Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A Chaotic Christmas Season

Once again I can not believe how fast the time goes. So very cliche of me I am sure, but "WOW": Christmas time already? Christmas here is a fun, crazy, busy, time of year. No sports to chase, but lots of fun things to do and see. Took us some time, but the house is finally decorated and now we are moving onto the baking.

I love this time of year because this is when I first started to get interested in baking and cooking. When I was young I would spend weekends in December at my Grandma Leora's house listening to Christmas carols and hymns making cookies and candies for our friends and family. We seriously would start the minute I got out of school on Friday and would not quit until it was time for church on Sunday. I remember how patient she was with me and she always listened to me if I brought a new recipe or idea to try. This was  the start of a life-long devotion to cooking and baking for my family. It was also the start of my recipe addiction, which is a topic for another time. I also love that it has become a tradition for my family of making those same recipes that GiGi shared with me so many years ago. It makes me feel so close to her even though she has been gone for a while now. And I love that my kids, who were very young when she passed say, "Are we making GiGi's Christmas cookies this year Mom?" I thought that I would share with you the first recipe that she taught me. Not sure where she got the recipe, but I will bet it came from one of those lovely women at St. Luke's:

 GiGi's Peanut Brittle

1 cup white sugar                        1 cup Karo
1/4 cup water                               1 tsp. butter
1 cup raw peanuts                       1 tsp. baking soda

Boil sugar, water, Karo, and butter at medium high heat, in a heavy bottomed (Is that not fitting or what?)pan to hard ball stage: 250 degrees. Add peanuts. Continue cooking until golden brown, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, add baking soda. Stir well. Pour onto a well buttered cookie sheet. Break into pieces.

Here is one of my favorite Christmas songs from my time with GiGi. We would sing this at the top of our voices while we were making a huge mess in her kitchen. I was even able to sing it at one of our Kaleidoscope Christmas dinners in high school.


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