Growing up every Christmas Eve we went to my Great Grandpa’s house, where all of the family would be gathered. The table there is so large, you can fit around 16 people at it. But there were so many family members, and so much food that no one ever sat at that table. The table would always be covered with food from edge to edge. My dad’s family is Scandinavian, so I believe the word for it is Smorgasbord. We would have a turkey, ham, goose, and some sort of fish as the main meats. The sides would include stuffing, rice pudding with an Almond (the almond is a prosperous sign, and who gets it gets pregnant or married), potato sausage, pickled Herring, lufka (a salt cured fish of sorts), and several cheeses. The desserts would include pies, cookies, and breads. My favorite of all the cookies would be the butter cookie. Our family refers to it as the Norwegian Butter Cookie, but in all actuality the recipe is the same from Russia, to Germany, Poland, etc. These little cookies are a bright yellow, not very big, and so crumbly soft that you can’t just eat one.
This recipe is so very simple, only has 5 ingredients and such a big flavor they are always a hit!
Warning: DO NOT eat the whole batch yourself or you WILL get a tummy ache! Don’t ask me how I know this.
4 eggs: Hard boiled
2 stick of softened butter (use real butter, margarine will not work right)
1/2 cup of white sugar (Splenda will work here if you need to use that, but add a dash of salt to it to stop the after taste)
2 cups of all purpose flour
1 teaspoon of Almond or Vanilla extract (imitation will work, but the real is best)
1. Start by hard boiling the eggs. Try not to boil them for longer than 2 minutes. As you want a bright yellow yolk, a green yoke means you cooked it too long.
2. Once your eggs are cooled off enough to handle, separate the yoke from the whites, and eat the whites. There’s no point in wasting anything. And preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
3. Cream (use an electric mixer or food processor) together the butter, sugar and egg yolks.
4. Slowly mix in the flour and extract.
5. Your dough will be quite thick and crumbly (almost the consistency of play dough) This is normal and don’t be tempted to add more liquid.
6. Take a soup spoon and scoop out pieces of dough, roll into a ball and lightly press on to your ungreased cookie sheet. These cookies will not expand, or change shape.
7. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the edges are a light brown, and the tops look fluffy.
8. Allow to cool, if you can!
I can never wait for the first batch of these to cool, it’s like pulling Christmas out of my oven. And more often then not I am playing hot potato with a cookie. I hope you all enjoy these cookies as much as I do!
Retha Barton blogs at Mommy Bee Wisdom where she teaches other moms that living life from scratch isn’t as hard as it sounds. Retha shows you that you can make it without a lot of money and that sometimes doing things the old way can be more rewarding.
The following guest post is by a fellow Goose, Anne, from Homeschooling 911
Traditions, Truces, and Cartoon Moments
Family traditions are important in that they give us a connection to our past and strengthen the family bond. However, when a couple gets married, traditions can actually become a point of contention. After all, you have two people, possibly from very different backgrounds, each having their own traditions, memories, and a lifetime of experiences – joining their lives together.
For instance, maybe you grew up in a family that bought their Christmas tree the day after Thanksgiving and had all the decorations up that weekend, while your spouse’s family never bought their tree until just days before Christmas (or even the day before like my husband’s family).
It may sound simple enough to adjust and make peace with each other’s traditions…if you don’t understand how humans really work!
After all, you went through the planning and execution of a wedding – hmm…maybe execution isn’t the best word – but keep in mind that infused in that event was a romantic element that helped to cushion some of the tensions.
When the day-to-day of married life hits and the holidays start to roll around things can take a turn…for the annoying or possibly for the comical!
When my husband and I first married, even though our background was somewhat similar, how our families approached and celebrated the holidays was very different. And it did cause some, uh, lively discussions in our home! After sharing this predicament with my mom she clipped a cartoon out of the newspaper that illustrated our dilemma perfectly, and hilariously.
The cartoon was titled “Cathy.” You might remember this comic strip – it ran from November 22, 1976 through October 3rd of this year. The comic my mom had clipped showed Cathy and her boyfriend Irving decorating for Christmas. The gist of it was that they both had their own ideas of how it should be done – and at the end of the strip Cathy is standing there with a tangle of Christmas lights all over her. It was perfect.
Over the years we adapted and called truces and found our way through the holidays. These days my husband and one of my sons decorate the outside of the house in style. The four children decorate the tree. I try to stay out of all the decorating if possible. Not my cup of tea anymore. But I do send out approximately 100 Christmas cards every year and cook a bang-up Christmas dinner.
So take heart. You too can combine those traditions that work for you as a couple and a family, as well as forging those special traditions that belong to your family alone.
“The best of all gifts around any Christmas tree: the presence of a happy family all wrapped up in each other.” (Unknown)
Anne Galivan is a home-schooling mother of four whose website www.homeschooling911.com is dedicated to helping prospective and current home-schoolers find answers to their questions about home education. Check out her website for home-schooling tips, curriculum reviews, and much more!