Saturday, December 03, 2005

Holidays--Celebrations and Cooking

Skim down for what's cooking in my kitchen! Recipes and pictures to follow!

Today was the 18th Annual Neiman Marcus Adolphus Children's Parade, held in downtown Dallas. I love this day. I have been volunteering as a child escort since 2000 (I missed last year due to teacher certification testing). It's hard to explain how much fun and special this day is! The children in the parade are all Children's Medical Center of Dallas patients. Many of them have been looking forward to this day for weeks. They are the celebrities--they ride on some element with a character or other celebrity--Miss America, Miss Texas, sports figures, etc. My child was with Buster the Bunny (???? No one I'm familiar with!) and rode on a convertible Porsche! I walked alongside in my frumpy official parade volunteer uniform: red sweat pants, red turtleneck, white official parade sweatshirt, Santa hat. Oh yeah, it was in the 70s when the parade started. There was a few times I felt like I was going to melt! Anyhow, my child had a great day, as did all the kids. Now it feels like the holiday season!

This day always makes me a bit nostalgic as well. Though Dakota didn't ever get to see a parade in person, I would tape it and give to him. He loved watching the parade! The marching bands, the dancers, the colorful balloons--he got excited as the sight of them all! As do many other things throughout the year, I can't get through the parade without my mind wandering to my precious nephew. The sounds of him watching the parade are among those memories that I tuck way back, but bring forward periodically to keep them fresh. I never want to forget the joyous sound of his voice. While the parade is what really helps me get into the holiday season, it's also a reminder of what is missing this holiday season. This will mark the 4th Christmas without him. We only had him for 5 Christmas's. Precious memories, how they linger.

I've started preparing for baking tomorrow. I have the filling for Gingerbread Truffles chilling in the fridge. OK, I licked the spoon. The spices remind me of chai spices with chocolate. You steep heavy cream with whole cloves, allspice, fresh ginger, cinnamon, and a dash of salt. You then strain this mixture into a mixture of melted white and bittersweet chocolate and candied ginger. Yum! Once that chills, you form balls and coat them in either more chocolate or cocoa powder.

I also made the cookie part of BA's Chocolate Peppermint Sandwich cookies. It's a rich, chocolate shortbread. The filling is flavored w/ peppermint extract and colored with red food coloring for a color burst. You then roll the cookies in crushed peppermint. Chocolate and peppermint are two of my flavors, and I love them together!

To balance out the calories and fat in these recipes, I am making two recipes from Cooking Light. One is the Key Lime Coconut Snowballs (Nov 05) reviewed here by Joe from Culinary in the Desert. The other recipe is Maple-Walnut Spice Cookies (Dec 05). I'm also considering the Sesame Sweets either tomorrow or in the upcoming weeks.

I'll post pictures and reviews tomorrow.

No comments: