Something funny happened last week, something so perfect for this time of year.  I was engaged in a back-and-forth flurry of email among several moms, about a cookie baking project for the school staff, and someone offered up a thought about how something should be done.  She added the line: “I’m suggesting, not volunteering.”  
You have to admire her honesty.  The to-do lists get longer and longer at this time of year, and my home is a confusion of wrapping paper, piled up coats and backpacks, holiday cards, and sticks of butter softening on the counter.  I know we have a dog, and he’s in here somewhere, too.
And this year, like every year, I am determined to elbow past the chaos and the commercialism and create some moments and gifts with meaning.  Meaning, dammit.  So while I’ve done my share of shopping, the list below is what my weekend in the kitchen will be all about.

1. Crunchy Chewy Granola:

A pretty clear bag or canister of granola makes people very happy.  

2. Chewy Sugar Cookies

Is there anything better than a simple, un-show-offy sugar cookie?  Methinks no.  

3. Big Fat Chocolate Chunk Cookies:

. . unless it’s a perfect chocolate chunk cookie.  

4. Gingersnaps

These are the poster child of holiday cookies..  

5. Raspberry Streusel Coffee Cake with Sweet Vanilla Drizzle:

This is what you bring to someone’s potluck when you are in charge of dessert, or when you just want to serve something sort of spectacular for a crowd.  

6. Chocolate Peanut Butter Squares:

These are like square, homemade Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.  

7. Dijon, Garlic and Lemon Marinade:

If you want to make something savory instead of sweet, your friends will be very grateful for a pretty bottle or jar of this marinade; when they pour it over a chicken breast or a piece of salmon, they have one less meal to think about at this busy time of year.  
Happy holidays, and best wishes for a fantastic 2014,