Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas

"Love is what's in the room with you
at Christmas if you stop opening presents
and listen." 

Spoken by an anonymous child on
Christmas morning.    Let's all take time 
to listen and reflect on the magic of the day.  M.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Counting My Blessings

While I was putting finishing touches around
the house this morning, I was thinking
about how blessed I am. 
My husband is fabulous and feeling
healthier all the time, my son just returned
 home safely from a two-week road
 trip and will be joining us today. 
I have the best friends and family, a job,
health and it doesn't get much better than that. 

Christmas 2009
I think it's important to take a moment over
this Christmas weekend and reflect on just
how many things we have to be thankful for. 

With that said,  I had the opportunity to visit with a certain jolly old elf.  He asked what I wanted for Christmas and I said I had everything that I need.  He seemed to think that I didn't have a picture of me on his lap ... sooo ... now I have one!

Ho, Ho, Ho! So, take time to enjoy the holiday
and as Elf Bryony says (from Arthur Christmas)

"There is always time for a bow!"  M.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Little White Church Obsession

Quite by accident, I seem to have collected
a few little white churches!
This might be influenced by the memory of the
white church that always adorned
my Aunt Sissy's mantle each holiday season.   
I was fascinated by it.
The cellophane stained glass windows, snowy roof and the steeple. 
You could almost hear voices singing Christmas carols from inside!

This little one was a gift from my cousin Beth. 
It reminds me of the Christmas
that she spent with us here in Oregon.  
Very special.

This one I made almost 10 years ago. 
One of my first attempts to create a vintage-look.

My sis made this one for me.  It was her first attempt. 
I keep it out year 'round.  

This year I received 2 new ones for my collection.
Elf Patty heard me say how much I loved
these little churches and surprised me. 
The one above for my birthday and

this one for Christmas!  This one is very special as it
belonged to her Grandma Pepper.  I think we all would like
to have a Grandma Pepper like Elf Patty did.  To think that
she would give me such a keepsake is such an honor.  I treasure it.
Not only is the church so sweet -  it still  has the original box
with price sticker ... $1.99 at S. S. Kresge Co.  - perfect ! M.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Gifting: Yummy Stuff !

Whether it is Christmastime or otherwise, sometimes you feel the need to let people know that they have been special in some way.  Over the past few months, there have been several people that have made an unpleasant time much more tolerable.  My hubby and I felt we wanted to let them know that we noticed and it made a difference. 

The bottom line ... they cared and we wanted to reciprocate.   For me, cooking equates with caring.  So, last week I got busy and baked lots of fun, yummy stuff to give.  I had fun! 

I pulled out recipes for my favorite holiday treats and included a new one that I had been wanting to try.
The results are pictured below. 
I think that packaging and presentation are as important as what is inside the package. 
 As they say, you eat with your eyes first.

There were snowflake pizzelles dusted with powdered sugar ... 

chocolate dipped marshmallow pops and
coconut thumbprint cookies with cranberry curd centers ...

cranberry-orange nut bread, savory parmesan crackers and

sweet, salty pecans!  I hope the recipients enjoyed sampling
everything as much as I enjoyed creating it. 

The savory crackers and thumbprint cookies were recipes from Ina Garten, the Barefoot Contessa.  Both fabulous!!!  The sweet and salty pecans are a holiday favorite.  I have served them at the Holiday Treasures show for the past two years.  They disappear in a matter of minutes.  I thought I would share the receipe.  If you have any questions about the recipe or any of the other items shown above - just email ! 

Sweet and Salty Nuts

Butter (about 2 tbsp. to grease baking pan).
1 pound pecan or walnut pieces (4 1/2 cups)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup light-colored corn syrup
Coarse sea salt or kosher salt (about 1 tbsp. or 2 tsp. salt)
Freshly ground black pepper (about 1/2 tsp.)
Coarse raw sugar

Preheat over to 325 degrees.  Using about 2 tablespoons of butter, generously butter a 15x10x1-inch baking pan; set aside. 

In a large bowl stir together the nuts, granulated sugar, corn syrup, salt, and pepper until well combined; spread in prepared pan.

Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden and bubbly, stiring once or twice.  Remove from oven.  Sprinkle generously with raw sugar; toss to coat.  Transfer mixture to a large piece of foil.  Cool completely, about 30 minutes.  Break apart to serve.

Store nuts in airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks or in freezer container in freezer up to 3 months.  Makes 20-24, 1/4-cup servings.

Merry Baking ! M.

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