Oldie but a Goodie

Wow, I totally forgot to post this before Christmas. Whoops. Will you forgive me?

I have read a few blogs and surprisingly enough, even a whole book about Cake Pops. Everyone wants to complicate them and add in all these extra steps, but guess what I learned? You don’t need to waste anytime with that nonsense!

My laziness actually resulted in something positive. WOOO–HOOOOO!!!! Vicki Gunvalson does it better, I know.

Anyway here is my version of Christmas pops.

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I know they are not as aesthetically pleasing as Bakerella’s, but they are delicious!!!

And regular chocolate works perfectly here… just keep them refrigerated. Everyone says this is a big no-no, but I rebelled.

  • Crumble leftover cake into pieces and mix with your favorite icing. Since I used leftover cake from a mix I made my own cream cheese frosting. Generally speaking, I try and make my food 1/2 homemade and 1/2 processed. Meaning if I make boxed spaghetti, I try and make my own sauce. As I digress, for these pops, I used a ratio of about 2/3 cake to 1/3 frosting.
  • Roll the mixture into equal sized balls, stick a lollipop stick in the middle, cover with saran wrap, and refrigerate the pops until sturdy.

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  • Temper chocolate over a double boiler. I used my favorite chocolate in the world, Scharffen Berger.
  • Place sheet of wax paper next to your work area. You want to be able to dip, place down quickly, and sprinkle on toppings.
  • Twist the stick as you dip it into the chocolate and gently tap off as much excess as possible.
  • Place on wax paper and immediately sprinkle with desired toppings. Repeat until all pops are dipped.
  • Cover with saran wrap and refrigerate until hardened.

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Change the sprinkles and these are suitable for ANY time of year.

Little Piggy Rolls

Something about Christmas reminds me of pigs. Maybe it’s the Honeybaked Ham or just a reflection of how I feel when I look into the fridge.

Check out these adorable and must I say, ABSOLUTELY DELECTABLE Cardamom rolls my sister made.

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Little piggies need ears…

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They also need to get nice and portly with a good proof. And what little piggy doesn’t love a bath in egg wash?

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This little piggy got BAKED…

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This little piggy is going in my mouth..

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And this little piggy needs a nose job.

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Gingerbread Land 🎄

My mom went all out for Christmas like the craftier version of Shannon Beador. One thing I remember most was her making Gingerbread houses.🍬

Sometimes I would come home from school and she would have cookie sheets spread out all over the counters, timers clicking down for the next batch in the oven, and a mixer full of Royal Icing just waiting for my finger to dip in it. “You are not going to like that Laura,” she would warn, and every time I would ignore her and obnoxiously complain with a disgusted purse in my lip, “it is too sweet.”

It was fun to watch her experiment. She’d envision the shape she’d want for the house, cut the templates out, and then bake and build the entire thing by hand. It was incredible.

I especially loved seeing her melt candies for windows, and OF COURSE I loved to help decorate. She even threw Gingerbread decorating parties for my sister’s Girl Scout troop. They were legendary, literally.

The last time we went to our childhood home, the new owner told us that all of the women in town still talk about it. She turned the basement into a little winter wonderland. 🍭🎅🎄🎁 No joke.

She was one cool cat. 😎

Since this will be my first Christmas without her, I want to remember her favorite gingerbread houses. Here are a few of the vintage Good Housekeeping magazine winners she adored.

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These are serious works of art. No one makes anything cool anymore… Well expect for this Up version.

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This Cape Cod style is cute too!!!

Aren’t these just a little slice of heaven???

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Miss you mom!!!!

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This Stollen has Stolen my Heart

What did I make on Thanksgiving? Garmisch Nut Stollen, a beautiful citrus infused German Christmas bread. One bite of it and you are immediately transported to the enchanting Alpine village of Bavaria where this decadent, walnut-filled bread originates.  As the December 1979 issue of Cuisine magazine describes it, “at Christmastime Bavaria is a snow-covered wonderland. Carols and sleigh bells echo softly through the air. The pungent smell of freshly baked gingerbread wafts from warm and cheery bakeries and rosy-cheeked children gaze wide-eyed at the holiday treasures within.”

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“The windows, ablaze with candlelight, cast an iridescent glow over the icy whiteness.” Okay, my heart has officially melted.

Maybe that explains why I made Christmas bread for Thanksgiving? Who knows, but I do know that if you live in the snowy tundra (like me), you NEED to make this!  It will bring you such comfort and delight that I cannot even begin to describe it in words. My cheeks are rosy just writing this….

Check out the recipe here, I agree with this blogger that the pictures help 1,000%.

It makes two loaves… I greedily saved one for today but apparently there is only a 1/8th left? I cry like Flo Rida.

Loaf 1- I gave this one away. Sorry no photographs of this cut. Definitely has MORE filling…. oh well. This is ThanksGIVING right??

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Loaf 2

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Few things I changed up: I switched the lemon zest for orange, because personally I prefer oranges, AND I let the dough autolyse, or rest, for 5-10 minutes before kneading. ALWAYS do this for dough; I swear it saves you like 5 minutes of kneading.

I NEED to go to this Christ Child Market and gluttonously shovel down Bratwursts, glazed fruit, and Bavarian treats galore! I saw Bacon Cake in this issue too…..has anyone made that???? Sounds like heaven. I wish my grandmother and mom were still around to tell me. They were WAY more German than me–50% and 25% respectively, meaning I’m like what? 13%?

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Are you 100% German? Marry me.

Cranberry HARVEST!

The air is crisp and you can feel the ground pulsating to the rhythm of a water pump. From afar it almost looks like the cleanup of an oil spill. Workers in Waders use huge booms to corral a common substance to the side. But as you get closer you realize this is no tragedy, this is AWESOME! 50 shades of red, white, and everything in between float on the surface. What are these magical floating berries?? CRANBERRIES of course, and it is harvest time!

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For the last few days I have stalked all the cranberry bogs around me, waiting impatiently for this time-honored tradition of harvest. Why? It felt right. Cranberries remind me of Christmas time as a young girl when my mom and I would string them together into a garland (sometimes with popcorn).

cranberry-garland-web cranberry garland

I stole these two pictures from the internet.

Cranberries remind me of my mom’s tangy homemade cranberry-orange sauce, her Pinot Grigio spritzers, and in general, just her. She LOVED cranberries. She snuck them into a lot of her recipes and raved about their levels of antioxidants.

As I watched the harvest I couldn’t help but smile thinking about her. She lived for this sort of thing.

The Cape Cod Cranberry Growers Association says:

Of all fruits, only three – the blueberry, the Concord grape and the cranberry can trace their roots to North American soil.001

Cranberries are our roots.

Even the Native Americans were infatuated by these little berries of heaven… Or were they just starving? Tell me Plimoth Plantation.

Cranberries are COOL.

You absolutely need to check out a cranberry harvest in person. No picture or video can give this epic event justice…. but I will try. This is a combination of two bogs, on two separate days. You are not crazy if you think they look different.

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This is a wet harvest where the bog is flooded to make cranberry juice. For the harvest of Craisins® or the fresh bags of cranberries you see at the grocery store, the cranberries must be picked by the dry method. I have yet to see a dry harvest. Will someone invite me to one next year??? I swear I am not desperate (ha ha).

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The water pump in use…. so vintage, I love it!

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Once they flood the bog, they use these adorable almost Jerry-rigged machines to loosen the berries.

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Then they corral the berries.

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Load them in the truck, and WOW that was out of this world like NASA.

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Time to get cooking!!!

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You NEED to buy one of these for your mom or the woman you LOVE

Christmas is coming up!! Meaning you want your mom or the woman you love most to feel comfortable and cute. Get at least one of these for her as a Christmas present.

Boden is the most amazing brand. Get the British Tweed Blazer.

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Rainy Day Mac in Citrine.

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or the Kate Coat in New Cream. How timeless!

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Not sure about this Hotchpotch Pattern Sweater. Dill or Ivory?

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Or what about the Isla Dress in Beetroot Check?

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For a woman who just absolutely wants to be COMFORTABLE. Check Garnet Hill.

Women’s Classic Flannel Pajamas in Aqua Scroll please.

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Can’t go wrong with a Side-Button Cashmere T-Neck.  Dusty rose triggers the ‘I want to squeeze you’ reaction in the brain.

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No one would complain about a pair of UGG Ansley Shearling Moccasins.

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UGG Blayre Cuffed Boots. Espresso the way to her heart.

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Or just stick with the classics. LL Bean’s Wicked Good Moccasins.

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*My heart feels warm and cozy just from looking at these*