christmas traditions, baking, and even a miracle

As I have mentioned in previous years on this blog, in our neighborhood we have our own little tradition. We leave each other a little gift. I delivered mine yesterday and so did my one next-door neighbor, and bit by bit there are more little surprises appearing on our doorsteps in time for Christmas. We know these elves well, they are our neighbors. And this is one of my favorite Christmas traditions since moving to this neighborhood.

The neighborhood behind us does luminaries up and down their street on Christmas Eve. We see it through our woods from upstairs and it’s so lovely to look at!

I have done my baking including the Christmas stollen. This year I tried a new recipe using sourdough starter and oh and how it did rise! I did deviate slightly because I filled mine with marzipan.

I also made Lebkuchen for the first time. I could not find those German wafers you are supposed to use so I used a King Arthur recipe that makes them like bar cookies. This is the case with many king Arthur recipes I have discovered over the years I have had to tweak it. Their recipe was very dry and it omitted powdered anise which most other recipes contain. You don’t use a lot just a little smidgen. To combat the dryness of the dough, and I added about four or 5 tablespoons of buttermilk. The dough also completely crumbled apart once I was able to start to roll it the next day so I ended up pressing it into the pan. But it did turn out well and I added more liquid to the glaze because 2 tablespoons of brandy was not enough. I actually used about 4. I actually used a local Brandy that is apple brandy from Manatawny Still Works .

I will note I tried to tell King Arthur flour about the issues in their recipe and they were kind of ridiculous about it. Told me maybe I lived in a dry high altitude climate. (Umm no, live in Chester County, PA) and then they had to tell me how maybe I let some extra flower “slip into the bowl”. Umm no again so I will just tell you all my workarounds.

I didn’t get around to my anisette cookies or biscotti this year, but I baked a whole bunch of still traditional Christmas cookies. Big soft ginger cookies, sugar cookies, a couple different kind of chocolate chip cookies, peanut butter cookies, and white chocolate oatmeal cookies. On one batch of the chocolate chip cookies I was in too much of a rush and I forgot to add the eggs. So they ended up like chocolate chip lace cookies. Still perfectly edible.

Now for my Christmas miracle. I just found out that one of my growing up friends who lives in upstate New York just emerged from a coma. She was in a coma for the past two months.

It was kind of freaky the way I found out I just had this weird feeling because I hadn’t heard from her and we usually speak every couple of months. I thought about her a few days ago because I heard the old Kansas song “dust in the wind”. She and one other person I know from high school loved that song. And then the other day she just popped into my head and I realized I hadn’t heard from her.

I went to call her cell phone and the call just dropped and went nowhere. So I went to social media and saw that her brother had posted she’s been in a coma and was awake. So thanks to Facebook I was able to message and then video chat with her yesterday. That makes her the official Christmas miracle. She literally could have never ever woken up.

It was one of those things where everyone who knew thought those of us who did not know knew, only we didn’t. She was even a story in a newspaper in Auburn, NY that contains a link to a Go Fund Me to help with expenses. Yes she has health insurance, but another thing happened to her while she was in a coma for two months: somebody who went to “visit her“ in the hospital made off with her cell phone and the bank card that was tucked inside the case that no one knew was there.

As she told me yesterday this person essentially cloned her identity, emptied her bank account, and sold her expensive phone to one of those we buy used phone places near her. That apparently was caught on some kind of security camera I guess it was in a mall. As I am told the police have not apprehended this person yet but Karma is a bitch and they should just turn themselves in. I mean how do you do that to somebody in a coma? I hope as an additional Christmas present somebody turns that person in, and I think that if the phone was sold at a place that buys used phones, obviously that store knows who they are and they should come forward because that cell phone contained photos of her son who passed away a couple years ago and also of her late mother.

But for the grace of God go any of us, and his Christmas day is now literally right around the corner, I hope everyone has a wonderful and blessed Christmas. I also hope everyone is safe because Covid is on the rise again.

If I don’t post again, I hope all of you have a very Merry Christmas.

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