A Free Gift for the Holidays

Everyone seems to be into cooking.  Or at least posting recipes. Everywhere you turn – live TV shows (not even counting the Food Channel), blogs, magazines – there is food being prepared, talked about, and eaten. Not that I’m against food. I just don’t like to cook. Too much time, too messy, and gone in a flash.

I have a repertoire of about five things that I make for dinner – pasta with meatballs and sauce (and on occasion pasta with prosciutto, asparagus and mozzarella), breaded chicken, salmon with mango sauce (that’s a new one), hamburgers and macaroni salad and chicken paprika.

You may ask how my family survives. There is always cereal in the closet and milk in the refrigerator. Bread is also a good staple. You can do a lot with bread – add butter or jelly or peanut butter or Nutella or some combination of the above. If necessary, I can make grilled cheese.

Recently, my publisher, The Wild Rose Press, decided to put together a cookbook for the holidays featuring their authors. We were to provide a recipe in a cultural category (Italian, German, French etc). By the time I agonized over this, the Italian and American sections were filled. So I chose French. Interesting choice for me since there is not one French recipe in my repertoire. However, I didn’t mention that I like to make breakfast. And one of my favorite breakfasts, especially on holidays, is crepes with a sweet cottage cheese filling and fresh fruit.  Voila.

The holiday cookbook is out and it is a free download as a gift from The Wild Rose Press, Inc.  It is called “Holiday Garden Gourmet 2013.”

I couldn’t wait to download it and print it out.  I can now add someone else’s fabulous recipe to my repertoire (if it is easy enough). But the main reason to own this book was to see my recipe in print.  No one in my family is going to believe that my name is associated with a cookbook.

Question: Do you like to cook? Or bake? What is your favorite (easy) meal to make?




9 thoughts on “A Free Gift for the Holidays”

  1. May you have a wonderful Christmas and may your book make New York Times bestseller list. I enjoyed your story at the wild Rose press site.
    Kat Attalla

  2. Hello Maria,

    I’m not against cooking or baking but I don’t do much of it. Wholefoods has a lot of meals already made that just need to be warmed up. My best recipe I found in my senior year of HS, last year -not. Anyway, peanut butter cookies. One cup peanut butter; one cup sugar; and one egg. Mix all together (no greasing the pan because hello it’s peanut butter) oven on 350 and let them bake for 12 minutes.

    Have a happy holiday

  3. Happy New Year, Maria!

    Every Friday I make homemade pizza. I make the dough either Thursday night or Friday morning before work. I don’t measure anything – I use between 1.5 – 2 cups lukewarm water (less if it’s just my husband and myself, more if I have others coming to dinner), about 2 tablespoons sugar, about 1 tablespoon salt, about 2 tablespoons yeast, about 4 cups bread flour, about 1 tablespoon olive oil (and a dash more to coat the bowl at the end). In a large bowl mix the warm water, sugar, and salt, and olive oil. Mix the yeast into some of the flour, and mix this mixture by the spoonful into the bowl with the water mixture. Continue adding flour until the dough starts leaving the sides of thebo

    • Sorry-here’s the rest:

      Continue adding flour until the dough starts leaving the sides of the bowl. I use a Kitchen Aid mixer, but if you are mixing by hand, you may need to start using your hands before this point. When the dough leaves the sides of the bowl, start using your hands to knead the dough as you continue to add flour until the dough is smooth, and not sticky. Do not worry about getting this just right – pizza crust is very forgiving, and after making this a few times, you will begin to know what the dough should feel like when you have added the right amount.

      Place the kneaded dough into a large bowl with a dash of olive oil to coat the dough with. Cover with plastic wrap and let it rise in the fridge for at least 6 hours. I take it out about 1 hour before I start making the pizzas.

      Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F – I have a pizza stone, but you can bake the pizza on a cookie sheet. Cut a piece of dough about the size of a grapefruit fo a personal size pizza. Dredge in some flour, and stretch it as you turn it like a steering wheel until the crust is the thickness you like. Lay it on a floured pizza peal, or use the back of a cookie sheet. Make sure it doesn’t stick, or you will have trouble sliding it into the oven. Now is the time to put your toppings on, and then slide it in the oven. If you don’t have a pizza stone, just bake it on the cookie sheet. Bake until the sauce begins to bubble, and the cheese is melted and bubbling. Enjoy!


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