I’ve come to realize that one of my traditions over the holiday season is to cook and bake. It’s partly nesting, digging in, and making food while it’s nasty outside. Before the plague, it would also be social: I’d go to cookie-making parties, holiday potluck parties, or to my brother’s house and would cook for the entire family.

I’ve been making more soups this year. Two outstanding ones were the butternut squash soup, made with coconut milk. I would add half a cup to my regular bone broth every morning. It was yummy.

Yesterday I had some leftover carrots, so made carrot soup, which turned out to be divine. Served it with some bacon. Will probably make it again, it was that good.

I’ve gotten into the habit of having something sweet with my coffee (or a coffee-like substance) in the mornings. So I’ve been baking muffins, scones, or coffee cake.

Yes, I’m still trying to maintain keto (or I will again once the holidays are over). Anything can be made keto. It’s all about portion control.

I have a regular rotation of things that I make. Remember, everything I bake is paleo, so no glutinous flour, maple syrup instead of sugar, etc.

  • Lemon poppyseed muffins. (Took me forever to get this recipe right—was far too dry. Decreased the arrowroot significantly and had the perfect crumb finally.)
  • Coffee cake, with tons of cinnamon. Because it’s so sweet, I can only have a very tiny piece every morning. 8×8 pan and I easily get 25 servings.
  • Various scones. I’m always trying out different things to put into scones, fresh fruit, dried fruit, and even leftover fruit from making shrub.
  • Spice cake, which generally has tons of spices in it, is a very fall recipe.
  • Something from a box, generally Simple Mills. The pumpkin is awesome. The banana doesn’t have enough banana flavor, IMO.

This weekend, I tried a carrot cake muffin recipe, with a vegan cream cheese frosting. Neither was a rousing success. It’s really difficult to make a paleo version of a carrot cake taste like a regular carrot cake. But I keep trying.

I also made cookies, both last weekend as well as this weekend.

Last weekend was my traditional cookie, which I make once every holiday season: a hazelnut rosemary shortbread. Except that it’s vegan. It has no butter in it. But it tastes really, really buttery. I love these cookies.

I always start with raw hazelnuts, that I then roast. Since I had extra hazelnuts, I decided to make Nutella this weekend. OMG so good! And because I’m making it, it gets its sweetness from maple syrup, and I don’t have to add that much.

However, I needed a delivery device for the Nutella. So at the request of my husband, I made sugar cookies. They spread and flattened out, as I was using vegan butter and I didn’t get it to whip up right. (Huh. Just checked out the Miyoko’s site. They have lots of tips and tricks for using their butter, and how to get it to whip up right. Interesting! Will have to try that next time.) So while the cookies aren’t lookers, they are a taste of my childhood.

Honestly, I think that’s so much of why I cook during the holidays. I have fond memories of cooking and baking with my mom, of making cookies and baking ham. I’m making my own memories now, making my holiday traditions.

And I will worry about being more keto, as well as losing weight, after the new year. That, too, now seems to be part of my holiday tradition.

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