White Christmas Cross Stitch Embroidery

Happy Wednesday! Holiday Best

White Christmas Cross Stitch Embroidery

White Christmas cross-stitch! I’ll post the pattern soon.

Happy . . . Wednesday? Did you know I thought today was Tuesday? Which makes no sense, because yesterday (Tuesday) I was woken up by a call from the dentist wondering where I was–I blew it because I thought my appointment was Wednesday. Which is today.

So my usual Happy Monday blog is two days late–I suck! Unfortunately, I’ve had doctor’s appointments (for me), calls to Poison Control (for Sarah), and Christmas preparations distracting me. But I thought I’d at least put together a quick “best of” list for the holidays.

Best Christmas Movie: White Christmas. This is a fantastic film in the “Let’s put on a show!” genre of the past. The best part is the bromance between former WWII army buddies-turned Broadway entertainers played by Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye, who put on said show to save their former general’s Vermont inn from going under when snow fails to arrive for the winter. If this movie were made today, the movie would end with “Bob” and “Phil” realizing they’re each others’ soul mates, instead of pairing off with two sisters. But! The songs! The costumes! The witty dialogue!

Even better, White Christmas is available on Netflix streaming, so you can watch it right now! As you can see from the picture above, I actually created a White Christmas cross stitch pattern. I’m going to finish it this week and post the pattern for you all–my only issue is that it was an Excel document, and  of course I only have Numbers now on my Mac and . . . it sucks. I’ll get it going for you guys.

In the meantime, my favorite scene from White Christmas is below. Danny Kaye and Vera Ellen are such a pleasure to watch, and Rosemary Clooney’s line at 3:40 slays me!

Best Drunk Recaps of ABC Family Holiday Movies: My friend Alex Cox did a hilarious 12 Days of Christmas (. . . As Told by ABC Family) over at his World of Awesome blog last year. He did some super funny recaps of “classics” like Snow (starring The Flash‘s Tom Cavanagh) and Desperately Seeking Santa (starring Smallville‘s Laura Vandervoort). It looks like he didn’t make it past Day 5, because . . . Tori Spelling. But still. Worth a read.

Best Holiday China: This, of course, is Lenox’s Holiday china. It says “holiday” right in the name, folks! I’ve been slowly collecting sets of this for four years (with my lovely mother adding a place setting each year) and mixing it with my Lenox Eternal china (my wedding china) for larger dinners. If you follow me on Twitter, you’ll see I’ve been using Holiday every day in December and posting pics. I lead an exciting life.

Lenox Holiday China

Lenox Holiday china with greek yogurt and granola. Christmassy!

Best Christmas Cookie: I already said this in my Five Cookies You Meet at Christmas post, but again: Southern Living‘s slice-and-bake cranberry-orange shortbread.

Best Christmas Appetizer That I Haven’t Actually Made Yet: So, I think I mentioned I read Winter Street by Elin Hilderbrand on my trip East last month to my sister-in-law’s wedding? It was an airport book. So it was basically an ABC Family holiday movie in book form, but it had some great descriptions of a holiday party, including several appetizers, including something called a Salted Almond Pinecone, which intrigued me. I looked into it: it’s basically a cheese ball with almonds, which sounds fantastic, and which I’m going to make for my holiday party this year.

Hopefully these very important links will bring you some joy this holiday season. My other piece of advice: do not let your baby play with a “child proof” bottle of infant ibuprofen while you change her diaper, because she’ll probably open it, drenching herself with it, resulting in the above-mentioned call to Poison Control. She’s fine, I’m an idiot.

So what are your holiday favorites? Post them below!

The Five Cookies You Meet at Christmas

Christmas is coming, and you know what that means: Christmas cookies! Whether you plan to make them or just eat them, I’ve put together a list of what I consider to be the five main types of cookies you meet (and eat) during the holidays. Enjoy!

The Spectacular Slice-and-Bake

Southern Living‘s Cranberry-Orange Slice and Bake Shortbread is the perfect Christmas cookie: it is delicious, it is easy, and it is ready when you are. Have you never made Christmas cookies before? Are you worried you don’t have time? These are great because you can make a couple logs in less than 30 minutes (four dozen cookies!), throw them in the freezer, and bake them off just when you need them!

shortbread-cookies-m

Photo from Southern Living. Pictured (clockwise from top left): cranberry-orange, pecan, coconut-macadamia, and toffee-espresso.

There are other variations listed, but the cranberry-orange version is ideal for Christmas: light, crispy, sweet, and tangy. But you could make a plain version and press the slices into sanding sugar (a type of decorative sugar), or dip them half into dark chocolate after baking and sprinkle them with crushed peppermint candies . . . the possibilities are endless. And easy! And if you use margarine (real margarine, not cooking oil spreads), they’re vegan!

The Retro Spritz

I appreciate Classic Spritz Cookies for what they are: a classic butter cookie that’s sweet and easy to do with the kids. My dad inherited his mom’s cookie press and made them for a few years and it was the cutest. Delicious!

Classic Spritz Cookies

Photo from Betty Crocker.

The Gingerbread Man

I could eat an army of gingerbread men. But there are so many recipes to choose from! I like Martha Stewart’s Gingerbread Cookie recipe: it makes a lot of cookies, and the black pepper gives it a nice sharp edge.

Gingerbread Men Martha Stewart

Oh Martha. You’re so crazy. Photo from Martha Stewart.

The Pain-in-the Ass (That Is Totally Worth It)

These cookies. These cookies. These Chocolate-Peppermint Cookies (another Martha Stewart recipe) are soooooo good. Chocolate-peppermint cookies wrapped in luscious white chocolate (I recommend Ghirardelli) and topped with crushed candy canes? These are so f*cking good. They’re like Thin Mints that died and went to Santa’s workshop.

chocolatepeppermintcookies (1)

(Kinda crappy) photo from Martha Stewart.

I’m not going to lie. These cookies are work. Make the dough! Chill the dough! Roll the dough! Freeze the dough! Cut the cookies! Freeze the cookies (I’m not kidding)! Bake the cookies! Dip the cookies! Top the cookies! But then. You can eat these cookies. If I didn’t make them every year my family would cry.

The No-Bake Retro Gem

I saved the best for last. But first: let me tell you about my good friend Melissa. She’s smart, funny, and stylish. She spent a year of college in France. She worked for a major financial company in London. She’s the perfect dinner party guest, because she can talk to anyone about anything. Years ago, she bought a shirt for my husband that he still tries to wear every day (he will never wear anything I buy him).

But! She’s also from Illinois, home to the best, down-home, retro Christmas cookie classics (see the spritz cookie, above–my dad is also from Illinois). Melissa makes the greatest Christmas cookies and delivers them to her friends every year, and her Special K bars–an old family recipe–are the best. I hoarded most of them for myself last year and I didn’t even feel guilty: they’re crispy and peanutty and chocolate-y and glorious. And she shared the recipe, with her alterations, below!

Moser Family Special K Bars (Updated by Melissa)

You need:

1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup white Karo syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup peanut butter
3 cup Special K cereal
6 oz chocolate chips
6 oz butterscotch chips

Bring sugar and Karo to a medium boil. Take off heat and add peanut butter, vanilla, and Special K. Press into a buttered 9″ x 13″ cake pan.
Melt chips on very low heat or using a double boiler. Spread on top of bars.

Melissa’s Notes:
Alterations that I usually do:

  • Golden syrup instead of Karo
  • Whatever gluten-free organic-ish cereal that’s on sale at New Seasons
  • I double the bar portion of the batch (not the topping) and put it in a jelly roll pan (cookie sheet) to make more, but I don’t like too much chocolate
  • Add a bit of sea salt flakes to the top!

Unfortunately, there are no known pictures of these bars, because they are immediately inhaled.

Phew! So what are your Christmas cookie plans? I’m making the Slice-and-Bakes, Chocolate-Peppermints, and Gingerbread Men (Melissa has promised me extra Special K bars).