One of my favorite holiday traditions is preparing and enjoying family recipes. When my mother celebrated her 90th birthday in 2008, my sister and I assembled a cookbook of her recipes. Last December, I featured my mother’s traditional Christmas cake (passed down from her mother) in Catnip Connection. I will bake this cake for my brothers and sister when I return to the family farm for Christmas this week. An excerpt from the Going Home poem by Laverne Larson is especially meaningful to me since my mother passed away last summer.

I am going home for Christmas
Because I love it there;
Its open arms envelop me
With blessings I may share.

What a blessing to bake and share my mother’s cake! I know she will be beside me as I chop the dates and mix the batter. My mother made a simple powdered sugar icing and sprinkled red and green sugar crystals on the top—just a light dusting to create a festive cake! My favorite part was sprinkling the sugar on top, but usually too much! And I can already hear her saying, “Easy, Linda, just a little red and green!”

Date Oatmeal Cake
1 cup boiling water
1 cup quick rolled oats
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup shortening, softened
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (8 oz. package) dates, chopped
1/2 cup chopped nuts

Pour boiling water over rolled oats and cool to lukewarm. Cream eggs, sugars and shortening. Add 4 dry ingredients to creamed mixture. Add dates and nuts. Add oatmeal mixture. Pour into 9″x13″ greased pan. Bake at 350º for about 30 minutes.

Bountiful Blessings!