Barbie Butz e1577383874121
Barbie Butz is an independent columnist for The Atascadero News and Paso Robles Press; you can email her at

Looks like we’re in for more rain, and I can’t say I mind. It really makes for a time to cozy-up to a fire in the fireplace and enjoy the “lights of Christmas.” I also mind that I want to bake even more when it’s raining and cold outside. Maybe it’s the knowledge that the oven will add more warmth to the kitchen.

Our mailbox is full of Christmas greetings and the “end-of-year appeals” from nonprofits. I only wish I could win the lottery so I could help all of them.

Quota of Atascadero club members enjoyed a lovely Christmas party last week, sharing information about the success of their Hoodie Project. They partnered with Coats for Kids in October and were able to distribute new warm sweatshirts to children in need in North County schools with the help of advocates from the Link Family Resource Center.

This month Coats for Kids distributed more new sweatshirts to 25 churches and nonprofits here in North County, who will reach other children and adults in North County. 


COVID has forced us to distribute in a different way than we have done for 34 years, but I think our churches, ECHO in Atascadero and Paso Robles, Loaves and Fishes, and other nonprofits dealing with families in need, will see that the warm items reach them.

A big thank you goes out to everyone who participated in the outreach this year. Please continue to drop off your gently used coats, jackets, sweaters, and sweatshirts at Plaza Cleaners in Atascadero and Paso Robles and Fashion Cleaners in Atascadero, as we will be collecting for the 2022 distribution. The cleaners will clean items free of charge, and a CFK volunteer will pick them up.

If you served turkey for Thanksgiving, you may be ready for this week’s recipe for a baked ham. It’s always impressive to serve for a buffet along with your favorite side dishes or offer it sliced alongside a basket of warmed rolls and a dish of honey mustard for simple sandwiches. 

Baked Ham with Orange-Mustard-Pepper Glaze


½ fully cooked bone-in or boneless butt-end ham, about 6 pounds


¾ cup orange marmalade

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon soy sauce

½ teaspoon coarsely ground pepper


Let the ham stand at room temperature for about 1 hour before baking. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Unwrap ham and wipe surface with a damp paper towel. Trim off any extra-thick layers of fat. Score outside surface of ham in a diamond pattern.

Place ham in a large roasting pan, rounded side up. Bake for 30 minutes. Make glaze in a small bowl by stirring together the orange marmalade, mustard, soy sauce, and pepper. Remove ham from oven and spread half of the glaze over surface of ham. Return to oven and bake, basting every 2o minutes with remaining glaze until it is used up. Ham will take about 12-15 minutes per pound and is done when an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part registers 140 degrees, about 1 hour longer.

Remove ham from the oven and transfer to a warmed platter. Cover loosely with foil and let stand for 20 minutes before carving. Slice and arrange on a platter to serve. Garnish with raw cranberries and orange slices.

Merry Christmas.