I’ve always wanted to be a journaler. I picture myself curled up with a cup of hot tea, writing about important memories, dreaming about the future through my pen. But I never seem to stick with it. Either I’m too much of a perfectionist to start (what if I mess up on the first page?), or I just don’t make the time to keep up with it. And if I take a break, I feel too overwhelmed to start back up again (how do I fill in the gaps?).
Yes, I overthink everything.
Enter Katie and Gadanke (guh-dawn-kuh) journals. Katie helps you catch and capture your story by using creativity and writing prompts. She hand crafts every journal from the comfort of her home that was built in the back of an old airplane hanger (so cool!). Recently Katie sent me a food and recipe journal, and I am just loving it! So many memories are connected to food, and I look forward to sharing memories old and new with my family through this journal.
I invited Katie to share her journals with you and how she uses them to capture important memories. (Look out for a discount code at the bottom of this post.)
Food is always a big part of many holiday memories and traditions. For my husband, there’s making the Vanilkové Rohlíčky (vanilla crescents), a Czech Christmas cookie that his grandma made as he was growing up. For me and my family, there’s Tom and Jerrys.
One of my grandfather’s greatest legacies in our family came every Christmas Eve when he made a hot, spiked batch of Tom and Jerrys for everyone. I have no idea how this drink became so iconic for our family. (It is a very popular Christmas cocktail in the US that could best described as a hot, spiked eggnog.)
If I close my eyes, I can be back in my grandparents’ house 20 years ago. I can see my grandfather mixing up the Tom and Jerry batter in the kitchen. I can smell the pine scent of the biggest Christmas trees I’d ever seen. One of my uncles would come into the living room with a tray of pottery mugs made by my grandma. Each mug would be filled to the brim with alcohol-free Tom and Jerrys for the kids. The mugs in our hands were sacred. They made us feel like we were a part of something really special: our family.
One year, I pulled out the treasured recipe from an old family cookbook and distributed it to a bunch of cousins. We’ve decided to recreate the Tom and Jerry tradition in our own homes. I suppose it could never be exactly the same. Memories never are. But we can recapture and recreate traditions in our own ways. Future generations can celebrate with mugs of Tom and Jerry, too.
I used the tag that comes with the Joy to the World Christmas journal at Gadanke. I taped on scraps of red and green paper cut like pennants. Then I wrote my grandfather’s recipe. (Later, I added a red ribbon on the top, as shown on the second photo.)
I wrote the story of Tom and Jerrys on the back and tucked the tag into my journal. I think I’d like to tell more of this story later in this book. And of course, I can’t wait for sipping some.
Here’s my grandpa’s recipe. It’s not a sweet drink, which can be a nice change.
Tom and Jerry Holiday Drink
- Heat mugs by filling each with hot water.
- While mugs are heating, mix 1 quart dry milk with hot water.
- Place 2-3 eggs into mixer and beat; add sugar until white and fluffy.
- Empty hot water from mugs.
- Into each mug add 1 jigger brandy; 1/2 jigger rum; 2 tbsp egg mix.
- Fill mug with hot milk. Relish with nutmeg, spoon and serve.
What special treats or savory dishes always have a place in your holiday memories?
Are you a journaler? Does anyone freak out about the first page like I do? Do you have a special family recipe to share?