Tradition! (>insert song from Fiddler on the Roof<) I never really grew up with a lot of deep running family tradition and never thought much about it. We have Grandma’s Orange Stuff at holiday gatherings and Dad had that hideous Santa hat he wore while doling out gifts on Christmas morning (or actually at 11am after cleaning the house, eating breakfast and waiting for everyone else to do the same—-which was excruciating through my younger years, lol). All these were things we had invented over the years but none were by any means deeply rooted. Since marrying my husband, it’s been a lot of fun learning all about his family’s German roots–when his Oma was young her German family helped Jews in the underground railroad. There are traditions like hiding the pickle in the tree where whoever find’s it first on Christmas Eve gets an extra present (yes, I heard about that and had to buy a pickle ornament!) and there’s the bird ornament in the tree for good luck. And every year my husband is most excited to make his very favorite—potato cookies. Something his Grandma makes every year, it’s a combination of nostalgia and just plain good cookie that keep us cranking out dozen after dozen of these babies around the holidays. They taste like sugar cookies but better somehow—the way potatoes pretty much make everything better. Don’t worry, these aren’t savory cookies—-they are anything but. They have a soft middle with crispy edges, with a crunchy sprinkling of sugar on top. This recipe makes a ton, so eat them all or share if you can bear it. And know that you are partaking in a bit of deep rooted holiday family tradition.
This is a recipe stumbled upon on the ever popular pinterest, which is heaven for anyone who likes to look at food, eat food, make food….well you get the picture. My husband and I recently joined a gym and have been getting up to get there at 6am before work. I don’t like breakfast food—give me a cold piece of pizza any day over eggs and sausage—and my stomach is especially never happy about being up at odd hours. I saw these and thought they’d be the perfect pre-workout breakfast snack. Easy to pop one or two, healthy, and I hoped—–yummy. Every once in a while I’ll be inspired by something that sounds healthy and I think about how great it’d be to incorporate it into our regular snacks or meals, and usually it will stick for a week or two and then fade because deep down it’s not as good as the unhealthy stuff (pita chips and hummus are an exception—they have stuck in our lives forever, yum!) Okay so that was the build up—these little things are GOOD. Like pop one or five in the morning and then mid afternoon snack and then after dinner dessert good. I am going to say it and you won’t believe me, but I swear I’m not exaggerating…
With the winter weather finally visiting us here in Florida, now come the marathons of crockpot recipes. I probably don’t need to explain why I love crock pots, but I’m going to do it anyway because there is just something wonderful about unlocking the door after a long day to be greeted by the most welcoming smell of magically cooked, hot food (thank you crockpot fairies!). And down south we like our chicken and dumplings, so here’s a delicious recipe that whips up a whole pot full of creamy, gravy goodness with the perfect doughy dumplings.
This dessert tops my list of decadent cheesecakes. Coffee often makes its way out of our cups and into our sweets around here, lending to many a late night run to Starbucks for yet more Italian Roast via packets. Most people love cheesecake, but this combination of cream cheese, sugar, Bailey’s, Kahlua, and coffee will make you eat two pieces, lean back in your chair, and moan while you ponder where you’re going to put the next piece. The texture is creamy and smooth, with that wonderful bold coffee flavor. An even coating of cocoa powder to top and this baby is ready for the road. I loved this dessert and will definitely make it again.
The excuse for making this goody was my husband’s boss’s birthday, who happens to be a supreme-ninja-black-card-member at Starbucks (yes, I think that is the official name). For fun, I had my husband swirl a dollop of whipped cream in the middle of the cake and stick a tall, dark green candle in the middle in true Starbucks style.