I blinked, and somewhere in the process November became December. Days seem to blend into one another lately, and the last week has especially left me pondering my life now compared to just one year ago. There are a million words swirling in my head, yet they float not quite capable of connecting themselves to one another to form a proper thought. The words being emotions and feelings really, much of which leave me even more confused when I try to piece them together.
So, my approach these last few weeks has been to really take my own advice. I’ve been consumed with just trying to be present and fully aware of every moment. We spend so much of our lives being connected to something, instead of someone. And so my silence here, there and everywhere these last few weeks has been because I’ve been absorbed with experiencing life rather than simply documenting it.
I hadn’t really given this change any thought until a friend said she wondered why I’d been so quiet on Instagram lately. I looked at my photo gallery and realized it had been six days since I posted something. A six day lapse in social media is akin to dog years in real life. I looked at Twitter today and realized it’s been 11 days since I thought there was anything of value to share. The closer I get to the book publishing, my heart races a bit, and not in a good way. For all the incredible friendships this brave, new world of social media has brought to me, I struggle to find meaning in it now. The outlets that helped give me a voice, and in many ways helped all of you find me here in this little corner of the world…well, they don’t hold the same solace they once did.
I ponder this a lot lately, especially as I turn my thoughts to next April when the book publishes. I know the purpose of promoting the book is to help with sales, but for me it isn’t just about the bottom line. In a few short months, I move one step closer to connecting the dots of virtual life and real life. As I wonder how to best promote this book, I hold advice that a friend gave me close to my heart. I will only do what feels comfortable and genuine. It’s great advice to keep in mind for living my everyday life too. So, don’t take it personal if I’m not here as much as you all wish. Do know that I’m always thinking about all of you. I have a few more holiday recipes that I’m eager to share, and hope to do so if I can lift my head from the fog it seems to be in lately. It’s a good fog, though. For the first time in 16 months, I’m truly enjoying life’s little moments. I’m finding happiness and peace.
I’m hoping to pop back here in a few days—I have a few more holiday-inspired recipes I want to share. Until then, here’s a new favorite recipe of mine for homemade eggnog. This one is a cooked version because the thought of eating raw eggs makes me faint. I know eggnog is traditionally served cold, but I love it warmed, and am even thinking about stirring in some chocolate ganache to my next cup for a jazzed up hot cocoa.
Jennie's Homemade Eggnog
makes 1 1/4 quarts (1.25 L)
Music Pairing: Christmas Wrapping by The Waitresses
You’ll need a dedicated 15 minutes to prepare this eggnog, so plan on making it when you can give it your full attention. I start off making a zabaglione-like base (an Italian pastry cream used in tiramisu), and then stir in the milk. It’s a gentler way to cook the egg yolks, and ensure they don’t curdle or break.
I first tried it using the whole egg, but it was missing richness and depth, so I decided to save the whites for my royal icing and go with just the yolks. Many eggnog recipes call for cream and whole milk—it’s rare to find a lower fat version. Look no further, though—I made mine with 2% milk and honestly can’t imagine enjoying a whole glass with a heavier version. A splash of bourbon is totally optional.
4 large egg yolks (save the whites for a later use)
3/4 cup (150 grams) natural cane granulated sugar
1/2 vanilla bean, split in half
4 cups (1 liter) 1% or 2% milk
Freshly grated nutmeg, to taste (a generous pinch for me)
Get the double boiler going: Fill a 3.5-quart pot one-third of the way up with water. Set it over high heat, cover and bring to a boil.
Meanwhile, add the egg yolks and sugar to a 2-quart metal or glass bowl that will fit securely on top of the pot. Whisk vigorously until well combined and the egg mixture drops in thick ribbons when you hold the whisk over the bowl.
Remove the lid from the pot, and reduce the boiling water to a gentle simmer (little bubbles popping to the surface). Place the bowl on top of the pot. Whisk vigorously for five minutes, until the mixture is thickened and the sugar is mostly melted.
Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean, and add them to the egg-sugar mixture. Whisk to combine. Slowly whisk in 1 cup of the milk. Whisk vigorously to mix it well. Whisk in the remaining milk. Whisk in the nutmeg. Continue to cook the eggnog, whisking constantly, for 10 more minutes.
At this point you can serve the cooked eggnog warm. Alternatively, you can transfer it to a glass bottle. Let it cool for 30 minutes on the counter, then cover, and place the bottle in the fridge until thoroughly chilled, about 4 hours.