Good Grief Baking Therapy

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Peppermint Stick Cheesecake Stuffed Cookies

Baking therapy. It’s a thing this time of year. Among other holiday goodies, I baked a baker’s dozen of different cookies. Tapping into that inner strength I created 3 inspired original recipes which were totally delightful. Sadly, I don’t have photos of the orange nut pinwheels (Bill’s favorite), jam thumbprints (Caitlin’s favorite), molasses, almond butter cookies, bourbon chocolate chip or cranberry crumb bars, but please enjoy the rest.

Truth be told I did have a meltdown the day after Christmas. In a room full of people surrounded by our children I suddenly felt like half of me was missing. In an instant and out of nowhere I was overwhelmed by his absence. Gosh I miss him! Cookies can’t change that. I wonder which one would be his favorite. What gets you through the holidays?

Here is the recipe for the Orange Nut Pinwheels. Clipped from a magazine, I have been making this spicy, fruit-filled nutty slice and bake cookie for decades. What I love about it is the cookie dough can be made ahead and stored in the fridge or freezer for a week and then sliced and baked fresh when you need them. It’s a keeper.

Orange-Nut Pinwheels

  • Servings: 4 dozen cookies
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1 cup California walnuts, ground

1/2 cup orange marmalade

1/3 cup dark seedless raisins, finely chopped

1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

1 cup plus 3 tablespoons light brown sugar

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup shortening

1 egg

In medium bowl, combine first 4 ingredients and 3 tablespoons light brown sugar; set aside. Into large bowl, measure flour, shortening, egg and 1 cup packed brown sugar. With hands, knead ingredients until dough holds together. On sheet of wax paper, roll out half of dough into a 14″ x 6″ rectangle; spread with half of nut mixture. Starting with 6″ side, roll dough tightly jelly roll fashion. Wrap in wax paper. Repeat with remains ingredients. Chill at least 2 hours in the refrigerator or until firm enough to slice. You can chill this dough up to a week. Heat oven 350F. Grease cookie sheets or line with parchment. With serrated knife, slice dough crosswise into 1/4-inch thick slices. Place cookies 1-inch apart on baking sheet. Bake 10 minutes or until lightly brown. With thin spatula transfer cookies to rack to cool. Store in an airtight container up to two weeks.

The Greatest Gift

Lisa & Bill with our grandchildren

Please welcome the newest addition to our family, Sammy. Along with Annabelle this will be a most magical Christmas seen through the eyes of a 3 1/2 year old. We’ve already had some fun baking cookies and wrapping presents and now looking forward to the feast of seven fishes and the glee of Christmas morning.

The greatest gift of all, of course, is being surrounded by those you love most in life and in spirit. I hope you can feel the presence. Just believe ❤

Whatever you celebrate I wish you the happiest of holidays. Thank you for gathering here with me and sharing your thoughts and wisdom on grief. I encourage you to talk about the ones you have loved and lost. Say their names out loud and tell a few stories.

Someone who is remembered is someone well loved.

Christmas Pear & Kale Salad

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What will you be serving for holiday dinner? Prime Rib, Roast Turkey, Beef Tenderloin? Whatever your main course I have the perfect side dish to go with it.This healthy salad featuring fresh USA Pears is total “eye candy” and mouthwateringly (is that a word?) delicious.

Last, but certainly not least, this easy recipe is my final entry in the USA Pears Blogger Recipe Challenge Appetizers/Side Dishes category. It could be my favorite entry of all or maybe this pear poundcake is my favorite or I don’t know I really liked this pear crostini and this pear dessert and this pear pad Thai salad. You can’t go wrong with recipes featuring fresh USA Pears.

With a bright lemony dressing and dazzling superfood colors, textures and flavors this fresh pear and kale salad with be a feast for your eyes and party in your mouth…..

Christmas Pear & Kale Salad

  • Servings: 4 to 6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Dressing

½ cup extra virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, (1 lemon)

1 tablespoon honey

½ teaspoon fine sea salt

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Salad

6 cups torn kale leaves

¼ cup baby arugula

2 USA Pears, sliced

¼ cup honey glazed sliced almonds (or nuts of your choice)

¼ cup pomegranate seeds

2 tablespoons roasted sunflower seeds

Shards of manchego cheese

Combine all dressing ingredients in a jar with a screw top lid; shake to blend. Place kale in a large bowl. Drizzle kale with a tablespoon or two of dressing. Massage kale with your hands for 1 to 2 minutes or until it becomes tender and a deeper green in color. Pour remaining dressing into a small serving bowl and place in center of a large round serving plate. Arrange kale around the bowl on the plate forming a wreath. Top with arugula, sliced pears, almonds, pomegranate seeds and cheese. Spoon dressing over salad just before serving. Serves 4 to 6 as a side dish.

❤ Cheers to 2020. May you resolve to eat more pears ❤

For more information and delicious recipes check out the website www.usapears.org and their social media platforms @usapears Instagram  Pinterest  Facebook  Twitter