Monday, December 21, 2020

Celebrating The Winter Solstice - My Day

By the time you read this it will most likely be evening, the longest and darkest evening of the year. By now I will have filled this day with a number of small but significant rituals and activities, which in these empty nest years have become very much a personal day for me. I thought that perhaps I would bring you along on that journey, I hope you'll enjoy.

The sun rose this morning at 7:28 a.m and will set at 5:02 p.m., that's just a little over 9 and half hours of daylight.

My day began before the rise of the sun, I awoke around 6:00 a.m. made myself my favorite blend of coffee, Starbucks Peppermint Mocha with Peppermint Mocha creamer, yes that's a peppermint mocha overload, and warmed a slice of ham and cheese quiche I made for our breakfast yesterday, and as I ate I read, Grandmother Winter, by Phyllis Root, and then listened to Owl Moon by Jane Yolen, followed by The Shortest Day by Wendy Pfeffer. and finally The Winter Solstice by Ellen Jackson, which sadly, I could not find a very good reading of, the one I've linked is the best that I was able to fine, but the stories are all sweet just the same! I don't think I'lll ever outgrow my love for a beautiful picture book!

After my little "solstice storytime", I suppose you could call it, I began making our solstice soup, which this year is a recipe passed down to me from my mom, Santa Fe Chicken Tortilla Soup!

Santa Fe Chicken Tortilla Soup 
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 medium green bell pepper, chopped
1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
4 carrots, cut matchstick style
1 medium onion, chopped
3 whole boneless chicken beasts, cut into bite size pieces
1 (4 oz) can Mexican tomatoes
1 1/2 tsp. cumin
1 1/2 c. frozen corn
6 c. chicken broth (3 cans)
Tortilla Chips, broken

Put oil, vegetables, except corn, and chicken into a large soup pot. Cook over medium heat until chicken is done; reduce heat to medium-low and add tomatoes. Cook for 5 minutes. Add cumin, corn and broth; raise heat. Bring to a boil uncovered; reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in juice of one lime just before serving. Serve with broken tortilla chips and lime wedges
This year I used a snowflake shaped cookie cutter to make tiny snowflake tortillas and then toasted them in the oven. It was a lovely addition something I now plan to do every year.

And for our dessert, I made up another recipe handed down to from my mom, Hummingbird Cake!

 Hummingbird Cake 
Mix well by hand;
2 c. sugar
1 c. Crisco oil
2 whole eggs
1 tsp. vanilla

Then add
3 c. flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 diced bananas
1 8 oz. can crushed pineapple
1/2 c. coconut

Mix by hand. Bake in a bundt pan for 1 hour at 325. Let cool before removing from pan. Or use an 8x12x2 inch loaf pan and bake at 325 for 45 minutes.

This cake traditionally calls for cream cheese icing, but I opted for something a bit simpler and just dusted it with some powdered sugar to resemble snow.  The cake itself is pretty moist, so it is fine without icing.

Typically on the Winter Solstice I make orange pomanders and dry oranges, as oranges represent the sun. But I ran out of steam today (battling some seasonal allergies), and didn't get around to making them. I did make a tabletop solstice spiral and placed white birthday candles in four apples, placing them at the four cardinal points. I lit them after dark and spent a few minutes in prayer and reflection. Unfortunately most of those pictures turned out a little dark, but it was beautiful.  I plan on leaving it up and enjoying it during my quiet time tomorrow, so maybe I can get a better picture then.

Tonight I'm going to watch another cartoon. It's an episode of Little Bear, Snowball Fight, Winter Solstice and Snowbound. I'll probably only watch the Winter Solstice episode because it is just lovely! If you have littles in your life, you should share it with them! Afterwards, if I can stay awake, :), I want to work The Christmas Oranges, which is movie I discovered a few years ago and is the sweetest addition to your holiday movie collection! I highly recommend it!
Overall, it's been a lovely day, and by far one of my favorite days of the year!


Anonymous said...

I so enjoyed reading of how you spent your solstice day. Perfect and lovely! We love the Christmas Oranges movie as well.


Kimberly Lottman said...

I am so glad that you continue to enjoy my humble offerings. Much love, Kim