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“The joy of brightening other lives,
bearing each others' burdens,
easing others' loads and
supplanting empty hearts and lives
with generous gifts becomes for us
the magic of the holidays.”

― W.C. Jones

It's hard to believe that we are two days away from The Winter Solstice and only six days away from Christmas,<<Name>>!  And I know that I’m not the only one looking forward to saying “Goodbye” to my morning kitchen2020.

Our plans for the holiday can best be described as: quiet and intimate. Just the two of us with ample time to rest and relax. No major cooking, no family gatherings, no expectations beyond simply breathing in the season.  JB is off until after the first of the year so that he can use those “use or lose” vacation days. 
It has been an intense year (that’s an understatement) and we are both needing less.

Basically, the theme is just to BE.

So, on our list besides just flat out enjoying our home, the trees, and a chance to unplug a little bit more than usual. We’re big fans of Turner Classic Movies and are looking forward to their holiday line-ups – like The Bishop’s Wife and the Thin Man movies on I believe!New Year’s Eve.

Oh. And we may re-watch all of The Mandalorian on Disney Plus as we enjoyed it immensely.

I would love to write just that perfect love note to you today, sharing how the lessons I am learning will give you just the right amount of UMPH to move forward in your life. Especially since this is my last love note to you of 2020.

However, after deleting 62 emails that arrived between 10 PM and7 AM on Saturday morning, I decided the biggest love I could give you today is brevity. 

I want to leave you with the reminder that  though the Winter Solstice is officially the first day of winter and the shortest day of the year…it’s also a return of the light. 

Sunrise with MoonshineAnd that return of light never fails to remind me not to lose hope.

I believe that hope and love is the best thing in the world to look to. And  I am sending you so much love for a lovely and sacred Christmas. And a joyous New Year filled with possibility and delight.

As a reminder I’ll be switching to a monthly love note on the 2nd Saturday of each month. So, I'll see you on January 9th

With so much love...........

PS - I'm still on and off Instagram these days - especially to participate in the "Our December Mornings" that author Corinne Cunningham is pulling together.

I don't know about you, but I love the idea of gingerbread during the holiday season. But what I don't love is cookieshow most gingerbread cookies end up hard and crispy. Instead, I prefer big, soft cookies. Which is where these Ginger Molasses Cookies comes in.

This dough can be made up to two or three days ahead of time. So, it's something you can mix together in the evening and bake the next day.

Before you begin, you want to set on the counter 1 large egg and ¾ cup unsalted butter (which is 1 ½ sticks) and let them both come to room temperature. I usually do this by putting the egg in a bowl with a couple of paper towels under it so it doesn’t crack.

When you’re ready, first whisk together all your dry ingredients: 2 and 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (I’ve also made these with whole wheat flour), 1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking soda, 2 teaspoons ground ginger, 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves, 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, 1/4 teaspoon salt then set aside.

I know that’s a lot of spices you may not cook with… you can leave out the cloves and nutmeg. Or substitute ½ teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice to replace them.

In a large bowl using a hand-held or stand mixer cream together the softened butter with ½ cup brown sugar and ¼ cup of sugar until creamy and combined.  

Add ½ cup of unsulphured or dark molasses until well combined. I always use Grandma's Original Molasses. (A trick is to spray your measuring cup with a little bit of Pam and use a rubber spatula to scrape all the molasses out.)

Then add the egg along with 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract. (Or did you know that you can substitute bourbon for vanilla?)

On low speed, slowly mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until combined. The cookie dough will be sticky. Cover the mixing bowl tightly with aluminum foil or plastic wrap and chill for 1 hour and up to 2-3 days. 

When you're ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 (or 325 if you are using a convection setting) Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.

Put ¼ cup of sugar – preferably turbinado sugar (aka Sugar in the Raw) – in a shallow bowl or plate with a rim.

Remove cookie dough from the refrigerator. If the cookie dough chilled longer than 2 hours, let it sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes. The cookies may not spread in the oven if the dough is that cold. 

Roll cookie dough, 1 Tablespoon each, into balls. Again, I like using an ice cream scoop to measure out the dough.

Roll each in the dish of sugar sugar and arrange 3 inches apart on the baking sheets. Bake for 11-12 minutes or until edges appear set.  Let them sit on the cookie sheet for about 5 minutes before you place them on a wire rack to cool.

These will still be good for about a week at room temperature. Or you can freeze them up to three months.

PS - if you are looking for other uses of those molasses, this cake is on my list to bake (without the caramel sauce)  as it's a small 9 x 9 cake which is appealing. Oh, and here's some other cake recipes that use molasses that look good as well:

Volume 10-Issue 26

December 19, 2020

Love Notes Published Every-Other-Saturday
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Hello from Debra

About Debra

Debra Smouse is a writer, life coach, and Tarnished Southern Belle who is on a mission to help people create a daily life that is loving and nourishing.

A native Texan, she resides in Ohio with the Man of her Dreams. Connect with her on social media:
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Giving this Season

From the Blog

Gift-giving can be a challenge for many of us. Especially if we equate gifts with an expression of love.

There’s a mirror image of gift-giving, though. Let me be brutally honest with you: there’s such a thing as a lousy gift receiver, and an equally good chance that you, my dear, are one of them.

Read ==> Allow Yourself to Give and Receive This Season

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