Thursday, December 16, 2010

Building My Holiday Traditions

This is my first Christmas as the mother of a toddler. This is also the first Christmas that I've chosen to make cookies for my friends and family. Also, this is my first Christmas as a blogger. It makes quite a combination of firsts.

There are so many beautiful food blogs, and right now they are full of beautiful Christmas cookies. Cookies with qualities of deliciousness that I aspired to match during my week long cookie making marathon. But of course, no matter how many beautiful cookies I planned to make, I never stopped being the mother of a toddler.

Now that the marathon is complete, I feel I need to make a public service announcement of sorts. The snowflake cookies with only five points, the truffles that are as misshapen as their namesake, the candied lime with chewier-than-you-meant-it-to-be peel are all as delicious and loved by your loved ones as they would be if they were picture perfect.

Deep breath. Your cookies will be fantastic.

You see, I'm not really a Christmas person. I'm new to this Christmas spirit thing and I don't want to turn the love I want to share with those that have touched my life this year into a giant stress fest. And I don't want anyone else to either. I'm pretty sure Christmas traditions are meant to be enjoyable for everyone involved, even those with the role of Santa's elf.

For a long time I have been something of a Christmas observer. My husband and I would make sure to see our families during the holiday season, we would get presents for our nephews, we would try to find gifts for our respective siblings, but we just didn't get that into it. December is our quietest month farm wise, nothing is growing and we've just barely started planing for next year, so we've always liked to keep it laid back. The actual day of Christmas was generally just a nice day off from work that we could spend together. Our Christmas included no decorations, a few gifts, and a big batch of buckwheat pancakes with jam.

We'll take any excuse to make buckwheat pancakes with jam.

Last year our Christmas routine changed a bit. I suppose all routines change when you toss in a three month old. I was up at midnight on Christmas Eve, wrapping the world's greatest teething ring in shiny silver paper. I had thought I wouldn't want a tree, but at the last minute I even sent my husband out into one of our brushier fields for a tiny little Christmas tree to decorate our living room. I got a taste of what it is like to be a Christmas person, and I loved it. This year, I wanted more than that little taste.

Baby's First Christmas, or The Most Presents I've Ever Purchased
So, although I'm still not buying a lot of presents, I'm starting some new traditions. I've got cookies, I've got lights on a tree in my yard, I'm donating to three different charities on behalf of my parents and sister, and, of course, I'm taking a laid back day and eating buckwheat pancakes with jam on Christmas morning with my husband and daughter.

Maybe you would like to join us.

Buckwheat Pancakes

We got this recipe off of a box of buckwheat flour, I think it was Hodgson Mill, several years ago. It's the only 100% buckwheat pancake recipe I've run into. It is now written on a piece of loose leaf paper and taped to the inside of our plate cupboard door. That is how special this recipe is to us. It must be enjoyed with homemade jam, preferably blueberry or blackberry.

  • Two tablespoons butter, melted
  • One cup milk
  • One egg
  • One cup buckwheat flour
  • One teaspoon baking powder
  • Two tablespoons sugar
  • Half teaspoon salt
  1. Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl large enough to accommodate all of the ingredients.
  2. Combine the egg, milk, and melted butter. Stir until well combined.
  3. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Stir until just combined. It will be a little gooier than non-buckwheat pancake batter.
  4. Heat a griddle or shallow pan over medium heat.
  5. Grease the pan with butter, vegetable oil, or cooking spray. We prefer butter, but we're decadent. They all work.
  6. Pour about 1/3 cup of batter onto the pan, as many times as will fit.
  7. Watch the batter. When bubbles are just about to break the surface, flip the pancake over. This traps those bubbles in the pancakes and makes them nice and fluffy.
  8. Cook until the center is set and the bottom is lightly brown.
  9. Repeat with the remaining batter.


  1. We have a Sophie the giraffe too! I really haven't even gotten around to baking yet, I hope I can stay stress free.

  2. Isn't Sophie the best? We call her Gertrude though, due to my belief that all toy names should have a growl in them :)