Pine Bluffs Post - Serving all of Eastern Laramie County since 1908

By Charlene Smith
Pine Bluffs Post staff 

Nine ladies dancing through your kitchen


If your kitchen is as small as mine, nine ladies sitting let alone dancing might mean many bruised toes.

Fortunately for the little piggies, I am not talking about bringing nine ladies to your kitchen to show off the latest cha-cha. Today is the ninth day of Christmas. The twelve days following Christmas Eve constitute the twelve days in Christianity.

The carol is French in origin and first published in 1780. However, it was the English version by Frederic Austin that engrained the folk melody verses in every Christmas season since 1909.

Both versions were based on Christianity. The ninth day, "Nine ladies dancing," refers to the nine Fruits of the Holy Spirit.

What could be better in the new year with the healthy goals of nutrition weighing heavy on your mind, (no pun intended,) than a healthy salad recipe that will make you want to dance.

Crunchy Pear &

Celery Salad

(recipe from

4 stalks celery, trimmed and cut in half crosswise

2 tablespoons cider (pear, raspberry or other fruit vinegar)

2 tablespoons honey

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 ripe pears, preferably red Bartlett or Anjou, diced

1 cup finely diced white Cheddar cheese (substitute low fat if desired)

1/2 cup chopped pecans, toasted (see Tip)

Freshly ground pepper, to taste

6 large leaves butter-head or other lettuce

Soak celery in a bowl of ice water for 15 minutes. Drain and pat dry. Cut into 1/2-inch pieces. Whisk vinegar, honey and salt in a large bowl until blended. Add pears; gently stir to coat. Add the celery, cheese and pecans; stir to combine. Season with pepper. Divide the lettuce leaves among 6 plates and top with a portion of salad. Serve at room temperature or chilled.

This recipe will make 6 servings at 221 calories per serving. If you want to make it ahead, prepare salad without the pecans up to 2 hours ahead. Stir in pecans just before serving.

To toast chopped pecans, cook in a small dry skillet over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until fragrant and lightly browned, 2 to 4 minutes.

If you dance to a different tune and want a little starch with your sweetness to help you on the dance floor, these Gingerbread Girls can dance and prance with the best of them. They may not be ladies, but they will make your mouth dance a little with their spiced mix of ginger, cinnamon, allspice and molasses.

Gingerbread Girls

(recipe from

3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar

1 stick butter or margarine, softened

2 large eggs

1/4 cup molasses

3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting work surface (I like to use powdered sugar to make the cookies less flaky)

2 teaspoons ground ginger

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon salt


1 cup confectioners' sugar, sifted

1 to 2 tablespoons milk

Food coloring, as desired

Using an electric mixer at low speed, cream the sugar and butter until thoroughly combined. Add the eggs and molasses and mix until combined. Sift together the flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture and combine with a spoon or spatula.

Remove the dough from the bowl and wrap in plastic wrap; place in the refrigerator until firm, about 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Line cookie sheets with parchment paper. Allow the dough to sit at room temperature for about 15 minutes, until pliable. Take about 1/2 cup of dough at a time and roll onto a floured board until about 1/8-inch thick. Cut out with gingerbread boy and girl cookie cutters. You can re-roll the scraps. Using a spatula, transfer the cookies from the board to the prepared cookie sheets.

Bake for 10 minutes, until just beginning to brown at the edges. Transfer to wire racks to cool.

To make the icing, combine the confectioners' sugar and milk. Divide the mixture into thirds; leave 1/3 white, and color 1/3 green and the final third red. Decorate piping eyes, mouths, buttons, and bow ties.


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