The Holiday List

As we move into the Holiday Season, and hopefully an opportunity for more leisure, we've put together a curated list that might help with rest and relaxation and help organize all the family events. We hope you enjoy the holiday season!

Books

Kindle Vella is a new service from Amazon that breaks popular genres down into episodes, like watching a show on Netflix. Instead of reading an entire book, readers can move from episode to episode at their own pace, with episodes ranging from a short 500 words to nearly 5000. The cost of every episode is determined by its length. To purchase an episode, readers must own tokens specific to the Kindle Vella service. This is a great way to get in some reading in the genres you love without committing to a full book, which is especially helpful in our busy world.

Klara and the Sun, written by Nobel Prize Winner Kazuo Ishiguro, is a powerful novel that explores our changing world, family, friendship, and heartbreak. In the book, Ishiguro looks at our rapidly changing modern world through the eyes of an unforgettable narrator to explore a fundamental question: what does it mean to love?

I’ve Loved You Since Forever, written by Hoda Kotb and illustrated by Suzie Mason, is one of the books featured in our new Bereavement Library in the Family Birth Center. The book is a celebratory and poetic testament to the timeless love between parent and child. With Kotb's lyrical text, young ones and parents will want to snuggle up and listen to this audiobook together over and over again.

Podcasts

Huberman Lab, hosted by tenured Professor of Neurobiology Dr. Andrew Huberman, discusses neuroscience: how our brain and its connections with the organs of our body control our perceptions, behaviors, and health. They also discuss existing and emerging tools for measuring and changing how our nervous system works. Learning more about ourselves helps us physically, mentally, and cognitively, promoting better overall health and well-being. Huberman Lab is available on all major podcast platforms.

Movies

Spirited (2022) features Will Farrell and Ryan Reynolds teaming up in the musical retelling of Charles Dickens’s story A Christmas Carol, in which the greedy misanthrope, Scrooge, is taken on a magical journey.

A Christmas Story Christmas, a 40-years-in-the-making sequel of the classic, features little Ralphie all grown up with a family of his own. Peter Billingsley returns to play the central role, who catches up with old friends and forges new traditions with his loved ones.

Recipes

Almond Flour Cookies are deliciously soft and grain free with rich, caramel-like flavor from brown butter and gooey chocolate in every bite. These cookies are easy to make and the perfect weekday treat! Add a little butter for extra richness.

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup butter (I like using salted butter)
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 egg at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cups packed fine-blanched almond flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 heaping cup of chocolate chips
  • Maldon sea salt for sprinkling on top

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Brown your butter: add butter to a small saucepan and place over medium heat. The butter will begin to melt, crackle, and then eventually foam. Make sure you constantly whisk during this process. After a couple of minutes, the butter will begin to brown and turn a nice golden amber color on the bottom of the saucepan; this usually happens once it foams. Continue to whisk and remove from heat as soon as the butter begins to brown and give off a nutty aroma. Immediately transfer the butter to a medium bowl to prevent burning, making sure you scrape all the butter from the pan. Set aside to cool for 10 minutes.
  3. In a large bowl, mix the brown butter (or ghee or coconut oil), brown sugar, egg, and vanilla extract until smooth and creamy.
  4. Next, stir in almond flour, baking soda, and salt until just combined. Fold in chocolate chips.
  5. Use a medium cooking scoop to grab the dough and place it onto the prepared baking sheet about 2 inches apart. If you want thinner/flatter cookies, you can flatten them so that they are about ½ inch thick. You can even do ¼ inch thick if you like more flat cookies.
  6. Bake for 11-15 minutes until cookies begin to turn golden brown on the edges. The longer you bake them, the crispier they’ll be. They may look underdone on the tops, but that’s just because they’re made with almond flour.
  7. Allow cookies to cool for 10-15 minutes on the baking sheet before transferring them to a wire rack to finish cooling. Enjoy them with a glass of your favorite non-dairy milk, or freeze them for later! They are amazing if you eat them frozen too! Makes about 12-14 cookies. 

Local Highlights

Thanksgiving is a lot easier if you're not having to do all the cooking and preparation yourself. Take some of the stress out of Thanksgiving cooking by (mostly) avoiding the cooking altogether. Order your Thanksgiving meals from the following local restaurants and locations: Cracker Barrel, Escondido Grill, Glazed Honey Ham Co., H-E-B, Stella’s, or United Supermarkets.

If you’d prefer to avoid the hassle entirely, several restaurants are open for Thanksgiving, including Cracker Barrel, Overton Hotel, Saltgrass Steak House, and Woody’s Pizza.

As a side note, the new full-fledged restaurant, Chez Sami, offers exquisite French food designed by world-class chef Jon Walters. Just outside Lubbock in Wolfforth, this restaurant is a hidden gem, with rotating features that promise a dining experience unlike anywhere in Lubbock, great for a date night or relaxing dinner.

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