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Santa Sees Red December 23, 2008

Posted by alwaysjan in Holidays.
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I should have known that my “I, Santa Claus” post, in which I revealed how I’d told my son the TRUTH about Santa, would meet with disbelief. Yesterday, Santa himself responded with a letter to my now 22-year-old son, Ian.  The envelope was red; the writing in silver script.  It’s not every day you receive a letter with The North Pole as the return address.  

I couldn’t help but notice that Santa’s letter had been postmarked in Chicago.   I always figured Santa for a Midwesterner, what with his weight issues and all.  But our friend Nora also lives in Chicago, and I know she divides her time between acting and elving.  Coincidence?

I delivered the envelope to Ian, who was lying in bed, waylaid by the flu. When he ripped it open, silver snowflakes cascaded onto his bed.  He said something Santa wouldn’t approve of.

“What does it say?” I couldn’t contain my excitement any longer.   Ian read aloud, “Ian, Your parents are commies – I have ALWAYS existed!”  (Oh, SO Nora!)

Ian opened the card.   Both Santa and Nora had signed it, along with the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy.

Ian looked confused.  “I don’t get it.  What are commies?”  he asked earnestly.  I thought about giving him one of my “teacher” explanations, but decided to go easy on him.  It got me to thinking though.  If I hadn’t told my son the TRUTH, he might still be a believer.

Killer Christmas Cookies December 23, 2008

Posted by alwaysjan in Food, Holidays.
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In the beginning there was butter, sugar, and an egg. And these simple ingredients begat Christmas Cookies. Or to put an evolutionary twist on it, while YOUR ancestors began life in a primordial chemical soup, MINE did their oozing in primordial cookie dough. And as soon as my people (as in, I’ll have my people call your people) were able to crawl onto land and stand upright, they began making Christmas cookies. The End (or almost).

I thought I’d post one of my recipes for Christmas cookies. The cookies in the photo were baked by a student’s mother. They were too beautiful to eat, but I ate them anyway. I took a picture of them first though, because just like Dexter, I like to keep a trophy of my “kills.”

My all-time favorite recipe for the holidays are the Pecan Puffs from Joy of Cooking. My cookbook automatically falls open to this grease-stained page. The cookies are billed as “rich and devastating.”  Say no more.

Pecan Puffs

This recipe makes about forty 1  1/2 inch balls, but since I’m one of those people who loves to eat cookie dough, I’ve taken to always making a double recipe.

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.  Beat until soft:                      1/2  c. butter

Add and blend until creamy:                          2 T. of sugar +  1 t. vanilla

Blend in the food processor, but not TOO much                 1 cup pecans

Add                                                                           1 cup of Cake Flour

Note:  I’m usually too lazy to go out and buy Cake Flour so measure 1 cup regular flour less 2 T. (per the Joy of Cooking Substitutions page)  

Stir the pecans and the flour into the butter mixture. Roll the dough into small balls. Place the balls on a lightly greased cookie sheet and bake for 30 minutes. (Don’t expect them to look brown. While they are still hot, roll them in confectioners’ sugar. Lick your fingers and you’re done!