I haven't been all that festive since a week ago Friday but I've learned to force myself to DO instead of just SIT and sniffle. Even though that is the default mode at the moment... not such a wise thing to do when one's favorite time of the year is quite short.
I'm now even further behind on review books and letters and everything except for laundry and dishes... for one cannot hide piles of either. Well, I once put dirty dishes in the oven when unexpected company was about to arrive. That didn't turn out so well when I forgot they were there and set the oven to preheat the next morning. Fortunately, there was nothing plastic but now I had baked on food that required a long soak. But I digress...
I've been able to take advantage of a few more Holiday food sales as they appear. This week Kroger finally had their Christmas hams on sale and one now sits in the refrigerator, awaiting its' star role in our Christmas dinner. I think I will get another one for the freezer while they are inexpensive.
I needed to purchase iTunes gift cards for my grandchildren's Christmas gift (taking the very easy and less expensive route again this year but they do enjoy receiving them) and I remembered Kroger rewarded four times the gas points last year when purchasing gift cards during December. Thankfully, I remembered before purchasing them elsewhere! They are indeed continuing that "reward" this year and by that one purchase, we will save about twenty cents a gallon when we buy gas at the Kroger station in January.
They also had their store brand of cream cheese on sale for 99 cents each if you purchase three packages. I already had a couple packages in the refrigerator so I bought three more to make my favorite cheesecake recipe* for our Christmas dessert. It is expensive to make with full price cream cheese as it takes five packages (although I have made it with four and it was fine, just not as thick). However, with these prices it won't cost much at all and all of us love it. Perhaps too much. ;)
I'm not doing very much Holiday baking or candy making this year but I will do a little. I need to make granola today to fill the glass biscotti jar so while I'm in the kitchen, I'll mix up a double batch of shortbread dough and roll it into tubes for the freezer. They will be sliced and baked when needed.
I need to bake mini loaves of cranberry orange bread** for the freezer Sunday afternoon (and a couple mini loaves left out for our immediate gratification). They will be part of the gifts this year. I stocked up on cranberries for the freezer already but should they go on clearance, I'll buy a few more bags for I love orange cranberry recipes.
We've had incredibly cold weather this week. I mean mid-January cold! Even colder temperatures are in the forecast. Nature is balancing that warm Autumn we enjoyed. So popping some Christmas CDs in the player (or propping the iPad up to listen to downloaded music) while prepping and baking in my kitchen is a perfect way to bring some joy into the day.
Even a 400 degree oven feels good this time of year so I've been roasting root veggies for our side dishes with dinner. This evening I plan to roast cauliflower, which is now my favorite way of cooking it. You know it is cold when you actually look forward to doing the dishes in hot sudsy water, at the moment with Mrs. Meyers Orange Clove dish soap.
I finished making three cards Friday morning while listening to this podcast***. It was enjoyable to hear Laura and Lanier talk about their annual Advent tea and how they have changed in their outlook on Christmas preps through the years. I forwarded the podcast to my daughter and told her she had to listen for the parts that reminded me of us made me laugh out loud.
Since all I had to do was get out some Prismacolor pencils to finish off the cards, it was easy to work while listening. I haven't been listening to podcasts for awhile so perhaps this week I'll finally get caught up with What Should I Read Next?.****
That's all for now. I'm doing better today. Some days were miserable. So many memories of kitty girl all around us. I do have the information from her veterinarian about the kitty rescue organization they work with and we will be bringing a rescue kitty home. Soon.
- My favorite cheesecake recipe (it should be made the day before serving)... here.*
- Two favorite quick breads... here.**
- Lanier and Laura's podcast... here.***
- What Should I Read Next?... here. ****