Saturday, December 22, 2007

We did it the old fashioned way....

Ryan, Lindsay and I have been in the kitchen today. We baked a cheesecake, a batch of snickerdoodles, mexican wedding cookies,Reese Cup peanut blossoms, molasses cookies, and a batch of the Artisan Bread, most of which Ryan stirred by hand...

I was telling Ry that when I was a small child, we didn't have a mixer, and when Mother would bake, Daddy would stir. It's hard work stirring all that batter, but he wanted to give it a try, so he stirred the cookies by hand and the result was creamy smooth cookie dough...

Here's links to what we fixed in case you are interested. I've made the molasses cookies since the boys were little, they are big and moist and really fragrant. The mexican wedding cookies are a family tradition, the Reese Cup Blossoms and the Artisan Bread are new for us this year, and who doesn't love Snickerdoodles.

Just click on the name of the food for the recipe.

King Arthur Flour Snickerdoodles
Reese Cup Peanut Butter Blossoms (I substituted miniature Reese Cups for the Hershey Kisses)
Molasses Cookies from Silver Palate
Mexican Wedding Cookies
Artisan Bread

And the recipe for the Bon Appetit Cheesecake is -
1 package crushed graham crackers
3 Tablespoons sugar
4 Tablespoons butter -- melted

4 8-ounce packages cream cheese -- room temp.
4 eggs
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons vanilla

2 cups sour cream
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

Position rack in center of oven and preheat to
350F. Lightly butter 9 or 10 inch springform pan.

For crust: Combine walnuts, graham cracker crumbs
and butter. Press compactly onto bottom of pan.

For filling: Beat cream cheese in large bowl of
electric mixer until smooth. Add eggs, sugar, lemon
juice and vanilla and beat thoroughly. Spoon over

Set pan on baking sheet to catch any butter that may
drip out. Bake 10 inch cake 40-45 minutes or 9 inch
cake 50 to 55 minutes. (Cake may rise slightly and
crack in several areas; it will settle again, cracks
will minimize and topping will cover it up.) Remove
from oven and let stand at room temp 15 minutes.
Retain oven temperature at 350.

For topping: Combine sour cream, sugar and vanilla
and blend well. Cover and refrigerate. When cake has
finished baking, spoon topping over, starting at center
and extending to within 1/2 inch of edge. Return to
oven and bake 5 minutes longer. Let cool, then
refrigerate cheesecake for at least 24 hours or,
preferably, 2 to 3 days.

This is wonderful plain, even better with cherry or strawberry

The quality of this video is AMAZING. Takes a minute to download, be patient. it's worth the wait.. ~ jan

Friday, December 21, 2007

Oh, ladies, do I have a recipe for you...

My daughter-in-law, Lindsay is a HUGE fan of Starbuck's Cranberry Bliss Bars, so I whipped her up a batch from a recipe I got online. They were, as she says, VUNDERBAR!!!

Soooooo, yummy, and very similar to the original Starbuck's Recipe. I posted them for you on Jan Can Cook, so click here and check them out. They are SO pretty, too - a great treat for your family this holiday weekend. ENJOY!!!

~ Milly and Dilly....

Thursday, December 20, 2007

And finally...

We've done as much as we can for now. I have to bake the final batch of train cars, then it's the family's turn. They get to do the fun stuff, put all the candies on the cars, make the marshmallow snowmen, add some more trees, eat the s'mores and drink the hot chocolate. Then they dust the whole thing with snow and it's magic... we hope... Winking

Progress.... more to come...

And so it begins....

Today was a trial run on the little Williams Sonoma Gingerbread Cake I told you about. I made it EXACTLY like they told me to in the instructions. Of course it didn' work, instructions are always wrong, it puffed up way too much, so I fixed it - I took dental floss and cut it even with the top of the pan, turned it upside down, and TADA, it's a TRAIN!

Now this is just my first run-thru, and I used a spice cake mix, looks like the original train in the picture below was a vanilla cake, but you can see what I'm trying to attempt. I have some air bubbles in it, I need to tweak it, obviously, next I think I'll try that vanilla cake instead of the spice one, too.

I'll be boring all of you with this as it progresses, LC is going to build the board to put it on, we're going to make the track ahead of time, and the kids will all decorate it Christmas Eve...

And, finally, the picture below is what I hope it doesn't turn out like. I Googled Williams Sonoma Train Cake images, and this one showed up. Holy Schmoly, SURELY we can do better than these people did.... This is more of a train WRECK than a cake... Click on the bottom image and it enlarges, you can see detail..

Oh Christmas tree, oh Christmas tree...

Munchie loves to nap next to the wooden goose on the ottoman in
front of the fireplace. She ALWAYS points her little head at the tree. Silly little dog.....

My dear friends and family,

Somewhat embarrassing to admit, I'm not getting an annual bonus and
Christmas is tight this year. I will be making bedroom slippers for you all as
gifts. Please let me know your sizes. You'll most likely agree that it's a
splendid idea, and should you wish to do the same, I've included the
instructions below:

How to make bedroom slippers out of maxi pads:

You need four maxi pads to make a pair.
Two of them get laid out flat, for the foot part.
The other two wrap around the toe area to form the top.
Tape or glue each side of the top pieces to the bottom of the foot part.

Decorate the tops with whatever you desire, silk flowers (this is most
appealing), etc.

These slippers are:

* Soft and Hygienic
* Non-slip grip strips on the soles
* Built in deodorant feature keeps feet smelling fresh
* No more bending over to mop up spills
* Disposable and biodegradable
* Environmentally safe
* Three convenient sizes: Regular, Light and Get out the Sand Bags.

Awaiting your response. It's crucial that I get the right size for each
one of you.

MERRY CHRISTMAS !! Hysterical My dear friends and family, And beware of strange boxes!

Just a reminder...

If you haven't visited my Holiday Goodies pages, you're missing out. Lots of tried and true great recipes there from yours truly and her girlfriends, the Butter Cream Fudge recipe is AMAZING, as is Veronica's Macinac Island Butter Pecan Fudge. ALL the recipes are great, we make Lindsay's Cheesy Artichoke Dip every year, and we'll be having John's Hot Chocolate, and don't forget your little furry friends, ours will be getting a batch of doggie treats from that page.

Click here to see what it's all about

Lawdy, Lawdy.....

You got to know when to hold em, know when to fold em,
Know when to walk away and know when to run...

Just had to publish this picture of Sharon Stone this morning. Girlfriends, take a good look at yourself before you leave the house to Christmas shop today. Whatever is this woman thinking??? I know what she's thinking, I'm still young, I'm thin, I'm hip. WRONG, WRONG, WRONG. Eeeeekks, that headband, and that slash of horrid red lipstick. She looks like Norma Desmond. Ahhhh, you younger readers are saying, who's Norma Desmond??? GOOGLE HER....

Have a good day, everybody, I'm going grocery shopping. Ry and Linds are coming in and Dilly's my little baker. Oh, I do love having someone to be in the kitchen with me. Actually, Ry said he will be in there too. That's no surprise, that boy does love to cook.... And Dilly's a great baker, so we'll being having yummy smells at our house. Stop by for coffee and cookies... For real stop by....

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

A little Christmas info from Heavensville...

Thanks to Stephani's Serendipity for the idea to do this. I snagged her theme, filled in my own info...

Favorite winter beverage? Hands down, has to be the Starbucks experience. No drive-thru for this girl, have to sit in their comfy chairs, listen to the jazz, chat up my girlfriends... such fun...

Favorite Christmas candy? Has to be those darned peppermint softies, that I FINALLY found at CVS, thanks to V... I do love peanut butter fudge, too, ohhhhh and as a child Mother made the BEST divinity with black walnuts.

Favorite candy cane flavor? I'm a traditional girl, has to be red and white striped.

Favorite Christmas cookie? Favorite cookie ANYTIME is Oatmeal, soft chewy ones with lots of pecans and raisins, even at Christmas. Our family's Aunt Ruby Walsh's Mexican Wedding Cookies are a close second. Our family loves my sugar cookies, too.

Favorite Christmas song? I'm a huge fan of Baby It's Cold Outside - fave album this year is James Taylor at Christmas - oh, he is sooooooo smooth....

Favorite Christmas movie? Holiday Inn, I've loved it for years. Of course, you already know that National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation is a tradition at our house, but Holiday Inn is hands down favorite.

Favorite Christmas colors? Can't beat red and green. Love the golds and the silvers, burgundy, too. But red and green are such happy colors.

Actual color scheme of YOUR decor? Gold and burgundy, go figure...

Favorite Christmas tradition? Cooking with our old family recipes. And we ALWAYS argue about opening gifts early, but we never do. Just wouldn't be right.

What is your tree topper? It's an old world Santa.

How are your outdoor Christmas lights displayed? Just little gold twinkle lights on a tree at our front door, surrounded by snowmen sitting on my concrete bench.

Inquiring minds want to know ... small bulbs? OR large bulbs? I have small lights - my favorites are bubble lights though, and the old fashioned big multi-colored ones.

Favorite holiday icon collection?? Snowmen, Snowmen, and more Snowmen. I love them, give them to my Dillys, too.

What is YOUR Holiday budget? Budget? I always kinda have one, I always blow it. It's Christmas, people...

So the real question is what kind of tree do you have? Is it real or fake? prelit? Green or flocked? Most years I have two, one in the living room, and one in the family room one decorated with the boys sock monkeys that mother made when they were children and their teddy bears, and all of our favorite ornaments throughout the years, but I didn't put it up this year, just a blingy one in the living room. It's fake, it's green, and it's loaded with stuff... and unfortunately it's NOT prelit...

What do you consider the very best gifts are? homemade? or store bought? I love homemade ones, they are so special, but I'm always behind, so I buy. This year, a lot of it online, and in the future, maybe all of it online. So easy...

Which is better in your opinion? surprises galore? OR being a sneaky peeker? SURPRISES GALORE! I HATE TO PEAK, NEVER DO...

Monday, December 17, 2007

I've been out shopping ALL afternoon, I'm soooo tired now...


You could all probably use a laugh this morning. Barb sent me the following... Good one, girlfriend...

I was walking down the street when I was accosted by a particularly dirty and shabby-looking homeless woman who asked me for a couple of dollars for dinner.

I took out my wallet, got out ten dollars and asked, 'If I give you this money, will you buy wine with it instead of dinner?'

'No, I had to stop drinking years ago', the homeless woman told me.

'Will you use it to go shopping instead of buying food?' I asked.

'No, I don't waste time shopping,' the homeless woman said.
'I need to spend all my time trying to stay alive.'

'Will you spend this on a beauty salon instead of food?' I asked.

'Are you NUTS !' replied the homeless woman. ' I haven't had my hair done in 20 years!'

'Well,' I said, 'I'm not going to give you the money. Instead, I'm going to take you out for dinner with my husband and me tonight.'

The homeless Woman was shocked. 'Won't your husband be furious with you for doing that? I know I'm dirty, and I probably smell pretty disgusting.'

I said, 'That's okay. It's important for him to see what a woman looks like after she has given up shopping, hair appointments, and wine.'

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Lemon Sticky Pecan Rolls

Okay ladies, heads up on this one. My friend, Nisha was at a coffee Saturday morning, and her friend Kathy made these rolls. She's made them for seveal years, and Nish says they are AWESOME! Easy, too.

So, I published them on Jan Can Cook - Click Here to Access Quickly -

I'm going to have them Christmas morning with Strata. Tonia ADORES Strata, so we have it every Christmas morning, I'll also do fresh fruit with this, pineapple and maybe strawberries, too.

If you want an easy, do it the night before recipe, this one's for you kids...

~ jan Chef 2

Eartha Kitt, the ORIGINAL Santa Baby , lookin' pretty foxy for an old dame...

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