Colorado Springs had its first freeze night before last—29 degrees. Winter is almost here. And the holidays will be soon upon us.
If you are having trouble deciding what to give someone on your Christmas list, we have the perfect suggestion—a copy of our new cookbook Inspiring Cuisine, First Steps in Gourmet Cooking. It contains eye-catching pictures of colorful meals, a friendly conversation with personal stories and essays about cooking and how it can draw us closer to God, and recipes for sixteen meals with titles like “A Taste of Italy, An Easter Dinner and Hospitality.” Simply click on our Get the Book link above.
Meanwhile, here is one of Dale’s original recipes that I predict will bring much holiday joy.
It’s a pleasant little walk from my house. I amble up Carefree Circle, turn right at the church (sometimes the carillon is playing hymns), then left at Parade Court. I make my own parade by kicking the golden leaves that fall in behind me on the sidewalk. I stop when I hear the little fountain trickling among the rocks. It’s the house where the lady lives, the one who does my alterations. I had come to pick up the pants she had hemmed for me. The store had hemmed them too long but she had them exactly right now.
As I was leaving, she asked, “Would you like a cookie?”
I thought, “Do I look like the kind of person who would turn down a cookie?” “Sure”, I said, then bit into the one she handed me.
The first thing I noticed was it was soft and chewy. Then I tasted cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and ginger. It was a gingerbread cookie! No, not a ginger snap, but a cake-like chewable. I asked for the recipe, which she gladly gave me.
As usual, I did experiments with it until I had the recipe exactly as I wanted it. There is nothing tricky about it, just don’t roll the dough out too thin. I make mine a little under 3 eighths of an inch. They will rise a little.
Cut them in any shape you like and decorate at will. Plain is good, as well as dusted with confectioners’ sugar. They are appropriate at any time of the year, but they remind me of autumn with brown, yellow and orange leaves on the sidewalk.
You will need:
2 cups of Sugar 1 cup of Molasses
1 cup of Butter 1 cup of Buttermilk
½ t. Salt 1 egg
3 t. Baking Soda 1 T. Vinegar
2 t. Ground Cinnamon 6 cups of A. P. Flour
2 t. Ground Ginger
1 t. Ground Cloves
1 t. Ground Nutmeg
Cream the Butter and Sugar. (Beat it until it is light and smooth.)
- Add all the dry ingredients except the flour.
- Add all of the wet ingredients and mix until thoroughly combined.
- Gradually add the flour while mixing. Gradually adding the flour has no effect on the cookies, but it does prevent the flour from getting all over your kitchen!
- Mix thoroughly on a low speed.
Cover the bowl or wrap the dough in plastic and chill for one hour.
Heat: Heat your oven to 350 degrees.
- Scatter your work surface liberally with flour.
- Divide the dough into fourths.
- Work with one fourth at a time and let the other portions remain in the refrigerator. It is a very soft dough.
- Scatter some flour on top of the dough, to prevent it from sticking to your rolling pin and roll the dough to a little more than ¼ inch thickness.
- Cut the dough into any shapes that appeal to you. Leaves? Gingerbread men would be outstanding! But you can’t go wrong with circles.
- Place the cookies on ungreased sheet pans. Parchment paper on the sheet pans makes clean up easier, but it isn’t necessary.
Bake: Bake one tray at a time for 10 minutes. Cool on racks.
Eat: Eat several before the rest of the family gets them. You might want to hide some in the freezer too!
Food for Thought
Perhaps it’s time, as we approach the busy holidays, to think once more about Sabbath rest—the important spiritual principle God has given us that we often forget.
Long ago I learned a verse in the Psalms that continues to speak to me. “It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows. For so he giveth his beloved sleep” (Psalm 127:2 KJV).
The Message translation is helpful. “It’s useless to rise early, and go to bed late, and work your worried fingers to the bone. Don’t you know he enjoys giving rest to those he loves?”
God created us to live in cycles of work and rest. It’s good for our bodies and good for our souls. It gives us a chance to re-evaluate and get back in touch with God.
In our cookbook Inspiring Cuisine we include a chapter called “The Great Southwest,” with a menu of steak with compound butter, homemade refried beans, calabacitas and frozen lemon cheese pie. In the “Food for Thought” section we mention that many people in the Great Southwest “still take siestas in the heat of the day. But naps are suspect in performance-oriented America.”
I love naps and always have. Perhaps that is because I’ve always been so performance oriented. To realize a nap is okay in God’s sight is so freeing, an hour’s release from my mind’s drivenness. Even though I’ve slowed down quite a bit, I still have the tendency to live a driven life: to prove I’m worthy, to please people, to finish what I start, to please God.
The need to market our cookbook with craft fairs, teas, and social media is always hovering, as is the need to work on the novel Catching the Sunlight God has called me to finish soon. There is also the need to get proper exercise and fix healthy meals and attend Bible Study and be a resource to my family. But without the proper rest, all of these “important” things will suffer.
Upon studying a prophecy about Christ’s coming the other day, I found that God said, Christ’s coming would not only bring light and joy but also freedom from hard labor. (Isaiah 9: 2, 5). Christ came to give us rest, rest from outer oppression, rest from our worry about sin, rest from working for our salvation, rest for our bodies and souls.
IN her book Sabbath Keeping, Lynn Baab quotes C.S Lewis, “Humans are both infinitely necessary and infinitely superfluous in God’s eyes.” Lynn goes on to say that six days of the week God asks us to fulfill his calling with hard work and perseverance, but on the seventh we are to rest. God is perfectly able to carry on His work without us. We can rest in that reality as we stop and rest.
The verse I’m meditating on this week, word by word, is Matthew 11:28-30. “Come unto me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble of heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
If you’re feeling weary and burdened, maybe you need to take a day off, or even a week, to do the things you love and seek the counsel of your loving Father.
Perhaps our luscious ginger cookies will give you a chance to play and forget your worries about what to fix for the holidays. And don’t forget, our cookbook Inspiring Cuisine could make someone on your Christmas list very happy. Simply click on the “Get the Book” link at the top of our post.