Thursday, December 10, 2009

Making Lists, And Then, Reindeer Cookies.

It was inevitable, I suppose.

I can’t find …

I seem to have misplaced …

I just can’t put my hands on …

Dagnabbit.  I lost a list.

I am an inveterate list-maker.  At this time of year, I even keep a list of my lists, including:

•  Wish lists from Snarky Son and Darling Daughter, itemizing their ideas for gifts I purchased months before they made their lists; gifts I’m not giving, but may purchase on behalf of stymied (I did not say “feckless”) family members; gifts they probably don’t want but I’m giving them anyway; and gifts I wouldn’t give even if they came with a bucket of water and my hair was on fire.  Doesn’t hurt to ask, though.

•  List of things to make/bake/mix/ladle/freeze, including the usual holiday sweets like the saltine-based Chocolate Toffee Treats, the semi-homemade Sausage Bread we have to have but never actually eat while tearing into gifts Christmas Day, and, inevitably, something ridiculous, like Julia Child’s Boeuf Bourguignon, which I have no business attempting under the best of circumstances, much less during the time of year when a bowl of cereal is considered a fairly complete dinner Chez Wiles.

•  Gifts to wrap/deliver/mail, including the Feminine Wiles cookbooks I had made up which are absurdly priced, but I am  distributing as if they were Belk department store perfume samples.

•  The always outdated grocery list.  Despite constant updates and the best efforts of SS and DD, who know that, if you don’t write it down, it won’t go in the cart, I’m now visiting our neighborhood Harris Teeter at least twice a day.  On no fewer than half of these visits, I’ll be distracted by something like those darling bags of crushed peppermint (perfect for Chocolate Toffee Treats!) or tiny cinnamon chips and will completely forget that milk, milk, MILK is the one item I’m supposed to buy.

•  A Christmas card list.  What am I thinking?  For the previous two years, during my separation and divorce, I didn’t address a single card.  Even my parents have abandoned all hope of finding anything in their mailboxes bearing my return address.  But if good intentions count for anything, I do have a list.  Check.

•  The daily “To Do” list.  This one includes such important items as when to pick up my various carpools, and more importantly, where.  It also includes “clean out the fridge,” which seriously, is something I have to do at the beginning of any holiday season.  For me, a clean fridge equals a clean mind.  Or a clean slate.  Or at the very least, a place to put the milk.  If I remember to buy it.

Santa help me, because the List goes on and on, including everything but the kitchen sink -- and, regretfully, the misplaced Shared List I made with Little Sis which included such mundane things as parent gifts I said I'd buy.

Umm.  Sorry, Sis?

Yep.  Time to simplify.    I can’t really eliminate any of the items on the lists.  They’re important to me.  They’re important to the kids.  They’re part of our holiday tradition.

What I can do, though, is lighten up.  I don’t have to wrap every cookbook with hand-painted paper.  A bow-tied ribbon (a really lovely one, of course) is plenty.  An e-mailed Christmas letter or card will get the job done.  And although I’m desperate to try the Salted Chocolate Covered Caramel Cookies described in A Good Appetite,  I may not get to them before DD’s cookie swap this weekend.  Instead, these adorable three-ingredient Reindeer Cookies, made with Pillsbury dough will be plenty good enough.

But first, has anyone seen that list?  I think it was on graph paper.  Three-hole punched.  And have you looked inside my fridge?  Nice.

Reindeer Cookies
1 package Pillsbury Gingerbread refrigerated dough
Pretzels (for antlers)
Red and green M&Ms

Preheat oven to 350.  Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.  (Parchment paper, I think, is the key to any successful cookie.)  Using a serrated knife, slice dough into ¼-inch discs, placing on parchment paper 3-4 inches apart.  Know, using your thumb and forefinger, squeeze each disc into a kind of hourglass shape.  Press two pretzels into the top of each cookie, as antlers.  Add two green M&M candies into the top half of the hourglass, as eyes.  Press a red M&M candy into the bottom half, as a nose.  Bake about 8 minutes, or until dough puffs up and loses that “shiny” look.  Let cool and remove to racks.  There, that was easy.  Check it off the list.
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