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As December continues to grow colder here in Germany (still no snow yet…) and the only thing left to do in my garden is to harvest the rest of the kale that is left I am now busy getting ready for our trip home to the States. This time next week, if all goes well, we should be home in upstate NY and I will finally get to see my family again! I have been preparing for our trip by making homemade Christmas gifts for Thomas’ family here and for my family back home in New York state. I have made jellies and jams with the enormous amounts of berries that we harvested this summer, I am currently knitting several different things like tea towels, dishcloths, hats, gloves etc. and am baking cookies and cakes for some last minute gifting before we leave here to go back to the States. I really enjoy the holidays this time of year and even more so the preparations: making gifts, cooking, baking, listening to Christmas music and getting a tree ready to decorate.

Every year when I was a child my dad would go out to our wood lot a day or two before Christmas with his snowmobile, as we would usually have several feet of snow at that time of the year, and select our Christmas tree. When I was old enough I would go along with him to pick out our tree. I would bundle up, put a helmet on and get ready for our ride into the woods. Soft, white snow would fly up high on both sides of us as we soared through the wide open fields and into the contrasting greens and browns of the darkening woods. My dad would point out a couple of trees to me that he had selected on an earlier trip to the wood lot and then he let me pick the one I liked the best to be our Christmas tree for that year. I was nervous that we would be taking such a large tree and that it would be cut down only for us to observe for a month or so but then my dad surprised me by climbing up a branch or two and chopping off only a small portion near the top of the tree. We then fastened our tree to the back of the snowmobile pointing away from us and drove it home leaving a pine brushed trail though the pristine snow all the way back to our home.

Lemon Tea Loaf

Unknown Origin:

(My mom makes this Tea Loaf from a recipe she had when I was a kid but it has long since been lost and I was lucky enough to get a copy of it before it was gone.)

I like this recipe a lot because it uses fresh herbs steeped in milk which is then incorporated into the batter. And also because it’s very moist after you add the glaze and allow the freshly pressed lemon juice to soak into the warm loaf.

  • 3/4 cup Milk

  • 1 Tablespoon finely chopped Lemon Balm

  • 1 Tablespoon finely chopped Lemon Thyme

  • 2 Cups All Purpose Flour

  • 1 1/2 Teaspoons Baking Powder

  • 1/4 Teaspoon Salt

  • 6 Tablespoons (85 grams) Butter (at room temperature)

  • 1 Cup Sugar

  • 2 Free Range Eggs

  • 1 Tablespoon grated Lemon Zest

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit or 180 degrees Celcius. Heat the milk in a saucepan with the herbs until almost boiling and then take off the heat and let steep until cool. Mix flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl and set aside. In a separate bowl beat together the butter and sugar until light and creamy. Beat in the eggs one at a time and then the lemon zest. To this mixture add the flour mixture and then the milk mixture alternately in thirds while blending on medium-low speed. Mix until the batter is just blended. Pour into a greased and floured loaf pan. Bake for 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool out of the pan on a wire rack and pour the lemon glaze over while still hot. Continue to pour any glaze over that doesn’t get absorbed by the loaf until it is all absorbed. Alternately you can do this while it is sitting on a plate and the glaze will collect around the bottom of the loaf.

Glaze

  • Juice of 2 Lemons

  • About 1+ cups Confectioners Sugar

Mix the confectioners sugar into the lemon juice a little at a time until the mixture is thick but still pourable.

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