The holidays, the Big Ones, keep creeping forward so I again found myself in the dilemma as to how to celebrate the holiday today while still staying on task with our seasonal holiday preparation. It didn’t make it any easier that today was actually National Pfeffernusse Day. Pfeffernusse is a German cookie that is made with nuts and pepper and then covered in either sugar or icing. I’ll be honest – I was intrigued. I had never had a cookie with pepper in it. The recipe I found online made them look particularly delicious too, although that’s where I hit a little snag. It called for 2 teaspoons of Lebkuchengewürz and I was fresh out of Lebkuchengewürz. I did see that there were some store bought varieties available, one made by Archway cookies, so I would look at the local supermarkets. I looked in both Clement’s and Stop and Shop, hoping for a Festivus miracle, but I came up empty handed.
There were some other recipes, but they all seemed a bit intricate and time consuming, and time was not my friend today. I decided that Pfeffernusse would not be on the menu. Just too much to do. Then I looked at what other holidays I could celebrate and I found one site that said today was National Bake Day. That I could do. In fact, I had intentions of doing just that. Off to the kitchen I went.
We had a few bananas hanging around that were past peak ripeness and anyone who has ever made a banana bread knows that this is exactly what you are looking for in bananas for baking. That’s where I started. I have a recipe from Becky (who may have gotten it from her Mom) that makes a great bread. I mixed my wet ingredients and then alternately mixed in the bananas, the flour and dry ingredients and some milk. Put it in a loaf pan that I must say I expertly greased and floured, and then put it in the oven. It took about an hour and a half at 300 degrees. I let it cool after taking it out of the oven, and when I popped it from the pan, it came out smooth as silk.
Later in the day, I grabbed the last of our carrots and grated them up and went to work making a carrot bread, an old recipe from my grandmother. It’s super easy to make and I even have a picture copy of her typed out recipe (thanks to cousin Clare). You have to interpret the recipe in parts because she keeps out some info that she must have assumed you would know, but it’s easy enough to follow along. I almost forgot the cinnamon which would have been bad, but remembered at the last minute. It took about an hour to cook and it too popped easily out of the pan when cooled. Success.
So I know that seems like an easy way out to celebrate, but I baked for National Bake Day. I’m sure they made this day a holiday because everyone is baking for the holidays, and in that spirit, I celebrated perfectly. I don’t think I would have made either of these had it not been Bake Day. I was all set making fudge and chocolate balls. But this quest gave me that push to move forward and now I have some great additions to the table. We may even have some Banana Bread waffles with Banana Fosters sauce on top for Christmas breakfast.
Today was also Festivus for the rest of us. I would have loved to really celebrate this one. Put up a festivus pole. Invited everyone over for a festivus feast. Had the feats of strength contest and then shifted to the airing of grievances to help keep everyone grounded, but it wasn’t in the cards this year. There’s always hope for a festivus miracle in 2017. For the sake of celebrating, I will continue my airing of grievances of grocery shopping behavior as I witnessed two incidents of preposterous proportions today. In one incident, I was blocked by a man from proceeding down an aisle. His cart was parked opposite an in-aisle display leaving only a small space in which to get by, and the man was standing in that space reading labels. The path was completely blocked. To make things worse, he was playing music from his phone on speaker and singing along. It was a country-style Christmas song, I think, and I will say he wasn’t a horrible singer, but he did not move when I came up and needed to pass. He sauntered slowly back to his shopping routine, singing merrily and eventually moved.
Later, I was in another grocery store eyeballing the cookie selection, when a couple came in the aisle to find something. They were giddy and giggly and had a bouquet of flowers from the flower cart. They were looking for a nice sweet accompaniment for their pretty flora. They gave each other a nice sweet hug and even a little PDA because obviously there’s no place quite as romantic as the cookie aisle. But when it was time for me to pass them, they didn’t move! They stayed in their embrace and ignored me. I really wanted to ram them. Later, I saw them checking out. What cookie did they opt for? Nutter Butters. Ah youth, it’s wasted on the young.
So those are my grievances for Festivus. Trying hard to keep up the holiday spirit here and I hope you are too. Don’t lose sight of the big picture. It’s all for fun and festiveness. Don’t make it stressful or you won’t enjoy it. Just let it roll. It will get done. It will be ok. Let’s just have fun, and all our baking will be put to good use. Merry, merry.
Next Up: National Egg Nog Day (and first day of Chanukah)