Yesterday at 5 pm, it was 72 degrees. Today at 11 am, it is 20 degrees and ice is falling outside.
Winter is here again with yet another big arctic blast for us today, and it appears that the temperature will not get above freezing until sometime next week. Our low temperature on Saturday is going to be around *5* degrees, which is just getting ridiculously cold for us. Add in even the lightest wind, and we will have chill factors below zero.
Needless to say, I am staying inside as long as humanly possible this weekend.
All of this wet stuff falling outside is going to remain frozen for days, and after dealing with ice and snow just two weeks ago, I’m seriously going to have to get my Christmas shopping list organized to make quick work of it when the streets finally thaw, since I opted to forego the madness of shopping after Thanksgiving once again this year to spend some quality time in the great outdoors, which I wrote about in my previous post.
I’m also going to try to put my time at home to good use over the next few days. I still have some Christmas decorations to put up inside, and I need to start preparing my kitchen and freezer for my upcoming cookie baking escapades in a few days. I need to clear everything off of all the cabinets in the kitchen to make as much room as possible for the baking process and for the baked cookies as they come out of the ovens. My plan at this time is to get the kitchen re-organized over the weekend and start baking cookies next week. I freeze the cutout cookies until I am ready to begin decorating them, and hopefully the decorating process will begin next weekend or shortly after. I also freeze any other cookies that I bake until I am read to put the gift platters together. To freeze the cookies, I first separate the layers of cookies with wax paper, then wrap them in plastic wrap as tightly as possible, and finally wrap them in a double layer of heavy-duty aluminum foil. The longest period that I kept them frozen last year was about two weeks, but I think they would be fine for a longer period of time when properly wrapped, too.
I delivered my cookie platter gifts about ten to twelve days prior to Christmas last year, and I hope to have them ready to deliver to friends and family about that same time-frame this year.
Decorating cookies is the highlight of Christmas food preparation for me now. I even shared a bit of the decorating fun with a friend and her two little grandchildren last year, and we all had a fun time creating our own unique cookie works of art.
Until last year, I always purchased our decorated Christmas cookies each year from a fabulous bakery nearby, but I had to learn to make them myself last year after our treasured bakery closed for good. Learning how to apply the icing properly was most definitely a trial and error process, but I finally got the hang of it after a few attempts with the flood icing.
The most difficult decision for me right now is deciding on the other cookie recipes to bake this year, along with the decorated sugar cookies. Decisions, decisions! There are so many great holiday cookie recipes to choose from these days, and if you really want to jump into the holiday cookie scene, just start searching on Pinterest. Just make sure you have a few hours once you do. It’s also a great way to unwind with a glass of wine after a spending an entire day dealing once again with an out-of-control extended family member or two as well. Don’t ask me how I know that. ;-)
Bring on the cookies!
Today’s holiday gift suggestion: “Decorating Cookies” – by Bridget Edwards – available online or at your local bookstore!