Merry Christmas 2010


Every year when Christmas comes along, I look around and wonder at how wonderfully blessed we are. Blessed to have family, friends, health. Blessed for the ability to walk, think, see, read, sing. I’m especially grateful for this website, and the opportunity to share with you the results of our cooking experiments, in hope that you will enjoy them as much as we have. That is just what the recipes are, by the way, experiments, guidelines. All we’re really aiming for here is to offer some motivation to get in the kitchen, and to cook a meal to share with your family and friends. Cooking is such an act of love, whether you’re cooking for yourself or for others.

For the last several weeks I’ve been putting in a stone patio at my house. Before they can mortar in the stones, the masons have to pour concrete down, a foundation of sorts, for the stones that will be laid on top.

Can you resist wet concrete? It just calls for writing. Something, anything. As I looked out at my yard and the hardening concrete I thought I would leave some blessings. At every pathway that ended at the patio I wrote a word in the concrete with my finger tips. The next day when the masons came to start laying the stone, the head mason approached me concerned. “Uh, Elise, you know we are going to cover the concrete with stones, right? You won’t be able to see the words.” I assured him it was okay, I understood. Words don’t need to be seen to have power. Just the thought, the knowing that each time someone entered the patio, they would be stepping through a hidden wish for them, was enough.

I leave these words for you too. May they carry you through the holidays, through the year, and through your life. They are





Merry Christmas.



  1. Gary in Massena

    Indeed I am blessed to have many reasons to be thankful for.

    My best to you and your family and friends.



  2. Windy

    What beautiful sentiments. Thank you, Elise, for your lovely blog. It’s obvious that it starts from the inside.

    Blessings and peace to you and yours this beautiful Christmas day.

  3. Gilbert

    What a great way to create positive energy around your home! And yes, the words do not need to be seen, it’s the intention behind them.
    Happy Holidays to you and your family, Elise!

  4. kosmosiki

    Usually I just lurk here for your great recipes but today I will speak. :) A merry, happy, family Christmas to you too from Warsaw, Poland.

    And also thanks for great food recipe blog.

  5. Virginia

    Merry Christmas from a faithful follower! We love your recipes here and I can always count on them turning out perfectly. (Love your photo greeting as well!)

    May 2011 be full of blessings for you and yours!

  6. Moe

    I’d just like to thank you and wish you a wonderful new year. While we’ve used your recipes for a few years, my wife and I have recently started looking to your site first for nearly everything that we cook for special occasions. And we’ve had great success every single time.

    Happy Holidays from Brian and Tricia in Minneapolis.

  7. Michael Hamburg

    What a sweet message, Elise. Thank you for a year of superb recipes. Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year.

  8. Romualdo

    Thank you for everything: your recipes, your kindness, your care and especially your desire to help others. I wish you LOVE, PEACE, JOY AND BEAUTY.


  9. Debbie

    Hi Elise. I wanted to wish you a merry Christmas. I love your recipes and have tried many of them. I need to come back and leave comments. Sorry about that. I so appreciate your posting.

    Love, joy and peace …that’s my wish!


  10. Beth

    Thank you for this post, Elise, and thank you for all of the love and attention you pour into sharing with us regularly! You are an inspiration and resource!

    Hope you have had a wonderful Christmas full of love, laughter and delightful memories!


  11. Paula

    May you continue to do what you do with such excellence, Elise. Your enthusiasm, creativity and generosity of spirit are always an inspiration for me. May you have good health, much happiness and abounding success in the New Year.

  12. Amy

    Oh, how beautiful! Merry Christmas to you, Elise. I used your pecan pie recipe today as a gift to my dad, as it is his favorite. Your website has been so helpful as I learn my way around the kitchen, including making pie crust for the first time!

  13. Lillianne

    Merry Christmas to you, Elise and your family and friends. Thank you for your contributions to my family. Your Chicken Picatta has become our Sunday roast beef. I can’t begin to list all the other delights you have added to our kitchen. Can’t wait to see what the New Year brings.
    The Dunnigans

  14. Anna

    Beautiful, Elise! Merry Christmas and a Happy, Healthy New Year to you and your loved ones! Thank you for your wonderful work, your site is the first one I look for ideas and recipes to cook for my family!

  15. April

    I love the hidden good wishes idea. Your future patio guests are fortunate to attend bbq’s at your home wherein good wishes will be sent their way everytime they step on that path. How thoughtful of you! Best wishes to you in 2011!

  16. Christine Hyatt

    Merry Christmas to you and yours! Simply Recipes has become one of my favorite sites and a trusted resource for great recipes and beautiful food photography in 2010. Thank you for all you do and good luck with that patio!

    Blessing of peace and joy to you in 2011.


  17. constance

    Merry Christmas to you and your family and friends. Thank you for sharing all your wonderful recipes and thoughts. May you have joy, peace, love and beauty in your life as well. Not only your site is great, I can tell you are one gracious woman. God bless~

  18. Aimee

    Merry, Merry Christmas Elise! Over the years you and your family have become integrated into my family’s traditions–from recipes you’ve shared to cooking tips you’ve given, I’m not just a better cook, I’m more efficient and more confident in the kitchen than I ever was before–which gives me time to make time in the kitchen exciting for my kids, and I think I’m a better mom for that. You’ve given me many gifts over the years, thank you so much! Merry Christmas!

  19. Mary Hamel

    Merry Christmas to you and your family. I love your site — so glad I found it. I look forward to visiting it more and more in 2011! Thank you so much for your work.

  20. Suze Baker

    All the best you you and yours, Elise. May your every dream come true in 2011.
    with much appreciation, the Bakers

  21. DSX

    Happy Holidays (= Your blog is one of the windows on our family PC’s “home” page, and not a week goes by where someone won’t say “hey, did you see that recipe for so-and-so.” It almost always either send us to the grocer to try it or inspire to exploring something ourselves. Thanks so much, and hope the next year as fun to read (and fun to eat!) as the previous.

  22. Pat

    Perfect words and the knowledge of the power they will bring to your life and home forever is amazing. All of that to you and yours in 2011.

  23. Judy

    Wishing Elise and her family and friends a peaceful, blessed Christmas. The patio idea is great. We have something similar in our gardens…little signs with positive words, phrases…little faeries, angels, and critters holding words that make even the flowers smile. Besides cooking, gardening is my favorite thing.
    Had a long, chaotic day with lots of little ones underfoot and only one major catastrophe when my son-in-law decided to “help” and stirred my pot of Swedish meatballs into a thick, meaty gravy. They took it home. I imagine it will be good on mashed potatoes. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all. And thanks to Elise, her family, her guest chefs, friends and her innovative readers who tweak and play with the recipes and give us different things to try.
    I don’t even bother with other recipe sites most of the time. Just about everything I need is here. Thanks, Elise. Many blessings to you.

  24. Lisa

    What a beautiful sentiment the words beneath the stones convey! Many blessings to you and your family, and a very Merry Christmas!

  25. Dena Brown

    Indeed you have inspired me to bake this whole season, and to use several of your recipes starting with albondigas which was delicious, through the current batch of recipes. I think I was most surprised by your use of figs in cooking, and delighted at the resulting flavors.

    This is the first time I haved responded to anyone’s website and have done so because you seem so approachable, open and genuine. You have presented your family and friends in a warm, humorous and loving way that warms the hearts of your readers. Thank you and Happy New Year to you and yours! -DWLB, Sacramento

  26. Aaron

    2000 miles away and through the anonymous lens of the internet, you and your family have had a positive impact on me and mine :) If that isn’t joyous and amazing I don’t know what is.

    “Words don’t need to be seen to have power.” A great sentiment, sounds like something Tolkien would have said:)

  27. Susanne Weindl

    Thank you, Elise, and a very merry Christmas to you, too! My fiance would not have fallen in love with me (this quickly) without your Cranberry Apply Pie!! :-)
    Best wishes for the New Year from Germany!

  28. Diana

    I just want to say thank you for creating and maintaining this site. It’s my all-time favorite cooking blog and I have loved every single recipe I have tried. Your updates are also the only messages I get excited to read and it feels like I’m opening a little Christmas present every time I get an email and see what new recipes you’ve posted. Thank you again, I really appreciate all you do.

  29. Linda

    I am drawn to Simply Recipes for a reason- and it’s not just for the food. Your Christmas Day post exemplifies why this website is so engaging. Thank you and have a wonderful holiday!

  30. Geannie Buzby

    You just made me cry! Even though I have only made your banana bread (over and over again), your site is a wonderfully nurturing place to visit! Thank you for doing what you do! It is truly a gift to all! Wishing you all the best in 2011!

  31. Sara, Ms. Adventures in Italy

    Elise you are super photogenic :) Hopefully we’ll see each other in 2011 – I should be coming to the States a few times instead of just once.

    “Words don’t need to be seen to have power.” I like that. Merry Christmas to you and yours.

  32. Sonja Lovas

    I would like to thank you for all the recipes you have shared. I have tried at least one a week and sometimes more and Simply Recipes is my very favorite site. I have shared your gift and love of cooking (this blog) with others and hope you will continue. Have a Happy and safe New Year and I will continue to wait for more great ideas and recipes!

  33. Trevor

    Thank you, Elise, for the wishes.I have been following your site for nearly a year now and am very grateful to have found it.

    Here’s wishing you and your family a blessed festive season and many more wonderful years of friendship and happiness

  34. stacey snacks

    I love this on mouse over greeting! It’s fantastic!
    Happy Holidays and thanks for all the delicious recipes. I post back to your site often.
    Best in the New Year.
    Stacey Snacks

  35. Giada

    Thanks, Elise, for your honest recipes! ^_^
    I followed two of them and they came out super yummy! Thank you a lot! ^_^ Merry Xmas

  36. Dan

    Merry Christmas to your family from ours! Your recipes have brought us together at the table for years now. This year was filled with hardship and uncertainty but your site was a source of constancy and comfort. Thank you for providing so many wonderful memories of food shared with love.

  37. Steve-Anna

    I love it – may all of us always know that



    Peace and


    …are always there for us, even when we can’t see them in our lives.

    Merry Christmas, Sugarplum!

  38. Jen

    thank you for your wonderful site elise – it’s always my ‘go to’ when i have an ingredient of most any type and i need some ideas. i wish you and your family / friends a wonderful, prosperous 2011!

  39. Ruth

    Merry Christmas to you, too, Elise. Loved your beautiful Christmas letter to your readers. You are so right about remembering to feel and express gratitude for all the blessings we have received. You are right on target again when you say that cooking is an act of love. Love the power of the words you have buried in your walkways==what a wonderful idea to bless the paths into your home that way. Simply Recipes is a wonderful gift to receive throughout the year; I am always happy to find a new post from you. Wishing a fabulous New Year to you and your dear ones.

  40. Doreen McIlwraith

    Thank you for such a wonderful food blog. I always read it and have used so many, many recipes with great success. I love about 97% of your recipes (the other % has to do with actual dislikes of ingredients & not the recipe) and I always smile when I see yet another recipe posted that excites my tastebuds or is something in keeping with my cooking style. I’m sure it is hard work keeping up with the blog, but my family thanks you too since they are the recipients of your successes. Have a blessed, peaceful and healthy new year!

  41. Chef Ricky Bishop

    You always seem to know what to say to touch the hearts of others Elise. Very good stuff! Thank you for sharing with us and I hope your holiday season and the year to come is filled with all of the words now inscribed forever in your patio. Please keep your wonderful posts coming as I look forward to reading each of them.

  42. amelia

    Merry Christmas,Elise,thank you so much. Each time I come to this site it is like coming through the door after a long day fighting the wind and rain and cold and a pot of hot homemade soup is simmering on the stove. You are warmth and comfort-so thanks again.

  43. June

    Happy Holidays to you too Elise. Thank you for being the source of great inspiration, laughter, warmth and of course, fabulous food. We’re all blessed to have you in our lives. Best wishes to you and your family for good health and continued success.

  44. Gordon

    Merry Christmas Elise!
    I hope you and your family enjoyed a Merry and Blessed day. Thanks for all the wonderful things you bring us all the year through! Here’s hoping for a bright and happy 2011!

  45. Bruce

    Merry Christmas to you, too, Elise . . . I don’t know how I could add any fresh thought to the many well-deserved greetings you already received. I will say that, all year long, your recipes and heartfelt posts have brought tremendous joy to us and, I’m sure, many others. We look forward to cooking with you in 2011.

    Peace . . . Bruce & Sharon Farr

  46. Jasmine


    Your picture moves? :) When I put my cursor on it, and when I move it away? How cool is that! Kinda like the Harry Potter photos.. hehehe.. Have a wonderful Christmas and New Year and of course, best wishes to the parents too!

  47. Michelle K

    Elise, I love your blog and your recipes. I made the turkey yesterday for Christmas with breast side down. It was to die for – so juicy and tender. Everyone raved about it. That’s the only way I will be making it from now on. Thanks for sharing it with us. Merry Christmas to you and your family. Happy New Year too!

  48. Sandra

    Thank you Elise for all your wonderful recipes. They’ve all been a success and have brought so much joy into our home and family. When everyone is gathered around the table enjoying a meal and catching up, it’s truly the greatest. Wishing all the best to you and yours not only for the upcoming year, but for all the years to follow. As we know they’ll be filled with incredible stories and delicious recipes.

    Sandra :)

  49. Laura

    Merry Christmas to you and your family. I love your site and have made many of your yummy recipes for my friends and family!

  50. Deborah

    What a lovely idea and thank you for the many recipes I’ve enjoyed sharing with my family! Merry Christmas to you and yours.

  51. Alex

    Hi Elise.

    I suggest you make Green Bean Casserole and post your recipe. Not the one with canned soup and canned crispy onions, I mean the one like Alton brown does, with fresh beans (I don’t see anything wrong with frozen green beans), fresh mushrooms, butter, milk, cream, flour, salt, and homemade crispy onions. I like his recipe, but I would like to see how yours comes out.

  52. Gregory

    Marry me! Tomorrow! You have to–you know that, don’t you? You are the perfect woman (even if you do live in the USA, and me in Australia). Thanks so much for your blog, and never doubt the joy that you have brought to me and so many others. To you and your family: Gesegnete Weihnachten und ein glückliches neues Jahr!

  53. heidi

    Thank you, Elise and all at Simply Recipes, who have inspired me more times than I can remember to go to the kitchen and cook, share, laugh and love. My best to you all for the coming year. (cute photo shot/s!)

  54. Kathryn

    Thank you for the gift of this sit. My husband and I both work long hours so I CRAVE time to cook for my family. I check here first, and your labor of love has facilitated some special meals at my home. Will an app be forthcoming? : )

    Well, there is the mobile web app, which you can get to by pointing your cel phone’s web browser to . I’m thinking about other mobile possibilities, but nothing concrete yet. ~Elise

  55. Kalyn

    Hi Elise,
    Love the moving photo as well as the four wishes inscribed in the patio both. Hope you and all your family are having a wonderful holiday.

  56. michelle

    Elise, I’m sure your guests already feel those wishes you have for them every time they approach your home, even before you concreted those thoughts for them :)
    Thank you so much for sharing of your life to help enrich mine, and my family’s life. We have to kick into resolution time because of you, but no one is complaining :) All the best in the new year.

  57. Sherrie

    Thank you Elise and your family for sharing your recipes and love of cooking. It has encouraged me to share many of your recipes with my family. Keep up the great work!

  58. Carrie

    Over the past year I have fallen in love with your blog! Every single dish I whipped up for my Christmas meal was from your archives and the meal was phenominal. I kept telling my husband “Elise would not steer me wrong!”. And he was all “Who the heck is Elise?”. Needless to say he has become a fan as well. Thank you so much! Your posts inspire me to try new things all the time. Looking forward to what the New Year will bring!

  59. Ardiva

    Many Blessings to you, Elise.
    I am enjoying your website-having fun printing out some recipes and cooking to my hearts content. I am indeed blessed as well.

    Have a super great New Year.

  60. athina

    Elise, this website, and your family’s recipes are a blessing. Thank you for sharing them all with us.
    I love what you did with your patio too-such a wonderful concept. Have a Happy New Year!

  61. Penny

    Happy New Year Elise! I feel like I am going to cooking school, working my way through your recipes. It’s no exaggeration to say that my nutrition has improved since I discovered your site and the lovely nurturance of cooking. Best of everything in the coming year!

  62. Lulu

    I wish the same blessings back to you and your family! Thanks for all the great recipes, Elise, and all the best for 2011!

  63. Fuji Mama

    What an absolutely beautiful post. It makes me want to go and re-do our porch, just so that I too can have a secret wish or blessing hidden in the concrete. But for now, may your 2011 be filled with Love, Joy, Peace, and Beauty. Hugs!

  64. Sherihan

    Merry Christmas and happy holidays to you and your family, and thx for all ur truely wonderful and delicious recipes, expecting more to come :D

  65. Jane Scales

    Elise — what a beautiful post. You are so correct words of blessing spoken need no other message… I so enjoy your site and have used many of your recipes… you are a blessing to my life and those I feed… Happy New Year. Jane

  66. Terri

    Perfect post. When we built our first house we wrote our names in the wet cement that was the foundation for our family room fireplace. Like the cement at your house, the fireplace foundation got covered up, but I always knew that our names were there in the hearth. We did the same thing in our second house, except that we put our names in an area that would never be covered…I wonder how the new owners feel about that?

  67. Deepti

    I have been busy this season and read this just today.

    Such an awesome wish for all.

    God bless you with all of it in 2011.


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