I hope this finds you well in spite of recent sobering events we are all trying to make sense of — if that is even possible. I’m working to find inspiration in the most unlikely places and grasp tightly, acknowledging feelings of guilt for those I love who are safe. It makes no sense.
No sense at all.
It’s that time of year, isn’t it? That rush-about-hustle-bustle-get-everything-done-on-time time of year, and it’s more that than it ever has been here. A week ago, I was in bed recovering from knee surgery, and today, a week later, feeling pretty good about my physical therapy session today. Christmas is in how many days?
Now that I think of it, we have few worries. One of the perks of being an empty nester with three adult sons who aren’t married is having very little Christmas shopping to do. We can actually think about strolling around this next weekend — maybe with one crutch in tow — enjoying ourselves, mulling over one choice for a present or another, taking advantage of the deals not available even a few weeks ago, and afterward treating ourselves to dinner somewhere with a crackling fire. Yule Log on a flat screen would be more the reality around here, and I’d settle for that considering it’s supposed to rain this weekend.
On the other hand, I’ve been too leisurely about posting my second recipe for the Cookies We Love Challenge featuring sweets from Saveur’s “Smart Cookies: Favorite Holiday Treats from Around the World.”
The first treat I made, Caramel Crumb Bars from New Zealand, disappeared fairly quickly, so they’ll be tough to top. Because of my semi-ambulatory state, I settled for an easy to whip up recipe from Mexico next: Galletas con Conchitos or Cookies with Sprinkles which could be made any time of the year, actually — especially if you are a busy person in desperate need of a tasty butter cookie, or someone with children who like to be involved in baking.
Mine were baked one evening, wrapped the next morning, and mailed to my son in San Francisco along with quite a few other holiday teeth rotting treats to share with his dorm buddies. Or is it resident hall acquaintances? No matter. They won’t care if any of it is in one piece when it arrives, but I always ask.
The past week has been a whirlwind of activity with Christmas flying by at an unprecedented rate and leaving me wondering if it actually happened. A glance around the house suggests otherwise as remnants of opened presents and ingredients for meals enjoyed with family lie here and there, waiting to be tucked into their rightful places. Certainly, I’m not Martha.
Between Thanksgiving and the end of January, our family celebrates five birthdays and three wedding anniversaries, now that my mother has recently married at the amazing age of 72. Although these occasions do add to the festivities, they can leave me feeling a bit winded and craving days where time allows for the anticipation of fun. I still haven’t lost my interest in holiday projects, but this year, after purchasing materials for a wreath, still have those materials sitting in a closet untouched. I suppose there is still time to consider that I, too, might some day be a domestic maven and prepare things well in advance of their need.
There’s always next year, isn’t there?
I hope that your holidays thus far have been safe and memorable, that the calories you’ve ingested have been from truly exceptional food, and that you haven’t had to choose a new belt notch for comfort.
Now…what should I make with the rest of that enormous roast we made for Christmas Eve?
At this time of year in particular, when stopping by to visit the site of someone who lives in a more northern region of the country, I’m often indulged with engaging scenes and descriptions of wintery weather. Narratives filled with tantalizing visions of powdery snow, icicles glistening in the morning light, and brightly colored birds flashing through bare trees lull me into a mood that has me wanting to cozy up with a good book and a hot cup of anything I can get my hands on.
The reverie lasts only briefly as I cast my gaze out the window to see a bright blue sky punctuated by wispy clouds, brilliant green foliage on trees and shrubs, camellias in full bloom, and sea gulls pacing about, waiting for a morning snack. Those of us who choose to don a scarf most likely do so to make some sort of fashion statement, or to convince ourselves that it truly is December and that as much as we might be a bit chilly in the early morning, by noon, it will be a pleasant 70 degrees.
It makes good sense, then, to consider that snowmen cookies are one way to enjoy the season. They’re a soft bite of spice that just might surprise you and are guaranteed not to melt on a sunny day.
At this lovely time of year, I hope that you're safe, warm, with those you most love, and that your taste buds are more than satisfied.
Thank you so much for making this a special place for me to visit each day. I've struggled a bit to get here in the last week with so much going on, but I wanted to say Happy Holidays to you all.
Peace on Earth…
…Good Will toward Men.