December is always a month of busyness in our family, and the second Christmas on our homestead has been par for the course. Keeping life simple doesn’t necessarily mean it is any less busy, but it’s a hardworking kind of busy. The kind that keeps the heart full and the hands from being idle.
Christmas on the Homestead
This month has been one of preparations. We love homemade gifts, so we’ve been hard at work getting things ready. My hands have been sewing and crocheting up a storm, while Gaby has been toiling away with the kids building up the winter slides. The upcycled gifts have been cleaned and are ready for wrapping (click here to check out our thoughts on Consumerism at Christmastime). All that was left on our to do list was to make the traditional Christmas treats.
Gaby will be the first to attest to the fact that I really don’t enjoy cooking or baking. I do it as a necessity of life (we need to eat after all), but it is not my most favorite thing in the world. The exception, however, is Christmas treats. I do like baking cookies, tarts and dainties, and filling our freezer with them before Christmas Eve comes, so that we have homemade goodies to put out for Santa.
One of my favorite childhood recipes comes from the Mennonite Treasury Cookbook, Grandmother’s Soft White Cookies. It’s such a versatile recipe, perfect for cutting out shapes and decorating with icing and sprinkles. Just note that if you are making this recipe, it makes a lot! So, unless you’re planning on making for the whole neighborhood, maybe cut it in half.
Grandmother’s Soft White Cookies
- 1 cup margarine
- 2 cups white sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup milk
- 5 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- flour to make a stiff dough
- 1 pkg chocolate or pistachio pudding (optional)
Preheat oven to 375°. Cream margarine. Add sugar and eggs, beat well. Sift and mix in baking powder, soda and salt. If adding chocolate or pistachio pudding, do so now. Alternate adding the milk and flour to the bowl, kneading when it becomes necessary to form a stiff dough. Roll out and cut with cookie cutters. Bake until lightly golden (approximately 7 – 12 minutes.)
- 2 cups icing sugar
- 1 teaspoon margarine
- ½ teaspoon vanilla
- food coloring
- small amount of cream
Mix together, adding small amounts of cream until your icing is a nice consistency. Be careful how much cream you add, as it can get runny quite quickly.
We’d like to take this opportunity to thank all of you, our readers, for coming along on our homesteading journey through 2017. We will be taking the next couple of weeks to enjoy the holiday season with family and friends, so our next post will be on January 8, 2018. We wish you the merriest of Christmases, may God’s blessings shine upon you in 2018, and we will see you all in the New Year.