Under the Maple Canopy

Singing Union Songs Since 2009

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Sun Bread

A reader asked me what Sun Bread was today and I remembered that I have yet to write about it on the blog before haven’t posted a picture of it on the blog just yet.  I can’t claim ownership of the idea because I got my idea from Elisa Kleven’s picture book, “Sun Bread.”  It just dawned on me that I’ve been searching the blog under the name of the bread trying to find a post and coming up empty, but I haven’t searched for the author’s name.  Silly me!

Sun Bread began as a Candlemas/Imbloc/Groundhog’s Day ritual back in 2010 and has morphed since then.  The first time I made it I used the recipe in Kleven’s book, but it bombed spectacularly.  I have since replaced the recipe with one called “Mary’s Challah Bread Recipe” and then shape it as the book describes.  I’ve never met Mary, but if I ever get the chance I’d gladly wax poetically on the wonders of her recipe.  There isn’t a single person that has shared the ritual of eating this bread with us that hasn’t fallen in love with it immediately.


Sun Bread, Winter Solstice 2011

Over the years I have made it for Groceries’ birthday and a few family gatherings, but mostly it’s something that appears in our home on the Solstice and reappears a few times in the winter months up until Imbloc even though I never really consciously made that choice.  It was one of those accidental traditions that found a life of its own.  The last time I made it for a non-solstice-y, sun related event it felt kind of off to me.  I mentioned it to the husband and he pointed out the attachments we had made with it and gently suggested that there would be nothing wrong with honoring its sacred form and function in our lives.  So, while I will gladly make bread for any gathering, even Mary’s Challah Bread, I save this particular shape for sun related holidays.

This year I never made Sun Bread for the Winter Solstice and it felt…wrong.  Seeing as it’s been cloudy and rather gloomy lately, it seemed right to make it today.  Solstice part two?  I’ll make it again for Imbloc for sure and maybe for the Summer Solstice.  I’m also going to take the base recipe and make a loaf in the shape of a sheaf of wheat for Lammas.


Cookies for Yule – #6 Chocolate Pillow Cookies

A few weeks back the family and I got together with my mom and dad to make some tasty holiday cookies.

Even Remus got to make the trip and had a grand time playing with Sadie’s toys.  We were rather pleased with their ability to get along which unfortunately did not extend to our trip away.  Sadie’s your typical small dog and seemed uncertain about the big dog so far away from her home turf.  At home?  No problem.  She’s the queen of the castle and as long as she can hide Remus’ bully stick in her kennel, it’s all good.  Poor Sadie, he’s only going to get bigger.  Perhaps we just needed more bully sticks?  Who would have though bull pizzle would have been so important?

Or that we would be talking about bull pizzle in a post about cookies?



These chocolate pillow cookies (recipe over on my mom’s blog) were so spectacular that they broke the cookie press.  I’m thinking a little extra moisture was in order.  Not pictured were the red ones which went through the back-up cookie press with no problems.  Not to worry, we bought a good old aluminum Mirro cookie press for next year.  If you’re planning on making this recipe I would highly suggest picking a vintage one up yourself (or the one Williams and Sonoma used to sell) because the plastic ones just aren’t the same.

I haven’t made any more progress in my seven kinds of cookies for Yule challenge.  I’m still hopeful that I’ll work in number seven before the year is finished seeing as that’s the point at which I consider the Yuletide season over.  Honestly?  It’s looking doubtful.  I may just have to make this a six kind of cookie holiday and shoot for the proper odd number next year.


Quotables – Anne Lamott

A reblog from last year and a good thing to think about today.

Under the Maple Canopy

…I used to think that paired opposites were a given, that love was the opposite of hate, right the opposite of wrong.  But now I think we sometimes buy into these concepts because it is so much easier to embrace absolutes than to suffer reality.  I don’t think anything is the opposite of love.  Reality is unforgivingly complex.

– Anne Lamott, “Bird by Bird

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Merry Solstice

IMG_0611This year has been…different.  Our usual Solstice celebrations have been cancelled in favor of preserving our energy for an upcoming trip with kids and dog and all of the usual away from home stuff.  Add to that the stress of an epic bout of gastroenteritis in my youngest and I’m not exactly in the holiday mood.  I had plans, dear reader, they just aren’t happening.

The good news is that  plans don’t expire and as long as Pinterest doesn’t go belly up before next year all of my ideas are safe and sound until then.  Oh, and next year there won’t be an traveling anywhere near the holiday which will simplify things quite a bit.  No guarantees on the illness part, though, but two out of three isn’t bad.

Since things are less than exciting over here as of late, I thought I’d share some of the many wonderful posts out there on my favorite blogs for extra Solstice goodness.

Metal Gaia shares a Yule Blessing Poem.

Works of Literata shares her Yule Blessing.

The Druid in the Swamp shares a super secret Druid tip.  Ok, it’s really not all the super secret, but it’s a wonderfully simple way to celebrate the Solstice and honor the reason for the season.

Winterviews begins over at Humanistic Paganism which also shared a Winter (Summer) Solstice specific post.

Naturalistic Pantheist Musings shares a post on Celebrating Yule in follow up to yesterday’s post.

Not to be out done, The Wild Hunt gives a great synopsis of the many traditions regarding this time of year including several quotes about the significance of our wintertime observances.

Still looking for a special libation to celebrate the return of the sun?  Frugal Feeding has a wonderful recipe for Traditional Glühwein.


The husband had to work late again last night so I watched the traditional White Christmas (trailer) with Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye on my own before hanging up the glittered pine cones we made last month and putting out the kids’ Yule gifts.  We went with simple this year since we wanted to save up enough money to buy them an outside playset.  Each of my children got a book and a movie.  It’s probably not all the surprising that there were complaints because they didn’t get any toys.  *sigh*  It was intentional, dear reader.  All I have to do is point to their bedrooms as proof for why they did not need more toys today.

I’m sure you’re even less surprised to learn that they gave up on that pretty quickly once the first disc hit the Blu-Ray player.  We also had donuts from the apple orchard that I had put in the freezer and reheated, a tasty lunch at Noodles and Company (at the request of the youngest), and lots of fun out in the snow.

Tonight we’re going to venture into new Yuletide territory and have breakfast for dinner.  I’m starting with the waffle recipe from our Strawberry Shortcake Waffles minus the strawberries and whipped cream.  We’ll cap off our evening with the last of the three movies and some popcorn with King Arthur Flour’s Vermont Cheese Powder. I will miss the bonfire this year (and sun bread and yule log, etc, etc), but sometimes quiet works just as well.

solsticeAnd now, to echo last year’s Yule Blessing:

As the Wheel of the Year spins again, may you and your family be filled with the wonder and magic of Yule.  Most of all, may your new year be filled with light and love. Blessed be!