Okay, I admit it. Winter has never been my favorite season, and now that I’m older, it’s pretty much lost any attraction it ever held for me. The cold is not invigorating as it once was. Now it just bites unpleasantly. The lack of sufficient sunlight hours leaves me feeling lethargic and reluctant to leave my warm bed in the mornings. Although I still think that snow falling silently to the ground is beautiful to behold, I no longer want to get out and play in it. I’m more than content to watch it from inside the house. Ice is no longer a venue for winter sports, but has instead become the enemy, having dropped me unceremoniously to the frozen ground twice this year...so far. No permanent damage done, but I don't like to tempt fate, so I've ordered a pair of "Yak Trax" for my boots, as insurance against the third time being a charm.
Having said all that, there are some things about winter that I do like. For instance, a nice, long soak in the hot tub will leave you pleasantly warm and toasty just before bed in the winter. In the summer, it will leave you gasping for breath and cranking up the air conditioning. The warmth of a fire in the woodstove is hard to beat at the end of a cold winter’s day. It’s wonderful to be able to pull a rocker up in front of the stove, prop my feet on the hearth, and read or knit away an afternoon or evening, with a mug of tea or hot chocolate and a plate of warm, fresh scones close at hand. Add a cozy afghan and an Ott light, and winter becomes downright inviting!
Speaking of knitting, I’ve been doing quite a bit of it lately. My mother has new hand knit cotton dishcloths made from two different patterns, Grandmother's Favorite Dishcloth, and Home Spun Living's Waffle Knit dishcloth. Many members of my Sasha family are now attired in warm winter woolies. Most recently, I’ve been working on knitted toys for my grandchildren for Easter. The two middle boys are getting knitted Sack Boys from a pattern by Alan Dart and the two youngest are getting knitted animals from patterns by FuzzyMitten.com. My first one, a Chocolate Bunny, is finally finished, and pictured above. The Fuzzy Mitten patterns are so cute, and so much fun to knit, I’m afraid they could easily develop into an addiction!
Another pleasant, but far more dangerous activity for a cold winter’s day is baking. When I have the time, I really love to bake. Lately, cakes, pies, hot rolls, brownies, and multiple batches of fudge have been rolling out of my kitchen with alarming frequency. For the past week, I have been thinking longingly of fresh, hot from the oven cinnamon rolls, and my Mom’s apricot fried pies. Mmmmmm! Fortunately, I know from experience that once it begins to warm up, and stay light longer, the baking gene will go dormant again. I just hope that happens before I have to go out and buy a whole new wardrobe!
In the meantime, I’ll share with you my Mom’s recipe (which came from her Mom,) for her wonderful fried pies. We love the cooked filling, made with dried apricots or apples, but you can actually use any fresh fruit pie filling recipe, or any canned fruit pie filling.
3 1/2 Cups Flour
1 Tablespoon Salt
1 Cup Crisco shortening
1 1/2 Cups Buttermilk
1 tsp baking soda
Mix flour and salt, cut in Crisco until the consistancy of cornmeal.
Add baking soda to buttermilk. Add a little at a time to flour mixture until a soft dough forms, (you may not need to use all of the buttermilk mixture.) Pinch off pieces of the dough, and roll into saucer sized circles. Spread pie filling onto center of each circle, fold over, wet the outside edge and seal with fingers or a fork. Fry in a small amount of crisco, preferably in an iron skillet, until brown. Turn over and brown other side. Remove to paper towels to drain and serve warm.