It’s All In The Family

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So it’s been awhile. Apologies. I have reason for that, it was great week of visiting family, baking jobs, and holiday hustle and bustle.

Of course there were more cupcakes to be made, which I will discuss later in my posts on Kat Rohrbacher, the artist I worked with for her thesis project, and on Christmas Red Velvet Cupcakes. Update: You can see Kat’s cupcakes here.

My wonderful and generous father flew my Grandma Jone in for a surprise visit on Friday. It was so nice seeing her around this time of year because many of my fondest holiday memories took place at her house on Christmas Eve. My Dad is one of six kids, so our family get-togethers with his side of family are always quite large but it’s great when we can all converge in one place.

You know what they always say, that mothers are the foundation to a family? Well I can see the truth in this because when my Grandma Jone is in town, it brings my Dad’s whole family together again. And it feels just like it did when I was growing up and she still lived here. So this weekend was kind of nostalgic for me, having her around for the holidays.

This visit certainly inspired some baking. With the possibility of other family members dropping in all morning and afternoon, I baked Let’s Make A Date Muffins and Gingerbread Muffins for breakfast. That evening I made some roll-out sugar cookie dough- in gingerbread and chocolate variations. My younger brother Cam and I were up late decorating them, but laughing the whole time, as we enjoy making them a bit…inappropriate at times.

We had a huge ice storm this weekend and it was devastatingly beautiful, if that makes any sense. Tree branches are drooping under the weight of the thick ice coating them, but they also look like a glass forest when grouped together. It has been snowing off and on, so the flurries stick to the icy branches and its a winter wonderland outside.

Well, this ice storm caused my Grandma Pat’s power to go out on Sunday, so she sought refuge at our house that day and night. My Aunt Sherri also slept over that night because we had our Christmas party with my Dad’s side and she didn’t want to drive back in the bad weather. We had a full house. You know what that means! Breakfast for them in the morning. Plus I couldn’t let them leave without something in their stomaches.

I made Gingerbread Scones, which like the Gingerbread Muffins, are the perfect wake-up call to sleeping guests and family. The house will fill with an intoxicating, warm scent of spices like cinnamon, cloves, and ginger. If you are feeding these to younger mouths, I recommend cutting back on the spices just a bit, so they are not as spicy.

What was also valuable about spending time with my grandmothers this past week was that I was reminded of family history that I had forgotten about. My Grandma Pat’s mother was a very Greek woman who was a wonderful and passionate cook. My Mom’s Great Aunt Mary created many of her signature recipes that my family still enjoys. And my Grandma Jone’s parents owned a candy shop where my Great-Grandpa made his creations using the recipes in his head. This was during WWII when sugar was rationed and my Great Grandpa was still able to get it because the shop was his business, and they received lots of customers seeking to satisfy their sugar cravings. Hearing all of this was just so wonderful to me, because I realize more and more that my passion and interest in cooking and baking has been passed down to me through generations for family.

All of our guests are gone now and here it is Christmas Eve! Unfortunately I ran out of time to make a gingerbread house this year, but I feel like next year at this time I will be able to make a magnificent one after completing pastry school.

Tonight we will be going to mass then spending the evening with just our family this year. I am looking forward to this time together. For dinner we are each going to make a seafood dish that is fast and relatively simple- like crab legs, seared ahi tuna, and shrimp with homemade cocktail sauce. My wonderful friend Jen got me a cookbook (and a gift certificate to Sur la Table!) for fondue and I may concoct some cheesy goodness to go along with our dinner.

And then it will be the most magical time of year-Christmas- and my 23rd birthday. Happy Holidays to everyone!

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  1. […] are one of the muffins I made this past weekend when we had company in town. They bake up nice and high and have a beautiful streusel […]

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