Sunday Funday: Winter Solstice, Holiday Party Ideas, and Recap.

Happy Sunday and Winter Solstice!!  Continue reading on to find a website that explains Yule a bit better.  Before you do, check out this week’s posts on Activated Charcoal, Eggplant Cutlet ideas, and Herbal Facial Steams if you missed them.

Today is the Winter Solstice.  It marks the shortest day of the year and the “rebirth” of the sun because our hours of daylight will now continue to get longer.  Winter Solstice, or Yule, also symbolizes the cycle of the year.  Think of it as a new beginning.  Fire festivals are traditional in Pagan customs during this time but are more personal than the outdoor Summer Solstice fires.  If you would like to read more about traditions during this time, read up on it here.  I felt this webpage did a nice job summarizing a bit of the history and some common traditions.  Regardless of your religion or spiritual beliefs, I believe this time of year is great for reflection but also goal-setting….I think to think of it as “re-purposing” my mind, body, and soul.  With every new year I know I grow more understanding and wise with the experiences I have in my life, but I also know that there is still a lot to learn and know about my world and myself.  Maybe take some time to start reflecting on your personal growth and what you are looking to accomplish in the future.  What steps do you need to take?  I’ll be sharing some of my thoughts on this in a few upcoming posts as we get closer to the new year!

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I had my annual Holiday party last night and I am feeling it today.  But, I love entertaining and I’ll share some pictures of the spread and some recipes to follow!  Scattered throughout the pics are some tips that I find helpful to follow when planning for a night with friends!

Tip #1:  You don’t have to go overboard with decor and spending money on unnecessary items that take up space afterwards.  Include fresh flowers or a small display for your season or holiday theme.  Keep things visible but out of high traffic areas, of course, especially if you have wild friends.  😉

Card and tree table.

Card and tree table.

Fresh flowers always spruce up a space.

Fresh flowers always spruce up a space.

Tip #2:  DO put your money into food items if you’re serving it.  Your guests will appreciate the time, effort, and thought put into usable items.

Cookies are ALWAYS a hit.  I have been using a basic sugar cookie recipe for some time now, but I add my own candy, nut, or fruit pieces to change them up every time.

White Chocolate Cranberry and Heath Bar.

White Chocolate Cranberry and Heath Bar.

Seriously Easy Sugar Cookies:

What You Will Need:

  • 2 3/4 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 sticks of SOFTENED butter
  • 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • WHATEVER TOPPING.  This time I used crushed Heath bar for one dozen and white chocolate chips plus dried cranberries for the other dozen.
  • **This recipes makes about 2 and half to 3 dozen cookies depending on how large you make them 🙂

What You Will Need To Do:

  1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Mix the dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, baking powder) together in a medium sized bowl.
  3. Mix the wet ingredients (butter, sugar, vanilla, egg) in a large bowl.
  4. Begin adding the dry ingredients to the large bowl and mix it.
  5. Forms small ping pong shaped balls and place 12 at a time on your baking sheet.
  6. Bake for 10-12 minutes.
  7. Remove from baking sheet and let cool.
Previous sugar cookies:  Cinnamon Flax and Chocolate Pieces.

Previous sugar cookies: Cinnamon Flax and Chocolate Pieces.

I ran out of white sugar so I had to finish off the measurement with decorative purple sugar.  :)

I ran out of white sugar so I had to finish off the measurement with decorative purple sugar. 🙂

Tip#3:  DON’T have too many things going on in the kitchen at once.  You will stress yourself out and you are more likely to make mistakes in your preparation.

This year I tried going relatively healthy.  Try adding plates or dishes that are vegetarian and/or vegan friendly so you don’t leave anyone out!  We had Buffalo Quinoa Bites for those who couldn’t take part in Mike’s signature pulled pork sliders.  Zucchini Cakes also made an appearance.

Zucchini Cakes in the works.

Zucchini Cakes in the works.

Quinoa Bites in the works.

Quinoa Bites in the works.

The spread.

The spread.

I hope everyone had a great, productive, yet fun weekend and your holidays have been and are wonderful this year!

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