Jenn McKinlay

New York Times Bestselling Author

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Jenn McKinlay's News #3

November 19, 2012

BOOK NEWS: Two books out in one month -- a new personal best!

BOOK, LINE, AND SINKER will be released on December 4, 2012!

A DEAL TO DIE FOR by my alter-ego Josie Belle will be released
December 31, 2012!

EVENTS: I’ll be signing at the Poisoned Pen in Scottsdale on
December 8th at 2 pm with my buddy Paige Shelton who will be

WHAT’S ON MY MIND? Ah, the holidays, a time of Norman Rockwell expectations and Married with Children reality. Every year, without fail, it seems we all gear up for some mythical idea of what the holidays should be as if we haven’t been members of our families our entire lives. We consistently labor under the notion that this will be the year that the turkey comes out perfectly, everyone gets along and we’ll all randomly burst into song because we are so full of holiday joy.

The heck with that, I say. Embrace the crazy! You see I, too, suffered from a holiday delusional episode that was beaten out of me several years ago. It was Christmas. I was hosting, and I spent weeks planning and prepping to make sure everything was Better Homes and Gardens perfect. And it was…until the guests arrived.

It started with my sister-in-law’s dog, who managed to clear whole rooms as he slyly trotted through the house emitting a purple fog that was so noxious it had everyone checking the bottoms of their shoes to see if they’d stepped in something. The turkey came out so under cooked we had to catch it before it made a run for it. The sweet potato balls exploded. The person charged with saying grace took a beer fueled power nap halfway through the blessing until they were snapped out of it by a well placed under the table kick. The children squabbled, the adults imbibed and the crazy neighbors dropped in, wearing the decorations that had been previously been hanging on my front porch and then made themselves at home to the remaining desserts while they took over the living room to watch a Simpsons marathon.

As I surveyed the wreckage of my expectations in complete bewilderment, I had to laugh. Had there ever been a more chaotic holiday? No. This was a catastrophe that not even Martha Stewart could resuscitate with thumps to the chest and mouth to mouth.

Now here’s the take away, this is far and away my favorite holiday memory. Why? Because in the end, this is the Christmas that the Hub and I remember and chuckle about the most. We were surrounded by loved ones and their laughter and good cheer despite the insanity is what made it a holiday to remember. And so my wish for you is a happy holiday season full of crazy chaos and lots of love.

And now my assistants, the hooligans, have taken over my newsletter to share with you their own magical holiday recipe. It is a family classic. I wrote it down exactly as it was told to me, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I do. Oh, and the cookies really are terrific.

The Hooligans sugar cookie recipe:

1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup butter (2 sticks) softened
1 egg
1 tablespoon vanilla
2 1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
Decorating sugar

1: Wash your hands. We find that licking them works just as well.

2: Blend sugar and butter. You can use a fork but hands are more
fun for gushing the butter between your fingers.

3: Beat in vanilla and egg until fluffy. If you get into a tug of war over
the mixer with your brother, we've found you get enough fluffing action
without even turning it on.

4: Mix in flour and baking soda. This is a good opportunity to observe
how ghostlike you can make your appearance by covering yourself in
flour. It's also been known to make Mom scream, however, we're
unclear if it's from fright or the mess.

5: Divide the dough in half. We've noted that parental mediation is
occasionally required to discern what is exactly even.

6: Shape each half into a roll about 1 1/2 inches in diameter
(think snakes -- big ones)!

7: Wrap and refrigerate for one hour. A good way to time it is to keep
asking your mom if it's done yet (until her eyes roll back into her head)
then you know it's ready.

8: Cut into 1/4 inch slices and place on an ungreased cookie sheet.
Then sprinkle with decorating sugar. Our rule is a pinch for the cookie
and a pinch for us. If your mouth isn't circled by sugar sprinkles,
clearly you're not enjoying the process as much as you should.

9: Bake at 375 for 8 to 10 minutes until brown around the edges
(best to leave this step to a parental to avoid unnecessary
immolation of brother or self). Cool on wire rack.

Enjoy! But remember to save some for Santa!
Wishing you and yours a happy holiday season!