While I have never been a huge fan of this traditional Christman plant, I do like them more now that we can have more color choices.  I do have a couple of amusing stories to share with you re my dealings with poinsettias over the years that I thought you might enjoy! uncredited photo of poinsettias growing in a dry hot climate similar to where I was in Texas.

As a child, I had very severe asthma and my doctor recommended that I spend my summers in a dry climate.  Well lucky for me my aunt, uncle, and cousins lived in just such a place, West Texas, where there was zero, or next to it, humidity. Mom, dad and I would board the Santa Fe Texas Chief or the Super Chief the day or two after school was out and take the several day adventurous journey to Midland!  We started going there just before they hit oil, I don’t remember the year but do recall I was very young…the difference in a year was amazing but still a very small town.  Daddy spent a few weeks with us then returned to Chicago, Mom and I stayed until just before school opened Labor Day week. We did this almost every year from the time I was quite young until Junior year in high school. My aunt had an amazing garden, everything grew magnificently.  Long stem roses, all manner of plants that we don’t have here and it is where I saw mistletoe hanging from trees.  I often wonder how things could be so lush growing in sand. And what do you think grew out of the ground, red poinsettias!!!!  And Aunt Marge had many plants.  I found it fascinating that not only were they growing out of the ground and not in a pot (I was very young!!!!) and in the summer no less.  I found them so appealing, I decided that I would pick them and make arrangments.  Well, not only was this not a great idea (my aunt had given me free reign to “pick” whatever I liked, she didn’t tell me not to pick the “Christmas flowers”).  Pick them I did and I cut them just under the flower, no stem at all.  I have no idea what I was thinking, so they were useless.  Mom was horrified, but my aunt just found it charming!!!  I think she floated them in shallow bowls of water. Seriously!!!! in a huge greenhouse.  Uncredited photograph.

Yes, my real first job was at Saks Fifth Avenue, Chicago when I was still in high school.  But I did have a “job” before that.  My parents were friends with the owners of a wonderful florist shop near our home and the owner asked Mom if she would help during the busy holidays such as Valentine’s Day, Easter, Mother’s Day and, of course, Christmas.  I was probably 12 or 13 when I started going with her to help out.  My job at Christmas was to wrap the pots in foil and stick a bow in the pot (I did. over the years, graduate to taking the cash from the clients and putting it into the cash register, a really big deal!).  The image above is what, in retrospect, I think the amount looked like that I wrapped each year!  I know, I know, an exaggeration but close none the less.  I couldn’t look at the plant for years.  Actually, not until they started coming in a creamy white and salmon.

imageThe way poinsettias, in my opinion, should look…isn’t this magnificent!  Photo by its creator, Mike Hines.


It couldn’t be Wednesday without a recipe and I, once again, have turned to Elenor Hawley for one of her favorites.  I thought these would be a perfect treat during the Holidays but I will serve them on New Year’s Eve with a glass of bubbly!

Elenor’s Bourbon Walnut Balls
Makes 3 1/2 dozen
2 1/2 cups finely crushed packaged vanilla wafers
1 cup powdered sugar
2 Tablespoons cocoa
1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts
1/2 cup coconut
3 Tablespoons corn syrup
1/4 cup bourbon…or a tad more
Additional powdered sugar to roll the balls in
Mix first 5 ingredients well.  Add syrup and bourbon and mix well.  Roll into 1″ balls,  then roll in powdered sugar.
I store the balls in a ziplock bag sealed in a cookie tin. For two or three days I add a bit more powdered sugar each day and toss gently.  They will get to the point where the powdered sugar stays on the outside of the balls and they are white on the outside.  They taste best if they ‘age’ a bit before enjoying.
(A Nena note….I think a glass of bourbon or a White Russian would be a perfect accompaniment, don’t you agree!)




  1. Karen December 21, 2016 / 7:17 pm

    Love this!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.