Monday, December 12, 2011

Holiday Goodies

My greatest pleasure during the holiday season has always come from creating special edibles to pass around to my nearest and dearest.  Adhering to the adage 'the more, the merrier' (because, what better way to be at Christmas time than merry?), what began, way back when, with a single batch of peanut butter fudge grew, over time, to a gross amount of gastronomic goodies as I continually lengthened my annual list of recipients and added new recipes to divvy up amongst the pretty packages for delivery to their doors.  I took pride in ensuring treats of both sweet and savory, with a wide range of flavours and textures, to guarantee smiles on all of my favourite mouths.  Yes, I definitely prefer to spend my December buried in butter, mixed with flour, sugar dusted and double chocolate dipped.

Homemade Holiday Goodies - Christmas 2006

I have to admit that, here on the island, it is difficult to fall in to the holiday spirit.  Our trees, while beautifully decorated, are not adorned with glass baubles, flashing lights and delicate ornaments, but instead are dripping with brightly coloured bulbs in fresh citrus flavours of mandarin, grapefruit, lemon and orange.  Our redheaded cactus, Spike, is blooming a wreath of pretty pink flowers and our nasturtiums and marigolds, self seeded in last year's pots, are beginning to sprout through the soil.  Given our spring-like environment, and far detached from pre-Christmas pandemonium (though, my mom and my sister may argue the second point as they continue to receive new emails from me listing various shipment tracking numbers and instructions on who should be wrapping what for who), it is easy to let time slide by and virtually forget that 'tis the season. In fact, last year, I did.

Our "Christmas Trees" decorated with mandarins, oranges, grapefruits and lemons

Ok, I didn't actually forget Christmas last year but, the lack of snow certainly numbed my brain and, for the first time in years, I didn't make anything.  It made me sad.  I vowed that this year would be different.

And so I am, once again, making a very merry mess in my kitchen and am up to my elbows in yum.  Undeterred by the reduced number of names on my recipient list (not because they've been naughty, but because I don't actually know that many people on the island at this time of year, we have very little storage space for extra goodies and cross border food shipments are frowned upon) and the fact that I can't always find the necessary ingredients for my regular repertoire, I've emptied my bag of tricks, totally scratched my usual lineup and am going with all things new.  Using readily available foods, this year will be less chocolate, more citrus and completely corn syrup free.  It will also be 100% Christmas, with all the love, the joy and the spirit of the holiday.

Spike (with his holiday attire)

The bad news is, there is less than two weeks until Christmas and, since I tend to be flaky as pie crust when it comes to my posting regimen, the likelihood that I'll share my goodies with you before you're sick of sugar is probably pretty slim.  The good news is, the holidays are always full of surprises.  The better news is, you are likely too swept up in your own seasonal frenzy to notice new posts anyway.  The best news is, I've made it easier than boiling eggs to subscribe to my blog (by email or in your favourite reader) - no missed surprises, no more waiting and wondering and no checking the page for new posts ever again.

Until next time, please promise me you'll play in the snow, drink plenty of eggnog, shop with local small businesses, artists and craftspeople and support your hometown food banks.

Be merry.

'tis the season for sharing!  If you know someone who'd like this (or any other) post, just click on one of my spanky new share icons below to pass it on.  You can also share your thoughts with me using my new disqus comment system (hopefully this will fix the past commenting issues - please let me know if they persist).


Rebecca S said...

I've been dragging my feet trying to decide if I'd make anything this year ... but this has given me some inspiration!  Maybe I will just make a few things :)

Mom said...

We made the first batch of almond toffee yesterday. I think we have been making this for at least 25 years...maybe even 30! I bought a stack of old Gourmet magazines at a library sale, and this treasured recipe is one of the finds and has been part of Christmas ever since. The kitchen counter is cluttered with the ongoing ingredients and utensils for several days as it is always easier to just continue the process uuntil all 4 batches are done. Shortbread and possibly some gingery cookies will probably also make an appearance this year.

The Perfect Avocado said...

i miss your toffee.  i'll probably make a batch of my almond roca.  you would laugh if you saw my kitchen right now (actually... my kitchen is ok... but my dining room is in a bit of chaos)

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