Thanksgiving was late this year. Well, actually, it was on right on time. As always, it was the fourth Thursday of November. However, Turkey Day can fall as early as the twenty-second and as late as the twenty-eighth. This year, it fell on the latter. With fewer days, the Christmas season promises to be hustle-ier and bustle-ier.
In anticipation of a whole lot of running around, I wish you peace this Christmas. I wish you peace of mind, peace of spirit and peace in your heart. And, after what might have been a lively but somewhat contentious Thanksgiving feast, I wish you peace in your family, peace in your home and peace in your friendships.
Christmas is a joyful time. It seems to me that joy should come without strings or pressure. By all means, it’s fine to create a holiday bucket list. However, if that list is suddenly two or three pages long … it’s more than fine to let a few things slide. There is always next year and the year after that. And if you never take your children or grandchildren on one of those Polar Express train rides or make a turducken or build a miniature, snow-covered village … well, that’s okay too.
My mother loved Christmas. She loved everything about it – gathering with family and friends, shopping and decorating. Never an enthusiastic cook, she didn’t seem to begrudge the extra time in the kitchen. Once in a while, the enormity seemed to drive her a little nuts.
As a child, I never really noticed. It wasn’t until later when I was a teenager, or maybe it wasn’t until I reached my twenties. Although, she was quite fussy about her tree; it was never about the decorations. She rolled with any and all punches when it came to holiday feasts. No, her biggest worry was that she’d miss someone or come up short on a gift.
Even in the days before internet shopping, Mom seemed to find the time to get it all together. Of course, on top of loving Christmas, she liked to shop. Still, there were days, make that middle of the nights, when she was convinced that she’d forgotten something or someone. You know the feeling. It’s 3 a.m., two days before Christmas and you’re suddenly bolt upright in bed realizing that there is no present for Aunt Bess. Or maybe it’s Uncle Henry you forgot or, worst, your father-in-law.
Anyway, time is always at a premium but particularly during the holidays. You have a choice, go crazy, develop coping strategies or set priorities. Let’s avoid crazy and …
Take a moment to breathe and enjoy the wonder and beauty around us. Instead of cursing the snow, admire how it frosts the evergreens. Let nature heal any stress.
Make lists. Check them twice and, then, cut them in half. It’s okay to roll back the madness. Clear eyed and calm beats frazzled and crazed any holiday.
Remember being present is the greatest gift. Hug the people you love and tell them what they mean to you.
Wishing you a peaceful and joyful holiday and bon appétit!
A not-so-sweet cookie to enjoy with mid-morning coffee or afternoon tea. Celebrate the holidays with friends and family by sharing a simple treat and a good long chin wag. Enjoy!
Makes about 4 dozen cookies
- 2 3/4 cups flour, plus more for the work surface
- 1 cup chopped walnuts
- Grated zest of 2 lemons
- 1 1/2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh rosemary leaves
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
- 1 cup sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line the baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicon mat.
Put the flour, nuts, lemon zest, rosemary, salt, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon in a bowl and whisk to combine. Set aside.
Put the butter and sugar in a bowl and beat with an electric mixer until fluffy. Add the eggs, lemon juice and vanilla and beat until well combined. With the mixer on low, slowly add the dry ingredients and beat until a soft dough forms.
Divide the dough into 2 pieces. Dust your hands with a little flour, pat the dough into 2 logs about 12-inches long and set the dough on the prepared baking sheet. Flatten the logs to form loaves about 2-inches wide.
Lay the biscotti on baking sheets and bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes. Flip and bake 5-6 minutes more. Transfer the biscotti to a rack to cool completely before serving or storing.
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Or Click Here! for a complete list of and links to all the recipes on this blog!
How do you beat holiday stress? Feel free to share your favorite tips!
Want more? I’ve got links to lots more to read, see & cook. © Susan W. Nye, 2019