In My Kitchen – December 2013

It seems strange to think that 2013 will soon be drawing to a close. December sometimes rushes by so fast we barely get a time for reflection and introspection. It’s nice to slow down and take time to sit with a cuppa and remember all the good times we’ve had this year. I’m a bit behind with sending out my Christmas cards this year as I usually have them out by December 1. I’m having a hard time focusing with all there is to do so yesterday I went to Starbucks and made myself sit there distraction free with a latté. I was determined to get those cards done but I couldn’t help spreading a bit of Christmas Joy a là ‘Paying it Forward’. If you can’t read the card it says ‘To the Next Occupant of this Chair, Merry Christmas!’. Inside the envelope is a Starbucks gift card inside a Christmas card. I have four more gift cards to randomly place….

SAMSUNGI know it’s a bit old fashioned and each year fewer and fewer people are sending out true blue Christmas cards in the mail. I do look forward to catching up with everyone and I hand write each note in the cards that I send. I remember watching my grandma get her cards ready for sending and I do it in part to keep her memory alive.

xmascardsI was also a bit behind in decorating for the holidays so I buckled down and did it all (except the tree) on Wednesday. In My Kitchen there is a little hope for the future:

hopeAnd a collection of wooden nutcrackers, including this guy; the Christmas Countdown Nutcracker.

counterThere are several really old ornaments that I put out every year. These Mr. and Mrs. Claus kissing salt ‘n’ pepper shakers belonged to my Grandma Leaderhouse and are probably at least from the 1950’s.

kissingSometimes when I unpack the ornaments there are few that have broken and need a slight fix or their batteries have gone dead. This Christmas pickle is a newer tradition in our house. His singing is slightly annoying but the kids beg me to put him out every year so I guess I’d better find some new batteries.

pickleAnd some of my ornaments are remade every year like this orange and clove pomander. To make it you need to pick a blemish free round orange that is nice and plump. Stick the whole cloves into the orange in a pattern of your choice. I always just load them up! If the skin seems too tough or thick you  may need to pierce it with a toothpick first.

orangeAnd I have had a bit of a head start with the Christmas baking though there is plenty more to come! Here are some Chai Shortbread.

035Some Salty Pistachio Sablés…

sablesAnd a big announcement!! Dish ‘n’ the Kitchen celebrated 200 followers this past week! I got to bake a special cake to celebrate!


I was going to stop there but my sister just sent me this photo taken while Grandma was teaching her how to make doughnuts. These doughnuts are so special and I thought Grandma’s secrets would be lost forever. She always says she’s too old to make doughnuts (she’ll be 90 in June) and I was thinking I would love to learn from her before the recipe is lost forever. I’m so happy that my sister was able to convince her to make some this year.donuts

Merry Christmas and all the best in 2014 to host Celia of Fig Jam & Lime Cordial, all In My Kitchen participants, and readers of Dish ‘n’ the Kitchen.


  1. Transplanted Cook

    I love the ornaments (but, like you, suspect that the Christmas pickle would become annoying after a while). I also remember kissing Santa and Mrs. Claus salt and pepper shakers when I was growing up. Glad you got your grandmother’s doughnut recipe – so special when families pass on traditions like that. 🙂 Great post and Merry Christmas!

    1. dishnthekitchen

      Well I don’t have it in my clutches yet! She taught my little sister (her favourite) on the weekend and promised to come out to the farm at Christmas to teach us all…then I’ll have it 🙂
      They are like a cake doughnut and she dips them in the glaze while they are still warm. Ahhhh, I can’t wait!!

      1. Transplanted Cook

        Good luck! Now I have a doughnut craving…

  2. heidiannie

    I haven’t sent my cards out this year, yet. And since I haven’t even made them yet, that is very problematic. I’m going to do it by the weeks end- and maybe only send out a few. Your shortbread looks great- I should make some shortbread this year. I don’t know why I can’t get the energy to get going- I have the best plans- and the worst follow through this year!
    Thanks for the tour- your grandmother is so sweet looking- that will be a real gift getting her cooking lesson!

  3. Kim Bultman

    Bernice, congratulations on 200 followers! Chocolate cake sounded like the perfect way to celebrate. 🙂 I also loved your “pay it forward” philosophy — I’m sure there’ll be folks leaving Starbucks with a smile — what a lovely thing to do. Merry Christmas!

    1. dishnthekitchen

      Merry Christmas to YOU, Kim!

  4. Celia @ Fig Jam and Lime Cordial

    Bernice, what a glorious Christmas post! You are so generous – I hope the recipients of your random generosity enjoy their Starbucks treats. Good on you for writing Chrissie cards, I haven’t done that for years. Love all your baking and decorations, especially the singing pickle and the gorgeous hope star. But the highlight of the post is definitely the beaming grin on your grandmother’s face – how happy she must have been to pass on her knowledge to her family! xx

  5. Joanne T Ferguson (@mickeydownunder)

    G’day Bernice! I LIKE Old Fashioned, true! Love preserving Christmas traditions, loved you Mr and Mrs Santa and thanks for this month’s warm and welcoming holiday view!
    Viewed as part of Celia’s In My Kitchen
    Cheers! Joanne

  6. TIFFIN bitesizedfood (@TIFFINbitesized)

    Lovely, lovely post. Christmas pickle? Of course! The traditional fruit/vegetable for this time of the year! Great photo of Grandma and the donuts!

  7. Anne @ Life in Mud Spattered Boots

    So many good things in your kitchen. Love the Starbucks gift card idea. Have a good Christmas.

    1. dishnthekitchen

      Thank you! You too Anne, Merry Christmas!

  8. ladyredspecs

    Lovely post Bernice, nothing nicer than receiving a card in the mail from an old friend! Happy Christmas

    1. dishnthekitchen

      You too…Have a lovely Christmas!

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