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I'm delighted you've come to call! Have a cup of tea or coffee & rest with me a few minutes. There is always time to spend with a good friend!

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy Day!

First & foremost, Nathan is safely in the USA & restored to his family who loves him very much! I guess little Miss A went right into his arms & snuggled there.
Second, I've been trying to adjust some of the settings to leave a comment.Please. If you read this, leave me a comment. I want to know if it is working. It is snow, snow and more snow for us today.I love a good snow-especially if I don't have to go out in it!! Which I don't. We are supposed to go over to friends to ring in the New Year tonight,thankfully we've got big-truck-blizzard, go-through-anything snow tires-see, it's a plus to be married to Mr. Turbo himself!!! It truly is a Winter Wonderland out there,more beautiful than I know how to say.
We're supposed to bring a "snack" tonight. I hope it's okay but I am bringing a pie, albeit a simple one from my childhood. My Mom used to make a simple pudding pie that I loved as a child,well, still love. She did a couple things that push it to the top. I recommend you make the crust first, it will be cooled & ready for the pudding. the recipe is below. She used a cook & serve pudding mix for the filling, cooked in a saucepan over the stove. I make my own recipe for pudding & cook it in the microwave. After the pudding was made & poured into the shell, she sprinkled a handful of marshmallows on top & let it toast to a golden tan under the broiler. Watch it carefully, it takes less than a minute to tan & not much more than that to burn. This is not the time to let the dog out or get the mail!! Stay in the kitchen. At the oven door. And watch.
What really puts this over the top for me is she would make it with a walnut crust-mmh. I make mine with the use of the microwave. 2 Tb. butter in a glass pie plate with wax paper over top. Microwave for 30 sec. or so till melted (or nearly). Add 1 1/2c. ground/chopped fine walnuts, 3 Tb. sugar & mix right in the pie pan with the butter. Take your clean hand, a fork or a spatula & press crumbs up sides & on bottom of pan. Microwave for 1 1/2 minutes & you're done!!
One forkful & I am ten years old on a Summer day! Hope you'll try it!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Ariana rides Horse!!

Ariana got a gift of a horse-y from her Great Grandma & Grampa.
It was a big hit!

I really love her coat & bonnet set from Melissa-isn't it just the cutest thing you ever saw??!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Christmas booty & Sewing

"Betty" & I have been cooking together a long time, I started with her kid's cookbook & graduated to the red book my Mom (& mother-in-law ) used. The Christmas before I was getting married, I requested the new edition of Betty Crocker's cookbook. My Mom also got me Betty's cooking for two. I still have both of them! Betty Crocker also has a great site on the web with lots of recipes & ideas. I hope you'll check it out!
New mixing bowls & kitchen towels were some of my Christmas plunder-I LOVE them ALL!! The colors are fabulous in my new kitchen! You can't go wrong with getting me something like this! Every year, I usually request something for myself that has to do with cooking/baking/kitchen.
And I always love books! Isn't the cover delightful-that is sooo me!!!
I couldn't figure out how to turn these but you get the idea!! Again, I Love this retro stuff. I don"t ever want to use this!! I just want to take it out, squeal how much I love it & put it back away,never to be stained or soiled!!
(Sideways, sorry!) My friend Kathleen bestowed me with this gem of a towel!! It is so cheery!
It was an abundant blessing of towels for me, they are all so nice-thank-you everyone! You know just what I love!!!
I was delighted to make time to sew today. This was one of the projects I'd hoped to get done before Christmas-Who knows, it might show up under someone's tree next year!
It was a putter-y kind of day. I re-organized my stamping things, straightened my sewing room, finished this pillow & sewed on my quilt squares. I really like the simple design of this pillow. This is made in nice, soft flannel but I could imagine it in any fabric you like. I can also imagine an embroidered design in the middle or a contrasting fabric there. Though mine is plain, it could easily be embellished. Think of a mini red pompom trim, it was a very popular this year. Don't you think that would be cute? I'm hoping to make another pillow top if I can get the pieces out of what I have left.

Snow Day!

You might think these pictures are taken at night but this is when hubby leaves for work in the morning. The "alarm" we wake up to is a local radio station, playing music. I hate to wake to a jarring, intrusive invasion of noise that certainly does make me start my day feeling quite alarmed! This must go back to my school days when I had a Baby Ben wind up alarm clock. The clock itself, I was proud to have. It made me feel grown-up, in a mysterious I'm-responsible-to-get-my-own-self-out-of-bed kind of way. It had glow in the dark tipped hands, so on dark, wintry mornings I could see clearly what time it was that I did not want to get up!
I've been rather laggardly about getting up with Dan lately, but I did this morning. It was the "old farmer's alarm". You know what that is, right? Before alarm clocks, you could drink a glass of water the night before. Depending on timing & amount,this would vary when you woke. Well, I very consciously set my alarm to go off a few minutes before the radio!!
Not only did I get to enjoy morning coffee ( mine had that yummy amaretto creamer!) & few kisses & hugs with Dan but I got to see this glorious snow shower in the glow offset by the dark. I LOVE a good snow, don't you?!!!
How about you? Did you open your eyes to some small token of His goodness? I bet you did! Was it the ability to savor your coffee, warm & darkly rich, beckoning you into your day? Was it being able to enjoy the companionable time with someone you love & know so well? Perhaps, it was the gift of being responsible for little one's well being. Or, like me , to see the beauty of snow showering into the darkness? That ability to appreciate, to enjoy, to see beauty, are a gift from Him, the Creator of All .
From Him, who has given us all things, richly, to enjoy!
May the Lord bless your day with eyes to see, ears to hear & a heart to appreciate all that we've been given!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Our gift pkg. from Travis, Neiceoli & Jessie consisted of a few things for our Fan Club!!

If you'll look at the photo, you'll notice Dan hooked the two of us together...I think I'm going to use it the next time we go shopping...!!
Thanks, guys, I think we're pretty cute!!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

I've woken up before the others & have the quiet, still house to myself. The furnace is blowing into the cool rooms, wakening our home with warmth. The coffee is made, a simple breakfast planned of scrambled eggs with bologna & bagels. The presents surround the tiny tree, tokens of our affection & love for one another, waiting to be shared.
These are the moments of my Christmas- something offered in love,be it breakfast or a humble present. This is the Christmas that lives on in my heart all year. "This is love,not that we loved God,but that He loved us & sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins" He loved first & loves best. He shared with me all that He could give & I am so grateful, so humbled by love like that. I didn't find Him "under the tree" but I'll find Him there in the glow of giving & sharing. I can't help but raise my heart up to His in thanksgiving....
God bless you all ,dear one's, I hold you in my heart everyday of the year, just like His unfailing love holds mine- again, Merry Christmas & may you see His joy everyday!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Christmas Time

I love this time of year, don't you? We have been fortunate enough to receive a fresh, sparkling feathery new covering of that white stuff also! A real bonus before Christmas.
Yesterday, I got to do one of my favorite things-have girlfriends over for lunch!! I had found out that they were Reuben lovers. What's a Reuben? No, it isn't the lastest guy in the movies, it's a sandwich! A sandwich I have very seldom because I'm the only one who loves/likes them. One year, Dan took me & the kids out to "The Knotty Pine" for supper on my birthday & you can guess what meal I celebrated my special day with-& it was fantastic. The only other Reuben buddy I've discovered are my Dad & Mom. I don't think my Mom is an actual Reuben lover,I think she omits some things- which just isn't a Reuben at all!! I'll have to give her a ring & check on that!!
Here's how to make a Reuben-
You'll want to assemble your ingredients first- a loaf of good bakery rye bread if you can find it. Otherwise, one off the shelf, I think I've used a brand called "Beefsteak Rye", not positve of the name. We have a Bulk Foods shop in our area who have the best sandwich Corned Beef meat. I like my meat sliced thin-ish with lots of layers of it on my sandwich. You'll need slices of Swiss Cheese, saurkraut, Thousand Island dressing & butter for the bread. Getting the ingredients together takes about as long as it does to assemble the sandwich:
Butter one side each of two pieces of rye bread.( I put the buttered sides together,if I making ahead of time & then, wrap all the buttered "sandwiches" in plastic.) Then, with the buttered sides on the outside,I just layer on the corned beef, saurkraut, swiss & a spread of 1,000 Island. I usually have one piece of the bread, buttered side down,in the pan & layer the sandwich in there. I don't always want butter on my counters! Of course, assembling them on your cutting board or a piece of wax paper works too. It really doesn't make much difference how you layer them but here's a few thoughts to share. Sometimes, it is nicer to sandwich the saurkraut between the meat & cheese, so it's not so slippy when you turn it. Also you can spread the inside of the bread with the 1,000 Island dressing, I'd do both pieces for the best flavor but this is a little messier way of doing it then drizzling the dressing over one of the layers. Take your assembled sandwich & (this is why you buttered the bread) & griddle each side to a golden, toasty brown. That's it!! So simple & so good-Enjoy!!!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

A "Spicy Girl" gets (W) Rapping!!!

I've waited awhile for these-spice jars.....
To fit my lovely spice cupboards! It was a fun & fragrant morning getting them all labeled & into their new jars. I love it,don't you?

I even had some jars for my Sprinkles!

A North Dakota preview for you Ashley!!!
I love how wrapped pkgs. are Christmas decor in & of themselves. I can't hardly believe Christmas is less than a week away!!! There's still so much I want to do!!! How to prioritize??It all works out in the end & you always get the truly important things done. Take a breath, have a quiet moment & get the true feeling of Christmas with me.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Christmas Glow

This is a new recipe for me this year & according to my non-partial testing group of one...
I think they might make the list!!! It seems most of the recipes I cook from are altered & this was no exception. They are called "Jill's version of Cherry Tassies"!

I've had a couple of cool,cute guys hanging out with me in the kitchen. Their presence, along with all my favorite Christmas Carols playing & a candle burning, bring a little Christmas "magic" into all the goodies.
Hey, Mom-guess what?? I am still making these cookies, with a couple of changes to make things a little easier. They are called
"Mom's Chocolate-Covered Cherry Cookies"
They have a rich, deep chocolate cookie base, with a drained maraschino cherry pressed in the center then covered with a thick delicious fudge before baking. Mmh, decadent chocolate cherry goodness!! And here's the recipe for you, from my generous lil' heart to special lil' you-just cause I love ya! I hope you'll try them or ask me to make some for you-I'll do it -just for you!!
For the choclate cooky dough:
1/2 c. softened butter
1 c. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 c flour
1/2 c. unsweetened cocoa
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp.baking soda
In large bowl, cream butter,sugar,egg & vanill till light & fluffy. Add remaining ingredients, mix till dough forms. Dough will be stiff. I usually end up kind of kneading/mixing the dough by hand,near the end to get it all mixed in.
Shape dough into 1 in. balls,using a heaping tsp. for each. I divide my dough into somewhat equal pieces before rolling them into a ball. Place 2 in. apart on ungreased cooky sheet.
Needed: A jar or two of maraschino cherries-36-48 cherries. Drain the cherries but save the juice,you'll need it for the fudge frosting.
Push one cherry halfway into each cooky.Once the cookies are all molded with the cherries placed, proceed to the frosting.
Fudgy Frosting:
In small, heavy pan over low heat,melt:
1 c. semi-sweet chocolate pieces
1/2 c. Sweetened, condensed milk.
Add 1/4 tsp. salt
1 to 1 1/2 tsp. maraschino cherry juice
Stir well, till smooth. It will turn kind of glossy. Working quickly, top each cherry with 1/2 tsp. of frosting. I use my small cooky scoop,it's less messy.
Bake the frosted cookies at 350* for 8-10 minutes,till puffy looking.
Store tightly covered...possibly well hidden from yourself!!
Makes about 36 to 48 cookies. I usually get closer to the smaller amount.
Do you know this cooky -eating rule : If it gets broken while taking off the
sheet or it's ugly you get to eat it-It's not polite to give honored family & friend guests broken or ugly one's looking....I think we need to drop a couple more!!!!
I made them in my mini- muffin pans this year-it worked great!!

Those are Grandma J's baking trivets I'm using. The Tupperware orange peeler, on the flat end, makes a super non-scratch mini spatula to get them out of the pan. I let them cool 5-6 minutes in the pan before removing. They bake in the muffin tin for the same amount of time.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Christmas Movie Pick # ?

Favorite # what ? Definitely in my Top 5. Cary Grant, Loretta Young & David Niven star in this one. I love Cary Grant's part in this-I think you'll enjoy it!!

The Weekend -Part 2

Yes, Life is wonderful!
"I find the most exciting things to do!"

'Yes, Grammy, I do know how to use the computer....but we have to wait till Mommy's in the other room!"

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

It's a Party!

Hmm, there are cookies missing... & I didn't do it . Really. I ate mine at Joyce's...
My friend Joyce has a party every year, or many parties-she bakes tons of cookies & invites friends, family,church family over to decorate cookies. Besides eating as many cookies as one wants while there, she has a whole counter full of snacks & drinks. Oh boy! Let us be making merry & laughing all the way!! And we do. Seven of us ladies, a whole lot of sugar in many forms & you've got the mixture for one very joyful evening. Okay. I did eat cookies. Quite a few cookies, 4 small mittens & 1 large mitten cookie, to be exact. With frosting. Well, if I'm confessing,with sugar sprinkles and frosting. And they were good. Very good. All 5 of them.
I'd like them to look like Martha Stewart's or her crew that makes them, anyhow. But they don't. Still, did you notice the missing cookies on the first plate? Someone had cookies for breakfast. And I don't believe it was a Christmas mouse. I'm pretty sure it was you-know-who. My own personal Cooky Monster... I had just one with my coffee this morning... and they were still very good. And you know what? It's 8:32 PM & now, they're gone.
Oh well, I guess I'll have to bake again soon!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Jingle Bells!

Sooo... I got her eyes 1/2 shut.....hey,maybe she just hadn't had her coffee yet!!
Do you know the word/name "Jegs"? This is an important word to know if you're married to a sweeet guy who is into "Really fast, zoom-zoom, Turbo Big Wow" kind of things for cars. These will be the presents he will really want to see on Christmas morning. So,hey kids, forget those new socks this year...unless they're flameproof...or from Jegs!

Ta Da!! And this is what they look like all wrapped up...
So innocent looking ...!!!

The Weekend-Part 1

My best little gal pal in the truck on our way to shopping & lunch out. I found out my best pictures are when Ariana is somehow restrained,otherwise most of my pic's are a blur!!! This Grammy was soooo happy to see that girlie-my arms ache from all the holding!
Summy looking beautiful at "Ruby Tuesday's" on Sunday. Something delayed our order so we also got to have free salad bar-yahoo says I!!!

Our girlie had a sandwich & ate goodies from us too!

Dan & I.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Aren't you Hungry?

Polish Christmas

It just really wouldn't be as good a Christmas without some Polish soul food, as my Dad would say! Last year, at this time, we had a full house, with Ashley, and two of the sweetest little packages anyone could hope to find under their tree or anywhere else, for that matter!! Let's just say it was busier than the quiet Christmas Dan & I have become accustomed to! Summer was also living a short distance from us, with little Miss Adorable, & was about to become engaged that Christmas Eve to Nathan, a bright star upon our tree. Travis was in Japan,always missed, but a happy phone call away on Christmas.

Okay... you're saying ....and...hmm..the point of memory lane? I don't actually remember baking or shopping or did we have the Family Christmas Tree Party??

Well, I sure know I did not make Pierogi's last year! I think Summer or Summer & Ashley made them. But this year, drum roll, please, I did!!! And it is quite the process & I thought I'd share my recipe. Before you begin, it's alot of work, but I do a few things to make it a little easier on myself, ala fibromyalgia. ( Yes, my back & knees are still burning but it could be worse) Are you ready for my big secret?! I cut the dough recipe down to a third. Which means two-thirds less of the time on my feet, while mixing,rolling,cutting,filling,sealing,boiling & clean up. Okay,the clean up in the same no matter what!
Microwave 1/3 c. milk till warm enough to melt 3/4 tsp. Crisco. Add 1/3 c. cold milk & a pinch of salt. Let cool. Beat 1 egg into cooled milk mixture. Mix in approx. 2 c. flour. What you're looking for is a noodle dough consistency. Too wet, & it will stick & tear & be terrible to work with. Too dry & it will be hard to roll thin & be tough & be terrible to work with. How it usually goes for me is the first bit I roll out is too wet & I add more flour.
I rolled my dough on floured parchment paper, which I think helps to keep it from sticking & I pretend, makes clean up easier(Normally, this works theoretically only). Taking only about 1/3 of your dough,roll thin. And cut in rounds. I used to use the cottage cheese lid & a knife for this part. Now, I use a handy dandy cutter type tool thing from Pampered Chef. Do I hear a woohoo?!
Now that you have them cut out-Oh,didn't you make your filling? What's that? You didn't know the recipe? Let me help- Peel, cut & boil 3-4 medium-ish potatoes till tender. Drain. Mix with an equal amount of cottage cheese. I used large curd this year because that's what my store had on sale. Season with salt & pepper. No,that's right,there is NO Milk, just the cottage cheese.
Now, take a spoonful of filling & put it slightly off center in the middle of a dough round.Have a nice little bowl with cool water & dip your 2 first fingers in the water. Yes,the whole recipe hinges on your dip-piness! Dot with water the rim of your rounds. Now,fold your dough in half to make a little turnover. Seal the edges with drier fingers, pinching all around the rim. Viola', you've made your first Pierogi!!!!! Make the rest now till there ain't no mo' to make.
Put a pot of water onto boil. Slip a few pierogi's into the boiling water & let boil for 5 minutes. I scoop out with a strainer/spoonish thing. This year, I put them on parchment covered platters to drain.

The next step is to pan fry them in butter, till they are a golden,crispy brown.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Christmas movies

We've seen it before,but Christmas with our favorite fastidious Belgian Detective, Hercule Poirot,is worth doing again.
This one is new to us. A delightful 40's comedy,it made us laugh out loud in a number of different places.
How 'bout you? Are you listening to Christmas carols & watching the old/new favorites??