Thanksgiving is tomorrow—how did that happen! This year I’d like to put more emphasis on the “thankful” part. Isn’t that what the holiday is all about?
My husband’s uncle has a tradition at the Thanksgivings he hosts. They go around the room and everyone says one thing they are thankful for. I think that’s a great idea! I am thankful for my college daughters coming home for the holiday weekend—and I am making Pumpkin Ginger cookies to greet them.
Now besides gratitude, I associate the holidays with sharing, and I do a lot of my charity donations in the last few months of the year. World Vision, a Christian-based non-profit organization, makes this especially easy because you can combine holiday gift giving with a donation. Established in 1950, they initially provided food and shelter for children in orphanages through child sponsorship. Now they also work to achieve transformation by tackling the root causes of poverty and injustice. They are active in nearly 100 countries around the world, serving all people, regardless of religion, race, ethnicity, or gender.
While there are many different programs, from micro-loans to knitting items to fund-raising, one that is especially timely now is their gifts programs. I received handcrafted turquoise jewelry (perfect for holiday parties) made by artisans in Delhi who are now able to support their family thanks to fair trade wages.
When I looked at their catalog I thought about the gifts I have made through the years to “people who have everything” like my grandmother. She always asked us not to give her gifts, saying “someone will just need to sort them out when I’m gone.” But she would have loved a piece of jewelry that she knew helped others—or to know her present was to provide funding for something like a goat that might change a life.
As you receive requests for gifts this holiday season remember that not all charities are as reputable as World Vision. Before donating to a new organization, it is a good idea to check them out on an index like CharityWatch. World Vision receives an A- grade and qualifies for their top-rated charities list.
And now for the giveaway. It is for a turquoise bracelet like the one shown above and is open to US residents. Sponsored by World Vision, it closes on Dec 6 at midnight CST. To enter, leave a comment below telling me something you you are thankful for this year. For a second entry, like Art of Natural Living on Facebook and leave a second comment below letting me know you are a follower. The winner will be picked randomly, contacted by email and have 24 hours to get back to me with mailing information or a new winner will be chosen.
And just in case you are looking for a healthful cookie to get you through the holidays, I am sharing the recipe for the Pumpkin Ginger Cookies I just made. Happy Thanksgiving!
- • 1 cup cooked pumpkin
- • 1/4 cup olive oil
- • 2/3 cup brown sugar
- • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- • 2 eggs
- • 2 1/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour (see note)
- • 1 tsp baking powder
- • 1 tsp baking soda
- • 1/2 cup chopped crystallized ginger or chopped walnuts or mini-chocolate chips or your favorite add-in
- (optional sanding sugar for decoration)
- Combine pumpkin, olive oil, sugar, egg, cinnamon and cloves. Blend with a mixer or by hand until well combined.
- Combine flour, baking powder and baking soda. Add to pumpkin mixture and mix until combined. Fold in chopped ginger or your favorite add-in.
- Drop by spoonful onto greased cookie sheet. Flatten slightly and smooth the top since they don't spread a lot. Sprinkle with sanding sugar if desired.
- Bake at 350 F for 10-15 minutes until cooked through.
- Spoon in the flour and level it when you measure. These cookies are sensitive to the amount of flour used. If you don't have pastry flour, you can use all purpose or white whole wheat flour--just reduce the amount of flour to 1 7/8 cups flour.
- Spiced Cider Syrup (Instant Hot Apple Cider)
- Whole Wheat Gingerbread Scones