Dear Diary, This is month ten of Jumanji. Just as the Covid monster seemed to be going into hiding, it suddenly reared its massive head. It tricked us, just as we were beginning to have fun, and life was going back to normal, once again. What the worst of it is, having the children home, and they are missing out on all the fun. What will November bring? Signed, Feeling Doomed.
Dear Feeling Doomed, stop complaining! You and your family have each other. That’s more than many others, in this overpopulated world, have. Would you rather the outbreak of much deadlier diseases, so you can lose each other? Your children are home, and not having fun; well why is that? This is the time that family should come together, not just to “make time”, but now having the time to do fun things…together! Signed, Diary.
Wow, even someone’s diary is getting tired of all the “whoa-is-me” going round. Yes, it has been ten months of Covid-19 turning our lives upside down. It has also been ten months of political, civil, and social unrest as well. However, this is where choice comes into play; the choice of “Will I allow it to deflate and destroy me?”, or “Will I stand tall, grab that negativity bull by its fiery horns, and ride it down into the ground?”
One of my favorite televised series is Good Witch, a Hallmark original that is about to air its seventh season. Previously, there were yearly movies about main character, Cassie Nightingale, a descendant of the Merriwick clan. This is what many would call, a “clean, goody two shoes” show, as there is no blood, gore, foul language, or really nasty stuff that would make one cover the eyes and ears at the same time. This is, however, one of those shows that tugs at heart strings, makes one feel all lovey and comforting inside, and teaches many, many lessons.
Cassie Nightingale has traveled the world, and believes in, and practices, holistic “medicine”. Natural remedies using plants, essential oils, crystals; what is usually referred to as “New Age”. While these practices stem from ancient cultures such as Greece, Egypt, India, Japan and China; well it goes to show, “everything old is new again”.
The main focus, in my opinion, is that this show teaches good life lessons, and that any adversity can be overcome. Just what we all need to keep focusing on, not just for 2020, but for life in general. So, as we go into month eleven of Jumanji, focus more on overcoming the negative, reach for the fun, whether alone or with others, and cherish the moments.
Oh, Thanksgiving, a time to be thankful for what we had, have or will have in the future; like fun. Think about this, how can anyone, for 10 months, be complaining, arguing, harassing, just be plain old nasty to others, and then suddenly be thankful? If we have, then now is the time for a total turnaround in thinking and behavior.
Enough preaching, let’s practice.
Cardamom is from the ginger family, and can be used whole or ground. That chai tea or latte you enjoy so much, it contains cardamom. The flavor is savory, smoky, lemony and minty; the aroma earthy; a complex herb. Yes, herb, but once it is ground up, it becomes referred to as a spice. One aspect you might appreciate, for health reasons, is cardamom is an antioxidant.
With the Thanksgiving holiday coming up, and apple cider often served to drink, why not eat it too! This recipe is as close, considering the many I have found, to the donuts seen on Good Witch – Curse from a Rose. It takes place during the last week of October, ending with a Halloween festival. The lesson learned is, “Take ownership for the choices you make, even if you do not voice them out to others. If the choice goes wrong, do not blame someone, who could not know your heart’s true intention.”
Now go, bake up some donuts, and HAVE FUN!!!
Apple Cider Donuts
1 and 1/2 cups apple cider
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon Cardamom
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter melted
1 large egg at room temperature
1/2 cup packed light or dark brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon Vanilla extract
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground Cardamom
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Reduce the apple cider: Stirring occasionally, simmer the apple cider in a small saucepan over low heat until you're left with about 1/2 cup. Start checking at 10 minutes, 15 minutes, 20 minutes, etc. until you have 1/2 cup. Mine takes about 20 minutes. Set aside to cool for 10 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray donut pan with non-stick spray. Set aside.
Make the donuts: Whisk the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg and salt together in a large bowl. Set aside.
Whisk the melted butter, egg, brown sugar, granulated sugar, milk, and vanilla extract together. Pour into the dry ingredients, add the reduced apple cider, and whisk everything together until smooth and combined. Batter will be slightly thick.
Spoon the batter into the donut cavities—for ease, I highly recommend using a large pastry bag with a round tip -- a zipped-top bag with a corner cut works as well. Pipe the batter into each donut cup, filling about halfway.
Bake for 10-15 minutes or until the edges and tops are lightly browned. To test, poke your finger into the top of the donut. If the donut bounces back, they're done. Cool donuts for 2 minutes then transfer to a wire rack. Re-grease the pan and bake the remaining donut batter.
Coat the donuts: Combine the granulated sugar and spices together in a medium bowl. Once cool enough to handle, dunk both sides of each donut in the melted butter, then generously in the apple spice topping.
Donuts are best served immediately. Leftovers keep well covered tightly at room temperature for up to 2 days.
Makes 12 donuts.