Sunday, December 18, 2011

Sugar Highs and Joy busters

Is it okay with you guys if I pack a bunch into this post, which may indeed be my final post before Christmas? (Unless of course, I think of something I need to say between now and then.)  I wanted to share some favorite holiday recipes with you, but I also had some stories and encouragement, and who couldn't use that this time of year, right?
Every year, we put on some Christmas music, bundle up, and pile into the car.  Then we drive through a retirement community that never disappoints in the Christmas light department.  Adrain drives slowly through, and the children plaster their noses against car windows, craning to see every lit up Nativity and reindeer cutout.  It takes all of about seven minutes from beginning to end, but of course to the children, it may as well be hours.  I love that. 
 Anyway, as you drive in, there's a sign asking you to please use your parking lights to better enjoy the scene.  Last night, we were in my car, and if you turn off my lights in the dark, some sort of internal sensor flicks on the entire headlight in a low-beam, rather than a parking light.  As we drove around the loop, the car in front of us kept pointing flashlights all over.  We assumed it was some children goofing around and didn't think much of it.  That is, until they stopped and the man got out and approached our happy little car.  He angrily yelled at my husband, telling him how rude he was to leave his lights on, etc.  My husband apologized sincerely and tried explaining about our parking lights but the man just got angrier and it wasn't going to be good, so Adrain wished him a Merry Christmas and we turned around and left, our party a little deflated.  Sitting in the stunned silence that filled our car, it didn't take long to realize that this man was clearly upset about something or someone bigger than our low beam headlights in a neighborhood.  We ended the night laughing and even feeling a bit of pity for the guy (and his wife).  But it got me thinking about how many joy-stealers are out there this time of year.  People stressed about family, people stressed about money, people stressed about drama, people stressed about a million other tiny things, and how good it is to rise above the hurt they direct at you, forgive, and be gracious to them in response. They probably need it, and in doing good to them, you get a little piece of joy they can't bust.  The alternative is to internalize it, take it personally, and let it yank you away from all the good moments you were meant to have. 
Anyway, this is my first gluten free Christmas... I am 70% confident that my goodies are yummy.  These are Ginger Crinkles. (Made gluten free by the substitution of thai rice flour.)  I don't like gingerbread type cookies, but my mom in law does, so I made them with her in mind.  Everyone says they are yummy.  I'll have to take their word on that.
  These are Chocolate Mint  Thumbprints.  I converted this recipe to be gluten free by using thai rice flour and adding 1/2 tsp xanthan gum, and it IS yummy.  I love the combination of mint and chocolate.
 It doesn't get any easier than Candy Cane Hearts.  Melted white chocolate or candy melts piped in between two candy canes, and then crushed candy cane sprinkled on top.  Yum!

Fudge. From the back of the marshmallow cream jar.  This batch didn't look pretty but it sure tastes good!  I used darker chocolate chips than I normally use (that's supposed to be healthier, right?) and tried to swirl a little of the leftover marshmallow cream on top.  It didn't really work, but then I was also distracted by the many hands helping  me and trying to keep hot things away from those hands, and keep one helper from accidentally putting 1/4 c of salt into the spritz cookie mix instead of 1/4 tsp.  A girl can only do so much and sometimes ugly fudge is the result.   
 These are monster cookies.  I know some gluten intolerant peeps can't have gluten free oats. (The jury is still out for Ava and I on this one.)  But if you CAN have oats... gluten free or otherwise, make these!  I always forget how many cookies this makes.  Dozens upon dozens.
Monster Cookies: 
6 eggs
2 1/2c brown sugar
2 c sugar
1/2 tbsp vanilla
1/2 tbsp corn syrup
4 tsp soda
2 sticks butter
3 cups peanut butter
9 cups (gluten free) oats
bag chocolate chips
bag m&m's 
Mix as usual, use ice cream scoop to place dough onto baking sheets and bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes.
 So fun to give away! 
 I tucked a little card into each box letting them know what they were eating.  (That way people who don't like ginger cookies won't be taken un-awares.)
In closing I'd just like to say, that as we all deal with family and stressed out shoppers and situations beyond our control this next week, let's keep these words of wisdom from Proverbs in the forefront of our minds.  "A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger."  Proverbs 15:1  

Merry Christmas you guys.  I love you all so much! Have  a great week!


  1. Darling!! Merry Christmas, Cyber Friend! ; )

  2. beautiful picture
    and words
    and i have found this time of year to be so hard for so many
    so much sadness and stress and anger
    and your right
    for us not to take it personal and forgive
    so yummy!
    have a beautiful christmas

  3. My family is GF so I appreciate all you have done here! I would love to have your Ginger Crinkle recipe! I attempted to make YOUR sugar cookies GF, but had my flour mix off. I need to try again :) Merry Christmas!

  4. Merry Christmas to you! ;o)

    There is nothing but happiness and joy in this house!

    Your goodies look amazing!!!!


  5. merry christmas to you, sweet thing.

  6. Merry Christmas Sasha to you and your family! God Bless you this holiday. I think it is great that instead of reacting your husband drove away. We need to show our children that sometimes the bigger person is the one that walks away.


  7. Some of the best words I've read in a long time! I"m so going to share this post and your words of wisdom with my kiddos and my husband!

    You are so correct with the Joy stealers out there at this time of year. Well JOY has been my word this season and they can hate all they want they still can't take it away from me!

    Love the Proverbs verse at the end! So jotting that down!

    Thanks so much and Merry Christmas to you and your beautiful family!


  8. Very lovely post! So many hurting people out there...and you are so right...the grace we give is just what they are needing. Thank you for your delightful blog, your sweet walk of trusting our big God, and your darling family. I have been traveling with you on your blog for about a year and a half...a blessing! Would LOVE the Ginger Crinkle recipe! Also GF and appreciate your recipes! Have a Beautiful Christmas!

  9. What beautiful words, what delicious looking treats, and what a feast for the eyes. Such beautiful pictures of it all. I'm sure your gluten free goodies taste wonderful. (My gluten free tip for the day is Pamela's Baking Mix, BTW. You will love this as a GG flour, trust me!) Thank you for reminding me of the importance of grace. I struggle with grace more than anything.

  10. Merry Christmas to you too! I love your blog. Blessings!

  11. May the spirit of Christmas linger long after the new year begins...
    Blessings to you and your family!

  12. Merry Christmas to you!

    So glad I found your blog... it is just heaping with inspiration. -On SO many levels. Domestic, crafty/beautiful, spiritual, mama-ful, and wife-ful. ;)

  13. Looks like you got it all figured out. Oh and that fudge looked pretty yummy to me:)

  14. Love your cookies and the packaging! Good way to look at Joy stealers!

  15. Merry Christmas sweet Sasha! Have a blessed Christmas with your family! Thanks for sharing your yummy cookie recipes!!

  16. Okay ladies, I just linked the ginger crinkles recipe for y'all!

  17. Thanks so much for these lovely words of wisdom and love, and for the gorgeous recipes and pictures, and for all the lovely things you say and share with us all year round. Wishing you and your family a wonderful and blessed Christmas, and sending lots of love! xxx

  18. cute peppermint heart... great reminder for us to remember that everyone has a battle somewhere, and to not take offense! We are Christ's Hands in Action!

  19. Your treats look wonderful! You are so talented AND inspiration!

  20. Sasha, I knew I could come here and find my Christmas spirit again. We are dealing with the sudden death of a dear friend this week, who was only 19, so there has been so much sadness. Thank you for making me smile. Happy Holidays to you and your sweet family.

  21. Thank you for reminding me how to handle "joy stealers" before I dwelt on a situation for too long!

    Your cookies look delicious. I think I'm going to have to make your Monster Cookies to serve at the church Christmas program. Merry Christmas!!

  22. beautiful pictures and yummy cookies and recipes. thanks for sharing.
    You are so right about the sentiment you shared with the scripture at the end. I too have been on the end of some not so happy people. So sad to hear they popped your enjoyment of the lights. We too did that with our little ones when they were little....we still do even though one is in college and the other is a senior in high school this year.
    Have a blessed Christmas!

  23. Thankful for your words today Sasha! You are so right... Oh, and your goodies look fantabulous! Merry Christmas to you :-)

  24. Are you willing to share your Christmas Light spot? I live in Edmonds and would be willing to drive a decent way for a good show. Most around here don't seem to be participating.

  25. We made monster cookies a few months ago. They were gone in 2 days! Hope y'all have a very Merry Christmas!!

  26. Merry CHristmas to you and your family! Your sweet boxes look fabulous.

  27. oh my goodness...your cookies look delicious!!!!

    I reeeallly need to go gluten free for a month and see how it helps my back issues. It's one of those things that I'm so tired of talking about.

    I hope I can actually make some changes in the new year....

    your recipes inspire and encourage me. :}

    there are joy stealers in every crowd. sorry you had to encounter some on the evening that you posted about tonight. :( I kind of stopped reading and sat here and literally imagined how quiet it must have been in your car as you guys drove off....I was a little nervous in my stomach for you all.... I'm so weird.

    anyway, love your treats and looking forward to trying some of the recipes, eventually. :}}}}}}

  28. you are my hero. wow. truly amazing words from an amazing woman - I hope I can remember to act like this instead of reacting badly.

  29. I made these simple little candy cane treats and they were so cute and yummy. Thanks for the idea.