Today? BON BONS! Cookies! Decorations! Jack! Winner! Red Letter Day! MUSICA!
Let’s start with the Bon-Bons, and really, let’s get to the number one Bon-Bon of the day, the winner of our drawing! My MOST favorite part of a giveaway is reading all the wonderful comments you leave . . . it’s almost worth my LEAST favorite part, which is when I have to summon Vanna, like now . . . VANNA HONEY, GET UP DARLING, TIME TO PULL THE WINNING NAME (I may have to go up there and stick the hat under her hand to get her to do this — she was out late, as you can imagine, she’s the Christmas Party Queen). Oh, I think I hear her — she’s making tea, her new discovery is Celestial Seasonings Bengal Spice Tea with half and half; like all rock stars she has certain things we have to keep in the house for her performances, this is hers — we’ll wait, and while we do, let’s look at what the winner is getting, just one more time. First off, this wonderful Candy Cane mug, with a lid and a wire basket to hold loose tea inside, and a saucer for your cookie!
And the little purse notebook with the Cardinals on it …. and of course,
Joe’s sweetest contribution; a fresh homemade wreath made with our garden cuttings, holly, boxwood, ivy; and pine from our walk in the woods, completely shot through with cold island breezes and salt air, not to mention Martha’s Vineyard magic, to grace the lucky winner’s home. ♥ I also found a cute paper cardinal to put on it! I’m so excited, because it’s truly so pretty, you are going to love it. I wish I had about 4,000 of them, as that would only be fair. ♥
Oh, oh, I hear the shuffle of pink feather mules on the carpeting, here she comes! Such a drama queen. But nobody does it better . . . not a hair out of place. She must think I’m (in my morning getup which I will leave totally to your imagination) something the cat dragged in! Anyway, here we go, her arm is deep in Santa’s furry red hat, all the little names are swirling, she is taking her time to do it just right . . . round and round it goes . . . and now she’s pulling it out, names are falling away like a waterfall, and there, she’s got just one, between pink polished finger and thumb, the name, the winner, from almost 4,000 entries . . . ooooo, I’m so excited I can’t READ. . . . OK, calm yourself, here it comes: OH! The winner’s name is “KATHY O.” The word “Iowa” is in her email address, so perhaps she is from Iowa. I just sent her an email to tell her she is our prize winner! This may have been destiny for Kathy, her comment mentioned that she lost her mom this summer, and her fifteen year old son has just finished radiation treatment; too much for any one girlfriend. So she could probably use a bit of cheering up, and here it comes. ♥ I’m sure all you darling girlfriends join me in sending our blessings to Kathy … CONGRATULATIONS KATHY!!! Hugs from all 4,000 of us! Can you feel the love?
Which is very likely the reason Kathy won this drawing . . . XOXO
So, yes, we do have COOKIES (that bendy, chewy, chocolate chip recipe!) as our consolation prize, but before I give you that, I thought I’d show you what I’ve been doing. Because you know that Yankee Magazine will be HERE tomorrow morning to photograph this house, so I’ve been decorating like a wild woman. Joe too, like a wild man. Here’s a little of what we’ve been up to . . .
Joe got a painter friend to help with his ladders, to get the decorations onto the house . . .
We do this every year; the only new thing is Joe’s holly over the top of the door where our fall pumpkins usually go.
I look at this and can’t help but think of the 152 Christmases this house has already seen. I love that we’re doing our part for its 153rd. ★
Here’s Joe’s Santa’s Village next to the barn. Looks rather professional don’t you think?
Of course I needed to oil my wooden spoons . . .
And I slipped in a little boxwood where ever I could . . .
I thought I would dress up my lamps a bit and so I used ribbon and sprigs of green . . .
And discovered my new decorating coup de grâce, a bon-bon if I’ve ever seen one — there are so many inexpensive and beautiful ribbons in the stores now — I just rummaged around in our old ribbon box and found these . . . such an easy way to make things more festive ~ I thought you’d like it too.
Now, no lamp is safe from me.
I decided to make it look a little more wintery indoors, at least in the dining room, so I went around and shopped my house looking for WHITE things to decorate my sideboard. I found a package of snowflake gift tags; turned the “two and from” to the inside and tied them to gold beads and to the lace runner. I think this sideboard might be as old as the house — it’s really heavy, and came with the house when we bought it. (If you peek between the O and the Y in JOY, you can see the E my darling JoEy put in there last year.)
I found a gold edged bird too, and some lucite stars. Bon-bon city! I was surprised at all the white things I had in the house, or gold or silver or starry, or something snow-like . . .
In the meantime, I worked around the kitchen too …. making star croutons here, for Christmas gifts . . . ✮
While the King of the Refrigerator looks on, my best Bon-bon of all . . . Yes, he is ridiculously cute.
I used thin-sliced bread to make it easy to cut the stars out with my 1″ star cutter (this is one loaf); then fried them in about 3 TB of butter, being gentle so they keep their points, till brown; then I salted them, and let them cool. Makes a wonderful bon-bon of a gift, delicious on soups and salads and they look festive too!
Bon-Bon Alert! I made sugared fruit to decorate with . . . . such an old-fashioned decoration; have you ever done this? It’s really easy. Choose little fruits; if you can find the tiny Christmas Apples or Seckle Pears, they look especially wonderful done this way. Our store didn’t have them, but you can see these small pears and apples look good too.
You can use tangerines, purple grapes, plums, and even holly (which I did, and it looks wonderful!). If you’d like to try this at home, buy a pint of egg whites at the store, shake them well; use a basting brush to paint your fruit all over. Sprinkle it with normal sugar first, then a little bit of superfine sugar (which you can make in your food processor if you can’t find it at the store; just whirl up regular sugar until it’s superfine! I didn’t use powdered sugar, but I kind of think you could, you can try it — if it doesn’t work, just wash it off!). Let the egg-white-painted fruit dry overnight before you put it in a dish as a centerpiece.
And now, as you all know . . . there are
In the spirit of looking like Santa Claus (and even feeling like Santa Claus) . . . It’s time for . . .
Here’s that recipe I’ve been promising! It makes about five dozen cookies — perfect for any cookie exchange!
The first thing you need is 2 ¾ C. broken gingersnaps the kind you get at the supermarket that come in a box. Joe was in the kitchen while I was making these . . . it was his idea that the gingersnaps get smashed between two frying pans, which was an interesting way to do it; it certainly broke them up — but it also made two frying pans dirty (?), so it’s your choice, his way, or just break them up with your hands, (p.s. they are going into the food processor anyway) . . .
You can see Joe’s broken gingersnaps on the bottom, and mine on top — There are only eight ingredients in this easy recipe, so I measured everything first.
Into the food processor goes the broken ginger snaps, a half cup of flour and two teaspoons of baking powder (I’ll put the recipe at the end of this post to make it easier).
Whirl everything until it’s finely ground — then set aside . . .
Put the softened butter in a large bowl; with a hand blender, beat in one 14 oz can of sweetened condensed milk until smooth.
Stir in the gingersnap crumbs, then add 1 ¼C. shredded coconut.
Pour in a heaping cupful of chocolate chips . . .
And the last thing, 1 ¼ C. chopped walnuts. Mix it all together . . .
And drop the batter by rounded spoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets, pop them in the oven, bake 8-10 min. until lightly browned. Cool on waxed paper. Go outside, take a deep breath of fresh air; now pretend you don’t know you, walk back into your house and smell how good it smells. Don’t you just love you? ♥ Exactly as it should be. ♥
I don’t think I have to tell you what to do next! And later . . .
Last but not least, before I go, I thought I would show you our tree ….
It unfolded beautifully . . . . Jack was slightly enthralled when we first got it …. but now he’s thinking we have given it way too much attention, when what we should be doing is shooting his ponytail band for him.
Instead of decorating a tree, for heaven’s sake. You note that Jack is not in the room and could not be less interested …. probably asleep somewhere.
“Jack! What do you think of our tree?”
So that’s all for today! It’s raining so hard outside, there is a river of water running down our street toward the harbor. It’s supposed to be nice tomorrow, here on Christmas Island; cold and sunny. Off I go to decorate the Peter Rabbit Room! One more time, congratulations to Kathy on winning the drawing, and congratulations to US for all the new girlfriends and kindred spirits who’re joining us to celebrate the wonderful things in life. I’ll be back after Yankee leaves to let you know how it went! We will be having champagne then! In front of the fire! xoxo Love you Girls, Me
Here’s the recipe for the
CHOCOLATE CHIP GINGER COCONUT COOKIES makes 4 dozen 375°
- 2¾ C. broken gingersnaps
- ½ C. flour
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- ½ c. softened butter (one stick)
- 1 14-oz. can sweetened condensed milk
- 1¼ C. shredded coconut
- 1 heaping cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 1¼ C. chopped walnuts
Preheat oven to 375°. Whirl broken gingersnaps, flour, and baking powder in a food processor until finely ground; set aside. Put softened butter and condensed milk into a large bowl and beat with hand mixer until smooth; add gingersnap mixture to bowl and beat well. Mis in the coconut, chocolate chips and walnuts. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake 8-10 min. until light brown. Cool on waxed paper; store in airtight containers.