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Christmas blessings to you!

Stained glass window from the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, Israel

Pilgrims can kneel down and touch in the center of the star, which lies over the birthplace of Jesus

So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.
      And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
      Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” - Luke 2:4-14

Cranberry Orange Rolls

This recipe is a keeper - I pulled it from the King Arthur Flour website, which is packed with great recipes! Check them out!



  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tablespoon melted butter
  • *Use 3/4 cup prepared cranberry-orange jam, spread, or conserve, if desired.


  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 3 to 5 drops Fiori di Sicilia
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons orange juice


  1. To make the rolls: Mix and knead all the ingredients together to make a soft, smooth dough.
  2. Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover, and let it rise until nearly doubled in bulk, about 60 minutes.
  3. To make the filling: Combine all of the filling ingredients except the melted butter in a small, heavy saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until thickened. Remove from the heat, and stir in the melted butter. Set aside to cool.
  4. Gently deflate the dough, and transfer it to a lightly greased work surface. Pat it into a 16" x 12" rectangle.
  5. Spread the filling evenly over the dough.
  6. Roll the dough into a log starting with a short edge; pinch the seam closed.
  7. Cut the log into 9 slices.
  8. Place the rolls into a lightly greased 9" square ceramic baker (or see "tips" below), cover, and let them rise until noticeably puffy, about 45 to 60 minutes.
  9. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  10. Bake the rolls until they're brown around the edges and golden brown in the center, about 25 to 35 minutes; tent with foil if they appear to be browning too quickly.
  11. To make the icing: Combine the sugar, Fiori, and enough orange juice to make a spreadable icing.
  12. Let the rolls cool for 10 minutes, then spread with the icing and serve. Store any leftovers well-wrapped, at room temperature, for several days; freeze for longer storage.

Tips from our bakers

  • We prefer SAF Gold instant yeast for our sweet breads and rolls, but use SAF Red if that's what you have on hand. Just be sure to allow extra time for rising.
  • If you don't have Fiori di Sicilia, substitute 1 teaspoon vanilla extract in the rolls, and 1/2 teaspoon in the glaze.
  • You can bake these rolls in a 9" square metal pan, reducing the bake time by about 5 minutes.

Currituck Beach lighthouse

The Currituck Beach Lighthouse was built in 1875 and lies between the Cape Henry and Bodie Island in North Carolina. It stands about 1/4 mile back from the beach and is 162 feet tall, so even the lovely trees and the Victorian style keeper's house beside it can't block the view of this beautiful lighthouse from the ocean.

Master potter

Mark Hewitt is a master potter who lives in Pittsboro NC, where he has his workshop. He and his two apprentices make some fascinating pieces, all of which are safe for use in the oven and dishwasher. We were privileged to visit his place on 8/26/18. He has 3 shows annually, and I look forward to attending future showings as well.  Interested in checking his website? Go here. Enjoy!