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Sunday, November 4, 2012

Prepping for Holiday Baking

Over the past years I have learned how important it is to prep in advance for the holidays.  When I hosted the big Thanksgiving and/or Christmas events at my house in Austin, preparation began well over a month in advance...detailed menus, grocery lists, time lines carefully mapped out.  It requires organized planning to pull off a meal or a party during the holidays.  You already have so much going on just prepping for your immediate family - add an "event" and WHEW... you better get your ducks in a row!

Since moving to the coast, away from my grown children and extended family, every year has involved holiday travel.  I really had to plan to make my contributions mobile and not crowd up my family's already crowded kitchens with my preparations.

Life continues to evolve as we grandparents make room for our children to take on the load, and work around their multi-family and work obligations.  Admittedly, I feel much too young to give up the reins just yet...but you do what you gotta do.  They simply can't travel for holidays.  Moving away from the large house and the family to enjoy condo life at the coast came with a cost.  This time of year, I always start feeling a bit morose because of it.  I really loved having my entire family in my home at Thanksgiving and Christmas!

This year, especially, is going to be challenging.  We've decided to stay home (at the coast) this Thanksgiving...which has me cooking the whole shebang (admittedly, a much smaller shebang) for the first time since 2007.  My big kids are having their meal with a family member from their Father's side who has not been in town for several years.  My husband is wanting to be at home with his feet up for the first time in 5 years on a holiday...so, I need to put the sad face aside and begin the preparation for our first coastal Thanksgiving. (Of course, that's assuming he gets the day after Thanksgiving off... otherwise, the teen and I will travel! Oy vey!!!)

Step One:  I've made the menu.  Way too much food (but it wouldn't be Thanksgiving without too much food).  I'm going to figure out how to make small portions of all of our favorite dishes.  I know I'm up to the task.

Step Two:  I want to bake cookies to send to my kids...at least some part of me will be with them on their day with the other side of the family.  So, today, I mixed up, packaged, and froze 3 batches of cookie dough to make cut-outs at a later time and decorate closer to Thanksgiving.

The rest of the steps will come together...I really could do this in my sleep!

I prepped two new cut-out cookie recipes...a Cardamom Sugar Cookie dough and an Espresso Chocolate Chocolate Chip Sugar Cookie dough found on Ann Clark, Ltd.'s website...and then, of course, my standard vanilla sugar cookie dough I have been using for years.  I have one more recipe I want to try - an Apple Butter Sugar Cookie that can be rolled and cut.  Sounds awesome.  When I bake and decorate them, I'll share all of that with you!

I also put away all of the Halloween decor and toted over the Thanksgiving stuff from the storage unit.  It's nice to unwrap and enjoy the few things I kept when we moved (we had tough choices...there is no room here)!  I have the table cloth and napkins and kitchen towels currently being refreshed in the dryer and the M & M Fall Mix in the acorn-shaped candy bowl, the ceramic turkey with tea light on the table, with ceramic pumpkins on each side.  All the usual suspects!  There is some comfort in the old familiar pieces, few that they are!  It helps that today is overcast, albeit not really Fall-like with a pleasant coastal 78 degrees at this time.

I'm missing the Shrimp Cook-off in Port Isabel - normally would be there, but it has rained off and on and I just wasn't "in the mood".  I do hope it is a success...past years have always been fun!

Okay - I think I've gone on and on enough.  If you made it to the end, thanks for reading.  The melancholy is lifting and I am feeling thankful for all our many blessings.  Different can be good...I've learned that lesson over and over.  Here it comes again!  I'll keep you posted as things progress.

Bon Appetit, Y'all!StumbleUpon

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