To day is the start of the week long Virtual Cookie Exchange blog hop which has been organised by Carol from Just Let Me Quilt Thank you Carol for all the hard work you put in on these hops and I'm really looking forward to seeing what everyone is posting this year. Last year I got a lot of new ideas and recipes.
Christmas is such a lovely time of year. For many of us it means more family time to enjoy and also sharing with our friends and colleagues. In my family the run up to Christmas also involves two birthdays, mine on the 8th and my older brother's on the 20th. When we were both very young, you know young enough that you don't fully know when your birthday is, mom used to celebrate our birthdays a month early. When I started school the teacher corrected me and told me I had several more days to wait. Mom was determined that we should enjoy our birthday celebrations before starting to celebrate Christmas so we didn't decorate until after Ian's birthday. Once I left home I started to declare the Christmas season open on the day after my birthday and this is what we usually do now. On December 1st I put up the advent calendar I made and fill it with sweets but nothing else gets added until December 9th.
The tree is very important in our house and each year we add some new decorations and sometimes retire old ones. When we first had Picasso he managed to break quite a few of the baubles as he climbed to the top of the tree but since then he's stayed on the ground. He loves to hit the lower baubles with his paw.
In November 16 we visited an old house where the staff had created a gingerbread house to look like the real building. I was very impressed with it
Since then we've had a gingerbread house. This is the first one we made.
My son has always loved Lego since he was very small and over the years we collected several of their Christmas sets. We particularly like the Christmas train.
We have Christmas quilts. The first one I made several years ago.
and yesterday I finished the top of my new Christmas quilt. I am determined that this will be fully finished before Christmas.
We also have our crib.
I also made a batch of Spicy Raisin bars. I tried out this new recipe a few weeks ago and I thought the bars would be very good as a snack to take on our Christmas walks. .
They really are delicious and a little gooey like chocolate brownies. I cut the bars quite thin so that John and I could enjoy some without adding extra weight. Just because it's almost Christmas it doesn't mean I want to gain extra pounds.
The recipe is by Martha Day from her book Baking
110 g plain flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground all spice
215 g raisins
115 g butter or margarine at room temperature
100 g sugar
165 g molasses
55 g walnuts, chopped.
1. Preheat a 350 F/180 C / Gas 4 oven.
Line a 13 x 9 in (33 x 23 cm) tin with grease proof paper and grease
2. Sift together the flour, baking powder and spices.
3. Place the raisins in another bowl and toss with a few teaspoons of the flour mixture
4. With an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, 1 at a time, then the molasses. Stir in the flour mixture, raisins and walnuts.
5. Spread evenly in the tin. Bake until just set, 15 - 18 minutes. Let it cool in the tin before cutting into bars
Tomorrow I will bake our Christmas cake. This is always a rich fruit cake which I then decorate with marzipan and icing. I'm rather late making it this year but it will still be very tasty.
I hope you have enjoyed visiting. I certainly enjoyed you popping in. Now go visit the other blogs on the hop today. The hop runs every day up to and including Friday
Do come and visit again soon.