Too much stress to handle, so I may hide or freeze.
Or go on a mental “vacation”, to bring myself some ease. Continue reading
This post marks the end of my Czech Christmas cookie countdown. Phew! On November 11th, I posted my first of 10 Czech Christmas cookie/confection recipes, with my last posted yesterday, along with a bonus Czech sweet bread. According to my husband, my mother-in-law would make as many as 13 different varieties for their platter. Frankly, I can’t manage all of that baking! Continue reading
Vosi Hnizda are cute no-bake rum eggnog or custard filled 3-dimensional cookies. They generally require a special mold to make that’s available throughout Czech Republic, or can be found online, in the US. The traditional version includes a nut-based dough for the “nest” or “hive” part, though people with nut allergies can find no-nut versions online, elsewhere. My mother-in-law made them without cocoa, but those who like cocoa, can add it. They are traditionally filled with a rum-flavored eggnog or custard, but other flavors can be used. Continue reading
Czech Christmas Cookie/Confection #9
These cute little hedgehogs are not my mother-in-law’s creation, but I couldn’t resist including them in my Czech Christmas cookie countdown. Actually, they’re not really cookies either, but candy confections. Many Czechs (and other Europeans) love both marzipan confections and hedgehogs – animals that can occasionally be seen in rural areas of Europe. If you like, you can use some of the marzipan to make other shaped things, as I did in the photo above. Marzipan can be colored with gel food coloring, and decorated in many ways. It can also be used in recipes like sweet breads, baked cookies, and more. This recipe makes about 12 oz (350 g) of marzipan. These marzipan hedgehogs are not baked. Continue reading
Czech Christmas Cookie #8
Bite into these chewy nutty meringue-style sandwich cookies to reach the bliss of a delicious chocolate buttercream filling. My mother-in-law usually used roasted hazelnuts or walnuts for the meringue cookie, but some Czechs use blanched almonds. The nut choice will affect the color, a bit. Meant to be a one or two-bite cookie – that is, if you can stop at only one cookie! These were my husband’s favorite Christmas cookie, as a child. The pictured Princezky were made using finely ground roasted hazelnuts, our favorite nut choice. This combination, with the chocolate buttercream, is a little reminiscent of Nutella. Even yummier, in my view. They do crisp up a little over time, but are still great. Continue reading
I remained college roommates with my friend Liz until her graduation, one year ahead of mine. In my sophomore year (her junior), I lived with her and two of our friends in a campus apartment. It wasn’t long before I realized that I preferred dormitory life. I felt frustrated with the apartment arrangement for various reasons, but mostly because it seemed isolating. Something else might have happened, or not, but I grew very depressed. That year, I had the second worst depression to that date, after one I had at 15 ½. I couldn’t leave my room, at times, and therefore missed many classes. I stopped eating. I was paralyzed! I went from getting all A’s and B’s to getting mostly C’s and a D one semester. I had dropped out of two classes, decreasing my credit load to 12, the minimum required to live in campus housing. But the depression eventually passed. Not slowly, but quite suddenly. Continue reading
Major changes in life are stressful for anyone, but especially for people prone to, or with, bipolar disorder. My freshman year at college was, indeed, stressful. Even the positive stuff! Like many young college students, I did a lot of partying my first year. There were so many young people on the many campuses of the huge university I attended. So many activities! The city itself was far larger than my small hometown of three thousand, requiring buses to go from campus to campus. As a boarding student, I was away from folks long-term for the first time, caring for myself completely. My classes were intensive and the study environment was far different than I was used to. If there was ever a large trigger for a bipolar episode, this was it! Continue reading
A while back, I mentioned that I was writing a memoir in order to save past memories before they became too fuzzy in my mind. I’ve actually written a chunk of it. Draft chapters can be found by selecting “Story Series” in my Category list (on the right sidebar). The “Four Bouquets of Flowers” stories are ones I can’t quite fit into the memoir effectively, but wanted to write about, all the same.
Have you ever had Bishop’s Bread? If not, many recipes you’ll see online resemble the notorious fruit cake that Americans joke about as a “re-gifting” item. My Czech mother-in-law’s recipe does contain some lemon zest, but beyond that, it’s more of a chocolate chip and nut lover’s dream. This cake wonderfully combines bittersweet chocolate with hazelnuts (or walnuts or pecans), with the lemon zest adding just the right bit of pleasant zest for ultimate deliciousness. This sweet bread contains lots of beaten egg whites. Occasionally, I add some chopped candied orange peel to the batter, if I have some left over from making Marokánky cookies. If I do that, I reduce the chocolate and nut quantities slightly. Continue reading
Czech Christmas Cookie #7
A nutty meringue cookie with a hint of chocolate flavor. This cookie can last for weeks. Because of that, during WWII, my Czech mother-in-law sent a large batch of these cookies to Jewish friends that sadly were taken to a concentration camp. These were a favorite of my husband’s father. My mother-in-law spread the batter in a pan, then cut them into squares. I prefer to bake them in individual traditional small rounds. I think they’re prettier that way. As with many others, these taste even better as they age. Continue reading