We all have one… the elderly neighbor, the second cousin we see only once a year, the cranky aunt, our best friend’s mom who is suddenly flying in from the coast. These are the impossible-to-buy-for people still on our lists. And, it’s already December 18! There’s no time, not much money and absolutely not a clue what they’d like. So I say, it’s time to bake a cake.

But not just any cake. A very special Christmas cake my friend Mary Lynn shared with me years ago. It is super simple to make (OK, a big plus there.), takes minimal, easy to find ingredients (Yes!), is small and personal and… the clincher… tastes, looks and smells just like Christmas.

Case in point: We have a very dear neighbor named Dave. He’s getting on in years, and my husband does a lot of yard work for him over the spring, summer and fall. Dave is very generous in his compensation, but Don would do it anyway because Dave is a super cool guy. And other than running the occasional errand for him, taking his trash bins in from the curb and making sure he’s ok if the power goes out, there’s not much we can do for or give to Dave that he couldn’t do or buy for himself.

You see Dave used to own the hardware store in town—I mean the original hardware store. Where you could walk in, open a dusty little wooden drawer, fish out two of the screws you needed for a repair and hand Dave 25 cents. Well, trust me, there were such stores when I was a kid. Anyway, Dave sold his store several years ago and retired to a relatively comfortable, self-sufficient and quiet life. But he can’t cook a lick.

Hear that? No, that sound is not reindeer hooves on the roof but the music of opportunity knocking. Every year for Christmas, I bake Dave his very own Christmas Cake. And, I bet there is a “Dave” in your life, too. So if you are sitting here reading this post, feeling overwhelmed by the prospect of heading back out to the stores or searching online for something…anything…that might work for that impossible someone and actually might get here before December 25, relax. It’s gonna be a piece of cake.


Cutting Corners, But Not Nutrition

The real beauty of this cake is its simplicity. The last thing you want on December 18, is stress. So this cake allows you to sort of cut some corners and still have a winner of a gift or dessert to share. But cutting corners only goes so far…let’s talk about your own well-being and nutrition.

Amaranth Cardamom Porridge

Amaranth Cardamom Porridge

It’s all too easy to rationalize a couple of sugar cookies with that morning coffee instead of a healthy breakfast as you make your many lists and head out the door for a day of shopping. Don’t do it! Here’s a better plan brought to you by Delicious Living Magazine—Slow-Cooker Amaranth Cardamom Porridge, a delicious, hot, nutritious breakfast that you make the night before in your slow cooker. Genius. No need to reach for that cookie–save it for Santa.

Butternut Squash Lasagna Bake

Butternut Squash Lasagna Bake

Delicious Living also has you covered for dinner with a slow-cooker Butternut Squash Lasagna Bake. I know! Lasagna! But it’s true, and it can be waiting for you when you return from the hectic holiday hustle and bustle. Add only a glass of red wine… and maybe that cookie.

So remember yourself as you remember those you love because they love you just as much as you love them. Be merry and well and infinitely brave in that kitchen!