Friday, March 22, 2019

Chinese New Year and Cookies

Yes, I realize Chinese New Year has passed a while ago this year. Every year I want to celebrate with the kids because it comes at a perfect time for our family. Our family holiday begins in November with a birthday and then Thanksgiving and continues on with more birthdays, Christmas and the twelve days of Christmas, New Year and another birthday at the end of January. And then like a sneaky child, Chinese New Year arrives and I am left wishing I had more time and energy to make it the fun celebration it could be. The making of a tradition for our family. Except we aren't Chinese. And I never celebrated in school or growing up so I am always left wishing and wondering if I missed an opportunity.

This year I realized something though, Chinese New Year really is the perfect start of our new year as a family. Before that, we are still in holiday mode. Extra plans and fun before Chinese New Year are futile. So I decided to stop making myself crazy trying to start our new year on January 1st. No longer will I try to have my goals planned out by January 1st. No longer will I feel like if we don't have the house clean and ready for the new year on January 1st we are some how not doing it "right." Starting this year, I didn't start thinking about my new year goals until Chinese New Year. Because January 1st is just as arbitrary as Feb 5 or July 19th. We start our school year on August 15th because the local district has us end our school year on June 30th. Are these not just dates picked? At one time the school year ended at planting time but no longer. So this year, I have given myself permission to start our year on another day and another time. It is a little freeing. Try it. Decide to start something today, just because. Maybe a week without sugar or a weekend of saying yes to making time for yourself.

In January, as I talked myself into accepting a new year starting on a different day, I knew that it was also my excuse to celebrate Chinese New Year with the kids. So this year we decided to study China for the month of February. I didn't require us to do everything at specific times and days and we probably did it all wrong but we had a great time doing it. We listened to stories, read books, made crafts and of course decided to cook! We also got some great postcards from China and enjoyed a monthly letter from Isabelle from China. (Letters from Afar)

Now even before our study of China began we have been enjoying exchanging postcards with other people all over the world through Postcrossing. In the month of January, we got an interesting recipe postcard from Singapore.  We made sure to check out different Chinese sweets as well but we kept coming back to this recipe. It hung in the kitchen taunting us. No, it wasn't from China but they sounded tasty and I am usually pretty easily talked into making cookies.

Singapore Christmas Surprise Cookies

80 g. organic old-fashioned oats
1 large organic egg
50 g. organic cranberries (we use Eden Brand)
50 g. organic pistachios
2/3 c. maple syrup
90 g. organic butter, melted
150 g. organic all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. baking soda

1. Preheat oven to 325.
2. Grease a baking sheet with butter.
3. Whisk butter and maple syrup.
4. Whisk in egg.
5. Stir in the flour, baking soda and oats.
6. Mix in cranberries and nuts.
7. Drop tablespoons of batter onto baking sheet. Decorate with more cranberries and nuts if desired.
8. Bake for 12-16 minutes until puffy and lightly golden.

These cookies were pretty good. I think I liked them more than the kids. They are more of a tea cookie than a sweet dessert cookie. It may sounds odd but it reminded me of the kind of cookie grandmothers would have and serve with an afternoon tea, a little English and a little proper. While they are on the drier side, they weren't so dry you couldn't just eat and enjoy them. Give them a try and let me know what you think and Happy New Year!

Note: I use a food scale for a lot of my recipes. Since this was offered to me using grams, I just changed my scale to accommodate using grams instead of ounces.I didn't convert it but I will next time.

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