when all through the house,
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
We’re upon that magical day, Christmas. I feel it today…that state of mind, the Zone. It’s not just a holiday, it’s a state of being…almost out of body – surreal.
Christmas, the holidays, the end of the Year all wrapped-up in one month. A time to give thanks, to reflect on what was and to set goals, have hope and onto new beginnings.
I thank God for providing me with food, clothing and shelter where others in this world are not so fortunate.
I thank God for blessing my family and myself with good health. As us Greeks say, if you don’t have your health – you have nothing! Health above all.
I thank you, my dedicated readers of my blog who take the time to leave comments, send me emails full of warmth and kindness and express your joy at trying out one of my featured dishes.
I thank my new friends in the blogging community who take the time to share their lives, open their kitchens and share their family’s secret recipes and traditions. Everyday, I am inspired by your zest for cooking, food, hospitality and friendship.
Some of you have even got out on a limb to meet up with me in person and my motto is…there’s always room for another friend.
What will 2009 bring?
I hope for a world that is safer, kinder to Earth, more tolerant, less nepotism, more merit, an end to hunger, the reduction of disease and pestilence, Democracy and justice for all and last but not least…that everyone once again possesses hope for a better tomorrow.
While we’re waiting for dinner, there will be lots of treats and snacks for one to nibble on. One such snack is known as Passatempo.
Passatempo means “passing the time” and for Greeks, the best way to do this is to chat with friends and family over a glass of Ouzo, Tsipouro or wine.
Just like in ancient times, Greeks eat when they drink and drink when they eat. For us, walnuts, sunflower seeds, toasted nuts or chestnuts along with dried fruits mixed with spices help us along during the cocktail hour.
In Greece, one can see stand set up on the streets, main squares or farmers’ markets offering up an array of nuts and fruits to majority of Greeks who stroll each day or night during their routine Volta (stroll).
Before I sign off for the day, I’ll be sure to leave you with a Passatempo recipe.
Kourabiedes are a rich, buttery almond cookie that get a vigorous dusting of icing sugar. They kind of remind me of the wintery outside.
The other cookie is Melomakarona and these spiced cookies are baked with aromatic spices wafting from the oven and then they are given a bath in syrup and topped with a mixture of ground cinnamon and walnuts…a reminder of the safe, warm and cozy haven of the family home.
I wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, to the many non-Christians out there….Happy Holidays and may you have a spiritual and reflective time with your family & friends and to all…reach out and be a friend to someone new. There are many lonely people in this world and everyone deserves a friend.
1 cup of almonds
1 cup of walnuts
1 cup of cashews
1 cup of pumpkin seeds
1 egg white
1 Tsp. of fresh thyme
1 tsp. of paprika
1 tsp. of ground cumin
1 Tbsp. of brown sugar
1 tsp. of ground coriander
2 tsp. of hickory salt
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
Pre-heated 325F oven
- Mix all of your spices and seasonings in a small bowl and set aside. In a large bowl, add your mixture of nuts and the egg white and toss to coat. Now add your spice mixture and toss to evenly coat your nut mixture.
- Spread your nut mixture out on a parchment-lined baking sheet and roast for 20 minutes. Serve to your guests warm.
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