Tag Archives: Christmas Baking

Find Him

23 Dec

On the Porch

Onisha Ellis

I have the best blog partners. Without fail they create a blog every week. Since our road trip in October, I have struggled to put words on paper. Life happens-sometimes frustrating, often very good. Both seem to derail me.

Last week we closed up our home in Western North Carolina and drove to Florida to celebrate Christmas with our daughter and spend the winter. The change from cold nights and chilly days to sunshine and T-shirts was dramatic.

Our town in North Carolina is seriously into decorating and celebrating. People gather downtown for the tree lighting, free carriage rides and of course, hot chocolate. It could be a Hallmark movie. The evening was cold and we had to park several blocks away but I am so glad we went. After the isolation and division of Covid, it was heart stirring to see family and friends laughing and enjoying each other.

The residents deck themselves out in festive wear as well. I brought two short sleeve Christmas T shirts with me to Florida and have enjoyed wearing them but was surprised to observe few people sporting holiday cheer. I understand. When we lived in Florida full time, I found it hard to feel Christmas-y while sweating. As I write this we are having a brief cool front with low temperatures in the upper 40s. I am savoring every moment of it. I think the high for Christmas Day will be in the mid 70s followed by 80s the rest of the week.

My daughter and I began a baking frenzy yesterday. What joy to spend time working together to create delightful treats for Christmas Eve. We follow the Keto lifestyle eating which means making most everything from scratch, but it is so worth it. My husband popped into the kitchen periodically to volunteer his taste testing abilities. What a sacrifice as his back is messed up and he is using a walker. Haha!

Even with life’s challenges, we are so blessed. This month, God restored 2 broken family relationships. One I had been praying over for 20 years. Our hearts rejoiced. The father of the Prodigal son in the Bible killed a fattened calf when his son returned home. We didn’t have a calf on hand, but we did pick up some pizza to celebrate.

This verse was in my morning reading earlier in the week.

As for you, my son Solomon, know the God of your father, and serve Him wholeheartedly and with a willing mind; for the Lord searches all hearts, and understands every intent of the thoughts. If you seek Him, He will let you find Him;

1 Chronicles 28:9

Our broken hearts led us to seek Him with all of our hearts and minds. He not only let us find Him, he sustained us.

Do you follow The Chosen a crowd funded story about Jesus and the disciples? This Christmas they aired a wonderful Christmas special. It debuted in theaters but we watched it on You Tube. If you haven’t watched, you can watch it from here. https://youtu.be/5QeZnmCEeto

We wish you all a joyful Christmas.

I'm a winner

After my retirement, I decided to re-learn the canning and preserving skills I learned from my mother but hadn’t practiced for twenty years. I titled the blog Old Things R New to chronicle my experience.  Since then I have been blessed to have six other bloggers join me, DiVoran Lites, Bill Lites,  Judy Wills, Louise Gibson, Janet Perez Eckles and Melody Hendrix

In addition to blogging, I work as the publicist/marketer/ amateur editor and general  “mom Friday” for my author daughter, Rebekah Lyn. I also manage her website, Rebekah Lyn Books  

My 2021 goal is continue to use my love of photographs and words to be an encourager on social media. You can visit Real Life Books and Media You Tube Channel if you would like to view some of the mini-videos I have created for our church, Gateway Community in Titusville, Fl.

Baking Love

20 Dec

On the Porch

Onisha Ellis




Our daughter arrived from Florida yesterday to spend the holidays with us in North Carolina.  Like me, she enjoys the Christmas season when there is a nip to the air. I am thankful she chose Wednesday for her flight as Thursday’s weather in Florida would have made her flight iffy.

Rebekah and I enjoy baking together for Christmas but we weren’t able to do any while we were in Florida as the church event consumed our time and energy. While we were in Ashville yesterday, awaiting her flight, we stopped at Fresh Market to pick up some baking supplies. I fell in love with the store. Everything is arranged attractively and the produce section popped with color. More importantly, I was able to purchase some hard to find ingredients for our baking. My husband and I are 6 months into clean Keto living and looking forward to Christmas treats without the harmful ingredients.

I needed to pick up several quarts of heavy cream to be sure I had enough to make eggnog and a special Christmas coconut cake. I decided to pick the cream up at Aldi, since it was less expensive there. A lot of people must have had the same idea as Aldi was out of heavy cream!

Today we awoke to a steady and cold rain. I wasn’t thrilled about braving the weather to buy heavy cream but it turned out we needed several items so my husband agreed to drive us to the entrance of the stores and pick us up when we finished. Our daughter said it was like having a personal Uber.

While we were waiting and hoping the rain would stop, I decided to use the heavy cream on hand to mix up the eggnog. My mom would make eggnog at Christmas, but I always bought a quart at the grocery. The recipe called for freshly grated nutmeg. I had bought the nutmeg seeds in Ashville and I thought I knew what to do but when I took the seed out of the package, I was baffled. How does one grate a hard knot?  I decided it must have a shell on it and I did a web search for how to crack a nutmeg. Wikihow said I needed to smack it with a large knife. I got out a butcher knife and gave it a sharp smack. The nut skittered out from under the knife and shot across the counter. After a couple of attempts, I got serious. and pulled out the big gun.


This weapon got the job done! Split that nut in half. But then I couldn’t  figure out how to get the shell to separate from the meat. My husband, who is a You Tube enthusiast suggested I You Tube it. After watching three videos, including one that gave the history of nutmeg ( did you know that the discovery of nutmeg changed the world? You Tube said that so it must be true.) all they told me to do was use a fine grater. After walking up to the television screen and peering intently at the screen, I determined that my nutmegs were not in the shell! And it was quite easy to grate.  Fresh nutmeg has a wonderful aroma and I look forward to grating some on top of my eggnog tomorrow.

Rebekah, our daughter, mixed up a recipe for shortbread and put it in the fridge to chill. Tomorrow she will make cut out cookies. She is mach better at rolling out cookie dough. My husband said he was looking forward to having a treat to eat with his evening tea. Fortunately, the gingerbread bundt cake with lemon glaze we also made turned out well. We left molasses out of the recipe to decrease the carb count and weren’t sure how it would taste. It was delicious! I only had a small slice. So far no one is owning up to the large slice.



Friday is supposed to be another rain day. I haven’t decided what to bake but I am drooling over the recipe for peanut butter bundt cake with chocolate ganache. The recipe is in Keto Gatherings by Kristi Sullivan.

Baking with someone you love is one os the best parts of Christmas for me.

Cookie Party

22 Dec


My Take

DiVoran Lites

Author, Poet and ArtistIt’s so frustrating to have plans for a day and get up late, and then you have other things to do such as feed the cats and cut your hair before you take a shower. I felt I needed to bake a second batch of cookies for the cookie exchange that night because the hostess asked for three dozen. I haven’t baked cookies in a long time and didn’t know if I still could, thus a trial run.

Anyhow, until I drank my coffee that morning and had a good chat with my daughter, I was feeling frustrated. Finally, I gave up my own plans, which majored on writing and went with the flow of the day.

When I got to the party that evening four women were already there. We had good conversation. No one hogged the floor; no one regaled us with a rant or complained about her lot in life. We were simpatico and as Christians, we were one. That always feels so good!

My cookies were a variation of the recipe on the back of the chocolate-chip bag. I always experiment with every recipe I try, so I thought I’d go for a crispy cookie with lots of nuts instead of a chewy one. Having wondered for fifty years why I must always use brown sugar, I decided to Google the question. In the past, I’d buy it, use enough for one recipe, and have the rest of the box on hand for as many years as it took to turn into solid rock. (I know there are ways to overcome that.) I googled it and the answer was that it was brown because of the molasses added to it and that’s what made the cookies more chewy. I didn’t buy brown sugar. For various reasons, which I won’t go into right now, the first batch was light golden, and raised, and the second batch was crisper, flatter, browner, and not so sweet. I liked the second batch best.

An hour and a half into the party two other guests arrived with their cookies. It was then that we heard all about the vagaries of cookie baking when you’re older, there aren’t any kids in the house, and you’ve given up baking cookies. One woman expressed all my anxieties in a funny soliloquy. Few recipes she found used brown sugar and she wasn’t going to make cookies without it. Her first batch, in spite of two ovens and two timers, came out burnt and as hard as hockey pucks. She threw those away. I went home when the party was just getting started. I wanted to get to bed early so I could get up today and write.

And guess what, here I am — writing. Oh, Happy Day.

Here is someone who had no plans for the day.



Ps. 118:24 – This is the day that the Lord has made. I will rejoice and be glad in it.

What is Your Favorite Christmas Activity

11 Dec

On the Porch

Onisha Ellis

I'm a winner

Baking is my favorite Christmas activity. For me it beats decorating hands down. Usually I bake with my grandchildren but this year “the baking season” began in my daughter Rebekah’s kitchen which is a treat for me as usually we are six hundred miles apart. Today’s baking by Rebekah  yielded five different types of cookies,  loaves of vanilla tea bread and muffins large and mini. I contributed a fudge experiment which was a failure as fudge, but it will make some fantastic hot fudge sauce. My major contribution was washing up, you know all the bowls, spatulas, measuring cups and spoons and I enjoyed every minute of it. I have sweet memories of working side by side in the kitchen with my mother and aunts. I think we created some memories today too. Soon we will be back in North Carolina and three generations will be baking together.  I am sure I will be continuing my role as dishwasher-in-chief.


Rebekah’s favorite recipe source Tea Time magazine


As a child, my mother and I had matching aprons. Hers wore out but mine was packed away and brought out for Rebekah, then my granddaughter, Karyssa. The apron Rebekah is wearing in the photo below is a memory apron with three generations of cooks embroidered on it. It will soon be time to create a new apron for my granddaughter.


Vanilla tea loaves coming out of the oven.



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