Friday, December 21, 2012

Christmas Is Coming

Getting ready for Christmas is almost as much fun as Christmas itself.  Starting about two weeks before Thanksgiving, I begin baking.

Some of the things I make will go with us to Thanksgiving celebrations with our kids and grandkids.

Some will go into the freezer to wait until Christmas Eve.

I usually bake several kinds of fruit breads in small loaves--banana, cranberry, lemon-lime, blueberry, pumpkin.  Then I start on the cookies.

I began this year with Cowboy cookies from Laura Bush's recipe.  This recipe includes, among other things, oatmeal, brown sugar as well as white, chocolate chips, white chocolate chips, nuts, and maybe coconut.   I make big cookies, and still get about 8-9 dozen from this recipe.

Buddy, our oldest grandson, likes white chocolate chip/nut cookies, so I made those for Thanksgiving.  Son Scott loves Heath bits o' brickle cookies, so I made those last night for him.

The lemon-lime cake/bread is from my late mother-in-law's recipe, which has been a tradition for many years.  This, and the cranberry bread, my mama's recipe, have a delightfully tart taste to contrast with the sweetness of the sugar glaze.

Our big dinner on Thanksgiving and on Christmas consists of:
 baked or smoked turkey,
cornbread dressing from my Grandma Lee's recipe,
candied sweet potatoes,
macaroni and cheese (a perenial favorite of the grandkids, without which they think no family gathering is complete),
raw vegetables and dips,
jello salad,
fruit salad from my mama's recipe,
cranberry sauce,
rolls, and
mashed potatoes with giblet gravy.

After that meal, we indulge in pumpkin or pecan, lemon or chocolate pie, cookies, and cake.  This year at Thanksgiving I made another family favorite, red velvet cake, from my mama's recipe--with cooked frosting, not cream cheese.

Since we usually spend two or three days with our kids and grandchildren, our daughter Jeana usually makes up a meal plan.  She, our dear DIL Jamie, and Wick and I take responsibility for different parts of each meal.  Wick is usually the first one up, so he often takes full responsibility for making breakfast.  It's lovely to wake up to the smells of bacon, sausage, gravy, biscuits, and hot gravy.

This year I was sick for two weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas, so I had a shorter window of time in which to finish my baking.  While I was sick, I had time to ponder on why I feel so fulfilled by doing so much baking.

As we prepare for Thanksgiving, I pray prayers of thanks for all the many blessings in our lives.  Offering treats to our family is a small expression of our sense of blessedness.

At Christmas time, we celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus the Christ, who healed the sick and fed the hungry.

In some small way, my baking reflects that image of Jesus, feeding hungry people, just as the lights with which we decorate are reminders that He is the light of the world.

As we gather with our family, we talk about the many things for which we are thankful.  We celebrate communion together as a family.  We cook for each other, ministering to body as well as soul.  Being with my family feeds my soul.

Right now I am dividing all the baked goodies for distribution to friends, neighbors, and family.  Just my small way of sharing the love of Christ for all of us, and our love for one another.

Merry Christmas.  God bless us, every one.