Tis’ The Season

I have mentioned before that I volunteer in George’s Kindergarten class. Over the past few weeks, his saintly teacher has been teaching the kids about Hanuka, Kwanzaa, and Christmas. He has loved learning about the different faiths and ways that each person celebrates the holiday season.


I dare say he has learned a great respect for each and every different religion and seasonal celebration as well as holiday traditions around the world. Recently, our state department of education sent letters to all teachers telling them that they can no longer wish students a “Merry Christmas”. So get a load of this…. Today I was in the prep room at our elementary school making a “pin the nose on Rudolph” game for the kindergartners to play next week at their Christmas Party.

The prep room is attached to the library. I overheard our librarian reading to a first-grade class… “and they found the babe, lying in a manger bed…. shepherds, kings, ox, and ass…” I left the prep room and peeked around the corner into the library to see all of the first-grade class sitting in a circle, eyes wide and listening intently.

I was filled with the spirit of the season and the understanding that our children are still learning about the Savior’s birth in school. This probably crosses the line of church and state but honestly, who cares?

They were simply reading a library book to the kids. The teacher and librarian may not have said “Merry Christmas” to our kids… but they sure were teaching them the true meaning of the season! I love every minute of it!

And the winner is…

So I recently had the pleasure of judging a Holiday Dessert Contest. It was run by our local gourmet kitchen store and our local newspaper. I really enjoyed the experience, well aside from a sugar headache the next morning. And I have to say, I was surprised by the “best overall” winner. Here is how it all shook out…


When I arrived, I assessed the entries. I was drawn immediately to a beautiful creation. The presentation of this dessert was breathtaking. I always feel like 50% of how something tastes is how it looks before you ever put it into your mouth. If it is tantalizing… I wanna eat it! So naturally, I was smitten with this specific dessert and had it pegged from the beginning as one of the winners.

The first round of scoring was devoted to Presentation and Appearance. After I scored each dish in that category, the tasting began. The tasting was judged on three different criteria. 1-Texture 2-Overall Taste 3-Flavor Balance (The Yin Yang Factor) 4-Creativity/Originality.

I was shocked and amazed! So many of the entries that looked great, were outdone by the delicious tastes and textures of their less attractive counterparts. In the end, I chose 4 winners none of which were the above-mentioned dessert that I was initially drawn to. The winners were an almond puff pastry that was well-made, flaky and simplistically sweet. A traditional Black Forest Cake with unsweetened whipped cream… a great balance of fruit, chocolate, and cream. Apple Pie Parcels… these were so absolutely yummy!

They almost won “Best in Show” it really was a close race between these and the big winner. They were salty and sweet, flaky and buttery and they were topped with caramel sauce goodness! I think you will agree that the picture above speaks for itself!

The BIG winner, best in the show, most creative, delicious dessert was a Nantucket Cranberry Butter Cake with a light Caramel Butter Sauce. It was topped with sugared cranberries… it was so outstandingly delicious and was truly a Yin Yang dessert. I hope I get the recipe from the winner, Estee Wilson! Congratulations and great job everyone!