Wishing you all a Very Merry Christmas!
"Do you believe in God?" asked the receptionist at my office. Here it comes I thought. People have always been trying to convince me that "God" means 'The God' that they pray to. I was taken aback because these kind of questions are not PC in an office. While I am not particularly happy about the Political Corectness (PC) that goes on here I have always welcomed the fact that religion fell into that untouchable category.
I hesitated for a moment and then said "Yes! I do believe in God". The next question was if I had a Christmas tree at home. I said yes the kids usually put it up just for the Santa and gift factor not for any religious reasons. "There you go" she said following it up with another question. "You do know that Christmas is a religious holiday right?". I answered in the affirmative. I have absolutely no problem in people wishing me a Merry Christmas. It does not have to the PC "Happy Holidays". But when she asked me if I celebrated Christmas I had to tell her that we were not Christian and Christmas was not something we celebrated by the strict definition of the word.
Another lady who also works in the office who had walked out the door with me stopped by and joined in the conversation. She turns towards the receptionist and said "She is not a Christian Yet!" with an emphasis on the yet as if she knew something that I did not. At that point I felt the need to reiterate the fact that there was absolutely no chance of my conversion. They looked at each other with an expression that seemed to say, they all say that.
Anyway I went to Catholic schools for 14 years of my life. For a long time I knew a lot more about Christianity than my own religion. I have been to mass and have been blessed by priests countless times. I had felt relief and calm sitting quietly in the cool interiors of those beautifully built chapels. I absolutely adore the high ceilings and the certain quiet calm that they bring on you just by being there.
There is absolutely no religion at least for me that is better than the other. Each come with their own twists and turns. The basic teaching of all them is the same. Do good unto others what you expect for yourself. SO it really does not matter what religion you belong to does it? As for celebrating religious holidays it is absolutely up to each one to take part in the festivities.
I live in the US after all so the spirit of the season does grow on you. Putting up a tree or baking cookies is what we do to celebrate the season. Usually I plan on baking cookies during the season and start collecting recipes but when it comes to execution most of the time it does not happen.
This year I actually I followed through. Well not exactly me but DD. We had brought the ingredients a couple of weeks ago and it finally got done today. Coconut macaroons are a favorite around our house. I do not buy them too often because they are usually gone in a day. But holiday time calls for making such favorites at home. The preparation is quite easy and there are not many ingredients. I followed the recipe from Food Network by Ina Garten
These macaroons turned out so good and DD was very proud. Crunchy on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside.
Preparation Time:15-20 minutes
Cooking Time:40 minutes
- 1 14oz bag of sweetened coconut flakes (substitute with fresh or frozen grated coconut)
- 1 14oz can of sweetened condensed milk
- 1/4 tsp of salt
- 2 large eggs (at room temperature) (we used 3 eggs and that was bit too much and the batter was slightly runny)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract (I did not add any)
- Preheat oven to 325F.
- Separate the eggs from the yolk and beat the egg whites with an electric beater till medium peaks form.
- In a mixing bowl combine the coconut, salt, vanilla essence(if using) and the condensed milk. Fold in the beaten egg whites and mix gently.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. (I used my oven tray lined with aluminum foil and sprayed with oil spray). Scoop about 2 tbsp of the batter and drop on to the prepared tray.(see Note:)
- Bake in the oven for 40 minutes till the macaroons start getting brown on top. Cool and they are ready to eat.
- Note: The recipe called for each macaroon to be 2 tsp of batter and we used 2 tbsp so the baking time was longer. So adjust accordingly.
- It is important to first set the time for about 30 minutes and then slowly increase by 5 minute intervals till completely done.
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