When I was little my mom and her sisters would gather in my grandmothers kitchen to bake cookies and candies all day in preparation for Christmas. The kitchen was an assembly line of my aunts baking goodies, and the sunroom adjacent to the kitchen was taken over as a staging area for the overflow of treats before they were packaged and on their way. There were no worries nor a care in the world when you were in grandmas kitchen. As children we were able to mix, bake, and decorate and participate in every minute of fun!
Traditions can get left behind in gluttonous schedules as life overflows. I found myself, as well as my family and friends, rushing to the beat of another drummers tune. But sometimes you just need to be still for a moment. I wanted to bring back the simplicity I found as a young child in my grandmothers kitchen but with an adult twist and a sprinkle of fabulousness. Thus I created Cookies and Cocktails. A respite from busy schedules; time set a side for togetherness to enjoy making cookies while sharing in traditions. Each recipe often holds a story, and as we share those stories and recipes the traditions continue.
We all enjoy spending time with our friends and family, but in recent years, I felt the true meaning of Christmas was being lost in the monotony of scheduled holiday appearances and a rush to check off the list of gift items for everyone. Cookies and Cocktails is a getaway from the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season. It’s a night to unwind with a good glass of wine (or kiddie cocktail for the little ones) while sharing recipes and laughs.
An easy overnight French toast bake with the seasonal flavor of pumpkin. Oh so easy, and oh so Dee-lish!
1 large loaf French Bread (about 16 slices) or two mini loaves
CREAM CHEESE FILLING
- 4 eggs
- 1 Cup half and half
- 1/3 Cup sugar
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ginger
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp allspice
- 1 Cup pumpkin puree
- 2 T butter
- Butter a 9 x 13 baking dish. Slice bread into ½ inch slices stacking two pieces on top of each other and place in dish.
- Beat cream cheese until smooth. Add ½ Cup sugar, 1 tsp vanilla and salt. Optional – add 1/2 Cup of pumpkin puree, beat to combine.
- Lay out 8 pieces of bread. Divide cream cheese mixture over bread. Spread on slice of bread and top with another slice of bread to create cream cheese stuffed French toast.
- Make the pumpkin mixture by beating the eggs. Add the rest of the ingredients and whisk together. Pour over stuffed French toast.
- Top each piece of French toast with half a slice of butter.
- Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate over night, or for several hours.
- In the morning bake uncovered at 400 degrees for 25-30 minutes.
- Serve with warm maple syrup and a dollop of whipped cream! I also add pecans fresh from our farm!
Bonfire season always has room for more S’mores, but what if you don’t have the outdoors?
With busy schedules and urban lifestyles not everyone has the luxury of roasting marshmallows fireside to create S’mores. This is a childhood treat that my mom made for us girls and everyone can enjoy. Oh so simple and Oh so Dee-lish.
•1 large box of Golden Grahams cereal
•1 package (12 oz) milk chocolate chips
•3 1/2 Cups small marshmallows
•2/3 Cup light Caro syrup
•2 Tbsp butter
•1 tsp vanilla
Butter 9 x 12 baking dish, add 1 box of Golden Grahams cereal, and set aside. Heat syrup, chocolate chips, and butter over stove until melted. Add vanilla and remove from heat. Fold in marshmallows and pour over cereal. Mix until cereal is thoroughly coated with melted chocolate and marshmallow. Press firmly into dish with spatula, cool, and cut into squares.
Change in leaf colors and crisp autumn air brings with it our annual Hallows Harvest Party! A seasonal reminder that the end of farm season is near. It is a time of grateful celebration and a moment to relax and enjoy around the farm. The fall cook-out was a yearly gathering started by Uncle Glenn that Mark and I have continued in the spirit of tradition.
Bonfire fun was accompanied by Ragged Edge whose sounds were the perfect backdrop to an enjoyable farm evening. Food, friends and fun! Later this week I will post the recipe for smore’s bars. Back by popular request, these bars were so Dee-lish that I missed out on having one before they were gone.