Man, it was hard getting to you today. My two new pups are crazy nuts. Redundant, I know. But worth it. They are rescue dogs and have just learned to absolutely let loose and play. They rip around the house so fast I only see a blur of fur. Up and down the stairs, across the living room, through the dining room and kitchen and it all starts again. Look out if you get in their way. They must be going at least 20 miles per hour. Thankfully I don't have a house full of precious breakables. As I was climbing the stairs to get to the office they flew by me and before I had reached the office back they came. I got situated in my desk chair, have my soda where I want it and here they come again! This time they come to a screeching halt in the office doorway, each with a ball in their mouth, giving me a look that I could not resist. Many games of toss were played. They are exhausted now and sleeping on the floor by my feet, so I will take the opportunity to write.
I'm on a groove for the holidays. It feels great and I welcome it. We put up the lights on the house and the tree. I have even been making Christmas treats and it feels good. Like it should. I know the reason for the season. And I will never forget it. It's incredibly important and permanent in my life. It's the mainstay that kept my family secure over the past year and some. Maybe that's why the extras weren't that important last year. Oh, and the fact that Scott and I both had foot surgery really added to the disjointed feeling we had last Christmas. So this feels homey this year. And we are having the holiday here at our new house with our family. This, too, feels right. The idea all came about by a few words spoken by Gracie a couple of weeks ago. "Mom, do you think we'll ever have a holiday at our house? I think it would really make it feel like home for us." Yes, Gracie, I believe we can do that. Next came the phone call to my parents and sister with the reception that I knew in my heart would come. Of course we'll be there! That day after school I was pelted with questions. Did you call Grandma and Papa? Did they say yes? Aunt Amy, too? What will we eat? What time is church? We'll still open presents on Christmas Eve, right?
So the baking and making of gifts is underway. It's a homemade Christmas at our house. I can't exactly tell you what we're making for gifts because my people read this blog. But I would love to share some of the easy, and I mean EASY, recipes with you that we have made.
Before I give you the recipe, I need to give credit where credit is due. This is not my recipe. I believe it originated with my friend Sara's mother-in-law, Rita. If she didn't create it, she was gracious enough to pass it on.
One package of Oreo cookies or Oreo-like cookies (I used a generic brand this year and saved $1.50 on each package and it tastes the same to me)
One 8 ounce package of cream cheese
In a food processor, blend the cookies until the mix is finely chopped. Add cream cheese gradually until mixture balls up in processor. Chill. Break into pieces about the size of a quarter and roll into a ball. Melt almond bark and dip each truffle. Place on wax paper. I use tooth picks to dip the truffles. Later I dollop a little almond bark over the hole left over from the toothpick. Freeze until needed.
DIPPED PRETZEL STICKS
Not hard. Melt more almond bark and dip medium and long pretzel sticks. I dip the pretzels about half way. We sprinkled with red and green sugar to be festive!
For this last idea I have to thank the nice lady in line behind me at Aldi. Maybe our paths will cross again some time. We both had our arms full of baking stuff and she shared this recipe with me. Melt almond bark. As much a you want. Or use the stuff left over from the before mentioned recipes. Line a cookie sheet with wax paper and pour melted almond bark onto it. Use the leftover pretzels from above and smash them into tiny bits. Then add crushed peanuts, almonds, whatever kind of nuts you like. Sprinkle these over melted almond bark liberally. Let sit and break it apart later. Almost as you would peanut brittle. Great way to use up leftovers!
Try to keep things simple and enjoy the spontaneous moments. Do something for someone less fortunate. Look beyond the lists and the cards. Really look at people, sincerely ask them how they are. Take the time to listen. These are gifts that truly touch people. These are the best ingredients for a homemade holiday.
©2010 Ann M. De Broux