making spirits bright…

dessert

If you see me leaping through the air at the store do not be alarmed.  I am not practicing for the Nutcracker or doing my personal rendition of the Twelve Days of Christmas.  (However, back in the old days as a Dancing Boot I would have!)  It’s just that December is so much fun for me it isn’t fair to the rest of you.  Yes, I will not lie, a couple of weeks ago I was almost in tears one day after Thanksgiving looking at my schedule and wondering how I was going to get everything done.  One day I was so tired last week I really didn’t know if I could stand up another day or slice one more roll, I’m only human.  But now the parties are winding down and the fun has kicked in, and it will all get done by the 25th.  In the meantime I am cranking out some yummy food for Holiday parties and the reason for working just seems to blend in with the fun, and the exhaustion fades upon delivery and seeing it all set up on customers tables.

So much changes in a year.  A year ago this time I had only been in business two months, what a year to be thankful for.  A year ago this time I also remember standing in my kitchen as details about a horrific school shooting in Newtown, CT unraveled.  I remember tears coming so hard I could not stop them, was blinded by them, and had to stop what I was doing.  Remembering it today still hurts for all of us.  When we hear news such as that we all think about if that were us, and give thanks it isn’t, and say a prayer for those it is happening to as our heart breaks for them.  Although sometimes remembering can be painful, without remembering it is hard to feel our thanks and acknowledge our blessings.

In just a week the kids will be out of school and I will enjoy a holiday break myself.  Family will arrive and the fun will begin.  In two weeks I will remember thinking how much fun it all sounded as chaos ensues around me and I wonder “What was I thinking?!”  Seriously though, today as Christmas waves at us from just around the corner, I hope you will take the time to remember.  I heard on the news last night that is what Newtown is asking today, for us all to do something nice for someone.  I think little ‘life challenges’ like this are inspiring, and do so much to perpetuate the Christmas spirit at such a needed time.  As a Christian I believe the birth of Christ is the reason we celebrate this time of year.  But I also believe as humans that our gift to the world, no matter what religious path you do or don’t follow, is the gift of Peace, Love and Joy we can share and spread.

My daughter's note to Santa in her room...she captures the spirit of believing!

My daughter’s note to Santa in her room…she captures the spirit of believing!

I almost titled this post “one”, since I have only had time to write one post since Thanksgiving.  I love writing and usually I have multiple thoughts and drafts going on at one time, but the only thing going in and out of my mind has been checklists of food prep and parties.  Now that it is coming to a halt I am welcoming back my thoughts to the paper.  At first I wasn’t going to give such a cheery title to such a somber day of remembering, but because I remember, I find it only appropriate we all do something to make someone’s spirits brighter.

asparagus

I also want to share with you a Holiday spirit my husband and I enjoy each year at the Holidays, too.  We found this drink while travelling a few years ago and while it can  be enjoyed all year through, the nice aged rum and champagne are just more of a splurge.  Be sure to scroll down past it too, for the new cocktail we are going to try this year and the link to some other great sites.

Enjoy the best of food and life, and remembering.

Old Cuban Cocktail

3/4 oz Fresh Lime Juice
3/8 oz Simple Syrup
8 Spearmint Leaves
1.5 oz Aged Rum (Bacardi 8 Year or equivalent)
2 dashes Angostura Bitters
2 oz Champagne (good domestic or French non-vintage)

Chill cocktail glass.  Muddle lime juice, syrup, and mint gently in the bottom of a cocktail shaker.  Add rum, bitters and ice cubes. Shake and strain into glass.  Top with Champagne.  May serve on the rocks as I prefer, and as I do, use a generous champagne floater… After all, it is the Holidays!

Some of our friends are the magic behind Piedmont Distillers that produce Cat Daddy and Midnight Moon, great moonshines that if you haven’t had you should seek out if you are a wise man or woman.   A cocktail we are going to try this year is one suggested by them that I first saw on my good friend Christine’s blog, Dashing through Winston-Salem.  Here it is, I can’t wait to try it as it just screams “Help, it’s the Holidays and I need a good drink, now!”

JUNIOR’S CRAN-APPLE PUNCH

1 ½ oz. Midnight Moon Cranberry Moonshine
½ oz. frozen cranberries
1 ¼ tsp. sugar
3 oz. apple cider
¾ oz. fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 oz. ginger beer.
Muddle cranberries and sugar in a rocks glass. Fill with ice and add all other ingredients. Stir gently.
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