Dear Ones,

Margie girl XmasAs I write I am pleasantly post- our first UUFSB Thanksgiving Day dinner extravaganza. Twenty-seven people, all told, spent four hours of meal-making, feasting, friend-making and game-playing over wine and grog, mulled cider and beer. We had a blast and then everyone pitched in like heroes to put the sanctuary and kitchen back in order. I thank all who came for their good natures, good food and good faith and for the spirit of celebration that settled over us and made us laugh until we cried. I hope you had fun too, wherever you went or stayed.

Ahead of us lie more opportunities to gather, feast, and enjoy the company of family and friends. Our Sunday morning services this month point us toward Christmas and other festivals of light and hope. On December 10th, Ron Kagel and Dan Weymouth, as Rat and Mole, reprise a chapter of The Wind in the Willows in a service called “Homeward Bound.” On the 17th, we will again festoon the Mitten Tree with giveaways and count out the Twelve Days of Christmas in a flurry of geese and pipers and milk maids. On Christmas Eve morning, we’ll brag a little about the Unitarian influence on the secular traditions of the season and then, that evening, bear witness again—by glowing Yule log, chalice and candle light—to the birth of Jesus.

And here’s my traditional holiday recipe gift to you: a morning feast for your good company. Enjoy!

Fluffy Pumpkin Pancakes or Waffles (Yossy Arefi)

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
¾ teaspoon baking soda
¾ teaspoon kosher salt
1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
⅛ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 ½ cups buttermilk
¾ cup pumpkin purée
2 eggs
3 tablespoons melted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a large bowl, whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices together to combine. In a medium bowl, beat the buttermilk, pumpkin purée, eggs, melted butter and vanilla together. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and gently fold until just combined. Heat a lightly greased griddle or nonstick skillet over medium low heat. Drop the pancakes into the pan by the 1/4 cup. Cook until the batter bubbles at the edges and browns on the bottom, then carefully flip. Cook until the batter is completely cooked through and the pancakes are puffy and deep golden brown. Repeat until all of the batter is used. Yield: dozen+ 3 1/2-inch pancakes or 6 waffles.

Joy in the candlelight to you all,