Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Happy New Year - Enjoy the Blue Moon

Tomorrow is New Year's Eve. Hard to believe yet another year has passed us.  2010 is upon us.  What will it bring, I wonder.  Personally I have a good feeling about the year to come.  I hope my vision proves to be true.  Tomorrow also holds another special event:  the occurance of the blue moon.  This is when there are 2 full moons in one months period.  Something that only occurs every 2.5 years.  The odds are even greater still for it fall on New Years Eve.  The next blue moon to fall on New Years Eve will not occur until 2028, making this a sight to behold. 
I wish all of you a very blessed New Year and hope that it brings you goodness and happiness.  For those of you who choose to go out and celebrate in the festive manner, remember to be careful and responsible. 

Monday, December 28, 2009

The Coming Year

Once again we are on the brink of the close of yet another year.  In 3 short days we will usher in yet another new year.  It is hard to believe that 2009 has come and gone so quickly.  Truly it does seem that time does go faster as you age. 

With each new year that comes it seems that everyone is deligently considering and choosing their resolutions.  I have often wondered what it ever was that brought about such a tradition.... As these resolutions always seem to contain the quitting of something you secretly love or the starting of something that you secretly despise... Both of which would prove to be somewhat difficult or otherwise you would be doing it already. 

I have a couple items on my list, yet I have tried to make them reasonable.  Not an absolute cut off or an absolute start up.  I want to at least try and make it to where I can hold on to my attempt if only for a bit longer than normal. 

Yes, of course the weight and excercise are on the list, yet I think that is a given for 99% of anyone who starts a list.  Yet I have also realized that as I age, that both of these are harder and take much more of an effort than in the past.... oh for the days of my 20s when I could shed those pounds so easily and without even trying... plus still eat all those goodies I so love... those days have past and I have to realize that it is moderation that I need to practice more now. 

Besides the normal additions to my resolution list, I have also added the more deligent attempt at the honing of my writing and an honest attempt to craft it.  With my "me" time on my hands these days, I do not have any excuse not to do just that. 

We will see what the year has in store for us shortly... Yet I do wish for you and yours that it has much prosperity, much happiness, and the fulfillment of the things you wish for.  Have a very blessed New Year...

PS:  Remember that this new years eve is the blue moon, (the second full moon that falls in one months period)  Take advantage of this special time and the extra special energy that comes with it...

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Busy, Busy, Busy

First off let me say that I am sorry that I have not been as consistent with my entries here... Yet this time of the year always seems to keep me on my toes and the time is never enough... This year it seemed to creep up on me quickly as if I was not paying much attention... Although I can say that I think today I did my last shopping.  All the packages that I need to have sent have been put in the post and are on their way... Most of them of course being sent to the 2 little sweeties to the left. I love shopping for kids at Christmas... It is what makes it fun for me...

Most of my other gifts, although some were purhased, were handmade.  I really enjoyed doing that this year and will probably continue to do so in the years to come... Of course there are my cooking creations which I still have a few to make... Unfortunately most of these things can not be done until the days draw closer.  I will say that the snowball recipe I posted last, turned out to be great and I have already started my second batch... The will definately be a new favorite each year... So easy and so economical... Another thing I have strived to be more this year...

I am not crazy about the idea that I will not be able to see my grandkids this Christmas yet my daughter has kept me well up to date with all their Christmas photos as you can see.  They truly seem to grow every time I see them.... even in pictures... If weather permits I am hoping on taking a trip to see them after the first of the year sometime... Plus the new baby will be here in April.. which truly is not that far away.

I hope that as the busy times slow I will be able to spend more time here... I truly want to share more of my crafty/cooking side here.  Yet if by chance it is a while until I venture back, I wish all of you a wonderful Yule Season.  May it be filled with the warmth of friends and family....

Thursday, December 10, 2009

A New Christmas Goodie - Nan's Christmas Snowballs

I love finding new recipes, especially at the holiday season and especially when they are so easy.  Nan at Sunlight on the Bough posted about these goodies a few days back and yesterday she posted how to make them.  What I love about this recipe is that it is one of those things that can tast so good and cause those around you to think you spent hours preparing... yet they are truly so easy.  I just had to share the secret. 
- First you take a boxed cake mix and prepare it according the package.
     You can use any flavor according to Nan.  She used Lemon in hers, I decided on a more general flavor:  Butter Cake.
-  When the cake is cooled crumble it up into a large bowl.
     I thought this was sort of fun really.  I think kids would love helping as you get to pull the cake from the pan and just crumble it up with your hands.... You can even sneak a bite or two if you like, what fun is that.
-  Into the crumbled cake stir one can of your favorite cake icing.
     Once again according to Nan you can use any flavor you like.  She used Lemon once again in hers. I tried sour cream frosting as it is my favorite.

When the mix has been blended well, spoon into small balls and place on a cookie sheet you have covered with wax paper to prevent slipping.  The mix is a bit sticky.  A helpful note, I found it helpful to wash my hands a few times to take the excess goo off, as I choose to roll my balls with my hands.  I have a symetrical fetish what can I say.  Place the balls in the freezer or a very cold place for aproximately 48 hours.  Seeing that Nan resides in northern Indiana where the great northern blew in this last week, she was able to sit hers on her back porch with a nice cool temperture near freezing.  I resided to placing mine in my freezer. 

Once you have let them sit, melt one package of Vanilla Almond Bark and dip each hardened ball.  You can use sprinkles for color and a nice festive touch.  I just started mine last night so currently they are sitting in the freezer.  Tomorrow I will have the pleasure of dipping them and boxing them up.  I usually do not post a recipe without tasting it yet this was far to simple and with just the instructions I have a feeling they are going to taste similar to those little petti fours you get at times... Plus the combinations of flavors are endless.  I would like to thank Nan for sharing as well as the use of her photos of her creations. 

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Give Peace A Chance

It is hard to believe that it has been 29 years.  Many times I wonder what all John would have given us if he had had the opportunity to live those years... yet we will never know.  What would his opinion be today of the world and all it has come to.  In another time and another place, he's probably laughing. 

You are missed, that goes without saying..... You are remembered for you gave and more....... You are loved by so many......

John Winston Lennon
October 9, 1940 - December 8, 1980

Friday, December 4, 2009

Christmas Goodies - A Great Christmas Giveaway

As most of you know I truly love to cook.  It is something that has been with me for as long as I can remember.  I remember as a little girl mixing together ingredients and baking small spice cakes  before I could even read a cookbook.  I knew the basic ingredients and I would make up my own recipes.  They really didn't taste that bad, and still I have a fondness for spice cakes to this day. 

 I am participating in Home Crafted Holidays over at Domestic Witch and today is my day to share some of the things I do at Christmas time.  Although this year I am hand crafting many of my gifts, each year there is one thing that I do without fail and that is make goodies for my friends and  family.  Each year I try and make a new recipe just to try something different yet I always have my familiars that everyone wants for sure.  One of these regulars are Toffee Almond Sandies.  A cookie recipe I found some time back that just sounded good and after I tried it I have made it every year since.  I would like to share it with you.

The recipe is as follows:

1 cup butter
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup sugar
1 cup confectioners sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon almond extract
4 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cream of tarter
1 teaspoon salt
1 cups sliced almonds
1 package English Toffee bits OR Almond butter brickle chips
I prefer the toffee, yet of course it is one of my favorites.  In a mixing bowl, cream the butter, oil and sugars.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Beat in the extract.  Combine flour, baking soda, cream of tarter, and salt;  gradually add to the creamed mixture.  Stir in almonds and toffee bits gently. 

Drop by teaspoons about 2 inches apart onto an ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake at 350 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown.  Remove and let cool then enjoy.  This recipes makes aproximately 9 dozen.  I know thats alot of cookies yet seeing that I give these away I like the larger recipes so I don't have to skimp.  If you are a lover of sandies, I can tell you these are wonderful.  The recipe is easy enough to adjust to other nuts if you would like besides almonds, such as pecans, cashews etc.  If you do this though remember to exclude the almond extract.  Kept in an air tight container these cookies last a long time.  They have a wonderful texture that allows them to be moist and delicious even after packing and sending abroad.  Plus it always puts such a wonderful smell in the kitchen and house when you cook.