*~* A little note: I usually don’t get too personal publicly, but I realized I wanted to share with you all a part of me that I don’t share with many people… and I realized that when I started writing the words below to introduce the recipe, and it just flowed… *~*
The countdown to Thanksgiving is on, and it’s crunch time! And by crunch, I mean putting a crispy twist on the traditional pie for dessert by turning it into a cookie! If you still don’t know what to make for Thanksgiving dessert, try this cookie recipe out. Or, bake these to send home as a little goodie bag showing your loved ones how grateful you are for them every day.
Speaking of being grateful, although this past year has been an incredibly trying time for me, it’s also taught me a lot about life and myself. I’ve also seen the incredible number of people who truly love and care about me. I’m so thankful for how much family I have surrounding me, doing their best to support and love me in so many ways in the aftermath of the traumatic loss of my best friend, my mother.
It was exactly a year ago on Thanksgiving morning when my mom got the call from her doctor to check in to the hospital due to her alarming test results. The cancer that she fought so hard all year to beat had not only come back, but it had spread to the bones. From then, the majority of her final month of life (that’s how quickly things happened) was spent in the hospital in so much pain and heartbreak. We slowly started to realize that our time with her might actually be limited, although we were in denial about it. I think she started to realize she would have to leave us, that she would never get to see my wedding, or know her grandchildren. Still, she remained strong through it all, fighting and enduring the worst physical and emotional torture with the best attitude. We held on to hope like no other, praying for a miracle every moment of every day.
She came home around Christmas, only because the doctors had completely given up on her. Her final day of mobility and being able to fully communicate was Christmas, as she tried her absolute best to muster up all her strength and hide the excruciating pain to make it one last happy holiday for our soon-to-be-incomplete family. She proudly and nostalgically explained each ornament (“Tanaya made this when she was 7 years old in art class,” she said, beaming) to my friend Priya as we decorated the tree for her one last time, asking her opinion on where to place each ornament.
Each year prior for as long as I can remember, she and I would decorate the tree together, and she would be so particular about the placement of each ornament, hanging each sentimental piece we had collected over the years on the perfect branch.
The very next day after Christmas 2014, things took a turn for the worse, and by the night before New Year’s Eve, my mother — my best friend — was gone.
The holidays which she raised me to cherish and love, with all our festive family traditions and warm happy memories, will never be the same. Nor will my life, but that’s a given.
This year, as I do the annual holiday baking we used to do together for family and friends, she’s not there by my side. It breaks me, but as she taught me, I just try to keep going, keep smiling. Some days are harder than others, to be honest.
I’m just grateful I had her as my mother, because she was truly an angel to not just our family, but to all she touched here on earth. Yet this year more than ever, I’m also grateful for the love I’ve received from the family that’s not just blood, but in the form of family friends, old friends, and the new friends who got to meet my mom and know our strong bond. And I’m grateful to all those who have come into my life this year, allowing me to see that there must be more that lies ahead to look forward to… despite going it alone without my best friend and hero (in physical form) from here on out.
And last but definitely not least, I’m so very grateful for each one of you, who have followed me, read my work, supported me, helped me grow and encouraged me to follow my dreams without judging me or discouraging me. I’m amazed at the positive feedback and enthusiasm Tanaya’s Table has been met with over the past few years, from my food editor and radio host days.
I’m on my way, and I could not do it without you guys. So, truly, thank you (if you’re still reading this!) and I hope you continue this journey with me… because I don’t know exactly what will happen, but I do know we’re in for one crazy ride! Love you all. Sending lots of love and delicious moments to you and your loved ones.
If you’d like to read the original tribute I wrote in honor of my mom, you can find it here: A Tribute To Mom. I’ll Miss You, Best Friend
And now, for the original reason I started writing this post… to re-introduce you to my favorite cookie-pie recipe. And yes, I took some of these to my mom in the hospital last year when I first made them, and even though she was having trouble eating, she enjoyed the bites she was able to take… which gives these cookies an extra special place in my heart. I hope you enjoy them with your families, and create happy memories to be cherished forever.
Happy Thanksgiving ❤
What’s better than cookies and pie? How about cookies AND pie, wrapped into one delicious and decadent holiday cookie?
Pecan pie is a favorite with my family during the holidays… so I thought, why not blend our favorite pie into cookie form for my first year participating in The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap for a great cause?
These Bourbon Pecan Pie Cookies are gooey, sticky and nutty with a a hint of chocolate and the aroma of vanilla and bourbon to bring it all together. I thought they would make great batches to send to three of my fellow food bloggers to whom I was assigned to send holiday cheer… in the form of cookies, of course.
I also baked some more of these cookies to share with my fellow Los Angeles-based food bloggers at our annual holiday cookie swap. Last year I made red velvet gooey butter cookies, and these pecan pie…
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