Few foods connect the heart and soul like a cookie.  A sweet bite, munched out of the hand, accompanied by a cup of your favorite beverage, hot or cold, is one of my favorite “let-me-just-take-a-minute-to-breathe” moments.  Life’s chaotic pace goes away, even if just for a little while, while savoring one of my all-time favorite recipes, Grandma’s Oatmeal Cookies or Gingerbread.  It’s a gumdrop from heaven in cookie form!

Cookies come in an impressive range of shapes and flavors, mostly sweet but sometimes savory. There are cookies from all over the world, like Mahmoul cookies from the Middle East, Buccellati from Italy, Anzac cookies from Australia, or Stroopwafels from my country of heritage, The Netherlands.  Cookies are about our heritage, our memories, our moments.  

I can remember, as a young girl, coming home from school every day with my sister, and joining Mom for tea.  She would have a daytime soap like the Young and the Restless on the TV, a big pot of hot tea steeping on the table in front of her and three mugs, one for each of us. On an Ironstone plate, she had arranged lovely biscuits, like Digestives or Speculaas, and that was our treat for the day. Those memories live in my heart, even decades later.  It’s funny how a cookie can be so flavored with meaning.  

This Christmas, it felt right to initiate our own tradition of cookie baking.  My daughters and I often do bake, but it is frequently done separately, after one comes home from work, school or travel.  We had to find the time to do it when we could.  Now that there is a little granddaughter in the mix, I wanted to create a memory, a tradition, where we girls could come together and create memories with all of us together.  

I started it all by putting a date on the calendar and then created the recipes and menu plan.  When Cooking Baking day arrived, I went out and bought the ingredients.  Rachel volunteered her kitchen, as little Grayson needed her naps.  My sister, Martina, brought her shortbread dough already made – she won’t divulge the recipe but it is the best-darned shortbread ever!  Kiersten, Chelsea, and Kelsey brought charcuterie and their bright smiles, and the afternoon began.  

Rachel’s little kitchen hummed with activity and laughter.  Grayson, wearing a “Santa’s Official Cookie Tester T-shirt” got into the fun too, tasting cookies and running around the house with her little jingle bell socks on her feet.

We made cookies, muffins, truffles, a big floury mess and loads of memories.  It was lovely to have our family together, even before Christmas day.

I invite you to enjoy these recipes (see link below) during your holiday season.  The Ginger Carrot Muffins are going to be part of my Christmas morning breakfast for sure.  Make memories this holiday season and please post and share with our Eat Clean® family.  I can’t wait to hear your stories! Storytelling, after eating cookies, is one of the true joys of life.

Wishing you and your loved ones a safe and joyous Holiday Season and/or Christmas.

Warmly and with great love for you all,

Tosca Reno


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