Thursday, December 03, 2015

Busy Hands, Wandering Mind

A morning at home. The wind races around the house and through the trees. I light a candle, make a cup of tea and open the recipe box. Does anyone use recipe boxes anymore? Mine is made by my husband from a piece of scrap oak after I complained about the smallness of store-bought versions. That would be about 38 years ago. 

Is there any season so prone to memory as Christmas? Recipe cards written in so many hands - sister-in-law, friend, mother, daughter. Some doodled upon - ahem. Recipes from my childhood, my husband's childhood, from friends scattered around the globe.

I thought, briefly, about naming this post "" but soon thought better of it, not wanting the kind of traffic that phrase might bring. As soon as I publish this post, I'll be tying that apron around my waist and starting the Christmas baking. No, that's not quite true - earlier this week I did make Cranberry Orange Shortbread.

I dig through the cookie cutter box. Which ones shall I use this year? Will the little gingerbread man and woman make the grandchildren smile just the way their parents once did? I think so.

While my hands measure and sift, roll and cut, and the smell of freshly baked cookies fills the air, my mind will be wandering over the years, remembering, smiling, and being thankful. 

Have you begun your Christmas baking? Do you have food traditions handed down through the years? 


  1. Oh what a lovely post, Lorrie. My mom used to have a wooden recipe box that held many recipes similar to those is see in your photos...all stained and smudged. One of my older brothers made the box in wood shop at school and most of the recipes were written in her own handwriting. I actually remember begging her to let me copy some down to practice my cursive writing skills when I was learning them in grade school :) Such sweet memories this post brings to mind. I have not started my baking yet but maybe after I get some decorations up this weekend...that always puts me in the spirit!

  2. Lovely post. I wrote one a few years back on my recipe box and the recipes in it. Yes I still grab it for favorite recipes--many which I call family heirlooms. I like your apron. I have been debating making Christmas cookies. I always made them when family would come at Christmas, but now that my mother is gone it's different. But I do like to give them away, so I guess I'll be doing that next week. Your weather sounds delightful (for someone who would love to see some winter!)

  3. I have started. I made cappuccino muffins yesterday afternoon' I will still do sugar cookies and Russian Tea Cakes, which is a recipe from my grandmother.

    This was a delightful post.


  4. Oh I love your recipe box Lorrie and no I don't have one but wish I did!
    How special that yours is Bespoke hand made for you by Tim.
    I imagine yours is indexed according to the seasons eg Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving.
    We all have our special family recipes for these occasions.
    I've been married 45 years and I'm sure I would have received one at my pre-wedding kitchen tea if they had been available here!

    Your illustrated sugar cookies card is sweet - I do that when writing out a recipe for my daughter!
    Oh yes the grandies will love the gingerbread people!
    A lovely post stirring up many happy memories for me - thank you Lorrie - I love Christmas!

  5. I was just thinking today that I must do some cookie cutter sorting out! I don't have a recipe box, but I do have a book that I just recently started that I stick recipes into. I used to just have scraps of paper here and there, but the book works much better for me. Your box is beautiful though and I am sure that it holds many treasured memories! xx

  6. Such a lovely post and reflection. Yes, I do have two recipes boxes-my Mother's and mine.
    If I was in our home, I would have made my favorite fruit cake, and sugar cookies.
    Besides enjoying an afternoon outdoors, I cannot think of a better way to spend an early December day.

  7. A charming post - as always. I love this time of year - fun memories and new memories being made. I love a good stormy day to spend in the kitchen - thinking of fun things to cook for our family. We always make gingerbread pigs with pink frosting. Sometimes I don't think everyone has the same fondness for traditions as I do - and then one grandson says - oh we must have gingerbread pigs - it wouldn't be christmas without them.

    I have a recipe box - stuff full - it looks like an old Shredded Wheat cereal box - I have had it for 30 years or more - it holds our holiday treasures.

  8. What a pleasure it is to read this post today. "Tying one on" to begin the baking process sounds like a nice way to spend a windy day. So cozy. Your recipes from the recipe box along with your collection of cookie cutters brought back fond memories for me. My mom baked many different kinds of Christmas cookies and then my sister and I carried on the tradition for many years. Now I still bake a few varieties. I tend to wait until closer to Christmas as I'm afraid they won't taste fresh if I do it too far in advance. Just wondering whether you (and fellow commenters) freeze yours?
    Have fun in the kitchen.

  9. Your recipe cards tell a story and create new ones each year. Your grandkids are lucky to have a Nana that bakes and sews.
    Years ago, maybe 1981 or 2 I cut out Christmas baking recipes from a magazine. Every year I bring it down to consider which cookies I'll bake. My adult daughters still come over to bake their cookies using these recipes. Now the grand girls will be joining us. I usually send all the cookies etc home with them because I have no self-control when it comes to eating Christmas baking!

    Happy baking to you, Lorrie.

  10. I love the recipe box your husband made! It looks like it has a history all its own. I remember learning to bake with my mom having all four kids sitting on the counter to help stir the cookie dough. She had a steel mixing bowl with a little ring on the rim that helped us hold the big bowl. I have that same bowl in my house now and think of my mom whenever I use it. I also have all her Christmas recipes for cookies, cake and puddings. I don't always make her old recipes, as my family is more familiar with the cookies I've made from other recipes since I was first married. But sometimes when I'm feeling a little lonely, I'll bake one of her recipes for old time's sake ;)

  11. This reads so beauttifully...wish I'd had some tea and whatever sugar cookie you were baking. I am trying not to bake; the oven was on; one shouldn't waste the heat; pumpkin cake! Hmmm...very tasty dessert. I really like your recipe box. Tim did a fine job.

  12. What fun to have a recipe box made by your husband filled with handwritten recipes. I do hope to reproduce one of my mom's gifts that she would bake for us every Christmas. I haven't started Christmas baking quite yet...
    Have a wonderful weekend!

  13. This is a wonderful post, a family treasure it should be. The images, the recipes, the story. The voice I hear when I read it. A mom, a grandmother, loving hands that make and bake. A memory in the making.

  14. First of all, I'm thankful that someone else wears an apron and I like that cute one with the little red birds. My old plastic recipe box grew into a big metal one but I'm downsizing it by putting many of my recipes on the cloud so I'll have them when staying with a daughter or when in Florida.
    I have baked a few things but today was only rice crispy squares and muffins from the Looney Spoons cookbook.
    I have a couple of my late mother's cookbooks and it's interesting to see where she has written in changes or suggestions.
    Are you playing Christmas music while you bake?

  15. I agree, those recipe boxes are too small. I do have my recipe cards in a small basket. The first cookie is chilling in the refrigerator, date pinwheels, a recipe I have made for many years. Next week I will make the dough for gingerbread men and just today got out a couple cookie cutters I think my grandson will like using to do the cutting. He has been asking to make cookies and this year I think we will do a little decorating too. Oh what fun it all is.

  16. The recipe box brings back good mother had one and that was back in the day when relatives and friends shared recipes on simple filing cards. I think it's wonderful you have this precious box your love made and the splattered tried and true recipes!! I remember the copper cookie cutters my mom had as well, especially that deer!! I have to start bringing mine out and making dough to freeze. I also shared some of my homemade granola with my husband and daughter to bring to their office's and I have many asking for jars to give as gifts! I'm so chuffed but it's going to be work! Fun work though! Again, I'm so complimented!

    I love your left me feeling warm and cozy and ready to tie on that apron! :)

    Jane x

  17. What a lovely recipe box Lorrie! I have a wooden one too, but much smaller and not handmade. Yum--tis the season and baking sounds great (as does your shortbread). Hopefully I can get the cleaning done soon, stop coughing and get to it!

  18. That is a lovely wooden recipe box, Lorrie. A treasure, as are those splattered recipe cards with their reminders of people and of good times from days of old.

    I have the fruitcake done, but now I'm starting a few cookies and things -- was writing out a list earlier this evening.

    Wishing you a Happy Friday...Happy baking.

  19. Anonymous3:51 AM

    I have a little metal recipe box that my daughter decorated when she was a young child. :-) I made two loaves of cranberry bread on Tuesday and we made a batch of maple fudge yesterday. Tis the season.

  20. I don't have a recipe box, sadly, but I do have my Grandma's recipe books, written in her hand, with additions from friends. Some of my recipes look lie yours....well used!

  21. What a beautiful box! I ended up putting my cards in a binder in sheets made for their size...other pages hold recipes taken out of magazines and such.

  22. The recipe box your husband made, what a treasure for you. Yes, I have my mothers recipe box and I have all kinds of recipe books and then tons of them that I cut out and place in special recipe books. I also have my Great Aunt Bunna's recipes and in those after she passed away, I found 2 signed Grace Spencer. That was my mother's mom, who died when my mom was only 18. My Great Aunt Bunna was the closest to a grandmother that I had~

  23. Lovely post! I haven't started any Christmas baking yet.... but I'm still hopeful to squeeze in the time.

  24. Lovely recipe box Lorrie!
    I have a smaller version of yours and it is crammed full of recipe cards.

    I have started baking and making Hostess gifts...going to be baking some shortbread cookies soon.
    This year I am trying a new recipe that uses dried cranberries...I will post the recipe on my blog.

    Stay cozy...I heard that we are going to get more high winds.

  25. Lorrie, your recipe box is a treasure filled with warm memories. I have an old metal one that I got when I was about 12 filled with recipes from my childhood and ones after I got married. I now use a recipe 3 ring binder but it's getting full too. Some of the things I bake come from online recipes now. I'll be making shortbread cookies in the next week but I don't go all out at Christmas as there are just too many goodies! Enjoy the weekend.

  26. I'm afraid that I'm not much of a baker. Your copper cookie cutters caught my eye. Last summer, I picked up a bag of vintage cookie cutters at Value Village which I used to decorate my kitchen tree. Hee!

  27. I absolutely love your wooden recipe box!! It is a treasure! I can imagine all of your children wanting to fall heir to your handmade box and its contents. Happy baking and memory-making!

  28. Lovely post, Lorrie!
    I don't have a recipe box, but start to think I should.
    One of our traditions is that we bake the ginger biscuits on the 6th of December. This year we put part of the dough in the freezer to be able to bake them later when there will be more family members here.
    Have a happy Sunday!

  29. I have a copper recipe box. And my recipe cards look just like yours. :) I don't bake as much as I used to with the girls gone. But I still like to make up a couple special cookies. Magic Cookie Bars and Frosted Date Cookies. I just have to have them each year. Have a great week! Kit

  30. I still have my recipe box...filled with 'memories' of by-gone years...and every so often I pull out a recipe, since I know exactly where it is. As for baking...I have baked some of our annual favorites and they are mostly gone already. Time to get baking again!

    Enjoy your week!

  31. I am always moved by recipe boxes and hand written recipes. I still use one but mine is plastic... :( It's what I had many years ago and it's never been switched out although I have a couple neat vintage metal ones in my basement. I took Mom's (she's in assisted living) which was my Aunts before here to peruse through just recently. I had plans many years ago to take one of my grandmother's hand written recipes and transfer it to an apron for my sisters. Never happened. Still may some day. It looks like you are having a nice Advent.


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