Sunday, January 4, 2015

A FOREVER FEAST, A NEW YEAR BEGINS




Chief Mountain on New Year's Day, 2015
.. majestic as always ...
Clear skies and great weather for loved ones returning
to their home after a treasured time of being together.


We end the old year with the celebration of the birth of Jesus.
Beautifully wrapped gifts remind us of the gift that God gave to man.
At this moment I have the gift of life and I have entered a new year with
a slate of possibilities to serve and to bless.


I was thrilled to have my daughter and family home for the holidays, 
even though one member was unfortunate enough to be sick for a time.
We missed the other daughter and her family in far off NY.
Family time and food partner together perfectly and I was glad
 for all the made-ahead meals and cookies I had in the freezer.
 My daughter made this favorite raspberry cheesecake dessert for Christmas dinner.


Those of us who love putting together puzzles worked on 3 large ones.
This scene was by far the hardest ... 1000 pieces .. many similar hues ..
but we persevered until it was completed.


In between the two major celebrations of the season we have
a birthday girl to bless.  Her choice of cake was a German chocolate,
made by her mother.


And for the main course she chose chicken fajitas.
My grandchildren have enriched my life beyond anything
I ever dreamed.  I look forward to making more memories
and sharing more celebrations.



My niece made this blackboard for me for Christmas.
Notice that I did not erase the previous writing before adding the present one.
Hand lettering is one of my 'joys' and I did this rather quickly.

Blessings to my readers in 2015

May the joy of the Lord be your strength.





Sunday, December 21, 2014

A FOREVER FEAST, WHITE AS SNOW


Before it was fully light, I looked out on a panorama of pure white snow.
Immediately my mind signaled a promise;
'Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow  ...


..though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.


What a beautiful reminder of the Christmas message!


God sending His son to enter His life on earth as a baby ..
willing to lower Himself  ..  because He loves me and you.


He left His divine position with the Father to offer hope and forgiveness ..
..with selflessness, humility and compassion ..
and finally death.


..  so that you and I would have a gateway into eternity.

.. the angel said to her,
'Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God.
You will be with child and give birth to a son,
and you are to give him the name Jesus.
He will be great and will be called 
the Son of the Most High.
The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David,
and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever;
his kingdom will never end.'
Luke 2: 29 - 33





Friday, December 19, 2014

GINGERBREAD DEER


Here is a picture of some interesting 'deer' I made with gingerbread dough.
There are many versions on Pinterest as well as tutorials   
on Youtube.  I played around with royal icing, melting chocolate and
M and Ms (for the bulbous nose).  I had fun especially when the placement
of the eyes created a personality.


I use my favorite gingerbread recipe year after year and just vary 
the style.  The recipe is on this blog under 'Christmas cookies'.


I have a 'merry' respect for the person who saw the possibility
of creating a deer one step at a time.


Notice the 'deer' are created from an upside-down gingerbread boy.


These faces are not the perfectly smooth kind I have seen on pictures,
but turned out rather textured.


I hope my grandsons will observe them, even  briefly,
just to appreciate their character before they disappear forever.


Some of the dough had to become girls in snow parkas.
Perhaps they are my favorites.


And for the boys on my list I make the matching guys.


Until next time!



Tuesday, December 16, 2014

TURTLE COOKIES


Do these amazing chocolate cookies with pecans and caramels look
hard to make?  Now that I have made them, I can tell you they are  
not that difficult. It was rather fun to mix and stir and roll
and dip and decorate into one delicious bite!


The chocolate dough is easy to make and after a dip into beaten egg white,
the nuts cling perfectly to the outside.  An indention is made in the center
using the handle of a wooden spoon.


After baking the indention is again clearly formed and filled with
a bit of smooth caramel.


Drizzle chocolate over cookies for the final touch.
Beautiful and delicious!



TURTLE COOKIES

½ cup butter, softened
2/3 cup sugar
1 egg yolk
2 tbsp. milk
1 tsp. vanilla 
1 cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup cocoa
¼ tsp. salt

In a mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar until combined.  Add egg yolk, milk
and vanilla; beat until light and fluffy.  Blend flour, cocoa and salt;  stir into
butter mixture. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour or until dough is firm enough to handle.

1 egg white, lightly beaten
1 cup finely chopped pecans

Form dough into 1-inch balls.  Dip balls into egg white and roll into pecans to coat.
Place balls onto parchment-lined cookie sheets, 1 inch apart.  Make an indention in
center of balls using the round end of a wooden spoon.
Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 10 to 12 minutes or until set.

14 caramels
3 tbsp. heavy whipping cream

While cookies are baking, stir caramels and whipping cream in a small saucepan
over low heat, until caramels are melted and filling is smooth.

When cookies are baked, remove from oven and press each center again to make 
a clear indention. Spoon a small amount of caramel filling into each opening.
Cool completely before drizzling cookies with melted chocolate. *
Yield:  24 cookies

* I used chocolate melting wafers for the drizzle.
OR melt ½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips and 1 tsp. shortening.






Monday, December 15, 2014

ZESTY LIME SHORTBREAD


Some of my friends are sending gentle encouragement my way
in the form of telling me they are missing my blogs.
I need those reminders now and again!
Earlier in the fall, I spent several wonderful weeks in NY during which
I had no time to blog because I was too busy enjoying the grandchildren
and helping my daughter with projects and cooking.
Back home and getting close to Christmas I am very busy baking cookies to send to
that same far off place in NY where my grands are waiting for the
traditional box from Gram.  That is done and the box is on it's way,
thanks to a kind friend who mails it for me in Montana.


I find myself making the same Christmas cookies year after year but
I also like to try some new recipes.  This one caught my attention because 
it has finely chopped toasted coconut in the dough as well as the 
tangy flavor of lime.
Since some of these were being sent in the mail, I made them into a 
sandwich cookie rather than a snowflake or star which are more fragile.


Cut out into the star shape, this perfectly tender butter cookie 
looks very festive.


Tip: if you find this dough to be dry, 
add ice water (1 tsp. at a time) until a dough forms.




ZESTY LIME SHORTBREAD

½ cup flaked coconut, toasted
½ cup sugar
zest from two limes
1 tsp. vanilla
2½ cups all-purpose flour
1 cup butter, cut into cubes

In a food processor, combine coconut, sugar,  lime zest and vanilla.
Cover and process until coconut is finely chopped.
Add flour; cover and pulse to combine.
Add butter; cover and process until mixture starts to cling.
Transfer to a large bowl and knead until smooth.
Shape dough into a ball; cover and chill for about 1 hour until dough
is easy to handle.
Divide dough in half; roll out one portion on lightly floured surface, about
¼-inch thickness.  Using cookie cutters, cut into desired shapes.
Place cutouts 1-inch apart on parchment-lined cookie sheets.
Bake in preheated 325 degree oven for 15 -17 minutes or until bottoms
are just beginning to brown.
Transfer to wire rack; allow to cool.
Repeat with remaining dough.  Drizzle with glaze.
Yield: about 3 dozen cookies

Lime Glaze
In a bowl, stir together 2 cups powdered sugar, ½ tsp. finely grated lime peel,
and 2 tsp. lime juice. Stir in enough milk  ( 1 to 2 tablespoons) to make a glaze 
of spreading consistency. (If you prefer more tang, add more lime juice)


Monday, October 13, 2014

THANKSGIVING DAY IN CANADA, 2014

 A GRATEFUL HEART


This trunk is old ... well over five decades worth of bark and gnarl.


It began as a small shoot sent out from the mother tree ..
 I was barely into my teens when I dug it and planted it here.


I transplanted five saplings .. they grew lofty and wide.
The birds found shelter in their leafy sanctuary.
I loved their strength and shade.


Winds have claimed some lessor branches but not these rooted pillars.
Buffeted by wind and hail, sleet and snow .. weathered but not destroyed.
Reaching ever higher and embracing the goodness of rain and heat and sunshine.


It's time to rest ... to change from intensity and vigor to quietness and repose.


In another form stripped of all decor, yet stately still.
On hold .. and waiting for what lies ahead .. patiently and unafraid.


O God, You have been there for me ..
in the playful times of childhood ..
during the confusion of youth ...
through the hard choices of adulthood ...

 You are my guide as I transition the passing seasons.
You are my strength and pillar.
You never change.
I cling to your promises  when the weight seems too heavy ..
You never leave me alone and afraid.
You help me grow in spite of myself because You are God.
You bless me with so many good things 
that I can hardly comprehend it.
I reach for You and embrace Your Majesty.
You are Holy and Righteous, God of heaven and earth.
Blessed Trinity, one in essence, three in Person..
 Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Thank you for calling me to be Your child.

..that my heart may sing to you and not be silent.
O Lord my God,
I will give you thanks forever.Psalm 30: 12 NIV


Friday, October 3, 2014

APPLE HAND PIES


October ushers in Apple time and what a delight this recipe turned
out to be.  My daughter made them first and after her expression of
enthusiasm, I had to try them as well.
The pastry puffed and flaked providing the perfect case for tangy apple filling.


Roll the dough as you would for a pie; cut into circles and place
filling in the center, leaving a small border.
Brush edges with egg wash.


Drape the top circle over your fingers and gently shape into a dome.
That makes it easier to conform to the mound of apple filling.


Once the circles are in place, seal edges with the tines of a fork and cut
slits for the air to escape.  Brush tops with egg wash.


Don't they look inviting!


If hand pies seem too tedious and time consuming. this recipe
can be formed into a loaf as well.
On a piece of parchment paper, roll dough into a 11 x 13-inch rectangle.
Place apple filling down the center lengthwise; make 1-inch cuts along side,
making sure cuts are 3/4- inch from filling.


Fold each side alternately over the top to produce a braided effect.
Seal ends well.  Brush top with egg wash and sprinkle with sanding sugar.


Bake until golden brown.


These pies were drizzled with glaze while still warm.
Delicious!

APPLE HAND PIES

2 cups all-purpose flour
½ tsp. baking powder
                                                                         ½ tsp. salt
1 cup butter, cold and cut into cubes
½ cup sour cream

Blend flour, baking powder and salt and tip into a food processor. 
Add cubes of butter and process until crumbly.
Or alternately, use fingers to work in butter until crumbly.
Stir in sour cream and form into dough.
If dough is sticky, add more flour, one teaspoon at a time.
Or if mixture is too dry to form dough, add ice water, one teaspoon at a time
until a soft dough forms.
Roll dough into a 9 - inch square; fold into thirds.
Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

3 tart pie apples, like Granny Smith
2 tsp. lemon juice
½ tsp. cinnamon
¼ cup sugar
2 tsp. all-purpose flour

Peel, core and dice apples into small pieces to make 2½ cups
Stir together with lemon juice, cinnamon, sugar and flour; set aside.

1 egg
1 tablespoon water
Whisk egg and water together; set aside.
sanding sugar

On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to about 1/8 inch thick.
Using a four-inch cookie cutter, cut as many circles as possible.
Place a small amount of apple filling in center of half of the circles,
leaving a small border. Brush edge with egg wash.
Place second circle of dough over filled circle, press gently to close
and seal edge with tines of a fork.  
Cut vents in dough for air to escape. Brush tops with egg wash.
Sprinkle with sanding sugar, if desired.
Place on parchment-lined baking sheet.
Continue re-rolling scraps and cutting circles until all dough is used.
Bake in preheated 425 degree oven for 15 minutes or until golden brown.
Remove from oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes before serving.
Yield: 10 hand pies or 1 loaf