chetsnuts roasting

I know everyone else loves this time of year. I imagine it's the pretty lights and pine scented trees, happy movies, opening presents and some even acknowledge Christ was born. It's a hectic month that overwhelms me with stress and feels like a financial planning and calendar filling strung-out time of year. Every minute of this month sucks the wind out of me. It doesn't help that, in addition, I have this inner conflict regarding the whole Santa scheme we shove down the throats of our children. Grinchiness aside, one of my favorite pleasures of this time of year: The Baked Goods.

They come out of everywhere, really. For a non-baker (with a celiac husband) it's like Halloween on steroids. Every gathering I attend: a plethora of baked goods. It's like that dream you have as a kid where you are at this giant table filled with delicious food all over the place and you eat for hours like a king and more food keeps coming and you never get full (I know Shaggy and Scooby would know exactly what I am talking about). Only forget the food part, man, the table is only filled with beautiful, presentable sweets! Tender, soft baked sweets people cared and nurtured and crafted for your holiday pleasure.
The best places to score baked goods this time of year are church parties because people try to out-do each other and bring creative, original recipes of homemade goodness. Even better are the treats that come to your door! Or the door of the people you visit. My mother-in-law gets the truckload variety. Most are perfected, annual delights delivered to her door by fellow empty-nesters that have been doing this sort of thing for years. They have their recipes down pat and no one duplicates. It's divine. Ample supply lingers on plates all around her home. I try to be generous and give the rest of the family at least a few hours during gatherings to let them have their select choices. Then I can't hold back any longer. I devour. And then ask for forgiveness later when someone is looking for a chocolate treat for their drive home. Oops. That was me. Sorry? Eat faster next time?
{Liz, just don't be a pig, try to control it sister.}

I am selfishly indulgent this time of year when it comes to my delightful intake of The Baked Goods. Unless, of course, oats or raisins are involved. Gawgh that's the worst. Especially when you think someone is handing you a plate full of something warm that appears to have melty chocolate chips in it. I am going to make a holiday wreath to decorate my front door that reads:

Oats? Raisins? Don't Even Bother.
Take it Next Door.
Merry Christmas!

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