christmas_tree2.jpgEvery Christmas morning, my sisters and I tumble downstairs, pause to survey the adorned Douglas Fir and its outlying territory, then continue to the kitchen.  It’s a family tradition that before fingertips ever meet wrapping paper, we sit down to a big breakfast of bagels and lox and scrambled eggs with onions.  In my less ripe years, I considered this practice illogical frivolous excruciating; however—predictably—as the son of God’s1 birthdays have accrued, I’ve discovered pleasure in the affair. The frequency of fully populated family breakfasts has shrunk since two of three children have moved out from under our parents’ roof and I think we all appreciate that this Christmas meal not only guarantees full family attendance but also promises that each party is going to be upbeat, which I’m not sure how other families work, but let’s admit that the wear of most days isn’t conducive to an atmosphere where all the faces at a table are invariably smiling.

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fudge.jpgStill looking for the perfect Christmas gift that is easy, inexpensive, and loved by all?

Your problem is solved: give the gift of fudge! That's right. Mix up a few batches, pop them in some festive foil baking cups, and nestle them in decorative tissue paper and tins. Then kick back with a hot chocolate and enjoy your favorite Christmas movies while everybody else kills themselves looking for a parking space at the mall.

No baking is required. None. Zip. It can be made ahead and refrigerated, so it saves you time. Plus, each batch costs only a few dollars and can be made in less than 10 minutes.

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From the L.A. Times

marshmellows.jpgConsidering everybody on your holiday gift list – friends, family, co-workers, neighbors, your kids' teachers – you might be needing a stimulus package before you even get to the big-ticket items this year. So why not take a page from your grandmother's playbook and make the smaller gifts yourself?

Not only are homemade gifts less expensive, they also capture the spirit of holiday giving in a way that purchased gifts simply can't. And if you consider the ubiquitous traffic and holiday crowds, a leisurely morning spent baking breadsticks or whipping up a batch of homemade marshmallows seems positively Zen-like by comparison.

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view.jpg We have the same meal every Christmas Eve, because it is just perfect! Not too difficult, things can be made in advance, and it is oh so good! Off to the Maine coast we go to get Glidden Point oysters right from the grower, pick up our lobsters that we have pre ordered and then a quick stop at the grocery store...and we start to cook.

The menu:
Leek saffron broiled oysters
Baked stuffed lobsters with crab meat
Caesar Salad (you are on your own)
Chocolate molten cake
and lots of Champagne(on your own again)

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My Mother Vina
My Mother Vina circa 1957

Instead of turkey, mashed potatoes, etc., stuffed grape leaves (along with shish-kabob and pilaf) is the traditional centerpiece of our Christmas dinner.

Disclaimer:  Every script I’ve ever written is overly descriptive and too long, so no doubt this recipe will be, too.  Apologies in advance. 


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