Just before Christmas, my 100 year old Nanna took a bit of a tumble while she was fussing with her Christmas decorations–seems she tripped over a chair leg or something–and fractured her hip. It was very scary watching her head into surgery, and a very anxious ninety minutes while we waited for the surgeon to assure us that she had come through it okay. Fast forward a few weeks, and she celebrated her 101st birthday! She is still in hospital, but the general consensus is, that she cannot return home. She is up an walking, and becoming more independent (I’m telling you…this lady is a force of nature!) but now we need to turn our thoughts to packing up her household and preparing for a move to a retirement home.
The only thing I really wanted from Nanna’s apartment was her Pyrex mixing bowls. I have nearly 50 years of food memories associated with these vibrantly coloured bowls. Mom had the yellow one too (and I have vivid flashbacks of the potato salad and scalloped potatoes served up in her’s). I have been looking for years for an affordable set of my own, but had to settle for a more modern set (on the left).
Now that I have brought home the treasured mixing bowl set, the more modern set–picture on the left–are going to youngest son’s apartment. Why? To quote him, “I have nearly 25 years of food memories in them.”
Like mother, like son.
To welcome the bowls home, I felt the need to put them to use with something old-fashioned, heart-warming, soft and comforting. Ah yes – molasses ginger cookies.
Molasses Ginger Cookies
Makes 3 Dozen Cookies
- 2 1/4 cups flour
- 2 tsps baking soda
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 1/2 tsp allspice
- 1/2 tsp ground cloves
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup dark brown sugar
- 1 egg
- 1/4 cut fancy molasses
- turbinated sugar (for rolling cookies dough in before baking) – you may substitute white granulated sugar
Heat oven to 375 degrees, placing rack in the centre. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
Sift flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, and cloves.
In a second bowl, cream together butter, brown sugar, egg and molasses. Beat at high speed until light and fluffy.
Stir in flour mixture. The cookie batter is going to be very stiff, so finish the final mixing with your hands.
Form balls of cookie dough by the tablespoon full, roll into sugar to cover the outside surface and place on baking sheet, one dozen at a time. Do not press. Bake for nine minutes and allow to cool.
We have been in the midst of a bone chilling cold snap since before New Years. It’s been brutal! Naturally, when Jack Frost comes nipping, our minds turn to soft and cozy things, quiet contemplation, and comfort food. I’ve been thinking about getting an Instant Pot for a few weeks, and this past weekend, I brought one home! I also bought one for my youngest son, and arranged for one to be delivered to my other son and his wife out in Halifax.
It wasn’t easy! It was so cold out – the kind of cold where your nose hairs freeze together – I couldn’t bear the idea of getting into my cold car and scraping the frost off the windows as the wind stabbed me with icy needles. So, ever resourceful, I texted my son (who has heated seats in his new car) and convinced him to take me shopping. But we had to go to four different stores before we achieved our goal! Instant Pots were a very popular Christmas gift this year, and the stores haven’t restocked yet.
Before I decided that I needed to bring home my own Instant Pot, I asked the gentle folks on The Hygge Nook facebook group for their thoughts. The consensus was enthusiastic – – some members have more than one Instant Pot, and use them regularly – – and recipes recommended.
The learning curve is steep – there’s a lot of technology here! But I successfully prepared my first Instant Pot meal: Beef & Broccoli. It was a little confusing – but somehow, I stumbled through it and served up a very satisfying dinner. Since it’s just me and my husband at home now, there was leftovers of course, but who’s complaining?
My next trial went somewhat more smoothly. Clearly, the operation gets easier with practice. Stuffed Green Pepper Casserole. This was another winner, and looks like I have lunch for work tomorrow!