This week’s listmaker: Ann Landsberger. Ann is a long-suffering educator, a freelance gripper, a mother of five, and drunk by seven. 

1. The Dick Vitale alarm clock. I got this for Christmas a few years ago and Dickie V wakes me each morning by shouting, “You’re awesome, baby!” Nothing is more fun than an old sports guy startling you from a deep and restful sleep … unless that guy is Jerry Sandusky, of course.

2. Coats. Coats are the perfect combination of function and fashion (unlike that weird cone-shaped dust buster from Target) and are currently on exhibit at the Philadelphia Museum of Art in the Perelman Building’s Costume and Textiles Study Gallery. Trenches, wools, wraps, and fur left me coveting buttons and contrast stitching, rigid lapels and fantastical linings—and caused me to exit with my own Costco distributed Calvin Klein pea coat folded tightly under my arm.

3. St. Germain. I bought it because the bottle was pretty; I keep drinking it because I like the idea of Alpine men on bicycles hand-gathering wild elderberry blossoms and creating, through some magical French process, an alcoholic beverage that tastes something like a honey-and-moonshine-infused pear tart.

4. Cookie Swaps. Tis the season to gather with your neighbors or office folk or football pool and share lovely baked things made with equal parts heart and sugar and milk fat. Here’s an amazing recipe for cut-out butter cookies that is easy and amazing and contains no eggs.

  • 2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 16 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 16 pieces at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons cream cheese – room temperature

In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix flour, sugar, and salt until combined.  With the mixer running, add butter 1 piece at a time until the mixture looks crumbly and slightly wet, about 1 minute longer.  Add the vanilla and cream cheese and mix on low until the dough forms large clumps (about 30 seconds)

Knead the dough for a couple of minutes and split into two parts.  Flatten and wrap each section in plastic wrap and put in fridge for at least 30 minutes.

Let the dough warm up for about five minutes and then roll it out between two sheets of parchment paper or on a floured surface.  Cut into shapes and bake at 375 degrees on the center rack for about 10 minutes.  Rotate the pan if you see that one side is getting done more quickly.  You can re-roll the scraps once.

Cool on wire racks and decorate.

5.  The book is always better than the movie (even when the book sucks). The new Twilight movie, Breaking Dawn Part I. It was bad. Really, really, really, really bad. Actually, it wasn’t even as good as bad. It was, in fact, dreadful. That said, I will still show up to see Part II next November. I’m stupid like that.