The holiday’s are upon us, and we can barely keep up with all the activity. For me, the holidays are a mixed bag of emotions, memories, great food and good company. I remember as a child how the world seemed a kinder place during this time of year; my mother less impatient, our family and neighbors in the mood of the season and of course the anticipation of the gifts that Santa brought on Christmas Eve. Although I no longer look for Santa’s presents under the tree, I do still believe. In fact, I find this feeling growing stronger as the years pass and my heart continues to open. Each day is indeed a gift. This reality sinks in as we age and find ourselves dealing with life’s adversities. My belief system includes taking responsibility for my moods and how I choose to live my life. Kindness and respect can go a long way, both to ourselves and others. This isn’t as easy as it might sound. Words themselves are easy to say, it’s the action following the words that are the challenge. Walking our talk is easier during good times, more challenging during stressful ones. I often ask myself if my reaction to any given situation is going to help. When I think it won’t, I elect to keep my mouth shut. Fresh air often helps.
One sure-fire way to get ‘in the spirit’ of the holidays is to decorate our home. I have collected Santa’s for over 30 years and this year I decided to go through all my decorations and purge all the STUFF. I pared it down to the treasures that really meant something to me. The rest I gave away, or to took down to Goodwill hoping that other families might enjoy them. The Santa above is more of a Kris Kringle type and was hand-carved in Sweden. This was a gift from my ex-husbands family.
This Santa came from our neighbor Lynne several years ago. This was also hand-carved, but out of a composite material. Being about 2.5 feet tall he’s a good one to place on our kitchen counter to great our guests.
These Russian Santa’s have that feel of snowy landscapes and cold winters. I love the deep folds of their robes, and how the birds flock to them.
This Swedish Kris Kringle looks festive with the candles in his hair and the small bells around his waist. Once the Santa’s are out it’s time to get some cooking smells in the house and nothing does it quicker than homemade cookies. Val always does my favorite first: Molasses. Val is a fantastic baker! Her breads, cookies and scones are often requested. We are after all allowed our indulgences this time of year!
Good Christmas cookies come from using good ingredients, and Tiller’s makes the BEST sorghum molasses we’ve ever had!
I’m sure each of us has something special we look forward to eating during the holiday season. I simply enjoy cooking for our friends and family. Is there anything better than a table filled with great food, surrounded by people who enjoy each other?
Val’s Molasses Cookies:
- 12 Tbsp of sweet butter (1 1/2 sticks)
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup good quality molasses
- 1 farm fresh egg
- 1 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp ground cloves
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/s tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- Preheat the oven to 350 F.
- Melt the butter in a saucepan over low heat. Remove from the heat, add the sugar and molasses, and mix. Lightly beat the egg and add the butter mixture; blend well.
- Sift the flour with the cloves, ginger, cinnamon, salt and baking soda and add to the first mixture; mix. The batter will be wet.
- Lay a sheet of aluminum foil on a cookie sheet. Drop tablespoons of cookie dough on the foil, leaving 3 inches between the cookies. These will spread during the baking.
- Bake until the cookies start to darken, 8-10 minutes. Remove from the oven while still soft. Allow to cool on the foil.
Yield: 20-24 large cookies
“We can do no great things…only small things with great love.” –Mother Teresa