Friday, December 7, 2012

12 Days of Christmas - L.A. Johannesson

It's Day Four! Welcome to:

The 12 Days of Christmas
Romance and Food
Blogging Extravaganza! 

My guest for today is L. A. Johannesson, author of the fabulous tale, eloves me, eloves me not -- an inside look at the world of online dating. In eloves me, eloves me not, 39 year old singelton, Kayte Wexford dives fingers first into a sea of online dating, instant messaging and email exchanges where she connects with some charming, hilarious, bizarre and downright frightening characters. Just like yesterday's guest, Joan Kilby, L.A. is a Canadian who's adopted Australia as her home. She's got a lovely story about her family Christmas traditions. Take it away, L.A.!

The Sweet Season
by L.A. Johannesson

Christmases past hold some of the happiest memories for me. I can remember bursting with anticipation, waking every morning in the lead up to open that next window on the Advent calendar or breaking the link on the Christmas countdown chain.

It was full of anticipation, preparation and celebration. The season was all about festivities, family, fun and food. Even as a child, I noticed that everyone seemed just that extra bit nicer, more generous, more jovial, just more of all things nice. When questioned, my Mother humoured me with the explanation that people were sweeter at this time of year because they consumed more sugar than normal from eating all those Christmas treats.

Growing up in Canada, I recall the cold and blustery Christmas snowstorms and hoping and praying for a White Christmas. I remember tossing off icy mittens and warming up by a roaring fireplace with spiced hot apple cider in hand. To this day when I smell cinnamon, a fresh mandarin orange or a pine tree, I am instantly transported back to those special yet simple times.

Come early December, my mother would enlist my help with the Christmas baking. Over the course of two or three weekends we would prepare a selection of sweet treats to be enjoyed at holiday parties, given as gifts and left out for Santa. To honour those special times with my Mother in our humble little suburban kitchen, I’m sharing two of our favourite recipes with you.

My personal favourite? Nanaimo Bars (a Canadian tradition) a no-bake, chocolate, butter cream bar on a base of graham cracker crumbs, cocoa and coconut: here’s a video recipe!

The Whipped Shortbread was Mom’s top pick. They were no roll, no cut, no muss, no fuss, yet retained all the same taste of buttery goodness of a traditional shortbread. They were light, airy and just melted in your mouth. We would add red or green sugar sprinkles for a more festive touch.

Once made, the treats were stored out of sight locked in the freezer. Mom would have to hide the freezer key as us kids had a habit of raiding the stash.

There was one year when my teenage brother just couldn’t take it anymore, He wanted those treats so bad. Not being able to find the coveted freezer key, he actually removed the freezer hinges instead, allowing just enough room to pry open the freezer door, reach in, pinch a few and satiate his craving.
Yes, they were THAT good!

However you celebrate the holiday season, I hope you enjoy it. Merry Christmas.  Remember whether you eat these treats or not,  ‘tis the season to be a little sweeter.

Don't forget, as part of TDoCFaRBE I'm encouraging you all to undertake a Random Act of Kindness throughout the festive season. Don't miss the very helpful hints Random Acts is providing on all kinds of acts of kindness you can perform. Or you can simply send them a donation and wear a smile all day.


  1. Hi L.A. Nice to meet a fellow Canadian. I love your book title. It sounds like a fun read. Nanaimo bar, mmmmm. Pardon me while I drown in my own drool. I can believe your brother took the hinges off the freezer to get at them. They are sooo delicious, one of Canada's best kept secrets. My sister used to make huge batches of it every Christmas and everyone in the family would get their own pan. They certainly keep one sweet.

    1. I had never heard of Nanaimo bards until this blog post, but they sound wickedly delicious! I might just have to give them a try...

  2. Hi L.A. The Canadian invasion can continue when you guys bring great recipes like this with you! I am soooo going to make the Nanaimo bars.
    Loved your post and I adore the sound of your book. Merry Christmas!

  3. Joan and Louise thanks so much for the kind words.
    And, Ms. Dark, you had a fab idea in bringing us together to share all our great recipes and memories. Emmie, hope you're planning a follow up for early in the new year, I'm thinking along the lines of "12 days of dieting exercise tips" so we can also share ideas for working off all these fabulous treats.
    Great to be a part of this - thanks for inviting me - I'm honoured to be in such wonderful company.

    1. You're very welcome! And yes, I love the idea of '12 days of dieting'! Well, not really, but it might come in handy!

  4. This is such delicious fun. Twelve days of feasting . . . mmmmmmm. Thanks for sharing L.A.