December Casual

Cat_243_dover Holiday time!  We Wenches decided to do some idiosyncratic holidayish blogs, but since several of the Wenchly declared themselves already sick of Christmas carols by November 26th, the interpretations will be idiosyncratic indeed.  There may even be some recipes of varying degrees of uselessness. 

The lovely muted snow scenes were shot by our whipmistress, Sherrie Holmes, and be I’ll throw in a deer picture I shot from my living room.  (Eastern white tailed deer journeyed to suburban `Maryland, and lo, they found it good.)  Salt_cay_093_2

Those who keep track of such things might have noted that this should be Edith’s day, but since I’ll be away for a few days starting tomorrow, she kindly swapped dates with me.  So I’m kicking off December Casual with a Christmas in the country story. 

Cats in the Christmas Tree

Snowpasture12107003sm I grew up on an actual farm in Western New York, the sort of place where you really could slog through the snow and cut down a Christmas tree in the back 40.  My father would take his ax and we’d tag along, vibrating with excitement. And would return to the house with our boots and snow pants soaked and all of us ready to be warmed up. 

These days, good solid tree stands are readily available, but we used an old coffee can.  The physics of a coffee can when supporting a sizable spruce tree are not good, so the tree would be set up in a corner of the living room with guy wires (doubled string) connecting it to a couple of secure points.  Generally this worked. 

Except when some of the cats decided to explore their inner panther and swarm up the tree.  Usually this Christmastreecatm would be signaled by crashing and general sounds of disaster.  We’d rush into the living room, where the cats were usually flying in all directions. 

We averaged five cats at a time.  These were not aloof barn cats by any means.  They were lazy, manipulative indoor/outdoor felines who slept on the heating vents and enjoyed a life of ease.  In cold weather, if they couldn’t coax someone to let them into the house, they’d go into the basement via a window and drape themselves over the rectangular vent pipes that carried heat upstairs.  If you went down into the dirt-floored basement and looked up, you’d see feral reflections from golden eyes.  But I digress.

Apart from a few broken ornaments, the tree crashes weren’t too disastrous.  We’d clean up the mess, re-erect the tree, and hope that the current felines had been alarmed enough to stay on the ground for the rest of the season.

Cat_in_xmas_tree To be fair, there were occasions when the cats climbed the tree without catastrophic consequences.  It was rather fun to look at the tree and see a little furry face peering out. 

Nonetheless,  I learned my lesson well.  These days I have a substantial tree base that would be hard to knock over.  It’s designed so a cat can’t get its head in to drink the wild water.  And the lower levels of ornaments are always unbreakable, in case one of the kitties thinks it’s a particularly irresistible new cat toy. 

Sauerkraut for Christmas

I’m going to throw in a holiday recipe as well.  Sauerkraut as an essential side dish to the Thanksgiving turkey came as a great Baltimore surprise when I first moved to Maryland, since I’d never liked sauerkraut, but I found a recipe in a Crockpot cookbook that looked promising, and modified it so that it hardly tastes like sauerkraut.  I consider this A Good Thing. <G>

Sauerkraut with Pork, Apples, and Onions

This is peasant food, so quantities are approximate.

Three to four pounds of fresh sauerkraut, drained
About 1 ½ – 2 ½ pounds of pork chops
Two medium to large onions, sliced
Two apples, cored and sliced (don’t need to be peeled.)
A tablespoon or two of caraway seeds
Half a cup of water with half a teaspoon of salt dissolved in it

Trim fat and brown the chops on both sides, seasoning with salt and pepper to taste.  Then cut the Snowpasture12107018sm chops into pieces.  The size depends on whether you like large chunks of pork or small ones.  The cutting up is easier to do if you get the expensive boneless pork chops, but any will do.

Using a standard size crock pot (slow cooker), layer the ingredients, starting and ending with sauerkraut and scattering some caraway seeds as you go. 

Add the salted water, cover, and cook in the crock pot on low for six to eight hours.  (Pork should be tender and falling apart.)  Slow cooking on stove top or in the oven would probably work, but would require more watching. 

This can be either a side dish with turkey, or a main dish served with mashed potatoes and maybe applesauce on the side.

People tend to like this dish—sometimes to their surprise. <G>

Stockingful11ofjoy A Christmas Anthology

Lastly, I’m going to give away a copy of the reissued Christmas anthology, A Stockingful of Joy.  Susan/Sarah is also in it, along with Jill Barnett and Justine Dare.  It must be a good anthology, since this is its third time around. <g> 

My story, “The Best Husband Money Can Buy,” was inspired by a small newspaper filler piece about a Spanish businessman who visited a church in Stockholm and noticed the coffin of a recently deceased man in a side chapel.  A devout Catholic, the Spaniard prayed for the soul of the departed and left his name in the guestbook, noting that he was the only one who signed.  A month or two later, he was contacted by a Swedish firm of lawyers and told that he would receive the entire and substantial estate of the deceased man, who had no family and said his money would go to anyone who prayed for him.

Such a great story!  Loretta was pondering what to write next and I offered her this idea, but it didn’t excite her.  So when this novella turned up, I used the story.  The heroine, Emma Stone, is an orphaned governess who allows herself one day a year to think of her happy childhood holidays when she and her parents would gather at the grand palace of the Duke of Warrington, where a whole extended family of Vaughns would celebrate Christmas for a fortnight every year.  It has been ten years since Emma attended, though the dowager duchess still sent invitations. 

Snowpasture12107014sm_2 Then an unexpected legacy makes Emma a young woman of means—and more than anything else, she wants a husband and family.  So she asks her lawyer to find a suitable gentleman.  Then she learns that the highly unsuitable cousin she’d always adored is in need of a rich wife…

Marriages of convenience are great fun because two people who are already legally joined must figure out how to get along with each other, and hopefully enjoy their new state.  Since this is not only a romance but a Christmas romance, you can pretty much guess the ending.  <g>

There are two interesting sidenotes.  First, when the anthology first came out, there was a review on a minor site that complained that the hero and heroine were cousins, eeuuuwww!  Which proves that not everyone reads carefully, since it was spelled out that they were second cousins once removed, which is perfectly legal and not at all incestuous. 

Secondly—a couple of months ago, a reader e-mailed and said that in fact the original story that inspired mine seems to be a fabrication, though it ran in legitimate newspapers.   Here’s a link for it.  http://www.snopes.com/luck/will.asp  What a hoot!  It doesn’t  matter if the story isn’t true, because it was still a great inspiration. <G>  And I adore the sentimentality of Christmas stories.

Anyhow, a free, signed copy of A Stockingful of Joy will go to a commenter on this post between now and Tuesday midnight.  It won’t get sent out instantly because I’ll be away for a bit, but you’ll have it before Christmas.

Polar_bear_and_penguins Happy holidays.  And watch out for those penguins!

Mary Jo

130 thoughts on “December Casual”

  1. Your sauerkraut recipe sounds a lot like what we call zuurkoolstamppot in Holland. Zuurkool is the Dutch word for sauerkraut (sour cabbage – the Dutch word kool seems to live on in the American word coleslaw, as does the Dutch word sla (salad)).
    Stamp is the word for mash and pot for dish. Contrary to the way English is spelled, we glue all those words together.
    The zuurkool is simmered very slowly for hours with a piece of salty bacon. When you can shred the bacon with a fork, you mash the sauerkraut and the bacon together with boiled potatoes.
    It looks very uninspiring on the plate, but it tastes delicious and it is one of my favourite winter dishes. It’s often accompanied with a sausage, but that’s not really necessary, in my opinion.
    Some people like to make a hollow in the top of the mound of stamppot on their plate to put gravy in. But if you add enough water to your zuurkool in the cooking that is not necessary. But it is great fun to try and eat your stamppot without losing your gravy pond. You always end up undermining it though, and then your plate is flooded with gravy. I suppose that’s a common childhood memory for most Dutch people.

    Reply
  2. Your sauerkraut recipe sounds a lot like what we call zuurkoolstamppot in Holland. Zuurkool is the Dutch word for sauerkraut (sour cabbage – the Dutch word kool seems to live on in the American word coleslaw, as does the Dutch word sla (salad)).
    Stamp is the word for mash and pot for dish. Contrary to the way English is spelled, we glue all those words together.
    The zuurkool is simmered very slowly for hours with a piece of salty bacon. When you can shred the bacon with a fork, you mash the sauerkraut and the bacon together with boiled potatoes.
    It looks very uninspiring on the plate, but it tastes delicious and it is one of my favourite winter dishes. It’s often accompanied with a sausage, but that’s not really necessary, in my opinion.
    Some people like to make a hollow in the top of the mound of stamppot on their plate to put gravy in. But if you add enough water to your zuurkool in the cooking that is not necessary. But it is great fun to try and eat your stamppot without losing your gravy pond. You always end up undermining it though, and then your plate is flooded with gravy. I suppose that’s a common childhood memory for most Dutch people.

    Reply
  3. Your sauerkraut recipe sounds a lot like what we call zuurkoolstamppot in Holland. Zuurkool is the Dutch word for sauerkraut (sour cabbage – the Dutch word kool seems to live on in the American word coleslaw, as does the Dutch word sla (salad)).
    Stamp is the word for mash and pot for dish. Contrary to the way English is spelled, we glue all those words together.
    The zuurkool is simmered very slowly for hours with a piece of salty bacon. When you can shred the bacon with a fork, you mash the sauerkraut and the bacon together with boiled potatoes.
    It looks very uninspiring on the plate, but it tastes delicious and it is one of my favourite winter dishes. It’s often accompanied with a sausage, but that’s not really necessary, in my opinion.
    Some people like to make a hollow in the top of the mound of stamppot on their plate to put gravy in. But if you add enough water to your zuurkool in the cooking that is not necessary. But it is great fun to try and eat your stamppot without losing your gravy pond. You always end up undermining it though, and then your plate is flooded with gravy. I suppose that’s a common childhood memory for most Dutch people.

    Reply
  4. Your sauerkraut recipe sounds a lot like what we call zuurkoolstamppot in Holland. Zuurkool is the Dutch word for sauerkraut (sour cabbage – the Dutch word kool seems to live on in the American word coleslaw, as does the Dutch word sla (salad)).
    Stamp is the word for mash and pot for dish. Contrary to the way English is spelled, we glue all those words together.
    The zuurkool is simmered very slowly for hours with a piece of salty bacon. When you can shred the bacon with a fork, you mash the sauerkraut and the bacon together with boiled potatoes.
    It looks very uninspiring on the plate, but it tastes delicious and it is one of my favourite winter dishes. It’s often accompanied with a sausage, but that’s not really necessary, in my opinion.
    Some people like to make a hollow in the top of the mound of stamppot on their plate to put gravy in. But if you add enough water to your zuurkool in the cooking that is not necessary. But it is great fun to try and eat your stamppot without losing your gravy pond. You always end up undermining it though, and then your plate is flooded with gravy. I suppose that’s a common childhood memory for most Dutch people.

    Reply
  5. Your sauerkraut recipe sounds a lot like what we call zuurkoolstamppot in Holland. Zuurkool is the Dutch word for sauerkraut (sour cabbage – the Dutch word kool seems to live on in the American word coleslaw, as does the Dutch word sla (salad)).
    Stamp is the word for mash and pot for dish. Contrary to the way English is spelled, we glue all those words together.
    The zuurkool is simmered very slowly for hours with a piece of salty bacon. When you can shred the bacon with a fork, you mash the sauerkraut and the bacon together with boiled potatoes.
    It looks very uninspiring on the plate, but it tastes delicious and it is one of my favourite winter dishes. It’s often accompanied with a sausage, but that’s not really necessary, in my opinion.
    Some people like to make a hollow in the top of the mound of stamppot on their plate to put gravy in. But if you add enough water to your zuurkool in the cooking that is not necessary. But it is great fun to try and eat your stamppot without losing your gravy pond. You always end up undermining it though, and then your plate is flooded with gravy. I suppose that’s a common childhood memory for most Dutch people.

    Reply
  6. Mary Jo, I love sauerkraut, so I copied your recipe and will have to give it a try. Since I’ve already tried many of your other recipes with great success I’m sure this one will be just as good.
    I’m a sentimental person, so the holidays are special to me. While I get tired of the frantic commercialism of Christmas, I do love the spirit of goodwill that abounds during the holidays.
    One year for Christmas I cut a tree from my own woods and stuck it in a 5 gallon bucket of sand. Then I filled it with water. It kept the tree remarkably fresh, and after Christmas I put the tree and bucket on the back porch. I kept the sand moist all through winter, spring, and summer, and the tree continued to thrive–until we had a heat wave in July and I forgot to add water to the bucket. Alas, the tree died almost overnight. One day it was green, the next day there was this stick in a bucket of sand. LOL!
    Ingrid, your zuurkoolstamppot (love that name!) sounds delicious.

    Reply
  7. Mary Jo, I love sauerkraut, so I copied your recipe and will have to give it a try. Since I’ve already tried many of your other recipes with great success I’m sure this one will be just as good.
    I’m a sentimental person, so the holidays are special to me. While I get tired of the frantic commercialism of Christmas, I do love the spirit of goodwill that abounds during the holidays.
    One year for Christmas I cut a tree from my own woods and stuck it in a 5 gallon bucket of sand. Then I filled it with water. It kept the tree remarkably fresh, and after Christmas I put the tree and bucket on the back porch. I kept the sand moist all through winter, spring, and summer, and the tree continued to thrive–until we had a heat wave in July and I forgot to add water to the bucket. Alas, the tree died almost overnight. One day it was green, the next day there was this stick in a bucket of sand. LOL!
    Ingrid, your zuurkoolstamppot (love that name!) sounds delicious.

    Reply
  8. Mary Jo, I love sauerkraut, so I copied your recipe and will have to give it a try. Since I’ve already tried many of your other recipes with great success I’m sure this one will be just as good.
    I’m a sentimental person, so the holidays are special to me. While I get tired of the frantic commercialism of Christmas, I do love the spirit of goodwill that abounds during the holidays.
    One year for Christmas I cut a tree from my own woods and stuck it in a 5 gallon bucket of sand. Then I filled it with water. It kept the tree remarkably fresh, and after Christmas I put the tree and bucket on the back porch. I kept the sand moist all through winter, spring, and summer, and the tree continued to thrive–until we had a heat wave in July and I forgot to add water to the bucket. Alas, the tree died almost overnight. One day it was green, the next day there was this stick in a bucket of sand. LOL!
    Ingrid, your zuurkoolstamppot (love that name!) sounds delicious.

    Reply
  9. Mary Jo, I love sauerkraut, so I copied your recipe and will have to give it a try. Since I’ve already tried many of your other recipes with great success I’m sure this one will be just as good.
    I’m a sentimental person, so the holidays are special to me. While I get tired of the frantic commercialism of Christmas, I do love the spirit of goodwill that abounds during the holidays.
    One year for Christmas I cut a tree from my own woods and stuck it in a 5 gallon bucket of sand. Then I filled it with water. It kept the tree remarkably fresh, and after Christmas I put the tree and bucket on the back porch. I kept the sand moist all through winter, spring, and summer, and the tree continued to thrive–until we had a heat wave in July and I forgot to add water to the bucket. Alas, the tree died almost overnight. One day it was green, the next day there was this stick in a bucket of sand. LOL!
    Ingrid, your zuurkoolstamppot (love that name!) sounds delicious.

    Reply
  10. Mary Jo, I love sauerkraut, so I copied your recipe and will have to give it a try. Since I’ve already tried many of your other recipes with great success I’m sure this one will be just as good.
    I’m a sentimental person, so the holidays are special to me. While I get tired of the frantic commercialism of Christmas, I do love the spirit of goodwill that abounds during the holidays.
    One year for Christmas I cut a tree from my own woods and stuck it in a 5 gallon bucket of sand. Then I filled it with water. It kept the tree remarkably fresh, and after Christmas I put the tree and bucket on the back porch. I kept the sand moist all through winter, spring, and summer, and the tree continued to thrive–until we had a heat wave in July and I forgot to add water to the bucket. Alas, the tree died almost overnight. One day it was green, the next day there was this stick in a bucket of sand. LOL!
    Ingrid, your zuurkoolstamppot (love that name!) sounds delicious.

    Reply
  11. Cats in trees are indeed a holiday classic. Loved the description of all the feline/arborial antics (and I know exactly what you mean about the feral kitty eyes in the dark basement)and highly recommend A Stockingful of Joy. A reread of “The Best Husband Money Can Buy” set me off on a big Christmas romance kick last week. There’s really nothing quite like a good anthology to get one in the holiday mood.

    Reply
  12. Cats in trees are indeed a holiday classic. Loved the description of all the feline/arborial antics (and I know exactly what you mean about the feral kitty eyes in the dark basement)and highly recommend A Stockingful of Joy. A reread of “The Best Husband Money Can Buy” set me off on a big Christmas romance kick last week. There’s really nothing quite like a good anthology to get one in the holiday mood.

    Reply
  13. Cats in trees are indeed a holiday classic. Loved the description of all the feline/arborial antics (and I know exactly what you mean about the feral kitty eyes in the dark basement)and highly recommend A Stockingful of Joy. A reread of “The Best Husband Money Can Buy” set me off on a big Christmas romance kick last week. There’s really nothing quite like a good anthology to get one in the holiday mood.

    Reply
  14. Cats in trees are indeed a holiday classic. Loved the description of all the feline/arborial antics (and I know exactly what you mean about the feral kitty eyes in the dark basement)and highly recommend A Stockingful of Joy. A reread of “The Best Husband Money Can Buy” set me off on a big Christmas romance kick last week. There’s really nothing quite like a good anthology to get one in the holiday mood.

    Reply
  15. Cats in trees are indeed a holiday classic. Loved the description of all the feline/arborial antics (and I know exactly what you mean about the feral kitty eyes in the dark basement)and highly recommend A Stockingful of Joy. A reread of “The Best Husband Money Can Buy” set me off on a big Christmas romance kick last week. There’s really nothing quite like a good anthology to get one in the holiday mood.

    Reply
  16. My youngest daughter called last night. She lives in Boston and bought her very first Christmas tree from a tree guy on the street—on credit! She told him she’s in her first apartment and wouldn’t get paid until Friday, and he gave her a tree, at a discount, too. Never let it be said big cities don’t have heart. She was so excited, but realized when she got home she didn’t have a coffee can or anything else to put the tree in, and her cat already had big plans as soon as she dragged the outside in. When she hung up, she was going to make her own ornaments to further incite the cat to riot and find a big beer mug for the base. I suspect the tree will be under assault in no time.
    We have had many Christmas tree disasters until we too tied up the tree securely to the wall. Some of my ornaments are older than my kids. It’s always so nostalgic to hang them up.But this year I’ve loaned almost everything to my oldest daughter, who’s hosting Christmas in her new house with my new granddaughter!

    Reply
  17. My youngest daughter called last night. She lives in Boston and bought her very first Christmas tree from a tree guy on the street—on credit! She told him she’s in her first apartment and wouldn’t get paid until Friday, and he gave her a tree, at a discount, too. Never let it be said big cities don’t have heart. She was so excited, but realized when she got home she didn’t have a coffee can or anything else to put the tree in, and her cat already had big plans as soon as she dragged the outside in. When she hung up, she was going to make her own ornaments to further incite the cat to riot and find a big beer mug for the base. I suspect the tree will be under assault in no time.
    We have had many Christmas tree disasters until we too tied up the tree securely to the wall. Some of my ornaments are older than my kids. It’s always so nostalgic to hang them up.But this year I’ve loaned almost everything to my oldest daughter, who’s hosting Christmas in her new house with my new granddaughter!

    Reply
  18. My youngest daughter called last night. She lives in Boston and bought her very first Christmas tree from a tree guy on the street—on credit! She told him she’s in her first apartment and wouldn’t get paid until Friday, and he gave her a tree, at a discount, too. Never let it be said big cities don’t have heart. She was so excited, but realized when she got home she didn’t have a coffee can or anything else to put the tree in, and her cat already had big plans as soon as she dragged the outside in. When she hung up, she was going to make her own ornaments to further incite the cat to riot and find a big beer mug for the base. I suspect the tree will be under assault in no time.
    We have had many Christmas tree disasters until we too tied up the tree securely to the wall. Some of my ornaments are older than my kids. It’s always so nostalgic to hang them up.But this year I’ve loaned almost everything to my oldest daughter, who’s hosting Christmas in her new house with my new granddaughter!

    Reply
  19. My youngest daughter called last night. She lives in Boston and bought her very first Christmas tree from a tree guy on the street—on credit! She told him she’s in her first apartment and wouldn’t get paid until Friday, and he gave her a tree, at a discount, too. Never let it be said big cities don’t have heart. She was so excited, but realized when she got home she didn’t have a coffee can or anything else to put the tree in, and her cat already had big plans as soon as she dragged the outside in. When she hung up, she was going to make her own ornaments to further incite the cat to riot and find a big beer mug for the base. I suspect the tree will be under assault in no time.
    We have had many Christmas tree disasters until we too tied up the tree securely to the wall. Some of my ornaments are older than my kids. It’s always so nostalgic to hang them up.But this year I’ve loaned almost everything to my oldest daughter, who’s hosting Christmas in her new house with my new granddaughter!

    Reply
  20. My youngest daughter called last night. She lives in Boston and bought her very first Christmas tree from a tree guy on the street—on credit! She told him she’s in her first apartment and wouldn’t get paid until Friday, and he gave her a tree, at a discount, too. Never let it be said big cities don’t have heart. She was so excited, but realized when she got home she didn’t have a coffee can or anything else to put the tree in, and her cat already had big plans as soon as she dragged the outside in. When she hung up, she was going to make her own ornaments to further incite the cat to riot and find a big beer mug for the base. I suspect the tree will be under assault in no time.
    We have had many Christmas tree disasters until we too tied up the tree securely to the wall. Some of my ornaments are older than my kids. It’s always so nostalgic to hang them up.But this year I’ve loaned almost everything to my oldest daughter, who’s hosting Christmas in her new house with my new granddaughter!

    Reply
  21. Mary Jo…
    Loved your blog; so much wit! And deliciousness. I will have to try both your and Ingrid’s version of the sauerkraut.
    I stuck a Christmas tree in a bucket of sand once myself, in my poverty-stricken youth. Unfortunately, it was Pacific beach sand, and the salt in it killed the tree almost INSTANTLY. Talk about a melancholy awakening the next morning–there was my poor little tree standing naked in a circle of needles. Maybe I need to use that in a story some time.
    In my experience, any given cat only attempts to climb a Christmas tree ONCE. They’re not stupid!
    My favorite Christmas memory is of my daughter’s first. Since she was due on 12/25 but had arrived 8 days late, she was almost a year old at the time, but not walking yet. Of course the ornaments fascinated her, and we had to tell her ‘no no no’ when she tried to grab them. After a few times of that, I waited and watched the next time she crawled up to the tree and reached for a sparkly ball, but before I could say anything, she pulled her hand back and shook her head. Three times: no no no! It was pretty amazing to actually witness the infant conscience aborning.

    Reply
  22. Mary Jo…
    Loved your blog; so much wit! And deliciousness. I will have to try both your and Ingrid’s version of the sauerkraut.
    I stuck a Christmas tree in a bucket of sand once myself, in my poverty-stricken youth. Unfortunately, it was Pacific beach sand, and the salt in it killed the tree almost INSTANTLY. Talk about a melancholy awakening the next morning–there was my poor little tree standing naked in a circle of needles. Maybe I need to use that in a story some time.
    In my experience, any given cat only attempts to climb a Christmas tree ONCE. They’re not stupid!
    My favorite Christmas memory is of my daughter’s first. Since she was due on 12/25 but had arrived 8 days late, she was almost a year old at the time, but not walking yet. Of course the ornaments fascinated her, and we had to tell her ‘no no no’ when she tried to grab them. After a few times of that, I waited and watched the next time she crawled up to the tree and reached for a sparkly ball, but before I could say anything, she pulled her hand back and shook her head. Three times: no no no! It was pretty amazing to actually witness the infant conscience aborning.

    Reply
  23. Mary Jo…
    Loved your blog; so much wit! And deliciousness. I will have to try both your and Ingrid’s version of the sauerkraut.
    I stuck a Christmas tree in a bucket of sand once myself, in my poverty-stricken youth. Unfortunately, it was Pacific beach sand, and the salt in it killed the tree almost INSTANTLY. Talk about a melancholy awakening the next morning–there was my poor little tree standing naked in a circle of needles. Maybe I need to use that in a story some time.
    In my experience, any given cat only attempts to climb a Christmas tree ONCE. They’re not stupid!
    My favorite Christmas memory is of my daughter’s first. Since she was due on 12/25 but had arrived 8 days late, she was almost a year old at the time, but not walking yet. Of course the ornaments fascinated her, and we had to tell her ‘no no no’ when she tried to grab them. After a few times of that, I waited and watched the next time she crawled up to the tree and reached for a sparkly ball, but before I could say anything, she pulled her hand back and shook her head. Three times: no no no! It was pretty amazing to actually witness the infant conscience aborning.

    Reply
  24. Mary Jo…
    Loved your blog; so much wit! And deliciousness. I will have to try both your and Ingrid’s version of the sauerkraut.
    I stuck a Christmas tree in a bucket of sand once myself, in my poverty-stricken youth. Unfortunately, it was Pacific beach sand, and the salt in it killed the tree almost INSTANTLY. Talk about a melancholy awakening the next morning–there was my poor little tree standing naked in a circle of needles. Maybe I need to use that in a story some time.
    In my experience, any given cat only attempts to climb a Christmas tree ONCE. They’re not stupid!
    My favorite Christmas memory is of my daughter’s first. Since she was due on 12/25 but had arrived 8 days late, she was almost a year old at the time, but not walking yet. Of course the ornaments fascinated her, and we had to tell her ‘no no no’ when she tried to grab them. After a few times of that, I waited and watched the next time she crawled up to the tree and reached for a sparkly ball, but before I could say anything, she pulled her hand back and shook her head. Three times: no no no! It was pretty amazing to actually witness the infant conscience aborning.

    Reply
  25. Mary Jo…
    Loved your blog; so much wit! And deliciousness. I will have to try both your and Ingrid’s version of the sauerkraut.
    I stuck a Christmas tree in a bucket of sand once myself, in my poverty-stricken youth. Unfortunately, it was Pacific beach sand, and the salt in it killed the tree almost INSTANTLY. Talk about a melancholy awakening the next morning–there was my poor little tree standing naked in a circle of needles. Maybe I need to use that in a story some time.
    In my experience, any given cat only attempts to climb a Christmas tree ONCE. They’re not stupid!
    My favorite Christmas memory is of my daughter’s first. Since she was due on 12/25 but had arrived 8 days late, she was almost a year old at the time, but not walking yet. Of course the ornaments fascinated her, and we had to tell her ‘no no no’ when she tried to grab them. After a few times of that, I waited and watched the next time she crawled up to the tree and reached for a sparkly ball, but before I could say anything, she pulled her hand back and shook her head. Three times: no no no! It was pretty amazing to actually witness the infant conscience aborning.

    Reply
  26. I like the sentimental in my Christmas stories too, and all four stories in Stockingful of Joy have just the right amount–enough to make them sweet but not cloying.
    I spend every December reading new Christmas books and rereading old favorites, so I have been reading a lot of Wench stories over recent days. In fact, I have read at least one novel or novella by each of you. You have written lots of Christmas stories among you, but I think Edith is the Wench with the most Christmas stories to her credit. My favorite of yours, MJ, is “The Black Beast of Belleterre” with “Sunshine for Christmas” a close second.

    Reply
  27. I like the sentimental in my Christmas stories too, and all four stories in Stockingful of Joy have just the right amount–enough to make them sweet but not cloying.
    I spend every December reading new Christmas books and rereading old favorites, so I have been reading a lot of Wench stories over recent days. In fact, I have read at least one novel or novella by each of you. You have written lots of Christmas stories among you, but I think Edith is the Wench with the most Christmas stories to her credit. My favorite of yours, MJ, is “The Black Beast of Belleterre” with “Sunshine for Christmas” a close second.

    Reply
  28. I like the sentimental in my Christmas stories too, and all four stories in Stockingful of Joy have just the right amount–enough to make them sweet but not cloying.
    I spend every December reading new Christmas books and rereading old favorites, so I have been reading a lot of Wench stories over recent days. In fact, I have read at least one novel or novella by each of you. You have written lots of Christmas stories among you, but I think Edith is the Wench with the most Christmas stories to her credit. My favorite of yours, MJ, is “The Black Beast of Belleterre” with “Sunshine for Christmas” a close second.

    Reply
  29. I like the sentimental in my Christmas stories too, and all four stories in Stockingful of Joy have just the right amount–enough to make them sweet but not cloying.
    I spend every December reading new Christmas books and rereading old favorites, so I have been reading a lot of Wench stories over recent days. In fact, I have read at least one novel or novella by each of you. You have written lots of Christmas stories among you, but I think Edith is the Wench with the most Christmas stories to her credit. My favorite of yours, MJ, is “The Black Beast of Belleterre” with “Sunshine for Christmas” a close second.

    Reply
  30. I like the sentimental in my Christmas stories too, and all four stories in Stockingful of Joy have just the right amount–enough to make them sweet but not cloying.
    I spend every December reading new Christmas books and rereading old favorites, so I have been reading a lot of Wench stories over recent days. In fact, I have read at least one novel or novella by each of you. You have written lots of Christmas stories among you, but I think Edith is the Wench with the most Christmas stories to her credit. My favorite of yours, MJ, is “The Black Beast of Belleterre” with “Sunshine for Christmas” a close second.

    Reply
  31. Alas, I avoid sauerkraut, but Mom loves it. 🙂 But then when it comes to hot dogs, I only put ketchup and she thinks that is so very wrong. Oh well. LOL 🙂
    And I’ve been really lucky with my cat and trees because she’s not on the same floor as the tree. However, ah, well, I recall one time over the years when really young that I ended up in the tree. . . 🙂
    And I just love Christmas Romances! 🙂 I start looking for them in October and save them for December. Since I’ve been reading romances for the past few years, I can’t imagine Christmas without them! 🙂
    Lois

    Reply
  32. Alas, I avoid sauerkraut, but Mom loves it. 🙂 But then when it comes to hot dogs, I only put ketchup and she thinks that is so very wrong. Oh well. LOL 🙂
    And I’ve been really lucky with my cat and trees because she’s not on the same floor as the tree. However, ah, well, I recall one time over the years when really young that I ended up in the tree. . . 🙂
    And I just love Christmas Romances! 🙂 I start looking for them in October and save them for December. Since I’ve been reading romances for the past few years, I can’t imagine Christmas without them! 🙂
    Lois

    Reply
  33. Alas, I avoid sauerkraut, but Mom loves it. 🙂 But then when it comes to hot dogs, I only put ketchup and she thinks that is so very wrong. Oh well. LOL 🙂
    And I’ve been really lucky with my cat and trees because she’s not on the same floor as the tree. However, ah, well, I recall one time over the years when really young that I ended up in the tree. . . 🙂
    And I just love Christmas Romances! 🙂 I start looking for them in October and save them for December. Since I’ve been reading romances for the past few years, I can’t imagine Christmas without them! 🙂
    Lois

    Reply
  34. Alas, I avoid sauerkraut, but Mom loves it. 🙂 But then when it comes to hot dogs, I only put ketchup and she thinks that is so very wrong. Oh well. LOL 🙂
    And I’ve been really lucky with my cat and trees because she’s not on the same floor as the tree. However, ah, well, I recall one time over the years when really young that I ended up in the tree. . . 🙂
    And I just love Christmas Romances! 🙂 I start looking for them in October and save them for December. Since I’ve been reading romances for the past few years, I can’t imagine Christmas without them! 🙂
    Lois

    Reply
  35. Alas, I avoid sauerkraut, but Mom loves it. 🙂 But then when it comes to hot dogs, I only put ketchup and she thinks that is so very wrong. Oh well. LOL 🙂
    And I’ve been really lucky with my cat and trees because she’s not on the same floor as the tree. However, ah, well, I recall one time over the years when really young that I ended up in the tree. . . 🙂
    And I just love Christmas Romances! 🙂 I start looking for them in October and save them for December. Since I’ve been reading romances for the past few years, I can’t imagine Christmas without them! 🙂
    Lois

    Reply
  36. Mary Jo,
    Thanks for the recipe. I love crock pot recipes and am always looking for a new one. It is such a pleasure to get home at night and not have to cook. I enjoyed your Christmas tree story. Isn’t it funny that the Dads are always sent out with the kids for the tree? My brother and I always wanted the biggest tree we could find. The ceiling height never played a part in our choices. Happy Holidays to you!

    Reply
  37. Mary Jo,
    Thanks for the recipe. I love crock pot recipes and am always looking for a new one. It is such a pleasure to get home at night and not have to cook. I enjoyed your Christmas tree story. Isn’t it funny that the Dads are always sent out with the kids for the tree? My brother and I always wanted the biggest tree we could find. The ceiling height never played a part in our choices. Happy Holidays to you!

    Reply
  38. Mary Jo,
    Thanks for the recipe. I love crock pot recipes and am always looking for a new one. It is such a pleasure to get home at night and not have to cook. I enjoyed your Christmas tree story. Isn’t it funny that the Dads are always sent out with the kids for the tree? My brother and I always wanted the biggest tree we could find. The ceiling height never played a part in our choices. Happy Holidays to you!

    Reply
  39. Mary Jo,
    Thanks for the recipe. I love crock pot recipes and am always looking for a new one. It is such a pleasure to get home at night and not have to cook. I enjoyed your Christmas tree story. Isn’t it funny that the Dads are always sent out with the kids for the tree? My brother and I always wanted the biggest tree we could find. The ceiling height never played a part in our choices. Happy Holidays to you!

    Reply
  40. Mary Jo,
    Thanks for the recipe. I love crock pot recipes and am always looking for a new one. It is such a pleasure to get home at night and not have to cook. I enjoyed your Christmas tree story. Isn’t it funny that the Dads are always sent out with the kids for the tree? My brother and I always wanted the biggest tree we could find. The ceiling height never played a part in our choices. Happy Holidays to you!

    Reply
  41. Fun blog, Mary Jo! I don’t even remember hearing the story let alone declining it–but then, there’s a lot I don’t remember. 🙂 In any case, I know you did it far greater justice. Count me as another sauerkraut fan. It’s part of our holidays, too, because my mum always makes it–a recipe involving tomatoes, which I have yet to learn–but it has to go with her special meat stuffing. The two dishes complement each other so beautifully–much in the same way, I’d guess, the pork & sauerkraut and apples do.

    Reply
  42. Fun blog, Mary Jo! I don’t even remember hearing the story let alone declining it–but then, there’s a lot I don’t remember. 🙂 In any case, I know you did it far greater justice. Count me as another sauerkraut fan. It’s part of our holidays, too, because my mum always makes it–a recipe involving tomatoes, which I have yet to learn–but it has to go with her special meat stuffing. The two dishes complement each other so beautifully–much in the same way, I’d guess, the pork & sauerkraut and apples do.

    Reply
  43. Fun blog, Mary Jo! I don’t even remember hearing the story let alone declining it–but then, there’s a lot I don’t remember. 🙂 In any case, I know you did it far greater justice. Count me as another sauerkraut fan. It’s part of our holidays, too, because my mum always makes it–a recipe involving tomatoes, which I have yet to learn–but it has to go with her special meat stuffing. The two dishes complement each other so beautifully–much in the same way, I’d guess, the pork & sauerkraut and apples do.

    Reply
  44. Fun blog, Mary Jo! I don’t even remember hearing the story let alone declining it–but then, there’s a lot I don’t remember. 🙂 In any case, I know you did it far greater justice. Count me as another sauerkraut fan. It’s part of our holidays, too, because my mum always makes it–a recipe involving tomatoes, which I have yet to learn–but it has to go with her special meat stuffing. The two dishes complement each other so beautifully–much in the same way, I’d guess, the pork & sauerkraut and apples do.

    Reply
  45. Fun blog, Mary Jo! I don’t even remember hearing the story let alone declining it–but then, there’s a lot I don’t remember. 🙂 In any case, I know you did it far greater justice. Count me as another sauerkraut fan. It’s part of our holidays, too, because my mum always makes it–a recipe involving tomatoes, which I have yet to learn–but it has to go with her special meat stuffing. The two dishes complement each other so beautifully–much in the same way, I’d guess, the pork & sauerkraut and apples do.

    Reply
  46. Hey Mary Jo!
    Great post. Love the kitty stories.
    This will be Voltan’s (my 60#, 5 month old GSD) first Christmas. He is fascinated by my Christmas bears. Not good for the poor things. I think he thinks they’re puppies in need of a big brother. He loves to hull them off, one by one, into various rooms or keep them under paw.
    Hope your event went well, yesterday, and you have a great few days off.
    Nina

    Reply
  47. Hey Mary Jo!
    Great post. Love the kitty stories.
    This will be Voltan’s (my 60#, 5 month old GSD) first Christmas. He is fascinated by my Christmas bears. Not good for the poor things. I think he thinks they’re puppies in need of a big brother. He loves to hull them off, one by one, into various rooms or keep them under paw.
    Hope your event went well, yesterday, and you have a great few days off.
    Nina

    Reply
  48. Hey Mary Jo!
    Great post. Love the kitty stories.
    This will be Voltan’s (my 60#, 5 month old GSD) first Christmas. He is fascinated by my Christmas bears. Not good for the poor things. I think he thinks they’re puppies in need of a big brother. He loves to hull them off, one by one, into various rooms or keep them under paw.
    Hope your event went well, yesterday, and you have a great few days off.
    Nina

    Reply
  49. Hey Mary Jo!
    Great post. Love the kitty stories.
    This will be Voltan’s (my 60#, 5 month old GSD) first Christmas. He is fascinated by my Christmas bears. Not good for the poor things. I think he thinks they’re puppies in need of a big brother. He loves to hull them off, one by one, into various rooms or keep them under paw.
    Hope your event went well, yesterday, and you have a great few days off.
    Nina

    Reply
  50. Hey Mary Jo!
    Great post. Love the kitty stories.
    This will be Voltan’s (my 60#, 5 month old GSD) first Christmas. He is fascinated by my Christmas bears. Not good for the poor things. I think he thinks they’re puppies in need of a big brother. He loves to hull them off, one by one, into various rooms or keep them under paw.
    Hope your event went well, yesterday, and you have a great few days off.
    Nina

    Reply
  51. One of the things I love about winter are the foods: stews and crockpot dishes and hearty soups. All you need to add is a loaf of good crusty bread and a salad, and you’ve got a great meal.
    Since I grew up in Arizona, I certainly don’t have any childhood memories of snow or going to cut one’s own Christmas tree. What I do remember is that three of my uncle’s had a wholesale hardware supply business, and somehow right after WWII had got a shipment of handmade Christmas tree ornaments from eastern Europe (clearly before that part of the world fell under the control of the USSR). The ornaments were in the care of my Aunt Martha, as the oldest of my father’s siblings, and every year she would take them out of their wrappings for us to admire. To my 6 y.o. eyes they were the most beautiful things I had ever seen.

    Reply
  52. One of the things I love about winter are the foods: stews and crockpot dishes and hearty soups. All you need to add is a loaf of good crusty bread and a salad, and you’ve got a great meal.
    Since I grew up in Arizona, I certainly don’t have any childhood memories of snow or going to cut one’s own Christmas tree. What I do remember is that three of my uncle’s had a wholesale hardware supply business, and somehow right after WWII had got a shipment of handmade Christmas tree ornaments from eastern Europe (clearly before that part of the world fell under the control of the USSR). The ornaments were in the care of my Aunt Martha, as the oldest of my father’s siblings, and every year she would take them out of their wrappings for us to admire. To my 6 y.o. eyes they were the most beautiful things I had ever seen.

    Reply
  53. One of the things I love about winter are the foods: stews and crockpot dishes and hearty soups. All you need to add is a loaf of good crusty bread and a salad, and you’ve got a great meal.
    Since I grew up in Arizona, I certainly don’t have any childhood memories of snow or going to cut one’s own Christmas tree. What I do remember is that three of my uncle’s had a wholesale hardware supply business, and somehow right after WWII had got a shipment of handmade Christmas tree ornaments from eastern Europe (clearly before that part of the world fell under the control of the USSR). The ornaments were in the care of my Aunt Martha, as the oldest of my father’s siblings, and every year she would take them out of their wrappings for us to admire. To my 6 y.o. eyes they were the most beautiful things I had ever seen.

    Reply
  54. One of the things I love about winter are the foods: stews and crockpot dishes and hearty soups. All you need to add is a loaf of good crusty bread and a salad, and you’ve got a great meal.
    Since I grew up in Arizona, I certainly don’t have any childhood memories of snow or going to cut one’s own Christmas tree. What I do remember is that three of my uncle’s had a wholesale hardware supply business, and somehow right after WWII had got a shipment of handmade Christmas tree ornaments from eastern Europe (clearly before that part of the world fell under the control of the USSR). The ornaments were in the care of my Aunt Martha, as the oldest of my father’s siblings, and every year she would take them out of their wrappings for us to admire. To my 6 y.o. eyes they were the most beautiful things I had ever seen.

    Reply
  55. One of the things I love about winter are the foods: stews and crockpot dishes and hearty soups. All you need to add is a loaf of good crusty bread and a salad, and you’ve got a great meal.
    Since I grew up in Arizona, I certainly don’t have any childhood memories of snow or going to cut one’s own Christmas tree. What I do remember is that three of my uncle’s had a wholesale hardware supply business, and somehow right after WWII had got a shipment of handmade Christmas tree ornaments from eastern Europe (clearly before that part of the world fell under the control of the USSR). The ornaments were in the care of my Aunt Martha, as the oldest of my father’s siblings, and every year she would take them out of their wrappings for us to admire. To my 6 y.o. eyes they were the most beautiful things I had ever seen.

    Reply
  56. I’m from NY too, but since we’re in the city there was no chopping down our own Christmas tree. We buy our trees on the sidewalk. I’ve only ever eaten sauerkraut with hot dogs. I wouldn’t mind trying it with other dishes.

    Reply
  57. I’m from NY too, but since we’re in the city there was no chopping down our own Christmas tree. We buy our trees on the sidewalk. I’ve only ever eaten sauerkraut with hot dogs. I wouldn’t mind trying it with other dishes.

    Reply
  58. I’m from NY too, but since we’re in the city there was no chopping down our own Christmas tree. We buy our trees on the sidewalk. I’ve only ever eaten sauerkraut with hot dogs. I wouldn’t mind trying it with other dishes.

    Reply
  59. I’m from NY too, but since we’re in the city there was no chopping down our own Christmas tree. We buy our trees on the sidewalk. I’ve only ever eaten sauerkraut with hot dogs. I wouldn’t mind trying it with other dishes.

    Reply
  60. I’m from NY too, but since we’re in the city there was no chopping down our own Christmas tree. We buy our trees on the sidewalk. I’ve only ever eaten sauerkraut with hot dogs. I wouldn’t mind trying it with other dishes.

    Reply
  61. I’m not much on sauerkraut (NY parents wouldn’t eat hot dogs without it, so I just don’t eat hot dogs!) but I’ll second Susan on loving winter for the soups. I just check the refrig to see what’s available and make a soup to suit. All-in-one-meals are so easy!
    Love the Christmas memories!

    Reply
  62. I’m not much on sauerkraut (NY parents wouldn’t eat hot dogs without it, so I just don’t eat hot dogs!) but I’ll second Susan on loving winter for the soups. I just check the refrig to see what’s available and make a soup to suit. All-in-one-meals are so easy!
    Love the Christmas memories!

    Reply
  63. I’m not much on sauerkraut (NY parents wouldn’t eat hot dogs without it, so I just don’t eat hot dogs!) but I’ll second Susan on loving winter for the soups. I just check the refrig to see what’s available and make a soup to suit. All-in-one-meals are so easy!
    Love the Christmas memories!

    Reply
  64. I’m not much on sauerkraut (NY parents wouldn’t eat hot dogs without it, so I just don’t eat hot dogs!) but I’ll second Susan on loving winter for the soups. I just check the refrig to see what’s available and make a soup to suit. All-in-one-meals are so easy!
    Love the Christmas memories!

    Reply
  65. I’m not much on sauerkraut (NY parents wouldn’t eat hot dogs without it, so I just don’t eat hot dogs!) but I’ll second Susan on loving winter for the soups. I just check the refrig to see what’s available and make a soup to suit. All-in-one-meals are so easy!
    Love the Christmas memories!

    Reply
  66. From MJP:
    I see that the sauerkraut is an unexpected hit! Ingrid, the zuurkoolstamppot is clearly close kin to my recipe, and it sounds like wonderful winter comfort food. I’ve copied the recipe and will try it soon.
    The recipe that I modified had fresh cabbage as well as sauerkraut, and spareribs instead of pork chops, and I don’t think it had apples. I love the way recipes evolve.
    Anna, I’m glad that “The Best Husband Money Can Buy” helped put you in a holiday mood. And clearly cats in the Christmas tree are more universal than I thought!
    Maggie, LOL about your daughter’s on-credit tree and her cat’s plans for it! How lovely that the tree seller let her take it with payment later. (I’ll bet she’s young and pretty. The young and pretty get extra consideration sometimes.
    )
    Elaine, both your baby daughter and your cats are smart! I’m enjoying reading other people’s Christmas memories. So much warm fun.
    As for the Dads being sent for the Christmas trees–I don’t think my mother would have been good with an ax. 🙂
    I’m glad that Christmas stories are as popular as cats and sauerkraut. 🙂 Edith probably has done the most (she and Mary Balogh are the Queen of HOliday Novellas), but we’ve all done our share. The total of Wenchly Christmas stories would be impressive!
    Ornaments are lovely, too, especially the family favorites. Susan/DC, the ones from Eastern Europe sound magical.
    Loretta, clearly the inheritance story just didn’t ring your chimes the way it did mine, so it didn’t stick. Things that don’t resonate with us vanish pretty quickly. But I’ll bet you could have done a fun job with that storyline!
    And Pat–Soup! Glorious Soup!!!!
    Mary Jo, who likes warm, comforting one pot meals

    Reply
  67. From MJP:
    I see that the sauerkraut is an unexpected hit! Ingrid, the zuurkoolstamppot is clearly close kin to my recipe, and it sounds like wonderful winter comfort food. I’ve copied the recipe and will try it soon.
    The recipe that I modified had fresh cabbage as well as sauerkraut, and spareribs instead of pork chops, and I don’t think it had apples. I love the way recipes evolve.
    Anna, I’m glad that “The Best Husband Money Can Buy” helped put you in a holiday mood. And clearly cats in the Christmas tree are more universal than I thought!
    Maggie, LOL about your daughter’s on-credit tree and her cat’s plans for it! How lovely that the tree seller let her take it with payment later. (I’ll bet she’s young and pretty. The young and pretty get extra consideration sometimes.
    )
    Elaine, both your baby daughter and your cats are smart! I’m enjoying reading other people’s Christmas memories. So much warm fun.
    As for the Dads being sent for the Christmas trees–I don’t think my mother would have been good with an ax. 🙂
    I’m glad that Christmas stories are as popular as cats and sauerkraut. 🙂 Edith probably has done the most (she and Mary Balogh are the Queen of HOliday Novellas), but we’ve all done our share. The total of Wenchly Christmas stories would be impressive!
    Ornaments are lovely, too, especially the family favorites. Susan/DC, the ones from Eastern Europe sound magical.
    Loretta, clearly the inheritance story just didn’t ring your chimes the way it did mine, so it didn’t stick. Things that don’t resonate with us vanish pretty quickly. But I’ll bet you could have done a fun job with that storyline!
    And Pat–Soup! Glorious Soup!!!!
    Mary Jo, who likes warm, comforting one pot meals

    Reply
  68. From MJP:
    I see that the sauerkraut is an unexpected hit! Ingrid, the zuurkoolstamppot is clearly close kin to my recipe, and it sounds like wonderful winter comfort food. I’ve copied the recipe and will try it soon.
    The recipe that I modified had fresh cabbage as well as sauerkraut, and spareribs instead of pork chops, and I don’t think it had apples. I love the way recipes evolve.
    Anna, I’m glad that “The Best Husband Money Can Buy” helped put you in a holiday mood. And clearly cats in the Christmas tree are more universal than I thought!
    Maggie, LOL about your daughter’s on-credit tree and her cat’s plans for it! How lovely that the tree seller let her take it with payment later. (I’ll bet she’s young and pretty. The young and pretty get extra consideration sometimes.
    )
    Elaine, both your baby daughter and your cats are smart! I’m enjoying reading other people’s Christmas memories. So much warm fun.
    As for the Dads being sent for the Christmas trees–I don’t think my mother would have been good with an ax. 🙂
    I’m glad that Christmas stories are as popular as cats and sauerkraut. 🙂 Edith probably has done the most (she and Mary Balogh are the Queen of HOliday Novellas), but we’ve all done our share. The total of Wenchly Christmas stories would be impressive!
    Ornaments are lovely, too, especially the family favorites. Susan/DC, the ones from Eastern Europe sound magical.
    Loretta, clearly the inheritance story just didn’t ring your chimes the way it did mine, so it didn’t stick. Things that don’t resonate with us vanish pretty quickly. But I’ll bet you could have done a fun job with that storyline!
    And Pat–Soup! Glorious Soup!!!!
    Mary Jo, who likes warm, comforting one pot meals

    Reply
  69. From MJP:
    I see that the sauerkraut is an unexpected hit! Ingrid, the zuurkoolstamppot is clearly close kin to my recipe, and it sounds like wonderful winter comfort food. I’ve copied the recipe and will try it soon.
    The recipe that I modified had fresh cabbage as well as sauerkraut, and spareribs instead of pork chops, and I don’t think it had apples. I love the way recipes evolve.
    Anna, I’m glad that “The Best Husband Money Can Buy” helped put you in a holiday mood. And clearly cats in the Christmas tree are more universal than I thought!
    Maggie, LOL about your daughter’s on-credit tree and her cat’s plans for it! How lovely that the tree seller let her take it with payment later. (I’ll bet she’s young and pretty. The young and pretty get extra consideration sometimes.
    )
    Elaine, both your baby daughter and your cats are smart! I’m enjoying reading other people’s Christmas memories. So much warm fun.
    As for the Dads being sent for the Christmas trees–I don’t think my mother would have been good with an ax. 🙂
    I’m glad that Christmas stories are as popular as cats and sauerkraut. 🙂 Edith probably has done the most (she and Mary Balogh are the Queen of HOliday Novellas), but we’ve all done our share. The total of Wenchly Christmas stories would be impressive!
    Ornaments are lovely, too, especially the family favorites. Susan/DC, the ones from Eastern Europe sound magical.
    Loretta, clearly the inheritance story just didn’t ring your chimes the way it did mine, so it didn’t stick. Things that don’t resonate with us vanish pretty quickly. But I’ll bet you could have done a fun job with that storyline!
    And Pat–Soup! Glorious Soup!!!!
    Mary Jo, who likes warm, comforting one pot meals

    Reply
  70. From MJP:
    I see that the sauerkraut is an unexpected hit! Ingrid, the zuurkoolstamppot is clearly close kin to my recipe, and it sounds like wonderful winter comfort food. I’ve copied the recipe and will try it soon.
    The recipe that I modified had fresh cabbage as well as sauerkraut, and spareribs instead of pork chops, and I don’t think it had apples. I love the way recipes evolve.
    Anna, I’m glad that “The Best Husband Money Can Buy” helped put you in a holiday mood. And clearly cats in the Christmas tree are more universal than I thought!
    Maggie, LOL about your daughter’s on-credit tree and her cat’s plans for it! How lovely that the tree seller let her take it with payment later. (I’ll bet she’s young and pretty. The young and pretty get extra consideration sometimes.
    )
    Elaine, both your baby daughter and your cats are smart! I’m enjoying reading other people’s Christmas memories. So much warm fun.
    As for the Dads being sent for the Christmas trees–I don’t think my mother would have been good with an ax. 🙂
    I’m glad that Christmas stories are as popular as cats and sauerkraut. 🙂 Edith probably has done the most (she and Mary Balogh are the Queen of HOliday Novellas), but we’ve all done our share. The total of Wenchly Christmas stories would be impressive!
    Ornaments are lovely, too, especially the family favorites. Susan/DC, the ones from Eastern Europe sound magical.
    Loretta, clearly the inheritance story just didn’t ring your chimes the way it did mine, so it didn’t stick. Things that don’t resonate with us vanish pretty quickly. But I’ll bet you could have done a fun job with that storyline!
    And Pat–Soup! Glorious Soup!!!!
    Mary Jo, who likes warm, comforting one pot meals

    Reply
  71. We’ve had the “cat and tree” problem…until ,like others, the tree was tied off to several places. The houses that we’ve had all had high ceilings and an eight foot tree looked very nice.

    Reply
  72. We’ve had the “cat and tree” problem…until ,like others, the tree was tied off to several places. The houses that we’ve had all had high ceilings and an eight foot tree looked very nice.

    Reply
  73. We’ve had the “cat and tree” problem…until ,like others, the tree was tied off to several places. The houses that we’ve had all had high ceilings and an eight foot tree looked very nice.

    Reply
  74. We’ve had the “cat and tree” problem…until ,like others, the tree was tied off to several places. The houses that we’ve had all had high ceilings and an eight foot tree looked very nice.

    Reply
  75. We’ve had the “cat and tree” problem…until ,like others, the tree was tied off to several places. The houses that we’ve had all had high ceilings and an eight foot tree looked very nice.

    Reply
  76. My kitties know better.
    We’ve been collecting German glass ornaments since our very first holiday season as a couple a long time ago. The cats know I’d have to rip their little ears off if they played cat tree. Just kidding, but the felines take me seriously.
    However, they do go after other things that are near and dear to me when they want to get my attention. Like my Tarot cards. I’ll come in my office and the cards will be all over my rug. The little beasts.
    Jane – off to put lights on the pine…

    Reply
  77. My kitties know better.
    We’ve been collecting German glass ornaments since our very first holiday season as a couple a long time ago. The cats know I’d have to rip their little ears off if they played cat tree. Just kidding, but the felines take me seriously.
    However, they do go after other things that are near and dear to me when they want to get my attention. Like my Tarot cards. I’ll come in my office and the cards will be all over my rug. The little beasts.
    Jane – off to put lights on the pine…

    Reply
  78. My kitties know better.
    We’ve been collecting German glass ornaments since our very first holiday season as a couple a long time ago. The cats know I’d have to rip their little ears off if they played cat tree. Just kidding, but the felines take me seriously.
    However, they do go after other things that are near and dear to me when they want to get my attention. Like my Tarot cards. I’ll come in my office and the cards will be all over my rug. The little beasts.
    Jane – off to put lights on the pine…

    Reply
  79. My kitties know better.
    We’ve been collecting German glass ornaments since our very first holiday season as a couple a long time ago. The cats know I’d have to rip their little ears off if they played cat tree. Just kidding, but the felines take me seriously.
    However, they do go after other things that are near and dear to me when they want to get my attention. Like my Tarot cards. I’ll come in my office and the cards will be all over my rug. The little beasts.
    Jane – off to put lights on the pine…

    Reply
  80. My kitties know better.
    We’ve been collecting German glass ornaments since our very first holiday season as a couple a long time ago. The cats know I’d have to rip their little ears off if they played cat tree. Just kidding, but the felines take me seriously.
    However, they do go after other things that are near and dear to me when they want to get my attention. Like my Tarot cards. I’ll come in my office and the cards will be all over my rug. The little beasts.
    Jane – off to put lights on the pine…

    Reply
  81. I’m a huge fan of stews and soups that simmer on the stove for hours and are always delicious and statisfying. I also love sour foods: dill pickles, sauerkraut, green apples, oranges, key limes…
    MaryJo, loved your funny post about the cats in the tree.
    Loretta, ooh and ooh and ooh on your excerpt on LifetimeTV.com. It’s in my monthly track sheet for June. And I hope you’ll have more excerpts for us between now and June.

    Reply
  82. I’m a huge fan of stews and soups that simmer on the stove for hours and are always delicious and statisfying. I also love sour foods: dill pickles, sauerkraut, green apples, oranges, key limes…
    MaryJo, loved your funny post about the cats in the tree.
    Loretta, ooh and ooh and ooh on your excerpt on LifetimeTV.com. It’s in my monthly track sheet for June. And I hope you’ll have more excerpts for us between now and June.

    Reply
  83. I’m a huge fan of stews and soups that simmer on the stove for hours and are always delicious and statisfying. I also love sour foods: dill pickles, sauerkraut, green apples, oranges, key limes…
    MaryJo, loved your funny post about the cats in the tree.
    Loretta, ooh and ooh and ooh on your excerpt on LifetimeTV.com. It’s in my monthly track sheet for June. And I hope you’ll have more excerpts for us between now and June.

    Reply
  84. I’m a huge fan of stews and soups that simmer on the stove for hours and are always delicious and statisfying. I also love sour foods: dill pickles, sauerkraut, green apples, oranges, key limes…
    MaryJo, loved your funny post about the cats in the tree.
    Loretta, ooh and ooh and ooh on your excerpt on LifetimeTV.com. It’s in my monthly track sheet for June. And I hope you’ll have more excerpts for us between now and June.

    Reply
  85. I’m a huge fan of stews and soups that simmer on the stove for hours and are always delicious and statisfying. I also love sour foods: dill pickles, sauerkraut, green apples, oranges, key limes…
    MaryJo, loved your funny post about the cats in the tree.
    Loretta, ooh and ooh and ooh on your excerpt on LifetimeTV.com. It’s in my monthly track sheet for June. And I hope you’ll have more excerpts for us between now and June.

    Reply
  86. I love saurkraut!!! Love it layered with stuffed cabbage or simmered with pork and what my mother called pot-pies or baked in layers with apples, onions, potatoes, pork chops… Now I’m hungry.
    My cats are fascinated with the tree. I have a photo of my one cat looking out at us from between some ornaments. I have bells on my tree, so I know when the tree is being disturbed by the tiptoey cat.

    Reply
  87. I love saurkraut!!! Love it layered with stuffed cabbage or simmered with pork and what my mother called pot-pies or baked in layers with apples, onions, potatoes, pork chops… Now I’m hungry.
    My cats are fascinated with the tree. I have a photo of my one cat looking out at us from between some ornaments. I have bells on my tree, so I know when the tree is being disturbed by the tiptoey cat.

    Reply
  88. I love saurkraut!!! Love it layered with stuffed cabbage or simmered with pork and what my mother called pot-pies or baked in layers with apples, onions, potatoes, pork chops… Now I’m hungry.
    My cats are fascinated with the tree. I have a photo of my one cat looking out at us from between some ornaments. I have bells on my tree, so I know when the tree is being disturbed by the tiptoey cat.

    Reply
  89. I love saurkraut!!! Love it layered with stuffed cabbage or simmered with pork and what my mother called pot-pies or baked in layers with apples, onions, potatoes, pork chops… Now I’m hungry.
    My cats are fascinated with the tree. I have a photo of my one cat looking out at us from between some ornaments. I have bells on my tree, so I know when the tree is being disturbed by the tiptoey cat.

    Reply
  90. I love saurkraut!!! Love it layered with stuffed cabbage or simmered with pork and what my mother called pot-pies or baked in layers with apples, onions, potatoes, pork chops… Now I’m hungry.
    My cats are fascinated with the tree. I have a photo of my one cat looking out at us from between some ornaments. I have bells on my tree, so I know when the tree is being disturbed by the tiptoey cat.

    Reply
  91. We have 2 kitties and they find the tree irresistable. The big crash usually comes when the dogs are trying to find out what the cats are doing in the tree.
    I didn’t grow up eating sauerkraut but I plan to try your recipe just to broaden my culinary experience. Hope it won’t broaden anything else. 😉
    Our first married Christmas we were so poor the roaches packed their bags and left for a better house. We went out on Christmas Eve with about $5, which was all we could scrape together. We found a pretty nice tree (somewhat dried out, as you might imagine) and the man gave it to us for $5. We strung poppped corn and cranberries for decoration and thought the tree was absolutely beautiful. We’ve had bigger trees with fancier ornaments since then, but none so meaningful.

    Reply
  92. We have 2 kitties and they find the tree irresistable. The big crash usually comes when the dogs are trying to find out what the cats are doing in the tree.
    I didn’t grow up eating sauerkraut but I plan to try your recipe just to broaden my culinary experience. Hope it won’t broaden anything else. 😉
    Our first married Christmas we were so poor the roaches packed their bags and left for a better house. We went out on Christmas Eve with about $5, which was all we could scrape together. We found a pretty nice tree (somewhat dried out, as you might imagine) and the man gave it to us for $5. We strung poppped corn and cranberries for decoration and thought the tree was absolutely beautiful. We’ve had bigger trees with fancier ornaments since then, but none so meaningful.

    Reply
  93. We have 2 kitties and they find the tree irresistable. The big crash usually comes when the dogs are trying to find out what the cats are doing in the tree.
    I didn’t grow up eating sauerkraut but I plan to try your recipe just to broaden my culinary experience. Hope it won’t broaden anything else. 😉
    Our first married Christmas we were so poor the roaches packed their bags and left for a better house. We went out on Christmas Eve with about $5, which was all we could scrape together. We found a pretty nice tree (somewhat dried out, as you might imagine) and the man gave it to us for $5. We strung poppped corn and cranberries for decoration and thought the tree was absolutely beautiful. We’ve had bigger trees with fancier ornaments since then, but none so meaningful.

    Reply
  94. We have 2 kitties and they find the tree irresistable. The big crash usually comes when the dogs are trying to find out what the cats are doing in the tree.
    I didn’t grow up eating sauerkraut but I plan to try your recipe just to broaden my culinary experience. Hope it won’t broaden anything else. 😉
    Our first married Christmas we were so poor the roaches packed their bags and left for a better house. We went out on Christmas Eve with about $5, which was all we could scrape together. We found a pretty nice tree (somewhat dried out, as you might imagine) and the man gave it to us for $5. We strung poppped corn and cranberries for decoration and thought the tree was absolutely beautiful. We’ve had bigger trees with fancier ornaments since then, but none so meaningful.

    Reply
  95. We have 2 kitties and they find the tree irresistable. The big crash usually comes when the dogs are trying to find out what the cats are doing in the tree.
    I didn’t grow up eating sauerkraut but I plan to try your recipe just to broaden my culinary experience. Hope it won’t broaden anything else. 😉
    Our first married Christmas we were so poor the roaches packed their bags and left for a better house. We went out on Christmas Eve with about $5, which was all we could scrape together. We found a pretty nice tree (somewhat dried out, as you might imagine) and the man gave it to us for $5. We strung poppped corn and cranberries for decoration and thought the tree was absolutely beautiful. We’ve had bigger trees with fancier ornaments since then, but none so meaningful.

    Reply
  96. Wow, what a great picture of deer! I’m really jonesing for some snow right now. A trip up to Yosemite might be required . . .
    I have nothing as lovely as deer in my yard. Last night my kitchen was invaded by a HUGE raccoon (via the dog door). By the time the dog had chased off the critter my kitchen looked like a typhoon has struck, but oh how proud my ancient dog was. LOL!

    Reply
  97. Wow, what a great picture of deer! I’m really jonesing for some snow right now. A trip up to Yosemite might be required . . .
    I have nothing as lovely as deer in my yard. Last night my kitchen was invaded by a HUGE raccoon (via the dog door). By the time the dog had chased off the critter my kitchen looked like a typhoon has struck, but oh how proud my ancient dog was. LOL!

    Reply
  98. Wow, what a great picture of deer! I’m really jonesing for some snow right now. A trip up to Yosemite might be required . . .
    I have nothing as lovely as deer in my yard. Last night my kitchen was invaded by a HUGE raccoon (via the dog door). By the time the dog had chased off the critter my kitchen looked like a typhoon has struck, but oh how proud my ancient dog was. LOL!

    Reply
  99. Wow, what a great picture of deer! I’m really jonesing for some snow right now. A trip up to Yosemite might be required . . .
    I have nothing as lovely as deer in my yard. Last night my kitchen was invaded by a HUGE raccoon (via the dog door). By the time the dog had chased off the critter my kitchen looked like a typhoon has struck, but oh how proud my ancient dog was. LOL!

    Reply
  100. Wow, what a great picture of deer! I’m really jonesing for some snow right now. A trip up to Yosemite might be required . . .
    I have nothing as lovely as deer in my yard. Last night my kitchen was invaded by a HUGE raccoon (via the dog door). By the time the dog had chased off the critter my kitchen looked like a typhoon has struck, but oh how proud my ancient dog was. LOL!

    Reply
  101. Great post. My cat loves to lay on his back under the tree and smack at the ornaments with his paws.
    Thanks so much for the recipe. We enjoy sauerkraut.

    Reply
  102. Great post. My cat loves to lay on his back under the tree and smack at the ornaments with his paws.
    Thanks so much for the recipe. We enjoy sauerkraut.

    Reply
  103. Great post. My cat loves to lay on his back under the tree and smack at the ornaments with his paws.
    Thanks so much for the recipe. We enjoy sauerkraut.

    Reply
  104. Great post. My cat loves to lay on his back under the tree and smack at the ornaments with his paws.
    Thanks so much for the recipe. We enjoy sauerkraut.

    Reply
  105. Great post. My cat loves to lay on his back under the tree and smack at the ornaments with his paws.
    Thanks so much for the recipe. We enjoy sauerkraut.

    Reply
  106. This sounds like a wonderful Christmas anthology and it must be to be in reprint for the third time! Would be a great addition for my collection.

    Reply
  107. This sounds like a wonderful Christmas anthology and it must be to be in reprint for the third time! Would be a great addition for my collection.

    Reply
  108. This sounds like a wonderful Christmas anthology and it must be to be in reprint for the third time! Would be a great addition for my collection.

    Reply
  109. This sounds like a wonderful Christmas anthology and it must be to be in reprint for the third time! Would be a great addition for my collection.

    Reply
  110. This sounds like a wonderful Christmas anthology and it must be to be in reprint for the third time! Would be a great addition for my collection.

    Reply
  111. I have never heard of your recipe… but it sounds very yummy 🙂
    I remember once borrowing A Stockingful of Joy and I loved it 🙂

    Reply
  112. I have never heard of your recipe… but it sounds very yummy 🙂
    I remember once borrowing A Stockingful of Joy and I loved it 🙂

    Reply
  113. I have never heard of your recipe… but it sounds very yummy 🙂
    I remember once borrowing A Stockingful of Joy and I loved it 🙂

    Reply
  114. I have never heard of your recipe… but it sounds very yummy 🙂
    I remember once borrowing A Stockingful of Joy and I loved it 🙂

    Reply
  115. I have never heard of your recipe… but it sounds very yummy 🙂
    I remember once borrowing A Stockingful of Joy and I loved it 🙂

    Reply
  116. The sauerkraut sounds delightful -and defintely worth a try.
    Also, like the sounds of the stories. Especially the one of the man from Spain. Always glad to read of a young lady whose fortunes have turned for the better. Read China Bride several years ago, but would love to try one of your shorter stories.

    Reply
  117. The sauerkraut sounds delightful -and defintely worth a try.
    Also, like the sounds of the stories. Especially the one of the man from Spain. Always glad to read of a young lady whose fortunes have turned for the better. Read China Bride several years ago, but would love to try one of your shorter stories.

    Reply
  118. The sauerkraut sounds delightful -and defintely worth a try.
    Also, like the sounds of the stories. Especially the one of the man from Spain. Always glad to read of a young lady whose fortunes have turned for the better. Read China Bride several years ago, but would love to try one of your shorter stories.

    Reply
  119. The sauerkraut sounds delightful -and defintely worth a try.
    Also, like the sounds of the stories. Especially the one of the man from Spain. Always glad to read of a young lady whose fortunes have turned for the better. Read China Bride several years ago, but would love to try one of your shorter stories.

    Reply
  120. The sauerkraut sounds delightful -and defintely worth a try.
    Also, like the sounds of the stories. Especially the one of the man from Spain. Always glad to read of a young lady whose fortunes have turned for the better. Read China Bride several years ago, but would love to try one of your shorter stories.

    Reply
  121. You are correct it does not matter if they are true or not if the spirit of the reading. I love to read and it does not matter what it is.

    Reply
  122. You are correct it does not matter if they are true or not if the spirit of the reading. I love to read and it does not matter what it is.

    Reply
  123. You are correct it does not matter if they are true or not if the spirit of the reading. I love to read and it does not matter what it is.

    Reply
  124. You are correct it does not matter if they are true or not if the spirit of the reading. I love to read and it does not matter what it is.

    Reply
  125. You are correct it does not matter if they are true or not if the spirit of the reading. I love to read and it does not matter what it is.

    Reply

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