I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas...I meant to post a little blog hello on Christmas Eve but I was baking these cookies, pretty much all day long. They were worth the time I spent. My dad would've been happy...I think his spirit guided me because this years cookies turned out more colorful and flavorful than any other year ever. My dad could throw back some serious cookies, especially after he stopped smoking seven years ago. We called him the Cookie Monster and I loved baking cookies for him at Christmas. I missed my dad a lot yesterday, but we kept distracted and it wasn't until the evening, once David and I were home, that I just had this empty feeling and couldn't quite figure it out...it was then it hit me: I miss dad.
My dad was always hard to buy for at Christmas because he was content with what he had. Figuring out the perfect present for him was hard work. But a couple of years ago, I bought him something he actually loved and used: zip-up beer bottle cozies. Until then, every time my dad offered us beers when we'd visit, he would deliver them to us with a paper towel and a rubber band wrapped around them, his own homemade variety of a beer cozy. My dad was thrifty and was always coming up with contraptions to avoid having to buy something new. After that Christmas he always drank his beer with the zip up cozies I bought him and I teased him about his old paper towel ones. We had some good laughs about those. Funny that the same things that can make you laugh can make you cry later. Nevertheless, I love remembering that Christmas and if I could, I would kick back with a bottle of Sierra and a paper towel beer cozy wrapped around it with a rubber band, just to hold that memory a little closer. But since beer and pregnancy don't go together, I encourage all of you to have one for me and maybe I'll have to track down a 6-pack of IBC this holiday season instead!
**Cookies are (clockwise from top): red velvet whoopie pies, chewy cherry almond bars, chocolate hazelnut coins and peanut butter bites (which have a Reese's cup inside!)
***Also, all cookie recipes except the whoopie pies can be found in the 2007 Better Homes and Gardens October publication "Christmas Cookies" which comes out every year, usually you see it at the checkout at grocery stores. It is available at CML for local peeps. The Red Velvet Whoopie pies are from the December 2008 issue of Better Homes and Gardens. I did also find it on the BHG website just now, but had to sign up for a free membership to their site to get it which leads me to believe all the recipes can be found their if you just join their free club.