Archive for December, 2010

Christmas Cheer

Saturday, December 25th, 2010

Nothing says winter as much as gathering with family and friends and enjoying holiday drinks; nogs-with milk or cream, grogs-with rum and spices, punch-iced and fruit based,  and mulled-a drink that is heated.  A  favorite at our house is Tera’s Hot Cocoa (a.k.a. Delicious Vegan Hot Chocolate from, non-vegans can use milk instead of soy milk.  It’s yummy and so-o-o easy;  you’ll never use  instant again!

Tera’s  Hot Cocoa from

2 1/2 cups soy milk

3 tablespoons white sugar

3 tablespoons cocoa powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 pinch ground cinnamon

1 pinch cayenne pepper

Bring the soy milk,  sugar, cocoa powder, vanilla extract, cinnamon, and cayenne pepper to a simmer in a saucepan over medium-high heat.  Remove from heat and whisk until frothy.  This recipe makes two servings, enjoy!

Here we go a-wassailing” refers to singing carols and receiving wassail in return. Doesn’t that sound like fun! A Wassail is a medieval cheer, a toast of good health and success to a person.  The original recipe for wassail included mulled beer, wine or port,  spices, and fruit and heated.  Be  creative, add your own variations.

Easy Wassail from
2 quarts apple cider
1 pint cranberry juice
1/2 cup sugar
1 pint orange juice
3 sticks cinnamon
1 teaspoon allspice
10 whole cloves
2 teaspoons aromatic butters
1 1/2 cups rum (optional)
Combine all ingredients except rum in crock pot.  Cook, covered, for six hours on low.  Add rum, remove cinnamon sticks and cloves, serve warm.
Merry Christmas!

The Perfect Man: He’s cute, he’s sweet, and he doesn’t get upset when you bite his head off !!

Saturday, December 11th, 2010

Don’t you just love that quote from  The first week of December is National Cookie Cutter Week, according to and  I felt compelled to make Gingerbread Cookies.  My mission was to find a good-tasting, semi-easy dessert that doesn’t involve flouring the bread board, rolling out the dough, cutting out Gingerbread Boys with cookie cutters, transferring the cookies to a prepared cookie sheet,  then gathering up the leftover dough and going through the whole process again until you run out of dough.  As much as I LOVE baking cookies, my least favorite method is using cookie cutters. I enjoy buying cookie cutters, decorating things with them, using them for craft projects, and admiring my collection, but not making cookies with them.  I found Gingerbread Bars and Gingerbread Brownies from, Gingerbread Wedges from Betty, Gingerbread Cake from, Gingerbread Squares from and tried some of them.  I’ll stay with my old favorite, Gingersnaps from Mrs. Fields Best Cookie Book Ever!


2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

2 tsp ground ginger

1/2 tsp allspice

1/2 tsp ground black pepper

1 1/4 cups packed dark brown sugar

3/4 cup salted butter, softened

1 large egg

1/4 cup unsulfurized molasses

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.  In a medium bowl, combine flour, soda, salt, ground ginger, crystallized ginger, allspice, and pepper.  Mix well with a wire whisk.  Set aside.  In a large bowl, mix sugar and butter with an electric mixer set at medium speed.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl.  Add egg and molasses, and beat at medium speed until light and fluffy.  Add the flour mixture and mix at low speed just until combines.  Do not overmix.  Chill the dough in the refrigerator for one hour-the dough will be less sticky and easier to handle.  Form dough into balls one inch in diameter.  Place onto ungreased cookie sheets, 1 1/2 inches apart.  Bake 24 to 25 minutes.  Use a spatula to immediately transfer cookies to a cool, flat surface.  Makes about 2 1/2 dozen.

Ginger is primarily used for baking in the West and other dishes in the East,  has been used in Chinese medicine for many centuries, it is known for it’s aphrodisiac powers, to expel evil spirits, and most commonly known as a digestive aid.  According to, barkeepers in English pubs in the nineteenth century sprinkled ginger in beer – the origin of ginger ale.  Ginger is a natural treatment for indigestion, nausea,  motion sickness, and has anti-inflammatory properties that are known to relieve pain.

Click here to purchase Watkins Pure Ground Ginger, packed in a Trademark gold medal tin, for just $3.99.  Watkins has been the pioneer in premium herbs and spices for over 100 years.  Their ground ginger is made from the finest ginger roots in Indonesia; selected for it’s taste, color and appearance.

Have a sweet day!