Sunday, February 9, 2014

Sunday, February 09, 2014 - No comments

Edible Christmas

I know, I know, it’s already February - it’s way too late to be posting about Christmas.  But January kinda flew past in a blur of teaching prep, a training weekend, and an unexpected trip home for my Grandpa’s funeral.  And if some people can get away with playing carols in August, surely I can’t be faulted for a little out-of-season blogging!

I’ve always preferred giving homemade Christmas gifts over store-bought ones - partly cuz I like the personal feel and partly cuz crafting and creating brings me so much joy.  This year, I was super excited to be able to do all homemade edible gifts.  After a crazy busy fall where I was travelling pretty much every other weekend, sequestering myself in my “Elfing Workshop” for several days was just the recovery I needed.  Besides, that, my roommate was in the States for the holidays, so I was free to wreak havoc in the kitchen without driving her insane!

I kicked off the season well into December by watching It’s a Wonderful Life while decorating the little tree in my room, as per my mom’s and my tradition.  I love to quote the lines along with the actors - “A man doesn't get in a situation like this every day.....not in Bedford Falls, anyway” - and I always put the ornaments down to give the swimming pool scene my full attention.  :)

The kids in my life came over, as they do every year, for a cookie decorating party, unleashing their creative fury in a whirl of frosted fingerprints gingerbread giggles, flinging sprinkles into every corner of the living room inaccessible by vacuum.  Each year they get even more skilled with a piping bag and I marvel at their patience in making pupils in icing eyes and using sprinkles to form tree garland on their masterpieces.  

Between trying to get my Christmas cards across the ocean sometime before January (which didn’t exactly happen - mail seemed extra slow this year), making presents as well as snacks for various holiday parties, and all my other regular activities (when you live in a country where there’s no Christmas, life doesn’t exactly stop) I had to make myself a stack of lists and schedules to keep it all straight.  The dining room table became my “command centre” and helped me stay on track and finish everything on time.

I made little bags of goodies to give away for hostess gifts, Christmas presents and stocking stuffers.  Episodes of Old Time Christmas Radio on iTunes made for a great background to my chocolate dipping and finger licking, and every available surface was covered with pans of decorated treats.  Thankfully everything dried in time to package it up and get on a plane to the city where I spent Christmas with friends.  (I may or may not have done the dishes before I left!  Shh, don’t tell the neighbours!)

Here’s what was in the bags.  (Drool if you must.)

Chocolate covered spoons to stir into coffee or hot chocolate.  

Chocolate dipped marshmallows to add a little fun to a mug of hot chocolate.

Salted vanilla bean caramels.  (This was my first time making caramels and I was super happy with the results.  Here’s the recipe if you want to give it a go.  They were amazing.)

Gingerbread biscotti.  Yum.  And yum again.

Also, not pictured, were a couple of jars of balsamic fig chutney that I gave, along with cheese and crackers, to some of the healthier folks on my list.  

All in all, it was a delicious Christmas!