Tag Archives: Baking

Making Christmas Memories

18 Dec

On the Porch

Onisha Ellis

Whew! This has been a busy week! Tuesday we hauled the artificial Christmas tree down from the attic along with containers of ornaments, garlands and stockings. After we finished adorning the tree my daughter and I began our Christmas baking.

Christmas baking with my daughter, working side by side in the kitchen, is time I treasure. Making memories of laughter, tasting and collaborating to get the taste just right is one of my favorite holiday things to do.

My daughter made butter cookies in Florida and wanted to make them again for us and we were both craving gingerbread so we added it to the baking list.We follow a Keto eating plan so our deserts and treats don’t always look the same as traditional versions. For instance instead of a dark colored gingerbread, we made a gingerbread bundt cake with a lemon glaze. Without the addition of molasses, the batter lacked the trademark deep rich color and I didn’t want to sacrifice the flavor as well. To try to capture it I added some maple extract and a smidge of expresso powder. Next time I will add a bit more expresso powder. We decided to shave some sugar free pumpkin spice white chocolate on top, then sprinkle with a few whole chips, Definitely not the look of gingerbread but definitely good!

Wednesday arrived rainy and cold. Tuesday we ran out of almond flour, so a trip to town was needed to continue baking. While at the store, I picked up some vegetables to make a pot of beefy vegetable soup. Yesterday we ran out of energy before the Thin Mint cookies my daughter baked were dipped in chocolate so while she dipped, I chopped veggies for soup.

After our supper, (The soup was yummy) we relaxed with soft Christmas music and our TV fireplace. (Don’t judge LOL)

We also watched a livestream of The Little Drummer Boy by King and Country.

Covid has been horrid but an upside to the isolation is free livestream events. We aren’t concert goers so I am getting to enjoy music I would not have otherwise. One of our favorite Christmas traditions is attending Candlelight at Walt Disney World and that won’t be happening this year. A musician friend is recording “One Beautiful Night, A musical and narrated presentation of the Christmas Story. ” It will go live December 23, 2020 at 8pm. Our daughter, Rebekah is one of the narrators. She managed to work in setting up and recording in between baking.

Thursday the temperature only reached 38 degrees. Too cold for me to be anywhere but indoors. I took it as a sign to stop procrastinating and get the Christmas gifts wrapped. Finishing that, I took on sending out Christmas cards. The internet was down, but I refused to get involved with tech support horrors until I finished my tasks. While I worked on them, our daughter spent time doing rewrites on her latest novel and my husband finished a painting. It was a good day.

Now it’s Friday. I don’t have a plan for the day, but I am sure that will quickly change and I plan to enjoy it all.

Making Biscuits

8 Jan

On the Porch

Onisha Ellis

I'm a winner

For many years the first stop on our family vacation was at my mother’s house. She lived a few blocks away and on the route to I-95. Mom would get up early to fry sausage patties and bake homemade biscuits for us to take with us. Most of the time, she would bring them to us at the car so we didn’t lose time loading and unloading the kids (you KNOW the havoc that creates!) A good question to ask now is why didn’t I make the biscuits? Well, there is a story to that. You see, my mother taught me how to cook full dinners with everything being ready to serve up at the same time. She taught me how to bake cakes. She tried to teach me how to make biscuits, but I was hopeless. My biscuits could have been deemed lethal weapons. They were so hard a chicken wouldn’t eat them.

Chicken and coffee 1

Finally, she forbade me from trying to make biscuits, the cost of flour and buttermilk was too expensive. Fast forward fifty years and I came across a recipe on Janet’s Appalachian Kitchen Facebook page for homemade biscuits made the way my mother made them. I decided to give it another try, with a twist. In the past, I could mix the biscuits fine but kneading them was my downfall. My daughter Rebekah has the knack for kneading so I would work with her to make them. Finally mother’s biscuits would be back on the family table. The first batch was edible but not soft and flaky. It seems Rebekah doesn’t have the knack for mixing. Round two we used our stand mixer with a dough hook to mix the dough into a ball, then we turned it out on a floured mat and Rebekah gave it a knead. To make biscuits like my mom, the dough is molded into a log roll, then each biscuit is pinched off, placed on the biscuit pan and pressed down with the back of three fingers. These turned out delicious! We ate them for dinner the night before our road trip to Florida and guess what? We cooked sausage the next morning and had sausage and biscuit for the trip. Biscuits are back!

southern buttermilk biscuits 4

Unfortunately we didn’t take a picture of ours.

What is Your Favorite Christmas Activity

11 Dec

On the Porch

Onisha Ellis

I'm a winner

Baking is my favorite Christmas activity. For me it beats decorating hands down. Usually I bake with my grandchildren but this year “the baking season” began in my daughter Rebekah’s kitchen which is a treat for me as usually we are six hundred miles apart. Today’s baking by Rebekah  yielded five different types of cookies,  loaves of vanilla tea bread and muffins large and mini. I contributed a fudge experiment which was a failure as fudge, but it will make some fantastic hot fudge sauce. My major contribution was washing up, you know all the bowls, spatulas, measuring cups and spoons and I enjoyed every minute of it. I have sweet memories of working side by side in the kitchen with my mother and aunts. I think we created some memories today too. Soon we will be back in North Carolina and three generations will be baking together.  I am sure I will be continuing my role as dishwasher-in-chief.


Rebekah’s favorite recipe source Tea Time magazine


As a child, my mother and I had matching aprons. Hers wore out but mine was packed away and brought out for Rebekah, then my granddaughter, Karyssa. The apron Rebekah is wearing in the photo below is a memory apron with three generations of cooks embroidered on it. It will soon be time to create a new apron for my granddaughter.


Vanilla tea loaves coming out of the oven.



%d bloggers like this: