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Making Christmas Cookies

Saturday, December 22, 2012

It's that time of year. I only make 3 sweets for Christmas, the favorites of decades in my family. I can pass up the pecan snowballs and have just a small piece of Chip N Cherry cake. But oh the sugar cookies! My kids and grandkids, nieces and nephews require them at Christmas, and it's my happy job to deliver. I use the same cookie cutters that my mother used when I was little, and I just ice them but don't decorate them which really would take hours and hours. My kids call them "crack", addicting, and they are. And I always eat them. Every year. I'll send them home to 5 grateful households after Christmas, leaving this grateful household without them.

And it's just once a year. I suppose that is part of why they taste so good. I won't eat commercial sugar cookies; they just aren't nearly as good as mine, and I never let myself eat other people's cookies just in case I like them too much. My family is very good at looking forward to a special food and only eating it then. It's something I trained them to do, then as I've gotten older, their comfortable joy in anticipation of a rare treat comes back to me. I taught my kids, now I learn those same lessons all over again from them. Which is a good thing since at my age weight comes on faster and comes off slower. My grandmother warned me about this phenomenon and I wish she were still here so I could chuckle with her about it.

Time to make the icing, and fight to keep the cats off the cookies. Unfortunately, they like it, too.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MIRFA71 12/25/2012 1:27PM

    Beautiful memories.. And we all want to taste your delicious and beautiful cookies. and the only way is that if you can please share the recipe. emoticon emoticon

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DARLENEK04 12/24/2012 11:36PM

  C'mon Nell, Share that cookie recipe...........

we want to have the same fun ..........

Merry Christmas,

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ZUCCHINIQUEEN 12/24/2012 8:35AM

    I'm trying really hard to form some of your same philosophy. In any case, your blogs are a big help to me, and help me to do some hard thinking.
I'm not THERE yet, but I'm trying.

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CANDLE29 12/24/2012 7:17AM

    I really enjoyed your post. So many similarities to my cookie making. I simply frost mine but unfortunately, once the frosting goes on, they are my biggest weakness. I use my grandmother's recipe because it's the one my mom always used and I have yet to taste a cookie as tasty as hers. You are so right about the store bought versions, won't even touch them! Perhaps we are cookie snobs? That's OK, I'm not a big cookie eater so when I do eat one, it's going to be worth it!

I also agree with you on the weight. It sure does come on a lot easier and faster than it comes off!

I hope you are having a wonderful Christmas!

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KAYYVAUGHN 12/24/2012 6:21AM

    The sugar cookies sound delicious. My SIL had bags of sweets ready for everyone to take home. We took some that will go to my mother's today.
My husband and son ate plenty last night. There is still a good bit left.
We had some carolers and I gave them a box of cookies.

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DARLENEK04 12/23/2012 7:47PM


oh gee, after the buildup, no recipe?????????????????????
se and thank you?????????????

I made some Chewy Chocolate for David this afternoon...he
says they are wonderful....

He also has a key lime pie in the fridge which I wont touch.
BUT, he has lost 36 pounds helping me to lose 40.......

I love sugar cookies, and my kids and I used to make them on
Christmas worst weakness is the Wedding cookies...

My daughter makes a Cinnamon punch that I love, and she just
called to see if we are coming again,,,,,still no,,,,,due to
Davids surgery.............dang it......

Merry Christmas ya'll,

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FISHINGLADY66 12/22/2012 8:32PM

    Your blog brings back good memories for me too. My daughter will be having Christmas at her house, but I will still bring our favorites.

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NASFKAB 12/22/2012 8:20PM


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CELIAMINER 12/22/2012 8:08PM

    Nell, they sound wonderful and bring back rich memories of my mother's iced sugar cookies!

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-AMANDA79- 12/22/2012 5:38PM

    Distance makes the heart grow fond!! Applies to food as well - LOL!


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SUZYMOBILE 12/22/2012 5:21PM

    The only goodie I make all year is spritz cookies--butter cookies made with a cookie press and sprinkled with sugar. But I can picture those iced sugar cookies! I think I want one!

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GABY1948 12/22/2012 3:03PM

    From your description, I can almost taste them. I never bake goodies because I don't think I could control mom made iced gingerbread cookies for my kids every year...and after she left us I tried but they just were not the family is very blessed indeed to have you around for them! Merry Christmas, Nell emoticon

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PINKNFITCARLA 12/22/2012 1:29PM


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WATERMELLEN 12/22/2012 1:25PM

    Great approach: and now, of course, we're all wanting your very special sugar cookie recipe!!

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JEANNE229 12/22/2012 12:57PM

    What wonderful self-control! That is one reason I don't bake/cook goodies much. I just never developed it. Need to take lessons from you, Nell.

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Overeating today may not kill me but.....

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

When a recovering gambling addict has a slip, he could wake up the next morning $100,000 in debt to the wrong people. When a recovering alcohol or drug addict has a slip, he could wake up the next day fired, divorced or in jail. Or dead and not wake up at all. When a recovering food addict has a slip, he will wake up the next day......what? Miserable, yes. Guilty, yes. With self-loathing, yes. But dead, fired or in jail? No. Would the threat of death help people not overeat? I don't know; there are too many gamblers and drug addicts that still don't get it, even sitting in jail the next day. Again.

What I'd really like to know is why we think that despair and self-loathing is better than jail. Is it? It is a self-imposed prison, visible only to those in it. I saw a dessert called "Death by Chocolate", and it was supposed to be funny. To those in that self-imposed prison it isn't death and it isn't funny. It may be early death in the long run, just not tomorrow. It's still early death, preceded by a lifetime of despair.

And are all those Christmas goodies really worth it?

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SHARON10002 12/21/2012 11:17PM

    Well said, although I do believe the saying "everything in moderation". That is what my plan is for Christmas.

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FISHINGLADY66 12/21/2012 10:25PM

    Great Blog and very well said. emoticon

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KAYYVAUGHN 12/20/2012 6:59AM

    At the party for Foster kids last night, I was so tired that when I did eat, I ate foods that I usually avoid. My weight was up some this morning, but at least I know what to do.
I do avoid most of the those goodies. Since I'm not used to them, I don't desire them. My SIL makes old fashioned tea cakes that are small and light. I will eat one or two Saturday, but avoid all the other goodies.

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LOVESTOWALK49 12/19/2012 8:48PM

    When I overeat or eat the wrong type food, I pay for it that night and sometimes the following day or two. I have IBS and eating at night or too much can make me ill. Eating foods too high in fat and/or protein often make me feel awful. I should eat small frequent meals to keep my stomach happy, but I don't. I tend to eat most of my food in the middle of the day as a compromise. emoticon

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ZEEDRA 12/19/2012 1:32PM

    Thanks, once again, Nell, for telling it like it is. I caught myself telling somebody just yesterday that I didn't know what all the fuss about eating on Christmas day's just one day!!! My one days have been going on for years. I say: Well, I keep under my "ceiling weight". The truth is: my ceiling weight has changed five times as my goal weight gets further and further away.
All the Best,

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KANOE10 12/19/2012 9:29AM

    Great blog. No the treats are not worth it and waking up happy is so nice.

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JEANNE229 12/19/2012 8:06AM

    Great "food" for thought (forgive the pun). You hit it right on the mark.

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NASFKAB 12/19/2012 5:37AM

  great blog very useful

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WILLOWBROOK5 12/18/2012 8:31PM

    Excellent and timely blog. Thanks so much!

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WATERMELLEN 12/18/2012 8:22PM

    What a powerful, hard-hitting blog: talk about "taking no prisoners:!!

Of course overeating has both short terms and longer term consequences: misery, discomfort, guilt now and potentially heart disease, diabetes, cancers of various types later (to name a few).

It amazes me how often people warn me that excessive diligence around food may "take away the joy of the season" etc etc. Hmmmmm. Gotta find joy in other ways than overeating, I'm guessing!!

Comment edited on: 12/18/2012 8:23:10 PM

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--KREN 12/18/2012 7:20PM

    I can't imagine you EVER overeating, Nell! I hope you're doing good after your surgery.


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TINAJANE76 12/18/2012 5:49PM

    To me, they're not worth it, at least not in more than very small doses. I love cooking and baking at the holidays because those are traditions I was raised with. Rather than giving these things up entirely, which wouldn't make me happy, I designated last Saturday as my holiday baking day. I made several batches of my favorite cookies that day, sampled a few and boxed up 95% of the rest to give away as gifts. I've been slowly rationing out the few that remain to myself (and my husband!), so I can have a small taste of my holiday memories without overdoing it. This seems like a reasonable compromise to me and one that won't compromise my health!

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VINGRAM 12/18/2012 5:26PM


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PINKNFITCARLA 12/18/2012 4:47PM

    Well put, and something to keep in mind especially this time of year with the extra treats everywhere.

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GABY1948 12/18/2012 1:21PM

    GREAT blog. Thank you!

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PRESBESS 12/18/2012 12:25PM

    No, all of the Christmas goodies aren't worth it to me. I am huge lover of sweet treats, so I have to really be focused and diligent over the next week or so.

Thanks for the reminder that... it's not worth it.

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MKELLY72 12/18/2012 11:28AM

    I was just contemplating this kind of thing yesterday....add the holiday baking I did on Saturday...was it like bringing crack right into my house (if I were a crack addict) and laying it out on the table? Why would I choose to put myself through the temptation? And it was not the best planning as far as TOM goes either.
Thanks, Nell


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SWEETYOUNGTHING 12/18/2012 10:28AM

    Very insightful and very well put. I have, in the past, woke up in the middle of the night feeling sick - sick to my stomach and sick in my heart/soul because I had a day of very poor food choices that I made for myself. Overeating and indulging has the same effect as other addictions do. The addiction seduces you into thinking "it'll be okay after this" (whatever your 'this' is). However, the subsequent surrender to the unhealthy choice does lead to disappointment and self loathing.

I despise this time of year because of all the pressures put upon us. The bombardment of cookie and cake and alcohol ads really infuriates me not the mention the financial pressures so many face during the holidays. I've really scaled back on the holiday celebrations and preparations. I don't bake for neighbors anymore - or for family gatherings. The less I have to handle the junk food, the better off I am. I get store bought and the box stays at the household it was intended for. If people bring goodies to my home, I bring them into work for others - or I throw them out.

Sorry, didn't mean to ramble - thanks for posting, Pat

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NEPTUNE1939 12/18/2012 10:25AM

    Fat can be and often is the enemy of our bodies. Look at your enemy, does one really think that giving it probation is healthy to living? We can choose to stop enabling our enemy from doing more harm. God bless everyone's positive mindset,Earl emoticon

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"Judgement" is a bad word for a necessary process

Monday, December 10, 2012

While the judgement of others is often distressing, judging ourselves is essential to progress. We have all heard the old saw about insanity being defined as doing the same thing over and over, expecting different results. Yet how do we change if we don't carefully examine our actions, reactions, attitudes, and honestly decide if we have done the right thing, handled the situation best?

The whole process has to start with what we did wrong, which is usually manifested in a negative result. For some it's eating the wrong thing. For me it's usually saying something I shouldn't. Very few of us eat the Reeses thinking it's the right thing to do, and are anguished when the scale judges us with a "surprising" opposite. We KNOW it's wrong but do it anyway, and then we concentrate on the negative feelings engendered by doing something wrong. Our society these days, however, concentrates on not "hurting our feelings", but there is no chance of improvement with that.

I liken it to a sports team. After every game, the players go over the tapes of the game. They don't do it to make themselves feel better, and they don't concentrate on all the good plays so they don't have to deal with the bad ones. They look for every single failure, and they figure out how to do it differently next time. If you watched a quarterback throw a ball behind his receiver time after time, you wouldn't feel inhibited about thinking he isn't doing a good job. You'd wonder why he doesn't practice doing it the right way, a million times if necessary. The coach isn't going to say "Oh you poor baby", he's going to say "get to work". And that work isn't going to involve how well he pats himself on the back every time he throws the ball to the wrong person. It's going to involve actively, carefully, intentionally practicing in a careful, precise way, the right moves over and over and over and over until he gets it right. If he doesn't he will lose his slot to someone who is willing.

Careful weight loss doesn't involve competing with others. It's not like only 100 people can lose weight this year, can you be one of them? It doesn't involve any special talent, any gift not available to every single person alive. There are probably some people who would do better with that pressure, but I'm sure not one of them.

At the end of every day I take an inventory of my day. I take note of progress, but I also note everything I could have done better. I cannot take back words I wish I hadn't said, but I can note the situation and figure out how to do better next time. I can decide that I need to avoid certain situations, that I need to have a better attitude in certain situations, that I need to ask for help in certain situations. And then I go about the process of how to do those things. What words can I say to myself when my mother is pushing every button I have? While words cannot make me fat, the aftereffects sure can. I need to see the signs of impending trouble BEFORE they happen and deal with them, rather than wait until after and wonder why why why. I have met many who believe that it doesn't matter what they do as long as they feel appropriately miserable about it, that the misery is sufficient penalty. Personally I'd rather do without it.

I do not judge others, not their bodies or their hair or their cars. I do judge myself, but it's an inventory rather than a self-flagellation. In that lies progress.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

RICHARJ 12/27/2012 12:26PM

    ITs rare that I respond to 2 blogs on one person's page, but you sure do have a way with words that sort of hit you in the chest and you say to yourself...YEA! and I NEED to take action NOW and I can and will do this....Thanks I appreciate your gift! emoticon

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SHARON10002 12/21/2012 11:14PM

    emoticon blog! Loved your summation. So very true. Wish I were more consistent in doing everything I need to every day.

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MTPOETNH 12/17/2012 11:16PM

    I loved this blog - it has made me rethink how to review my day. I like the analogy to the sports team reviewing the tapes of the game to help them recognize where they can improve. I do like to focus on the positive aspects of my day and feel guilty when I have made "less than healthy" choices. You have put a very positive spin on "self judgement" as being an inventory. emoticon

I agree with Hungrywoman2- your last statement says it all.. emoticon

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JOANNS4 12/14/2012 9:29PM

    A very good blog to remember to help ourselves and not judge others. Thank you.

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HUNGRYWOMAN2 12/14/2012 1:29PM

    Your last statement says it all. emoticon

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KAYYVAUGHN 12/12/2012 4:57AM

    After my morning weigh-in, I can look back and explain the results. My weight is alright. It could be better. This has been a busy week. Leaving early three mornings has changed my routine. I exercise in the morning. Thursday, Friday and Saturday, I will go back to my routine.

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ILOVEMALI 12/11/2012 4:00PM

    I can so relate -- thanks for the insight!

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MKELLY72 12/11/2012 10:10AM

    I love this blog! It can really relate to so many things in our lives. I think you just helped me to take a different angle on something that I have been struggling with as a parent with one of my kids.
Thank you so much!!

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CELIAMINER 12/11/2012 9:37AM

    Thanks for this thoughtful and thought-provoking blog! It's too bad the word "judgment" has a negative connotation. We could use the work "assessment," but it doesn't go far's just a tool in the process, so "judgment" will have to do, as long as the self-judgment is used in a constructive, instructive, gentle way.

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WILLOWBROOK5 12/10/2012 8:33PM

    Judgment is part of human nature. It does not need to be destructive or vindictive. Judgment is how we discern and you nailed it on the head when you said that judgmented allows you to take inventory and make progress.

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1_AMAZING_WOMAN 12/10/2012 7:54PM

    While I think it is a really good thing to do a 'personal inventory', I don't think it is a good thing to be taking anothers 'personal inventory'. Not that I think you're doing that, but I do see that a lot on the web and I find it disheartening. Because when we take anothers inventory, if we don't be gentle with our words, we can beat the person down instead of building them up. We can make the battle so difficult that they give up the battle. While we can't supposedly "make anybody anything" I don't fully agree. Cause words hurt, words break spirits. So, words, whether to ourselves or others, need to be used constructively, and not like a battering ram. And, I think that is exactly what you were saying in your blog: encouraging (constructive) inventory taking.

By the way, I absolutely loved the message in your blog. It's an EXCELLANT blog.


Comment edited on: 12/10/2012 7:57:27 PM

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WATERMELLEN 12/10/2012 7:43PM

    "Careful weight loss doesn't involve competing with others. It's not like only 100 people can lose weight this year, can you be one of them?"

"While words cannot make me fat, the aftereffects sure can"

All round great blog, but these were the two passages which really resonated with me!

Judgment as inventory is not a bad thing: it's essential. If we don't evaluate what we've done, how can we ever do better??

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My body or my face?

Saturday, December 08, 2012

I think it's Catherine Deneuve who is credited with the comment that at a certain age a woman has to choose between her body and her face.

I am thin now, and at my age (over 60) thin means a gaunt face. I have just had a facelift to try to even out the creases, and the surgeon sucked some fat out of my hips and injected it into my face to try to plump it up, to fill in the big creases. With age my skin has gotten thinner, and gravity has done it's inexorable work on pulling it all down. I don't want to gain weight to fill out my face, but that is the choice. I look at older faces now much more than I used to. Thin older women look younger than their heavier counterparts, but the faces of heavier women do look better.

Of course, we older women are much rounder around the middle. Left the face and migrated to my middle. I remember my grandmothers both patting under their chins, which was supposed to "break up the fat". I remember these chin straps they wore to bed in hopes of getting rid of the sags of age. I am eternally grateful for modern surgical techniques to restore some semblance of youth. But as the doc said when he removed the stitches, gravity picks up right where it left off.

I am sure that when the swelling goes down and I can see my cheekbones again I'll be thrilled, but oh to have that dewy, plump skin again! More fat would fill it out, but I'm not willing to have the round body (like Catherine Deneuve now has) in order to improve my face.

It IS a choice: my body or my face? I'm choosing my body.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SHARON10002 12/21/2012 11:12PM

    I do believe we each know what we want or need for our bodies. I also believe in the aging process. I feel that our it's designed that way for a reason . . .

I do use EVOO exclusively in my cooking and in food. I guess it must help. I don't have any proof, but you can look at my picture.

I do hope that once your stitches are out and all is healed that you are happy with the results. I know it's probably hard to tell anything right now. We'd love to see before and after photos.

I'm too chicken to go under the knife for anything that is not life threatening! emoticon If it were painless and they could take fat from one area to plump up my face, I'd let them take it from my mid-esction. emoticon Why not kill two birds with one stone?!

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    I say if a woman.....or man.... wants to have plastic surgery of any kind, that is their choice and their business. I hope you're happy with the end result. We all know our bodies and our private thoughts, you have to do what's right for you. If I could afford when the "time" comes, I would definitely consider it as well.

I'll have to check out the coconut oil suggestion from singinfatlady as well.

Best of luck; I'll be watching for before and after's as well! Pat

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ILOVEMALI 12/10/2012 2:22AM

    Have a speedy recovery!

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SUZYMOBILE 12/9/2012 9:25PM

    At this point, Nell, I know that I look far better with clothes on than not, yet I have no desire to tuck or trim or suck parts of my body away. I just want my clothes to fit and to feel good. Hope you end up feeling the same! I think you're fine just the way you are.

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CELIAMINER 12/9/2012 3:34PM

    Really looking forward to your before and after pix. Still trying to work up the nerve to get the surgical help.

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VINGRAM 12/9/2012 9:26AM


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GABY1948 12/9/2012 8:00AM

    I wish you the best and hope you are happy with it. It doesn't matter what others think.

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ZUCCHINIQUEEN 12/9/2012 6:24AM

    Good choice!

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KAYYVAUGHN 12/9/2012 6:03AM

    I agree with the comment below. When I was younger, I didn't take good care of my skin. Although, I didn't lay out in the sun, I didn't use creams. etc to keep it soft.
As we age we learn what we should have done years ago. Now I buy anti-aging creams for my face/eyes.

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MEDDYPEDDY 12/9/2012 2:31AM

    My wish is that I would have appreciated that youth and skin when I had it! But I did not so I wonder what it is that I have now and does not appreciate...

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FISHINGLADY66 12/8/2012 9:38PM

    emoticon Wishing you the best.

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WATERMELLEN 12/8/2012 8:52PM

    All best as those stitches come out! Fashions change in bodies (students of art history can't help but know that . . . ) but it seems to me with a little surgical intervention you ARE getting the best of both worlds: thin fit body AND rejuvenated face. Who knew that a surgeon could inject a little fat from where we don't want it to where we do? (Not me!!). Gotta say, at pretty much the same age as you and "somewhat" thin (5'9", generally a size 6-8) I'm too "chicken" to go for a face lift (have had enought "other" surgeries): but my MIL had several!!

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SLIMMERJESSE 12/8/2012 8:34PM

    As Popeye said, I yam what I yam. I like my body and face, no matter the imperfections. Always have, and
hopefully always will.

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SINGINFATLADY 12/8/2012 8:21PM

    I've been reading that adding healthy coconut oil--unrefined, extra virgin, cold-pressed organic--to your diet is not only healthy for your heart, teeth, and metabolism, but it also helps to fill out a gaunt face.

My mum is 80 and has been taking it for about 5 months, just a tablespoon or two a day. There is a visible difference in the roundness of her cheeks, and she says it's been helping her sleep better too.

From what I've been reading, it's pretty much a miracle drug (except it isn't a drug).

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"Healthy" is a result rather than a goal

Friday, December 07, 2012

I live to eat. Who on earth would want to eat just to live? 4 cans of Ensure a day will do that. Ugh!! Anyone remember the 1964 World's Fair, when displays touted the day when we could just get our nutrition from pills and wouldn't need to eat at all? What's the fun in that?

BUT (and there's always a "but") I have selections every day and I don't necessarily choose them because they are "healthy". For example, I get 6 bread selections a day. Each bread selection is 3/4 oz dry rice or pasta or beans, or oz raw potato, or 1 oz bread (part of a long list). If I want my 1 oz of bread to be white bread, so what? Ever made garlic croutons out of whole wheat bread? They're awful. I want yummy and I only get one ounce, so it better be good. Over the course of a week or a month I eat plenty of different bread group choices, so "healthy" is pretty much taken care of when going for variety, and without my counting.

This morning I was making my husband's breakfast, and it included an apple and an orange. After I'd made his plate there was 1/4 of the apple still left, but I didn't eat that 1/4 of the apple. I only get 2 fruits a day, and I'd already had a banana (3 oz weighed with skin). That 1/4 apple would have been 1/2 a fruit (4 oz apple with skin and seeds=1 fruit). Even though it would have been "healthy", it would have left me with only 1/2 a fruit for the rest of the day. I don't get a pass just because the thoughtless thing I pop into my mouth is "healthy".

According to government regulations, you can take a bunch of vitamins that are found in strawberries, add artificial strawberry flavor, and while you can't call it a strawberry on the label, you can call it "as healthy as a strawberry". Really?????

When you revel in food, "good for you" better translate as "delicious". Fortunately, my weight loss and maintenance journey has melded "delicious" with "legal" (an old WW term that meant "On Plan"). While aiming for that glorious combination of fabulous and legal, "Healthy" just sort of emerged as an incidental result.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CELIAMINER 12/9/2012 3:05PM

    I, too, am a foodie, so I, too, live to eat. Food has to be good, not just good for me. It's hard to imagine how dull life would be without tasty food, preferably shared with good company.

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KKKAREN 12/8/2012 7:52AM

    very inspirational!

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NASFKAB 12/8/2012 3:55AM

  vow the control not popping that apple in your mouth great

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PINKNFITCARLA 12/7/2012 11:21PM

    Sounds like you have it under control!

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FISHINGLADY66 12/7/2012 10:12PM

    This is an inspirational blog to say the least. emoticon

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AQUAGIRL08 12/7/2012 8:50PM

    It sounds like you've got a good handle on things. Keep up the good work!

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JOANNS4 12/7/2012 6:43PM

    A great one, you are indeed an inspiration. Thank you.

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CARRAND 12/7/2012 3:54PM

    You are so right. You can eat too much of anything and it's not healthy.

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GOTTAPLAN4U 12/7/2012 1:52PM

  Healthy AND fabulous can be an acquired taste if one allows their tastes to adapt.

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SLIMMERJESSE 12/7/2012 1:26PM

    I think I can get back to "living to eat" when the healthy stuff completely penetrates and becomes
normal. Almost there.

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GABY1948 12/7/2012 1:10PM

    I agree with Kay that you are a true inspiration to us all! Good going!

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KAYYVAUGHN 12/7/2012 12:49PM

    You are definitely on track and have more will power than anyone I know.
Nell, you are a true inspiration to all of us.

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ILOVEMALI 12/7/2012 12:48PM

    I'm trying to make grapes my "cheat." I few after work. Blew it last night (I had something salty instead). I'll try again. I refuse to believe that cheating with fruit will put weight on me!

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