Wassail. Spiked. Or not. Your choice.

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  When my brother and I were in elementary school we were stricken with the momentary delusion of believing we could become a singing group.  Why did we believe this was possible?  Who the heck knows.  I had been banned from singing Christmas Carols at family gatherings due to the extremity of my tone deafness; how I catapulted from that to uber stardom in my mind may just reflect an extreme shortfall in my mental capacities as a young child. We selected a popular (but in hindsight a fairly slow, whiny) song that did not sound good when sung by the original artist and certainly would not be improved when crooned in our dulcet tones.  Quite earnestly we set up a recording situation where the song would be playing and we’d record ourselves singing to it.  We did not think through what we’d … {continue reading}

Festive Chocolate-Dipped Pretzels and Holiday Treat Boxes

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One of my absolute favorite things to do during December is to take a drive to look at holiday lights.  I’m not sure exactly what makes them so magical but for me there is nothing better than setting out on a cold winter’s night with a car full of holiday treats, hot chocolate or coffee to get lost in people’s festive ingenuity (or ‘illumination neurosis’ in some cases). Where we live I’ve found often getting a bit out of town can bring some of the most surprises.  There are roads where the homes or ranches are sprawling and the light displays commensurate with that.  The sort that makes you pull to the side of the road to take it all in. A favorite regular drive is 15 minutes north of Boulder to the small town of Lyons Colorado.  Being one with a serious case of wanderlust, … {continue reading}

Celebrating the Season

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This time of year can feel like being held hostage with a commercial gun at the head and an omnipresent clock ticking a la the nail biting TV series ‘24’.  Of course stores beginning to display Christmas décor in late August does not help as well as ads blasting lay away options superimposed on a cheery patron with burgeoning shopping carts encouraging mass buying (lay away or not it still costs the same.)I will admit this year I’m feeling very out of sync with the holidays.  Perhaps it was an unusually warm November offering no seasonal cues we are diving headlong toward Santa’s visit.  The panic of Christmas cards, gifts to mail overseas and other ‘what needs to be done’ took over temporarily.  I made a decision I was not going to get on that train to Psychoville; I would enjoy each day … {continue reading}

‘Forgotten Cookies’ and Glogg (Scandanavian Mulled Wine)

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This month’s Vintage Recipe Redo and Swap marks a change to a new recipe book.  It was a year ago this month that Christianna (writer of Burwell General Store) contacted me to be the second swapper in this project.  We’ve covered a lot of ground in the past year (you can check out our recipe journey in the Recipe tab on my blog).  Once again Christianna found a great vintage recipe book, The Second Ford Treasury of Favorite Recipes from Famous Eating Places.  Written in 1954 it features recipes from famous restaurants at the time.  I’m excited to see where it takes us! Our task is to redo an assigned recipe by changing at least three things and staying true to the intent of the recipe as we see it.  This month our recipe is one having a strong foundational foothold in … {continue reading}

Denver’s HaHo (Handmade Homemade) Holiday Market

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When my friend Kate Armstrong (the Urban Forager) told me about Denver’s HaHo (Handmade Homemade) Market, I was intrigued and excited to check it out.  As the name implies it is a bevy of handmade and homemade items though it’s more than that.  I really wasn’t sure what to expect when I embarked in October and I can’t say I’ve attended a market quite like it.  The spirit of the people was the differentiator.  It gave me pause for reflection.The market is held at Green Spaces (an indoor venue) on 26th Street in downtown Denver.  As I drove around getting my bearings I fell in love with the area.  There is a barren, regentrifying feeling to the neighborhood that’s an urban signature I find comforting; it feels real and like it’s lived a life.  A banner announcing the market was wafting in … {continue reading}

Homemade Crème de Menthe

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I recently got my mitts on my Mom’s recipe file to pilfer for interesting recipes that match my seasonal food focus and for any family treasures.  We are fortunate to have handwritten recipe cards back to my Great Grandmother which has proven to be a gift revealed to have access to favorites passed down via the dining tables (and cocktail glasses) of multiple generations.  We’ve pieced together decades of food-related memories for our family and our friends who have taken part in various relatives, kitchen exploits. You might expect when going through a mother’s recipe file that you’d find a favorite family apple pie recipe, maybe the old faithful lasagna well remembered from one’s youth, or a favorite holiday cookie recipe.  Apples don’t fall far from the tree my friends so I suspect it … {continue reading}