We all need a little wiggle room sometimes.

Making gingerbread cookies for Christmas

It sure was freezing cold and frosty this morning.  Down at Council Point Park, the Ecorse Creek was lightly frozen over and I watched a few geese navigating around that thin veil of ice.  They floated along in a row, hugging the shoreline where no ice had formed.  The fields looked as if Mother Nature had whipped up a little white icing and piped it onto the grass blades.

Speaking of icing, today is “National Bake Cookies Day”.

When it comes to cookies, there are so many to choose from.  Whether you buy ‘em or bake ‘em, what are your favorites?  Do you like them icened or plain?  Thin and crispy or soft baked?  Biscotti or bar cookies?

My mom loved to bake and believe me, none of her “baking genes” rubbed off on her daughter.  I’ve not made cookies in many years and they were just the slice-and-bake variety, and I burned them to a crisp.  I didn’t do anything but peel them off the cardboard tray and place them onto the cookie sheet.  I was so disgusted, I’ve not made cookies since.

Actually I’ve not eaten cookies since 2011 … I gave up all sweets for Lent 2011, and decided at that time to just give up sweets forever! *  But, just like an asterisk is sometimes used to clarify a statement, my personal asterisk, as to eating sweets, was that I gave myself a wee bit of wiggle room.

Like when I bought cornbread and decided that even though it was sweet tasting, it was definitely not a “sweet” … after all it is a staple to accompany the first course of a  Southern meal, and certainly not dessert!  So I continued to buy cornbread every so often and gave myself a generous helping, heaped with butter and honey.  Then, one day I decided that probably wasn’t so smart after all, and, if you gave up eating sweets forever, then follow through properly!

However, I did finish that cornbread cake first. 🙂

Did I miss eating sweets, especially cookies?  I have to say I didn’t really miss them.  That’s because half of the delight in enjoying homemade cookies is inhaling that wonderful smell.  Nothing is more aromatic than a fresh batch of cookies, just out of the oven.  If you don’t bake cookies, you won’t crave cookies either.

But then something happened.

My good friend Ann Marie stopped by the house around Christmas last year bearing goodies, including kolaches she had just made.  I opened the box – they smelled so good and immediately evoked memories of Mom’s kolaches which she made with raspberry or apricot.

Kolaches.JPG

Well, I ate them up, while telling myself they were a special treat and I’d go back to my no-sweets regimen after I finished up Ann Marie’s treats.

And I did – no more sweets, until Ann Marie left a package at my door on my birthday.  It was a torrential rain that day and she sent me an e-mail to say she had made a drop at my door.  Inside the bag was a humungous birthday cupcake she had just baked.

And a candle to put on it.

Well, I had that sweet treat and got to thinking – hmmm, maybe there has to be a little wiggle room from time to time.

But I continued to be steadfast in the no sweets regimen, until I walked into Meijer about a month ago and saw a big display of Pepperidge Farm and Archway Christmas cookies.   Sigh.  Perusing the holiday assortment of cookies brought an instant wave of nostalgia for Mom’s goodies so lovingly baked over the years.

My mom would start making Christmas cookies and tarts right after Thanksgiving.  Every night I’d come home to a different smell in the house – chocolate, peppermint, spice, cinnamon – even rum from her potent mincemeat tarts.  There was the inevitable plate of samples – yup, that day’s misshapen or broken cookies were mine.  The rest of these cookies each had their place in respective Tupperware canisters in the bottom of the cupboard.  I liked to open the cabinet and reach in there blindly, lift up a lid – any lid – then drag out a few cookies, even though I had already eaten my “boo boo samples”.

For years,  Mom would make something to please everyone in our family:

peanut butter and chocolate buckeyes,

Buckeyes

chocolate pinwheels,

Chocolate twirls

Mrs. Maltman’s raspberry jam sandwich cookies,

Mrs Maltmans

Scottish shortbread … plus about a half-dozen varieties of dainty little balls of fat-laden goodness that had dates, coffee, rum, or nuts  in them.

Shortbread

Date Cookies

Mexican Mocha Balls

There were the fancy-schmancy, bite-sized tarts in damson plum, mincemeat and good ol’ Canadian butter tarts as well

I have included a few snapshots of those favorite recipes from the old red binder that served as the “family cookbook”.

Recipe Book.jpg

When I opened the binder, I reminisced about all the recipes I grew up with – these were not all sweet treats in Mom’s cookbook – there were dinner recipes as well.  Some of the recipes, like these decadent brownies or the biscotti never got taped in –  were they awaiting final approval before being written out and taped into the “cookbook”?

Brownies

Biscotti

Ever since I was a little girl, Mom baked candy cane cookies for me at Christmas, every year, even long after her “baby” was grown.  Eons ago, when I was in grade school, the last week before Christmas break, all the moms sent in cookies for all the kids.  My contribution was Mom’s peppermint-flavored candy cane cookies, which she made to share at school, as well as some for home.  Over the years, she lamented that her favorite turquoise melamac mixing bowl was stained a dark red from making candy cane cookies.  You had to use food dye to create the red ropes of dough to braid with the regular-colored dough. That mixing bowl is still around, and is as old as I am.  If I look into the bowl and see the dark stains that still linger all these years later, I can picture Mom with a plate of those candy cane cookies, baked with love, just for little ol’ me.

CANDY CANES

After the reverie about all the holiday treats, I succumbed – bigtime.  I brought home a grocery bag stuffed with Christmas cookies, the likes of what I’d not thought of, or eaten, in at least a decade when Mom last baked Christmas cookies.  I even bought a package of gingerbread … a family of cute little gingerbread people to have while I enjoy some custard eggnog … another holiday indulgence.

ALL TREATS.jpg

So, I’ve decided it is time to eat sweets again and it’s a big concession for me.  I’ll try not to go all crazy … maybe ease back into this cookie and treat thing again slowly, even if I think walking all these miles deserves a little “pigging out” because everyone needs a little wiggle room sometimes.

 

[Candy cane cookie image courtesy of Pinterest]

About lindasschaub

This is my first blog and I enjoy writing each and every post immensely. I started a walking regimen in 2011 and decided to create a blog as a means of memorializing the people, places and things I see on my daily walks. I have always enjoyed people watching, and so my blog is peppered with folks I meet, or reflections of characters I have known through the years. Often something piques my interest, or evokes a pleasant memory from my memory bank, and this becomes a “slice o’ life” blog post that day. I respect and appreciate nature and my interaction with Mother Nature’s gifts is also a common theme. Sometimes the most-ordinary items become fodder for points to ponder over and touch upon. My career has been in the legal field and I have been a legal secretary for over three decades, primarily working in downtown Detroit, and now working from my home. I graduated from Wayne State University with a degree in print journalism in 1978, although I’ve never worked in that field. I like to think this blog is the writer in me finally emerging!! Walking and writing have met and shaken hands and the creative juices are flowing once again in Walkin’, Writin’, Wit & Whimsy – hope you think so too.
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55 Responses to We all need a little wiggle room sometimes.

  1. My Mom would start at Thanksgiving and bake until we had about 10 dozen of each cookie. Then she would freeze them, as they lasted until about February. I have tried to bake and I just lost the thrill about three years ago. The family keeps asking me to bake, but I just say not like I used to. Great post. It is always nice to hear the old stories as to how it used to be.

    Liked by 3 people

    • lindasschaub says:

      We were a small family and my mom used to send plates of cookies to the elderly neighbors, or coworkers/bosses of my father or me. Even the guy who pumped the gasoline at the gas station got a tray. The cookies and tarts would disappear fast. Yes, I like the old-time stories as well. Going to do another one before Christmas.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I don’t like cookies that much but I know how to bake them. Sometimes, I’d bake some to give them as gift. Also, my mother likes lookies so, sometimes, she’d ask me to bake some.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Rebecca says:

    Wonderful Christmas memories! I hope you enjoy the treats!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. John says:

    Certainly, mom’s cakes are good!😊 My mom baked wonderful cinnamon buns. I can not bake anything but I love to cook but not just to myself.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I usually do the traditional ethnic pastries in the family but this year, I didn’t have the ambition. The problem is that you can’t buy any that taste as good as our old recipes. Maybe next year. I love Archway. Those and Pepperidge Farm are my favorites.

    Liked by 2 people

    • lindasschaub says:

      My father was German so my mom would make the Pfeffernüsse, Springerle and Caraway Stars cookies for him. The Springerle had anise so they didn’t really beckon me nor did the caraway cookies. The kolache pastries were good and I always liked them. We did used to buy Angel Wings from a local Polish bakery. They were delicious, just light as a feather. I think Archway and Pepperidge Farm are as close to homemade as you can get.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Linda I am so relieved you have relented as I didn’t think we could be sisters separated at birth if you didn’t eat sweets! I’m not a very good cook, but I do love to bake…..I think moderation is the key. I’ve already made two batches of those No-Bake Chocolate Oatmeal Peanut Butter drop cookies, but have given most of them away….the rest I freeze and I remove one every night to have with a cup of tea. They are great zapped in the microwave for 10 seconds. I noticed Diane’s Kitchen posted the recipe this morning so I’ll paste in a link if you are interested. They don’t actually involve baking as you boil the chocolate/sugar/butter mixture, then add the oats and peanut butter. If you are a chocolate lover they are wonderful, but I only make them at Christmas time as they are very rich. My mother was not a big cookie maker at Christmas, but she made Christmas cake and other desserts.

    Liked by 2 people

    • lindasschaub says:

      Thank you Joan – I have not read Diane’s blog post for today, and maybe not yesterday either, as I am behind in Reader. Now that Robb is on vacation I am hoping to catch up. I like the idea of no-bake cookies … I can’t ruin them. I do like chocolate and peanut butter and now we still can remain sisters separated at birth since I’m back on sweets! I was giving up something different for Lent every year and sticking with it permanently – I also gave up salty snacks and just decided to go back to eating them too. I think if you deny yourself too much in the “treat department”, that is not good either. I figured it would be easy as I didn’t have to smell baked goods, thus nothing to entice me. My grocery store does not make its own baked goods, as they are transported here from a huge Meijer store in Grand Rapids. So no smells beckoning me to buy some. Before my boss and I went out on our own, our law firm was located in a large office building and there was a bakery on the ground floor. First, there was a business called “Jacques Patisserie” and they had fresh croissants every morning, plain or filled (some sweet fillings, but also ham and cheese, cheese and spinach, etc.) … the smell infiltrated the building and I went in the other door just so I did not smell them and be tempted, even though I always ate breakfast before I left for work. Then they went out of business and a little bakery came in. They would sell these small waxed paper wrappers (like you get with french fries) and there were three or four still-warm chocolate chip cookies. Not huge cookies, and I think they were $0.50. So, I got into that routine every morning – I could not resist, even going in the opposite door! My mom liked her pies and tarts and I liked the tarts and would have them too, but I really liked the cookies more. My mom never made a fruitcake, but we would get a small bar fruitcake every year … I am not really big on candied fruit, so she could have the whole thing. I wrote a post about fruitcake and my mom awhile ago … I still have the fruitcake … I have had two power outages, if not three, so I would not eat it: https://lindaschaubblog.net/2014/12/27/when-fruitcake-isnt-funny/

      Liked by 1 person

  7. https://indianeskitchen.com/2018/12/20/no-bake-cookies-2/ Here’s the link to InDiane’s Kitchen – No Bake cookies – I find her recipes simple and easy to follow.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. What wonderful memories Linda! My mom always baked a ton of Christmas cookies when I was a kid. The Germans have quite a variety of them. As an adult I never got into it because I actually prefer quick breads. I’d bake dozens of loafs for friends and neighbors. Back then it was fun because we had great neighbors. Now it’s just the two of us, and the neighbors aren’t all that nice. Time and energy saved! 😉 Plus I try to avoid eating too many sweets!

    Liked by 2 people

    • lindasschaub says:

      Thanks Sabine – glad you enjoyed these memories. My father was German, so my mom baked Springerle, Pfeffernusse and some kind of cookies that had caraway seeds and anise in them. Those Christmas cookies were a lot of work for our moms back in the day, and your mentioning of the neighbors … my mom would make plates of goodies for the older neighbors (we had many elderly neighbors, all gone now, or moved to Florida). After all these years, I’m just eating cookies in moderation – too tempting!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. 🙂 I miss old-style Christmas cookies! Mom was sure good at making them! However, at my elderly age, i sure do not (over-all) miss the carbs. Carbohydrates, for the elderly, are the biggest contributor to coronary heart disease.

    Liked by 2 people

    • lindasschaub says:

      It seems like we could down all those old-style Christmas cookies with thick eggnog, or hot chocolate brimming with marshmallows and not put on an ounce … we were always on the move. Not likely to happen now. Unfortunately, these nice cookies did not come in whole grain, low sodium, low sugar or lowfat – good thing Christmas only comes once a year!

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  10. janowrite says:

    Thanks for sharing these terrific recipes, Linda! Love the old ones! Will doubtless be trying some out! 💕🎄😊

    Liked by 2 people

    • lindasschaub says:

      Thanks Jan and if there are any recipes that you can’t see well, just let me know. I basically was just taking photos of the recipes for the blog and if they are blurry, I’d be glad to take a closer look and clarify any measurements. My mom loved making those cookies – I should have been as big as a house after Christmas! A funny thing, I had collected the photos a week or so ago intending to do the post and got busy and put it on the back burner and a fellow blogger mentioned how much she liked shortbread. I told her my mom made a shortbread that was so rich and buttery and very white cookies that she would love, so I ended up typing it off the picture and sending it to her.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Shelley says:

    Aw, such sweet memories and sentiments for the season. Yes, it’s okay to treat yourself to some wiggle room! Your cookie favorites match my own! Enjoy 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • lindasschaub says:

      We have impeccable taste then don’t we Shelley? And we must have eggnog to wash them down with, the thicker and creamier the better. Then we must walk 5 miles extra to make up for our indulgences … you on the treadmill, me at the Park.

      Like

  12. Enjoy your treats. You’ve earned them.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Ann Marie stevens says:

    Dear Miss “Wiggle Room”………………………well I just downloaded all of the recipes that you shared in your blog…………………….I’m in the middle of making the Kolacky now……………….I’m planning on making the candy cane cookies still ………………………..(the dental assistant was so friendly and nice to me on Tuesday when I had to have a crown drilled into my tooth, I said that I’d make her some, because they were her favorites from her mother)…………………………………and on December 26 I’ll make the buckeyes…………………………because a friend who used to live here at my apartments, loves buckeyes…………………………and its her birthday………………..I guess we like the same kind of sweets

    Liked by 3 people

    • lindasschaub says:

      Well no wonder we get along so well Ann Marie … it is because we have the same kind of sweet tooth! I should have made the recipes clearer – I just took photos of them with the camera intending to put snippets of them into the blog post … if you need any measurements clarified as the left edge is not clear, you’ll let me know okay? The candy cane cookies were always my favorite and I would never attempt them … even my mom burned a batch of them once … she was mad and I told her she didn’t have to re-make them, I understood. Nope, she did it the next day for “the baby” … sorry to hear about your crown. Been there too … had to have two crowns to replace cavities that were filled years ago and started to crumple, both lower rear molars … I have no idea how I got cavities as I was never allowed to eat candy except on special occasions and went through that awful flouridation teeth painting once a year … hope you made a special treat for your baby “Digger”. You have a busy few days coming up. Good thing the soup kitchen is closed on Christmas this year – you can stay home and rest a little before heading to church.

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  14. What a wonderful, sentimental post Linda! The nice thing about the store bought cookies is that there is less quantity than baking a large batch yourself. What wonderful recipes your mom had and how precious you kept them!

    Liked by 2 people

    • lindasschaub says:

      Thank you Diane – you are right because even if I made up the batch of no-bake cookies that you featured yesterday (and fellow blogger Joan told me to see as she didn’t know I followed you), I’d be tempted to eat them all. Cookies and my willpower are not all that great. Yes I spent a good hour looking at all the recipes – probably Shepherd’s Pie was in there too … she also made little meat pies in a bottom/top crust and baked them in individual ceramic dishes – this is the cookbook I have referred to before when we talked about recipes … that would be me admiring and salivating over your prepared dishes and reminiscing how they remind me of so many meals my mom made through the years. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Oh Linda, you are so good for my ego…lol But seriously thank you for always be such a great cyber friend! That is funny that Joan told you about No Bakes! I bet that was awesome being little and having your own meat pie in your own dish!

        Liked by 1 person

      • lindasschaub says:

        You’re welcome Diane. I enjoy reading your posts, though I know I won’t likely make most of them, but maybe I will when I am retired and have more time – you’d think I’d have time working from home … maybe for a crock pot, but not watching a meal. I thought it was funny too Diane – I said “thank you for sharing this and I follow Diane but am behind in Reader (Joan’sr site is Homeplace). Actually my mom used the ceramic dishes all the time, not just when I was young, and browned the ground round in chicken boullion and put in peas and those little pearl onions, sometimes peas and carrots (tinned) and put that mixture in the crust and baked them … it was good and one of my favorites. She just had mashed potatoes and gravy on the side, never had potatoes in the meat pies as they were not that large of cereamic dishes.

        Liked by 1 person

      • That just sounds mouth watering!

        Liked by 1 person

      • lindasschaub says:

        It was and it would smell up the house when she cooked the meat in the poultry seasoning … sometimes she would do it in the morning before I left for work, and make the pies, then bake them when it was time for dinner. So I would be thinking about it all day. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • The aroma of good food stays with us forever!

        Liked by 1 person

      • lindasschaub says:

        It sure does Diane and I have read that one of the most intense types of memory triggers is the smell of food cooking as you’ll recall it from your youth. I know I’ll never get pleasant memories from the smell of chicken livers and Brussels sprouts. I know you like Brussels sprouts as you did a recent post about making them, but my father liked them a lot and we had them with chicken livers and also liver … not a favorite, though my mom cooked it with bacon and onions to make it more palatable/tolerable.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Hahaha I totally understand!

        Liked by 1 person

  15. susieshy45 says:

    Love your cookie memories and the fact that you did give in to some sweets.
    To sweet teeth!
    Merry X’mas, Linda
    Susie

    Liked by 2 people

  16. Laurie says:

    I am a firm believer in “wiggle room”. And cookies. I made 8 different types this year for Christmas. I think my favorite is a raisin-filled cookie that my MIL used to make. Her MIL baked them to sell at market in town, and they are delicious. I sometimes even eat one with coffee for breakfast, because, well…raisins. They have to be good for me, right?

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      I am happy I gave myself some “wiggle room” again Laurie after all these years. I am trying to eat them in moderation, while bearing in mind the quart of custard-style eggnog in the corner of the fridge. Raisins … I’d definitely go ahead and have those raisin cookies for breakfast too, just as if they were raisins in your oatmeal. I like your thinking. A fellow blogger told me about putting a tablespoon of peanut butter in your oatmeal – I liked that idea and I shared with her that I often use some of the holiday eggnog in my oatmeal. She can’t get enough of it now. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  17. I love the idea of wiggle room as some things are just too tempting to leave. It sounds like your memories of your mother’s baking brings you much happiness. So special.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      I am glad I permitted myself this wiggle room after all this time – I was strict with the sweets and baked goods, but decided I should just do things in moderation and see how this goes … for a while anyway.

      Like

  18. Pingback: Family, friends and sweet memories. | WALKIN', WRITIN', WIT & WHIMSY

  19. ruthsoaper says:

    This is the first year in many that I have not baked cookies. I often make candy as well. I just never got organized enough this year to get any done. Maybe after the holidays I will do some. Our neighbor sent over a plate of several types of homemade cookies and candies last week. They were wonderful and disappeared quickly. I am also expecting a gift of cookies from my youngest daughter. She told me she would be baking gifts. She started doing this last year – it makes me happy that at least one out of 4 of them can bake. LOL.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      I am not organized in the least this year Ruth – I know the walking, blogging and being busier at work has taken its toll … I am happy for a few days of rest … and most of the time I have spent that time walking more, taking pictures and writing posts. Go figure … well, if it makes you happy … 🙂 My mom never taught me to cook as she said “if you can read a cookbook, you can cook/bake” … that is not true. I take after my grandmother for cooking and baking. At least your daughter will supply the treats for the sweet table today – that is a blessing one of them can cook. .

      Liked by 1 person

  20. Mackenzie says:

    I so loved reading this, Linda!!! Wow- all these recipes look phenomenal. Thank you for sharing such a special history behind them all ❤ Nothing pulls at nostalgia more than holidays & scents of baking. I'm glad you are letting yourself indulge a bit- since you have restrained since 2011 …. I think you have a bit of ground to make up for 😉 Hehe. My family makes Peppernut cookies every year (or we used to), but didn't this year- my cousins surprised us with them at their house in OH! I can't wait to try out those awesome recipes you shared with me too (and some of these in this post- those buckeyes have my name on um'!).

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      I’m glad you enjoyed this post Mackenzie and my friend Ann Marie also follows my blog and she looked at the recipes too and she made the candy cane cookies and buckeyes based on those recipes. She made two trips to my house bringing over goodies … so I relived the candy cane cookies, and then the Buckeye memories the next day. She also brought Kolaches which are Hungarian jam-filled pastries. I’ll indulge now and be good again in the near year. Glad you are enjoying your family and are you still in Texas?

      Like

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