Ceramic Christmas Trees

One of my favorite things to pull out every year is this lovely painted ceramic tree that my mother-in-law Edna sent to us years ago. I beleive she painted it in the 70’s but not really sure. I love how pearly white it is, somehow kitcshy and elegant at the same time. It’s a Christmas miracle!

Obviously you can buy these ready made and just plug it in, but if you want to get your hands on an original vintage tree, you’ll need to search eBay and thrift stores. Better yet, ask your aunts and grandmothers if they may have one tucked away.

Read about the history of these DIY gems here

Holiday Gift Guide 2019

Here is a short list of some of my favorite gifts this season. Some local, some not so local.

MAYO & TOMATO T-SHIRT $30
Such great gifts at bittersoutherner.com for your southern friends, and those who want to be southern. Nothing conures up memories of a perfect southern summer day than a tomato sandwich with home-grown tomatoes and mayo. Dukes or Blue Plate… please. bittersoutherner.com

GALENDARS from $10
Friends that I gifted with Galendars last year asked where to buy some of these tiny desk calendars for their friends this year. These gals only do two shipments each season so order now so your gifts will ship on their last ship date of December 14th! Oh, and they sell out fast! galendars.com

If you’re in the Austin area you can find them at Blue Genie Art Bazaar

MDK FIELD GUIDES $14.95
If there is a knitter in your life, they need one or twelve of these. These themed, pint-sized tomes are a perfect gift. Each beautifully designed volume explores a technique, yarn, or pattern style. My favorite so far is Wanderlust. masondixonknitting.com

DZIUK’S MEAT MARKET from $6.99
In my circle of San Antonio friends it is imperative if near Castroville, to make a trip to Dziuk’s Meat Market. Their Chunk Beef Jerky is like nothing I’ve ever had before. If dried sausage with wild combos such as quail and pork smoke your meat… look no further than dziuks.com

WHEN PIES FLY $21.59
This follow up to 2018’s James Beard nominated Pie Squared will make any pie lover a happy baker. I’ll be trying the apple strudel recipe over the weekend. amazon.com

Bring These to Your Next Cookie Swap

Coconut Macaroons

But if you work at a certain Texas magazine… don’t, because I’m bringing these.

I’ve been bringing these to every cookie swap since forever. I’ve recently started making these with almond flour instead of all-purpose. The structure is still the same, and my gluten free friends can enjoy them too. You can use half the extract that I do, but they will be less fragrant.

Preheat oven to 350° F.

2/3 cup all purpose or almond flour
14 ounces shredded coconut
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 can sweetened condensed milk
2 teaspoons Mexican vanilla or almond extract

Mix dry ingredients together. Mix in condensed milk and vanilla. I use either a 1″ or 2″ cookie scoop. They only need to be about 2 inches apart since they don’t spread much. Bake about 20 minutes or until golden brown at the edges. I like the edges a little crispy (see above)

Dip the bottoms in some melted chocolate if you must, but I like these just as is.

Cool on rack and enjoy. But be sure to enjoy at least one of them warm. Makes about 2 dozen cookies… depending on the size of your macaroons.