December Birdseed

Chirped by Tina

Gingerbread-Martini-PINIf you need some new, festive recipes to make for the holidays, here are two good ones you should try.

Our first little holiday nibble is a fancy cocktail for a cold winter night… Gingerbread Martinis. I got this recipe from a neighbor who always serves the best fru-fru drinks!


  • 1 shot of whipped vodka
  • 1 shot of vodka
  • 1/2 shot of Baileys Irish Cream
  • 1/2 shot of Kahlua
  • 1/2 shot of Monin brand gingerbread syrup
  • 2 shots of milk or cream or even ice cream
  • 2 Pepperidge Farm Gingerbread Man cookies
  • Honey



Shake the first six ingredients with ice. Roll the rim of the glass in honey, then dip in crushed Pepperidge Farm Gingerbread Man cookies. Strain cocktail into prepared glass and enjoy!

Some important notes on this recipe: Gingerbread-shot

  • Setting up a little tray of shot-sized samplers is a good way for folks to see if they like it before they commit to a full-size drink, plus, in the smaller size, they’re less likely to be so wide awake by the end of the evening that they won’t leave! (See next important note!)
  • Did you know Kahlua and Bailey’s both have CAFFEINE in them!? I learned this the hard way, as I was finishing off all the leftovers after I poured little sampler cups into tiny shot glasses for the crew on our recent scrapbooking retreat (more on that in 2019!)… I was wide awake all night! But I’m a little sensitive to caffeine after 4pm – if you are too, plan to sample this martini early in the evening, and switch to wine or other beverage later on. Alternatively, they are also delicious if you leave out the Kahlua, which packs the higher caffeine punch, and just go with the Baileys.
  • If the fully-loaded recipe is too strong for you, skip the shot of regular Vodka.
  • If you or your guests are lactose sensitive, it works great with Lactaid!
  • The Monin brand syrup is hard to find, but my neighbor says it makes a difference. I was able to purchase little 50ml bottles as part of a variety pack of Monin syrups at a local World Market store, but had to go online to buy a full-sized bottle.

The second recipe to try is Garlic Rosemary Chicken with Cranberries.

Cranberry-Chicken-PlateWe’ve served it with fresh steamed green beans and rice, couscous or mashed potatoes, and it looks so pretty and tastes so delicious! The cranberries stay nice and tart, without completely overwhelming all the other delicious flavors that the chicken is prepared with, and the celery actually adds some nice texture without tasting like… celery. I made a number of modifications to the recipe from the Mediterranean Dish linked above however, so I’ll recreate it here with my additions in italics. This serves 6, and I used boneless, skinless chicken breasts (because I prefer them) and adjusted cooking times accordingly below.

First off – prep time of 15 minutes?! Ha! Even with a dedicated “sous chef” (my hubbie), and doing it the second time around, it took at least 25 to 30 minutes for the two of us to get to the marinating stage. Add marinating, searing, and baking time and you’re up to more like 75-90 minutes, start to finish, not an hour (with no mention of a second pair of hands to help chop!) Plan accordingly! Cranberry-chicken-ingredients


    • 2 c. fresh cranberries
    • 1/3 cup brown sugar
    • 3 Tbsp white wine vinegar, more for later
    • 6 pieces boneless, skinless chicken breasts
    • 6-8 cloves of fresh garlic, minced
    • coarse kosher or sea salt and fresh ground pepper
    • 1 1/2 Tbsp chopped fresh rosemary (save some for garnish!)
    • 1 tsp sweet paprika (mine was called Hungarian sweet paprika)
    • 1/3 c. extra virgin olive oil
    • 1 lemon, juice of (save the used halves for marinating/baking with!)
    • 1 large sweet or yellow onion, chopped
    • 3 celery stalks, chopped
    • 1/2 c. chicken broth or water


    1. Combine cranberries, brown sugar and vinegar in small bowl and set aside.
    2. Rub chicken with minced garlic on both sides, season well with coarse salt and pepper. Combine chopped rosemary and paprika and apply to both sides of chicken.
    3. In a large bow, mix olive oil, lemon juice and 2 Tbsp white wine vinegar. Add chicken, celery, onion and used lemon halves and mix it all together with clean hands – this is gross and fun all at the same time…. Set aside to marinate 15 mins.[wpvideo yLsi9l4m]
    4. Preheat oven to 425F. (Get rice or potatoes ready to go while you wait…)
    5. Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in a large skillet on medium-high. Sear chicken about two minutes each side to brown. seared-chicken
    6. Lightly oil a baking pan and add chicken, onions, celery, lemon halves, and anything left in the marinating bowl. Add 1/2 c. broth or water, then the sugared cranberries all around the chicken. cranberry-chkn-in-pan
    7. Bake for 20-25 minutes, depending on your oven. Chicken should be about 165F.
    8. While chicken bakes, start your rice or potatoes cooking, if you haven’t already. During the last ten minutes steam some green beans however you like them (about 8 minutes on the stove, 4 in the microwave, plus 1-3 minutes sit time.) Add butter, garlic sea salt, and fresh pepper.
    9. Plate the chicken with some of the “gunk” artfully spilled over it, your chosen starch, the green beans, and don’t forget the sprig of rosemary! (which I forgot the second time around…)

Whether it’s a sit-down dinner or an after-work cocktail with the neighbors, hope you enjoy these as much as we did with your family and friends this holiday season!


1 thought on “December Birdseed

  1. Pingback: Packing for a Scrapbooking Weekend | Two Flew Over the Empty Nest

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