Monday, December 20, 2010


incase you've forgotten.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Christmas Eating


1. Avoid carrot sticks. Anyone who puts carrots on a holiday buffet table knows nothing of the Christmas spirit. In fact, if you see carrots, leave immediately. Go next door, where they're serving rum balls.

2. Drink as much eggnog as you can. And quickly. It's rare.. You cannot find it any other time of year but now. So drink up! Who cares that it has 10,000 calories in every sip? It's not as if you're going to turn into an eggnog-alcoholic or something. It's a treat. Enjoy it. Have one for me. Have two. It's later than you think. It's Christmas!

3. if something comes with gravy, use it. That's the whole point of gravy. Gravy does not stand alone. Pour it on. Make a volcano out of your mashed potatoes. Fill it with gravy. Eat the volcano. Repeat.

4. as for mashed potatoes, always ask if they're made with skim milk or whole milk. If it's skim, pass. Why bother? It's like buying a sports car with an automatic transmission.

5. Do not have a snack before going to a party in an effort to control your eating. The whole point of going to a Christmas party is to eat other people's food for free. Lots of it. Hello?

6. Under no circumstances should you exercise between now and New Year's. You can do that in January when you have nothing else to do. This is the time for long naps, which you'll need after circling the buffet table while carrying a 10-pound plate of food and that vat of eggnog.

7. If you come across something really good at a buffet table, like frosted Christmas cookies in the shape and size of Santa, position yourself near them and don't budge. Have as many as you can before becoming the center of attention. They're like a beautiful pair of shoes. If you leave them behind, you're never going to see them again.

8. Same for pies. Apple
, Pumpkin, Mincemeat. Have a slice of each. Or if you don't like mincemeat, have two apples and one pumpkin. Always have three. When else do you get to have more than one dessert? Labor Day?

9. Did someone mention fruitcake? Granted, it's loaded with the mandatory celebratory calories, but avoid it at all cost. I mean, have some standards.

10. One final tip: If you don't feel terrible when you leave the party or get up from the table, you haven't been paying attention. Re-read these tips; start over, but hurry, January is just around the corner. Remember this motto to live by:

"Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming "WOO HOO what a ride!"

Thursday, December 16, 2010

traditions, take 3

Last one. promise. We only have a few traditions of our own.

#1 We tag our tree on Black Friday, then cut it down a week or so later. This ensures that we get a good tree ;-) But I really don't want it up for over a month.

#2 On Christmas Eve, Isabel gets to open one gifts--her Christmas PJs.

#3 We buy Isabel an ornament each year. We try to do something that represents her and her current fascinations. This year, her ornament is a......?

#4 We buy an ornament each year from our vacation spot. This year's ornament, is a.......?

Can anyone guess??? If you guess both correctly, I will package and deliver 4 gourmet cupcakes to you.

Monday, December 13, 2010

traditions, take 2

I love traditions and hope our family establishes many of our own. As a kid we

#3 Drove around Joppatowne after our church's Christmas Eve service to look at all the lights and luminaries. What a fun time together as a family, enjoying the decorated neighborhoods.

#4 Always put out milk and cookies for Santa, even though we KNEW Santa was our dad. And "Santa" always wrote us a note of thanks in return.

#5 Went to the Nutcracker with Granny. Usually, it was just me, because Sacha couldn't sit still. I got all dressed up, Granny would pick me up, and we'd drive into the city. I can still remember how magical it was sitting in those red velvet seats, watching the dancers, hearing the orchestra and feeling like there was nothing quite as amazing.


I have a horrible memory. I rarely remember what was said in an argument, so I fight horribly. I don't remember to put food away after dinner, so end up having to throw it away in the morning. And, I really do not have very many memories of my childhood. I wish I was joking. BUT, I figured I would *try* to share some of our family holiday traditions. Hopefully they are real, and not just a recreation of my barely-working-memory.

#1-We always did the chocolate advent calendars. You know, the ones that have horrible milk chocolate in them. You find the number, open the door, and choke down the candy? Well, my grandfather always made his own chocolate at Christmas time. So we received the best tasting, hand painted chocolates in our advent calendar. And usually a solid chocolate lollipop to go with it. and chocolate covered cherries.

#2-handmade everything. My mom was incredibly crafty, as were my grandmothers. And I wish I had've cared enough to learn their skills. We had cute little snowmen laying around. A felt advent calendar. Wonder if my dad still has it so I don't have to cut all those pieces out?! amazing cookies coming out the wazoooo. Cinnamon rolls every Christmas morning. stockings carefully beaded. Christmas cards stamped, embossed, and signed.

How about you? What traditions do you love from your childhood?

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

not in my kitchen

There are a few holiday cookies that I simply cannot handle: those jelly thumbprints. russian tea cakes. and even hard, flaky sugar cookies.

How about you? what is your least favorite Christmas cookie?

Monday, December 06, 2010

holiday icing

This is not a family tradition. nor is it a recipe I've even made before. BUT, this holiday, I am going to make two types of coffee-infused chocolate cupcakes with these icings:

Irish Cream Icing
1 pound confections sugar (4C)
1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 to 4 tablespoons Baileys (or other Irish cream)

Cream butter. Add Irish cream and beat until combined. add sugar and beat until fluffy. If too thick, you can thin it with more Irish cream, water or milk, your choice.

Peppermint Buttercream Icing
1 stick butter, at room temperature
4 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
2 to 3 tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
1/2 cup peppermint candy (about 7 peppermint sticks), finely crushed

Cream butter. Add peppermint candy (or save for later and sprinkle on top, like I"m going to do). Add confectioners' sugar, 2 tablespoons milk and peppermint extract. Beat until well incorporated. Increase speed and beat until fluffy. If too stiff, add more milk or water.

Friday, December 03, 2010

Strawberry Pretzel Salad

Ok, so this isn't exactly a holiday dessert. But we consider it a side dish, anyway. That's how we Tureks roll.

Ma's S.P.S.
  • 2 cups crushed pretzels
  • 3/4 cup melted butter
  • 3 tablespoons sugar, plus 3/4 cup sugar (or sugar substitute; can reduce amount if desired)
  • 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese (low fat)
  • 1 (8-ounce) container whipped topping (low fat)
  • 2 (3-ounce) packages strawberry gelatin dessert mix (sugar-free is fine)
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 2 (10-ounce) packages frozen strawberries

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

For the crust, mix the pretzels, butter, and 3 tablespoons of sugar. Press this mixture into a 9 by 13-inch pan and bake for 7 minutes. Set aside and allow to cool.

In a mixing bowl, beat together the cream cheese and 3/4 cup of sugar. Fold in the whipped topping, and spread over the cooled crust. Refrigerate until well chilled.

In a small bowl, dissolve the gelatin in the boiling water, and allow to cool slightly. Add the strawberries, and pour over the cream cheese mixture. Refrigerate until serving time.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Holiday Baking

What would this blog be without a recipe or two?! So, the next few weeks, I am going to try and post some of my favorite family festive food recipes. and try not to use annoying alliteration. This week, in honor of my grannies, I will be posting two holiday classics passed down from them.

The first is a classic Lithuanian cookie called "Moon Cookies." As a kid, I was never fond of them. at all. then two years ago, I realized just how good they really are. amazing that adulthood brings about a more refined palate. Apparently, they are traditionally given to others as a token of generosity and thanks. Granny always gave them in a tin, with layers separated by wax paper.

Granny's Moon Cookies

6 oz. chocolate bits
½ cup English walnuts
¾ cup butter
7/8 cup of sugar
4 eggs, separated
1 3/8 cups flour

Preheat oven to 350ยบ. Grease a 10x15x½-inch jelly roll pan. Grind chocolate bits and walnuts to a powder in a food processor or coffee grinder. Set aside.

Cream together butter and sugar in a large bowl. Add egg yolks, nuts and chocolate powder, mix.

In separate bowl, beat egg whites until stiff. Carefully fold egg whites into the egg yolk mixture, then lightly fold in the flour (do not over mix). Spread batter evenly in the well-greased pan (batter will be about ¼–½-inch thick). Bake until lightly browned (10–15 minutes or when a toothpick comes out clean).

While cookies are baking, make the frosting

2 tablespoons butter
½ pound confectioners sugar
drops of rum (or vanilla extract if you prefer)
1 tablespoon milk, or more if needed

Cream butter and sugar together in a small bowl. Flavor with drops of extract or rum to taste. Add milk, using more if needed to make frosting creamy, but not runny. Set aside.

Spread frosting on warm cookies so frosting soaks in a bit, but forms a nice glaze. Cool completely. Use a thin-edged glass or deep 2¾-inch cutter, to cut crescent moon shapes. Start at one corner and cut one "full moon," then move over about ½-inch to cut a crescent moon. Continue until each row is finished.