I believe in salvaging old buildings, vintage pieces, rocky relationships and cake, maybe cake above all else. Three sad layers or ricotta cheesecake became a passable layer cake, and I set to smoke and mirrors trickery: dark chocolate drizzles, pomegranate arils, chocolate dipped citrus and even the pomegranate shell, which was too intricate and pretty to meet the compost bin just yet.
After presents, finishing touches on a dessert and sufficient lazing, we bundled up and joined the family for more festivities including a prime rib that fed everyone for days. It was all so cozy, I'm not quite ready to admit Christmas has passed. What about you? What did you bake/gift/receive? Here's to hiding under the blankets, watching the snowfall and eating cookies for a bit longer!
You could think of this whole grain Gingerbread Chocolate Layer Cake with Chocolate Gingerbread Twigs as too involved, or you could think of it as an excuse to spend a day in the kitchen, mull some wine, sip said wine, light the pine-scented candles and embrace the winter spirit.
I was beginning to think Christmas tree farms were a thing of Hallmark, Hallmark movies or quaint New England towns that feel like Hallmark come to life (or better yet, scenes from "Christmas Vacation"). But thanks to my friend Theresa, I discovered Christmas tree farms do in fact exist, and more importantly, one does in fact exist nearby(ish)!
I like to think of homemade eggnog as winter's milkshake. It's richness naturally makes it a slow slipper, so it's hard to overdo it with this treat, but to kick up the indulgence factor (but teeter on the cusp of reasonable indulgences), try pairing your sips with a Healthyish cake for one.
Don't panic [mostly a note to self], but the calendar is in a last-lap, sprint situation with Christmas. It's time to finalize gift ideas, dot the i's and cross the t's on the menu, and put the shopping list in motion. Here's a Holiday Recipe Roundup of some of my favorite edible gifts and desserts from holidays past!
Don't let Thanksgiving leftovers go to waste, especially the cranberry sauce. Turn that leftover cranberry sauce into cocktails and cake garnishes, and let the festivities continue!
Take a long look in a full-length mirror. Does your neck lurch forward? Do your shoulders slope to one side? When you see yourself in photos, do you think, “Damn girl, stand up straight,” only to realize you were standing at your straightest? Then you, my friends, might need a doctor… a spine doctor!
The above was my scenario. My many years of hunching over a drawing board, crouching over photo sets and then slouching into my computer had caught up with me- in a gnarly way. These poor posture habits had longer lasting and riskier effects than simply making me look slouchy in photos. We pay so little mind to our spine, and yet our very health and our very lives depend on its maintenance.
Lucky for me, chiropractics found me. The Urban Farmer’s brother once wanted to be a medical doctor, only to realize the main stream medical system doesn’t prioritize health and prevention, focusing rather on fixing. In chiropractics, he discovered the fundamentals and a means to helping people live their best lives. He found a world in which health, nutrition and fitness combined to serve people, so he devoted himself to the spine and became Dr. Alex Pattison. I believed his words and explanations, but more than anything, I believed the way I felt within a few adjustments.
If this sounds preachy, I can’t help it. When I find something good, something I believe in, I want to share it, want to sing it like Julie Andrews on those Austrian hills. Chiropractics often get a bad rap, as a scam or hoax, but I know Alex as a family member, as a doting father, as a loyal friend and as a doctor. I know him to be incredibly informed and earnest in his pursuit to make our city a healthy one. I also know Alex to be a whiskey aficionado.
This past Christmas, I drew Alex’s name from the hat for the family secret Santa. Rather than simply giving a bottle of whiskey, I played my graphic-designer-boyfriend card (did you know the Urban Farmer is also a design wiz?) to create a custom label to celebrate his love of whiskey and his devotion to spinal health. Introducing Doc Pattison’s Miracle Elixir…
To personalize the bottle even more, I concocted a Spice Infused Whiskey, a fiery flavor reminiscent of a fireball, derived from our forefathers.
Below you’ll find the historical reference for this “receipt,” as it was called in the day. (The “Dulcify” step is my favorite!) You’ll also find the modernized version, designed to be fun and not kill you, by Steven Grasse, author of Colonial Spirits: A Toast to Our Drunken History, and the man behind Art in the Age, a personal favorite of mine. So toast some spices, toast a glass, find yourself a chiropractor, and let’s all toast to health and longevity!
Here’s to you Doc Pattison!
p.s: If you’re interested in creating a custom bottle design to give as a gift, get in touch!
from Colonial Spirits: A Toast to Our Drunken History
The Historical Recipe
Take of cinnamon, ginger, and coriander seed, each 3 oz. – mace, cloves, and cubels, each 1 1/2 oz.- Add 11 gallons of proof spirit, and 2 gallons of water, and distil [sic]; now tie up 5 oz. of English saffron, – raisins (stoned) 4 1/2 lbs.- dates, 3 do.- liquorice root, 2 do.- Let these stand 12 hours in 2 gallons of water, strain, and add it to the above. – Dulcify the whole with fine sugar.
-From Five Thousand Receipts in All Useful and Domestic Arts
by Colin MacKenzie, 1825