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As the holidays approach it seems that we take a little  more time to remember and appreciate all of our loved ones.  In fact, for all of us, the holidays can be a great struggle.  We miss our lost loved ones, distant family, and old friends even more.  For me, these past few months have been filled with lots of heartache, and as the holiday approaches, those painful thoughts and feelings seem to be just a little bit stronger.  So believe me, I know that it can be hard at times to really enjoy the holiday cheer when a little piece of your heart is missing.  However, I challenge you to face those struggles head on!  I challenge you to smile and laugh, but most importantly, I challenge you to choose happiness and find joy, even if just a little, this Christmas! 

That's why, this past week, my little sister (Andee) and I snuck away from chores and work just long enough to roll up our sleeves and get a little messy in the kitchen (believe me, it was a mess)!  And without any bickering (which is rare), we both agreed on making our Great Grandma's famous, Old Fashioned Apple Dumplin's!  While slicing the apples (good, tart Granny Smith Apples are the only way to go!)  and kneading the dough, I realized just how great the kitchen can be when you have good food and good company!  Now if you know anything about me at all, you probably know that I am by far not a pro in the kitchen, and I would rather be outdoors than anywhere else!  However, this time in the kitchen allowed me to be able to whip up so many good memories with my lil' sis.  What started out as just an ordinary day in the kitchen, ended in a full-fledged flour fiasco, and I wouldn't have wanted it any other way!

You may not appreciate our unsolicited advice, but Andee and I tossed together three tips that we think will help you discover happiness and joy this holiday season!

 

Tip #1 - You're The Apple Of My Eye

Take time to treasure your loved ones!  The hustle and bustle of life can often times keep us from remembering what's most important in life...the people we love!  This Christmas, I challenge you to go out of your way to tell all of your loved ones just how much they mean to you!  Don't ever forget that the best gifts can't be wrapped!

Tip #2 - A Spoonful Of Sugar

In a world that feels like it is becoming more divided each day, it is important to remember the power of a simple act of kindness.  It is time that we become a little more sweet and a little less salty!  Whether you take the time to hold the door open, say please & thank you, or give a simple hello...never underestimate what those simple little acts can do!

Tip #3 - Don't Forget The Oven!

My Great Grandma's Apple Dumplin' recipe has been around for many years, and I guarantee it will be around for many more!  It is important to keep traditions alive!  We don't want our traditions to burn away, so check your oven ladies!!  If you have an old tradition that you have tucked away, share it this holiday season!  Bring your traditions back to life!

With 7 more days until Christmas, we hope that you take these three tips and use them to help you discover happiness and joy!  Whether you start your own holiday tradition or keep an old one alive, we hope that you find things that help you to face your struggles head on!  While the struggles and heartache may never completely fade away, there is still so much happiness and joy to be discovered!  If you miss someone this holiday season, tell them!  And if there are people that you can no longer tell, hold them close to your heart as you celebrate the magic of Christmas this year!  From our kitchen to yours, Andee and I wish you the Merriest of Christmas's and the Happiest of New Years!

 

Merry Merry Christmas!

Alexx McKenna

Always A Farm Girl

 

This blog is dedicated to my little sis, Andee McKall!

Thank you Andee for making me face my struggles head on!  Thank you for challenging me to choose happiness and find joy!  Thank you for making being an older sister the best job in the world!  But most importantly, thank you for being my best friend!  Love you!

Old Fashioned Apple Dumplin's

Ingredients:

  • Pie Crust
  • 6 Large Tart Apples
  • 1 Stick Of Butter
  • Cinnamon
  • Sugar

Sauce:

  • 1 Cup Sugar
  • 3 Tbsp.  Butter
  • 1 Tsp. Cinnamon
  • 2 Cups Water

 

Instructions:

Peel & slice apples.  roll out six 8" circles of dough.  Place approx. one apple in the center of each circle.  Top with 1 tsp. cinnamon & 2 tsp. sugar.  Bring the pastry up to the center, pinching the edges to seal.  Place in a greased 13X9 baking dish, then sprinkle the tops of the dumplings with your desired amount of cinnamon and sugar.

Sauce:  Combine ingredients, stir until blended, heat until boiling.  Pour Over dumplings.

Bake at 350 degrees for approx. 30-35 minutes or until golden brown, basting occasionally with the sauce.

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