Monthly Archives: December 2009

Feeling Sick

I’m getting through a minor cold with lots of sleep, prepared soups from Trader Joe’s, The X-Files on DVD, and products I rely on for cold relief.

cold remedies

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Filed under Health, Wellness, + Remedies

Holidays 2009

red xmas ornaments

The holidays always pass by with so many missed opportunities and unfulfilled plans. It’s my favorite way to end the year, just like the rest of the year but with more lights and cookies…

…and surprises under a Christmas tree.

nova under xmas tree

I did much less baking than usual (only two kinds of cookies!) but was able to put together the Christmas dinner I’d been dreaming of.

xmas dinner 2

My Christmas dinner:

Dinner was followed by a chilly evening walk around a near-deserted downtown Carmel, admiring the lonely holiday displays of stores and galleries.

carmel shop window 4

carmel gallery window

santa hat dolphins

carmel shop window

carmel shop window 2

carmel shop window 3

carmel shop window 6

carmel shop window 8

carmel window snowman

carmel window snowman 2

carmel window snowman 3

That snowman creeps me out. And it was in a children’s clothing store. I think it wants my soul.

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Filed under Food & Drink, Special Occasions

Christmas Is for the Birds

The tree outside my window is festively decorated with a feast for the feathered fauna of the front yard. Hanging from the branches are suet cakes, dried apple slices, dried orange slices, and popcorn garland.

bird suet cake

bird xmas tree 3

Vegetarian Bird Suet

  • 1 cup non-hydrogenated vegetable shortening
  • 1/2 cup natural peanut butter
  • 3 cups bird seed (millet, sunflower seeds, etc.), nuts, rolled oats, or chopped dried fruit

Melt shortening and peanut butter over medium-low heat. Stir in seed or other additions. Pour into molds (like muffin cups) and refrigerate once cooled, or pour into 8×13-in pan and refrigerate until firm before cutting into blocks or shapes with cookie cutters. Place in suet feeders or wrap in mesh and hang outside. Put out clean water in a birdbath or terra cotta saucer.

dried apple slice

dried orange slice

I wrapped my suet with plastic mesh material from bags of onions, lemons, potatoes, etc. The popcorn and dried fruit slices were easy since I’m lucky enough to have an air-popper and a dehydrator. The only other items needed were a needle, thread, and floral wire.

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Filed under Animals

Merry Marzipan Stollen

marzipan stollen 4

My mother doesn’t let the holiday season slip by without buying chocolate advent calendars, sparkling apple cider, and a loaf of marzipanstollen. Why? Because it’s Christmas. This year I forwent the advent calendar but decided to attempt a homemade vegan stollen to share with her and enjoy myself. She turned out to be much more enthusiastic about the rugelach I made, but I enjoyed my marzipanstollen far more than any store-bought ones I’ve had in the past. It is also very easy and fun to make, as a bread machine takes all the work out of the dough.

Note: I put my marzipan in the dough before folding it in thirds because I am dumb, so it got rolled out flat.

Easy Marzipan Stollen

Adapted from Holiday Inspirations

Makes 2 loaves

Stollen

  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 2 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 Ener-G Egg Replacer “egg” (1 1/2 tsp Ener-G Egg Replacer beaten into 2 Tbsp warm water
  • 2 Tbsp Earth Balance margarine
  • 3 cups bread flour (or 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour + 1/4 cup vital wheat gluten)
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup chopped dried or candied cherries
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup chopped toasted almonds
  • 3.5 oz soft baking marzipan (7 oz if you want plenty of marzipan)

Icing

  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp almond milk
  • Sliced almonds, for garnish

1. Add milk, lemon zest, “egg”, margarine, flour, sugar, salt, nutmeg, and yeast to a bread machine according to manufacturer’s directions. Select dough cycle. When dough cycle is complete, remove dough from machine. Punch down. Cover with a damp tea towel and let rest 10 minutes.

2. Roll dough into a 12-inch square on a lightly floured surface. Sprinkle cherries, raisins, and almonds over dough. Fold over one side of square to the center, then opposite side to form 3 layers. Cut dough in half crosswise and roll into 8×5-inch rectangles.

3. Brush tops of dough lightly with water. Split marzipan in half and roll into two 8-inch logs. Set each log on top of a dough rectangle. Fold a long side over marzipan to within 1 inch of other side; press edges lightly to seal. Place loaves on a greased baking sheet. Cover and let rise in a warm place until nearly double (45-60 minutes).

4. Bake in a preheated 375° F oven for 20-25 minutes or until golden and loaf sounds hollow when tapped. Cover loosely with foil the last 10 minutes of baking, if necessary, to prevent overbrowning. Remove from baking sheet and cool on a wire rack.

5. Stir together powdered sugar, vanilla, and almond milk until smooth. Spread over cooled stollen loaves and sprinkle tops with almond slices.

marzipan stollen

marzipan stollen 5

marzipan stollen 6

marzipan stollen 7

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Filed under Food & Drink, Recipes