December 23, 2013 - 8:29 AM
JOURNALIST CHARLOTTE HELSTON
If our flights don’t get cancelled coming back from Las Vegas, we should arrive home on Christmas Eve, just in time for the kick-off to our annual holiday line-up. Depending on how things go at the slots, we’ll either have sacks full of presents to hand out, or an array of soaps and mini shampoos scrounged from our hotel room.
If we’re not camped out at the airport in the middle of a blizzard, having a picnic Christmas dinner of pretzels and peanuts, this is how we’ll be spending the holidays.
Christmas Eve: One of the great things about having a significant other during the holidays is you multiply your Christmas traditions by two. Sure, whipping back and forth between families is exhausting, but it means twice the food and twice the fun. Every Christmas Eve, my husband’s family hosts a potluck appetizer dinner. I’m talking bacon-wrapped water chestnuts, stuffed mushrooms, prawns slathered in garlic butter—the works. Board games, catching up with family, and enjoying a few rum and eggnogs makes Christmas Eve a wrap.
Christmas Baking: Armed with a massive bag of flour from Costco and an arsenal of ingredients, I get cozy with my oven over the holidays. It’s not Christmas if my house doesn’t smell like cinnamon, chocolate and gingerbread. This year I joined a holiday cookie exchange. If you have a sweet tooth, this is a fun way to share recipes and get in the holiday spirit among friends. Find my new favourite Christmas cookie recipe below.
Books: Tea, cookies and a good book offer a much needed reprieve from the social side of Christmas. My top recommendations for this year are: And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini, the hilarious Holidays on Ice by David Sedaris, and for all you dog lovers out there, a memoir by Ted Kerasote called Merle’s Door.
Tobogganing: Hiking up a hill in a billion layers of sweaters, long johns and snow pants is the perfect way to torch Christmas calories (although that purpose is somewhat defeated by giant thermoses of hot chocolate, but we can pretend).
Hitting the slopes: You can’t beat the stunning snowy views from Silver Star Mountain or the fresh alpine air. We like to get there early to beat the crowds and catch the sunrise. It’s tradition with my family to find a nice spot on the mountain for a picnic lunch, arrange our skis as benches, and enjoy a spread of sandwiches and Christmas chocolates while watching skiers and boarders fly by.
New Year’s Resolutions: Since I was a kid, I’ve always enjoyed compiling my New Year’s Resolutions. While not always realistic, the list holds so much promise for the New Year. Pinned up on the fridge, it’s a reminder throughout the rest of the year to persevere, try new things, and finally, after headlining the list for several consecutive years—learn Spanish.
CHOCOLATE DIABLO COOKIES
Prep: 15 min Total 40 mins
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 or 1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp cinnamon
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup canola oil
3 tbsp grated fresh ginger or ginger juice
1 tbsp vanilla
1 tsp kosher salt
Preheat oven to 375 F
Grease cookie pans
Sift flour with cocoa powder, baking soda, cayenne, and cinnamon in a large bowl. Mix in chocolate chips.
In a separate bowl, whisk eggs, both sugars, oil, ginger and vanilla. Stir into flour mixture until combined (dough will be thick)
Roll into balls, flatten lightly with a fork, and sprinkle with kosher salt.
Bake 11-13 mins until cookies start to crack. They should still be fudgy in the middle.
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013