Sunday, December 6, 2015

Happy Holidays!

It's that time of year!  Holidays to celebrate, baking and cooking.  My favorite time of year.  Here is my Genny, who would like to taste test these espresso chocolate crinkles.  Of course, she cannot, but she likes to try.

I was raised in a Catholic family.  The whole time between Thanksgiving and Christmas was a time of preparation, or Advent.  My parents had a few tricks up their sleeves to keep us kids in check and not get crazy with anticipation.

The first was St. Nicholas day.  The evening of December 5th, we would put our shoes out on our steps by the front door.  In the morning, the shoes would be filled with small toys and goodies that St. Nick would leave for us.  It was a nice way to start things off.

Baking goodies would also be going on.  Making pizzelles and biscotti and favorite cookies.  Our parents would also get these absolutely huge apples and oranges from the produce market.  Just one could make a meal.

The next little holiday we would celebrate was St. Lucia Day.  We are Italian, so we celebrated this a little differently than the Swedes.  On December 13th, we would plant in a small pot some rye grass seeds.  Being the youngest, I helped to keep it watered and watched it grow a bit every day.  By the time Christmas Eve rolled around, it would be about 10 inches tall.  My cat used to love this grass, by the way.

Anyway, do you notice something missing from my nativity scene here?  Well, the baby did not appear until Christmas morning in our house.  When I found this nativity, it was just like the one we had when I was little, so I had to have it.

So, back to the grass.  On Christmas Eve, right before we went to bed, we would cut the grass and place it in the empty manger.  This was the coming baby would be comfortable and warm.  The baby Jesus was in the manger on Christmas morning.  This really helped us to remeber the real reason for the holiday.

Well, it is time to get back into the kitchen and continue this year's preparations.  I have a lot of baking to do.  Of course there will be pizzelles, both anise and chocolate.  The afore mentioned espresso crinkles, a couple kinds of biscotti, as well as traditional favorites of peanut blossoms and chocolate chip.  I also make peppermint patties and peanut butter cups.  Lots to do!

I hope that you have a wonderful holiday season filled with love, laughter, and lots of goodies.
Buon Natale!

Birdie in Cucina