrap, and refrigerate 1 hour or until
firm enough to roll.
3. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line large cookie sheet with parchment
4. On lightly floured surface, with floured rolling pin, roll 1
disk of dough 1/2 inch thick. With floured 4- to 5-inch
gingerbread boy and girl cookie cutters, cut dough into as many
cookies as possible; wrap and refrigerate trimmings. Place
cookies, 1 inch apart, on cookie sheet.
5. Bake cookies 10 to 13 minutes or until browned around edges.
With wide metal spatula, transfer cookies to wire racks to cool,
about 15 minutes. Repeat with remaining dough and trimmings.
6. When cookies are cool, prepare Icing: In medium bowl, with
fork, stir confectioners’ sugar and milk until smooth and an easy
piping consistency. If you like, spoon some icing into smaller
bowls and tint with food coloring as desired. With decorating bag,
fitted with small writing tip, pipe icing on cookies to decorate.
Set cookies aside to allow icing to dry, about 1 hour.
7. Store cookies in tightly sealed container, with waxed paper
between layers, at room temperature, up to 2 weeks or in freezer
up to 3 months.
Nutrition facts (each iced cookie): About 120 calories, 2 g
protein, 22 g carbohydrate, 3 g total fat (2 g saturated), 0 g
fiber, 17 mg cholesterol, 105 mg sodium.
photo by By John Kernick
Exported from Home Cookin 8.59 (www.mountainsoftware.com)
DISCLAIMER: I have not received compensation in anyway from Paula Deen, Good Housekeeping nor Home Cookin (Mountain Software).
MSS NOTE: Home Cookin is the software program in which I keep all of my recipes. I love this program and have used it for many, many years. Most of the recipes I will be posting are in this format as they come from my files. Exceptions are recipes that I may have posted on Face Book or other old blogs I have put together.