Friday, December 9, 2011

Katherine Grey's Holiday Traditions

I'm pleased to have Katherine Grey on my blog today. She's sharing her favorite holiday traditions and a recipe. I hope you'll leave a comment and share some of your special traditions.

Holiday Traditions

Everyone I know has at least one holiday tradition they look forward to every year from Black Friday shopping to family gatherings to attending that one special holiday party every year.

I have two traditions I look forward to. One is to watch Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer. I’m well past the age of believing in Santa Claus and flying reindeer, but it’s just not Christmas if I don’t watch Rudolph. Every year, the night it’s on, I get in bed, prop up my pillows, and snuggle under my big fluffy comforter and watch the cartoon while my cat curls up at my feet. Of course, there’s always a cup of hot chocolate involved too.

The most important tradition though is making Christmas cookies with my mom. She started teaching me to cook when I was four years old. Every December we would make cut out cookies in various holiday shapes. She would mix the dough on a Friday evening and put it in the refrigerator over night. My brothers and sisters and I would take turns peering into the refrigerator at the bowl of dough and asking when it would be ready for baking.

Finally, Saturday afternoon would come and she’d pronounce it ready. She would roll it out and place the cutters on the dough. Each one of my siblings and I would get a turn to push the cutters down into the dough. My mom would peel away the excess, put the cut out pieces onto a baking sheet and into the oven. We’d repeat the process over and over until every scrap of dough had been formed into a cookie.

Rows and rows of angels, reindeer, snowmen, Christmas trees, holly leaves, tree ornaments, and Santa Claus cookies would fill one end of the table to cool then be packed away until the next day, the most important day of all – the day we would frost them.

My mom would make the frosting and allow each one of us to stir drops of food coloring into bowls of white icing. We’d have a rainbow of colors and little bottles of colored sugar to decorate the cookies with. We’d spend the afternoon decorating the cookies, making sure the Santa cookies were frosted red and white to represent his suit, the snowmen white with a strip of yellow around his neck and down his stomach to represent his scarf. Christmas trees had brown frosting for the trunk and green frosting for the leaves and a dot of yellow at the top for the star just to describe a few. When we were finished, my mom would lay them on wax paper to set. We would ooh and ah over them like they were the most magnificent cookies ever made.

My brothers and sisters are all married with children now and building their own holiday traditions but for two days every December my siblings and I gather together and make Christmas cut out cookies with my mom. It’s a tradition I hope we’re able to continue for many years to come.

My mom asked that I not share our special cut out cookie recipe but here’s one that’s just as special.

Oatmeal Cookies

1 cup all purpose flour

½ cup granulated sugar

½ cup packed brown sugar

½ teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

¼ teaspoon salt

½ cup Crisco shortening

1 egg

¼ teaspoon vanilla

¾ cup quick-cooking rolled oats

*½ cup chopped walnuts

A small dish of granulated sugar

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a mixing bowl, stir together the first 6 ingredients (the flour through the salt). Add the Crisco, egg and vanilla. Beat well. Stir in the oats and nuts. Form into small balls. Dip the tops of the balls in the additional dish of granulated sugar. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 10 to 12 minutes.

Makes 3 ½ dozen cookies

*I sometimes substitute the walnuts for craisins.

Below is the blurb for Katherine’s debut novel, Impetuous.

Mateo de Montayas, an impoverished Spanish count, comes to England to recover a stolen family heirloom and to satisfy his hunger for revenge against the man who destroyed his family. Arriving in London, he learns his hated enemy died three years before but has left behind a daughter. What better way to retrieve the heirloom and exact revenge than to use her to his advantage?

Teresa Darlington will do anything to keep scandal away from her frail mother and prove her father wasn't a thief, even risk her reputation in a race to find the missing heirloom before the Count does. But she didn't count on falling in love with the man determined to ruin her family. Can she find the heirloom before he does and protect her family, or will her heart lead her in a different direction?

You can purchase a copy at any of the following links:

The Wild Rose Press:


Barnes & Noble:

You can learn more about Katherine on her blog and Facebook page.



Thank you for joining us today, Katherine. I can't believe your mom wouldn't let you share the cut-out cookie recipe :-(  but I love oatmeal cookies.

Readers, please leave a comment for Katherine.

Happy Reading and Writing!



  1. Hi Linda,
    Thanks for having me. I tried talking her into letting me share the cut-out cookie recipe but she said it's our family's "secret family recipe" having been handed down from her grandmother. Would you believe neither I nor my siblings even have the recipe? She jokes that she's leaving it to each of us in her will. I love oatmeal cookies too - as long as they don't have raisins.

  2. No worries, Katherine, and I don't blame your mother. Just had to get a little dig in there. :-)

    Hey, I love raisins!

    Thanks for being here today and sharing your traditions with us and Impetious. Beautiful cover!

  3. Great interview Katherine. Oatmeal cookies are tasty and on the healthy side. I like mine warm and with milk. I'm not much of a cook but your recipe looks simple to make :) I agree with Linda, the cover for your book is pretty :)

  4. Thank you, Na. I love the cover too. I never thought of warming the cookies. What a great idea. I bet a few seconds in the microwave would make them taste even better. Thanks for stopping by. :o)

  5. Great tradition. And my mother always had a tuperware container full of oatmeal cookies. I can smell them baking right now. I might have to bake a batch. Love that cover!!

  6. Thanks Anna. The artist did a great job with the cover. I hope you enjoy your oatmeal cookies. Thanks for stopping by. :o)