Talk to Me Tuesday is a weekly feature where I chat up some of the coolest bloggers on the web!
Today I'm talking to Nichole!
Hi everyone. Happy Holidays! My name is Nichole Livengood (aka the Gap Creek Gourmet). A real live paid writer (they exist!) by trade, I started blogging to share my on-the-town foodie adventures and what life is like living in the mountains of South Carolina. I’ve loved the incredible opportunities blogging has provided, including writing for USA Today (OMG!) and other blogs, checking out new restaurants, and attending food festivals and events. It’s been a crazy ride full of foodie fun. I hope you’ll join in the conversation!
D: Hi Nichole! First three questions! Where are you? What are you wearing? And What are you drinking?
N: I'm at my dining room table that I've currently taken over as my office. (My office floats around the house.) I'm sporting my festive Santa PJ pants and I'm drinking ginger ale and orange juice.
D: I wish I were in PJ pants right now! I've stayed cold this week. I just want to bundle up in front of a fire or something.
N: It's all cloudy outside. It would be a good day for a fire, wouldn't it? My tree is lit and my dogs are hanging close. It's cozy here today.
D: While I'm not a fan of the cold, that is my favorite part of the holidays, the coziness and of course, the baking! What are some of your holiday baking traditions?
N: My daughter and I always make a gingerbread house. That's a big day around here during the holidays, and I always make an icebox fruitcake.
When I was a kid, i used to go to my grandmother's house and help her make fruitcakes. She'd buy all of this candied fruit - cherries and pineapple in rd, green and yellow - and buy bulk nuts. She would take a graham cracker box and carefully cut around the edges so it opened like a cigar box. Then she'd wrap the outside edges with duct tape. I have no idea why she did this. Maybe because she wasn't rich and there wasn't a good container for it? I'm not sure, but she'd mix ground up graham crackers with the fruit, nuts and sweetened condensed milk with her hands and then cram it back down into the wax paper lined graham cracker box. she'd close the lid and then wrap up the entire thing in duct tape and throw it in the freezer. We still make it that way. That's the funny thing about traditions, we don't always know why they are family traditions. None of my aunts know why she started making it that way.
D: Isn't that true! I love the idea of making gingerbread houses. We have simple traditions. We don't go too far beyond chex mix, sausage balls and kiss cookies! Of course those were the things I did with my mom, I'm hoping to add to those one day when I have my own kids.
N: See's candy is a big thing in my house at Christmas too. My mom always got See's at Christmas when she was a kid in San Diego. We only can get it here at the mall at Christmas, so we always have a box or two on the counter during the holidays to pick at.
I had holiday traditions before I had my daughter, but now we're macked out with holiday traditions around here. I always wanted holidays to mean as to her, for her to have as many good memories as possible when it comes to Christmas so she can share traditions with her kids one day.
D: Well that's fun! So do you have any great baking stories?
N: One of my best friends always comes over for one day during the holidays for a bake day. We make a ton of cookies and stuff to give to our other friend and to take to holiday celebrations. Some of the cookie recipes are stuff I made with my step-mom when I was a kid. I also pour through Food Network Mag, Rachel ray Mag, and Martha Stewart Mags for new ones to try. I spend a lot of time in December baking. I make goodie bags for some of my husband's clients and I make goodie boxes for all of our friends. It's a good way to spread the holiday cheer, I think. And people look forward to Livengood Goodies.
D: I would be one of those people eagerly awaiting my treats. I have a crazy sweet tooth!
N: I wish someone baked us treats! I think it's such a grand gesture when someone makes something for you, don't you?
D: I do, I love to make things and give things away. Sometimes I don't get to carve out time for everything, but I have a few plans this year that I hope to follow through with.
So are you a clean as you go person, or does your kitchen look like a disaster area when you are finished?
N: My kitchen looks like a tornado when through it after I finish! My husband says I aim to dirty every pot and pan in the house. I HATE doing dishes. But there is nothing more beautiful than a clean kitchen.
D: One year I decided to make this strawberry nut bread at the holidays. I wish I'd taken a picture of the aftermath. The entire six feet of my counters were covered with flour, pans, bowls, measuring cups, and in the middle of it all was the one small loaf of bread!
N: I totally understand!
D: So has pinterest added to your baking plans this year?
N: Not really, but it sure has added to my craft list! I'm in the throws of making sock snowmen for tons of people on my list. Lots of fun! I wish I knew how to sew, people would really be in trouble then! I keep thinking I'll take a class, but then I don't. Pinterest was awesome of gift ideas this year, too. I collected ideas all year. That was nice. It's so much more visual than just bookmarking webpages. I love it. total addict. I have a crazy amount of boards. I love looking through them like a magazine.
D: I'm the same way. it really helped me find some party ideas this year. I did a lot of Pinterest recipes at Halloween and I found my Apple Cider recipe that way.
N: I made a pumpkin cheesecake from Pinterest at Thanksgiving. Totally Yum.
D: My sister makes a pumpkin cheesecake. I haven't tried it before. I didn't develop a love for pumpkin until this year, so I'll try it at Christmas.
N: An eggnog cheesecake is on tap for Christmas, I think. i love Egg Nog!
D: Ooo, not me! I've only had eggnog once but I didn't care for it at all! It's a very specific taste. I think you either love it or hate it.
N: I love eggnog cookies and cake and cheesecake. I love it in my coffee with whipped cream on top! Yep. That makes for a healthy breakfast.
D: Christmas is full of exceptions!
N: Definitely not a time for dieting! I have been walking to try and ward off some of the extra pounds, but I HATE exercising.
D: I have a love/hate relationship with exercise. If I get started for a while, I love it, and even look forward to it. But once I get out of the habit, then I hate it again and dread picking it back up.
N: Me too! I was obsessed with Zumba for over a year and then got sick and quit for a while and I CAN NOT make myself go back! And I lost so much weight and felt so great while I was doing it. *Sigh* Why are we this way?
D: Eh, I blame hormones most of the time.
N: Good Call.
D: Well I have really enjoyed chatting with you, Nichole!
N: Me too! Happy Holidays!
D: Happy Holidays!
How about you? Do you have any big Christmas Baking Traditions?