Sunday, December 20, 2015

Just The Right Tag


In some ways it's been a little harder to feel the Christmas spirit this year.  Probably due to the grim news and blustery politics of late.  On the other hand, I am feeling warm and fuzzy about having my son home for's been a very long time since he's celebrated with us.  His birthday is just two days before Christmas, so it has always been a "twofer" holiday for our family.  He's been enjoying cooking for our little family and is plotting the main dish (Chicken Jardiniere) for his birthday dinner.  We've also been making batches of Chez Noel cookies, one of my mom's delicious, old timey recipes. (You can find it at the end of the blog post).

As the holiday draws near, nothing helps to get me in the mood like dragging out the wrapping paper rolls, ribbon spools, scotch tape and scissors!  I put on my favorite Christmas tunes and I am off and running. I am one of those types that loves to wrap presents.  I even volunteer to wrap other people's presents!  However, my downfall are those tedious Christmas tags.  For some reason, after wrapping everything I dread scrounging about for an appropriate tag.  This year, all I had left were the mismatched, leftover, weird and wonky ones.  So...what's a crafty person to do?  Devote 3 hours to making a big batch of tags (36 in fact!) and I didn't cut into a single new sheet of paper, just used snippets and scraps from the "red & green" bag.  I put all of my favorite Pink Ink Itty Bitty stamps and old scalloped punches to work, reeled out several yards of pretty twisty colored twine and voila!  Tags.  Plenty of them.  Pretty ones.  That match. 
Stringing tags by my favorite window, listening to The Eddie Higgins Trio

Here's a close up of some of my favorites
And here is the whole batch!

So now I'm done with the tags and the cookies and the wrappings and am ready for our birthday/Christmas dinner...finally feeling the "spirit" that had eluded me.   And this is my wish for you, that you are able to connect with whatever small and simple things that bring you peace and joy at Christmastime.    
And now...

Lois Johnson's Chez Noel Cookies                                      Oven Temp. 350 degrees

Shortbread Base Layer:
3/4 cup butter at room temp.
1 1/2 cups sifted flower
3 Tbsp. sugar
Mix and press into 15 1/2 x 10 1/2" sheet pan.  Bake 15 - 20 minutes
Pecan Topping:
1 lb. box dark brown sugar
3 egg whites
1 cup chopped pecans
1/2 tsp. vanilla
Beat egg whites until still and fold into mixture of remaining ingredients.  Spread on top of first baked mixture.  Bake until brown - about 15 - 20 minutes more.


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