in my christmas kitchen

in my christmas kitchen |

It’s the best time of year, isn’t it?!

The festive spirit is in full swing, and there’s no place I’d rather be right now than in my kitchen baking up a storm. Or perhaps, in your kitchen depending on what you’re making for dinner ;)

For the past few years, I’ve been sharing how we get ready for the holidays in our house.

Here’s a little sneak peek at what we’ve been up to lately.

in my christmas kitchen |

Baking with kids is a great idea in theory...

You put on some Christmas music, get out festive colored sprinkles, and settle into what you think is going to be a civilized activity…

Until your angelic children morph into wild raccoons as they fight over the endless amount of cookie cutters splayed on the kitchen table (the gingerbread man, always a hot ticket item, has been aptly re-named to ‘Gingerbread Fred’ by the way).

But in the end, it’s just harmless fun. It’s why we have vacuums. And wine.

You can find our cookie recipe here.

in my christmas kitchen |

Every year, on the weekend after Thanksgiving, I make cookie dough logs to stash in the freezer.

I’m not sure what sounds more exciting- the thought of freshly baked cookies on a moments notice? Or the accomplishment of a freezer full of cookie dough?!

I think I made about 10 different varieties.

It’s therapeutic.

in my christmas kitchen |

Switching gears from cookie dough to sourdough…

Sourdough is an art that’s meant to be shared.

My personal bread baking journey began in 2012, when my friend Celia shared her sourdough starter with me.

She dried a portion of her starter (named Priscilla) and sent it to me from Australia. As per her instructions, I renamed it and the rest is bread baking history.

I’d like to pass on this tradition to you.

I’m going to send 5 lucky people some of my sourdough starter!

You will receive instructions on how to rehydrate it, and when you’re ready to bake you can follow the recipe found here: Sourdough Bread.

If you’re interested, please leave me a comment below. This offer is open to blog subscribers and to those who have previously commented on sourdough.

in my christmas kitchen |

And last but not least…

Can we talk about holiday gifts?!

My kids have 8 teachers between the two of them! I try to come up with interesting gift ideas, something that’s useful and not just extra clutter.

This year, I bought a bunch of Harney & Son’s Peppermint Tea (Target) and Paperwhite Bulb Kits (Trader Joe’s). I wrapped them together in cellophane and secured the tops with decorative raffia. You might remember this from last year with vanilla sugar…

Total cost= under $10.

These would make great grab bag gifts too, or gifts for those random people you don’t even realize you need gifts for.

• • • • • • • • •

What’s going on in your kitchen this holiday season? Do tell!

*Joining the community over at Fig Jam & Lime Cordial for In My Kitchen, a monthly series featuring fabulous kitchens from around the world!





  1. katharine says

    I recently relocated to Berlin and have virtually no access to sourdough starters. I would *love* to be a winner and keep on the tradition! :)

    • Emilie says

      Oh wow… that must be incredibly frustrating! And trust me, I definitely understand. Thanks so much for your comment :)

  2. Angie Cook says

    Omg sourdough starter please!! I’ve never made bread and I’m a San Francisco Bay Area native who is missing her SF sourdough something terrible! Many thanks for your blog and all the great recipes it has provided me and my family (especially the Italian Xmas cookies last year)

    • Emilie says

      Ooo the sourdough bread capital! I do know how you feel! Thanks so much for your comment- and glad you liked the cookies! :)

  3. Megan says

    I just told my husband that I am planning to attempt my first loaf of sourdough bread. I would love to try it with your sourdough starter! Thank you.

  4. Ruby88 says

    Would love to take the sourdough plunge! I love the photo of the kids’ cookies, sweet and love seeing your holiday kitchen. And great gift ideas!

    • Emilie says

      Hi Michelle! Oh, you are going to love baking your own bread. There’s nothing quite like it! And your husband will be so happy :) Thanks for commenting!

  5. says

    I’ve been thinking about ordering sourdough starter from KAF but I haven’t done it yet. I tried to make my own with organic grapes but it turned pink and looked lethal so that didn’t happen! I would love to get one going though.

    My kitchen is in planning mode for Christmas cookies. I need to make a list of what I want to make. I’m sure I have all the ingredients I need because I bake all the time but I like to make sure I have a good variety going. Plus we may be hosting Christmas so it would be a lot of people.

    • Emilie says

      Oh my goodness! That’s too funny. I don’t think I’ve ever seen pink sourdough before ;)

      Don’t you just love Christmas planning mode? And it’s always fun to buy those little extras, like the nice sprinkles and baking cases they have in the stores right now. I’ve been living in Home Goods lately…

    • Emilie says

      Wonderful! I promise, once you get the hang of homemade bread you will never look back! It’s a huge accomplishment. Thanks for your comment, Barb!

  6. Jane George says

    Oh goodness, I made many loaves of sourdough bread years ago, when first married, celebrating 48 years married, might be time to make it again.

  7. Megan S. says

    Sourdough starter, what a treat! I sure wouldn’t mind if I were one of the lucky five.

    That’s a great idea to stock the freezer with cookie dough logs, especially since all the decorating fun comes after the dough is made.

    • Emilie says

      Isn’t Trader Joe’s the best? But I’m sure you already know I’m a fan ;) I’m hoping the teachers will like these little bulb kits as gifts this year. They’re sweet/

      I love the name of your sourdough starter, by the way. They certainly have their own personalities. Isn’t yours very old as well? xo

    • Emilie says

      Absolutely. Sourdough is a very special tradition, one that I’m happy to pass on! Thank you for your comment, Mary Ruth :)

    • Emilie says

      Hi Katrina! I’m so excited that you’re into this ;) Bread baking is a lot of fun and gives you such a great sense of accomplishment. And yes to cookies… always! xo

    • Emilie says

      Hi Jackie, I would say 3 months or longer when wrapped properly.

      Sometimes, I’ll do a layer of plastic wrap before the parchment paper just in case the logs get wet somehow in the freezer. It takes a little extra time, but it’s insurance. The main thing is, you want to wrap them snuggly to prevent any air from getting in. Hope this helps!

  8. says

    I’ve struggled with sourdough even with a starter from King Arthur Flour, so I’m not sure I should enter to get another try except that I’d love to make it work. But it’s not like me to give up, so if you send me a new starter, I’ll do my best to make a lovely bread!

  9. says

    I have just found your blog through the IMK link-up and I have to say I am in love! I have just subscribed. Your photography is beautiful as are the happenings in your kitchen.
    I used to love decorating gingerbread as a child. Being in northern Australia we had to run the air-conditioner so that the dough could be handled and I have found memories of sitting at the dining table in the cool with my two sisters decorating – and perhaps going a little wild with the icing!

    I look forward to following your blog,
    Sarah x

    • Emilie says

      Hello Sarah! Welcome! Thank you for your kind words :)

      And thank you for sharing your childhood tradition with me! I can just picture 3 little girls getting stuck in all the mess. Oh, the icing…

      I look forward to reading your blog posts as well! xoxo

    • Emilie says

      Hi Jan! It certainly makes the process more fun! I actually had to move my wine ‘glass’ out of the picture- I was drinking out of an empty jam jar… with ice ;)

  10. Georgette Helton says

    Love sourdough bread…Thanks for the chance to try a new starter..I am in the process of starting my own starter so if it doesn’t work I will have something to fall back on.

    • Emilie says

      Hello Georgette! You are quite welcome. Good luck on your sourdough journey, I’m sure your starter will come out fantastic! What kind are you making? Thanks for commenting :)

  11. says

    Wine is a must, when baking with kids. Mine mess quite a lot..Oh well, but look at the cute little cookies.
    Your Christmas month sounds amazing and so does that sourdough starter.

    • Emilie says

      Thanks, Asha! My boys are good for like 30 minutes tops and then it’s on to the next thing! (as I scramble on to clean up after them… maid service.) xoxo

  12. says

    Baking with kids is indeed great in theory and you’re right, wine might be needed afterwards! As the proud parent of a Priscilla offspring I understand your sourdough love. I just couldn’t get my act together to dry any out for sharing this month. I may be heading to Trader Joe’s for Christmas gifts now, what a brilliant idea for teacher gifts. With three boys in school there are so many teachers and not enough ideas over the years!

  13. Laura L. says

    Thanks for the cookie recipe, I’m going to try it this weekend. The “wild raccoons” made me laugh out loud! A glass of wine certainly does help with a lot of things.

  14. Dawn Holmes says

    I would love to win your sourdough starter….I have promised myself to start baking more now that I have more time and I would love to try this recipe/tradition.

  15. says

    I love this Emilie! So homey and full of holiday magic. I love your note about vacuums and wine ;). And a freezer full of cookie dough – I need to rectify my lack of this today. Nothing is better after lunch when your craving something sweet to pull a frozen log of cookie dough out of the freezer and chop a hefty slice (or two) for yourself (or is that just me?). Hope your week is full of yummy holiday baking! And cute gift ideas for the teachers too (8 between 2 kids?! holy schnikees.)

    • Emilie says

      Thank you Susan! We love these cookies in our house- they’re lightly sweet (depending on how many sprinkles you use!), buttery and a slightly sandy in texture. Great for dunking :)

    • Emilie says

      That’s awesome! Hope the gifts went over well.

      TJ’s has a few different sizes and varieties of bulb kits. They’re really cute. I’m sure you can get bulbs kits anywhere this time of year. Just throw them in a pretty bag and you’re all set! xoxo

  16. says

    I love seeing kids food that the kid have obviously had a hand in making. They would be so proud I’m sure of their creations. I too am sharing sourdough starter, it’s lovely thinking something is being given back. Have a love festive season. Cheers, Maree

    • Emilie says

      Hi there! Thank you so much for your comment- I think it’s wonderful that you’re sharing your starter as well. It’s such a lovely thing to do! Have a wonderful holiday :) xoxo

  17. Jan says

    I am new to your blog and am fascinated by your wonderful recipes. I am anxious to make sourdough, but need to know how to make a starter. Could you provide that information?

  18. says

    Oh baking with kids… isn’t that the truth?! Sounds so peaceful and idyllic, but it’s usually a chaos and a big mess. But oh so fun at the same time. Sourdough has been on my list of things to try and just haven’t gotten around to it. Hopefully in 2016!

    • Emilie says

      It certainly is! When I see pictures of kids playing in perfectly clean rooms with WHITE walls I can’t help but chuckle ;) My house looks very lived in, shall we say… I do hope you take up sourdough- it’s a wonderful hobby. Thank you for stopping by to comment Emily! xx

  19. says

    Oh, MAN! I am super bummed I missed this opportunity! I so want a sourdough starter! I need to get into the sourdough-making routine. I hope you have a very Merry Christmas, Emilie! Your photos with the boys and the cookies are just plain adorable. Have the coziest season EVER! I’ll be trying to do the same. XO

    • Emilie says

      Darling, you didn’t miss it. I’m drying out more of my starter! What’s better than sourdough and cocktails? ;)

    • Emilie says

      Hello Sherry! I’m so glad you stopped by. Time to take out that starter! If it’s dried, I’m sure it’s still living (that sounds strange, doesn’t it?). If you have any questions of just want to chat bread, please let me know! xx

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