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Heger Family Farms

Honoring the Past, Working Today, Preparing for the Future

Month

December 2016

Oh… Christmas Cookie

I LOVE to cook and despise cleaning up! Sometimes I get a wild hair and start cooking and baking away, not knowing if anything I end up with in the end will be good or if anyone will be around to eat it.

So what do I do in the cooking department for holiday baking? Well, it seems that I don’t do much. No real good excuses except that spontaneous cooking is much more my style and December always seems to be busy with little time for spontaneity. I do know though that I depend on almond bark! Almost everything can be coated or drizzled with it and if sprinkled or rolled in embellishments such as candy cane pieces, nuts, mini marshmallows and candy, it looks and taste scrumptious.

I also do make bars – often coloring the batter so that it is more festive. But cut-outs…. oh those cut outs… I just really struggle with them. They drive me crazy because my type A, controlling and perfectionistic personality causes me to have an quasi- panic attack. So cutouts in moderation are a must!

Last week when most of the kids at our house went downhill skiing the youngest and I were at home. She wanted to cook. So, I figured this was the perfect time for cut-outs. We made one batch of dough, cut and cooked, and then she decorated. Well, WE decorated. For you see, she still likes mom’s help when things start to get a little messy. It was a win-win for us both!

But I didn’t have any other holiday “baking” done. I hadn’t even made chocolate covered pretzels- boy was I behind! It was quiet and I had a little helper, so I figured that last Saturday was the day to try something new. With the sugar cookie recipe on the counter and my creative rarely follow a recipe cooking style in tow, I set to work. I switched out 1 stick of butter for a package of cream cheese, added a little almond extract and a bit of extra flour. They dough was tasty! So I rolled them into balls, used a cup with a grid pattern on the bottom and squashed them into what looked to be mini-pancakes and baked them for a bit…img_8147

When they were done cooking, they were a bit dull in color so an almond glaze went on top… then they were finished!

Easy, basic ingredients, tasty and enjoyed by many…. Next time I will split the dough and add color to each section. Then the cookie tray will be even more merry and bright!

 

Recipe: 

Dough: 3 1/2 half flour, 1 tsp baking powder, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1 cup white sugar, 1 stick butter, 1- 8 oz pkg cream cheese, 1 egg, 1 TBSP milk, 1 TBSP almond extract

Glaze: 4 TBSP powered sugar, 1 TBSP water ( or about) and a Tsp of Almond Extract. Mix until smooth and drizzle/ spread thin layer over top of cookies.

Preheat over to 350. Measure and mix dry ingredients- set aside. Mix butter, sugar,egg, milk, almond extract until smooth. Slowly add dry ingredients until mixed well and a ball of dough is formed. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes.

Place parchment paper on cookie sheet. Roll dough into 1-2 inch balls, flatten and bake for about 7 minutes. They will be pale in color, check bottom- slightly golden is perfect!

Let sit for 2-5 minutes.

Add glaze and eat!

 

 

 

 

 

The Christmas Card Fiasco

So it is that time of year. The time of year that Christmas cards need to be addressed and I need to decide whether or not to write a letter to accompany it. I have to think about who  is going to get cards and who is not. Who has our family fallen out of touch with or, quite honestly, who can I skip if I run short. The trick is identifying that forgiving friend that is ok with a texted picture of the card and those who won’t even know they didn’t receive one.screen-shot-2016-12-09-at-9-30-28-pm

But the letter…that is the hardest part. With seven of us in the house I have to be fairly concise. I take a bit of time to reflect on the past year and feel like we haven’t done anything “out of the ordinary”. I pause to think about what others would want to hear and some of the things my kids and family have done. Finding the balance between sharing and bragging can be hard. Having a letter that doesn’t sounds like we live in a constant chaos and have too many different schedules is hard too. And heaven forbid I even consider saying something like, “As 2016 wraps up and 2017 kicks off, we couldn’t be happier that there will be able people required to go back to work, fossil fuels will regain vitality- drill and mine baby, drill and mine, and we are thrilled to know taxes will become more equitable and US companies will be returning to the US in order to make America great again.”  Who wants to hear about politics in a Christmas letter?!

I deeply believe that Christmas cards and letters should be filled with uplifting light-hearted highlights, stories and experiences – not politics or a written temper-tantrum and pout session.

As I await for my cards to arrive, with an unknown delivery status due to 2 weeks of crazy winter weather here in North Dakota, I sit down to write the letter that I have decided I need to write. But, as my fingers tap on the computer keys I will keep these 5 rules in mind:

  1. Keep Christ in Christmas and focus on our blessings!
  2. Share something school and extra-curricular related for each child!
  3. Share one family highlight!
  4. Keep it short and sweet!
  5. No politics!

So I ask that as you sit down to design cards or write letters think about what you really want to share and what is the most important, what sustains you from minute to minute, day to day and week to week. Keep some guidelines in mind and have some fun!

Merry Christmas to all (and because I don’t have cards to stuff and computer is about to run out of battery) to all a good night!

 

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