Thursday, December 11, 2008

C is for Cookie

Yep, we're still watching Sesame Street. I am still dealing with nausea daily. Killer headaches, weekly. A bright spot in all of this is that my sister and her sweet baby girl came and stayed with us for three days this week. The purpose of the visit (other than having our hearts melt over this baby girl) was to make Christmas cookies. (The timing was perfect, since Jamey has been studying and taking final exams all week.)

My mother is queen of Christmas cookies. While we were growing up, we couldn't afford to buy gifts for everyone we wanted to, so mom spent (what seemed like countless) hours making Christmas cookies. The variety was incredible- at least a dozen different kinds (including several different pressed cookies) as well as fudge and mini pumpkin breads. All were arranged on plates and given as gifts to all our school teachers, bus drivers, Sunday school teachers, piano and violin teachers and others I must be forgetting. And there were five of us kids! All this to say, both my sisters and I have cookie baking in our blood.

Thanks to our wonderful neighbors, I don't feel obliged to make the variety my mom did (and still does). For the past several years, they host a "Cookie Party" at their house. Sam was really disappointed the first year. After all the talk about this cookie party, there were no cookies to be found on the table. Instead, they provide the most wonderful spread of a supper for all of us neighbors. The cookies come into play this way...if there are 10 families attending the party, each family is to bring a dozen cookies for each family (bagged with the recipe and their name). This way, each family takes a lot of one kind of cookie, but comes home with 10 different varieties (totaling 10 dozen cookies). There's my variety.

So, what did my sister and I bake?

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip (using our pumpkin)

Peanut Blossoms

Cranberry Oatmeal with White Chocolate (Gourmet magazine)

My Cookie Party cookie was a new recipe (for me) this year. They're called Chocolate Peppermint Bark Cookies. When I initially read the recipe, I didn't think I'd bother with it since it called for peppermint bark- something I didn't want to buy and had never made before. But, the recipe for the bark looked simple enough, so I put on the list. They turned out great.

Peppermint Bark

Chocolate Peppermint Bark Cookies

I loved having my sister and her babe here and so did Sam and Sadie. The highlight of the visit had to be while my sister was packing up to go. NOT because she was leaving, but because while she was loading her car, I was holding my three-month old niece while Sam and Sadie were entertaining her. They started jumping from the couch to a couch cushion on the floor to the floor, saying, "Jump, jump, jump!" All of a sudden, this babe on my lap started belly-laughing every time they did it. And continued laughing at them for a good five minutes. This, of course encouraged my kids to keep going, and soon everyone was laughing.

Oh, the baby belly laugh...better than all the Christmas cookies in the world.
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