Saturday, December 13, 2014

12 Days of Christmas: My favorite memory



The holidays are upon us and I have been so busy with regular life stuff that I feel completely unprepared. My plan is to get my tree up today (finally!).  That sounds like fun, right?  And next week, drum roll please, my sister is coming over to help make Christmas cookies with my little guy.

I like the cookie making part of Christmas.  It's my favorite.  I have this recipe that I totally stole from my mom, frosting included.  It's the only cookie that needs to made during the Christmas season.  It should only be made during the holidays because it's that delicious, that special, and that important.

Which is why my sister +Laura Gibson is going to participate in the traditional generational passing down of the Christmas cookie making tradition.  Because my son Bear is 3 now.

It's time.

It's important to teach him all the things we've learned over the years.  And to let him know where to start when he begins his own exploration of the boundaries of cookie making.  For instance, he should know that we've already mixed all the colors of frosting and it will always make black.  And if you make a black snowman, my mom will not be amused, but my dad will laugh every time he walks past the cookie plate.

And if you insist on making a frosting replica of Mount Doom, it is vital you fill the inside with red hots.  Anything else is bush league.

Broken cookies can be eaten immediately as long as you frost it first.

And the frosting itself needs to be used appopriatley.  None of this, so-thin-you-can-still-see-the-cookie stuff.  What even is that?  It's Christmas!  Frost your cookies.  There is no such thing as "too much frosting."  Really.

From the "Frost Off" December 2011



Yes, there were actual cookies under those beautiful piles of frosting.  And we actually ate them.

Make all the colors, use all the sprinkles.  Have fun, be crazy.  Sure, the perfect cookies look nice and are more presentable.  I totally noticed Mama arrange the the tray and hide the "artistic" cookies underneath the pretty one when company was coming over.

But the fun ones taste the best.

Because we dumped a whole lot of laughter into them when they were made.

You know who else loves cookies? Harrison O'Neil. 

Book 5, THE HOPE THAT STARTS, will release January 29.  I'm very excited about this one.  It was super fun to write, even if it made me hungry the entire time.  Here's a special UNEDITED excerpt, just for you, yes, YOU!
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It was really no secret that Harrison loved food. It was the core of many a joke told in and around the band and his family. He ate round the clock and when it had been too lengthy of a time between meals, he could get particularly grumpy. But he'd never been described as being too picky when he was hungry. He appreciated good food, to be sure, but when he was hungry, anything would do.

Sandwiches had been, and probably always would be, his favorite.

They were easy to make. You could change the flavor with the simplest ingredients. The essentials for making a sandwich were usually on hand and it took less than three minutes to construct a meal that would keep him full. Well, at least until his next meal.

This sandwich though, was no ordinary sandwich.

Pastrami, Swiss cheese, mayonnaise, avocado, tomatoes and sliced green peppers.

It was nothing he hadn't had a hundred times before, but there was definitely nuanced differences. The texture, the flavor, the essence of the sandwich was like nothing he'd ever experienced.

Right?” Sway asked with a knowing head nod.

Harrison set the half eaten sandwich down on his plate and looked at it cautiously. “What the hell did she do to it?”

Sway barked a short laugh and pushed his hair out his face as he leaned back against the bus wall. He tapped his index finger on the table right by the plate. “That, what you're tasting right there, is love.”

Harrison's eyes connected with the bassist's. That made sense. His mom and sisters often joked that the reason he loved their cooking so much was because they put love in it. That was it. That was the small difference. It had to be. He had no idea love had a taste until this second.

Now, he would never joke about it again.
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Merry Christmas!  Now, go make some cookies.