Sunday, March 30, 2008

Let's Celebrate!

What fun we all had at Joshua's Sat birthday dinner. He had pizza and they sang and brought him ice-cream. WOW!
Laureen will return to school after a fun trip to Prague. A fitting place to spend your last day of your 20's. I remember what it was like to go from the end of my 20s to 30. I hope Laureen will enjoy it as much as I did! Wish we could wake you both with a donut with a bright candle. Hopefully you will feel how happy we are that both of you are here and in our family.
All our love!
mom & dad
Grammie & Papa

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Happy Birthday to Joshua, and Laureen

It's a surprise for sure but it has been snowing all day! It's March 28th.
Oh my.
I don't want to forget to wish the last two March birthdays a happy week-end of celebration.
Joshua will be 6 and he has lots of plans for sat. He was thinking that Sunday birthdays just didn't happen and that made him so sad. I think he's now figuring out you just have your fun on Sat.
Laureen has her birthday on Sunday also (Joshua was born the same day). She was my magic birth! Didn't feel a thing, Didn't know I was in labor. My Dr. saw me for my regular appointment and told me to go straight to the hospital and before he could walk across the street, where his office was, Laureen was born. A ,barely speaking English, Korean Ob/GYN delivered her right outside the door of the delivery room. As my #4 daughter points out he was not a willing O.B
Dr. koh kept yelling "not my patient, not my patient!" A large nurse, grabbed a gown picked him up and ,slipped the gown on, and put him next to me and said "deliver!"
Needless to say I felt great after she was born and they brought me lunch right away. That was amazing all on it's own, but I had my first Blue Berry buckle. What a heavenly taste at that moment in time. I am giving the recipe in honor of Laureens birthday! She was born at 12:18 and we have a long tradition of a hug at that moment. She is far away and it will be a phone call but we do our best to honor this moment of her birth. I hope she is having fun on her little vacation.
Happy Birthday laureen Happy Birthday Joshua
Blue Berry Buckle-from The readers digest Back to Basics book
4 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup milk
2 cups blueberries, rinsed
Crumb topping
4 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
sweetened whipped cream
Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg and vanilla extract. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. add the flour mixture alternately with the milk into the creamed mixture beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Pour the batter into a buttered 8 inch square baking dish. Cover the batter evenly with the blue berries
Combine the butter, sugar, cinnamon and flour. With a pastry blender or two knives cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. sprinkle the topping over the blueberries. bake 40 minutes in a 375 degree oven. Serve warm with whipped cream
Makes 6-8 servings.
Yes the perfect after labor treat.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

April Fools offer winding down

Just a reminder that March is nearly gone. Oh my. Yes two more birthdays to come, the # 3 child will turn 30 and a grandson will turn.....6 years old. That will signal the end of march. I will start addressing Cd envelops in two days so get your address and request to me by Wed.
If you have no idea what I am talking about read my April fools blog listed over there on the right. Questions? by all means ask.

Monday, March 24, 2008

The samurai's Garden

I just finished the April book for our book club. It's the samurai's Garden. I highly suggest it for your Spring read. It takes place in Japan in 1937-38 during a troubled war with China. A young man, college age, has been sent to his Chinese families summer home in Japan. He is ill with Tb and the coastal air is thought to be helpful. This is a charming story of his life there, seen through his journal. I could hardly put this book down. the characters are real to life and interesting. I could feel the ocean air, smell the flowers in the garden. I could taste the lovely meals that were prepared for this boy. I now want mochi for lunch so Clint how do I cook it again?
You will be happy with the outcome and maybe even enjoy the few tears this book brings. The author Gail Tsukiyama is Chinese/Japanese American, prefect for sharing this story of a Chinese boy in a waring Japan!
Costco here has the book, but don't forget the library is a free source of reading material.
Oh it's spring and I'd love to be in Japan again. Loved Cherry blossom season. This book will take you there along with a whole year of Japan's seasons.
For my son I suggest he and his wife read it out loud together! He and my daughter Cheryl can pronounce all the lovely Japanese words used in this book
Happy reading!

Friday, March 21, 2008

An Easter walk

Tomorrow or Sunday if you aren't in an area of the world that's under snow or flood water take a little walk.
find these things:
a branch to remind us that as Christ entered the city people waved palm branches
a piece of wood to remind us he had to carry his own wooden cross
something prickley to remind us Christ as treated badly when he had done no wrong
Something no longer alive to remind us he did die on the cross
3 things that are dark in color to remind us of the 3 days without light when he died
a nice big stone to remind us a angel removed the stone at Christs grave but he was not there
something alive to remind us that Jesus Christ really did die and come back to life and we call it resurrection.

Happy Easter

I have to share a fun treat my sister's family makes. I love to color eggs. I think it's all about playing with the colors. It doesn't matter to me how old or young the kids around are, lets go play with those colors!
I think I share that same fun feeling for these Easter cookies. I don't have the real recipe for this treat, we'll have to hope my sister Christine reads this and gives up the recipe but I do have the verison I made with my kids. So here it goes:
Make sugar cookies (my simple recipe is to follow)
Cut three egg holes in half the cookies before baking.
I use a lid off a pill bottle and cut with a tiny knife but you may go free hand and do an egg shape! Bake, there will be a top with holes and a bottom without.
Make a batch of buttercream icing (recipe to follow) put it into three cereal bowls and dye each a lovely Spring pastel. I like green, yellow and pink. Go easy on the drops of food dye you can always add more and pastel is very light.
I always made three icing cones (I found cone paper at Michaels but you may have a plastic one) and filled each one with a different color. I matched up the cookie tops and bottoms. Took a toothpick and through the hole put a prick in the center to mark the spot. I removed the top cookie with holes and piped a big glob of color one at each toothpick point. Make sure you put enough icing to spread inside and poke out that egg hole.
Put the tops back on being careful to match the the holes with the center of each piped icing color. This goes faster than it sounds and when you push that cookie down on the icing
....MAGIC Three eggs appear!
Enjoy this lovely tradition.
Grade School Easy Sugar cookies
1 cup of butter at room temp. 1 cup sugar Cream until mixed add: 1 egg 1 teas. Vanilla Stir in by hand just until flour is mixed in. 3 cups flour ½ teas. baking powder ½ teas. Salt form into two flat squares, wrap in plastic wrap and chill for at least an hour. Instead of using flour to roll your cookies use a dusting of sugar to keep dough from sticking on the counter. Or mix flour and sugar. I find a rolling cloth works even better. A finely woven cotton towel (the kind that doesn’t make lint) dust the sugar on the cloth and roll. Nothing sticks that way. The sugar looks pretty on the top of the cookies anyway. Bake for 8 to 10 min at 400 degrees until lightly brown on the edges.


1 pound of confectioners sugar, sift out lumps

1/2 cup of shortening (I just use butter)

2 tablespoons butter

Beat this in a mixer until light and fluffy

Add approx. 1/3 cup of milk a couple of tablespoons at a time. Keep the frosting fairly firm

flavor with 1 1/2 teas of vanilla extract, or lemon, or orange You can keep the frosting a bit stiff and hand stir in a different flavor for each color. Takes the simple out of the process

Keep beating until the frosting seems fluffy enough to push though the cone and firm enough to pop out the cookie hole as an egg.

This is not hard to do. Just add that milk slowly.

If you only have one pastry bag to put the icing in: line up all the cookies (there goes the dining room table!) with their matches below them. Pipe all of one color, wipe it out with a paper towel and pipe another color, do the same and pipe the last color before closing the cookies. If you use water to wash the bag it will be hard to get it dry enough to do the next color. So what if a tiny bit of color remains from the color before!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

making pictures larger

I just found out if you click on one of the pictures in my blog it will open in a window full size. Maybe I'm the last to figure this out, if not click on a picture and see what happens. Does it give you a larger one? I also noticed you can print from this. Cool!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Easy cake decorating designs

Happy cake, birthdays, and fun finishes

I just celebrated my birthday. My grandson enjoyed the whole event and began asking nightly for happy cake. If you have a celebration coming and cake or cupcakes are part of the deal you might enjoy these easy, great looking toppings for cake.
I saved these from an old magazine. I will have to put them in several posts to fit all the photos in. Enjoy and be sure and have two pieces of happy cake!
da da da da to me da da da da to me!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008


It's not yet the season for Fresh Basil here in the Northwest but Trader Joes always has some and I had a request for this recipe from our Ukiah days. This is an easy, to die for Pesto. Get some warm baguette and go for it! I've had this since the 1970's/80's.
McFadden's Pesto
1 Cup fresh Basil leaves
3 t0 4 peeled cloves of garlic
1/4 cup fresh parsley (some people leave this out)
2 tablespoon pine nuts
1/2 cup olive oil, this amount varies
3/4 cup Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper
In the Blender chop everything except the oil and cheese. Once chopped slowly add oil while blending until smooth and creamy. Add more oil if needed. Add cheese last and serve. Great stirred into pasta or picked up on some great Italian bread.

What food to store and why part I

I've just had a nice week-end away and am ready to pass on some information. I will keep it simple because I know you have a lot of important things to do. Right now my husband is out of work. It has happened before and each time it is for different amounts of time. A wise thing for me to do is plan for this kind of emergency. You too should plan for an emergency. This is a little emergency at this time, but the winter of 2006 we were cut off from everything for 5 days to a week and that was a bigger issue. Wisely we should be able to take care of ourselves at these times. What do we need in order to take care of ourselves? Just to sustain life you need water, food, and sleep. Ask any new mom, showers are opt. Seriously your body is 50% to 70% water. So you need water to stay alive. You can only live a few days to a week without water. So put that as #1 on your list.
Food is our next issue. If you go without food your body will take care of its self. Yes it will do everything to last as long as it can. It begins by burning your fat stores. Good for round people like me, bad for skinny folks. Next when it runs out of fat to burn for energy it will burn protein, or muscle. This is not fun, it makes you tired and everything you do takes longer. I don't want to scare any of you. This is just information to help us see what we need to store, but next your smart body starts shutting down organs to save your brain and hope that help comes before it shuts down too much! What a smart system we have inside! Our goal would be to go into any emergency as healthy as possible. That gives us the best advantage.
Without food some people only can last 3 days or less however there are records of people lasting for months. It's all about your health to begin with, your state of mind (fear burns energy so fast!) will power to live, your body weight to begin with, how much hydration or water you get, and the climate you are in. It all makes sense. As a parent you will need to consider each family members issues in order to meet their needs. The youngest and oldest are always the biggest concern as are anyone who is ill.
With that out of the way lets consider what your body likes to live on most. Yes there are dozens of vitamins and minerals, proteins, carbs oh my the list makes your head spin and on most days we just want to find time to produce a meal everyone will eat! What you need to consider now is "This is an Emergency" what do I store for an emergency.
I'm so glad we went through that horrible storm that brought down miles of trees and froze our street so they were impassable. It taught me a lot of things I didn't consider in the past. First off we work hard when it's an emergency. That burns fats first and then proteins. OK so I have plenty of body fat, but I sure don't want to burn the muscle so I need to store proteins. That way I can refuel everyone who is under stress and working harder in new ways. When I say protein what do you think of? Animal products? Plant products? Be honest. Do you know where protein comes from? If not I can give you a lot of information to help you on this. In this blog note I'll just touch on basics to get you started. OK
In a basic form protein is only used in our body correctly if it is a complete protein. The body requires 22 amino acids in a specific pattern to make a human protein. All but 8 of these can be produced in the adult human body. Not all foods have the missing amino's. Most meats and whole dairy products are complete proteins. That's easy isn't it. BUT WAIT...these things spoil so easy. We will find them hard to store for long. If you go to the local GI Joe type stores you can buy M.R.E's or meals ready to eat. Made for the armies. There will be meats and dairy in these, but we don't really have a good way to store our own proteins if the power goes out. In my next "what to store" blog I'll cover what protein you can store in detail. For now lets consider these easy proteins. Can you fill up your freezers? Not with carbs but with some stored meats you can rotate into your eating and replace as you do? When an emergency comes about you can begin eating Fresh stuff first....
1. The veggie drawer of your fridge,
2. The fresh meats and milks
3. Cheese can be held with vinegar, on a towel, wrapped around it. Hold on to these and use in small amounts to make them last
4. Eggs
5. What else is fresh in your fridge? Go look?
Now when that is gone you can go to the freezer and begin there. You may not have a freezer I've never been without one. They sale really small ones and if you have a garage at all I'd sure want a little bit of frozen food.
After the fresh, and frozen stuff is eaten you will begin on your dry and canned storage. This you can store much longer than fresh and you won't have to rotate it nearly as often.
See that was easy. Look in each of these places, how much protein is in these places? What things do you question? Do ask me.
We are starting gently here. Remember water is first, then protein. I'll cover what you need next but start with this.
I promise we will cover everyday nutrition but right now I'm answering the storage question that was asked. The needs of our body on normal days of life will be somewhat different, but you will be gaining a lot of the basics right now as you plan for an emergency. Next I'll teach you about the easiest to store proteins......
Grammie person
P.S that beautiful glass bottle of water was passed out instead of the plastic kind at the cast party for the new Steven Spielberg movie 'Indiana Jones and the kingdom of the Crystal skull'
High class!
That cute little cactus is from My husbands family desert land in the South Mojave. Little cactus now lives with us in the Pacific northwest.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

April's fool fun

Hello ladies, I have been so enjoying writing these hints for you. In the process of answering friends and family members questions I have collected some "things". We all collect the things we enjoy. I have a porcelain doll collection, an antique button collection, sheep, and rabbits and fiber books. I am a spinner hence the collection of sheep, rabbit and fiber baring animal things. The collection I want to pass along to you is my basics. yes meals are so fast when you have a basic muffin, roll, pancake, syrup, popover recipe you can get at and use at the moment your meal needs that standard prepared item. So I wish to make you a gift of my collection of basics. It will be on Cd and it will include all that I consider a must to have and use and change and to adjust to make it your own. We will call it the 2008 edition, by next year it will have a lot more added to it. So the only thing I ask is an e-mail with your address. That's it. You can send it in a comment as they are only seen by me until I OK them and I won't put any of them on the blog I will just collect them so I can mail you.....on April fools day.....a Cd of my basics. Yes I will cruise on down that 2.5 mile jaunt to the Post office and mail these off to you. A fitting and fun thing to do on April fools day! This isn't a joke, really!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Now where did I see that recipe, it's just what I need!

Wow! There is a recipe for everything. I mean everything. I've found so many that I loved! And I've lost so many that I loved! In 1982 I started a book. We called it the little green book and when I had a recipe I loved I wrote down where it was. Maybe a magazine, a cook book, a newspaper clipping. I have dozens of cook books! Soon I could go to this book to not only find the location of a favorite but to remind myself of what they were. This helps menu planning a great deal.
Today this is so much easier than a little green book. You have Excel and lots of software for recipe saving. If you want to set up an Excel program for tracking I can help you with that.
Maybe you'd like to scan those recipes and keep them close at hand. That's a great idea with how fast we can do things now. I remember having to type recipes I wanted to save and that rarely happened. A couple of my daughters have started notebooks of main dishes and sides and all the stuff you need for a meal. That is a handy way to do recipes. What are you using? Nothing? Well this is key to doing that meal planning for the next 30 years or what ever. Start a plan and I will add more and more to help you in the next blog. I also have an April fools surprise that's not for fools. Watch for the details in up coming blogs

A Plan, A Plan we need a plan!

I believe that the number one thing that takes up our time is


The ladies in my age group we just don't want to do it any more. YET, there is nothing I enjoy more than preparing a meal for someone who enjoys eating it. Just not 3 meals a day, 7 days a week. I've been thinking about this for a good long while. When my husband was working away from home for what looked to be a year I was faced with how to cook for just me. It made me think a lot about how to get a healthy meal that was good yet very fast. Some of you ladies are talking about needing just the very same thing only for a family who will demand it be on time to match the tummy grumbles! So we should explore this and come up with some helpful ways to make meals work for our modern lives. HOWEVER, I have the busiest week since the beginning of the year and won't be home days or nights.

It's kick off for the fair and R.S birthday celebration and Lilly to baby sit for and maybe a trip in the planning. With that in mind I will start slowly on this subject and if you grow impatient you can send in some comments as you think of ideas, or put them on your own blogs and I will go there for inspiration. Come next week I will hit this blog big with meal planning help. I cooked not only for the 7 of us for 0ver 30 years but also spent 5 years cooking for 100's of hungry Jr. High kids. I know what an important subject this is!

So while I put this blog together, do me a favor and watch how your family meals go. Figure out what days are problems and why, what times are difficult. What foods are puzzling you. Watch what tools you have and need. Make me some lists and be ready to help me find ways to help you.

On your mark, Get set......... Go........we will have a cooking plan soon.

P.S that food chart is from the 1980's. It no longer works and I'll show you why.

Friday, March 7, 2008

What if all I have is a tea cup and a mug?

Teas cup on the left, mug on the right
This question was asked about measuring recipes. If you live where you must use metrics I can only offer you a little help. My dear friend in BC could answer our questions as how to make the change. I offer this web site for a really nice group of charts.
cooking metrics
As for the tea cup and mug...
If your tea cup is like mine it will measure on the inside;
5 1/2 mm deep to 7 1/2 mm across it will hold less water than a cup and a little more water than 3/4 cup.
The mug if it is like mine will measure 8 1/2 mm deep to 7 1/2 mm across and it holds 1 1/3 cups of water.
A spoon you eat with holds 1 teas of water. A bigger spoon like what I stir with holds
1 tablespoon of water just barely.
My hands are not med and not small just between those and I can hold 1/3 cup of dry goods in one hand if you want to measure that way.
If you have a way to measure these in other than metric just know that on my ruler 1 inch is about 2.5 mm. The inch is just a little touch bigger.
WOW that's my math for the day...Any ideas out there?

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Delightful Treasures

Yes they live up to their name. I love these cookies. My mother was a horrible cook...hum she was worse than horrible but these cookies she could make very well. We loved them as kids. She didn't make them often but I never forgot them. My sister wrote the recipe down for me as my mothers recipes were in bits and pieces and mostly lost. Thank you Georgia for saving this one!
Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1/4 cup sour cream
1 1/4 cup sifted flour
3/4 teas baking soda
1/2 teas salt
3/4 cup raisins or dates chopped
Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
Beat in egg and sour cream
Gently mix in flour, soda and salt
Stir in raisins or dates
Drop by teaspoon into white sugar. Roll to coat. This is a very soft dough work gently to form a ball.
bake on un-greased cookies sheets for 10 to 12 minutes. Do not brown.
Cool and frost with the browned butter frosting below. top with an almond or whole walnut
Brown 1/4 cup butter in a frying pan. The hint here is to see it turn a light cream color and remove it from the heat just as your stirring it turns it a light brown. If you burn it start over it's only 1/4 of a cup.
remove from heat and add 1 1/2 Cups sifted powdered sugar, 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
gradually add 1 to 2 Tablespoons milk or cream. Stir until smooth and creamy.
Work fast to spread on cookies. I will put the frying pan back on the burner but I have electric and it retains a touch of heat to keep the frosting spreadable.
RAISIN HINT: I like soft raisins in cookies so I pour some hot, water over them and leave it about 8 minutes to slightly soften the fruit. drain and dry on a couple of paper towels. It's worth it in these soft cookies not to bit into a hard raisin!

Harriets Homemakers

Cookies closest to this recipe in photo
I loved high school home eco. class! I met a girl while hiking in Yosemite and we became pen pals. This is a recipe we traded from our classes. This is her trade. Note it is a small recipe. The recipes were cut to fit our class room numbers of the 60's. You can easily double this recipe. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees 1/2 cup shortening 1/2 cup sugar 1/4 cup brown sugar 1 egg 1 teas. vanilla 1 cup flour 3/4 tsp salt 1/2 tsp baking soda 1 cup corn flakes 1/2 cup coconut 1/2 cup chopped nuts Cream shortening, sugar, egg and vanilla until light and fluffy. sift together dry ingredients Stir into creamed mixture making sure no flour shows when finished Add corn flakes, coconut, and nuts drop teaspoon of dough 2 inches apart on greased cookie sheet. Bake for 10-12 min or until lightly brown and crunchy. Makes 3 1/2 dozen approx.

Chocolate Curls

cookies in photo unbaked
When my husband and I were first married we had nothing to live on but love...sound familiar? Well it's hard to live on and we found ourselves sleeping on the floor in sleeping bags. After doing this for a while a new family in our ward needed help with their horses while they got other loads. We offered and they wanted to pay us. We said "No way" and somehow it came about that they were getting rid of a water bed and offered it in trade for horse services and it all came with this yummy chocolate recipe. This cookie is a bit of work.
Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees
1 cup butter
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup chocolate chips melted
1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts
2 cups flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/ to 1/4 teas Cinnamon
Cream Butter and powdered sugar until light and fluffy. Blend in melted chocolate chips
and 1/4 cup of the shopped walnuts. Add flour and mix. Chill this med soft dough (if you chill this too long it is hard to scoop out, just allow to warm up a bit)
Shape 1 teaspoon of dough into long snake like tubes and roll in mixture below. You may have to pinch the dough until a long robe and then while in the nut mixture roll it gently once to round.
coil the rope into a circle like a Cinnamon roll. Place on un-greased cookie sheet and bake for 12 to 15 minutes. They need to fill firm and not soft. However the chocolate makes it hard to tell so don't burn.
May it be noted that not only the cookie recipe survived but we had the water bed until 2001 when our bodies needed a change!
ROLL in mixture of 1/4 cup brown sugar, the left over chopped nuts and Cinnamon. I always need more than this so make a bit extra if that happens to you.

Oatmeal Lace

Oh this is a dear old recipe. I was living with another family during my college years. When we would come home from dates and activities the mom would cook goodies for us. One was Oatmeal lace. They don't come off of the foil until cool and it was a contest to see how much cookie you could get off before completely cook. These are so very good. Love and care for this dear recipe of mine! pre-heat oven to 350 degrees 1 cube (1/2 cup) butter melted add: 1 1/2 cups oatmeal (I use the old fashion) Sift together: 3/4 cup white sugar, 1 teas. flour (that's it folks!), 1 teas baking powder, and 1/2 teas salt Stir into butter with a fork Add 1 egg beaten with 2 teas Vanilla Extract Lay aluminum foil on at least two cookie sheets (you'll need one to cook and one to cool) Now this is important place about 1 teaspoon of dough about 3"apart on the cookie sheet. These spread like crazy. They turn to a puddle on the sheet. Not to worry! Cook 8-10 minutes. The point being no part of the cookie should look doughy. They need to be a rich light brown all over. Remove the foil to a cooling sheet being careful to keep cookies flat. DO NOT touch until the cookies are completely cool. The cookies will then lift right off. makes about 2 2/2 dozen. The cookies are sensitive to moisture here in the Northwest I keep them in a Tupperware sealed container. They are crisp!

The bottoms look so smooth and crisp

Chinese Almond Cookies

When I was a kid my dad had a Chinese friend who owned a very good Chinese restaurant. After an excellent meal there (yes even as a kid I knew an excellent meal!) a little plate of these cookies would arrive at our table. They no longer serve these yummy cookies but make them yourselves and you will enjoy their unusual taste. With that thought you must not replace the lard with another fat. The cookies owe their flavor to the lard.....sorry

1 cup of Lard (buy in the grocery store, it comes in tubs and small blocks, keeps really well)

1 cup white sugar

1 egg

Cream until smooth

Add: 1/2 Cup almond butter (comes in jars like peanut butter)

1 teas Almond extract (be sure & take a sniff of the measuring spoon when you are done)

Gently stir in:

2 1/2 cup flour

1 1/2 teas. baking powder

1/2 teas. salt

(I reduce salt in all my recipes but will give you the original amounts)

Roll the dough (it is a firm dough) into large balls, walnut size Place 2" apart of un-greased cookie sheet. Press blanched almond halves on each cookie. Flatten with palm of hand.

Mix 1 egg yolk and 1 Tablespoon water together and brush over cookies avoiding the cookie sheet.

Bake 18-20 min at 350 degrees Makes little over 2 dozen

How to blanch almonds

Buy whole almonds heat a pot of water to boiling drop in almonds leave long enough to see skins loosen, they bubble up, N Don't leave too long or almonds will get soggy Drip in cold water and remove almonds from shells. This is very easy if you did this correctly If you got the almonds too wet dry them in an oven at lowest temperature.

How To Measure Liquid ingredients

Glass cups are for Liquid, you can eye the liquid to make sure it is on the measuring line required by putting the cup on a level surface. You will have an area above the measuring line in a glass cup. That is so you can carry liquid to your bowl without spilling. See the photo.

How to measure dry ingredients

HINTS: When you measure for any cooking project having the correct tools will make your recipes turn out better. In some cookie recipes just a little extra flour in a poorly measured cup will make the cookies dry. When a measuring cup has a single measurement it is for dry ingredients that must be carefully leveled with a knife. Scoop or load the cup (1/8, 1/4, 1/2, 1/3, 2/3, 3/4, 1 cup) Then take a butter knife and I like to lay it at the back of the cup and evenly push forward to level the ingredients. Photo above. With each recipe there will be hints. Some general issues are: load cookies on cool baking sheets. Takes some planning and a couple of cookie sheets but I can be cooling one while one cooks.

Book club and Cookies

I have belonged to several different book clubs and each has been fun and interesting. The group I am reading with now is such a mix of ladies in age. They each bring a wholly different view of what we are reading to these get together. It was so funny the month we read a book about a women in a 1950's life. The younger women were shocked at how this women waited on her family and her husbands behavior towards her. She had no life of her own. The 4 of us who lived through this time period had to explain how this was all possible and even comfortable to most of these women. It was a view through the ages. How much we must not understand about time periods we didn't experience. 'You'd had to be there to understand' kind of thing.
So this month was my month to present the information on the book and author and provide treats. I puzzled over this. It's a favorite hobby of mine, planning food and get together. I enjoyed this planning process and decided cookies and punch in crystal cups would give us the feeling of the Southern hospitality that was lost during the Civil War, which was the time period we were reading about. I wanted cookies people may have never tasted. I choose recipes from my growing up period. I spent a delightful day in the kitchen making the cookies yesterday and when they were served I didn't hear anyone say they knew any of the cookies. Success!
Now I want to share these cookie recipes with you. Some you may know some you may not, but to me they all have a past, a history.
I thought it best to give you cookie baking hints in this blog and devote a blog to each cookie recipe so you can collect them one at a time as you wish to use them.
The following information may seem too much for you, read it and what you need will stick with you. Not only has experience taught me about making cookies, moms of five kids bake a lot of cookies, but in 1993 I took baking classes at the Voc-tec school in Kirkland. We did a full unit on cookies. If any of you need large quantity recipes I’m happy to provide!
There are three basic cookie mixing methods. One-stage: low moisture cookies can be mixed in one bowl in one stage, put it all in the bowl and mix it!
Creaming: Creaming of the fats affects the texture, leavening, and the spread of cookies. The amount you cream is important. A small amount of creaming is desired when a cookie must retain it’s shape and not spread too much. If a cookie is thin and delicate, or high in fat, too much creaming will make the cookie crumbly. How to do this: place fat and sugars, salt and spices in bowl and mix at slow speed. For light cookies cream until light in color and fluffy. For denser cookies blend to a smooth paste, but NOT until light.
Sponge: egg is taken to a foam and sugar added slowly, and flour folded in. One-stage cookies are: Bar cookies, chewy brownies, Creaming cookies are: icebox cookies, oatmeal, sugar, chocolate chips. Sponge cookies are: madeline’s, cake style brownies,
Remember the muffins, we barely stirred them once the flour was in? Well cookies don’t want to be stirred much once the flour is in. We don’t want to develop the gluten. That’s best for bread with lots of moisture to move the project along. Cookies are very low on moisture. DON’T OVER BEAT COOKIES once the flour has been added.
Cookies can take a good many shapes and that changes how they cook and taste. This is called make-up method and it is what causes us all the work in cookie making. Make-up methods: Bagged (Spritz cookies) or pressed-uses soft dough to go through cookie gun, pastry bag etc
Dropped (chocolate chip, macaroons)-soft dough, has bits and pieces in it, load a spoon or cookie scoop ,drop on pan
Rolled-(sugar cookies) stiff dough, chill thoroughly. Roll, cut, scraps rolled and cut
Molded-(peanut butter, snicker doodles) divide in portions place on baking sheets, flatten with fork, hand, cup dipped in sugar etc. Icebox (butter tea cookies)-prepared dough is formed into cylinders from 1 to 2 inches in diameter and wrapped and chilled. Then cut into uniform thickness cookies and baked. Bar-(biscotti, Raisin spice bars) shape dough in long narrow strips, cut crosswise into bars.
Sheet (brownies, lemon bars)-you may think of these as bar cookies. Spread dough into sheet pan and top with goodies and bake, cut when cool.
The most important thing with forming your cookies is keeping them all the same size so they all cook evenly. If you are going to garnish the top of your cookies do that right after you put them on the pan or they get a skin on them and nothing sticks. This includes sugars, nuts, sprinkles, etc.
Most cookies are baked at a relatively high temperature for a short time as in 350 degrees for 8-10 min. Here are some temperature issues to watch for:
Too low a temperature-hard, dry, pale, spreading cookies
Too high a temperature-decreases spreading and burnt edges Over baking-dry cookies
rich doughs full of butter over brown quickly. Check bottoms that is where is shows most. Most cookies are done when light,golden brown.
Remember to cool your cookies completely before storing, if any warmth remains it will steam the cookies and they will be wet.
Ready for some recipes....Here we go...

Monday, March 3, 2008

Water outside, Water inside, let's make boats

It's raining again in the Pacific Northwest. I think enough is enough! On top of all that we have to change that ole clock forward Saturday night. Such punishment. Everyone knows that children and over worked adults can't adjust to this kind of stuff!
So if your kiddo's are little fill up the kitchen sink, if bigger put some water in the tub. Make these paper boats and have some water fun. If you take a piece of wax paper and cut and fold with the computer paper (treating it as if it were one piece of paper) you will have a boat that lasts much longer. Have races, try to blow those boats around. Splash them. Nothing better that permitted water play on a rainy day.
Directions: get a piece of 8 1/2" X 11 inch paper (see if you can see the photo above)
#1 Fold the paper in half crosswise
#2 Fold 1 of the top corners down to the center
#3 Fold down the other corner (looks like a pen point now)
#4 fold both front and back long edges up (like a little hem)
#5 push ends toward the center, flatten. (looks like a square now)
#6 Turn bottom corner up, do other corner (another square hope you can see the photo)
#7 Push the ends together again. (arrows pointing toward center)
#8 Flatten the boat sideways again (arrows going away toward the sides)
#9 Gently pull top corners open. Shape the sides of boat. Set boat in water. Give it a push.
You can color these, use crayons as the wax does well in the water and water soluble pens only dye the water, hands and sink. You can cut out a small paper sail. Tape it to a plastic coffee stirrer or toothpick and tape it to the point of center of your boat.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Color lesson from Rainbow Goop

As you can see you are only putting two colors in each bag. #1 is blue and yellow that will make green #2 is red and yellow that will make orange #3 is blue and red that is purple These are the Secondary colors. Simple, fun, fast color play. Bet you will make more than one recipe!

Bag me a Rainbow

The first time I did this project I almost didn't give it to the kids it was so fun for me! I don't think it matters what age you are this is a great thing to do when you are Bord. Please use a freezer bag and not just a storage bag. One is a lot heavier!
Now here's the recipe:
3/4 Cup water
1 package unflavored gelatin
3 custard cups or bowls
red, yellow and blue food coloring
*In a small saucepan stir together water and gelatin. Let stand for 5 min. to soften the gelatin
*Cook and stir over low heat about 3 minutes or till gelatin dissolves. Remove from heat.
*Divide the mixture evenly among 3 custard cups (about 1/4 cup each) Add 3 to 5 drops red food coloring to one bowl. Stir to mix
*Repeat with remaining gelatin with yellow and blue food coloring
*Chill in the refrigerator 5 minutes or till partially set. Stirring mixture during chilling.
*Open 1 quart heavy duty (freezer) plastic bag. Use a spoon to put all three colors of the rainbow Goop inside the plastic bag. This can be in lines as in the photos.
*Close the bag making sure to push out the air as much as possible, and be sure it is tight.
*Seal the top with making tape.
Now, squeeze the bag to mix the colors into a beautiful rainbow. Following this bog is one for learning to make other colors from these three, great color lesson for older kids.
It's a new week and we need things to do!