Thursday, December 11, 2008

the Humble Hermit

Sadly the picture doesn't do these delicious, chewy, spicy morsels justice. They've truly become the "house cookie" around here. Very simple to make and as our electrician observed when I was baking some a few weeks back..."man, your house smells just like Christmas!" Pretty high praise! They also pack really well for care-packages. Historically, sailors wives made these goodies to pack off with their guys when they went to sea. The molasses kept the cookies moist and they held up well for travel.

My recipe is a modified (health-ified) version of the chewy hermit recipe from an old spiral-bound cookbook of my mothers. Here's my version...

Chewy Whole Wheat Hermits
makes 24
3 Cups flour (this recipe works great with white whole wheat or even stoneground whole wheat)
1 1/4 Cups sugar (we use organic turbinado or brown sugar)
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground cloves
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ginger
1 Cup raisins or mixed dried fruit
1 egg
1/2 Cup vegetable oil (we use organic cold-pressed sunflower oil)
1/4 Cup molasses
6 Tbsp. water

Grease 13" x 9" pan. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 350° F.

Combine first eight ingredients in a large bowl. Mix and set aside.

In a medium bowl combine next four ingredients. Whisk together and pour into dry ingredients. Dough will be very thick and hard to handle. Use dampened hands to mix if necessary.

Spread dough in pan. Press down firmly. Bake 20-25 minutes until firm. Cool on wire rack. Original recipe said it makes 40 bars!!! We make 24 and they seem the perfect size. Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

On a simple life in this crazy world

As things start to heat up for the holidays with the frenzied shoppers and crazed schedules, and messages about the economic crisis become more and more dismal, I'm finding relief and words of hope and sanity in welcome spots and hidden corners.

Thankfully not everyone has embraced the MORE mentality and many are looking for connection and peace instead of just another flimsy piece of something that won't last, that they don't need, that was made far away by people who were badly paid or ill-treated and that will land sooner than later in the landfill.

Grace writes a powerful and extremely timely and eloquent post about her feelings in her post titled "Bear with me", which many, MANY people share. Take a moment to read it if you can.

We made a conscious choice to celebrate Buy Nothing Day last Friday. We've been moving for some time to a simpler lifestyle where we buy much less, so avoiding malls and stores on Friday truly wasn't that difficult. But hearing the buzz all around me from people gearing up for their shopping and planning their strategies for hitting as many stores as possible did bring the message home more deeply than ever for me.

A few friends have expressed curiousity (and some frustration) about how to truly make a difference and get started living a simpler life. And I read a wonderful post titled small steps which speaks to this more eloquently than I can. Rhonda Jean lives in Australia and writes many inspiring posts. I hope you'll enjoy discovering her.

These two are only a little sampling of the many, many people around us who are choosing to think about what they do, how they live, what they consume and what they really want. So, the next time the latest news from Wall Street smacks you in the head or you hear someone on the train panicking over how few shopping days there are left before Christmas...remember there are other ways to celebrate and enjoy the true meaning of whatever holidays you choose to celebrate at this time of year.

And since I don't want to leave you with dreary page of text...

Here is Kate

a little knitted critter I made for a friend's baby shower. Welcome to the world little Kylan!


An update and some knitted goodness

Well, I'm sorry to see that it has been so long since I last posted here. Lots going on in our world and in fact in the big wide world as well.

We've officially completed our Home Study and have the papers to prove it. Which is a nice but slightly surreal feeling because now it's just down to the waiting...and waiting. And I know we haven't even waited that long yet!

So, for me that means assembling fabric and thread and patterns for some baby clothes, that you'll hopefully be seeing in posts in the coming weeks. And more time spent with my knitting.

My wonderful Mother-in-law, Nancy, saw a beautiful skein of sock yarn while she was shopping in Western, MA one day and she bought it for me. It is a skein of Dumbledore from the Harry Potter line by Opal, and it makes a lovely little tulip hat for the wee one.

The photo doesn't really do justice to the rich color-way and I'd hoped to show you a better view of the shape and construction of this little chapeau but neither Farley nor Zeke was a willing model. The pattern is from here the Drops site is FULL to bursting with projects I can't wait to try. Right now I'm half way through this bunting for the baby in a soft gray blue color with cocoa blanket stitch trim. And I recently whipped up this little number with some alpaca/silk blend that I had in my stash. It looks a little big for a newbie, but we'll soon see...the pattern is a free one I found here at Ravelry for those of you who are hooked into that mighty world of online knitters.

For now, I'm off to answer the call of the bamboo needles and that bunting.