Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Joy to the World - in Pink !

One of my all time favorite gifts (thank you again Linda, my dear sister of the heart!) -- 

Joy to the World CD by Pink Martini 

Joy to the World

Love each song -- but, the song 'Elohai, N'tzor' lingers in my head and I catch myself humming the melody all through this special season of hope, joy & love.  

You can listen on youtube here: 

O God, keep my tongue from evil
And my lips from deceit.
Help me be silent in the face of derision,
Humble in the presence of all
Open my heart
To Your Teachings.
May the words of my mouth
And the meditations of my heart be acceptable to You,
EternalOne, my Rock and my Redeemer.

More info:

Gingerbread - 'the official cookie of the season'

I've been tinkering around with recipes for Gingerbread Cookies for over 30 years and this one is a 'keeper'.   Soft, chewy cookies with a Christmasy mix of spices.

Gingerbread Cookies

1 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp nutmeg
2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1-1/2 tsp baking soda
1 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup evaporated milk
1 cup molassess
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 cups all purpose flour
Preheat oven to 375°F. Combine the sugar, ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, salt and baking soda in a large mixing bowl. Mix well. Add melted butter, evaporated milk, molasses and vanilla extract (if desired). Stir until well combined. Add the flour 1 cup at a time, stirring well after each addition to prevent lumps. The dough should be very smooth and stiff enough to handle without sticking to your fingers. If necessary, add up to 1/2 cup additional flour to prevent sticking (I like to knead in some extra flour during rolling and cutting), and chill dough before using.

On a well-floured surface, roll out the dough to 1/4-inch thickness. Cut with novelty cookie cutters or a round biscuit cutter. It may be necessary to re-flour your surface several times to prevent dough from becoming sticky.

Bake on a lightly greased baking sheet for 10-12 minutes (I like my gingerbread soft so I always underbake - and there are no eggs here to worry about!). For small cookies like those shown in the picture, reduce baking time to 6-7 minutes. The cookies are done if they spring back when touched (but before the edges begin to brown!). Remove cookies immediately from baking sheet and cool on a clean countertop.

A few notes: This recipe makes a LOT of cookies - especially if you make them small. It can also be used to make crispy, gingersnap-like treats. Just increase baking time and remove cookies once the edges have just begun to brown (great for dunking into your coffee or a glass of cold milk)

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Verbs of the season . . . .

Baking:  a new Gingerbread Cookie recipe  - it received 'rave reviews' from my family.  This recipe is a 'keeper' (I'll post the recipe soon ).  

Enjoying:  the last of my 'Linda' roses -- still pretty in early December and it makes me smile every time I see it  (Mr. Snowman agrees!) 

Wrestling:  'Grandbabe' quilts on my dining room table  -- two are bound and ready to be wrapped up for Christmas --  one more to go and my holiday quilting will be done.

Knitting:  a tiny Elf hat and scarf for a special little girl who still 'believes'.  Who knew you could 'stitch' some Christmas magic with needles and yarn !

Dreaming:  of a new project - one that will take me a year to finish and I can't wait to start (but, first I'll need more than one skein of yarn!)

Lots to do over the next couple of weeks - but, I'm taking my time to savor each task and remember the real reason for this holiday.