I’m in a holiday mood. It feels so welcome and refreshing because I haven’t felt this way in a while. For the last two years, I have been in the process of getting ready to move or had recently moved and I was simply too exhausted to put my normal holiday effort forth. Everything felt last minute and I had an attitude of “just get through it” which is completely out of character for me.
Back in Minnesota, Thanksgiving was a huge feast that brought family and friends together. Shortly after Thanksgiving, I would start decorating for Christmas, my favorite time of year. Every room was touched with candles, lights, or ornaments. Each fireplace had elaborate pine swags that I arranged, little piece by piece. Berries, holly, pinecones, all created a magical picture.
Often, even though I swore I would get the outside lights up before the first snow, I would find myself on the steep roof, standing in a couple of feet of the white stuff, clipping the strings to the edge of the roof. I know it sounds strange, but I loved it. The wind might be blowing and the snow falling but how can you feel bad when your arms are full of little white twinkling lights and snowflakes are blowing all around?
My first Christmas season in California was a struggle. I missed the cold and the snow. I missed the grey November skies have a beauty all of their own. The winter light playing off of the dark bare trees can be breathtakingly beautiful. These are the skies I was used to. The skies I love and missed horribly.
I also missed the silence. When the earth freezes and is covered by a blanket of snow, it is quiet. Blissfully quiet. You may hear the occasional winter birds or the wind in the pines but the daily hum of summer completely disappears. There is silence and it is peaceful. And restful. And a wonderful time to settle in and slow down a bit.
Somehow, looking out the window at palm trees (transplanted since we are in Northern Ca but here none the less) just wasn’t doing it for me. November would hit and I would get grumpy. I was tired of the sun and hearing crickets and lawn mowers in November. It just didn’t feel right for this Minnesota girl.
But this year something is shifting. I feel a little ember of desire. I am looking forward to getting the holidays in full swing. It took me by surprise yet delighted me at the same time.
Where I notice it the most is in the kitchen. Everything I am inspired to make has a holiday or entertaining theme and I am loving it.
I am grateful to be once again inspired by the holidays. And with a daughter now only 3 hours away in the mountains, snow is back on my happy-happy-joy-joy list!
Today’s “raw cheese log” recipe is a great recipe for entertaining. It is easy, beautiful and full of flavor! Pumpkin seeds, cranberries and pecans marry beautifully and the sharpness of the cashew cheese sets the sweetness of the pecans and cranberries off in the most tasty way! You will need to start this in advance but it refrigerates and even freezes well which is great when entertaining.
- 2 cups cashews, soaked at least 6 hours
- 1/2 cup filtered water
- juice from 1/2 lemon
- 2 probiotic capsules (use the probiotic powder, discard the capsules)
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
- 1 clove garlic, finely minced
- 2 teaspoons thyme
- 1/4 teaspoon himalayan salt
- couple grinds cracked pepper
- 1 cup dried cranberries, divided
- 1 cup pumpkin seeds, divided
- 1/2 cup pecans, chopped
1. Combine soaked cashews, water, lemon juice and probiotic capsules in high-speed blender. Blend until smooth
2. Line a strainer with cheese cloth, spoon cashew mixture into the cheesecloth, cover and let sit out overnight.
3. Put cashew mixture into bowl. Stir in yeast, thyme, garlic, salt and pepper, 1/2 cup of the dried cranberries and 1/2 of the pumpkin seeds.
4. Cover and place in refrigerator for one day to set up.
5. Chop remaining 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds, 1/2 cup dried cranberries and pecans. Mix together.
6. Shape “cheese” into a log and roll in pecan mixture.
You can refrigerate this for a few days in advance or freeze it for up to a month.