December 23, 2010

Xmas Countdown- Fear of Xmas

 my xmas creche scene, mostly from a Kinder chocolate set then added things

I am so glad that I don't have a huge christmas, actually my husband and I really don't get caught up in any of the holiday rushes here in Italy. I now have a Fear of Xmas- and try to keep my head while others around me are losing their's. It is fabulous to be able to not stress.

We were just snowbound in the house for several days-- White Christmas??? nice if you have chains for your car. Tuscany was totally crippled, thank goodness we were not out and about. Airports closed, people were stuck on the highways overnight, trees broke and crashed down smashing cars.

Now the snow is melting and in Liguria torrential rains have come, causing flooding and landslides.
 The garbage problem in Naples has not been solved and the people in Aquila still have not had their city restored after the huge earthquake.

I love the lights and the shops all decorated, but wish that we celebrated daily instead of waiting for a couple of occasions and being caught in the craziness.

The first Christmas dinner I went to at friends with my husband, I lasted until the roast beef with porcini mushrooms came out and made a quick rush to the bathroom  and was down and out for the rest of the meal. We had two kinds of little appetizers with champagne, tortellini in broth, poached fish with a side of boiled vegetables in a mayonaise ( insalata russa) then a roasted fish with it's own side dish. The beef was floating in extra virgin olive oil with sauteed porcini's. I missed the whole wild game part of the dinner- the duck, pheasant, wild boar, quail etc.


I get nervous trying to shop when the Italians prepare for a huge feast- it is crazy in the grocery stores.

So I make a boiled beef dinner for my husband and we have food for three days!

One tradition I do like is baking and making candy.

So I snuck off to the grocery store during lunch time, when there are less shoppers out and picked up the things I needed and now am safe and sound at home preparing some goodies.

I like to make some American goodies not available here for people to try.
So here are some of the things I have made-

I got my grandmother's Candied Walnut Recipe from my mom and made three different versions.

I made Vin Santo with Tuscan Spices, Mocha and Orange- Cinnamon

home-made cracker jacks-- no prize!

Croccante Piccante- my spicy nut brittle
I use a classic recipe for peanut brittle and add in 2 tbs of red pepper powder 

I used sesame seeds, toasted pinenuts and toasted almonds

I have some Peanut Butter Buckeyes in the fridge, waiting to be dipped in chocolate tomorrow
I used the Joy of Baking recipe online, but will dip traditionally, which leaves the peanut butter balls showing on the top, like a "buckeye"

One of my favorite recipes with 2 ingredients are the Coconut Macaroons. Made a batch but may need to make another batch- they will be favorites.

Will post more foto's tomorrow- 

If I have time, perhaps a tray of brownies?

Enjoy the holidays-- hope we all survive without over doing.
Best wishes for a 2011  I can't wait- it can only get better!

What is your biggest FEAR OF XMAS?


  1. Karen Epstein Roseth11:35 PM

    Chanukah is so much easier and the foods are delicious, as well.

  2. Buon Natale, Judy! I so enjoyed our Market tour last October. I'll be back next year!

    Cheryl Levine

  3. Merry Christmas Judy! My biggest fear is not having enough time to prepare all the food I'd like to serve over the holidays!

  4. I have just discovered your blog! I love what I have been reading. I can see I will learn heaps from your blog about life in Italy. Can't wait for more posts!

  5. Welcome Marcellina! there are also more recipes on my website and a dining guide for Florence and Chianti- stop by


  6. What great Christmas treats!