Merry Meet my friends…I’m sitting by the fire on this the longest night of the year, in my pj’s with a glass of mulled wine at hand. My daughter and I are watching “A Christmas Story” and I suddenly remembered that I hadn’t written my post yet for Yule! I’m so sorry, but better late than never 🙂 I really did want to share some recipes with you that will come in handy the next 10 days or so.
It’s pouring rain, gloomy and windy here and we are on another week of unseasonable temperatures! Record highs in the mid 60’s are expected! I so wish it was snow and not rain! I ran my last couple of errands to do today and I have about 10 packages to wrap and I’m officially all ready for the holidays….. except for a trip to the grocery early tomorrow morning. I’m hoping I can avoid some of the crowds doing that. I’m looking forward to a more quiet Christmas as my family gatherings will be over the weekend rather than the eve or the day of. So reading and relaxing is high on my agenda lol. And yes, those who know me, know that I do gather with my family for Christmas. It’s not a religious holiday for me at all, but it is for many of my family members that I love, so I celebrate with them, but in my own way. As a family time together, celebrating with gifts and food and love and joy!
Tonight, I will do some altar work, use my hearth fire to burn that which I wish for, and those things I wish to let go, and I will make time to honor my favored Goddess Hekate. Tomorrow morning, I’ll be up early, toasting the rising of the Sun (whether I can actually see him/her or not) and make my offerings to Mother Earth. The day will be spent partially with family, and then quiet and introspective tomorrow evening. The fire is burning merrily. The house is smudged and candles are lit. I have bayberry, frankincense, pine, orange, clove and cinnamon scents going with the help of incense, candles and a simmering potpourri. Our feast, which we’ll have tomorrow night, will just be soup, salad and bread. Simple and good.
Foods for Yule are traditionally: Nuts, apples, caraway cakes soaked with cider, pears, ginger tea, roasted turkey, fruitcake, cookies, eggnog, mulled wine, and pork dishes. But there are other foods as well associated with the season such as gingerbread, ham, cranberries, pomegranates, mince pies, and frankly, whatever else your family tradition is! What are your foods that your family just MUST have on the table for your Yule/Christmas/New Year’s feast? Well, I’ll share a couple of recipes here with you that my family loves, as I have in past postings. I see through my blog stats that MANY of you are checking out all my previous posts for Yule/Solstice and I so appreciate that. Thank you! Hope you like these too!
Red and Green Pear Salad
1/3 cup walnut pieces
3 Tbs cider vinegar
1 Tbs honey
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp freshly ground pepper
2 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
8 oz mixed baby greens
2 pears, such as Bartlett, cored and sliced
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
1 oz blue cheese, crumbled
Toast walnut pieces your favorite way. Pour onto a plate to cool and set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together the vinegar, honey, mustard, salt and pepper. Add the olive oil in a thin stream, whisking constantly until the dressing is smooth.
Add the greens, pears, pomegranate seeds and walnuts to the bowl with the dressing and toss gently to coat. Divide the salad among 4 plates, garnish with the cheese and serve immediately. Serves 4.
Merry Yule Fruitcake Bars
*even if you hate fruitcake..try these!
3/4 cup butter, softened
1-3/4 cups packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 cups coarsely chopped walnuts
1-1/2 cups coarsely chopped candied pineapple
1-3/4 cups red and green candied cherries, halved
2 cups pitted dates, halved
In a large bowl, cream the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each. Stir in vanilla. Add flour and walnuts; mix well. Spread evenly into a greased 15-in. x 10-in. x 1-in. baking pan. Sprinkle with pineapple, cherries and dates; press lightly into dough.
Bake at 325° for 45-50 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool on a wire rack. Cut into bars.
Yield: 8 dozen.
Solstice Mulled Wine
2 (750 ml) bottles of dry white wine
2 oranges, sliced into rounds
1/2 cup brandy (optional)
1/2 cup honey or sugar
16 whole cloves
4 cinnamon sticks
4 star anise
optional garnishes: citrus slices (orange, lemon and/or lime), extra cinnamon sticks, extra star anise
Combine all ingredients in a non-aluminum saucepan, and bring to a simmer (not a boil..it will boil the alcohol right out of it!) over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, and let the wine simmer for at least 15 minutes or up to 3 hours. Strain, and serve warm with your desired garnishes.
Yum! Sounds warm and cozy doesn’t it?!
I hope you give these a try over the holidays. Don’t forget, you can do a search in the box over there ——> under Yule or Winter Solstice to find more from previous years.
Remember that tonight and tomorrow night if you wish, is all about the longest night of the year and knowing that the Sun returns and the days will lengthen once again. Think about what our ancestors were thinking on this night. They were hoping they had enough food put away for the long, hard Winter. Winter was hard, no doubt! Isolation, hard work, chopping wood for warmth, and making sure that their livestock survived the long, cold, dark season..along with themselves, had to be a scary time for them. We are so blessed these days. But for tonight, perhaps pretend what it was like to be them. Light a fire and keep it stoked. Light candles all over the house. Turn off the tv, get off the electronics (which I will do as soon as I’m done with this writing 🙂 and perhaps just sit quietly and think, ponder, remember, cherish or make new memories. What do you wish for yourself and your loved ones in the coming months? What do you need to let go of to be happy and content in your life. Are there relationships to repair or depart from? Is there a project you want to take on over the Winter? Do you have a huge stack of books you’ve been dying to read? (I do! ) Well, now you will have the time…most likely.
Blessed Yule/Winter Solstice my dear friends. May Winter be kind to you, may Goddess bless you with all the good things in Life, and I thank you so much for your friendship and interest in reading my little blog and letting me know you enjoy it. I so much appreciate it!
I share this poem most every Solstice time because I love it so much. This year is no different! Enjoy!
The Shortest Day
by Susan Cooper
So the shortest day came, and the year died,
And everywhere down the centuries of the snow-white world
Came people singing, dancing,
To drive the dark away.
They lighted candles in the winter trees;
They hung their homes with evergreen;
They burned beseeching fires all night long
To keep the year alive,
And when the new year’s sunshine blazed awake
They shouted, reveling.
Through all the frosty ages you can hear them
Echoing behind us – Listen!!
All the long echoes sing the same delight,
This shortest day,
As promise wakens in the sleeping land:
They carol, fest, give thanks,
And dearly love their friends,
And hope for peace.
And so do we, here, now,
This year and every year.
Love and Blessings, Autumn