At last we've come to the end of 2014 and not a moment too soon. I'm not gonna lie, this was not my favorite year and I'm looking forward to waking up tomorrow morning with a fresh new attitude and endless possibilities.
OK, so Christmas is over and the long Christmas weekend is over and you've eaten all the cookies in the house. You might have even made some public statements about being sick of sweets and ready for a healthy new year. But... the new year isn't here quite yet and you're getting hungry again and you do sort of still want something sweet. Or maybe that's just me.
OK, not long, long ago. Just two years ago. But I'm a little obsessed with Christmas music these days and the song It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year with the line "And tales of the glories of Christmases long, long ago" was running through my head. Just like the line from The Carpenter's Home For the Holidays that reads "I met a man who lives in Tennessee and he was headin' for Pennsylvania and some homemade pumpkin pie" was looping in my brain the other day when I made pumpkin pie. I'll be over this soon, I promise.
I have Christmas music playing pretty much non-stop these days. When I'm at my desk, when I'm at the gym...it's my annual binge. And, come the new year, it will be banished again until after next Thanksgiving. One of my favorites has always been Home for the Holidays by The Carpenters and it's made me associate Christmas with pumpkin pie.
I like giving homemade food gifts because I think the love and effort that goes into making them truly expresses to the recipient that they were important enough to you to make the effort. And so I spent the morning of my dearest friend's birthday in the kitchen, baking these treats for her. I also have a treat for you today because Peanut Butter & Co. will send 4 jars of their peanut butter, in your choice of flavors, to the winner of my giveaway below.
If you think that I'm capable of walking past a package of chocolate chips stuffed with peanut butter then it's obvious that we've never met. It was definitely one of those "stopped in my tracks" moments in the baking aisle when there, next to the chocolate chips and the peanut butter chips, was the combo of my dreams. Thank you, Nestle, for your new DelightFulls filled baking morsels. Or snacking morsels, as the case may be. Or just buy two and do both.
Today I have the pleasure of working with Mirassou on some great holiday entertaining ideas.
We're deep into holiday entertaining mode around here. Cocktail parties, appetizers before dinner, something special for New Year's Eve perhaps? I have some great wine and that needed a great appetizer to match. Wine and cheese is a given but a savory cheesecake is so much more impressive. And I promise you there won't be a sliver left because it's just too good.
Have I ever mentioned to you that I am a cashew thief? I mean that, if there's a bowl of mixed nuts around, I will surreptitiously steal all the cashews. And if you happen to comment on how few cashews there are in the bowl, I will stand there and complain to you about how the mixed nut companies are shorting us on cashews while pretending there is an equal number of them in the can. This has happened.
Excuse me but can somebody please tell me what happened to the first part of December? These days it seems like I blink and I'm handing out Halloween candy, blink again and I'm roasting Thanksgiving turkey and and now all my get-it-done at the start of the month December plans are late. Some of you may be getting Christmas cards for Valentine's Day if this keeps up.
Today I have the pleasure of partnering with Minute® Rice to create this mouth-watering recipe. As always, thank you for supporting the products I love and use in my kitchen.
We all have our guilty pleasures and, while mine are usually sweet, rice balls have the savory honor. There's a gourmet Italian market dangerously close to my apartment and they make the most perfect arancini. They also have an amazing produce selection which is why I go there...cough, cough...OK, moving right along.
Every year it seems like I spend the month of December coming up with creative ways to feed guests. Oh, planning a dinner is easy enough but what about those in-between, buffet type foods. A cold cut platter, cheeses, crudites, something more special?. But what?
If you recall, a couple of weeks ago I was whining about not being motivated to make a fuss over breakfast and calling it a successful meal when I've actually poured milk into my bowl of cereal. But, it's the holiday season and making a good breakfast for someone you love or visiting guests is such an act of love. And, in fact, it is on holidays and birthdays that I haul out the bacon and eggs and French toast to make people happy at breakfast. But that's kind of the problem because the recipients are happy but the cook is eating leftover cold French toast crumbs while cleaning the kitchen. Wow, I guess I wasn't done whining.
The post-Thanksgiving weekend comes with certain traditions around here. Pumpkin and turkey decorations are put away, I can hear the Christmas tree vendors setting up down on the sidewalk and my kitchen smells like gingerbread.