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My favorite resolution: Choose Happiness.

all is calm...all is bright

all is calm...all is bright

Word from my hipper-than-thou niece is that the young folk are collecting books. Yes, they all have iPads and e-readers, but there is nothing quite like a beautiful edition of a classic novel. See what I mean?
DetailsSo, if you need a last-minute gift idea, look no further! Books will save the day, every time.

a dog walk!

Here are the two best soft ginger molasses cookie recipes ever created. And hello, they both hail from Bainbridge Island. Do me a favor and make a batch of both. Then tell me which ones are your faves.

ginger cookies truffles 041

Image source: Bainbridge Style

The Most Amazing Ginger Cookie

from this very nice food blogger named Carla

2 ¼ cups All-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon ginger

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 ½ teaspoons ground cloves

½ teaspoon nutmeg

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

1 cup dark brown sugar

¼ cup vegetable oil

1/3 cup butter, softened

1/3 cup molasses

1 egg

3 ounces crystallized ginger, chopped.

granulated sugar for rolling

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine dry ingredients (flour-salt) in a large bowl. Whisk until well mixed.

In the bowl of an electric mixer combine brown sugar and butter, mix well then add the oil and molasses. Mix well then add the egg and mix until well combined. Add the dry ingredients and mix until well combined. Fold in the crystallized ginger.

Scoop mixture and shape into a ball then roll in the granulated sugar. Place on the baking sheet and flatten slightly with your finger. Bake for 10-12 minutes depending on how soft you like the interior. Let cool. These keep well in a sealed jar and taste even better the second day. Enjoy.

Now, before you get too excited (although something about the chopped candied ginger is pretty exciting), make a batch of these, from the extremely delightful chef, radio personality, teacher and author, Greg Atkinson (and PS, his cookbook makes a great gift):

Recipe: Bainbridge Island Molasses Cookies

Makes 2 dozen large cookies

2 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

3 teaspoons ginger

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon allspice

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup canola oil

1 cup sugar, plus additional sugar for rolling

1 medium egg

2 tablespoons water

1/3 cup blackstrap (dark) molasses

Turbinado sugar for rolling

1. Preheat oven to 350 and line baking sheets with baker’s parchment. In a mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, allspice and salt; set aside.

2. In a separate bowl, whisk oil and 1 cup sugar, then stir in egg, water and molasses. Add dry ingredients all at once to oil mixture and stir just until mixture is combined. Divide dough into 4 pieces and chill.

3. Roll each piece of chilled dough into 6 balls, and roll the balls in turbinado sugar. Arrange the balls on the baking sheet, allowing plenty of room for the cookies to spread, and bake 8 minutes, or until cookies are crackled and lightly browned.

Okay, gang, let’s get baking.

I really love Fidelco, which provides guide dogs for the blind. One of my favorite readers and people is a Fidelco client. As soon as I finish this post, I’m off to the Fidelco web site to make my annual donation. Please give if you can.

HAPPY HOLIDAYS FROM THE Fidelco Guide Dog Foundation
We have many happy clients thanks to your generosity and support. Recently, I received a thank-you email from Fidelco client Ross Kirk, entitled, “Re-learning the Trust.” He very passionately summarized the challenging process that confronts every successor Guide Dog and handler relationship.

Dear Mr. Russman,
My name is Ross Kirk. I am the proud and thankful owner of Zeva, my successor Fidelco Guide Dog. I received her Aug. 2, 2010, after my first dog, Keafe, was retired.

Until Zeva I was without a dog for eight months and reverted back to using my mobility cane. I had grown accustomed to traveling with Keafe, so much so, that I was lost over the past eight months. When Zeva arrived I found the techniques I originally learned were still in place, although a little rusty. I found techniques were not the issue. Replacing the trust seemed a little more difficult.

I am pleased to say that now, coming upon our first month together, the trust, love and the bond has flourished. We are connected and I once again feel secure in traveling out and about (so much so, we already made our first trip into NYC.) Prior to moving to CT, for 20 years I lived, worked and took advantage of all NYC had to offer. […] Now, I travel into the City as often as possible. I miss it so much I try to get in at least once every week.

I understand that you have a home [in NYC]. One of my favorite spots is to grab a sandwich and rest in the bird sanctuary at 60th and 5th. So, if you happen to see Zeva and me in your neighborhood, please do stop us to say hello. I’d love for you to see the fruits of Fidelco’s labors at work in real time settings.

I will close with great thanks, appreciation and gratitude.

Ross J. Kirk

I would ask that all stakeholders embrace his example of courage and grace and support Fidelco’s Mission during this season of giving. The results will undoubtedly be a stronger, more vibrant and even more successful future Fidelco. Happy holidays!

Forward together…

Eliot D. Russman
CEO and Executive Director

The Nimitz came in this morn. Happy holidays!

Join me on Facebook. You won’t be sorry.

I tend to spontaneously give stuff away to readers and libraries. Join the fun here. Really.

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December 2010