Happy Yule !

"The sky was a vivid crimson in every airt. Great bonfires flamed and the
bairns were delirious with delight.
"
Liminal Landscapes
happy Yule
This easy Eagle brand Magic Bars recipe makes a decadent treat
that is alway a favorite.
MAGIC BARS
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 (14 oz.) Sweetened Condensed Milk
2 cups (12 oz. pkg.) semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 1/3 cups flaked coconut
1 cup chopped nuts

Heat oven to 350°F. Coat 13 x 9-inch baking pan with no-stick
cooking spray.
Combine graham cracker crumbs and butter in small bowl. Press into
bottom of prepared pan. Pour sweetened condensed milk evenly
over crumb mixture. Layer evenly with chocolate chips, coconut and
nuts. Press down firmly with fork.
Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until lightly browned. Loosen from sides of
pan while still warm; cool on wire rack. Cut into bars.

Another easy family favorite is:
CREAM CHEESE BROWNIES
1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, cut into pieces
12 ounces fine-quality bittersweet chocolate chopped
6 large eggs
1 1/4 cups cake flour
18 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
3 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
(for a shortcut 1 package of brownie mix that does not include a
syrup pouch can be substituted)

In another bowl mix together:
8 ounce package Cream Cheese, softened
1/3 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Melt butter with chocolate in a large metal bowl set over a saucepan
of barely simmering water, stirring until smooth. Remove bowl from
pan and whisk in eggs, 1 at a time. Sift together flour and cocoa
powder in a separate bowl and stir into batter with sugar and salt.
Spread into greased 13x9-inch baking pan.Top with Cream Cheese
mixture. Take a knife and cut through batter several times for
marbled effect.
Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until cream cheese mixture is lightly
browned. Cool; cut into squares.

Known by many names, these sweet and nutty treats are always on
our Christmas baking list.
RUSSIAN TEA CAKES

1 cup butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 Tablespoons confectioners' sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup chopped walnuts
1/3 cup confectioners' sugar for decoration

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
In a medium bowl, cream butter and vanilla until smooth. Combine
the 6 tablespoons confectioners' sugar and flour; stir into the butter
mixture until just blended. Mix in the chopped walnuts. Roll dough
into 1 inch balls, and place them 2 inches apart on an ungreased
cookie sheet.
Bake for 12 minutes in the preheated oven. When cool, roll in
remaining confectioners' sugar. I also like to roll mine in the sugar a
second time.
cream cheese brownies
This year the Winter Solstice falls on Thursday, December 21 2017 with a waxing Aquarius moon. The Solstice marks the longest night
of the year. Since the dawn of civilization December has been a month of celebration, for after this night, the dark nights begin to grow
shorter as light once again returns to the world. Yule is a time for new beginnings. It is a time to gather together, to feast and renew
relationships, to strengthen the bonds of friendship and family ties. This is also the time to forgive, a time to abandon the things that
did not serve, to make peace with the troubles of the past and to look ahead with hope, each of us aspiring to be better, as we pay
homage to the cycle of life. It is important that we each join the celebration, taking time to gather with family and friends and join the
feast for it is at this time that relationships are renewed, that memories are made, that the bonds of friendship and family ties are
strengthened and we find that joining the celebration holds a magic for us all. Participating in holiday celebrations helps us feel
connected to our place in society. By recognizing and celebrating holidays and interacting with family, friends, and community we
acknowledge the seasonal change, attune with the natural tides, and acknowledge the rhythms of life, death, and rebirth as we
recognize that we are a part of the ever changing cycle.

The Symbols of the Season
For a millennia Yule has been a time of feasting and merriment and many of its old customs are still practiced in our modern
celebrations. Traditions such as the greening the home with pine, holly, and mistletoe, decorating a tree, wassailing, baking specialty
cakes, cookies, and breads, and the baking of the Yule log all can be traced back to antiquated Solstice customs. Even Santa, the
bearded jolly old soul, parallels stories of the god Oden and the Norse Yule Elf who leaves gifts on the Solstice to those who give him
offerings, from England he is Father Christmas, from Germany Kris Kringle, from Holland St. Nick and from Russia Father Winter.
Gathering together for the feast, the giving of gifts, putting up lights, and the hanging of wreaths are all symbols of the Yuletide and
these symbols of the season have origins dating back more than 5,000 years.

The Yule Log
The December solstice marks the shortest day of the year and the first day of winter. This solstice is also referred to as Yule, which is
derived from the Norse word jól, the name of an ancient Norse fire celebration marking the rebirth of the Sun God and lengthening hours
of light. Jol lasted for 12 days. The yule log originated from Jol when it was an actual log burned to honor Thor. It was important that
the log was found on ones' own property as it was designated to bring luck into the household for the coming winter. In some traditions
a piece of the log was kept as a lucky talisman, stored under the bed to protect the home from lightning and accidental fires until it was
revived the next solstice and used to kindle the next yule log fire. In other traditions, the Yule log was burned down to ash. Handfuls
were strewn on the fields to insure fertility. Some of the ashes were also kept to use in various charms. As the kitchen stove replaced
the hearth as the heart of the home, Yule logs also evolved. While today's yule logs are still symbols of luck and good fortune for the
coming year most are made with sheet cakes, filled, rolled, and frosted to look like a log or stump, some even decorated with meringue
mushrooms.
Happy Yule
magic bars
Russian tea cake cookies