Food Holidays

Tweaked Molasses Crinkle-top Cookies

I don’t have pictures. Why? We ate them. All. All of them. The cookies, I mean. Well, I know I could have taken pictures before we devoured up the sweet morsels, but I didn’t think of it then. And now they’re gone.

Cookies. Yes, they were cookies. Cookies like I used to make when my youngsters were small, and whose recipe I always took off the molasses jar, (which shortsightedly I had failed to copy), but once when I went to whip up a batch the recipe was no longer on the label, but rather had been replaced by another molasses concoction. I tried other such cookie recipes but none seemed to turn out quite right…until a couple of weeks ago, when I tweaked a recipe I found on the internet, and voila! I had baked up a fine batch of molasses crinkle-top cookies.

I’m in the sharing mood and want you to have this recipe.


Cream together:

3/4 C shortening

1 C dark brown sugar

1 large egg

1/4 C molasses

Sift together:

2 1/4 C flour

2 teaspoons soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 teaspoon cloves

1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 1/2 teaspoons ginger

Stir thoroughly into well-creamed, fluffy mixture.

Chill. Shape into ping-pong sized balls. Dip the tops in granulated sugar. Place 3 inches apart on greased cookie sheets, sugar side up. Sprinkle each cookie with a couple drops of water. Bake at 350 degrees until just set–about 8 minutes. DO NOT OVER BAKE. Let cool slightly, then remove to cooling rack.

These should be eaten warm, coupled with an icy-cold glass of milk. 🙂

If by chance, there are any left from the first eating, store in an airtight container so they will be soft when you eat them tomorrow. 🙂


Now, take a look at the top of my site and you will see a heading called GREAT RECIPES. It has been rather neglected, and since we’re nearing the great holiday season when most of us chop and cook and peel and bake and eat, and when I know some of you are very good cooks, I’d like to give that column a bit of a boost. Check it out, if you feel inclined, take a look at the great recipes that are there, and add one of your own very best ones. Just post it as a comment, and I’ll move it to the top. I’m starting by adding this quite fine cookie recipe.

Cheers…and great cooking…and eating.

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How that both photographs and memories enable us to relive events has often been discussed, and since I’m in agreement with the premise, I take lots of pictures, and, I often engage myself in memories–both of recent happenings and of those from long ago. We’re blessed with a relatively large house, and we have rather given one of the rooms to memories. In that room are stored thousands of pictures, both bound neatly in albums and filed into boxes, ranging from those designed for pictures, to ordinary shoe boxes. In the closet of the room is a slide projector and hundreds of slides. The picture room also stores and displays mementos from our travels. My old cameras are there. It’s a great room, gets to be a mess easily, (especially during the holidays) for all the family know they are welcome to rummage around in there, and sometimes the “rummager” is less skilled at returning things to their spots as he is at taking them out. 🙂 The room has an ordinary blue and grey sofa, (complete with cushions that tend to slide off if one is sleeping on it) plenty of lamps, and when our house is full of grandkids and great-grandkids it also becomes a bedroom, utilizing said sad couch, and with blankets, sleeping bags, and little people covering every suitable inch of the floor.

Images in that room run the gamut from baby pictures of our latest great-grandchild to austere images of Jerry’s grandparents and of mine. Memories galore. Jerry and I; young and handsome, our babies, our churches, our friends, our trips…  Priceless. These images and objects enable the replay of the occasion; a reflection of the day’s mood, color, scent, sound, and emotion, so that in actuality I live again that day.

The wonderful winter holidays approach, and this morning I’ve thought extensively about Anticipation, and how that such a sense adds another element, another layer of enjoyment to any occasion. I’m rollicking in Anticipation of Thanksgiving. A couple of my granddaughters called today telling me how they will be here with us, and how they are looking forward to it, and how my great-grandchildren are wanting to be here. I’m loving it. I’m thinking of the bed situation, and asked Jerry a few minutes ago if in the next few weeks, he could take a look at our two inflatable mattresses that we have to use when a bunch of us are together. The last time Chris and Christina slept on one of them, by morning, they were flat on the hard floor. I believe some of the little ones had been using it for a trampoline. 😦

I’m smelling savory turkey and dressing. I’m catching whiffs of spicy pumpkin pie as it nears a finish in the oven. I’m hearing youngsters yelping outside, and roars of laughter as we engage in our favorite board game, Balderdash. (One year we laughed so loudly, Ken and Nancy heard us from across the street!) I’m hearing the chop of onion, the whir of the mixer, the gurgle of a fresh pot of coffee and the clink of crystal. I’m seeing the house in an upheaval. I’m thinking table cloths and china and mashed potatoes.

And so–certainly for me–this Thanksgiving has begun. I’m thinking I will experience it at least four ways: I will continue with my anticipation of that bountiful day, I will experience it fully when the day  comes, later I will stare at pictures we snap, and in my mind, many days and years from now, I will again explore its depth, using the blessed memory God has so graciously given us.

But for now, I have only the Anticipation. Know something? It’s cool.


8:00 pm Tuesday edit

I’m not the only one in anticipation of the big day. My 13-year-old grandson Nathaniel was just up here visiting us and told me he has cut a huge stack of papers to use in playing Balderdash! That’s my kind of grandboy. 🙂

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Black-eyes and the New Year

Late this afternoon we dropped by Mike and Mel’s house where her family had gathered to exchange Christmas presents. It was the usual, happy family scene with food everywhere, men slouched on couches, women in the kitchen and kids pounding about everywhere.

“Had any black-eyed peas?” Mel asked as I sat at their bar.


“Well, the day cannot end without you two having some black-eyed peas.”  They had feasted on them the day before, and from the refrigerator now she pulled the leftovers, and into a plastic container she scooped some, snapped on the lid and handed it to me. An hour or so ago, I heated the peas, divided them into two small bowls, and Jerry and I ate the prescribed New Year’s Day black-eyed peas. I’ve heard of this before, of course, but it’s not a tradition our family has kept, and I’m not clear on the significance, although, I’m quick to say I didn’t need to understand why I was doing it to enjoy the little morsels this evening. They were delicious.

Guess I’ll Google the subject later, but for now any of you who want to school me, I’m open to hearing from you about the black-eyed peas and the New Year.  One more thing: Is there something about eating these peas under the table? Anything like that? I thought Mike said in passing that yesterday he snapped pictures of someone under the table eating peas. (Mel’s sweet family are likely to kill me when they read this, and I probably have that under the table part totally wrong. I’m asking forgiveness at this moment if I’m utterly confused. 🙂  )

Anyway, happy New Year. Be good people…and eat your peas! Not just sure why, but you must do this before you go to bed.

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“Adore Him,” you say? “Is this CHRISTmas?”

I was furious when, on Facebook,  I read this; one reason being that the eight-year-old referenced here is my grandson, and the mother’s post concerned how her son was to speak in a public school in San Diego, CA.

My third grader has just informed me that they are now supposed to say “Happy Holidays” and the Christmas tree is to be a “Holiday Tree”.

Wrong. Just wrong. Also silly and unconstitutional. For the holiday season which we are experiencing today, culminates on  the 25th of December, an official United States of America holiday, which day is Christmas. CHRISTMAS. It’s called Christmas, not Holiday. It’s called Christmas because it is to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.

Let us adore Him, the God of all the universe, who loving us so much, prepared Himself a body, and came to earth. Isaiah beautifully prophesied the event in chapter 9, verse 6.

“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

I recently became aware of the group whose music I’m bringing here. Please listen to this stunning rendition of  Oh, Come All Ye Faithful, an enduring, majestic song of the Christmas season. (If you have headphones, so much the better.)

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Christmas Spirit Alive and Well in Long Island

In a disheveled world of daily upheaval seeming to feature immorality, lack of honor, crime and a confusing web of uncertainty, it is a relief to know such stories as this one, about which I learned today.

A Long Island deli owner who held a robber at gunpoint, then let him go after giving him $40 and a loaf of bread, says he got an anonymous letter from the crook that included a $50 bill and a thank-you for saving him from a life of crime.

Mohammad Sohail shares part of the unidentified repentant’s letter in which he apologized: “First of all I would like to say I am sorry at the time I had [no] money no food on the table no job and nothing for my family.”

Similar to comments he made on his knees during the incident last May, he said he realized that trying to rob the store with a baseball bat “was wrong but I had [no] choice. I needed to feed my family.”

“That’s the same guy I gave $40 to,” said Sohail, 62, displaying the typewritten letter at his Shirley Express deli yesterday. There was no return address. It was mailed on Long Island the week before


“I’m really thrilled,” said Sohail. “I’m very happy for that guy, because he is now doing good for the community.

“He has a job and he is a good person. I really feel great. Thank God he’s doing good. He’s got a new baby and he’s not in jail,” said Sohail.

What a cheering wonderful story, one worthy of note during this most beautiful of seasons, for people such as these are truly imbued with the Spirit of Christmas. Around such accounts may be experienced the ring of sanctuary music, the tinkle of hand-rung bells, the red of a Salvation Army Kettle, the appealing misspoken lines in a children’s drama, tiny shepherds dressed in bathrobes, and tough businessmen wiping away tears as they once more hear the carols of antiquity that speak anew of the greatest story on earth.

Source: Kieran Crowley NY Post

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A Blessed Week of Thanksgiving

It was almost a week–a week of Thanksgiving–beginning Sunday the 22nd after the beautiful Thanksgiving dinner at our church, Christ Alive. It was mid-afternoon when Jerry and I drove the 4 1/2 hours to our Crestline home. Our home is situated in such a way that we pass the rear of the house before making a sharp turn and pull into the driveway in the front. As we drove past the backyard, both Jerry and I noticed lights on in the upstairs area of the house.

“Rebecca must have left on a light,” I thought. She had gone up a couple of days before to oversee carpet cleaners who tackled all our downstairs carpets.

As we pulled up the driveway and into the garage, though, we noticed lights everywhere…and then we saw her car. Our sweet daughter and her son, Nathaniel, were already there, with the house warmed–a crackling fire roaring in the living room fireplace.

And so it began…an exceptional week of Thanksgiving with our family and friends. Except for Michael, who was with Mel at her family’s home, on Thanksgiving day, all our children were with us, along with our grandson Chris and his family. Friends Jay and Holly rounded out the group of 18 who were seated for our traditional luscious Thanksgiving dinner.

Chloe had set the table, choosing to use these combination napkin rings and place cards. Shawnna did the calligraphy. I always want to have the children sit with the adults, but our table just won’t stretch that far, so we set a children’s table…using red plates! (Click on any of the pictures to view them in a larger size.)

You can’t see Gentry at the table, but he is pictured well in the kitchen with his beautiful yeast rolls which he made totally “from scratch.”  Everyone pitched in to cook this exceptional meal. When Steve and Dearrah came in from San Diego, he was bearing two large ham butts which were coated with a scrumptious Cajun glaze. Rebecca bought a huge tom, and together we chopped and mixed and seasoned until the giblet gravy and the cornbread dressing were perfect. Chloe peeled, boiled and whipped potatoes into a fluffy, buttery mound. Shawnna prepared two large casserole dishes of her famous, cheesy green beans, and before Friday night was over, there wasn’t a green bean in sight. Desserts abounded, but before we began to eat, Jerry stood at the head of the table, expressing his love for everyone there, and calling on Nathaniel to read portions of beautiful Psalm 136 that speaks so eloquently of thankfulness.

Gloriously inevitable were the games where we hooted and howled with laughter, and one night after Jerry had gone to bed and we were still at the “gaming table,” open swung the bedroom door on the landing, and the sweet Patriarch growled, “You’re being too loud! Woke me from a sound sleep.” We snickered, and said…sorry…and went right back at it, until finally we were all tuckered out and went to bed.

Friends came by; we ate leftovers and ordered in pizza. We encouraged everyone to take at least one bite of the myriad desserts, never forgetting Chloe’s beautiful chocolate meringue pie. We hugged and patted and washed dishes…and did it again…and again…and went to the store one more time, and put jackets on the babies, and took them off again, and matched up gloves for the cold hands and found boots that fit the growing feet. We opened the second pound of Starbucks coffee beans, made another pitcher of tea, and unloaded the dishwasher and put clothes in the dryer.

I had been disappointed to read weather forecasts that predicted moderate, dry weather…and the forecasts were accurate. But I knew the beautiful weather was a blessing in a way for the youngsters had a great time playing outside, even to a late evening football game. Daddies and one grandpa were running about and huddling with Ella-Claire who is two and with Drake who is three. It was a delight to watch.

But on Friday evening, a cold rain began, and during the night a blustery storm blew in with thunder and lightening that is unusual in our part of the country. Our house shook so that some persons got out of bed and spent part of the night in the living room. I awoke to the crashing of thunder and when our bedroom was illuminated with brilliant lightening but promptly went back to sleep.

Silently and without my being aware, began the snow, so that when I peered from the bathroom window early Saturday morning, the ground was blanketed with two or three inches of that pristine covering. It was a fairyland. The trees were white and icy. The temperature had dropped 23 degrees from Friday morning…and so ended the Thanksgiving week. Snow suits and boots came out in earnest, snow ball fights ensued, and one beautiful snow man was built, sporting carrot features and a bright red scarf and hat.

The day had cleared with peeks of blue overhead, but just before we left, the sky lowered and dark clouds built. Hurrying now, we finished packing and as we drove away, fresh snow was falling. We left Rebecca in our home, and when I checked on her yesterday, she was still there. “Nathaniel doesn’t have to be in school until Tuesday. We’re just hunkered down here. It’s so nice.”

I knew there was plenty of food for Rebecca and Nathaniel; there were fresh coffee beans and lots of wood for the fireplace. I consider it a pretty nifty way to finish up the Thanksgiving week. Hope yours was as delightful as was ours…Now on to Christmas, my favorite time of the year!

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Happy Birthday, Michael


This is a good time to again thank God for this fine man, a man of talent, of a wonderful disposition, and of a heart after God. For more than 25 years, though, he wandered about, untrue to his calling, his training, and paying less than respectful heed to God. Then he “woke up,” and for several years now, he has been a dynamic servant of God.

Fifty years ago today, Heaven sent Jerry and me our second child. We named him Michael. He was nearly bald at birth, but soon golden curly locks covered his sweet head. I’m wishing him a happy day.

Well worth repeating, so again I say this is a good time to again thank God for this fine man, a man of talent, of a wonderful disposition, and of a heart after God. For more than 25 years, though, he wandered about, untrue to his calling, his training, and paying less than respectful heed to God. Then he “woke up,” and for several years now, he has been a dynamic servant of God.

He is a witness for God, the likes of which Jerry and I have never seen during all our years of pastoring. To the wealthy and well-placed of Lake Havasu, to the homeless and penniless alike, Michael shares the story of Jesus, and of the remarkable change that has come to his life. He teaches upward of 70 persons weekly in our Christian intervention program, he leads the worship in our services, and has recently assumed the position of counseling in our church.

Happy birthday, Michael. You are a dear and precious son.

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“Tell the Gang Hello”

Jerry had to go to his doctor’s (in California)  for a routine check-up, so Wednesday night after church here in Lake Havasu we drove to Crestline and spent a couple of days in our home there. I went down to Redlands with him on Friday and while he was with his doctor I popped over to WalMart and to Berean Bible Book Store.

Anticipating that a gaggle of family members will find their way to our house for Thanksgiving, I filled my WalMart basket to the brim–paper towels, tp, laundry detergent, apple juice, soft drinks, cocoa, yeast, canned goods….and the like. Only one person was behind me in the checkout line–a gentleman in a wheelchair. My checker was a somber, slow lady, looking over my purchases, then, in a sauntering way, reaching here and there for an item that would fit nicely into the bag she was filling. Once from the corner of my eye, I saw the gentleman behind me back up his chair, as though to change lines, then, I suppose having a change of mind, pulled it back in line behind me. I smiled at him.

Finally there was a space on the counter behind my groceries, and there the gentleman placed three small items. “Yours is easier than mine,” I said to him.

“Yes, I’m buying only for myself. Looks like you have quite a gang there.”

“I do,” I responded. I thought to tell him there really is only Jerry and me, that we live up in Crestline, and that mostly these days we are in Lake Havasu, but that we have a large family and I’m hoping many of them will come for Thanksgiving, and about the week I just had with some of the grandkids…but I didn’t say anything. Just stood there thinking. Thinking of my great family…and wondering about the gentleman in the wheel chair. Did he have family? Children? Live nearby? Spend Thanksgiving together? A rather lonely air accompanied him.

I paid the clerk, took the receipt she handed me, and before I placed my hand on my basket to push it away, I turned to the gentleman. “Hope you have a good day.”

His face brightened. Then he spoke. “Tell the gang hello for me. Tell them hello”

Brought up short, I paused for a minute, then responded. “I will. I will tell them.”

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Another One Comes and Goes

Today is my birthday, in some ways, a quiet, calm one when compared to the party my children threw me last year at Balboa Park–the finest party I have ever attended, surprise cellists a major part. Though quite different, today was equally wonderful, for I did a lot of thinking…thinking about how blessed I am, and how wonderful is my life. (You’ll see lots of pictures of last year’s party when you click on that link.)

Today’s activities started fairly early with children calling–a couple of them even singing a birthday song, then after Jerry and I lingered over coffee, I continued with my deep cleaning of the motor home by tackling the living area. I straightened the drawers and the cupboards, cleaned and polished all the wood and the windows, then on my hands and knees scrubbed the carpet.

After a shower and a change of clothes, Jerry and I drove to Needles, the closest California town to us here in Lake Havasu. Why? My drivers license expired today; tried to renew it on line and through the mail, but could not. Off to Needles, only about a 40 miles trip, I believe. Would you believe when I walked to the door of the office, there was a big sign saying they are closed now three Fridays out of the month. (Economy in the tank.) This was one of the closed Fridays. Rats!

We had eaten no breakfast, now we found there were few places to choose from in Needles, so we wound up in Denny’s for lunch, which really turned out to be quite good. Back in Lake Havasu, Jerry stayed in the motor home while I drove to the church where I had to do a little work, and to the computer shop down the street, where my little white Apple had spent the night. Last week as I attempted to copy pictures for Chloe, my Apple decided to swallow the disc into her deep inward parts. Could not get that disc ejected. Called a friend, read on line, followed instruction manual exactly, took out the battery, put it back in, turned the computer off, turned it on, ignored the Apple, glared at the Apple, patted the Apple, pled with the Apple, threatened the Apple–nothing. I had spoken by phone to the computer tech while we were in Needles, and he thought he would have to order a part. But voila, when I reached the shop, he smiled and said the disc had finally dislodged. Turned out that the disc, even though new, was physically damaged and had jammed, I suppose. Anyway, I was happy again.

Jerry took me to Shugrue’s, my favorite place in town for dinner, and it was wonderful. My pictures are not, for they are hand-held with no flash–a bit less than sharp, but you get the idea. I ordered a small steak, a salad with blue cheese dressing, and creamed spinach which was exceptionally yummy. Jerry choseDSC_0105 blackened salmon with a lemon/butter sauce. It also was outstanding. When we had finished eating and were just sitting looking at that striking bridge, our waitress came with a brownie, topped with a scoop of ice cream and a flaming candle. We both dug in.

Yep! Another one has come…and is nearly gone. I’m thankful for another birthday. I’ve had a wonderful life–much better than I deserve.


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Fireworks Finale at Lake Havasu

Finale, originally uploaded by Shirley Buxton.

Chloe was worn out from senior camp and from our long trip back home, so she slept until after 10:00 yesterday. After solidifying our plans for the day, she and I went to Dillards…found awesome bargains. I’ll take pictures later and show you, but she found a couple of pairs of shoes for $9.95 each; one pair had been $100.00. We were ecstatic at such finds. Bought her a few tops, then back home, where after a bit of lunch, I sought out a napping spot!

At 6:00 we joined Dustin and his family at the lake, ate hamburgers, the girls swam, then around 9:00 began the fireworks display. It was gorgeous. Aren’t they always?

Love the shot at the top of this post. Look closely to the far right and you will see Chloe and her friends watching the display from within the cool waters of Lake Havasu. Click on the picture, where over on Flickr you can see the picture in a larger size.

Bokeh Visits the 4th by you.