Wednesday, December 24, 2014

counting down the hours

On the way home from a Christmas open house the other night, the boy asked me how many hours left until Christmas. This year he is struggling with believing in the jolly old elf but he is still caught up in all the excitement of the holidays. It broke my heart a bit when he said the other night, "really mum, is Santa really real? Because you know they've explored the north pole and didn't find any workshops with elves". But having just watched Miracle on 34th Street I had the answer. "Of course they didn't because Santa is magic. You can't find the workshop otherwise everyone would be going there." He didn't buy it, not really. 

He's a black and white boy, no room for magic in his world, just the facts, mum. But then I brought out my big guns, if you don't believe, then you don't get presents from SC. 

Still there have been moments this week that made me blink and ache for the little boy that was. The little boy who crept down the stairs, gasping louder and louder as he crept closer to his Thomas the train table and railway set, til he almost couldn't breathe he was so excited. And my little kindy, in his red shirt and paper Santa hat, singing "nous vous souhaitons une joyeux noel". Now he's a gigantic boy in Grade 3 with his recorder and Santa scarf.

Still I hope I've done alright by him. My boy. He loves Christmas. The same way I loved Christmas when I was a kid, and still do. We have our traditions. Different from the ones I grew up with but ours none-the-less which makes me proud that I've created despite a resident grumpy Grinch. Our yearly gingerbread house 

(which now looks as though it has a bad case of mange or has been nibbled by very large mice or hit with a minecraft bomb).

 Our advent calendars. The tree ornaments. His transformer tree. My traditional Christmas cookies, pfeffernusse and almond cookies. New activities added to the mix this year and hopefully continued, Carols and Bonfire on the beach night, Christmas open house with friends.

New goodies this year are sweet and spicy nuts and caramel chocolate popcorn (Christmas crack!).

 Both delicious and tuck nicely into gift bags. But I think my favorite tweak was the reworking of one of our favorite cookies, for the boy's newly diagnosed celiac friend. He loves my ginger cookies and was sad to miss them this year so I made a batch just for him.

Gluten Free Pfeffernusse (tweaked from here)
1/3 c molasses
1/3 c butter
1 egg, beaten
1 c quinoa flour
3/4 c brown rice flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp each cinnamon and ginger
1/4 tsp each cloves, black pepper and nutmeg

Heat oven to 375 deg F.

In an saucepan over medium heat, mix the molasses and butter until melted, then remove from heat and cool. In a separate bowl, whisk the flours, baking soda and spices together. Whisk the eggs into the cooled butter mixture and then add the flour mixture and mix well with your hands. Form 1 tsp balls with your hands, roll in granulated sugar to coat and place on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes until the bottoms are browned slightly and cool on a rack. Reroll in granulated sugar if desired. Makes 20-30 cookies.

These turned out really well and looked prettier than my non GF ones.