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Winter Holiday Fireside Moments: Interview with Leann Sweeney

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It’s that time of year when the chill in the frosty air brings us indoors to hunker down with thick comforters and mugs of steaming hot chocolate overflowing with fluffy marshmallows.  When holiday music and movies become the soundtrack to our everyday home lives. When we gather ‘round the fire for company, drink, food and love.  When we are celebrating and remembering those we treasure and hold near and dear.  When the real meaning of the season is family – by our DNA or by our heart.  When we reflect and give thanks for all we have. In a nutshell, unconditional love.

I’d like to welcome Leann Sweeney to share the beauty of the season with us.

Favorite holiday tradition?

Cookie baking — especially the family recipe for molasses cookies

Favorite childhood toy?

My homemade doll Susie (that my brother and his friends destroyed one day in a moment of boredom — grrr… still haven’t forgiven him for that! <g>)

Favorite childhood game?

Kick the can.

Snow ball fight or making snow families?

Actually making snow tunnels and little igloos — we got a lot of snow in western NY!

Sleigh rides, sledding or skiing?

Actually ice skating — did a LOT of ice skating.

Favorite holiday song?

“O Holy Night” — makes me cry! 

Favorite holiday movie?

Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus .

Favorite holiday story to read?

The Night Before Christmas.

Snow on holiday eve or just a chill in the air?

SNOW!

Most memorable holiday memory?

The year my aunt sewed me a tutu.

Did you eat popcorn balls as a kid? If you did, do you still?

Nope and nope!

Real tree or artificial? Green or white?

I would love a real tree — we used to cut down our own when I was a kid — but I am allergic, so it has to be artificial.

What do you do holiday eve?

Usually go out to eat, drive around and look at Christmas lights and then come home and have a warm drink and light candles

What are your holiday plans this year?

My son, his wife and my granddaughters are coming for Christmas and my daughter and son-in-law come the day after. There will be cookie baking, singing carols as my son plays the piano, lots of good food and my favorite, card games and Trivial Pursuit.

What’s the one holiday dish your family can’t go without?

Pumpkin pie! 

Please share a holiday recipe.

The famous molasses cookies that are plain ADDICTIVE:

1 c. shortening
2 eggs
1 c. sugar
1 c. molasses (I use Blackstrap, but any works)
1 tsp each salt, ginger, cinnamon
1/2 cream of tartar (I swear this is the secret ingredient. you hardly see it in recipes anymore)
2 tsp baking soda
5-51/2 c. flour

Mix ingredients in order given. Wrap dough in wax paper (I usually break it up into two batches). Place in fridge for 2-4 hours.

Roll out and cut, using a round cutter (these are best if you don’t make shapes — don’t know why!)

Bake at 375 degrees for 8-10 min. (there were never instructions for greased or ungreased sheet, so I spray the cookie sheet for the first batch, but after that, no extra is required).

Ice with your favorite conf. sugar icing (mine is just butter, vanilla, a little milk and plenty of conf. sugar).

Holiday party tip?

I don’t host any parties!

Favorite holiday decoration?

The quilted reversible tree skirt I made.

Please share some magical holiday memories?

Once we bought our kids a puppy for Christmas. We had a friend call our kids and pretend to be Santa. Santa told them that their Daddy had to go to a certain place and when he came back, they would have a wonderful gift. My kids bought it hook, line and sinker. The surprise and joy on their face when they opened the box my husband brought home and there was a puppy inside was something I will never forget!

Wrap, gift bag or bow & go?

My husband does the wrapping. I am TERRIBLE at it.

Gifts or gift cards?

Both.

Do you eat fruitcake?

Absolutely not. There is only one fruitcake and it’s been around the world a hundred times. People keep sending it on to someone else because no one will eat it. <g>

Do you head to the movies on the 25th?

Nope, we wait until the next day.

What’s in your stocking?  *wink*

A card from my husband

What do you want in your stocking? *saucy wink a.k.a. swink*

I don’t need or want a thing. I am so lucky!

Do you head out on the 26th into the madness to exchange or shop for anything?

Not on your life.

BTW, I have a holiday story on Kindle called Dying Embers. It’s very short, 99 cents, but it’s a little bit magical and written from my heart.

Thank you so much.

Happy Holidays from my house to yours!

Leann’s Halloween Fright Bites

Visit Leann’s website.

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About Diane Morasco

  • http://www.heatherwebber.com Heather Webber

    Love this interview, Leann, and adore the puppy story. What a sweet, sweet memory.

  • http://gabbieabbie.blogspot.com/ Abigail-Madison Chase

    I totally agree that there one fruit cake that is making the rounds…great post

  • http://thebookresort.com Diane

    Heather, it was a fun one!

  • http://thebookresort.com Diane

    Abigail, I say skip the fruit cake & go straight for the panettone ;].

  • Pj Schott

    I’m with Leann on the pumpkin pie!!

  • http://notesfromme.wordpress.com Dru

    This was a fun one. I’ve read Dying Embers and it was a good read.

  • Nancy Roessner

    Loved the interview! Thanks for the recipe. I don’t bake much lately, but I think I will try these cookies.