Hey everyone!! Sorry for the hiatus last week. I went to VA to see the grandparents with Evie, and let mom do all the cooking for me. It was glorious.
So- is everyone done with their holiday shopping? I am absolutely not, nor have I really even started. And mark my words that ALL of my shopping will be done online. Not unlike past Christmas seasons, but especially this year since carting Evie around a germ-infested mall is not on my to do list.
One question you may be asking yourself is what to get for your child’s teacher? As a former teacher, I can now politely answer that question for you, so I will.
Where I used to teach, a policy was put into place where families were asked to reconsider giving teachers a material item for Christmas and instead, to make a donation to a charity in their name. I definitely appreciated the sentiment behind this policy, especially because I either threw away the trinkets I received (I am not a clutter person…if I haven’t used something in the past 2 weeks, I give it away) or squirreled away the baked goods so I wouldn’t be tempted to eat them. One year, I actually received a cheese ball from a student that he proudly announced he made himself right before he wiped his nose on his sleeve. Again, I truly appreciated the sentiment but I was not about to risk my health eating this child’s homemade cheeseball. I risked enough as it was showing up to school every day during flu season.
The problem was that maybe 1-2 families actually made donations, but many of them stopped recognizing their teachers over the holidays, and that was sad to me. Considering all that teachers do for their students, I thought it was nice to be recognized at the end of the calendar year, but I do have a solution to this.
My favorite “Christmas” presents were by far a handwritten card from my students. Asking your child to sit down and write a note to their teacher does a world of good. First, we teachers feel appreciated, and a handwritten note is a much more explicit form of appreciation than a candle. Second, it is a great exercise for students to take the time and reflect on the many things their teachers do for them. I’m sure everyone has a teacher here or there that is not their favorite, but at the end of the day, they are all keeping your children safe and well, and there is something to be said for that. Especially as we approach December 14, marking one year since the horrific Sandy Hook shooting.
And if you must buy something, everyone loves a Starbucks gift card
So back to baking. I took advantage of nap times as much as possible earlier this week and found this delicious sugar cookie recipe on one of my favorite cooking blogs, Two Peas and Their Pod. Around here, one of our favorite baked goods from the grocery store are these airy sugar cookies with a delicious (usually holiday related) icing. Every year, I love to make sugar cookies, but I often end up with a crunchy tasteless vehicle for icing, so I was pretty pleased to discover this recipe. Key ingredient: sour cream. Doesn’t exactly mimic the store-bought, but you can’t have store-bought cookies at Christmas time, can you? Enjoy!
Fluffy Christmas Sugar Cookies
6 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups sour cream
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature
2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature
4 cups confectioner’s sugar
6 Tbsp heavy cream (I used half n half)
1 tsp vanilla
pinch of salt
For the cookie dough, first cream together the butter and sugar in a mixer. Then add the eggs in one at a time, followed by the vanilla and sour cream. Meanwhile, combine your dry ingredients, and slowly add them to the mixture (without flinging flour all over your kitchen like I did). You will have a sticky dough. Divide the dough into two balls, flatten them out, wrap them in plastic, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight. Then, roll out the dough on a floured surface to about 1/4 inch thickness and cut out your shapes. Bake at 425F for about 7 minutes. Cool completely before icing.
For the icing, cream together the butter, cream, vanilla and salt. Slowly add in the confectioner’s sugar and mix well. Add food coloring if you want to!
Here are some outtakes from Evie’s Christmas card photo shoot. Child photography is NOT easy!!