Monday, December 21, 2009

Holiday gifts

I have been cooking all day today, but it isn't for me. I really should get in the habit of cooking ahead for the week, but that is a project for another week. This week, while I am off work to spend time with my children and prepare for the holidays, I am making gifts.

I used to do this all the time, when my daughter was small. I went through a phase of candy-making fascination. That is some serious chemistry, candy-making. I made fudge with many different recipes, potato candy, and caramels, and considered making divinity, like I remembered my grandmother and aunts making when I was small (although that looked a bit too difficult for me!) Time passed, and I went back to school full-time, then got the full-time job, and candy making seemed too complicated. Also, somewhere in there, I quit dairy entirely (except for the occasionnal Snickers bar...), which made the candy-making seem difficult as well as time-consuming. This year, though, with the new house, and the nonstop eating kids, I thought making gifts might be a good idea again. So, I headed for the Internet to find some recipes and ideas.

First off, the Internet has a LOT of recipes. When I added in my cookbooks, I think I may have over-planned. But, I did get some stuff done today, and I will do more tomorrow (and maybe tonight, too). Here is what I did today.

First, so that I would feel a quick sense of accomplishment, I made lavender sugar. This was easy--some sugar and lavender blooms in the food processor, then I was filling cute little bottles.




Also in the picture, flavored vinegar. That recipe made a lot of vinegar, so I had extra to keep for myself and, having just had a salad, I can testify that it is nicely hot. Amazing what habanero peppers will do for a recipe.

Next up was Def-Jam cookies, from Urban Vegan's cookbook. The finished product was really delicious, but I bet they would have been even better if I hadn't forgotten the cookie was in the oven. I think these will be for us to eat, and I may try again tomorrow for cookies I can give to other people.






The last thing I made today (so far) is White Christmas Fudge. I have to say, when I made this, it didn't look white or fudgy, but it did taste good. Here is a picture of it before I put it in the fridge:



Not the greatest picture, I know, but you get the idea. I just went and looked at it again, and it looks pretty much the same. My daughter says it looks delicious, though, so it's all good.

I did break out Urban Vegan's cookbook again to make Pumpkin-Daal soup for dinner, but by the time that was finished, I was exhausted, so there is no picture of that. It was good, we will be having it again. And, I guess I am putting off my remaining cooking until tomorrow. I only need to clean my house, finish some shopping and plan a dinner for my friends coming over tomorrow, so it shouldn't be too hard, right?

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