Monday, December 22, 2014

Adventures in Christmas Cookie Making (with Free Gluten-Free, Casein-Free Cookie Recipe Printable!)

What's a momma to do when she is sitting in her coat, airing natural gas out of her home, after calling both the gas company and fire departments to make sure things are safe?

Why post about the realities of Christmas cookie baking, of course!

First, A Little History of Our Tradition

Flashback: 2009

Growing up, my mom, siblings and I always enjoyed cookie making.  So, as soon as my children could hold a spoon, they began to help me make Christmas cookies.

The fun, of course, was not just in the making, though.  It was in the sharing.  

Over the years, not only have we made a practice of bundling up as a family to sing a carol or two to neighbors while delivering cookies, but, some years, we have also invited a neighbor in to bake with us.

Flashback: 2010

Through the years, although our tradition of sharing Christmas cookies has persisted, the recipes we use have not remained the same.  As we went gluten- and casein-free, we had to keep adapting recipes, and even found ourselves creating our own.

Last year, we finally hit upon a good mix of intolerance-friendly Christmas cookie recipes that we enjoyed.  As far as we know, our neighbors, did, too.  So, we noted these No-Guilt Christmas (or Anytime!) Cookie recipes down and are sharing them today!

Cookie-Making Wonder and Woes

A Concentrated, Happy Helper

When I went to plan our Advent this year, I asked the kids what books they wanted to be sure to read and what traditions they most wanted to keep up as we prepared hearts and home for Christmas. Nina piped up immediately with two titles about cookies and a desire to bake!

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As of yesterday, we were still waiting for a copy of The Gift of the Christmas Cookie: Sharing the True Meaning of Jesus' Birth to come in at our library, but Nina did not want to wait any longer to begin baking.  So, we revisited The Baker's Dozen: A Saint Nicholas Tale during our our snuggly morning read-aloud time and commenced with the baking in the evening.

You'd think after years of baking together with the kids, all would go smoothly.

Not so!

All started ideally...

"I'll mix the dry while Jack mixes the wet."

One batch of Easy Almond Bites came out of the oven perfectly!

But, then, excitement, impatience and, perhaps, a bit of over-tiredness had their way with the kiddoes and, by the time we had tasted our yummy Easy Almond Bites, were awaiting Chocolate Brownie Bites to cook and had Luke stirring up some of the ingredients or our Gingerbread Jesus J's on the stove, things got a bit dicey here.  Cookie making had to be called to a halt so that calm down, clean up and bedtime could ensue.

At that point, Luke (I thought) turned off the burner.  Then, once I took Jack off Nina and calmed everyone down, Luke helped me finish up the Gingerbread Jess J's batter to put in the fridge.  From there, it was jammies, teeth, stories and bedtime, with a promise of cutting out the gingerbread cookies and making No-Bake Snowballs and Chocolate Nutbutter Bites in the morning.

So focused on finishing up the gingerbread batter (but not on making sure the stove was off.  Oops!)

Fast forward to the middle of the night:  I awoke to the smell of gas.  

Oh no!

So it is that I now sit, after calling the gas and fire departments, waking everyone to be sure all were lucid, and sitting in the cold with windows and door open for some time, sharing with you in order to pass the time, be honest that many moments aren't picture perfect here even when they might seem so and share some yummy recipes for your family, and any family with with allergies and intolerances you know, to enjoy.

Here's hoping the kids sleep in so I can catch up on sleep once the house is fully aired and gas-free.  And, here's hoping you -- and our neighbors -- enjoy our recipes this year.

Have a happy -- and safe -- final few days of Advent!

If you leave a link to a faith formation idea or a reflection relevant to raising young children in the faith in a comment here or on our Training Happy Hearts Facebook page, I will pin it on the Training Happy Hearts: A Call to Faith Formation in Young Children Pinterest board


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