Holiday Food as Gifts | Girlfriend Gift Ideas from Guru Linda Maria Steele

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girlfriend guru,friendship recipe, baking for the holidaysFood is an important part of a balanced diet.  ~Fran Lebowitz

There’s a wonderful cafe in Manhattan called Popovers. It’s at the corner of Amsterdam and 86th Street and is where I learned the Joy of eating a popover. Sometimes we’d eat at the restaurant, but more often we’d get huge bagfuls of popovers with small containers of their wonderful strawberry butter and race back to eat them before the popovers cooled.

Super thanks to girlfriend guru LINDA MARIA STEELE for bringing back this memory (and the faces of everyone who joined in the popover-fest). There is something wonderful about food memories. As we approach the holiday season, I am determined to bake for some of my fab friends. Or at least meet them for a good cup of coffee. What are your plans for sharing holiday foods with your girlfriends?

I hosted a lunch at my house last Monday. The temperature has been dropping so I decided to build a fire in the brick fireplace in my kitchen. I’m not sure how I would survive the winter without things like my friends and that fireplace. They both offer so much comfort and warmth. I made Spinach Feta Quiche, Popovers, and a Romaine, Mozzarella, Roma Tomato, and Balsamic Vinegar Salad. The popovers emerged from my oven light and fluffy. The more I make them I think the trick is a matter of whisking the eggs just right yet also leaving my oven door shut while they are rising. And not be tempted to check on them before they are done.

I recently read an article by Malcolm Gladwell called “Late Bloomers.” Gladwell’s got this amazing knack for weaving the most intimate anecdotes to tell thoughtful stories. In “Late Bloomers” he argues that it is just as likely (or even more so) for late bloomers—creative types to emerge and succeed later in life than a child genius. The idea is basically that it takes time and support from those around us to become who we are meant to become. I made a copy of the essay and gave it to my friend to read as she was leaving our lunch. She called later that day and said “Thank you for such a lovely article. It gives me hope and it brought a tear to my eye.”

I knew that article would be as meaningful to her as it was for me. There are creative endeavors we continue to work toward and support one another on and the article reminded us that it’s still possible to achieve our dreams. Hope is present. Another friend who’s about to submit her Masters Thesis in Literature appreciated the idea of a “Late Bloomer” too. It reminds us that even when there are so many other things like bills, laundry, and car pool to tend to as Moms we still must pursue our own creative interests and dreams. And offer support to one another along the way.

With the Holidays fast approaching I realize I’ve got to get organized and fast! I love to create food items as gifts. I know one thing for sure is I’m going to make Christmas Snowflake Cupcakes and place in tiny festive cupcake holders. They are super simple and cute.

Each Holiday season something new enters our life based on the things my kids ask for as gifts. A couple of years ago it was my son’s Basketball Hoop that we put in the driveway. He’d shoot for hours and many of the neighborhood kids would stop by to shoot too. The year before that it was new guitars and guitar lessons for my two older children. This year it’s all things American Girl Doll (why do they have to be so expensive?) for Sophia. What I love about American Girl Doll is it’s something her friends are into right now too and they often come over with their dolls and accessories to play. I’ll hear them up in her room playing pretend for hours.

 As for the ear plugs, Bella’s been taking drum lessons and we found a great deal on a used and in excellent condition full set of drums. In my efforts to support Bella’s budding talent and interests, I agreed on the drums although I’ve decided all I’m asking Santa for this year for myself is a set of Ear Plugs!

I will leave you with some fun ideas for making Christmas Snowflake Cupcakes and Oreo Cookie Cupcakes. baking for the holidays,oreo frosting holiday cupcakesPhoto is of samples of mini Oreo Cookie Cupcakes. And the photograph was taken by my daughter Bella. Bake a large batch of Cupcakes in various sizes: mini, medium and jumbo. Prepare your favorite frosting and separate portions in smaller bowls. Gather coconut and silver sugar sprinkles to use for the Christmas Snowflake Cupcakes. Crush fine Oreo cookies in a zip lock bag and gently stir into a portion of the plain white frosting. Spread on top of cupcakes. Use red food coloring to turn a small bowl set aside of the white frosting to dark pink or red. Spread the frosting thick onto Cupcakes and sprinkle with festive silver candy balls.

The idea is if you are going to create Food as Gift this holiday make it fun and festive and make a number of different options before placing in decorative holiday holders and Christmas tins. Invite friends over to help with all the baking and decorating because beyond all the baking the true gifts around the holidays come from time spent with friends.

LINDA STEELE knows how important maintaining supportive friendships are. She’s an avid baker, Professor, writer, and mom. Her first fun and personalized recipe collection called “Meet Me in My Cape Cod Kitchen” can now be purchased in e-book form on her blog. She loves to inspire people to always share fun times with friends while eating good food. You are invited to like her on Facebook at Sweeter by the Beach and become a follower of her blog. 

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