Hello, Happy Sunday and Welcome to the Farm! I hope this last week has left you feeling well and looking forward to the upcoming holiday. Our tree is up and decorated; the Christmas potluck at work is Tuesday; and I'm participating in a cookie exchange a week following. Time is going so quickly!
Through all of the hurry, hustle and bustle of the holidays, too many people forget that they are supposed to be FUN. Yes, we want our Christmas dinner to be perfect; our tree to be beautiful; and everyone to be happy but, sometimes, in the midst of all we think we need to do, we forget about relaxing for a moment or two. We're just so busy!
While I love the lights and the music and the joyfulness of the season just as much as anyone else, I DO like to relax as well. Spending the time to sit down and rejuvenate yourself is really important if you're going to be able to hold up until the end of the holiday and...let's face it...sometimes it can be gruelingly (is that even a word?) long. Tiredness hits. Time goes too fast. The store is sold out of that one item that someone wants more than anything. Work days become longer not only because it gets dark sooner, but because we are also planning activities there. And really, just HOW many people do we really think we can be at one time? Wonder Woman is a fictitious character, yet we all think that's what we need to be around this time of the year.
So many of us get involved in so many different activities and, since the holiday season is actually relatively short (it just doesn't FEEL short sometimes), often times any thought of ourselves is pushed to the back burner. The worry of being less than perfect overtakes our common sense (well, mine anyway, but I feel better when I include all of you so I'm not alone) and we just keep stuffing more things into our calendar.
One of my favorite things to do this time of year is bake. Which, of course, is why I'm involved in a cookie exchange. BUT, aren't some of the things we fix at this time of the year the ONLY time we'll get to have them? Although I like to bake, and bake I do all year, when Christmas is just around the corner I like to turn to my favorite flavors of fall. They just seem to be more "flavorful" right now. I know, I know, they really don't taste any different the rest of the year, but for some reason, they just seem to fit the chilliness in the weather, the fire in the fireplace and the special activities of the season. My cookie of choice (and I'm very sorry to admit that I do not like to share with anyone) are Ginger Crinkles. They're just so yummmmmmy. My children enjoy them as much as I do, but with them being grown up now, I get them all to myself. Woo Hooooooo!
While I'm baking those cookies, I like to make myself an Eggnog Chai Tea Latte'. And as soon as that first batch of Ginger Crinkles comes out of the oven, I'm grabbing a couple (ok, ok, a few...), taking that cup of Chai and sitting down for a minute. There's just something soothing about the warmth, the melding spiciness of the chai tea, and the mellowness of the eggnog. It's my favorite combination during the eggnog season (and just WHY isn't eggnog available all year around anyway?). During a time of such harriedness, a little solitude is a great thing (oh, I do LOVE my solitude). Sometimes, though, I wish someone would stop by just so I can offer them their own little bit of heaven!
If I happen to be out and about and feel like I need a minute for myself, I'll go to a local coffee shop and order a Chai Latte' and a slice of pumpkin bread or gingerbread, and grab a table to sit at and reflect. Not only is it truly tasty, but it's also nice to feel that sense of pampering.
A little time with my friends Ginger and Eggnog (Eggie for short) leaves me feeling a little warmer, a little less harried, and a little more like I'm in control. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA I said it leaves me FEELING that way; I didn't say I WAS in control! Next time you need a relaxing treat for yourself, even if it's not during the Christmas season, whip yourself up a batch of Ginger Crinkles and make yourself an Eggnog Chai Tea Latte'; then grab a book and read a few chapters while you take a few moments for yourself.
I hope you enjoy these recipes as much as I do! Ginger and Eggnog and Christmas, Oh My!
2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup cooking oil, shortening or butter (I prefer butter)
1/4 cup molasses
Granulated sugar (optional)
Stir together the flour, soda and spices. Combine the brown sugar, oil, molasses and egg and beat well. Add dry ingredients beaten mixture, beating well. For 1-inch balls. Roll in granulated sugar, if desired; place 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake in a 375 degree oven about 10 minutes ( about 2 minutes longer if you want crisp cookies). Remove from pan and cool on wire racks.
Makes approximately 4 dozen (recipe courtesy of Better Homes & Gardens Cook Book - a really old one! LOL)
Eggnog Chai Tea Latte'
Eggnog (homemade or store purchased)
Liquid Chai Tea Latte' Beverage (usually found in the coffee/tea/cocoa aisle)
Combine equal parts Eggnog and Chai Tea beverage in a saucepan*; heat until just steaming. Pour into cup(s), froth (if you have a frother**) and sprinkle nutmeg on top.
*For those of you with a latte machine, of course you can do it that way!
**A frother is not necessary, but it sure is fun. :)
Serves as many as you want to make it serve.