Here’s wishing all of you the very best for 2014! Last night Ellen and I went out for a delicious sushi dinner, then spent a few hours at First Night in Ocean City, NJ enjoying some live music and comedy. This was our second time at the 20-year-old event, a family-friendly group of activities around the city, something for everyone. First we saw the Harmony Show Choir of Gloucester, NJ perform a wildly energetic non-stop 45 minute routine of dancing and singing. Great stuff, I was exhausted just watching it, and they did three such shows in three hours!
Next was Broadway By Request, where eight fine stage-musical singers perform numbers from a list of about 80 songs chosen at random by the audience. As happened when we saw them two years ago, not everyone got a solo shot due to the vagaries of requests, but every song performed was excellently done.
Finally we enjoyed the Abott and Costello show, two impersonators who do a fine recreation of the comedy duo’s vaudeville numbers, from “Niagara Falls” to “Who’s on First,” and many others I hadn’t heard before. A third fellow helped, and did his own turns as Stan Laurel and Jack Benny. Good fun.
We could have stayed until midnight and a fireworks display, but we were both tired, and I’m fighting a cold, so we were home in bed by 11 PM. Today we have no special plans, except to take it easy and enjoy the day. Hope you do, too!
We’re at Ellen’s sister Ann’s for a few days, and on Christmas Eve day, we made more cookies, to add to the many varieties we already had from Ellen’s niece Ina, Ann, ourselves, and some of Ann and Dave’s friends. First up was Ann’s favorite, their Italian Pepper Cookies. “Don’t put that online,” Ann and Cristina said, “It’s a family secret!” I looked up “Italian Pepper Cookies” on Google and easily found a dozen recipes, none exactly the same, but most quite similar, so I don’t think the recipe is all that secret, but I won’t type it out here. Above, making the dough. Continue reading
We exchanged gifts last night — early, I know — and our boys Leo and Tigger wanted to help. Continue reading
Today we made the ball cookies that we both love. My favorite Christmas cookie is this one, Butterballs. Pretty simple batter, roll into balls, bake, and roll warm cookies in confectioner’s sugar.
Here they are, cooling. So delicious! Close to shortbread, but even more crumbly and buttery.
Then on to Ellen’s favorite cookies, the Mocha Nut Balls. The dark side of the ones above with coffee and cocoa added. Yum! Recipes for both are on THIS old blog post along with other favorites.
We also decided to try the date-nut bars again. The first batch tastes good, but it’s a gooey mess that is hard to eat, not really much like a cookie. This time we used twice the flour and half the dates. We haven’t cut and tasted it yet.
That’s it for this year, no shaped and decorated cookies. I guess we’re about over that. And when we go to Ellen’s sister Ann’s house, we’ll make some there with her anyway. Just between you and me, I do miss our gingerbread men…
It’s time to make Christmas cookies, and Ellen was tired of the usual recipes, so today we tried two new ones. The first is a date-nut bar, actually an old recipe from her mom, but one she’d never made. I helped out by chopping the dates, which were already in pieces, but too large. Continue reading