Have Yourself a Merry ‘Little’ Christmas

Christmas morning is one week from today. For many of us Christmas morning as kids was so magical. Waking up perhaps to all the toys left by Santa. The smells of amazing food to be eaten soon.

Lately the song “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” has been playing over and over in my head yet I don’t know much more of the lyrics then the opening line. So I looked them up….

 

“Have yourself a merry little Christmas
Let your heart be light
From now on your troubles will be out of sight

Have yourself a merry little Christmas
Make the Yuletide gay
From now on your troubles will be miles away

Here we are as in olden days
Happy golden days of yore
Faithful friends who are dear to us
Gather near to us once more

Through the years we all will be together
If the fates allow
Hang a shining star upon the highest place

So have yourself a merry little Christmas

Have yourself a merry little Christmas
So have yourself a merry little Christmas.”

 

Such a relaxing and feel good song, yet do our troubles every really go away? Sometimes the fates are that we aren’t able to gather together anymore. Yet in the turmoil and/or grief I believe we can find some calm and maybe that is what the song was getting at.

What I love is the word ‘little’. Christmas isn’t the big hupla for me that it used to be. I don’t spend three days decorating with twenty-seven bins of decorations. My decorations are now simple yet meaningful.

 

 

I still appreciate people who do go all out at Christmas but it seems each year my decorations get smaller and smaller in amount and I just soak up the season with relaxation. For me that means reading, knitting and Hallmark movies. 🙂

My husband and I don’t have kids, both of us have lost our parents, nieces and nephews are grown and have their own lives. Christmas now is enjoying each other, volunteering for those less fortunate, spending quiet dinners with close friends, church and lots of music.

It is so much more relaxed and I am okay with that. I cherish the ‘olden days’ of hectic shopping,  hours of baking, early mornings ripping into gifts and late nights of ‘waiting’ for Santa.

But, I am liking the word ‘LITTLE’. It is a calming word to me and one that makes me smile. So my wish for you this Christmas season is that wherever you are in your Christmas season journey of life, that you can enjoy the moments and breath in all your experiences.

Have a very Merry ‘Little’ and Blessed Christmas.

 

 

 

 

A Yummy Cookie Recipe with my Least Favorite (Hated) Ingredient! :-)

I just want to go on the record and say I hate coconut. And this includes anything with coconut in it. Almond Joy candy bars. Coconut Cream Chocolates. Just not for me.

Now fresh coconut is another story but how often do you really eat fresh coconut unless you are on a Caribbean Island. LOL

I love to bake and it would never have crossed my mind to ever make Coconut Macaroons. Until now!

I took a baking class at Kitchen Window in Minneapolis to learn how to make French Macaroons. Fabulous! Since it was a holiday baking class they also taught us how to make a few other classics of which Coconut Macaroons was one of them. I thought okay, I will make them in class and never make them again. I WAS SO WRONG.  

The secret is the coconut. Don’t use the sweetened shredded stuff you find in grocery stores that’s all sugar coated and doesn’t actually taste like fresh coconut. Use real Unsweetened Coconut Flakes or Chips. I used the Chips which are bigger and I think creamier.

 

 

 

I bought my chips online as I couldn’t find them even in the premium high end grocery stores. I bought dried chips and also Organic. FYI…..they make a super healthy snack.

 

 

Here is the recipe:

Coconut Macaroons

Yield

36 Cookies

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces Butter, unsalted
  • 1 pound Sugar, granulated
  • 6 eggs
  • 18 ounces coconut flakes, unsweetened
  • Dark coating chocolate, melted (optional)

Method

  1. Place the butter and sugar in a sauce pan and heat to 150 degrees F while stirring constantly. Remove from the heat and beat in eggs a few at a time. Stir in Coconut.
  2. Return to the stove and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture pulls away from the sides of the plan (this happens around the 170 degree F range).
  3. Let the batter cool to room temperature. (I googled this and room temp is around 70 degrees).
  4. Scoop the batter onto the baking mat, using an ice cream scoop.
  5. Bake at 350 degrees F for approximately 15 minutes.
  6. Brush simple syrup over the cookies as soon as they come out of oven. (See Simple Syrup recipe below).
  7. If you would like to add chocolate to your macaroons, wait until the cookies have completely cooked, dip half of each cookie in chocolate and return to the baking mat to set.

Simple Syrup:

Equal parts sugar and water, brought to a boil and allowed to cool. Could be infused with a flavor as well.

My Tips:

  • I used chips not flakes
  • I would not advise using an ice cream scoop. The cookies would be huge and they are so rich. I used the smallest cookie dough scoop from Pampered Chef.
  • I made a double batch so with the smaller scoop I ended up with 150 cookies!! A single batch next time will be best. 🙂
  • If you press them together when forming them it will help in them not falling apart and being so fragile.
  • I baked mine 12-13 minutes. Watch your oven because if it runs hot the cookies may burn.

 

 

 

 

*Recipe by Kitchen Window~3001 Hennepin Ave Minneapolis, MN ~ www.KitchenWindow.com

 

If you like Coconut you will love these!! If you hate Coconut like me I think you will LOVE these!

Enjoy!

 

 

A Fabulous Turkey Recipe!

I know you may be thinking…..who needs a recipe to make a turkey? You put some butter on the top, salt and pepper and stick it in the oven. Well that is what I thought until I actually made a turkey for the first time and wanted some help.

I found this recipe from watching a local cooking show with a top chef in Minneapolis and I have used it ever since. I don’t know what it is (maybe the fresh spices vs the powdered) that makes it so tasty but tasty it is!

Herb-Roasted Turkey

  • 1 – 14 lb Turkey (mine was larger and I used proportionately more spices)
  • 1 TB salt
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 18 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 4 medium onions, peeled and sliced
  • 1 large leek, chopped (white and tender green only)
  • 2 medium carrots, chopped
  • 2 celery ribs, chopped
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 TB peppercorns
  • 1 1/2 cups butter (3 sticks) melted
  • 1 tsp chopped fresh sage
  • 1 tsp chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 tsp chopped fresh chives

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Wash turkey and reserve giblets. Carefully rinse and dry bird inside and out. Rub all surfaces with salt and butter, including cavity. Place 12 sprigs of thyme in the cavity.

Put onions, leek, carrots, celery, bay leaves, six thyme sprigs, peppercorns and giblets on bottom of large heavy roasting pan. Place bird on top of vegetables. Cover opening of cavity with foil. Pour butter over all surfaces of turkey. Sprinkle on sage, thyme and chives. Cover loosely with tent of aluminum foil. Roast 2 1/2 hours, undisturbed.

Remove foil to let skin brown. Baste every 20 minutes for an hour. The bird should cook to an internal temperature of 165 degrees.

Remove from oven. Transfer to platter and cover with foil. Let rest 20-60 minutes before carving.

 

And here is a bonus! This gravy is a definite must with the turkey!

Shallot Herb Gravy

  •  1 1/2 cups defatted turkey stock from pan drippings
  • 1 TB fat from pan drippings
  • 3 TBS minced shallots
  • 3 TBS flour
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 TB fresh chives, chopped
  • 1 TB fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1 tsp fresh sage, chopped

Strain vegetables and pan drippings into bowl to catch liquids. Discard bay leaves and peppercorns but reserve rest of vegetables for dressing recipe.

Set bowl of strained liquid in to larger bowl of ice water to help separate fat. Skim off fat. Reserve 1 TB of fat to cook shallots, and discard the rest. You should have about 1 1/2 Cups of defatted turkey stock.

In medium saucepan, saute shallots in 1 TB reserved fat. Add flour, mix ell and cook, stirring constantly, 3-4 minutes or until four lightly browns. Slowly add 1 1/2 cups stock and 1 cup broth, stirring frequently. Bring to a simmer, stirring constantly until slightly thickened. Add fresh herbs and serve hot. Makes about 3 cups.

 

Enjoy! And have a very blessed and yummy Thanksgiving!