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Merry Christmas Eve, friends. I’m happy to report that Christmas miracles abound.

Mike has December 24, 25, and 26 off from the hospital (yay!!). My mom, dad, brother, and I shared a lovely meal last night at the Zuni Café in San Francisco—our first full Clary reunion in way too long and another reason to cheer for being on the West Coast. And our mercurial dog Denali is getting along astonishingly well with my parents’ 100-pound-plus Bernese Mountain Dogs.

I couldn’t have asked for better gifts. Which is good because we are not exchanging any this year beyond stockings.

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Folks, the holiday rush is upon us. Did it sneak up on anyone else?

Elsewhere in the food blogosphere it’s time for the mad cookie-making rush. ’Tis the season to blitz the grocery store for butter, sugar, and those festive sprinkles I only find appealing at Christmastime. But lest I get your hopes up, let me state upfront: This post is not about Christmas cookies, nor Hanukkah cookies for that matter (e.g., rugelach). For confection instructions, I leave you in the capable hands of Martha. Or Sunset magazine. Or 101 Cookbooks. Whichever the case may be.

This post is about what you’ll eat in the 15 minutes you have to scrounge up dinner between rounds of baking or pre-holiday work deadlines. You can thank me later for staving off that sugar coma.

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My wave of East Coast nostalgia continues. Two weeks ago a cold snap nipped at the neighborhood, freezing my basil plants and fogging up my breath, convincing me to unearth a wardrobe that until lately I wasn’t entirely convinced I would need again. You’ll have to indulge me as I dust off my pea coat, boots, pashmina, and a few favorite recipes that served me well in Washington, D.C.

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