2012/12/17

Finding Christmas (TWD: Finnish Pulla)

Christmas is a week away.

One. Week. Away.

I am still coming to grips with that.

But I am resolved to embrace it.


Events over the past few days have left my heart heavy.

The tragic losses in Connecticut have left a lump in my stomach.

Saturday morning brought the news that someone in my work community had finally lost her battle with cancer.

Saturday afternoon, as we were driving home from picking Runner Girl from college, my youngest daughter received a phone call that her boyfriend's father was taken from this earth tragically.


It just all seemed like too much.

When it came time to go get the tree, I begged off.

I was elbow deep in a batch of stollen.

A half-made batch of cookie dough was sitting in another mixing bowl near by.

The kitchen kind of looked like a tornado had run through it.


I was feeling angry and grumpy and just plain out of sorts. Everyone was rather patient with me. I probably didn't deserve it.

Frankly, I was sick of myself and knew that an attitude adjustment was in order.

So, I ordered one.

Instead of focusing on what was wrong in the world around me, I made a mental list of the things that were right.

Runner Girl is home for a month - and had a very successful first semester of college. Culinary Kid has turned a corner in her path to adulthood. We each have our health. All in all, life is good.

Today, the girls decorated the tree. And wrapped presents to put under it. Sugar cookies are cooling in the kitchen. And "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" is playing on TV.


What does all that have to do with Finnish Pulla?

Nothing, really; it was just "stuff" that's been running around in my head all day. Thank you for listening.

I made this bread a couple of weeks ago. The pulla dough was really lovely to work with. On the day I made it, I left my stand mixer in the pantry and opted to make it by hand. I recall the peacefulness of it all. While the rest of the house lay sleeping, I crushed the cardamom pods into fine powder with mortar and pestle - feeling a sense of calm. The rhythmic pattern of kneading soothed my soul.

Maybe, I should have made another batch of pulla this weeked?


I wish the best of holidays to everyone who will be celebrating over the coming week. I hope you each find your place of peace during this season of hustle and bustle.

Peace out.

This post participates in Tuesdays with Dorie. The recipe for Finnish Pulla can be found at the site of this week's host: Erin of The Daily Morsel.

34 comments:

  1. I feel so easily distracted these days. I haven't gotten around to this yet, even though it sounds like I'd love it. I mean, cardamom. Yum. Glad you're finding your Christmas.

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  2. I agree - in this crazy world, all we can do to stay on keel is focus on what is good. Love The Grinch who Stole Christmas. I am very impressed by your bow - after 2 attempts I just gave up on it. I agree that the dough was lovely to work with.

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  3. I think for the first time ever, one item I ordered online is "temporarily unavailable" for Christmas. Argh! Anyway, your pulla looks delicious!

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  4. Cher I have had my share of sad news lately too, yet through it all, baking helps me feel, even just for a couple of hours, that all is right with the world. So soothing. This loaf was made on a day when I really needed some calm and it provided just that. Plus, it was delicious. Sending you hugs XO

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  5. I'm sorry for all the sadness in the world and in your world. Glad this yummy bread could distract you!

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  6. So sorry for all the heaviness that you and your family are enduring this holiday season. Glad you enjoyed your time in the kitchen and that you were able to count your blessings instead of solely focusing on the sadness.

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  7. I hear you, about all the bad stuff in our lives. It is hard to not let it get to you. But good job with the attitude adjustment. It is hard to do that sometimes.
    Baking is definitely a good way to get re-adjusted mentally and spiritually.
    Your bread looks wonderful. Glad we all seem to be having good luck with it.
    Happy holidays.

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  8. I love your post...and share your feelings. Merry Christmas!

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  9. It’s been a tough season…with the school shooting and the remains of Sandy still affecting so many…hard to wrap your brain around so much misery!
    Your Pulla looks gorgeous!! Enjoy your girls and the holidays!! Happy Tuesday!

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  10. Your bread turned out great!! And I totally understand how sometimes the world around you can get to you.. its tough..and then you pull yourself together.. tilll then we are always there to listen to you!! :))

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  11. That wreath looks magnificent. I wish I'd had some pearl sugar to sprinkle on the top of mine. I will be able to rationalize the purchase of some on my next trip to the King Arthur Flour store.

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  12. After Newtown it was hard to get the tree up and start on this bread. Then I thought I'll do it in memory of those sweet, sweet children. OK - enough, I'm tearing up again.
    We'll get through this...

    Your wreath is beautiful! Why could I not form a beautiful bow? It's a simple everyday task - no? Just did not work for me.

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  13. Sweet post Cher. I'm so sorry about your colleague and your daughter's boyfriend's dad. There is something about bread, right? And you have a bow!!

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  14. I wish I had some lively thoughts, but it´s hard to go on with our lives when surrounded by so much pain.
    I hope things around your family smooth out a bit. You made a wonderful bread Cher! Enjoy your girls!

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  15. Why, oh why didn't I make this bread?! It looks simply fantastic! And it sounds like it was so easy to work with. I could have used some knead-therapy this past weekend. I may have to get this done for Christmas now, it looks too good to pass up.

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  16. I'm sorry you had such a terrible weekend and admire your ability to focus on the positive. I hope the rest of your holiday season goes better. Your bread looks gorgeous and delicious!

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  17. Wow, Cher, that is a lot to bear. Counting our blessings always helps. Speaking of which, our kitty seems to be making a remarkable recovery from having his leg amuputated.

    I am so thankful for our wonderful on-line community.

    Your bread looks amazing & truly festive!

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  18. WE've had to deal with similar losses just as the time to amp up for the holidays descended on us. I was able to relax just a bit only after making the decision that this year would be the year without a tree. Something had to give. I hung a wreath instead. lol. And you baked one. Great minds. Hang in there!

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  19. I'm so sorry to hear of your losses and Newtown was so shocking and sad. This time of year can be challenging enough, but when there's so fresh sadness mixed in, it's even more so.

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  20. Cher, despite all the sadness around you, you found the time and calm to bake this fabulous Finnish dessert bread with that wonderful light blue pearl sugar as a topping (makes it look so festive) - love how the bow looks like. Enjoy the time with your girls!

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  21. I'm so sorry about the hard times you are going through. May the sun shine soon again in your life.
    You baked a wonderful pulla and I admire you for finding so much peace in making it.
    Best season's greetings, dear Cher, to you and your family.

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  22. Thank you for sharing in your blog post Cher. I'm glad to hear that you were able to find some peace. I agree, the pulla was a calming experience this week.

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  23. Beautiful post, Cher. May your holidays be peaceful.

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  24. Wonderful looking bread. I agree that it is best to focus on the good and not the bad. I hope you have a really good holiday!

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  25. Glad you chick has returned to the nest safely, Cher. I would guess it's a toss-up as to who is happier, Runner Girl or Mom. Your bread (which I did not get made this week) looks fabulous but have you eaten it yet or are you saving it for Christmas morning. I'm going to have to get busy and can mind made. Please convey to your youngest child, Culinary Kid, how sad it is about her boyfriend's dad. It just keeps piling on, doesn't it. May your smiles be bigger and brighter as this week progresses. I know you can. I know you can.

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  26. Thank you for the honest and thoughtful post. You put into words many of my feelings over the weekend. Then, in the moment of realization we know we have so much to be thankful for. Blessings and Merry Christmas!

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  27. It has been a rough December, hard to feel happy about the holidays. There is something very soothing about baking and your Pulla looks delicious. Keep on baking, it is good for the soul.

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  28. Very well said, Cher. And your pulla is absolutely beautiful! Merry Christmas to you & yours!

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  29. Cher, I right there with you this week and I like your mental list of everything that's right and good - I'm making mine to focus on right now.
    I'm so happy for you that your daughter is home for a month- that's great and your bread came out of the oven just beautiful-that makes me smile and think warm thoughts of Christmas with my loved ones;-)

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  30. I'm so glad Runner Girl is home and you are all together for the holidays. So many hard things in this world, but, you are right, so many, many wonderful things too. So glad your girls decorated your tree and helped you wrap...they are such a help to you. One of my daughters has a friend who lost a child in the terrible CT shooting and when I see faces of the kids on the news my heart breaks. My friend, Louise, who came while I was baking this bread, can't stop sobbing...so much terrible news during this wonderful season. She can't get all those little children out of her head. Thank goodness for the kitchen. I've been so busy, as you are, over the past couple of weeks, I think of skipping every one of these "extra" blogging recipes, but I'm so glad I'm back into this. The kitchen offers wonderful gifts of not only food, but of meditation and peace even in hurried times...and then the smiles of those receiving all these goodies is worth all the effort.
    I must tell you that I did not bake the pulla until it was already time to post. So that I could see exactly how my bread should turn out I went to your post, and there the bread wreath was, as I knew it would be, looking perfect. You are my inspiration for this recipe.

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  31. So sorry that it was too much for you.. But you have so much to be thankful as you listed, and baking really does help to calm.. Enjoy the holiday season..

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  32. I'm so sorry about all the tragic things, but I'm glad you were able to find some good things too.

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  33. Looks good! I did mine by hand, too - there's something really soothing about hand kneading, isn't there?

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  34. Loved your post today Cher. It has been a tough week. We move on but we never forget. Baking can help. So, bake away those thoughts and make something wonderful. Happy Holiday!

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