Monday, December 21, 2009

Holiday Traditions: Solstice, Observed

Working full time is not very conducive to celebrating astronomically-based holidays, yet we made do by having our Solstice celebration on Sunday (today is the actual Solstice--Happy first day of winter everyone!).

First, the boys and I strung some popcorn strings, which we hung on a little spruce tree out front, along with some peanut butter and bird seed ornaments E and Z made at the Make-A-Craft fair and some old apples from one of our many wild apple trees. Making a tree for the birds is something I've wanted to do for a long time (at least since last year, with inspiration from Lone Star Ma), but have only just now gotten around to it. I also finally cleaned and filled our bird feeders and put some seed in the platform feeder, so the birds and squirrels should be quite happy now.

Later we made some sugar cookies (the third and final batch in the holiday cookie parade). I used a recipe that I came across many, many (many) years ago, when I was in college, and two of my housemates wanted to make cookies to mail home to their boyfriends for Valentine's Day. I worked in the library and randomly grabbed a cookbook off the shelf and photocopied this sugar cookie recipe. They ended up buying pre-made cookie dough, and I ended up with this amazing sugar cookie recipe, which I really believe makes the best sugar cookies, hands-down. It's my Christmas gift to you (with no citation because the book it came from is long gone from my memory):

The Best Sugar Cookies

1 1/2 c. powdered sugar
1 c. butter
1 t. vanilla
1/2 t. almond extract
1 egg

Sift or whisk together and stir into sugar-butter-egg mixture:
2 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1 t. baking soda
1 t. cream of tartar

Refrigerate at least 3 hours (or overnight). Roll out 1/8" thick. Cut with your favorite cookie cutters. Sprinkle with granulated sugar (unless you plan to frost them). (I would suggest chilling each batch for 15-20 min. before baking). Bake 7-8 min. at 375 degrees F.

The powdered sugar makes them light and flaky and the almond extract makes them almondy-delicious.

In the afternoon we went for our second annual Solstice hike. This year I took along a picnic of cheese pasties, hot chocolate and cookies and we built a small bonfire along the river, using last year's Christmas wreath and some deadfall branches and twigs.

After our bellies were filled and our toes were getting cold, we walked home in the falling darkness, guided only by the luminescence of the snow and our muscle memory of our old trail.


  1. Happy Solstice, dear friend! I love the bird tree and the fire light in the woods. love, beezie

  2. No Deposit Casino tyuueooru
    Play Casino Games
    Reliable Online Casinos
    Get free welcome bonus when depositing for the first time! You'll get 100% free with your first deposit or up to $20.
    [url=]Top Online Casinos[/url]
    It's always good to stick to such online casino website that can meet your queries whenever you want. - No Deposit Casino
    Most significantly, it's necessary for you to conduct a thorough search regarding the best gambling websites out there.

  3. I just wanted to say... I made the sugar cookies Christmas eve. They were a huge hit! "Santa" went crazy over them ;)


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...