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A New Family Christmas Read Tradition

Tags: A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens, Christmas Books, Family Holiday Traditions, Family Reading List, P.J. Lynch

A New Family Christmas Read Tradition

Posted on 06 December 2012 by noelskitchen

One of our family’s favorite and oldest Christmas traditions is watching those great family classic Christmas movies like It’s a Wonderful Life, White Christmas and Miracle on 34th Street. This year we’re adding in a new family tradition which I’m truly excited about. We are going to buy a Christmas book at the beginning of every Christmas season and read it together as a family.

This year, for our first family Christmas book, we chose A Christmas Carol illustrated by P.J. Lynch. I believe the kids are old enough now to be able to listen to Charles Dicken’s A Christmas Carol. This book offers many wonderful illustrations throughout and I’m sure this book will bring a little magic to our home this Christmas season. 

How about you? What Christmas classic will you be adding to your family library?


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Snowball Cookies

Tags: 12 Days of Christmas Cookies, , , Christmas Cookies, Christmas Recipes,

Snowball Cookies

Posted on 29 November 2012 by noelskitchen


We make these traditional holiday melt-in-your-mouth cookies every year during the Christmas holiday season. Most of you may know them as Mexican Wedding Cakes, Russian Tea Cakes, or an Italian Butter Nut. In our house, we call them snowball cookies. These delicious cookies are made with simple ingredients from your pantry…flour, butter, sugar, nuts. I usually make one batch omitting the nuts just for the hubby. I also on occasion like to add a little bit of lemon zest and sometimes lemon extract to them.

After making my first batch last weekend, there were only a few left as you can see. :)

Snowball Cookies

Makes: 3 dozen cookies


  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar, plus more for coating
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla*
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
*If making with lemon extract, omit the vanilla extract.
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2.  Combine the butter, sugar and vanilla in the bowl of a food processor or in a mixing bowl with a mixer. Add the flour, salt and lemon zest. Pulse until dough forms. 
  3. Shape the dough into walnut-sized balls. 
  4. Place the dough balls on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake until set about 9 minutes. Do not brown.
  5. Roll the warm cookies in powdered sugar.

Store in an airtight container. To freeze, layer the cookies between sheets of parchment or waxed paper. 


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Thanksgiving Menu Planning

Tags: Holiday Meal Planning Ideas, , ,

Thanksgiving Menu Planning

Posted on 01 November 2012 by noelskitchen

Yes folks, it’s November 1st and we all know what that means…the countdown to Thanksgiving has officially begun. Yes, whether we are ready or not it will be here before we know it.

I’ve really found the best way to tackle Thanksgiving dinner along with appetizers, drinks, etc. is to get myself prepared ahead of time, make a plan and follow the schedule. If this is your first family Thanksgiving dinner or your 20th, you’ll find that following a schedule, like the one I shared last year, in my Plan A Easy Thanksgiving Dinner, you can be sure to have an easy Thanksgiving dinner and you’ll have more time with friends and family.

Writing out your menu and Thanksgiving shopping list ahead of time, will help you be prepared and in control of your day. Knowing exactly what needs to be prepared two days ahead, one day ahead, etc. can make your life a little easier.

Here’s my Thanksgiving Menu and I’ll be sharing the recipes this month:


Veggie Tray with Homemade Ranch Dressing

Bread Bowl Artichoke Dip

Moms Deviled Eggs

Main Course

Roasted Turkey with Herb Butter

Side Dishes

Crock Pot Sage and Sausage Dressing

Homestyle Mashed Potatoes and Gravy

Green Bean Casserole

Butter Pecan Sweet Potatoes

Homemade Cranberry Relish

Homemade Fluffy Holiday Dinner Rolls


Pumpkin Pie

Old Fashioned Pecan Pie

Homemade Banana Pudding Dessert

What’s on your family’s Thanksgiving menu this year? 

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The Nevada County Grower’s Market

Tags: Farmer's Market, Fresh Produce, Grower's Market

The Nevada County Grower’s Market

Posted on 28 April 2012 by noelskitchen

Before we headed down to the Bay Area to see Sweeney Todd at the Santa Rosa Junior College, I was an early bird this morning and  took a trip to the Nevada County Grower’s Market that’s held every Saturday morning at the North Star Family House.

I picked up fresh roasted garlic bread, whole grain bread, kumquats,  lots of fresh greens to include kale, cilantro, sweet onions and garlic. I even pick up a couple of apple shaped gourds. Everything smells amazing and fresh!

And while I was at the market, I snapped these shots.

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Tags: , Fruit, ,

What’s In Season: Eat Local Enjoy Smarter Living

Posted on 30 March 2012 by noelskitchen

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