The Darkest Night

Yule Celebration 2012

yule wreath

This Thursdays Bite we are planning for Friday, December 21st, the Winter Solstice, or Yule. The shortest day of the year and the advent of the zombie apocalypse.  (Just kidding!) Yule is the time  we pull our loved ones close and linger around the fire. The time for celebrating the re-birth of the sun and thinking about what we’d like to get rid of in our lives and what we’d like to keep.

Yule is also a great time to look back at the year and ruminate about what went well, and what we could be doing differently. When the new day dawns and the days get longer, how will you be spending your hours?

This year I’ll be frittering away a child free weekend with my husband. Yep, a little early Christmas present for both of us. And boy do we need it. This has been a stressful fall and winter, and it’s not because our zombie preparedness kit is incomplete. ( I need a portable water filtration system. Maybe Santa will bring one.) I also have started looking at next year’s goals and analyzing what the heck went wrong with my goals this year. I have a pretty good idea that it was all my family stuff interfering and plan to just tell everyone in 2013 to “Go away! I’m writing!)

Okay, we’ll see how that works.

I do have some fun things lined up already for the New Year. I’m taking a class on the ins and outs of self-publishing. I’m too nervous to dip my toe into that pond without some cold hard facts and some hand holding so the class on Author EMS by Amy Atwell and Kelli Finger looks perfect. It promises to teach me enough about the whole shebang to figure out if it’s just too much work, or if it’s something I want to do. Definitely an interesting start to the New Year.

The other class I am taking is not such a fun one, but it’s necessary. It’s Taxes For Writers and it’s on the Colorado Romance Writers site HERE. I’m moderating that one, so  I’ll have to get on the loop every day. That’s one way to make sure you actually participate in a class. Not that it won’t be a good class, but taxes are not my forte. I have to confess. I haven’t done taxes since I got married. Yes, it’s a June and Ward relationship. Jeff does the taxes and I stay home and write. I’m not complaining, no way!

Just for fun, while you’re thinking about your year and clearing out the old to make way for the new, here is a recipe to celebrate on Friday. Something fun to do with your sweetie or the kids or just by yourself while you watch “It’s a Wonderful Life”.

What do you do on the Winter Solstice? Do you celebrate the dark and the return of the light? Do you take the time to analyze the year, or do you save that for New Year’s Day? What about baking? If ginger bread cookies are not your thing and you would like some delicious recipes check out the Holiday Yum Recipes on More Cowbell.

From the Kitchen Witch’s Cookbook: “Make gingerbread cookies both for yourself and for your tree spirits to encourage the return of the sun.”

Magical Colors:  Green (Growth, prosperity, faith and health) and Red (strength, courage, vitality, fire)

Now let’s do what any good kitchen witch would do and combine these magical ideas and make iced ginger cookies. Ginger ( health, cleansing, vibrant energy and zeal) is a sunny warm flavor perfect for summoning the light and banishing the dark during the cold winter months.

Rolled Gingerbread Men (and Women!)

  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup molassas
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbl vinegar
  • 1 tsp baking pwder
  • 1/2 tso baking soda
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground cloves

Beat shortening, add half the flour and all the rest of the ingredients- beating between each addition. Once thoroughly  mixed, beat in the rest of the flour. Cover and chill until workable (approx 3 hours). Roll out 1/4 inch thick and cut with cookie cutters. Cut a small hole in the top of each cookie. Bake 375° for 5-6 minutes. Don’t over bake. Cool on cookie sheet and decorate. Tie ribbon through the top and hang on the tree.

If, for some strange reason, you would like your icing to actually be hard because you expect your cookies to last on your tree. Be sure to use Royal Icing. And, to avoid the Solstice Sickies, use powdered egg whites in your icing. This will take care of the salmonella question.

I want to thank everyone who dropped by for the Holiday Gifts of Love Blog Hop. I met a ton of new people and we gave away some great prizes. Congratulations to AJCraig for winning my e-copy of Little Red Riding Wolf. Grand Prize winners listed HERE.

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8 Comments

Filed under Magic, recipes, Thursdays Bite

8 responses to “The Darkest Night

  1. Jessica, it’s never occurred to me to celebrate the winter solstice. The longest day of summer, tho? Now you’re talking. Woot!

    January is a great time for courses, and yours are career focused fun. Well, maybe the tax course won’t be fun…

    A few peeps and I took a class a few years ago. Same class, different times. All four of us still have our notes, so we’ve pledged a refresher class between the four of us, over the course of January through March–long enough to re-charge us through the sleepiest time of winter.

    • Taxes are no fun, but doing it with friends? That would be an excellent idea. Danika came into our CRW meeting last year and covered a bunch of info, and I’ve implemented some of what she talked about, but I think doing it over the course of a month will help me make sure I hit all the notes.

      As for the winter solstice. I think there is a reason all the religions have a celebration of light at this time. We need to remember that summer solstice will be coming around again someday. 🙂

  2. Merry Christmas, Jessica! I’m just beginning my holiday baking, but I LOVE doing Gingerbread men — even though they turn out a bit wonky.

    NOT the artist’s fault of course. It’s those globs from the icing tubes that plunk themselves on my GingerPeople when and where they want. I, of course, have to eat the evidence.

    Here’s to a wonderful holiday season and ROCKING in 2013!

    • I bet your gingerbread men are wonderful. And if you have to eat a few of the practice people, well, that’s just what happens! I’m thinking of dipping my gingerbread men into chocolate. Yum! Two of my favorite flavors, I don’t think I can miss. 🙂

      Happy holidays, Gloria!

  3. Your posts are always so jam-packed with info and good stuff, Jessica! I almost want to become a romance writer so I can go to one of those conferences where you’ll be! Have a wonderful Christmas and New Year’s, my friend!

    • Those conferences are fun, too bad I won’t see you at one. But maybe I’ll be up Canada way, sometime. Of course, it’s a big country, but there’s always a chance! Have a fantastic Christmas and New Years too!

  4. I’m with Sherry in celebrating Summer Solstice. Love those long twilight hours. But I do love a party… 🙂 Thanks for the wonderful idea, Jessica!

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