Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Just a little update........

It has been a bit busy around here, what with Christmas last week and New Year's coming up this weekend.

Even the cat had to beg for some attention!

But along the way I had to fit in a few medical appointments, so my time was a bit crowded.

I felt a little bit like this!

As it all turns out, (of course) I am fine. A few biopsies and a treatment later and I am on the road to feeling better.

Fortunately my Doctor let me have a say in my choice of treatment. 

I shall kick start my own back side and get going once again.

We are getting a little tired of leftovers and planned overs from the freezer.

And nothing has been baked since Christmas, oh my!

So please stay tuned!

The kitchen will open once again.

As always, thanks so much for taking a moment to stop and say hello.

I appreciate it!


I still love these napkins!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Monday night brights

Those little red bits are pieces of roses from the fresh flowers, our cat loves roses! He had a nibble once or twice while we slept.

I love Christmas, but our home is small. It is almost a relief to get the decorations put back away. What a handsome mantle, it makes such a difference in the whole house.

My last gift received, this charming cow and mandarin orange candle. As soon as I cleared the Christmas table cloth, these were the new centerpiece. Thanks Kathy.

I love Red Trucks, and bicycles! Honey got me this metal sculpture for the living room wall.

This cat only looks innocent! Not only is He a rose nibbler, he tries to convince who ever is before him that the other human that lives here did not give him treats. 

Honey loves the Beatles. I tried to find a Beatles theme fabric for this throw, but no luck. I did find Yellow submarines for one side and musical notes for the other. This will keep him warm on those naps.
"We all live in a yellow submarine,.........."

 I love these chocolate gold coins. At Christmas time my folks always had these for us kids. Fun to keep the tradition going. 

As always, thanks for taking a moment to stop and say hello, I appreciate your visits. Please come back again.


Saturday, December 26, 2009

T'was the night after Christmas and all through the house.........

Not a creature was stirring, especially the  North Pole guy. Our house was warm and brighter...

with the new photos of the granddaughters to enjoy through out the coming year.

Another batch of Toffee was made, to continue the giving.

This batch is super nutty, I could not help myself!

There were gifts from afar to enjoy. 

A wonderful old train signal lantern, and fresh flowers for our dinner table. Saying "thanks" just does not seem like enough. 

Then the homemade treasures that live on in my heart.

Refrigerator magnets, so sweet! The Family Teacher is so crafty. How lucky for me.

Something more for my "cat" collection.

 The Lovely Jess has gifted a homemade "cat" item each Christmas. I love it!

And lets not forget the kitchen.....
A new digital scale, in red of course.

A new rack for tools above the stove. A perfect fit!

We feasted on Christmas, with homemade bread cinnamon toast and eggnog a Christmas tradition. In addition the Lovely Jess made eggs, sausage links and these delicious Cinnamon rolls.  

As always thanks for taking a moment to stop and say hello. Tomorrow is Sunday Cafe. We will all gather and enjoy more time together, share the Christmas leftovers and end the weekend with very happy hearts.


Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas to one and all......

Merry Christmas to one and all from everyone here at the Sunday Cafe. May all your dreams include smiles, happy hearts and a few presents! We wish you the best, and as always thanks so much for taking a moment to stop and say hello.

M ( and the North Pole guy)

Toffee and being a big fat candy baby

I have always been too frightened to make candy. The thermometer, the boiling hot, the splashing of the boiling hot, etc etc. A big fat scared candy baby! But I come from a long line of pioneer women, really I do. My grandmother on my father's side migrated to California in the back of a covered wagon in about 1907. My grandmother on my mother's side, was born at home by a visiting midwife, in a kitchen warmed by a wood stove, that was used for cooking. A bit different from midwife assisted births of today.

In looking back there was not much these women were too frightened to do, including making candy. Which during the war, one of them did. It was how they survived financially. The sugar ration was turned into candy for profit, profit that put other food on the table.

But me, no way. I bought my candy, thank you very much. Until today. I found this post, and thought, what a perfect starting place. Lets make Toffee, shall we.

adapted from which name?

1/2 c butter
3/4 c brown sugar
1 c large broken walnuts (between 1/4 - 1/2 inch in size)
1/2 c chocolate chips

Butter (or spray with Pam) the bottom and sides of a 8" pan, scatter walnuts over the bottom. Melt butter in large pan over medium heat, add brown sugar. Over medium heat continue to stir while mixture boils for 6-7 minutes.

I found with my stove I had to turn down the setting slightly as the mixture cooked, so it would not get too hot and burn. This is hot, be careful for the spurting, that is why I chose a large flat bottomed pan.

Pour cooked toffee evenly over the walnuts, rotate pan gently for candy to go to the corners. Sprinkle with the chips, let sit one minute, spread chocolate to cover entire surface.

I think the hardest part of this recipe is waiting for it to cool! When cool, break into pieces.

For this recipe I wanted to make this for a gift, I used a spring form pan for easy removal. A quick wrap in plastic wrap and a bow, and I will be done.

As the hours count down, I hope all is happy and good for you and your loved ones! 

As always, thanks for taking a minute to stop and say hello. We appreciate your time and your wonderful comments!

Recipe rating:  Oh yes! Will make again.

This post is being shared with:
Recipe Swap Thursday @ Prairie Story

Monday, December 21, 2009

Monday night brights

Honey brought home "Julie and Julia" the other night. I just love that movie. Yes some parts of the Julie character are a bit over the top; but Julia, now that was a wonderful classy lady. I was always a fan, simply could not help loving such a steadfast, grounded and real human being.

Who had not spilled (safely and cleanly of course) a little something in the kitchen and gone on to serve it? Fried potatoes have tumbled out of the pan on the way to the serving bowl, hitting the stove top. They were served. A pancake was turned over, with a little bit not really coming up off the griddle and forming a "fold over", so it had to stay on the griddle a bit longer, getting a bit browner. It was served. Sugar being poured into a measuring cup over flows on to the counter. It was scoped up and added to the recipe. The sugar is going to be served.

There is a little Julia in all cooks.

I loved her kitchen style. Always have; and no matter where I live, I have the same seemingly Julia inspired kitchen. Through the years the colors and addresses have changed, but not the kitchen. I have continued to create and recreate the same kitchen. So I present to you this Monday, my kitchen. I have lots of stuff, out handy, and don't want to get rid of anything (I know I will need it.....someday) and the one place I will always find something to buy is in a kitchen wares store.

On the north wall is the stove and refrigerator, they are as close as cousins.

On a small chrome rack I keep the whisks, spoons and heat resistant scrappers. In the middle shelf is the colanders, and the bottom shelf holds the open and in service cereal, bread and snacks.

In the northwest corner is all the goodies needed to flavor food. Herbs and spices, vinegars and cooking wine. Yes that is the only open counter space that we have, just to the right of the sink.

 Ahhh, that yellow 70's decor in the cupboard.  The previous cook, put contact paper everywhere!

On the west wall is the sink, and the dish cupboard. Below is the under sink cabinet that holds the usual cleaning supplies. All of our everyday dishes are in this cabinet. You really do have to be organized to have such a small space, and keep so much in it!

The south wall is actually the dining room wall. That is where the dish hutch sits, and holds all my treasures!

The east wall is my kitchen supplies hutch. This is the most "Julia" of all; stuff is in and on every square inch and hanging off the sides.

The two hutches made this small space a working kitchen. And you know; a working kitchen makes any house, a home.

We seem to create space where none existed before. This is the end of the structure wall that separates the living room and kitchen. Sitting flush with the edge of the structure wall, flat up against the kitchen supplies hutch is a piece of the entertainment center that was too big for the TV room. It is very pretty and can be seen while sitting at the dining room table. Yes it too holds kitchen "stuff" ( actually there is kitchen stuff all over the house). If there is an open shelf anywhere, it probably holds something that would be in the kitchen, in a bigger house. And to the right is the end of the china hutch that sits in the living room and holds the good dishes.

We also have the finest of art work in our kitchen!  Is there a richer life?

As always thanks so much for taking a moment to stop and say hello. The holiday count down is on, I hope all your time is filled with love and family.


Sunday, December 20, 2009

A different type of cookie exchange

I wanted to do a Christmas cookie exchange that was a bit different. Previously I have had exchanges where the cookies were baked, plated and wrapped. Each guest traded a plate of baked cookies for one of your plates of baked cookies. These exchanges were fun, but the amount of work to get ready for the exchange day was sometimes huge depending upon your guest count. After a few years of that, I gave it up. Now as I "slow" down my days a bit; I am wanting to return many activities to my list of fun things, and a cookie exchange at the holidays is definitely one thing to return to my list. As I thought about the exchange; I came up with a different plan, make some cookies fresh at the gathering and make dough to divide and each guest can take it home and bake the cookies as needed/wanted for fresh cookies. This year the guests were just me and the girls, oh and a new family member from Italy!

The lovely Jess has a larger kitchen, so we gathered there. She has decorated for the holidays, and of course her sense of humor is present and accounted for. Each cook was responsible for bringing the ingredients for the cookies/dough they were sharing.

We started with the Almond butter bars from the Tea Time book. Then moved on to the Old fashioned Gingersnaps from the New England cook book and finally the Oatmeal, White Chocolate and Cranberry  cookies from the Sunset Cookie Book.

I personally have never had good luck doubling a recipe. Especially a cookie recipe, for the oatmeal cookie we simply make 2 batches. The mixer bowl would not have held a double batch anyway. The gingersnaps were perfect to form into 3 slice and bake logs.

It was fun to hear about the differences in the Christmas holiday and customs in Italy compared to America.  Welcome to the family, we can always use another hand in the kitchen.

One of the refreshments offered by the Lovely Jess was Hot chocolate with homemade peppermint marshmallows, it was over the top delicious!

The cookie of choice from The Family Teacher was the Chocolate Turtle Cookies from Closet Cooking. These are easy to make in steps, a very impressive cookie.

We could of probably been a bit better organized; but not bad for the first time, after a 20 year break. It was a fun day, and I hope to do it again next year. Ladies?

As always, thanks for taking a moment to stop and say hello.