thank you for your blessings

thank you for your blessings, 2011
notes from maggie's farm

Thank you for making these among your favorite posts of 2011.
I am grateful all over 2011--

Frankly, when I agreed to join Jote from Bless Her Heart on her way to posting everyday for 30 Days of Gratitude, in conjunction with BlogHer's Blog Every Day Challenge, I wasn't sure I was up to it.  I hoped I was.  But I was already running on empty from a writing-intensive semester and in the back of my mind, wondered if I wouldn't just cut out mid month.

But a funny thing happened on the way past mid month.  The practice of considering all the things for which I was grateful motivated me in ways I didn't expect.  Suddenly, there were not enough hours in the day for me to write about all the blessings in my life.  And at the end of the month, I still had so much gratitude left unexpressed.  Like.....

the lovely baristas at the local coffee shop that greet me with a smile and a hearty welcome every day I park myself in the corner, and refill for the next 8 hours.  

the customers who ordered tamales by the dozens, and were kind and gracious and patient with all the details.  Who were generous with their compliments, and who's support made Christmas blessed for our farm.

the husband who rolled and packaged tamales by the dozens, who's support made a huge job just another of the happy 'team-building' events' that make us a rocking pair.

the sister who delivered tamales on her rare day off, amid the holiday crunch, to take a little of the heat off our 24 hour tamale-making bodies.  And our tires.

the local, and national, and even international members of a blogging community, too many to even mention here, who rally around and support their fellow writers.  

the opportunity to swap with, and get to know others of my ilk, like Boston-based blogger, Amanda of  Pickles and Honey, who sent me the most amazing gift of local olive oil, chocolate (!) and her delicious gluten-free cookies.

the church family for which we cannot find the words to exactly express how much we love them for making us feel at home in our home. 

the 'foodies' Kate, Kristina, and Suzanna, who met me on my birthday for an impromptu cookie swap at the coffee shop, the booty of which I then ate my way through and shared not a single one.  It was a hassle-free get together with great like-minded women (and one male chauffeur  ; }) that I hope we make a tradition.  Okay, a few were shared with Tom.  A few.

my friend, Karen, her mother, Jean, as well as other friends and family I've mentioned this month, who have taken to encouraging and promoting my work, cooking my recipes, trying my products, and basically being just about the best cheerleading squad for which a girl could ever ask.

the mentoring of my journalism professor and Austin American Statesman columnist, Michael Barnes.  It is no mere coincidence that my readership grew four-fold during the semester in which he graciously shared all his knowledge and gently encouraged nine budding writers/journalists to be more than they knew they could be.

and YOU!  Yes, you.  You are the reason that I spend my days doing what I love--cooking, photog-ing, writing, reading.  Happy. Excited to share what we do up here, and beyond.  You've commented on blog posts, liked Facebook 'shares', retweeted entries, written about Notes From Maggie's Farm in your own blogs and social media outlets.  You've laughed with us and shared our sorrows, and kept me encouraged to continue cooking, growing, writing, sharing, snapping, and eating some really good food.

and the fact that there are so many things, and people, to whom I am grateful that I know I'm missing some, and I ask forgiveness, but it's a very special place to know that there are more blessings than I'm able to count as I turn the page to a new year.  So many, in fact, that I'm not stopping.  

In the new year, Notes from Maggie's Farm will find a special, and I think appropriate time and place for gratitude-on Sundays.  Keep an eye out for your own name there, because we're excited to share the ways in which you bless our lives.

Now, I'm just about out of 2011!  I have a toast to make!  There are fireworks right outside my window!  We have an unattended bonfire and a writer's husband napping away in his chair that must be roused to ring in 2012!

For every one of you, I wish a joyful, peaceful, and prosperous New Year.

With gratitude,
Margaret Christine
a.k.a. "Maggie".

bacon. it's what's for dinner.

bacon, bacon, bacon, bacon, bacon
notes from maggie's farm

I am so grateful that I've lived, and learned to cook, in the South.  

Living in the South transforms the mundane details of life into something akin to a Tennessee Williams novel.  The land where friends, and family, and food, and football reign supreme, and not always in that particular order.  

Life in the South has a rhythm all it's own.  Romance and tragedy alike, it all just feels so lyric, like the way the thick, humid, evening air often wraps you like a familiar woolen blanket, or how the sounds of an accordion bring to mind all the mischievous things you've done to that particular tune, how saying y'all makes everyone that lives north of the Mason-Dixon Line grin good-naturedly (usually).  Or how the smell of bacon just makes you believe in all that's good in the world.  

When I was a little girl, waking up to the smell of my mother frying bacon was a sign that all's right in the world.  It meant that Momma was taking a minute before we hit the chores.  It meant a slow and gentle wake-up--no jumping out of bed just as the vacuum cleaner hit the door and jarred me from my dreams.  

When the smell of bacon awakens you, life is good.

But a few evenings ago, when we just needed a break and trying this recipe (along with this recipe) turned into a meal, it wasn't awakening us.  It was tucking us in.  

Bacon.  It's what's for (a late night) dinner.

It's really very simple.  The "more official" recipe can be found at Garden and Gun Magazine's website, and references the original Martha Foose, author of A Southerly Course. (Both capture the charm of the South and are worth a long look.)  This is how we tackled it:  

Cut a pound or so of bacon (this is the 'party size' recipe.  I promise we had leftovers!) into thirds crosswise.  (Naturally, I made it more difficult by trimming each piece a bit thinner to wrap around little wheat thin crackers instead of the traditional club-style crackers most people use...)  

Wrap each slice around your choice of cracker, without overlapping.  Lay each about 1/2" apart on a baking sheet in which you've placed a rack.  (a boiler pan would work just fine, if you don't have a handy rack)  Bake in 250 degree, preheated oven, for about an hour and a half, or until bacon begins to 'tug in' the sides of the cracker.  Cool on a rack.  Eat.  Lots of 'em.  

Our friend Steve, who is now likely the world's greatest fan of Bacon Crackers, served his with a makeshift horseradish dip of  store-bought french onion dip, which is genius.  Like he is.  (Remember that bacon horseradish dip you used to buy in the dairy section?  That was my favorite.)  He inspired this dressed-up version that we dipped our crackers in with delight, and then licked the bowl clean of the little that was left.  

Dilly Horseradish Dip

1 8 oz carton sour cream
1 T, or more, to taste, bottled grated horseradish
1/2 t each, or more, to taste, dill weed, onion salt, and powdered worcestershire  (the liquid will do fine, if that's what you have on hand)

Stir together, refrigerate for 30 minutes for flavors to meld.  Yeah. That's all.  It's easy.  Which is required for the nights that you are testing cocktails.  

Night, y'all.

I am grateful for extra padding.

notes from maggie's farm

Today, I am grateful that I have one extra day in this month.  One extra day for padding.  Because I knew this one day might be necessary.  All of our tamales have been delivered and/or shipped, and frankly, I am pooped.  This is my one extra day in my 30 Days of Gratitude.  And while I'm still being grateful, I'm gonna just be grateful to end this post.......right now.

See you tomorrow!


thirsty thursday
notes from maggie's farm

One of the things I enjoy most about the week between Christmas and New Year's Day is the less than structured days and evenings, and the anything-goes attitude about meals.  Last night, because we've both got a week at home (not free, 'cause we're still up to our eyeballs in tamales, but off the roads, at least) we decided to try to reconstruct a cocktail I enjoyed at Maggiano's on Christmas Eve.  We then had, for dinner, I suppose you could call it, a batch of bacon crackers and horseradish dip over which we've had a great time swooning with our friends on Facebook.  It wasn't a healthy dinner.  But it was fun.  And we like to think it was work.  You know, research.

Thumbnail Review: Maggiano's
This year, my family carried our holiday get-together to Maggiano's on Christmas Eve  and we all enjoyed ourselves immensely,  rolling away after a lovely evening, stuffed to the brim with delicious Italian food.  The location itself is just beautiful...all mahogany and brass fittings, and marble tiles; I knew this place was going to have to work hard to NOT be a favorite from the well-appointed decor, upwards.  After a reservation snafu that was settled, though done so a bit wobbly, service was efficient and friendly.  We ate from the 'family style' menu, which after the successful negotiations over appetizer, salad, entree, and dessert choices, turned out to be just the perfect style for our family. Favorites included the Crispy Zucchini Fritte, the Calamari Fritte, the salads, the lemon aioli cream sauce, which I attempted to eat with every dish on the table, the Linguine and Clams with white clam sauce, and the Apple Crostada.  I was disappointed with the Chicken Picatta, which was the dish I negotiated.   I found it to be a bit bland and dry, however with that magical aioli, it made a pretty good sandwich-of-leftovers, the next day. My husband loved the Chianti-Braised Beef which really was a taste of home for his yankee self, but it's strong sweet pepper flavors met mixed reviews around the table.  In all honesty, I'm not sure if I was uninspired by the Four Cheese Ravioli, or simply too full of calamari fritte to appreciate it.  To say that the fried calamari is good is a gross understatement.  It is about the best calamari I've ever had and frankly, made me less than fully attentive to the dishes delivered afterwards. And the company, too! (Pardon me?  Did you say something?  Oh, I'm sorry.  I missed that.  Couldn't hear over my moaning.)  
Of all the dishes we tried, however it was their new signature apertif which washed it all down quite brightly, that I most wanted to reproduce at home......and I did.  Or tried to.  What we came up with was pretty darned good.  And since it's not exactly what Maggiano's served, we're calling it a collaboration and naming it....The Maggie!

An aperitif is an alcoholic drink served before a meal, sometimes as an appetizer, or accompanied with an appetizer. The drink is usually somewhat bitter, sweet or light, and serves as a warm-up or opener to a meal. Aperitif comes from the Latin aperire a verb meaning “to open.” In France, one might receive an aperitif before a meal, usually dinner, and sometimes lunch. In Italy, one would be offered an aperitivo. The former term is more commonly used in the US and in other English speaking countries. courtesy of
After some judicious sampling (which means we made sure we had no place to go for at least 8 hours....)  we settled on the following recipe:

click on the picture for a larger view

Have you ever had a cocktail that tasted a little off to you?  Maybe a margarita that didn't taste fresh?  That is the sweet and sour mixer you're tasting, I bet.  I truly dislike it and will spare you what it reminds me of, however, fresh sour is a whole new ballgame. You may already be using this in your own cocktails.  I'm kind of a neophyte at making cocktails at home so this is new to me.  I'm a fan of lemon juice, and fresh sour is nothing more than simple syrup and fresh lemon juice.  It's made itself on to my do-it-yourself cocktail must-have's:

click on the picture for a larger view

Tomorrow, we're going to tackle those bacon crackers and horseradish dip we've been going on about.  They are delicious and easy and so-retro-they're-hip, and you don't want to miss out!  They're going with us to two New Year events this weekend--that is if we can get them out of the house without devouring them ourselves.  Come back and see us!

Meanwhile, cheers!

out with the old, in with the new

out with the old and in with the new 
days of gratitude 
notes from maggie's farm

Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.

William Morris

I'm grateful for fresh starts.  

It's time to start wrapping up this 2011.  It was a good year.  I appreciate all the lessons it had for me.  It's time to let go of some stuff  I accumulated, however, and I bet it's the same for you, too.

I challenge you to join me in tossing ten items that you no longer feel to be useful, or beautiful, every day until the first of the year.  I started last night, so I'll be tossing 50 useless items away to start the new year.  I think it's cathartic, and I bet I won't stop on the 1st.  I'll build a little momentum and keep at it!  

Last night, I began in my closet.  I tossed...

1.  All the 'underpinnings' that were a mess.  
Anything with holes in it, stretched elastic, or that someone purchased with the thought that I'd somehow decide to hop on the bus with all the other young and slender things that wear those sorts of things.  The bus has left the station.  The thongs are on it.  I am not.

2.  All but my newest pair of running shoes.  
It's really not good for your feet, or knees or legs or body or psyche, to wear your running, or walking shoes literally into the ground.  The general consensus is around 500 miles. However, body type, gait and terrain can all either lengthen or shorten a shoe's life. I'll bet you have a resolution coming around the bend about getting a little more active.  Honor yourself and set the tone for success with decent shoes.

3.  Socks that don't match.  Perfectly.
Just because they're both white, don't mean they match.  If it isn't the sock's sibling, toss them.  Cousins don't make a match.  I may be tossing them towards the cleaning basket for dusting, but ONE, not ALL of them.

4.  Pajamas I hate.
Okay, I put a pair of relatively sizzling sleepers aside, but then I got going on all those that weren't loose enough (I don't want them to CONSTRICT me when I'm dreaming.  I need space. You know.  To fly, and all.), or those that were too loose (pants on the ground, pants on the ground....).  Then I tossed anything that wasn't primarily cotton.  I'm of a certain age that doesn't need the heat that synthetic fibers produces at night, thankyouverymuch.

5.  Colored belts that came with things.
This one is personal, but I'm not much for wearing belted things.  And really not much for wearing those cheapo belts that come with certain things.  If it requires a belt, I like to go with one of my leather belts.  One of my two leather belts.  One black.  One brown.  One mine.  One, actually, my husband's.

6.  Shoes I didn't wear at all last year.  
I'm not going to lie.  This one hurt.  With the rule of Mr Morris, above, in mind, I tossed some shoes that, gasp, I had never worn.  Anything that looks like a Louboutin is really not useful in my life.  BEAUTIFUL, yes, but still.  Gathering dust.  And I just know there is a lady out there who is going to be thrilled to find a steal of a deal on these gorgeous, but unworn, shoes from Goodwill.

7.  Anything that needed mending.
C'mon.  Those few things have been sitting in that mending basket for a good year.  I don't have time for mending.  I'm cutting myself some slack and tossing it all.

8.  Cheap and/or free handbags and totebags.
No judgement here.  If it came free with a purchase, trash it.  My mom will never know that I tossed that totebag from the bank where she worked twenty years ago.  Unless you read this to her.  (TOMMY, do NOT read this to her!)

9.  Uniforms from places I no longer work.
Let GO!  Yes, they may be in perfectly good condition.  So the person who ends up with them will be happy as a lark.  The last time I tossed these, I tossed them into the hands of a former coworker.

10.  Outmoded Patterns of Thought. 
Yep, I tossed them.  I tossed them in the form of anything that wasn't my size, right here, right now.  Anything a size (or two) larger, anything a size smaller.  Gone.  I'm starting this new year with what fits me now, whether in clothes, shoes, emotions, thoughts.

Besides having to be useful and beautiful, I'm asking myself "does it fit me now?" of everything I consider.

So, tell me, what are you tossing out tonight?  

days of gratitude: all things bright and beautiful

(almost) wordless wednesday
notes from maggie's farm

Today, we are grateful for the hard work of our beloved goats, Willie and Sheba.  Rest in grass-grazing peace, sweet helpers.

Bright and beautiful to us, you were also gentle and gracious, and exceptionally fine grass-groomers. You gave us laughs, devotion, baby goats and delicious milk.  We appreciate the lessons you taught these fledgling farmers.  You will always be remembered gratefully, and with affection.  

Thank you for all you gave for your farm.

the day after christmas. still singing, still grateful

day after christmas, still singing, still grateful
notes from maggie's farm

Today, I'm grateful that it's time for cleanup.  

This little house hasn't the room for the remnants of celebrating for too long, and we've got to get it all back in an organized fashion to make it easier to pull it out next year.  Or that's the idea, anyway.  Every year I promise myself that, every year I find new hints to facilitate that, and every year I get closer to the goal!.  

While I write this, I hear the hum of a vacuum cleaner in the distance, the song of someone helping in the cleanup effort without even being asked to do so.  Is it STILL Christmas? Nah, we share the load every day around here.  Goes to prove, as Mr West sings it, above, 'even when Christmas is over, the light of the world is still here'.  

Great ideas from Real Simple:

Storing Holiday Decorations

Bob Hiemstra

Year-to-Year Strategies

Problem: You end up tossing loads of wrapping paper and other packaging

Solution: Instead of throwing away used gift wrap and tissue paper, run it through
a paper shredder and use the fluffy strips as packing filler when you're putting away
your decorations, suggests Sandy Stuckey, a former director of special events and entertainment at Gaylord Opryland, in Nashville.

Problem: You've finally perfected your decorating scheme, and you don't want
to forget it.

Solution: Label each string of lights, segment of garland, or ball of mistletoe with a marker and masking tape as you take it down so you'll always know which item
to hang in the entryway and which is just the right size for the mantel.

Mark Lund

Packing It Up Like a Pro

Problem: Delicate ornaments emerge from their boxes
chipped, dusty, or broken. 
Solution: "If possible, try to keep the packaging that your fine ornaments arrive
in," says Victor Luis, CEO of the crystal producer Baccarat, headquartered in Paris.
"If you don't have an ornament's original packaging, wrap the piece in a resealable sandwich bag, then store it in a sturdy, well-padded box." Donna Smallin, author of
The One-Minute Organizer Plain & Simple(Storey, $10,,
suggests using partitioned cardboard liquor or wine boxes for storing standard
ornaments and small decorations. "Egg cartons," she says, "make excellent
packaging for tiny ones." Stuff all the nooks and crannies with tissue paper saved
from opened gifts. Also, Smallin adds, "keep your fragile items together at the top
of a box. The more you have to dig for an ornament, the greater your chances of damaging it." 

Problem: Dough ornaments and macaroni crafts fall apart or attract pests. 
Solution: Pack food-based decorations in resealable sandwich bags to protect them
from humidity, then place the bags in a cookie tin to keep rodents out, says
Jackie Harvey, proprietor of Adoughables, a dough-ornament company in
Westampton, New Jersey.

Mark Lund

Preservation Tips

Problem: The light strings are always tangled, and you don’t
know what kind of replacements you need for the dead and faded bulbs. 
Solution: Whenever you buy a new string of lights, immediately label the plug
with the type and number of bulbs in the strand and where you purchased it.
That way, any damaged bulbs will be easy to replace, says Steve Pearson, 
a three-time winner of the Merriam, Kansas, Festival of Lights Contest. As for 
the knots and snarls, Taylor offers this tip: Take an empty coffee can, cut a slit 
in the plastic lid, and put the receptacle end of the light cord through it. Wrap 
the string around the can, and store extra bulbs and extension cords inside. 
(When it’s time to unpack the lights again, plug each strand into an electrical 
outlet to make sure it works before you unroll it.) Always store 
colored lights in a dark place to keep the bulbs from fading (blues, greens, 
and purples fade faster than reds and yellows do). 

Problem: “Santa’s” suit is starting to look dusty and worn. 
Solution: “If your costumes are homemade or valuable to you, treat them as
you would a wedding dress,” says Taylor. “Dry-clean them, press them, and keep
them folded neatly in a sealed, acid-free container so that no moisture or moths
can get in.”

Mark Lund

Smart Storage Solutions

Problem: You need some of your supplies sooner than others. 
Solution: At the end of each season, pack an "Open First" box. "Then store last
the things that you'll need to take out first," says Smallin. "They'll be the easiest to 
reach when it is time to find them again." And if you decide to keep next year's decorations to a minimum, you won't have to open up every last carton to find the essentials.

Problem: You can never find anything.
Solution: "Label each box with the holiday and a few bullet points about its contents," Smallin suggests. "Then organize the boxes by season." For an even easier 
identification system, use boxes with color-coded lids (orange for Halloween, 
for example, and yellow for Easter). For the ultimate in organization, Smallin 
suggests keeping a more detailed content list for each box on your computer. 
"When the Fourth of July comes around and you need that American flag," 
she says, "just do a document search for 'flag' before digging through all the boxes."

Mark Lund

What to Buy, What to Toss

Problem: Every year, you forget what you've got on hand.
Solution: Start a decorating notebook with an inventory sheet for each holiday
so you can keep track of how many strands of lights and how many feet of 
garland you have, says Kelley Taylor, author of Holiday Decorating for 
Dummies (For Dummies, $20, "Consult it to make sure you don't 
overbuy when it comes time to decorate again," she adds. Remember: Any 
surplus items will just complicate your storage woes.

Problem: You don't have the space to store all your trimmings.
Solution: "Evaluate your decorations annually, and keep only what you are really 
going to use," says Valerie Parr Hill, author of Decorating for the Holidays 
(QVC Publishing, $27.50, If an item is damaged or has lost its 
color, get rid of it. "Give yourself permission to let some of that stuff go," Hill 
says. And consider using natural accents―nuts, pinecones, and fresh greenery 
or flowers―that you can toss after the New Year.

Dana Gallagher

Keeping Shape

Problem: Your stored candles lose their shape. 
Solution: "Candles should be put away flat, out of light, and in a fairly cool area to prevent warping and preserve color," says Susan Stockman, a spokesperson for the Yankee Candle Company, in South Deerfield, Massachusetts. An alternative 
solution, says Taylor, is to use neutral-colored candles that you can leave out all 

Problem: The holiday linens end up as wrinkled as a turkey's wattle. 
Solution: Ironing a big linen tablecloth is probably the last thing you want to do 
after you've spent the entire morning cooking. "Use skirt hangers for all your 
tablecloths, place mats, and napkins so they don't become creased at the bottom 
of a box," says Hill.

Ditte Isager

Double-Duty Storage

Problem: Plastic lawn ornaments and other large, oddly-shaped decorations
take up too much space when boxed. 
Solution: Save the zippered garment bags you get when you buy a new suit 
or dress, and use them to protect bulky plastic figures, such as sleighs and 
reindeer, suggests Hill. Then hang the bags in a closet or on a nail in your attic.

Problem: You need to store your decorations in the basement, which is always 
Solution: Use plastic storage containers with tight seals, and place them up off 
the floor on shelves or palettes, in case of flooding. To help keep boxes free 
of moisture, Hill recommends dropping in a few silica packets (often found in
new shoe boxes, or available for purchase at the Preservation Station,
Wishing you speedy clean up, and good help.

i am grateful for silent nights

the eve of christmas day 
notes from maggie's farm

I am grateful for silent nights.

silent night by margaret christine perkins on Grooveshark

I'm  not sure if it's 'maturity' or if it's just the din of the holidays these days, but I find the moments most precious are those at the end of this day.  The quiet.  Silent nights.  Now, as we hunker down in our warm sweats, absorbed in a new book, a new toy, enjoying new music.  (Dear Peter Gabriel, You've really outdone yourself with this new release.)

It's also the time that I'm most able to reflect upon the celebration of Christmas, and all for which I am so grateful.  I am grateful for delicious food and lively, kind, and occasionally raucous family and friends.  The joy and laughter shared with our church family as we celebrate Christmas today.  The quiet contentment my husband and I share celebrating peacefully tonight. 

I am grateful for a full life that is a gift.  The gift of a Savior is celebrated by sharing the gifts of a full life.  A Savior that is my reason for this season.  

Occasionally, there are people who are so gracious as to tell me that I'm 'gifted'.  I agree.  I am graciously gifted, we all are.  On this silent night, I am grateful for this great gift of life. 

I wish you great blessings this Christmas Day.

oh holy night

christmas eve
notes from maggie's farm

Tonight I am grateful for my dear savior's birth.

Merry Christmas, friends.

days of gratitude: family

evening carols and days of gratitude
notes from maggie's farm

Today, I'm so grateful for my family.

Family by margaret christine perkins on Grooveshark
(If this music gets on your last nerve, just turn it off by pressing that big button right up there.  But really, it's very nice and family-like. C'mon, be a sport, give John Legend a try. It's about family!)

On days like these when highways are filled with traffic, I'm grateful that my family is safe.
I'm grateful for the laughter we share; the love and care and generosity, too.
I am grateful for happy holiday memories, and the way that being with family, whether in person, or in spirit, takes me right back to those days.

I'm grateful for the happy times, and even the hard times, too, because that's when family gathered around, and made itself known, made itself strong, and made me strong, too.

I am grateful for the loving legacy left by those that are not with us today, and the ways in which it is lived out by the ones that are.

I am grateful that our love doesn't change.

I love you, family.

Note:  None of these pictures are of my family.  We are all too darn busy this season to get some photos together at the last minute, but I have collected vintage pictures for a while, and these are of other people's families that seem just as happy as mine.  I thought about just pasting our faces over them, but didn't have the time for that either! Ah, reminds me of the most uttered words around this house, this time of year.

Oh do you remember
When the family was everything?
Oh do you remember?
It was so long ago and so much has changed
I wanna go back
Wanna go back to those simple days
I wanna go back
But now we've grown and gone our separate ways

Times is hard
And things are a changin'
I pray to God
That we can remain the same
All I'm trying to say is our love don't have to change
No it don't have to change

Do you remember
Back at Granny's house on Christmas Day?
Do you remember
How we'd gather 'round and sing all day?
I wanna go back
To playing basketball and football games
I wanna go back
To yesterday but it's not the same

Times is hard
And things are a changin'
I pray to God
That we can remain the same
All I'm trying to say is our love don't have to change
No it don't have to change

(John Legend)

Here's wishing you happy family memories today--

eggnog: it's what's for dinner

evening carols and days of gratitude
thirsty thursday, all on
notes from maggie's farm

photo courtesy of simply recipes

Today, I am grateful for eggnog.

Really.  I. am. grateful. for. eggnog.  

As you are reading this, we are in the midst of making and/or delivering, 65 dozen tamales.  That we made.  And some other stuff.  I'm too exhausted to go into details.

When it's all said and done, on the way home, I'm going to snag a carton of eggnog. Is it healthy? no.  Is it homemade? no.  Will it be spiked?  likely.  Is it for dessert?  no

It's for dinner.  With some cookies.  

No shame, here.

We have made it before, however, and when we did, we used this recipe from Simply Recipes. It was really very good and I'm sure we enjoyed it even more because we made it ourselves.

That was before the tamales.



  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 whole cloves
  • Pinch of cinnamon
  • 1 cup cream
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 Tbsp each of bourbon and rum or brandy, or to taste (can omit for kid-friendly eggnog)
  • *4 egg whites (optional)


1 In a large bowl, use a whisk or an electric mixer to beat egg yolks until they become somewhat lighter in color. Slowly add the sugar, beating after each addition, whisking until fluffy.
2 Combine the milk, cloves, and cinnamon in a thick-bottomed saucepan. Slowly heat on medium heat until the milk mixture is steamy hot, but not boiling.
3 Temper the eggs by slowly adding half of the hot milk mixture into the eggs, whisking constantly while you add the hot mixture. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan.
4 Cook on medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the mixture begins to thicken slightly, and coats the back of the spoon. It helps to have a candy thermometer, but not necessary; if you have one, cook until the mixture reaches 160°F. Do not allow the mixture to boil, or it will curdle. (If the mixture does curdle you may be able to save it by running it through a blender.) Remove from heat and stir in the cream. Strain the mixture through a mesh strainer to remove the cloves. Let cool for one hour.
5 Mix in vanilla extract, nutmeg, and bourbon/rum and brandy (feel free to omit for kid-friendly eggnog). Chill.
*Optional: Beat egg whites until they reach soft peaks. Add a teaspoon of sugar and continue to beat until they reach stiff peaks. Gently fold into eggnog. Note, because of the salmonella risk from raw eggs, it is recommended that children, elderly, and people with compromised immune systems refrain from eating raw eggs such as the optional whipped egg whites in this recipe, unless you use pasteurized eggs.

Can you believe there's a song about eggnog?  It's kinda clever.

Wishing you sweet dreams...

tis but the work of a moment

evening carols and days of gratitude
notes from maggie's farm

I am oh, so thankful for pretty wrapping.

My special mother (she says 'stepmonster' but that's just not right.  about her, anyway.) always goes all out on our packages.  They are shiny and sparkly and beautiful and make me feel as excited as a little kid on Christmas.  I always want the one with the prettiest paper.  

I know they say that the gift is not in the wrapping, but oh, that's not true.  A gift, a true gift, is one to which a person has given personal attention to detail.  A lovingly wrapped package is a gift in and of itself, no matter what's inside.  Well, you'll see what I mean:  

tis the work of a moment!
Perhaps you'll be inspired by the pretty packages I found all around the interwebs:

heather bullard


and if you need a little more motivation, how about that dreamy voice of Chris Isaak's?

pretty paper by margaret christine perkins on Grooveshark

Here's hoping you get the personal attention to detail you deserve.

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