Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Mesh Fabric Spotted

I spotted mesh fabric in Christmas colors at SAMs Club today. Unfortunately I spotted it just as I was walking out the door. They were 10 ft ones for less than $7 per roll. What a bargain! Has I known before I checked out, I would of bought some more. Ugh! I'll just go back tomorrow. Perhaps your local SAMs Club has them too :)

Monday, November 28, 2011

Blogger Thumbnail Pictures - FAIL!

I've been very frustrated with Blogger these past few days (post entries).  For some reason, it's no longer posting thumbnail pictures correctly.  For example:  It usually uses the first image (picture) I embed, instead it has ended up using my signature at the very end, which I have removed as of lately to test Blogger to no avail. My most recent post (Mr. Moose) is now posted with a thumbnail picture of a linky party I just joined!!  What's going on?  Can anyone help or have any suggestions before I pull all my hair out which I cannot afford to lose of what's already left???!!  Thanks!  -Bev

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Mr. Moose Photo Shoot

 Just so you know, I have a thing for Christmas moose, especially cute ones like Mr. Moose (Moosie for short)
I have been collecting Christmas moose for several years and although my collection is not extravagant, I'm thrilled at what I have been able to collect.  Just look at that profile!  So adorable :)

Moosie is by far my favorite one, I mean just look at him, is he dapper or what?!
From his knitted Christmas sweater and scarf
Down to his brown boots with his red trousers tucked into his green woolly socks
He's just getting back from Christmas tree shopping, look at his knitted red mittens, so cute!!
I love his snout, puffy round nose, bitty eyes and Santa hat.  I'm so thrilled to pull him out every Christmas
So call me silly for posting about Moosie,  If you really think about it, haven't we all been silly one time or another in a post or two?  What was your silly post about?

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Saturday, November 26, 2011

Almond Sablés

One-third of a batch (or 1 1/4 cups) freshly made Almond Cookie Dough
1 1/2 tbs. granulated sugar
1/4 cup turbinado (or granulated sugar) - (I used a mixture of sprinkling and granulated sugar) (I have no idea what turbinado sugar is but I will google it later)

Sprinkle the 1 1/2 tbs. granulated sugar onto the dough and work it in with your clean hands until it's evenly dispersed

On a lightly floured surface, shape the dough into a log about 6 inches long and 1 3/4 inches in diameter.

Wrap the log in waxed paper or foil

Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, but preferably overnight (again, I chose the 2 hour route)

Preheat oven to 350F degrees.  Position a rack in the center of the oven.  Put the 1/4 cup sugar on a flat surface such as a tray or clean counter top.  Roll the log of dough in the sugar, pressing so the sugar adheres.  Cut the log into 1/4-inch slices and arrange them at least 1 inch apart on an ungreased cookies sheet.  Let the cookies sit at room temperature while the oven heats.  Bake until the edges are golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes, rotating the pan front to back about halfway through baking.  Let the cookies sit on the sheet for a minute or two before transferring them to a rack with a metal spatula.  Let cool before storing airtight.

These were so easy to make, once the dough is made.  Roll in sugar, slice and bake.  These reminded me so much of Lorna Doone shortbread cookies, except they're homemade :)  Well this ends my feature of the Three in One Cookie Dough Recipe.  I'm thrilled that I'll have a variety of cookies to put out for our Christmas party next weekend.  It's so much easier when you have a cookie dough recipe that will make a variety.  Have a great weekend!

Hazelnut Almond Crescents

One-third of a batch (or 1 1/4 cups) freshly made Almond Cookie Dough
1 cup hazelnuts
1 to 2 tbs. confectioners' sugar: more as needed

Place the hazelnuts on a cookie sheet and toast in a 350F degree oven for about 7 minutes.  Watch closely to make sure they don't burn

Once toasted, rough chop until they're coarse ( don't look too close, I may have toasted them a wee little too much :\   )

Pour the hazelnuts onto the dough and

with your hands work the hazelnuts into the dough

Shape level measuring tablespoons of dough into fat crescents and put them in a container lined with waxed paper.  This is my first time ever making any kind of crescent cookie, as you can see I need some practice... so don't laugh

Cover and refrigerate the cookies for at least 2 hours, but preferably overnight (I went the 2 hour route)

Preheat oven to 325F degrees.  Position a rack in the center of the oven.  Arrange the crescents 1 inch apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake the cookies until the tops are lightly colored and the bottoms are golden brown, 20 to 22 minutes, rotating the sheet from the front to back halfway through baking.

Let the cookies cool on the sheet for about 5 minutes and then sift the confectioners' sugar over them.

Transfer to a rack to cool

Sift more confectioners' sugar over the cookies before serving if necessary.

This is the second batch of cookies that I made from the Almond Cookie Dough.  These crescents were fun to make but I definitely need work in shaping them.  It wasn't hard at all but I think I might make them a bit thinner as these were a little too thick for my palate.  I left some out for the family to taste but not many as I need to freeze them for next weekend's party here at Spottswood Place.  It's not like we have any desserts since it's only two days after Thanksgiving and there's plenty of pumpkin, mincemeat and a little bit of chocolate cream pie left.  Have a great weekend!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Three in One

Chocolate Thumbprints - Hazelnut Almond Crescents - Almond Sables

Get a head start on holiday baking with this versatile recipe.  Make this one delicious dough, in this case an almond flavored one, that serves as the base for the three different and delicious cookies I will be featuring in this post along with the next two. These recipes were taken from the 2009 Holiday Edition of Fine Cooking Magazine.  Sooo, let's get started!

1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp. table salt
3/4 cup whole almonds (I used slivered)
1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, cut in large chunks and slightly softened
4 tsps. pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. pure almond extract (I used 1/2 tsp)
3 cups bleached all-purpose flour

Process the sugar and salt in a food processor until it looks powdery and a little finer, 30 to 60 seconds.  Add the almonds and process until they're finely chopped, about 20 seconds.  Add the butter and the vanilla and almond extracts.  Pulse until the butter is smooth, scraping the bowl as necessary.

 Add the flour and pulse until a soft dough begins to form around the blade.

Transfer the dough to a large bowl and stir briefly with a rubber spatula to be sure it's evenly mixed.  As you can see, I just dumped it into the bowl from my food processor. The blades were easier to take out that way, I really hate messin' with them, they scare me.

I rolled the dough into a log so that I could portion the dough into equal thirds.  Take one portion for the next recipe, cover the other two and set aside.

One third of a batch (or 1 1/2 cups) freshly made Almond Cookie Dough (see above recipe)
1/4 cup coarse sugar, such as turbinado, demerara or sanding sugar
2 1/2 oz. bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
5 tsp. unsalted butter

Scoop up a generous teaspoonful (2 level tsp.) of the dough.

Shape into a 1-inch ball with your hands.  Roll the ball in the sugar.

Set on tray lined with waxed paper.  Repeat with the rest of the dough, setting the balls slightly apart.

Press a thumb or forefinger, dipped in flour, into each ball to create a depression.

Cover and refrigerate the cookies for at least 2 hours, but preferably overnight (I couldn't wait overnight so I went with the two hours)

Preheat oven to 325F degrees.  Remove the cookies from the refrigerator and arrange them 1 inch apart on an ungreased or foil-lined cookie sheet.  Let the cookies sit at room temperature while the oven heats.  Bake the cookies for 10 minutes.  Gently redefine the depressions with your thumb or the tip of a wooden spoon's handle, if necessary.  

Rotate the sheet and continue to bake until the tops are lightly colored and the bottoms are golden brown, another 8 to 12 minutes.  Transfer cookies to a rack and let cool completely.

While the cookies cool, prepare the filling.

Put the chocolate and butter in a heafproof bowl set in a wide skillet of almost simmering water (or microwave on medium power for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring after the first minute.)  When the chocolate is almost completely melted, remove the bowl from the heat and stir until completely melted and smooth.

Spoon the filling into each depression. 
 If the filling hardens while using, reheat it in the pan of hot water.

I know it probably would have been easier to use a Hershey's kiss in place of the chocolate but I love baking things from scratch especially when I have all the ingredients and the time.  Aren't they adorable??

I was very busy today, as a matter of fact, this dough and batch of cookies along with the other two batches of cookies took me most of the morning but I didn't mind.  I wasn't planning to go out shopping (I never do on Black Friday).  Just planned to sleep in and do some baking.  My daughter is having a party here at the house next weekend and I knew this would be my only chance to have the time and strength to bake some cookies for her party.  Three cookies from one dough!  Now that's what I'm talking about.  I will post the other two tomorrow some time tomorrow.

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Throwback Thursday #9

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Brussels Sprouts with Bacon

Olive oil
Salt and pepper
1/2 lb. of Brussel Sprouts
8-10 slices of bacon, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup beef stock
1-2 tbsps. butter

Heat oil in pan on medium-heat.  Cut all the Brussel Sprouts in half

Add the Brussel Sprouts to the hot oil, brown for just a little bit, remove from pan and set aside

Add the chopped bacon and render.

Add the onions and garlic, saute for 1-2 minutes.  Return the Brussel Sprouts stir then add the beef stock and stir just until it's evaporated.  Remove from heat and finally add the butter, stir around until it's melted.

Serve immediately

I've always loved Brussel Sprouts, ever since I was a wee little one.  Sad thing is that my family doesn't.  I thought this recipe would surely change their minds but hubby or daughter didn't even touch it.  On the other hand, I love them.  Adding the bacon was something I've never done before and am convinced it only made them better which it did.  I usually eat them with a little bit of butter, salt, pepper and nothing else.  Grandma had some so at least I wasn't the only one.  My son and his family went out of town for the holiday, I wonder if they would've liked it.  Do you like Brussel Sprouts?

Here's hoping and praying you had a wonderful day spent with family and friends, thankful for the abundance we have in this wonderful country of ours.  God bless America.

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