It’s Blissemas time again! Time for fun, frolick and prizes.
One of the very best things about Blissemas every year is sharing our treasured memories of the season, and sometimes those memories are bittersweet. For me that’s the case this year, and yet as I reflect on such a treasured part of my life, the sweet far outweighs the bitter.
This will be my first Christmas without Barbara. Some of you may recall that this spring I lost my dear friend, who died at the young age of 93. Barbara taught me more about life and joy and finding happiness in less than ideal situations than anyone I know. Barbara was my go-to person for gardening. Barbara was the person I always ran to to share my latest ‘cool bird’ spotting. Barbara was the one who could appreciate a little brown beetle as much as she could appreciate a lovely singing robin. And most of all, Barbara was the one who taught me to appreciate the moment and embrace what you have now, not what you had or what you hope to have.
Barbara was in ill health when I first met her after Raymond and I moved to England the first time. It was a good day when she could actually get out in the garden and enjoy the sunshine and instruct me on what little pruning and weeding I could do for her, and yet, she never complained. She always found the good in the moment.
It’s my first Christmas without Barbara and without the traditions we shared. Every Christmas evening for the past eight years Raymond and I have bundled up and walked in the brisk evening air over to share a Christmas drink and Christmas good wishes with Barbara. We never arrived but what we found her half-buried in the avalanche of little gifts and yummy treats from friends who had stopped by to wish her a happy Christmas. Barbara had lots of friends. Her walls were always nearly hidden in the bright glitter of dozens and dozens of Christmas cards and her tiny tree with its fiber optic lights sparkled merrily on the table in front of the window that overlooked the park, the table on which we always shared coffee and Danish while we watched the birds and speculated at the goings on of people with their dogs and kids in the park.
For Christmas, I usually brought Barbara a bird calendar of some sort because of our shared love of birds. She was particularly fond of owls. But the thing Barbara looked forward to the most, and the thing I looked most forward to sharing with her, the thing I only ever made for Christmas and for her birthday was the snickerdoodles. I’m not much of a foodie, and I’m not interested in anything I can’t make quick and easy, but snickerdoodles were different. Snickerdoodles were the one treat that Barbara loved almost as much as I did. I would never make them just for myself, because like most very special treats, I knew I would have no control. And yet when I made them to share with Barbara they became a special decadence shared between two friends.
It was never elegant. I brought them to her in a recycled ice cream tub, of which she heartily approved, being a recycler herself. Plus I could fit more snickerdoodles into the ice cream tub, as she pointed out to me once. ‘Oh, I know what these are,’ she would always say with a wicked little laugh as though I’d given her something ever so slightly naughty. Then she would take one from the container and eat it like it was the best thing ever.
Afterwards we’d share a drink, and she would talk about the queen’s speech. Barbara was a real fan of the queen. We’d talk about who Barbara had seen during the course of the day, and she would fill us in on the latest gossip from the apartment block. After we’d chatted and toasted and wished each other all the best, we would leave her sitting with her feet up, the light of the little tree making her face look flushed and rosy.
Barbara was way better at rationing her snickerdoodles than I was. Mine were long gone while she still savoured hers with her morning coffee and afternoon tea. I only made one other batch of snickerdoodles a year and those were for Barbara’s birthday in May when we’d repeat the ritual, and she’d savour hers and I’d scarf mine, and they were always our little decadence, just Barbara’s and mine.
This year in honour of my dear, dear friend, Barbara Steele, I would like to share Christmas decadence with all of you and pass on the recipe for snickerdoodles. If you get the chance and want a delicious treat, make up a batch. I don’t care if you scarf them or savour them, but share them with someone special and enjoy all the delicious sweetness of the moment
(makes about 6 dozen)
1 Cup butter softened
1 ½ Cups sugar
2 ¾ Cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons Cream of Tartar
2 teaspoons baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons Sugar (I use more)
2 teaspoons cinnamon (I use more)
Heat oven to 400 degrees F (200 C, gas mark 6)
Blend together flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt. Mix thoroughly butter, 1 ½ cups sugar and the eggs, then blend in flour mixture. Shape dough by rounded teaspoons into balls.
Mix 2 tablespoons of sugar and the cinnamon. Roll balls in mixture. Place 2 inches (5cm) apart on ungreased baking sheet. Bake 8-10 minutes or until set. Immediately remove from baking sheet.
If you’d like something naughty and sweet to read while you scarf your snickerdoodles, comment to win a copy of my novella, Migrations. Winner to be chosen 20th December.
To join in simply leave a comment on this post and the others at http://blissemas.co.uk and you could be in to win your choice of eReader or $100 gift voucher to spend on eBooks! The prize will be drawn on the 21st December. Merry Blissemas!
- Visit the Blissemas site every day of the compeititon and open that days envelope.
- Leave a comment on the days blog to get an entry into the Blissemas Prize Draw.
- One Entry Per Person Per Blog each day.
Pick Your Prize!
Choose from one of the following:
- An eReader of your choice (Pick from either a Kindle, Nook, Kobo or Sony)
- A $100 Gift Card (Choose either All Romance, Amazon, Totally Bound or B&N)
Terms & Conditions
- Blissemas this year runs from the 25th Nov – 19th Dec.
- The Winner will be drawn at Midnight GMT on the 21st Dec 2013.
- The Winner will be announced on the Smutters.co.uk Blog and Smutters Facebook Page
- The competition is open to everyone over the age of 18.
- The prize is non-transferable, non refundable and cannot be exchanged