Saturday 29 October 2011

Poetry Saturday . . . Life's Lessons . . .

I learn, as the years roll onward
And leave the past behind,
That much I had counted sorrow
But proves that God is kind;
That many a flower I had longed for
had hidden a thorn of pain,
And many a rugged bypath
Led to fields of ripened grain.

The clouds that cover the sunshine
They can not banish the sun;
And the earth shines out the brighter
When the weary rain is done.
We must stand in the deepest shadow
To see the clearest light;
And often through wrong's own darkness
Comes the very strength of light.

The sweetest rest is at even,
After a wearisome day,
When the heavy burden of labor
Has borne from our hearts away;
And those who have never known sorrow
Can not know the infinite peace
That falls on the troubled spirit
When it sees at last release.

We must live through the dreary winter
If we would value the spring;
And the woods must be cold and silent
Before the robins sing.
The flowers must be buried in darkness
Before they can bud and bloom,
And the sweetest, warmest sunshine
Comes after the storm and the gloom.
~author unknown

Oh I do love this poem. It comes from a book that Lura sent me for my birthday this year, entitled Best Loved Poems of the LDS People. It is filled to overflowing with inspiration and I am sure would be of great joy and comfort to any people, not just the LDS! Of course it means even more to me because it came from Lura.

I have long held a fascination with angels and over the years collected several books of angel stories . . . stories of people who have had visitations from these heavenly beings or experiences where they have felt the help and support of an angelic presence. I think angels come in many shapes and sizes and appearances. I just love these statues here this morning. I could look at angel statues forever. I used to make little angel bears and would love to start making them again . . . but for one fact. I used to use real feather wings, small enough to be worn by the bears, but I cannot find them over here. Mayhap I will have a chance to go to Canada again soon and pick some up there. They were really cute little bears. They only stood about 7 inches tall and were so lovely with their feather wings.

When I first got this recipe it was scribbled on the back of an envelope in my grandmother's un-educated scrawl in pencil that was beginning to fade quickly. I have many fond memories of helping her to bake these as a very little girl and of eating them when they were done. Oven temperatures were not given, nor were directions . . . just a list of ingredients. All it said in the recipe was to use enough flour to give a stiff dough. I had to work out all those details by myself. Here is my interpretation of our "family" cookie. Simple and plain, wholesome and good. My mother always bakes a tin of these when I go home to visit too. Somehow no matter how many times I make them they never taste as good as the memory of theirs . . . funny how that goes!

*Grammy Woodworth's Molasses Cookies*
Makes approximately 4 dozen
Printable Recipe

Handed down through four generations of women in my family, this is the cookie that would have always held place of pride in the larder. Wonderfully fragrant when they were baking, a couple of these and a tall glass of cold milk were a special treat for us children after school on a cold winter's day.

1 cup sugar
1 cup mild molasses
1 cup of hot melted vegetable shortening
(my grandmother used rendered bacon fat)
2 medium eggs
3 heaping teaspoons of ground ginger
1 tsp salt
4 teaspoons of baking soda, stirred into 1/2 cup of hot water
enough flour to make a stiff dough (approximately 4 - 5 cups)

Pre-heat the oven to 180*C/375*F. Lightly grease several baking sheets and set aside.

Put the sugar and the molasses into a large bowl. Pour the hot fat over them and mix it all together very well. Allow it to cool until it is just warm to the touch and then beat in the eggs. Mix in the ginger and the salt, along with the water and soda. Stir in the flour a little at a time until it is all incorporated. No amount of flour was given in the original recipe but I find that it ranges anywheres between 4 and 5 cups. This seems to depend on the weather and humidity. Some days 4 cups is enough and others I need more. You need a dough that is pliable without being sticky.

Dust the counter with some flour and roll out the dough with a floured rolling pin to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut into rounds with a floured 3 1/2 inch fluted cookie cutter. Place onto the greased baking sheets, leaving 2 inches of space in between each. Gather the scraps and re-roll until all the dough is used up.

Bake for approximately 12 minutes or until dry to the touch and lightly browned on the bottom. Don't overbake. They should be nice and soft to the bite. Delicious!

Baking in The English Kitchen today, some delicious Glazed Donut Muffins!

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