I’m going out on a limb today. Telling the truth can feel terrifying sometimes, but then later its better, and you don’t have to remember the lie you told. My truth is that the Christmas spirit is proving to be an elusive sprite this year. I think it has to do with how bare our Christmas tree is. I know the holiday ornaments that were burned in The Fire were just things, but I miss the popsicle-stick ornaments my little boys made. I miss my Star Trek ornaments. I miss the clay leaves that Sarah made in Kindergarten. All their “my first Christmas” baby photo ornaments. And the angel and candy-cane ones my husband brought into our marriage 23 years ago. The missing them is like darts popping my happy feeling balloons. Our Red Cross case worker warned us about this way back in March. The current fires out in California are adding to my sadness, some of our friends out there have just gone through what we did, losing everything, and I hate knowing how that feels.
I know of only one way to find my Christmas spirit, and that is to be grateful for what we do have, so with your kind permission, I have some gratitude to share. I am grateful they just put new windows in my apartment, its much quieter and less drafty in here now. I am especially grateful for my husband and kids. And my friends, old and new. I’ve enjoyed several fun parties with my Masters swimming buddies and with my Mom’s Garden club this past week. I got to see some cool art by a grad student at SMU. Coffees and walks with new friends. Swim workouts. My company sent me Tiffany. I’m grateful for Amazon Prime and boxes that come to my door. And Netflix. It’s sweater and fuzzy sock weather, my favorite things to wear. I’m grateful that soon all our kids will be with us here, even though it will be super squishy (borrowing an air mattress today). I’m grateful to be coaching my Arbonne team and that I learned how to do Facebook Live technology. I’m grateful for the way Alabama voted this week.
Whew that feels better already. If you too are also having a rough Holiday season, I recommend a quick blast of gratitude. I promise as you replace the “bleh” files with happier ones, you’ll feel better. Now I’m off to go get what I need to make marzipan for my Christmas Stollen. Stollen is a German coffee cake studded with dried fruit and in the center is a roll of delicious marzipan – you may call it almond paste, but by any name it’s delicious. I’ve never made marzipan before, but its got to cost less than buying it. Goodness gracious, you’d have to take out a loan. Here’s the recipe. Marzipan makes everything more delicious, truly… and I am grateful for that too.
Almond Paste/Marzipan Recipe
From Kimberly at “The Daring Gourmet”, this makes about 12 oz.
1.5 cups finely ground blanched Almond Flour
1.5 cups confectioners sugar
2 teaspoons almond extract
1 teaspoon food-grade rose water (if you don’t want to buy this, just add an extra teaspoon of the almond extract)
1 egg white (vegan = 2 teaspoons corn syrup)
By hand or pulsing in a mixer, combine the flour and sugar until no lumps. Then add your almond extract and rose water until mixed, and finally the egg white. The dough will be wet and sticky, and at this point you may need to add a little more almond flour and sugar, but it does firm up in the fridge. Turn out the dough and knead a few times and then form a log, wrap in plastic and put in fridge for at least 24 hours. Bring to room temperature before using it. This will keep in fridge for a month, or in freezer for 6 months, but it won’t last that long, trust me. It has a zillion calories, and is worth every one.