Christmas is Coming, Life is Moving Forward, So I Made Cookies

Some days life is hard, and great, and confusing, and exciting, and a little scary-wonderful. Sometimes a quiet year realises that its end is drawing near and hastens its course. Days flickers past your window without the opportunity to take stock of what is really important in that day. We become worried about having the right amount of things under the tree, about wearing the right dress to the office party, about the external and extraneous details rather than the internal and fundamental reasons behind this season and the opportunities it presents for us to look around and be grateful for our lives. Sometimes the speeding freight train of life is headed towards the cliff of a new year, and we need to pull on the emergency breaks and sit on the cliff for a while to admire the lights in the sky.

Trent and Jess on Friday night

Trent and Jess on Friday night

2012 has been a fairly quiet year for me, and then summer rolled around. Full of wonderful weddings and myriad celebrations, more intense training for the half marathon (only five weeks away), and the other pleasures of the Christmas and New Year season. December feels as though it is flying out of my grasp, and I don’t want to dismiss the beauty in each of the special occasions of this season. So, sometimes it is necessary to make cookies. Or sit in a quiet corner with a notepad and a pen, or zone out to some music while you take a walk, or however you manage to bring your heart and mind back to the present moment so that you can appreciate every wonder that you encounter.

Mama and Papa by the tree

Mama and Papa by the tree

Last Friday night my family embarked on one of my favourite Christmas traditions, which always reminds me of the true beauty of this time of year. Every year we visit the Christmas tree that is erected in King George Square in Brisbane. We have dinner, see the tree, and admire the Myer Christmas windows. To me, this is when Christmas really starts, and I relax into celebrating the holidays, and soaking up every part of the season.

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Cranberry, Almond, and Oat Cookies

Makes about 24 cookies.

These make wonderful Christmas presents, or an unexpected holiday treat for a neighbour.

To toast the almonds: spread out on a baking sheet and place in the oven while it is warming up. Allow them to cook for about 10 minutes. Cool, and then chop.

Ingredients:

  • 100 grams butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup wholemeal plain flour
  • 1 1/2 cups rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup almonds, toasted (see head note), and chopped
  • 1/4 cup cranberries

Method:

  1. Preheat your oven to 180C (350F) and line two cookie sheets with baking paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, use a wooden spoon to cream together the butter, sugar, and vanilla until fluffy and light. Add egg and beat to combine.
  3. In a separate bowl whisk together the baking soda, cinnamon, salt, and flour. Add flour mixture to creamed butter mixture and beat until just combined.
  4. Add oats, chocolate chips, almonds, and cranberries to the dough and mix until all combined.
  5. Spoon out heaped tablespoons of mixture onto the baking paper. Leave about 3cm between cookies as they will spread a little when baking.
  6. Bake for 10-12 minutes, then remove trays from oven and allow cookies to cool completely on a rack.

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Tell me, dear reader, how do you remind yourself to slow down at this time of year? Any exciting early holiday plans?

8 thoughts on “Christmas is Coming, Life is Moving Forward, So I Made Cookies

  1. I love reading blog posts like this one that enjoy the moments around Christmas! I love putting up our tree. Rake and I spend an evening decorating it and swearing at each other. It’s becoming an annual tradition.

    • Sounds like my sister and I! I usually put the tree up and then find something “urgent” to attend to so that she has to put the lights on….
      Other than that we still put up the tree with my Mum and listen to our old Christmas CDs and just soak in the festive spirit.

  2. oh, so purdy and it looks like u all are having a wonderful time! but it cracks me up because it’s summer there, so do u guys have fake snow or do u embrace the sun and think all us US’ers are crazy for the white xmas themes?? πŸ˜›

    but i have to say that the very first line of this post really hit me hard. as i feel that way right now, my brain is going nutso so i need to school up on my slow-down tactics. usually i try to read or do art, but sometimes they don’t work so i just write or email to no one in particular…lol. i don’t send most but it still helps.

    • I wish I could do a white christmas – one day, one day. I am super jealous of Casey and Matt at the moment because they are honeymooning in the US and Canada and going skiing!
      Sometimes just writing down all the buzz going on in your brain is a way of working it out, or at least figuring out what is important and what you can afford to ignore.

  3. Gorgeous post as always! Being at the beach slows me down. Something about being by the water makes me unwind and relax and forget the million things that go on at this time of year.

    I am a christmas lover! Everything around this time of year just rocks. The smells, the sounds and the foods and I am totally going to give those cookies a go. I love traditions and love how you start your chrissy celebrations with the fam. Your Mama and Papa are so cute :=)

    • The beach is definitely my favourite place to wind down too. I am so lucky to live less than an hour from the Gold Coast, although I don’t take advantage of it enough.
      Let me know how your cookies go πŸ™‚

  4. Ohhhh I think I might be double commenting again. Mine hasn’t shown up but I bet you it will suddenly appear later so I apologise if so. But I just wanted to say how cute your Mama and Papa are and how gorgeous this post it.

    I am a Christmas LOVER. All the smells, sounds and FOODS! As for slowing down – it is hard at this super busy time but I find the beach always a relaxing place to be. Something about being near water I think!

    And finally, totally going to give this cookies a go. Will let you know how I go… looks like Papa got stuck into yours ;=)

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