Saturday, December 4, 2010

Anniversary Giveaway

UPDATE NOTE:  This Giveaway ended December 15, 2010.
Thank you for participating!
~*~
Two years and a whole lot of posts brings me to my 2nd blog anniversary!
I love blogging and meeting so many very special friends from all over the world!
As a thank you, I have once again made more folded paper German Stars, waxed and sprinkled with sparkly glitter and ready to hang or display.
If you are a follower, or become a follower, leave a comment on this post and I will choose a winner on Wednesday night, December 15th, 2010 and send to you six, bright white finished stars.
Giveaway open to all!
Please be sure I have a way to contact you so I can get your address.  I would like to leave the package at the post office on Monday, December 20th, 2010
~*~
To learn to make your own stars, click link for my easy, step-by-step
created last year.
~*~
After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.
Matthew 2:1

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Gingerbread Cookies

It might have been rainy and windy outside today, but inside my home, trays of sweet little gingerbread boys and girls filled the house with a wonderful warmth and aroma.
.
These two seemed to be making eyes at one another

I have a gingerbread recipe that I have made forever but thought I would try something new.  I can't say these gingerbread  are the most wonderful as the title proclaims but they are good.  Anyone have a gingerbread recipe they love and willing to share?
(I made 1/2 of the following recipe)

The Most Wonderful Gingerbread Cookies

Source: Food.com

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest (optional)

  1. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, and cloves until well blended.
  2. In a large bowl (KitchenAid's great for this) beat butter, brown sugar, and egg on medium speed until well blended.
  3. Add molasses, vanilla, and lemon zest and continue to mix until well blended.
  4. Gradually stir in dry ingredients until blended and smooth.
  5. Divide dough in half and wrap each half in plastic and let stand at room temperature for at least 2 hours or up to 8 hours.
  6. (Dough can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 4 days, but in this case it should be refrigerated. Return to room temp before using.) Preheat oven to 375°.
  7. Grease or line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  8. Place 1 portion of the dough on a lightly floured surface.
  9.  Sprinkle flour over dough and rolling pin.
  10. Roll dough to a scant 1/4-inch thick.
  11. Use additional flour to avoid sticking.
  12. Cut out cookies with desired cutter-- the ginger bread man is our favorite of course.
  13. Space cookies 1 1/2-inches apart.
  14. Bake 1 sheet at a time for 7-10 minutes (the lower time will give you softer cookies-- very good!).
  15. Remove cookie sheet from oven and allow the cookies to stand until the cookies are firm enough to move to a wire rack.
  16. After cookies are cool you may decorate them any way you like.
  17. I usually brush them with a powdered sugar glaze when I am in a hurry, but they look wonderful decorated with Royal icing.


I used this recipe from Robin @All Things Heart and Home for her favorite cookie icing:
Sugar Cookie Icing
1 cup XXX sugar (powdered sugar)
2 teaspoons milk
2 teaspoons lite corn syrup
(¼ teaspoon Almond extract, I don’t use this but some people love it!)
Put XXX sugar in a bowl and add milk…stir until smooth…
Beat in corn syrup until icing is smooth and glossy~if it’s too thick, add more corn syrup! Divide and add food coloring. You can make this the night before, just cover it!
Each cookie needs to be decorated with sprinkles immediately after you ice it because it dries to the touch pretty quickly. The icing takes a few hours to completely set.
I made about 60 sugar cookies (the size of my hand) and used 9 recipes of the icing with a bit left over.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Count Your Blessings

I saw this great idea on Julie's lovely blog Less-Than-Perfect Life of Bliss and knew I wanted to follow her instructions to make one too.
Instead of using letter and number stickers, I simplified my project by printing the words on some pretty paper. After carefully lining the three pages up, I taped them together to get the length I needed to fit the frame.
I inserted the pages into a frame I got on sale (Julie found a great frame at a thrift  store)
Then I attached a few very pretty paper flowers that a kind blogger named Sandy @Quill Cottage sent to me this time last year.
Using Dry erase makers, I can write directly on the glass the many blessings that fill my days.
Praise the LORD, my soul;
   all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
 Praise the LORD, my soul,
   and forget not all his benefits—
 who forgives all your sins
   and heals all your diseases,
 who redeems your life from the pit
   and crowns you with love and compassion,
 who satisfies your desires with good things
   so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
Psalm 103:1-5

Monday, November 29, 2010

Cream of Turkey/Chicken Soup

Just like you, I have a favorite recipe for Turkey/Chicken Noodle Soup.  But I have been wanting to try a cream version and found this one from the Food Network.  DELICIOUS!  Full of flavor and a little thicker than broth as in a standard chicken noodle soup.
I didn't cook the turkey carcass this time because my freezer is full of homemade stock that I previously made.  I substituted turkey for the chicken and added some cooked egg noodles at the end.
Rice would be nice too.
Cream of Chicken Soup
Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 medium Spanish onion, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery (with leaves), chopped
  • 3 medium carrots, chopped
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon flour
  • 7 cups chicken broth, homemade or low-sodium canned
  • 3 sprigs parsley
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme (I didn't have fresh thyme so substituted fresh Rosemary)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 3/4 cups cooked, diced chicken
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream (I used half & half)
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons dry sherry
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt (I added bouillon cubes to the broth so I needed very little additional salt.  A Tablespoon sounds like way too much to me)
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • optional: 2 cups dry egg noodles, cooked and drained

Directions

Melt the butter in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, and carrots and cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 12 minutes. Add the flour and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, for 2 minutes more.

Pour in the broth and bring to a boil while whisking constantly. Tie the parsley sprigs, thyme, and bay leaf together with a piece of kitchen twine and add to the soup. Lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes.

Stir in the chicken and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat.

Whisk the heavy cream, sherry, and salt into the soup and season with pepper to taste. Remove and discard the herb bundle. Stir in cooked egg noodles, if using. Divide among soup bowls, sprinkle the top of each soup with the chopped parsley and serve immediately.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Philly with Family

Saturday morning we all bundled up and met at the Speedline to take the train into Philly.
Off at 8th and Market...
Our first stop was to see the Holiday Light Show ending with a concert on the Wanamaker Organ at Macy's Philadelphia. It has been a Christmas tradition since 1956. I have been visiting since I was born and have delighted taking my children and now grandchildren to enjoy a family tradition for so many.
 Little people and big people fill all the floors of the gorgeous building to get a peek at the Light Show.

Here are a few facts copied from the Friends of the Wanamaker Organ site.  It has great information, facts and photos if you'd like to learn more.
The Holiday Light Show:
Fun Facts and Figures
Past and Present
There are 34,500 LED lights on the Macy’s Magic Christmas Tree in six colors: red, yellow, green, blue, purple, and cool white, which breaks down to about 5,750 lights in each color. It is topped by a red Moravian (or Advent) star. The lights on the tree, the snowflakes, and the snowmen are dimmable.
The rest of the light show has about 65,000 LED lights (the Parade studio attempted to do an actual count, but found it impractical to finish). Colors include red, yellow, orange, green, blue, pink, purple, warm white, and cool white. The LEDs use 90 percent less electricity than standard incandescent bulbs (which were from 5 to 7 watts per bulb in the old show). LED colors are purer than incandescent colors, and cameras sometimes have difficulty capturing the violet and white shades.
The vertical strands have four steady LED colors: red, purple, blue and green. They also have two incandescent blinking colors: blue and white. These blinkers are still incandescent because the blink is in the bulb and is not controlled by the computer. LEDs are not developed enough yet to handle blinking.
The old Wanamaker tree contained an estimated 23,500 lights, many custom-tinted just for the Show in shades of pink and purple, and the figures contained 29,000 bulbs. The show was fed by 1200 amps.
After the Light Show we headed to the 3rd floor to see the Dickens Village.
Macy’s acquired the Dickens Christmas Village from Philadelphia’s Strawbridge & Clothier Department Store. Numerous animated figures depict scenes in Dickens’  “A Christmas Carol” (1843).
Waiting in line provided photo opportunities (as if we really needed photo opportunities!)
And a stop to see Santa on the way out.
 
A pit stop to fill some empty tummies and lots more walking to the playground at Franklin Square.
The cold and wind didn't stop all the spinning, twirling, running, swinging, climbing and laughing.

Another long walk back to the station to board the trains homeward with plans for a warm, cozy evening in front of the fireplace eating something that is also a Philly tradition.... Cheesesteaks!  Jill and Brad always try to include them as one meal during their visits because even though they have them in up-state NY, they just aren't the same.  We also wanted Aldara to experience these wonderful sandwiches too.  Her opinion... two thumbs up and "I like!"
 Baths done, PJs on, fire going and Pop-Pop controlling the remote, we are ready for...
 A Christmas Carol
(my tied-with-first favorite Christmas Movie.  The other one is
A Muppet's Christmas Carol)

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