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Christmas is: Opening the Recipe Box

Christmas cookies coffee decorations vintageGloria Wilson’s Hamburger Casserole, Barb & Dwight’s Slitherdown, Great-Great-Granny’s Chili Sauce, Janny Pinksen’s Christmas Fruitcake….

This is how the majority of my recipes in my recipe box are organized. Yes, I still have a recipe box. No, I don’t still have a rotary phone.

When I grew up every respected mom in the village where I grew up, had a recipe box that was well-loved and packed full of their family recipes. Quite often those recipes were closely guarded, not given out, and used as a bartering tool for status at community pot-lucks.  Let’s face it, in a town of 500, you had to use whatever you could for leverage. Often it was a pickle recipe, or some sort of exotic flavoured square. Pineapple for instance was a rarity, and often a favourite. Flaked coconut was an extravagance.

It’s these very recipes that I try to recreate today. It’s my heritage, and I celebrate it. If you have an old recipe box packed with recipes handed down to you by loving friends and relatives, you know what I mean. If you don’t, this is your chance to get in on some  5th & 6th generation Canadian Christmas baking.

Some of our family favourites include;

Butterscotch Marshmallow Squares

Whipped Shortbread with Toblerone

Great-Granny’s Coconut Cherry Balls

recipe box

It’s that time of year when a fun tray of cookies and squares can spark a happy memory for many of us.  Despite a number of years where grief was heavy in my heart during the holidays, being able to recreate recipes from my childhood kept a little spark of Christmas magic alive while I healed.

Now that I have my own home and family, I take my job as Mrs. Claus very seriously, and I hope that every time my kiddo walks through the door from now until the end of December, he still feels some of the magic of the season, even if it comes in small bites from his favourite shortbread.

I can only hope that you feel a little bit of joy serving up some of the recipes that I’m going to share with you this Christmas season.


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Christmas is: Sharing

I have a few closely guarded secret recipes that are standards at our house. The, “It wouldn’t be Christmas without these mom”, kind-of-recipes.

Cookies are my thing, and I make a lot of them at Christmas time. I love the way that fancy sugar cookies look added to a tray of down-home-country-girl sweets. The little maraschino cherry balls that my granny used to make melt in our mouths, but by far our favourite cookie recipe is this;


1 lb butter at room temperature

1 cup icing sugar

1/2 cup corn starch

3 cups flour

1 tsp vanilla

Large Toblerone bar.

Cream butter on high until light and fluffy. If using a stand mixer, use the whipping attachment for this. 

While butter is being whipped, divide Toblerone into triangles and then divide those triangles into thirds. 

Combine all other ingredients and slowly add to whipped butter, using regular attachment. Be patient when mixing as this dough gets quite crumbly before coming together into a smooth dough. 

Place 1″ spoonfuls onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Press a piece of divided Toblerone into each mound of cookie dough, and top with same amount of dough. Feel free to be generous with the chocolate…just sayin’

Bake at 350 for 12-15 minutes. Do no overcook. Let cookies cool on tray before moving them to a cooling rack as they are very delicate and crumble before they cool. 


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South Pole Santa Squares

Feeling the bite of the first snow fall? Already dreaming of your winter-sun-get-away? Here’s something yummy and sweet for your Christmas tray.

Be sure to click on the link below to warm up the ambiance in the kitchen!


South Pole Santa Squares



1/4 tsp salt

1/4 cup butter

1 cup flour

1/4 cup packed brown sugar



1 TBSP rum

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp baking powder

1 cup coconut

1 egg

1 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 cup flour

1/4 cup chopped maraschino cherries (red or green)

1/2 cup well-drained crushed pineapple




Mix ingredients together until crumbly. Press into a 9″ square baking pan. Bake at 35o for 15 minutes and remove from oven. Have filling mixed and ready to spread over hot base.


Beat egg, add brown sugar. Combine well.

Stir in rum extract

Add flour and baking powder, stirring to combine.

Stir in coconut, cherries and pineapple.

Spread mixture over hot base layer.

Return to over and bake 35 minutes or until lightly browned.

Cut into squares after cooling slightly




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Miss Trishy M’s Chewy Ginger Cookies

I love these cookies. They’re spicy and chewy, and a great substitute for swearing, sex, and a trip to the sunny south.

Be sure to use fresh ginger, and grated ginger, not the dried, ground spice.

"Spicy enough to make you want to dance in nothing but your underpants!"~ANDSHELAUGHS~
“Spicy enough to make you want to dance in nothing but your underpants!”

3/4 cup butter softened

1 cup sugar

2 cups all purpose flour

1/4 cup dark molasses

1 egg

1/2 tsp ground cloves

1 tsp cinnamon

2 tbsp ground ginger ( from a jar)

2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1.5″ piece of fresh ginger, grated

Combined butter, sugar, molasses, egg and ginger. Beat well.

Mix dry ingedients and blend well.

At wet ingredients to dry ingredients to combine.

Chill for an hour (or overnight, covering the batter with plastic wrap).

Form 1 inch balls (or smaller) roll each in granulated sugar.

Place on greased cookie sheet, 2 inches apart.

Bake 8-10 minutes ( I only bake for 6 as I use a baking stone and my oven cooks hot)

Do not overbake as they cookies will not be the chewy pieces of culinary heaven that you were expecting.

Yield ~ 5 dozen.

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Jannie P’s Snickerdoodles

"You can't be sad when you're drinking champagne or eating cookies." ~ANDSHELAUGHS~
“You can’t be sad when you’re drinking champagne or eating cookies.”

Oh how I miss my Newfie pal Jannie P. at Christmas time.

She was famous for her fruitcake and her snickerdoodles, as well as her tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwich dinners on days when I just felt poopy.

Given that I’ve already posted a fruitcake recipe, I’m going to share her snickerdoodle recipe.

Be sure to share these with a friend over a cuppa’tea and a good old chin-wag.

1 cup softened butter

1.5 cups sugar

2 eggs

2.5 cups flour

2 tsp cream of tartar

1 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

2 tbsp sugar + 2 tsp cinnamon for rolling

Cream butter and sugar and beat in eggs one at a time.

In a separate bowl sift together flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt. Add wet mixture to dry and stir until combined.

Shape into 1″ balls (or smaller) and roll in cinnamon sugar mixture to coat.

Bake at 400 for 7-8 minutes.

Don’t be afraid to take these cookies out when they’re still quite soft in order to maintain a ‘chewy’ texture. These cookies spread quite a bit so space well on the cookie sheet.