Going “Home” for the Holidays at Sanford House…



It’s good to be back at Sanford House. My roommates at school would look at my meticulously kept calendar hanging on my wall and giggle at my countdown. They thought it was my way to keep focused on finals, because after we regurgitated every little factoid packed into our brains, we planned to pack and drive home with a smile. Thinking of the Netflix and home cooked food that will be consumed in the next 3 weeks. But little did they know it was my countdown to get back to my job at Sanford House.


I Missed Everything…

I missed everything; the people, the work, the good vibes, and of course Santino. I was thrilled to be asked to help out over the holidays, because let’s be honest my little desk at Sanford House is my second home. I’d been incredibly busy with finals, work, packing and unpacking, Christmas shopping, and my new love of hot yoga. It hadn’t really sunk in that it is time for the Christmas holidays.


Last week I went over to the house to get some Holiday marketing pictures and when I walked in it hit me.


I was pulled in by the smell of Chef Katie’s homemade gingerbread cookies as Christmas music filled the rooms. The usual warmth of Sanford welcomed me, as did Katie with a cup of her peppermint hot cocoa. Something that could warm you up even on the coldest Michigan winter day. The women were laughing and singing to the music as they decorated gingerbread men. The mood was light and fun and you couldn’t hold back a smile while in the kitchen.



“Nice” chef Katie!


This is “the standard of excellence” founder Rae Green talks about, when she describes the treatment at Sanford House. It is a home filled with warmth and love that allows transformation to occur. In the most nurturing environment, with the kindest of staff. There is undeniable good flowing from Sanford House that makes you feel (speaking of hot yoga) grounded in the moment.


I am grateful that I can call Sanford House “home” for the holidays.


I am also grateful for Katie’s recipes which everyone should try over this holiday weekend…


Peppermint Hot Chocolate


1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 quart milk

½ semisweet chocolate chips (3 Ounces)

7 Peppermint sticks; 3 crushed, 4 left whole

Pinch salt



Place cocoa in saucepan. Gradually whisk in milk until cocoa has dissolved. Add chocolate chips and crushed peppermint; simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until chocolate and peppermint have melted (8-10 minutes).

Bring to a boil immediately remove from heat. Add Salt. Ladle into mugs; serve each with a peppermint stick.




Gingerbread Cookies



6 cups all purpose flour (plus more for working surface)

1 teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon baking powder

1 cup (2 sticks) of salted butter

1 cup packed dark-brown sugar

4 teaspoons ground ginger

4 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 ½ teaspoons ground cloves

a teaspoon finely ground pepper

1 ½ teaspoons coarse salt

2 large eggs

1 cup unsulfured molasses



  1. Shift together flour, baking soda, and baking power in a large bowl. Set aside.
  2. Put butter and brown sugar in bowl and using an electric mixer paddle until fluffy. Mix in the spices and salt, then the eggs still paddling. Add flour mixture and mix until well combined.
  3. Wrap dough in plastic and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  4. Pre-heat oven to 350.
  5. Roll out dough on a light floured work surface and roll to ¼ inch thick. Cut into desired shapes with cookie cutters. Space two inches apart on parchment paper and refrigerate for 15 minutes.
  6. Bake cookies until crisp, but not dark. 12 to 14 minutes. Then let cool on wire rack.
  7. Frost and serve! They keep well for about 5 days.


Frosting Ingredients

1 pound confectioners’ sugar

5 tablespoons meringue powder



Put sugar, powder, and ½ cup water in bowl and mix on low until smooth. If icing is too thick add water little bits at a time, if to think, mix icing for another 2-3 minutes.



The author taking time out for a cup of hot cocoa…





Monica Bussell is a Senior at Alma College with a major in Marketing and New Media Studies. As the visiting marketing intern for Sanford House (she began her tenure as a Sophomore), she is responsible for social media updates, graphic design, photography, videography and dog walking... She is the President of Alpha Zxi Delta sorority and an avid hot yoga enthusiast...