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The holidays are officially upon us. The season brings with it a hustle and bustle that feels as if it culminates like a hurricane and moves me towards an unstoppable finish. While I certainly don’t consider myself a cynic, the holidays for me bring along a lot of emotional baggage intertwined with cheerful obligation. There is a lot of things I adore about this time of year; like spending time with family, festive occasions with those I hold near and dear, giving special gifts and enjoying the foods that conjure up memories of my childhood celebrations.

That said, it seems impossible for me to not feel overwhelmed with the commitments and the pace the holiday season evokes. In those sparse quiet reflective moments, sitting in the dark living room with the glowing lights of a lovely Christmas tree, I often wish a one horse open sleigh would come carry me away.

With all the holiday music oh, so very cheery, I finally found a song that makes me laugh as I ponder its words. It’s the most unconventional of holiday songs, and yet, somehow it fits me to a T. I can play it on rewind and prattle off the fast pace words as Blues Traveler sweeps my mind into another place, releasing me from the stress and pressure in its perfectly imperfect way.

So when the holiday activity keeps you moving in manic circles as you go from task to task and then from party to party, you may just want to listen to this ‘Christmas’ song. >smirk<

Comes the time for Christmas
And I really have to ask
If this is feeling merry
How much longer must it last
I wish a one horse open sleigh
Would come carry me away
But I’ve been waiting here all day
And one just hasn’t come my way
Now excuse me if I’m not being reverent
But I was hoping for a miracle to hold me, wash me
Save me from my righteous doubt as I watch helpless
And everybody sings
If it’s Chanukah or Kwanza
Solstice, harvest or December twenty-fifth
Peace on earth to everyone
And abundance to everyone you’re with
Laha da da da da da
Da da da da da da da da da da da
La da da da da da da da
La da da da da da da da da
Laha da da da da
Laha da da da da
Comes the time for Christmas
And as you raise your yuletide flask
There’s like this feeling that you carry
As if from every Christmas past
It’s as if each year it grows
It’s like you feel it in your toes
And on and on your carol goes
Harvesting love among your woes
I want to buy into the benevolent
And I was hoping for a miracle to hold me, wash me
Make me know what it’s about
As the longing in me makes me want to sing
Noel or Navidad
Season celebration or just the end of the year
Christmas can mean anything
And I mean to keep it’s hope forever near
Laha da da da da da
Da da da da da da da da da da da
La da da da da da da da da
La da da da da da da da da da
Laha da da da da
Laha da da da da
As if a cold and frozen soul is warm to love
By loves own hand
So goes the prayer if for a day peace on earth
And good will to man
At twenty below the winter storm it billows
But the fire is so warm inside
And the children while nestled in their pillows
Dream of St. Nicholas’s ride
And how the next day they’ll get up and they will play
In the still falling Christmas snow
And together we’ll celebrate forever
In defiance of the winds that blow
My God in heaven now I feel like I’m seven
And spirit calls to me as well
As if Christmas had made the winter warmer
Made a paradise from what was hell
As if a cold and frozen soul is warm to love
By loves own hand
So goes the prayer if for a day peace on earth
And good will to man…….
I wish a one horse open sleigh would come carry me away
And I’ll keep waiting through next may
Until Christmas comes my way

Blues Traveler – “Christmas” was written by Popper, John C. / Anastasio, Trey

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In the spirit of giving, I’ve got a special holiday book offer to help ease your shopping woes. While usually $30 each, through December 15, you can have the set of ‘Taste This!’ Cook books for $40. Leave a comment and your email and I will contact you soon.

Now for the practical advice in this post. During the holidays getting things done ahead of time is at a premium. And dessert is just the thing to impress your guests, without a lot of day of party fuss. This dessert is something special, perfect in its texture and holiday colors. I had visions of making it for an upcoming party of 20, but ran out of my favorite parfait cups so opted to make it for the family and a few friends who gave it their seal of approval. Depending on the size of parfait cups, this recipe will make between 8-10 servings. And if you want to make stretch the recipe a bit further, by using wine glasses, I think you can make upwards of 16 servings.

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Pomegranate Panna Cotta


2 cups pomegranate juice

2 1/2 tsps (1 packet) unflavored gelatin

5 tsps sugar

3 TBS cold water

2 1/2 tsps (1 packet) unflavored gelatin

3 cups heavy cream

1/2 cup whole milk

1/2 cup buttermilk

1/3 cup sugar

Pinch salt

1 TBS vanilla extract

dark chocolate shavings (optional)


To make the jellied pomegranate: Pour the juice into a small saucepan. Sprinkle the gelatin over the surface of the juice, and set aside until softened, approximately 5 minutes. Add the sugar and heat over low heat just to dissolve the gelatin and sugar. Remove from heat and pour into a medium bowl. Place the bowl over a larger bowl of ice water. Stir occasionally while making the panna cotta. (If the gel appears to be setting up too quickly, remove the bowl from the ice water and set aside at room temperature.)

To make the panna cotta: Pour the water into a small bowl. Sprinkle with gelatin; set aside until softened, about 10 minutes. Mix cream, milk, buttermilk, sugar and salt in a large heavy bottomed saucepan. Add the vanilla to the cream mixture. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Remove from heat. Add gelatin mixture and stir to dissolve the gelatin.

Transfer mixture to a medium-large bowl. Place this bowl over a larger bowl of ice water. Let stand until cool to the touch and slightly thicker than heavy cream, stirring the mixture occasionally, for about 30 minutes.

To assemble: When the pomegranate gel is similar to the consistency of an egg white yet still thin enough to pour, spoon 2 TBS of gel to cover the bottom of ten 8-oz stemmed glasses. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes or until gel is more set, but not yet solid. Cover the remaining gel with plastic wrap and set aside at room temperature.

Pour about 1/2 cup of the panna cotta mixture over the pomegranate gel to fill the glasses half way. Chill in refrigerator approximately 45-60 minutes or just until set enough to support another layer of pomegranate gel. Pour 2 TBS of pomegranate gel to cover the panna cotta. If you have any leftover gel, divide it among the glasses.

Don’t panic if the firmness of the mixture is too loose and the pomegranate sinks to the bottom. It will create a beautiful marbled effect. Cover the top of each glass with plastic wrap and return glasses to the refrigerator for at least 3 hours.