The Twelve
Think Red!

Feeding the Spirit

In my current quest to Reclaim Christmas for Myself, I've been giving a lot of thought to what feeds my spirit . . . and what doesn't.  This year, I am determined to focus my time and energy on those elements of the Christmas season that lift me up . . . and I am equally determined to let go of those elements that don't. 

So, when this magazine

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arrived in my mailbox, I got to thinking about about holiday food.  Cookies.  Special feasts.  Holiday treats.  I love to cook.  I love to make desserts.  Cookies?  Not so much.

It seems almost . . . heretical. . . to admit my disdain for the Christmas Cookie.  But, here I am.  Publicly claiming that baking Christmas cookies is a major energy-drain for me.  I typically bake dozens and dozens of cookies.  I pack them in colorful tins.  I give them to friends and neighbors.  I EAT them (which is the only part I really enjoy!).  But, in truth, the pressure and obligation of baking them makes me very Scrooge-y.

I decided to just . . . skip through the magazine spread featuring this year's selection of delectable (yet futzy) holiday cookies.  I just didn't look.  

And, then, I discovered this. . .

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It's this year's Cooking Light holiday feast -- tastefully put together by the editors and test kitchen staff of Cooking Light.  This spread makes my mouth water, and makes my heart sing!  Oh, the possibilities!  From a winter salad with roasted beets and a creamy crab bisque. . .

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to a main course of brined pork loin (with a brown sugar-bourbon glaze), green beans and mushrooms, apples with bacon, and mashed potatoes with horseradish butter. . .

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to the desserts (oh! the desserts!) of German chocolate mousse and roasted pear creme brulee tart. . .

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THIS is a holiday feast idea that makes my heart sing and my imagination soar!

Maybe I could have the energy to create such a feast if I didn't mess around with the cookie nonsense?  I'm thinking it's worth a try!  Cooking a futzy meal would actually boost my spirit.  I can plan and think about this meal all month long -- and it will continue to make me happy and a little excited about the adventure of it.  As opposed planning and thinking about the cookie sessions. . . with dread and a heavy sense of obligation.

So, here's my first step toward Reclaiming Christmas for Myself!  Christmas cookies?  Out!  Adventurous holiday feast?  In!

PS -- Don't worry, family.  I WILL still make Pepparkakor.  Even I, the cookie Scrooge, can't give up the Pepparkakor!


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Good move!!

Does the Cookie Scrooge have a favorite Pepparkakor recipe to share? I've never been much for the all-out cookie baking, either, but I do have a cookie exchange coming up and I'm looking for the perfect one!


Cookies are totally overrated. Trust me. ;^)


Christmas is full of sweet treats. Your idea of a grand feast is excellent. Christmas should be about joy and that means to not do what doesn't make you happy.


So if you need any taste testers...I'm just not that far away! :-) Looks delicious!

Diana Troldahl

I made tollhouse cookies a few weeks ago. It wore me out.
Last week Oscar came home with a package of ready-to-bake cookies from the Kroger line "Simply" All the ingredients were precisely what I would use at home, well, within reason.
It took me less than a minute of my time to put them in the oven, and take them back out (12 minutes cooking time in between)
And they tasted almost as good as my tollhouse cookies. I told Oscar that those were the only cookies I plan to make from now on.

Janet Duggins

I totally feel the same about cookies. I LOVE to cook and bake also... just not cookies. Too much boring fussy work putting them on the trays one at a time, taking them off the trays one at a time, decorating them one at a time. I'm always tired of it long before I'm done. On top of all that, I'm just not that big a fan of cookies. That roasted pear creme brulee tart, on the other hand... umm. I could happily make that!


That meal looks positively divine! I love gourmet meals!
I do enjoy making a few favorite treats at Chrismas, because it is about the only time of the year we eat much sugar, and certain traditions must be upheld. I DON'T do tedious stuff though that has to be cut out, decorated, etc. I have kids for that~ if they want to do it! I have one daughter that makes a gingerbread house every year. I don't touch a drop of it he has gotten to be really, really good at them. Whatever though, it should all be fun and stress free as possible.


The dinner sounds wonderful! I do love cookies though - just a couple easy ones plus some family recipes like your pfeffernusse.


Good decision on the cookie-baking. My family has always made cut-out sugar cookies that were frosted and decorated with colored sugars, etc. It takes at least two days to make them: one to make the dough, roll out, cut and bake the cookies; and one to frost and decorate them. A few years ago, they just didn't get made. My children missed them and asked about them, but you know what? We managed to enjoy Christmas without them. (We weren't cookie-less since we did have several other kinds of cookies.)

Cooking Light has always had The Best Holiday issues! I have holiday issues going back a dozen years and still refer to them. Cookies are optional, but meals are essential, right?

Erin Mulhern

I'll bake the cookies, Mommy! It's important for you to enjoy the holidays. You said you like to eat the cookies, but not bake them. Therefore, I will bake them for you to eat.

Ignore the fact that I know absolutely nothing about cooking (and have inexplicably managed to burn soup before. Yes. Soup.) I'll figure it out...we do have fire insurance right? ;)

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