playmobil advent

It was not a typical Christmas day. There were no presents to unwrap and the tree had yet to be decorated. The calendar lets me know today is Christmas. For me the rest of this year will be Christmas. The tree will be decorated tomorrow and the presents will be wrapped before the children arrive.

Holidays alone simply do not feel too festive. There is little incentive to make a fancy meal, or any meal for that matter. Some crackers and cheese with wine will do. I did, however, enjoy the European Christmas dinner I celebrated yesterday with my boyfriend via Skype. Europe celebrates the holidays differently than here in the States. All the presents are opened on Christmas Eve and the Christmas dinner is served afterwards.

The kitchen was bustling today with activity. I spent the morning cleaning up the mess from last night's dinner plus making room on the counter for measuring ingredients for cookies. I set out to bake five different types of treats to send with my ex tomorrow for his visit to our daughter Saffron in Berlin.

chopped chocolate

The first dough I mixed together was for vanilla kipferl (crescents). These are typical Christmas cookies originating from Austria and found all over Europe and other countries this time of year. I found many recipes for this cookie but discovered the original recipes excluded the addition of eggs. I used one of the online recipes but it simply did not work. The dough never came together and was crumbly even after refrigerating for two or three hours. I was not happy with having to toss out all of those ingredients but I did not see the point of keeping the dough.

I then made Grand Marnier brownie kisses but without the Grand Marnier ganache topping. The recipe was one which appeared in Bon Appetit magazine in March 2000 - a recipe I have made before with great success and wonderful taste. Ginger cookies were next, followed by banana bread and spiced chocolate chip cookies. The ginger and chocolate chip cookies were my own recipes. Tomorrow morning I will package them up and place in a tin container.

In the midst of all this baking, I took time to make a healthy late lunch. A similar one to the one I made earlier this week. This salad had the addition of green bell peppers, rosemary crackers, and smoked gouda. I ate alone at my coffee table which is my dining table with cushions as seating. Later I tasted the brownies and cookies. The ginger cookies had a kick to them from the diced crystallised ginger pieces throughout.

healthy salad

It was not a typical Christmas day. Albeit I spent the day happy to be baking, I knew it was not the same as before. It was broken. Christmas was broken and it would never be as years before. The three children were gone and not together for the first time in their young lives. I believe it will be better next year. Sometimes things need to get worse before they get better.