Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Snowbound at Sara's

Yesterday I went to Sara's, my lovely daughter-in-law, to hang out. We thought we would do some baking but before we got started we had lunch, hung out with her boys, and had coffee. Soon after we got started the weather drastically changed and snow began to fall in big fat flakes. Well instead of stopping everything and rushing out to drive back home across town, we decided I would stay - even if it meant I had to stay the night, which is exactly what happened.

The cookies we chose to make are a wonderful butter cookie - "Chocolate Thumbprint" from Martha Stewart's Cookies: The Very Best Treats to Bake and to Share

So simple - butter, sugar, vanilla, maybe some salt and flour (check Martha's book for the recipe). Then half way through the baking process you pull them out of the oven to make a little thumbprint. Once they are out of the oven you fill the indentation with a bit of chocolate or some jam (Sara had some strawberry-kiwi made by a friend). But I think the real trick to our success were the cookie sheets with holes that Sara had (see pic). We covered the cookie sheets with parchment paper so the little butter cookies wouldn't brown too quickly. They came out of the oven after 20 minutes (total) soft and light. They literally melted in our mouths.

But alas most of the cookies where a gift for friends so Sara pulled out some of her "Holiday Treats stamp set from Papertrey Ink to make little gift tags. I cut some red card stock and into the clear plastic bags when our cookies for her friends. Ta-da - a sweet gift made on a cozy winter day!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Cry Baby Cookies

Merry Christmas!! My Christmas morning is usually very quiet so
I thought I would share a pic of the cookies I recently made and the recipe. This cookie was a favorite of my mother's - we would often come home from school to find a batch waiting for us. And Christmas time is so much about preparing things and foods for our family that I thought they would fit right into the season. Add to this the fact that they are a cakey ginger cookie and you've got a real nice Christmas cookie to have after dinner with a cup of coffee.

Cry Baby Cookies
1 cup sugar
1 cup shortening
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon each cinnamon, cloves giver, nutneg & salt

1 cup dark molasses
1 cup boiling water
1 tsp soda

4 1/2 cups flour

1 lb box powered sugar & milk: mix to thickness you like and frost the cookies while they are warm

Add the shortening and sugar together. Mix until fluffy. Add eggs and continue to mix.
In a separate bowl mix the flour, spices, and salt together.
Add molasses to the shortening, sugar and egg mixture.
Add soda to the hot water
Add water to the shortening mixture.
Sift in the flour a little at a time.
Chill over night (very important if you want puffy, cake like cookies)

Spoon cookies onto a greased cookie sheet (or - and this is a 2010 modification to at 1960s recipe) - onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes. Frost while cooking on racks.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Wild Thing

A Poem by Judith Viorst from her book, Forever Firty

I went for a walk in the sun without wearing my sunscreen.
I went out of town without making a reservation.
I placed my mouth directly upon a public drinking fountain, and took a sip.
I didn't bother flossing my teeth before bedtime.
I pumped my own gasoline at a self-service station.
I ate the deviled egg instead of the cauliflower with low-fat yoghurt dip.
I bought, without reading Consumer Reports, a new dryer.
I left my checking account unreconciled.
I know that the consequences could be dire,
But sometimes a woman simply has to run wild.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Plums are next

Walking around the campus today I saw that the red plum tree is full so right after work I picked enough to make another batch of jam. With the hot weather returning to PDX tomorrow, I'll be doing summer right.

Saturday, August 15, 2009


In addition to planting a small veggie garden for the first time in decades, this summer I've started canning again. My daughter came over and she helped me re-learn the jam making process with the figs I picked with my friend Crissy.

So now I want to pick the plums from the trees bordering my yard that are ignored by my neighbors and make a batch of plum jam - thought I would be able to do that today but the plums are still green.

Instead I was able to pick 3 cucumbers and made these refrigerator pickles. The roma tomatoes there in my refrig are from Crissy's garden - salsa is next on my list!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Cool Morning Air

On this late July morning I wake to the birds chirping,twiddling and joined by squirrels chattering. I brew my coffee then walk out onto the deck. The neighborhood is still asleep but the symphony of natural sounds fills me with a freshness that will last me for hours. This is a marvelous way to start the day!

Friday, July 24, 2009


I brought out the pedometer today just to see if working toward a goal of 5 miles a day would help me walk more. I ended a typical work day with only 2.23 miles so I've got a ways to go to meet the daily goal. But someone told me today about Kaizen, a Japanese management philosophy that promises big rewards through continuous incremental change. So I'll see what happens on Monday, another typical work day.

I have to hold Saturday and Sunday differently since I walk each morning with one of my grown kids: one around a track on Saturday and another in the neighborhood of NW Portland before church starts.