Volume 4 Issue 12
*** Random Thoughts
The other day I was at the grocery store and I tripped and bumped a rack and somehow or another a Christmas magazine landed in my cart. (Maybe because I stood in front of the rack and perused Christmas issues for ten minutes before deciding, “Yes, I have to have this.” and carefully placing it in my cart. Details)
I am one of those annoying people who genuinely love the holidays. To me, the stretch between October and early January really is the most wonderful time of year.
Often I have big plans and big ideas (big! huge!) yet when December arrives, it comes with a whole bunch of other activities and obligations, so that a few days after Christmas, I think, “Now, wait a minute. I didn’t make gingerbread waffles. Or put together a photo collage of those old Christmas pictures. Or make that recipe I saw. Or drink hot chocolate and look at Christmas lights. Or watch the Charlie Brown Christmas Special while wearing pajamas. Not fair!”
This year I aim to take things slower and lower the bar a bit. I want the holidays to feel richer and less frantic. I hope to enjoy more the things we do even if I get none of those things done.
*** Great Quotes
For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulders; and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, the Mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace. – Isaiah 9:6
I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old, familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet the words repeat
Of peace on earth, good - will to men!
*** Fun Food Idea
My grandmother makes this candy each year at Christmas. She does it ahead of time and it freezes it and it’s always delicious.
It makes a great gift, too.
1 1/2 to 2 cups chopped blanched almonds (or coarsely chopped pecans, walnuts, pistachios, or hazelnuts or whatever kind of nuts you prefer)
1 cup unsalted butter (do not substitute) (No joking about that.)
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons water
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup coarsely chopped chocolate
Butter a pan. The recipe calls for 9x13 pyrex dish; I’ve used that and I’ve also used half baking sheets. Anything heatproof works fine.
Sprinkle half of nuts in greased pan and set aside. (You can leave out this step if you don’t care for nuts.)
Melt butter, sugar, and water together over medium heat. Bring to a boil, stirring often until temperature reaches 300 degrees. Remove from heat and quickly stir in baking soda. Pour mixture into the prepared pan and let harden.
(If you’re going to freeze the toffee, stop here. Let toffee get completely cool and hard, break into pieces, and put in a freezer zip top bag and freeze.)
Sprinkle chocolate over the top and let stand for 5 minutes. Spread chocolate over the top and sprinkle with additional chopped nuts while chocolate is still warm.
Let cool completely and break into pieces.
Keeps well in an airtight container.
When ready to serve or give away, take toffee from freezer and let come to room temperature and thaw – a few hours or so.
Melt chocolate – dark chocolate, milk chocolate, whatever you like – and pour over toffee, smoothing with an offset spatula.
You can play around with different combinations – white chocolate and toasted macadamia nuts, bittersweet chocolate and hazelnuts, milk chocolate and peanuts.
The back story.
If you’d like to make your own homemade marshmallows.
A few recipes from last month:
My new favorite side dish.
Chicken entree easy enough for weeknights, tasty enough for company.
Everybody loves these appetizers.
*** Pass It On
If there’s someone who you think would enjoy this newsletter, please forward this issue in its entirety. You’re welcome to comment here with your email address to subscribe or send an email with "subscribe" in the subject line to kudzuuu at gmail dot com.
*** Hit the Highlights – a few blog posts from last month
‘Cruciatingly embarrassing photos from the 80s. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Home office tour
Check the blog often!
*** Shameless Bid for Commerce
To see what people, who I didn’t pay (really!), say about More Culinary Kudzu, visit here.
*** Recommended Reading
I recommend these books every year around this time. They’re great Christmas reads:
Redbird Christmas by Fannie Flagg (Have your tissues handy for this one.)
The Christmas Train by David Baldacci
My take on all the books I read last month.
*** Adorable Thing My Child Said
So much cuteness. He is in love with the holidays, the pageantry, the lights, the warmth. Seeing it through his eyes is enchanting. So much so that my brain is addled and I can’t think of a single adorable thing he said.
*** Mississippi Writers Guild
The Mississippi Writers Guild is a non-profit association of writers from all over the state and is a growing part of Mississippi’s literary art landscape. Membership dues are only $40.00 per year. To learn more, visit here.
*** Reminders and Unsubscribe Info.
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