Brandied Cranberries

Brandied Cranberries |

  I received an early Christmas gift of a vintage cookbook that had belonged to my Grandmother.  My Grandfather had spent the bulk of his working career with Home Life Insurance of New York, living in Salt Lake City Utah and in San Francisco.  My mother ended up with this self ‘published’ compilation cookbook of recipes from mainly wives of Home Life Insurance employees called ‘Home on the Range’.  It was a bit worse for wear but of course for me that makes it all the more appealing.  I always love things that have ‘lived a life’. I was surprised to see it was published in 1980 and feel fairly confident many of the recipes were created decades before.  Some tell tale signs like cans of soup in the middle of a cake recipe or lots of ingredients I’m sure that were viewed to be the … {continue reading}

Persimmon Pudding with Hard Sauce


  Earlier this week I was honored to do a Guest Post on the website of a cyber Gal Pal, Rebecca of Chow and Chatter.  Rebecca and I collided on Twitter some time ago.  She embodies the spirit of Social Media by my definition.  A knowledgeable, warm reach parlaying her dietary knowledge and international savvy.  Rebecca is a British ex pat amazingly juggling her work as a Social Media maven, Registered Dietician as well as being a Mom to a toddler and newborn.  She never skips a beat.  You can find her tweeting (Twitter ID: @chowandchatter) great links several times a day offering a window into international culinary happenings and recipes as well as stimulating thoughtful exchanges between ‘Tweeters’.  I’ve spent an evening going through her Social Media tip videos on her website … {continue reading}

Designated Driver Egg Nog


My earliest memories of Egg Nog are not what you’d expect.  I did not discover it surrounded by twinkling lights while donning a red velvet frock with holiday laughter filling the air.  It was from my 13 year old neighbor friend, Paul.  An unlikely introduction which turned into an obsession (Paul’s for the nog).  Paul was not your usual Junior High teen.  He was bohemian without a doubt.  He always looked at things from an avant garde perspective when most other teens would not have been able to spell the term, and I loved this about him. While most teens worried about their outfit, acne or popularity, Paul was considering the deeper more existential aspects of life and those peripheral social elements seeming to catch our peers unaware.  Somewhere in the midst the deep dialog about the … {continue reading}

Wassail. Spiked. Or not. Your choice.


  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


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


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}