Friday, December 16, 2011

Getting in the spirit

pre-christmas prep
{pre-christmas prep}

This is what our apartment looked like at this time last year. We are so not there right now. I'm hoping we'll get a little closer this weekend. I'm resolving to get our tree up, to get that tablecloth out, to stock up on baking supplies and pull out some recipes.

I want to make melomakarona this year, my favorite Christmas cookie that always seems to get passed over because I run out of time. This recipe looks like it might be promising.

I want to candy orange peels and make caramel and bake more gingerbread. I want to sew a few little things and wrap a few other things and spend some time drinking my holiday tea and reading.

But I'll be happy if we put out the tree and sit still for an hour or two. And I can always buy melomakarona (LA people - Papa Christos usually has them). So there's that.

I'm making pies this weekend. Lots of pies. Stay tuned.


  1. this makes me feel only slightly better about the fact that
    a) i haven't even BEGUN to approach xmas shopping
    b) our apartment looks more spring break than tis the season- it's been the mildest, weirdest, freakishly warm winter on record here in new york.

    (ps- 'member how you felt about your GORGEOUS engagement photos going up online, "you go check them out and i'll be over here twiddling my thumbs and feeling self-conscious" etc? i feel you. take a lil' gander over to the makers project when you have a moment...)

    X. O.

  2. Don't worry - we still need to get our tree as well.

  3. i know the feeling well, dear R; our holiday was front-loaded this year, so we've been crazy-busy, and i'm trying to get over the horrible suspicion that i'm not going to manage to send out holiday cards this year. (also, my biscotti were totally ignored in our office cookie exchange, so my baker's ego is smarting.) enjoy your pies this weekend, and happy first married christmas!

  4. I feel behind on everything this year, too. I didn't get Christmas cards in time, so New Year cards it'll have to be. I haven't done half the baking I intended, and I'm still clueless on gifts for my sister and my husband.

    As for that caramel you mentioned: do you have any tips? Or a foolproof recipe? I think it's my biggest kitchen fear (boiling sugar is rather terrifying). My latest caramel escapades included burning the first go, then not boiling the next batch long enough (for fear of burning it again) before adding the butter & cream. It crystallized. :\

  5. I would love some time to sit down an djust take all the festive-ness in, but I don't think that is going to happen especially as I still have so uch to do!

  6. @ lily - you are too gorgeous to be self conscious, lady. seriously.

    @ lauren - no holiday cards on our end this year either. it's a bummer, but what can you do? i would have eaten the biscotti at the exchange. so much more versatile than an overly sweet cookie!

  7. @ Kristy - I use Deb's recipe on Smitten Kitchen for my caramel sauce and it hasn't done me wrong yet. I would check it out. I haven't had nearly as much luck with straight up caramels, but I like the sauce better anyways. And yes, boiling sugar is particularly terrifying. There's nothing like a caramel burn (fingers crossed, knock on wood, I haven't done that yet).

  8. @ Chaucee - Thank you, dear! I'm glad we're not the only household feeling a bit behind.

    @ Lottie - I know! But if you don't sit down for at least a little bit, it's hard to enjoy the season at all, at least for me. My new holiday rule is that when I think I have 10 urgent things to do and not enough time, I eat first, then shower. It calms me down enough that I usually decide I can cross 8 things off my list and ignore them.

  9. That recipe looks like fun! Although I think I might make only a quarter of the recipe unless I was gifting cookies.

  10. Rachel!!! I soo wanted to say hi to you yesterday when I saw you at the West Elm event but I didn't wanna come out like a weirdo stalker! :) Happy Holidays!

  11. That is an amazing tablecloth! It's beautiful :)

  12. ditto on the tablecloth! where did you find that? I am asking because I am in the beginning stages of planning my own wedding-- and I am committed to a dutch/scandinavian folk aesthetic :)

  13. I LOVE that tablecloth! Gorgeous!

  14. I made orange peels last year (if memory serves me right, Smitten Kitchen had pretty good instructions). They were SO yummy and a huge hit! Here's a tip: don't throw out all that orange-flavored sugar water -- use it as a simple syrup in cute cocktails!

    I'm hoping to attempt salted caramels this year... We'll see...!

  15. pies!! could you give us a hint on what kind? :)

  16. @ Sonia - yes, it's a lot of cookies! But it mentions that you can freeze them successfully and they also last forever on the counter. They age well - ideally I should have made them at the beginning of the month!

    @ Pia - You should have said hi! I would have loved to meet you!

    @ Unknown, Maria and Kate - The tablecloth is actually a long piece of fabric from Ikea. They had it at Christmastime last year and I snatched it up in blue for me and red for my mom. I love it. Maybe they have something similar for this year?

    @ Em-Jae - Kindred spirits! I use the leftover orange syrup in cocktails as well! It seemed so sad to throw it out when it smells so good.

    @ dania - Pumpkin (x2) + key lime pie + berry + one to be determined. Weird mix, I know! The pumpkin and the key lime are for birthdays (my dad and D both have mid-Dec birthdays so my dad gets pumpkin and D gets key lime) and I have a holiday party on Sunday, so I need a couple more. Whew.

  17. I have the most amazing recipe for melomakarona ( if you are interested, send me an email cause it's in greek.
    This is the one I am making for us this year and I find it quite simple.xx


Trying captchas this time - better or worse than having to log in to comment? Let me know! Sorry for all the hoops but the spam has been terrible lately!