Snow in Forecast

I did it. The copy edits for Tiana’s book, Easy On The Eyes, got Fed Exed to New York last night leaving me just errands and housework today. It’s so nice to have no writing on my plate for the next few days, especially as the weather guys say we’ve a Canadian storm front bearing down on us here in the Pacific Northwest and snow is predicted for tonight, tomorrow and Sunday.

My boys are very excited about the first snow fall. Last week I bought new shovels and sleds for the kids so they can enjoy it to the fullest. My only concern is that I have tickets for the Nutcracker in Seattle tomorrow afternoon, but hopefully the roads and bridges won’t be too icy scary. I do have four wheel drive and a nice big strong car, but I’m also a little bit of a weenie when it comes to driving on slick streets. I learned to drive in the Tule fog–thick and gray and soupy–but snow? Ice? Not so much.

The boys are also looking forward to seeing the Nutcracker tomorrow, too. But that’s because they don’t really know what the Nutcracker is. Yes, they’ve read the story and I’ve read it to them, but they’ve never dressed up, gone to a theatre and sat for two hours watching a ballet. I think they think there will be some talking and singing and rap. Or talking and singing to break up ballet sequences.  I’m kind of giggling a little (nervously) that at intermission tomorrow they’ll be giving me some serious maybe-we-should-drive-home-now-talks. Either way, it’s an adventure and a first for the three of us, although I grew up dancing and performed in the Nutcracker every year in Visalia as a little girl.

Sunday I’m taking the boys to a Santa brunch at Overlake and maybe I’ll even tackle some holiday baking. I’ve got my shopping done, my decorating done (well, surfer Ty did my outside lights and helped put up my tree for me) and all that’s really left is to finish my cards and find some good books to take to Hawaii with me. I leave on the 19th for a couple weeks in Hawaii and it’s the first time I’ll be back there since July!

I’m doing a fun holiday contest this weekend, and the prize includes a signed copy of The Frog Prince, a frog prince Christmas ornament, a CD of carols, a box of See’s chocolates and a $5 Starbucks drink card. If this festive gift sounds like something you’d enjoy, tell me what you love to bake at Christmas, or share your favorite holiday cookie/recipe. You don’t have to post the recipe (although yum, my mouth is watering at the thought of some of those amazing recipes out there…) just let me know what special bakery item says “holiday!” to you. Contest runs through Sunday night and I’ll draw the winner Monday morning.


  1. Jane,

    I help my grandmother with the homemade pumpkin breads given to each grown member of the family at Christmas! She used to bake about 10 loaves each year and now that we are getting older, I have felt a bit guilty about the fact she does all of it!! So she takes care of the people down in South NJ and I take care of the people in Northern NJ!! I can’t do that until a bit closer to Christmas though. We also bake a bunch of cookies but the best ones are the old fashioned Italian ones my “Nana” bakes every year! I will be heading down there for lunch tomorrow with a Candle order her friend placed with me and can’t wait to see her!!

    Please enjoy your weekend festivities and drive really carefully in all that nasty weather!!

  2. Hi Jane!

    My favorite cookies to make are my mom’s sugar cookies. Every year, since I was very little, we get together and bake several dozens. I love them because they are a little thick and doughy. But the best part has to be the frosting. When I was a kid I would eat the frosting out of the bowl with a spoon – it kinda makes me sick now, but I’m looking forward to starting the tradition with my own daughter this year. She’s only two, so it should be an interesting experience.

    Happy Holidays to you!

  3. Two of my favorites are my pumpkin roll and Kringle bars. I have been making my pumpkin roll since I was in college…OMG….29 YEARS ago? Gulp. I see it everywhere now so the recipe is easy to find. Here is one:

    I looked to see if I could find the Kringle bars and found this recipe which is the same. Picture is not so good but these are rich and decadent:

  4. My mom’s Pecan Tassies

    Cream Cheese Pastry:
    1 cup butter, at room temperature
    Pinch of salt
    6 ounces regular cream cheese, at room temperature
    2 cups all-purpose flour

    In the bowl with your electric mixer, cream the butter and cream cheese until light and fluffy. Add the flour, pinch of salt and beat until incorporated. Flatten the dough into a 1 inch thick disk, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for about one hour.

    Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F and place the oven rack in the center of the oven. Have ready two – 24 cup or four – 12 cup miniature muffin pans.

    Remove the pastry from the refrigerator and pinch off one-quarter of the pastry. Return the remaining pastry to the refrigerator. On a lightly floured surface, roll the pastry dough until about 1/8 inch thick and cut into rounds that are slightly larger than the muffin tins. Gently place the rounds into the muffin tins. Repeat with the rest of the pastry dough.

    Pecan Filling:
    3 large eggs
    3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
    1 3/4 cups light brown sugar
    1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1 cup coarsely chopped pecans

    In the bowl with your electric mixer, beat the eggs, butter, brown sugar, vanilla, and salt until well mixed. Spoon about 1 tablespoon of the filling into each of the pastry-lined muffin tins. Sprinkle each with some coarsely chopped pecans.

    Bake in the preheated oven for about 20 minutes, or until the pastry has nicely browned and the filling is set, yet still a little soft in the center. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool briefly before removing from tins.

    Pecan Tassies can be frozen. Makes about 48 miniature Pecan Tassies.

  5. Hi Jane,
    Oh the food that screams Christmas to me is a Claxton Fruit cake. Yummy! They are the best in the world to me. I don’t like any other kind except for a Claxton.

    For me and the girls making holiday candy and cookies are a must do. Martha Washington candy and Divinity. For cookies traditional decorated sugar cookies and Thumbprint cookies with Hershey’s Kisses (silver bells as I like to call them)stuck in the middle of them.
    Right now we are planning on making loads of muffins for my daughters friends for gifts.
    Just like Bree on the tv show Desperate Housewives would do.

  6. Christmas is thumbprint cookies, not the kind with jam or jelly but the kind with REAL buttercream frosting in the middle. Tint it red or green, then lick it out.ummm………….

  7. i make shortbread cookies with the chocolate centers- they’re from a box, ghirardelli, and they seem to only sell them this time of year. i also make homemade 7-up pound cake + turtle cheesecake+ brownie cupcakes. email me ( and i would love to share the recipes with you!

  8. I always get to make the Pecan pies each year and califlower salad and banana pudding. These are the dishes I make about every year. Also I make a cheese ball which I love. I cook Thanksgiving dinner and my older sister cooks Christmas and we all bring dishes.

  9. Today I baked Carmel Pecan Chew cookies (OMG, so good) and Dark Chocolate Ginger Crinkles (also, very yum), but my favourite (and still to be baked) cookie for Christmas are Pecan Sandies. They remind me of my Nana.

  10. Jane,

    I am not baking this year seeing as I am on a huge fitness kick. However, what always says the holidays to me is this delicious chocolate fudge pie that I used to bake every Thanksgiving and Christmas (and on special occasions for the hubby!)

    Let me know if you want the recipe 🙂 It’s so rich and tasty!


  11. Hi Jane! My mother and I usually bake lots of Christmas cookies every year. Some of them include butter cookies, pecan tartlets, tropic s’prises, brandy bites, coconut macaroons, biscotti, and rum balls. We also make a linzer torte that has ground nuts and raspberry jam in it that the women in our family have made for generations. We make up little tins and give the cookies away as gifts to friends and neighbors.

  12. Every year I bake Russian tea cakes. Actually, I think that they are the same as a Mexican wedding cookie, so they can be called either name! They are easy and so yummy! I also like making peanut butter balls. I am hoping to bake on Sunday, but I’m feeling a little like I’m getting a cold, so we shall see!

  13. I love to bake all kinds of cookies (and eat them, too), but the cookies I make that are looked forward to are sugar cookies done with special holiday cookie cutters. Rolling them out and decorating them takes a long time, so I mix the dough one day, chill it overnight, then the next day roll out the dough and press out the shapes with the cutters and then decorate and bake the cookies. It takes about 3 hours to finish one batch. I have all kinds of sprinkles and colored pastes I use for the frosting, and tons of different cuttters (many of them gifts), including a set of the 12 days of Christmas. At our house it isn’t Christmas without the cookie jar filled with these cookies that are favorites of both the kids and the grown-ups!

  14. I am afraid i will not win this since I am not a great baker. My husband bakes the cookies and his signature cookie is oatmeal chocolate chip. He adds an ingredient that turns them into something that reminds me of Ibarra hot chocolate that I had as a kid (thats mexican hot chocolate). Me and my girls do some minor baking and its always gingerbread cookies (pillsbury kind!)

  15. Jane-
    Each Christmas, my Mom would bake Cracker Jacks. Yummy, gooey popcorn baking in the oven is heavenly. This year I won’t be making Cracker Jacks because my daughter just got her braces on.
    It is a fun tradition to do in our family, just this year we will find something else for use to enjoy.

  16. Hi Jane! Hope you’re still getting stronger after that nasty flu? It happens here too, especially around the holidays.

    I’m begging my family to find my grandma’s White Christmas Pie. I remember some with making it with my grandma and I remember very creamy too coconut. And delicious! If I can get it from them, I’m coming back to post it and too my daughter is going to make it! For tradition, on Christmas Eve, Me and my daughter make different kinds of finger foods that we snack on that makes a dinner! We always trying new things, but too always have a spinach dip, recipe is below. Enjoy!

    1 package Knorr vegetable soup mix
    16 ounces sour cream
    1 box frozen spinach, thawed
    Round pumpernickel bread

    In a large bowl combine soup mix and sour cream. Strain excess water from spinach and add to dip mixture. Stir to combine. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for 2 hours. Slice a circle around top of bread and remove inside and cut into bite sized pieces. Fill hole with spinach dip. Cut other bread loaf into cubes and serve with dip.

  17. So glad you are done with the editing, Jane!!!

    I really enjoy getting together with my friends and baking cookies! I LOVE Butternut cookies (or Russian Tea cookies they are sometimes called). They are so yummy with a cup of tea. Of course I like any cookie…boy am I getting hungry now LOL! Maybe I’ll have some oreas and milk (good, but not as great as homemade). And I like to dunk:)

  18. Meg, I’m a dunker also with a cup of coffee.
    I love to bake Jumbo Raisin Cookies, Cherry Surprise cookies, Chocolate Shortbread cookies, and a Cherry square that is like a Nanimo Bar but the centre is icing with chopped Marachino cherries and colored pink from the cherry juice.

  19. I like to make my Mom’s special candy called “Seafoam”. It’s light & airy & yummy. It is the taste of Christmas to me! It is a really really easy recipe, so give it a try:

    2 c. brown sugar, firmly packed
    1/2 c. water
    1 egg white

    Boil sugar and water, stirring until sugar is dissolved and reaches 254 degrees with a candy thermometer. Remove from heat. Beat egg white in large mixing bowl until stiff, then slowly pour the syrup mixture into it while continuing to beat. Continue beating until mixture is thick & creamy. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto waxed paper. ENJOY!! 🙂

  20. Hi Jane!

    Every year I bake cranberry chocolate chip cookies which are very yummy, if I do say so myself—they’re my gift of choice to share with friends and neighbors. Sometimes I’ll change it up a little bit and add nuts, but most of the time I keep it the same.

    Oh, and my sweet little German neighbor across the street always brings us the most delicious homemade fruit cake that we gobble up in about 2 days. We don’t even like traditional fruitcake around here, but this is the best one we’ve every tried. Very moist and yummy and not dry or hard at all. 🙂

    Hope you and the boys have fun at the Nutracker!

  21. My mother-in-law made Lebkuchen (a honey citrus bar cookie basically), and I have taken up the production now that she is gone. As soon as I taste the first bite, it feels like Christmas! Debbie

  22. have a lovely time in Hawaii, Jane. You deserve it. I did the Christmas baking this morning with my daughter. Boiled all the saved up jars and made loads of cranberry and apple chutney and Lucinda did the labels.
    Had it on toast tonight – tastes fab. I never have time to really cook – but I squeeze this in each year and am always glad I do

  23. I haven’t baked at Christmas for a few years. Today would be a good day to get the oven going . . . it’s only 18 degrees here. I used to love making Balish cookies with my mom growing up. Maybe I should start a tradition of making them with my kids.

  24. Have a wonderful weekend. Have a greaat time. I enjoy making fudge which is a big favorite followed by shortbread cookies.

  25. Hi Jane,

    First off I have to say I am so jealous, I haven’t seen snow in a long time. I’m also going to see the Nutcracker, My daughter and I are going to St. Pete, FL on the 19th to see the Moscow Ballet preform it. She loves ballet, she wants to be a ballerina when she grows up. As for my favorite holiday treat I would have to say that it’s my husband peanutbutter fudge, he’s the cook in the family. Have a wonderful Holiday and a safe trip.


  26. These are always fun to make all year round but I really enjoy making “no bake cookies”… they are so easy and quick to make 🙂

    I also enjoy making a gingerbread house every year… it’s so much fun… my sister and I will sit at the kitchen table and just make the wierdest settings for our houses and it would just look like a huge mess… 🙂 im hoping we get to do it agian this year hehe

    Here is the recipe for no bake cookies:

    1 3/4 cups white sugar
    1/2 cup milk
    1/2 cup butter
    4 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
    1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter
    3 cups quick-cooking oats
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract

    In a medium saucepan, combine sugar, milk, butter, and cocoa. Bring to a boil, and cook for 1 1/2 minutes. Remove from heat, and stir in peanut butter, oats, and vanilla. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto wax paper. Let cool until hardened.

    That’s it… they are that easy! 🙂

  27. Hi, Jane! I love baking Christmas cookies! I usually make pecan tarts, chocolate rum drops, and a crescent shaped cookie with butter and ground almonds. Another favorite is a light meringue puff flavored with chocolate and hazelnuts. Homemade fudge is another “must” at Christmas.

  28. Hi Jane!

    My favorite holiday treat is Peanut Butter Hershey’s Kiss cookies. My mouth is watering just thinking of them! 😉

    Your weekend plans sound lovely, Jane. Hope the weather doesn’t change your plans. Drive safely!


  29. This is a family favorite that my mom always makes every Christmas!

    Cherry Mash Candy Bar
    1/2 cup butter or margarine
    2 cups granulated sugar
    2/3 cup evaporated milk
    12 large marshmallows
    dash of salt
    1 (6 ounce) package cherry chips
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    1 (12 ounce) package semi-sweet chocolate chips
    2 cups finely chopped peanuts
    3/4 cup creamy peanut butter

    Combine butter or margarine, sugar, evaporated milk, marshmallows, and salt in saucepan. Bring to a boil, and boil 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in cherry chips and vanilla, stirring until well blended. Pour into a buttered 13 x 9-inch baking pan and chill for 2 hours. Melt chocolate chips and add the chopped peanuts and peanut butter. Stir until well blended. Spread evenly over the top of the first layer. Chill until firm, then cut into bite-size size squares.

  30. It is all about baking the famous cookies and candies my mother use to make. She was quite the baker and it is hard to follow in her footsteps, but I try. She use to make Rocky road that was to die for! She also use to make these old fashioned sugar cookies with raisins in the middle…mmm, so good. Unfortunately, mine never turn out like hers did! 🙂 It’s all about good family memories and baking as a family!

  31. My big thing this year is making cookies and then allowing my 2 and 4 year old girls to decorate them! They absoloutely LOVE IT! We make about 20 different kinds of cookies and candies and then give them out to family and friends. So much fun, and so time consuming! 🙂

  32. My mom and I always made Spritz cookies from the cookie press and colored, frosted and decorated them at Christmas. She passed away 5 years ago this Christmas and I share that tradition now with my daughter.

  33. Hi Jane,
    Christmas in Hawaii!! how wonderful and warm.. think of the baking you can do there with mac nuts!
    I bake tons of cookies, mexican wedding cookies, sugar, gingersnaps,spritz,pumpkin bread and fudge & carmel corn. This year my son is into the baking, so he will come up to do some divinity & hand dipped choc cherries and his own “organic ginger cookies”. Some of my recipes come from cookbooks my Mom gave me, now “vintage”!

  34. Hi Jane!

    My friends and I get together every year and bake and decorate sugar cookies. It’s a fun time for us we usually bake in our jammies and order a couple pizzas!
    My all time favorite recipe is a cookie my grandma use to make called “delicous” cookie. It has all sorts of yummy ingedients in it…Rice krispies, coconut, oats.
    Hope you have a wonderful holiday!

  35. Jane,
    Don’t you just love baking when it gets cold outside? For me, Winter always brings out the desire to spend more time in the kitchen.
    Chocolate Bread is the ultimate in indulgent baking, and ohhhhh the smell in the house when its baking. If you are interested in the recipe, email me and I’d be happy to send it to you.
    And another recipe just for you: Hawaiian Mood Cookies. 🙂 Again, let me know if you are interested in the recipe.

  36. #6 Camilla, you are the winner of the Frog Prince book, ornament and holiday goodies! Do email me soon with your mail address and I’ll get everything out in the mail. Let me know, too, how you prefer to have the book signed…to you, or to someone else??

    Congrats and thanks to everyone for sharing. You’ve got me in the kitchen baking!

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