Heathen’s Greetings

Heathen’s Greetings December 15, 2020

Soon it will be Yule night, the longest night of the year. The Winter Solstice: the night to reflect and prepare for the year to come. When Sunna returns in the morning, she will shine brighter than before, lighting the way for the great things to be done, the great things to happen, and to warm our hearts and souls in the coming days.

I think I speak for all of us when I say this year, 2020, we need great things and warm hearts. So let’s get to it!

Grinchin’ Away the Holidays

Holidays: I’m not great at ’em. It’s not that I don’t like them, but I just don’t get super enthusiastic when they roll around. It’s not just Yuletide that gets skimmed over in my house, it’s pretty much all of them. That’s what happens, I suppose, when you’re a household of one, an only child, and really just have your parents as far as family is concerned. This isn’t a depressing thing at all, far from it. In fact, the flurry of packed households and dozens of cousins and aunts and uncles sounds like a straight-up nightmare to this introvert, so I genuinely adore the quiet time I spend with my mom and stepdad on the major holidays.

That said, I sometimes feel like a Bad Heathen™ because I don’t really do anything special when the calendar calls for it. This year, however, is different. This year, I’m throwing myself into celebrating Yule.

Yule fire
Sadly I won’t be hanging around a bonfire with other heathens. Thanks, 2020. Image by Juliane Koch from Pixabay

This Year’s Wheel Hit a Few Potholes

This year has been painful for just about everyone. You don’t need me to run down the list of everything 2020 has brought to the table. I’ve been incredibly lucky: yes, I had COVID-19 in the spring, and while I still feel some of the lingering physical effects, I consider my infection to be pretty mild overall. I still have a job, my family is safe, and my friends and community are all powering through and complying with scientific and social recommendations. I got to start writing here, on Patheos, and I landed a book deal with Llewellyn. All in all, I’ve had a better year than most, but my heart has been heavy and stressed seeing people I care about suffer and struggle with isolation. The election cycle was horrific, but the result offered a hint of hope. #BLM and the summer protests were inspiring, but now it feels like people have lost interest even though there’s so much work to be done for equality. There have been a lot of ups and downs, mostly downs, because 2020 has traveled down a rough road.

So I feel a spiritual obligation to Do Things for Yule.

2020 wheel
2020 has been a rough ride. Let’s see if the wheel will still turn! Image courtesy of Pixaby.com

Almonds and Decadence: Milk is Optional

A few years ago, I managed to get a copy of the version of the almond cake recipe that my paternal family uses. It’s a new tradition for me, but it’s already cemented as an Essential for Yule baking. I’m a Lokean, so no matter how skilled I am at something or how well I plan it out, Something Always Happens.

The first time I made it, I somehow forgot to add the milk to the mix, even though the carton was sitting on the counter right in front of my face. Amazingly, this didn’t ruin the cake! Yes, the end pieces had a pretty hard crust, but they were like biscotti. The rest of the cake was dense and rich, almost like an almond fudge.

When I realized the mistake several days later, I made a new one per specs. It was good, but it wasn’t quite as decadent as the original. So I tend to split the difference now, adding half of the milk the recipe demands. The result is a cake that doesn’t have a biscotti-like crust and ends, but maintains the extraordinary almondy richness with the slightest hint of fluffy texture.

For Yule, treat yourself to a very simple, very indulgent bit of bliss. I’ll be sharing some of the cakes with my gods, ancestors, and the vættir in gratitude for their influence and in hopes of making 2021 much sweeter and more pleasant than 2020 was for the world.

I’m sharing the recipe as I received it (which is pretty much how everyone makes it when they’re not dopes forgetting entire ingredients in an incredibly simple ingredient list) with my own tweaks in parentheses.

Scandinavian Almond Cake (Svendsen Style)

Beat Well:

  • 1¼ cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1½ tsp. almond extract (I use at least 2 tsp.)
  • 2/3 cup milk (optional, apparently. Skip milk for biscotti/fudge hybrid, add ¼ cup for a slightly fluffier texture and softer crust)

Add to mixture:

  • 1¼ cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder

Beat well, then add 1 stick melted butter and continue to beat until batter is uniform.

Spray pan generously with baking spray or Crisco and flour the pan well immediately before pouring batter into pan. This is the traditional pan for almond cake.

Bake at 350ºF for 40-50 minutes (but check the cake after about 30 minutes because in my experience, cooking time can actually range from 30-55 minutes, depending on how much milk is used!). The cake is done, like most cakes, when the edges are golden brown and it passes the Toothpick Test (or, in my Italian mother’s kitchen, the Uncooked Spaghetti Noodle Test). Let it cool enough to pop it out of the pan, gently loosening the edges with an icing spatula or butter knife if necessary (the less milk used, the more you’ll have to coax the edges free).

I think the cake is perfect with a generous dusting (or blizzard, let’s be honest) of confectioner’s sugar, but I’ve seen some people fancy it up with almond icing and sliced almonds.  Or you can have it with berries and cream. Whatever enhances the joy in having your cake and eating it, too.

Image by Jill Wellington from Pixabay

Let the Wheel Turn Anew

I don’t think any of us are sad to see this year draw to an end. Despite my not-too-festive attitude towards holidays, I’m looking forward to amping up the Yuletide glee and honoring the spirits of the season. I’m eager to keep vigil for Sunna on the longest night of the year, greeting her anew with a cup of coffee and a slab of Scandinavian almond cake to refresh her and revive the turning wheel with a touch of sweetness.

The wheel doesn’t always travel in a straight or obvious path, and 2020 threw the wheel into a number of potholes and ditches and a few tire spike strips along the way. Yet the wheel turns nonetheless, and it always takes us where we need to go. We can’t always plan for the road ahead, but that’s half the adventure. It’s the friends we make along the way, or something. And friends, I wish for you a blessed Yuletide, a brighter new year, and plenty of opportunities to savor the sweet treats, almond cake or otherwise.

Browse Our Archives

What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment

168 responses to “Heathen’s Greetings”

  1. You got a book deal? Hot dog! Best of luck with the book deal. I came up with a great idea for a children’s book called “It’s A Great Day For Milkweed”. The idea is to encourage kids and grownups to plant more milkweed for the monarch butterflies, as the female monarchs only lay their eggs on the milkweed. Here’s hoping more of them flutter into my yard next year.

  2. Someone essentially assist to make seriously articles I’d state.
    This is the very first time I frequented
    your web page and up to now? I surprised with the research you made to make this
    particular post incredible. Magnificent activity!

  3. Thank you for the auspicious writeup. It actually used to be a enjoyment account it. Glance complicated to far delivered agreeable from you! However, how could we keep up a correspondence?

  4. This design is steller! You obviously know how to keep a reader entertained. Between your wit and your videos, I was almost moved to start my own blog (well, almost…HaHa!) Excellent job. I really loved what you had to say, and more than that, how you presented it. Too cool!

  5. Good ?V I should definitely pronounce, impressed with your site. I had no trouble navigating through all tabs as well as related info ended up being truly easy to do to access. I recently found what I hoped for before you know it at all. Reasonably unusual. Is likely to appreciate it for those who add forums or something, website theme . a tones way for your customer to communicate. Nice task..

  6. Its such as you read my mind! You seem to know a lot approximately this, such as you wrote the e book in it or something. I feel that you just can do with a few to drive the message home a little bit, however other than that, that is great blog. A great read. I will definitely be back.

  7. Its excellent as your other articles : D, appreciate it for posting. “Love is like an hourglass, with the heart filling up as the brain empties.” by Jules Renard.

  8. I do believe all the concepts you’ve presented in your post. They are very convincing and will certainly work. Still, the posts are too short for starters. May you please prolong them a bit from subsequent time? Thanks for the post.

  9. Heya i am for the primary time here. I found this board and I to find It truly helpful & it helped me out a lot. I hope to present something again and help others such as you helped me.

  10. Great website. A lot of useful info here. I am sending it to several friends ans additionally sharing in delicious. And naturally, thank you to your sweat!

  11. I am no longer certain the place you’re getting your info, however great topic. I must spend a while studying more or figuring out more. Thanks for fantastic info I used to be searching for this information for my mission.

  12. An interesting discussion is worth comment. I think that you should write more on this topic, it might not be a taboo subject but generally people are not enough to speak on such topics. To the next. Cheers

  13. Simply a smiling visitor here to share the love (:, btw outstanding style. “Individuals may form communities, but it is institutions alone that can create a nation.” by Benjamin Disraeli.

  14. Hi! I’m at work surfing around your blog from my new apple iphone! Just wanted to say I love reading through your blog and look forward to all your posts! Keep up the great work!

  15. Fantastic goods from you, man. I’ve understand your stuff previous to and
    you’re just too wonderful. I actually like what you have acquired here, certainly like what you’re saying and the way
    in which you say it. You make it entertaining and you still take care of to keep it wise.
    I cant wait to read much more from you. This is really a wonderful site.

  16. I do agree with all the ideas you’ve presented in your post. They are very convincing and will definitely work. Still, the posts are very short for newbies. Could you please extend them a bit from next time? Thanks for the post.

  17. Thank you for any other wonderful post. Where else may just anybody get that type of info in such a perfect approach of writing? I’ve a presentation next week, and I’m at the search for such information.

  18. Aw, this was a really nice post. In idea I wish to put in writing like this additionally – taking time and precise effort to make an excellent article… however what can I say… I procrastinate alot and in no way seem to get something done.

  19. Thanks a bunch for sharing this with all of us you really know what you’re talking about! Bookmarked. Please also visit my site =). We could have a link exchange agreement between us!

  20. The next time I read a blog, I hope that it doesnt disappoint me as much as this one. I mean, I know it was my choice to read, but I actually thought youd have something interesting to say. All I hear is a bunch of whining about something that you could fix if you werent too busy looking for attention.

  21. An impressive share, I simply given this onto a colleague who was doing a little analysis on this. And he actually purchased me breakfast as a result of I found it for him.. smile. So let me reword that: Thnx for the treat! But yeah Thnkx for spending the time to debate this, I really feel strongly about it and love reading extra on this topic. If doable, as you develop into expertise, would you thoughts updating your blog with more details? It is extremely helpful for me. Massive thumb up for this weblog put up!

  22. I would like to thnkx for the efforts you have put in writing this blog. I am hoping the same high-grade blog post from you in the upcoming as well. In fact your creative writing abilities has inspired me to get my own blog now. Really the blogging is spreading its wings quickly. Your write up is a good example of it.

  23. Throughout the grand pattern of things you actually secure a B+ just for effort. Exactly where you confused everybody was first on all the facts. You know, it is said, the devil is in the details… And that could not be more correct in this article. Having said that, allow me say to you just what exactly did give good results. Your writing is definitely really powerful and this is probably the reason why I am taking the effort in order to comment. I do not really make it a regular habit of doing that. Second, although I can notice a leaps in reason you come up with, I am not necessarily certain of how you seem to unite the points which help to make your conclusion. For right now I shall subscribe to your point but trust in the foreseeable future you link the facts much better.

  24. Good – I should definitely pronounce, impressed with your web site. I had no trouble navigating through all tabs as well as related information ended up being truly easy to do to access. I recently found what I hoped for before you know it in the least. Reasonably unusual. Is likely to appreciate it for those who add forums or something, site theme . a tones way for your client to communicate. Nice task..

  25. Great awesome things here. I?¦m very happy to see your article. Thank you so much and i am taking a look ahead to touch you. Will you kindly drop me a e-mail?

  26. It is appropriate time to make a few plans for the future and it’s time to be happy. I have learn this put up and if I could I wish to suggest you some fascinating issues or advice. Perhaps you can write next articles relating to this article. I want to learn even more things about it!

  27. Merely wanna comment on few general things, The website style and design is perfect, the subject matter is really wonderful. “The enemy is anybody who’s going to get you killed, no matter which side he’s on.” by Joseph Heller.

  28. Thank you for the auspicious writeup. It in fact was a amusement account it.
    Look advanced to more added agreeable from you! By the
    way, how could we communicate? ps4 games 185413490784 ps4

  29. Generally I don’t read post on blogs, but I wish to say that this write-up very forced me to try and do it! Your writing style has been surprised me. Thanks, quite nice article.

  30. Have you ever thought about adding a little bit more than just your articles? I mean, what you say is important and all. However imagine if you added some great graphics or videos to give your posts more, “pop”! Your content is excellent but with images and videos, this website could certainly be one of the very best in its niche. Excellent blog!

  31. I like what you guys are up too. Such intelligent work and reporting! Carry on the superb works guys I’ve incorporated you guys to my blogroll. I think it will improve the value of my website :).

  32. Throughout the awesome scheme of things you’ll secure an A for hard work. Where exactly you actually confused me personally was first in all the specifics. As they say, the devil is in the details… And that could not be much more accurate in this article. Having said that, let me inform you just what exactly did do the job. Your writing can be highly persuasive and this is possibly why I am taking the effort in order to opine. I do not make it a regular habit of doing that. Secondly, while I can easily see a leaps in logic you make, I am not necessarily certain of how you seem to unite your ideas which produce the actual final result. For now I will, no doubt yield to your position however trust in the near future you link the dots better.

  33. hello there and thank you for your info – I’ve certainly picked up anything new from right here. I did however expertise some technical points using this website, since I experienced to reload the site a lot of times previous to I could get it to load correctly. I had been wondering if your web hosting is OK? Not that I am complaining, but sluggish loading instances times will often affect your placement in google and could damage your high quality score if advertising and marketing with Adwords. Well I’m adding this RSS to my email and can look out for much more of your respective fascinating content. Ensure that you update this again very soon..

  34. Hmm is anyone else having problems with the pictures on this blog loading?
    I’m trying to find out if its a problem on my
    end or if it’s the blog. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

  35. Hey There. I found your weblog the use of msn. That is a very smartly written article. I’ll be sure to bookmark it and come back to learn more of your useful info. Thank you for the post. I’ll certainly comeback.

  36. My spouse and I stumbled over here by a different website and
    thought I may as well check things out. I like what I see so i am
    just following you. Look forward to looking at your web page repeatedly.

  37. Yesterday, while I was at work, my sister stole my iPad and tested to see if it can survive a twenty five foot drop, just so she can be a youtube sensation. My apple ipad is now broken and she has 83 views. I know this is entirely off topic but I had to share it with someone!

  38. Howdy I am so excited I found your blog, I really found
    you by accident, while I was browsing on Digg for something else,
    Anyways I am here now and would just like to say thanks for a fantastic post and a all round exciting blog
    (I also love the theme/design), I don’t have time to browse
    it all at the moment but I have book-marked it and also added
    in your RSS feeds, so when I have time I will be back to read much more, Please
    do keep up the great work.

  39. I believe this is among the such a lot vital info for me.
    And i am glad reading your article. However should remark on few common things,
    The web site taste is wonderful, the articles is really nice :
    D. Good task, cheers

  40. I believe this internet site has got some rattling excellent information for everyone :D. “The test of every religious, political, or educational system is the man that it forms.” by Henri Frdric Amiel.

  41. Yesterday, while I was at work, my sister stole my iphone and tested to see if it can survive a thirty foot drop, just so she can be a youtube sensation. My iPad is now broken and she has 83 views. I know this is entirely off topic but I had to share it with someone!

  42. It’s a shame you don’t have a donate button! I’d most certainly donate to this fantastic blog! I guess for now i’ll settle for bookmarking and adding your RSS feed to my Google account. I look forward to new updates and will share this website with my Facebook group. Chat soon!

  43. When I originally commented I clicked the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and now each time a comment is added I get four emails with the same comment. Is there any way you can remove me from that service? Thanks!

  44. Hi , I do believe this is an excellent blog. I stumbled upon it on Yahoo , i will come back once again. Money and freedom is the best way to change, may you be rich and help other people.

  45. With every little thing which appears to be developing inside this specific area, all your points of view happen to be somewhat radical. However, I appologize, because I do not give credence to your whole strategy, all be it exciting none the less. It would seem to us that your comments are generally not entirely justified and in reality you are generally your self not really completely confident of the point. In any case I did enjoy examining it.

  46. Thanks so much for giving everyone remarkably brilliant chance to read in detail from this blog. It’s always so lovely plus stuffed with a good time for me personally and my office friends to visit your site on the least thrice in one week to find out the latest issues you will have. And lastly, we’re actually astounded with your special solutions you serve. Selected 1 areas on this page are definitely the most beneficial I’ve ever had.

  47. Do you have a spam problem on this site; I also am a blogger, and I was wanting to know your situation; many of us have created some nice procedures and we are looking to swap methods with others, please shoot me an e-mail if interested.

  48. Hey there! This is my 1st comment here so I just wanted to give a quick shout out and tell you I really enjoy reading your blog posts. Can you recommend any other blogs/websites/forums that cover the same topics? Thank you!

  49. fantastic put up, very informative. I’m wondering why the other specialists of this sector do not realize this. You must continue your writing. I’m sure, you’ve a great readers’ base already!

  50. I’m really loving the theme/design of your site. Do you ever run into any browser compatibility problems? A handful of my blog readers have complained about my site not operating correctly in Explorer but looks great in Opera. Do you have any tips to help fix this problem?

  51. Great ?V I should certainly pronounce, impressed with your site. I had no trouble navigating through all tabs as well as related information ended up being truly easy to do to access. I recently found what I hoped for before you know it at all. Quite unusual. Is likely to appreciate it for those who add forums or anything, site theme . a tones way for your customer to communicate. Nice task..

  52. You have mentioned very interesting points! ps nice internet site. “Choose your friends carefully. Your enemies will choose you.” by Yassir Arafat.

  53. I loved as much as you will receive carried out right here. The sketch is tasteful, your authored material stylish. nonetheless, you command get bought an edginess over that you wish be delivering the following. unwell unquestionably come further formerly again as exactly the same nearly very often inside case you shield this hike.

  54. Thank you for sharing superb informations. Your web-site is so cool. I’m impressed by the details that you?¦ve on this web site. It reveals how nicely you understand this subject. Bookmarked this website page, will come back for extra articles. You, my friend, ROCK! I found simply the information I already searched everywhere and just could not come across. What an ideal web site.

  55. I really wanted to type a quick message so as to say thanks to you for these magnificent suggestions you are sharing here. My incredibly long internet look up has at the end of the day been honored with awesome content to write about with my friends and classmates. I ‘d say that we visitors actually are definitely endowed to exist in a really good site with so many outstanding people with interesting methods. I feel extremely fortunate to have used your entire web page and look forward to many more pleasurable moments reading here. Thanks once again for everything.

  56. Hey! Someone in my Facebook group shared this site with us so
    I came to look it over. I’m definitely loving the information. I’m book-marking and
    will be tweeting this to my followers! Great blog and amazing
    design and style. asmr 0mniartist

  57. Hey there! This is my first visit to your blog! We are a group of volunteers and starting a new initiative in a community in the same niche. Your blog provided us valuable information to work on. You have done a outstanding job!

  58. Have you ever thought about including a little bit more than just your articles? I mean, what you say is fundamental and everything. However imagine if you added some great pictures or videos to give your posts more, “pop”! Your content is excellent but with pics and video clips, this blog could definitely be one of the very best in its niche. Awesome blog!

  59. I’d have to examine with you here. Which is not one thing I usually do! I take pleasure in reading a post that may make folks think. Additionally, thanks for permitting me to comment!

  60. I’m impressed, I need to say. Really hardly ever do I encounter a weblog that’s each educative and entertaining, and let me let you know, you’ve got hit the nail on the head. Your thought is outstanding; the issue is one thing that not enough persons are speaking intelligently about. I’m very comfortable that I stumbled across this in my search for something referring to this.

  61. Hey there! Do you know if they make any plugins to help with Search Engine Optimization? I’m trying to get my blog to rank for some targeted keywords but I’m not seeing very good results. If you know of any please share. Thank you!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

error: Content is protected !!