Sunday, January 21, 2018

Week 109, 1-21-2018

Thoughts and QuotesDestiny is not a matter of chance, it is a matter of choice; it is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved.
                                                                                                Winston Churchill

I'm a great admirer of Dear Old Winnie. Such a smart man. I often think that somehow certain people are born in the right place, at the right time, to accomplish great things in history. Think how things might have ended after WWII without Churchill to bolster Great Britain's determination to carry on, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, who stayed in London right through the bombing to raise the spirits of the people; General Patton to lead his men to victory after victory, and President Truman, who had the courage to drop the A bombs, putting an end to the war. 

Isn't it wonderful that we can forgive, forget, and move on. Time heals a lot of things. A Divine Plan?

Teas: Following Churchill's advice, I am moving on to fulfill my destiny. I've finished the redo of the January tea, which is now Winter Roses instead of Winter Flowers. Ten down and two to go.

Remember my peacock from the after-Christmas sale?

Everything but the table is the same as before. Stupid me, I had to make all the food again just so I could take photos.


Savories:  Roast Beef and Horseradish-Mayonnaise Tea Sandwiches
                 Dorothy Enid Beetroot and Butter Tea Sandwiches

Scone:      Apricot-Orange Scones, Orange Butter, Apricot Jam

Sweets:    Cherry Spritz, Chocolate-Mint Chip Cookies 

Tea:          Orange Spice



Once more, let me stress that we always lightly butter each piece of bread before proceeding.

The Roast Beef Tea Sandwiches are made from deli roast beef, sliced so that one slice is sufficiently thick.  Add horseradish to mayonnaise to taste.  Place the meat first, spread with the mayonnaise on the meat, top with a lettuce leaf (anything but  iceberg), then the second piece of bread.  The lettuce and meat should overhang the edges of the bread.  Sharply slice through all to remove the bread crusts and then cut into squares or triangles.

Drain, rinse and pat dry with paper towels, one 1-lb can of sliced beets for the Beet Sandwiches.  Cut rounds of bread which will work with the size of the beet slices.  I used Libby’s beets and they seemed to be wide enough for this purpose.  You might want to buy two cans of beets, just so you’re sure to have enough.  You can always store them if they’re unopened or sliver the leftovers to top salads.  Cut the bread and beets with the same cutter so that they’ll be uniform in size.  Butter each bread round and place a beet slice between.  Run a toothpick through a small slice of sweet gherkin and top the sandwich, running the toothpick all the way through to hold everything together.  Don’t skip the pickle because this will alert your guests that there’s a toothpick to remove.

Note:  Here’s the story behind the name of the beet sandwiches.  Our chosen brother, Peter, is from England, and he mentioned that when his family had a picnic, his mother always made beetroot rolls.  I Goggled “beetroot rolls” and found photos of all kinds of gorgeous concoctions.  I sent the link to Peter and asked which kind his mother made.  He said, “Oh, they were simply rolls, butter and sliced beetroot”.  We Yanks simply call beetroot “beets”.  I thought that sounded a little strange and unappetizing, but I tried it and found that it’s one of those simple combinations that work well together, like bread, butter and tomato, or bread, cream cheese and cucumber.  So I replaced the rolls with bread to make them more “tea like" and christened them Dorothy Enid Beetroot Tea Sandwiches in honor of Peter’s mother. 


(I combined a few scone recipes and came up with this)
3 cups of flour
1/2 cup sugar
1-1/2 tsps baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks) firm butter, cut into small cubes
1 cup finely chopped dried apricots (cut to about the size of a raisin)
Orange zest from one orange
1 cup buttermilk
1 tsp orange extract
Buttermilk and sugar for topping (optional)

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

Using a pastry blender, two knives, a fork, or your fingers, cut the butter into the dry mixture until it’s all incorporated and begins to look like coarse meal.  Stir in the apricots and orange zest.

Make a well in the middle.  Add the orange extract to the buttermilk and pour it into the well, all at once.  Stir the mixture until it forms a ball and pulls away from the sides of the bowl.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and pat it to 1/2” high.  Using a 2-1/2” circle cutter, cut scones and place them on lightly greased or parchment lined cookie sheets.

If desired, brush the tops with buttermilk and sprinkle with sugar.  Bake at 425° for 8-10 minutes.  Baking time will vary with the size of the cutter.  Serve with Orange Butter (recipe below) and Apricot Jam.

Note:  Scones may also be cut into wedges by patting the dough into a circle.  This will eliminate using the scraps, which can make the scones tough from rehandling the dough.


1 cup (2 sticks) butter
4 Tbs powdered sugar
Zest of 2 oranges

Soften butter, mix in powdered sugar and orange zest with mixer.

I like these with Apricot Polaner All Fruit, but any apricot jam works equally well.



2-1/4 cups flour
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup shortening
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
Maraschino cherries

Heat oven to 375°.

Mix dry ingredient together with a whisk.

Cut in shortening with a pastry cutter or two forks.

Add egg and vanilla and mix well.

Put through cookie press onto ungreased cookie sheets.

Lightly press a piece of maraschino cherry into the center

Bake 10-12 minutes.  Remove at once.  

(From an Andes® Crème de Menthe Baking Chips Package)
(Recipe is called “Andes® Crème de Menthe Chunk Cookies”)

1/2 cup salted butter, softened
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsps vanilla
2 eggs
1 (10 oz) pkg  Andes® baking chips
2-2/3 cups sifted flour

Heat oven to 350°.

Beat everything but baking chips and flour together.  Add chips, then flour.

Chill in the refrigerator for one hour.

Roll into balls the size needed for the size cookie you desire.  For tea cookies, I used about one tsp dough and baked the cookies for about 6 minutes.   Baking time will determine whether you end up with a soft cookie or a crunchy cookie.  Experiment.  Recipe calls for 1 oz of dough and bake 8-10 minutes.

The Plan

One or two weeks before the tea:  Bake and freeze the Chocolate-Mint Chip Cookies.

Up to five days before the tea:  Chop the apricots and cube the butter while watching TV.  Store the apricots in a plastic bag or air-tight container at room temperature.  Store the butter in a plastic bag or covered container in the refrigerator.

Start planning your table.  If you’re using a tablecloth, you might need ironing time to remove fold marks.  If you’re using real silver, you might need polishing time.

Up to two days before the tea:  Bake the Cherry Spritz and store the cookies in a cool  place in an airtight container.

The day before the tea:  Make the scones and orange butter.  Store the scones in a cool dry place or the refrigerator in an airtight container.  Put the butter in the dish you’ll use to serve it, cover it tightly with plastic film and store it in the refrigerator.

If you have the space, go ahead and put the scones on a baking sheet and cover them with film.  They’ll be ready for reheating.

If you’re going to make your beet sandwiches round like mine, you can cut the bread rounds and, using the same cutter, cut the beet rounds.  Store them (separately) in airtight containers in the refrigerator.

If you don’t need to use the tea table or area the day before the tea, go ahead and set up the area, ready for the big day.  I even place the dishes for lemon slices, sugar, sweetener, milk, butter and jam so that I don’t forget anything.  If your butter is already in its serving dish in the refrigerator, leave it there until party day.

The day of the tea:  If the table is already set, fill the condiment dishes.  The lemon, butter, jam and milk will be okay at room temperature a half hour before the tea.  This will give the butter time to soften and the milk won’t be cold enough to cool the tea.

If refrigerated, put the scones out to reach room temperature before heating.

Make the sandwiches and put them on the plate(s) you’ll use for serving.  Cover them with wet (not dripping) paper towels so they won’t dry out.

Heat the oven to 350°.

Put the cookies on their serving dish(es) and cover with film.

When you start the water for tea, put the scones in to heat.  It will take 5-10 minutes, depending on size.  Uncover the sandwiches and cookies while the tea steeps. Put the scones on a serving dish on the table.

This is exactly what I'll put in the Teas book. I haven't decided yet whether I should put all the info about the dishes, tablecloths, etc. like in the Tablescapes book. 

Tidying: I haven't made much progress here. I cleaned all the pictures and wall decor except the one over the fireplace which I couldn't reach. The 7' ladder is lying in front of the fireplace, ready to go.

I cleaned out my writing desk. My plan was to sit here every night, looking out over the canals of Venice, and write my journal and correspondence for the day. That lasted about two minutes. But look at all the journals I have ready to go.

And miracle of miracles, my credenza was still organized.

But -  I discovered that Nancy (Veronica's new mommy) left her old job and her new one doesn't start until March, so she's coming over this week to help me so I can work on my books. Hooray for Nancy!

She and Martha and I went to Relics for quiche to celebrate my Auntie Kack's birthday (which is January 21), and Martha and I went up to visit Veronica when we picked up Nancy. She ran under the bed and wouldn't come out. She loves her new home. I guess she thought I was there to take her back to my house. 

Tissue Box Cards: Here's the box.

And here are the cards

Tasting: This week's soup is Beef-Vegetable Like My Mother Made


Short ribs, stew meat, beef shanks, whatever.  If using short ribs and you have lots, you’ll have enough meat and fat.  If using stew meat, you’ll need some soup bones for more flavor.
Frozen corn and/or peas (optional)
Canned tomatoes
Bay Leaves
Salt and Pepper

Brown the meat in a soup pot in a little oil.  Cover with water and cook until tender.  Remove meat and set aside. 

Peel potatoes and carrots.  Cut potatoes into bite-sized cubes and the carrots into coins.
Chop onions and slice celery.  Add to pot with three bay leaves, salt and pepper.  Add more water if necessary.  Cook until vegetables are almost tender.

Add canned tomatoes (can size depends on your amount of soup), chopped cabbage and some corn and peas for color.  Cook until cabbage is tender.   Taste and if you feel it’s needed, add some beef granules or a cube or two softened in hot water.

Debone and cut meat if using short ribs.  Add back to soup.

Remove bay leaves.

Tasting: This week's salad is Real Cobb Salad. Many restaurant menus show Cobb Salad, but you end up with something between a Chef's Salad and a Garden Salad.

A true Cobb Salad is finely chopped, made of very specific ingredients, and presented as a composed salad before being tossed with vinaigrette. The ingredients are iceberg lettuce, turkey, bacon, hard-boiled eggs, tomatoes, and bleu cheese. One popular presentation is in a circle with each ingredient placed like a slice of pie. The other is in a circle made of stripes (much easier). 

I'm always reminded of the "Cobb Salad Lunch" scene in Julie and Julia where the  girls meet for lunch and when the waiter takes the order, it's "Cobb Salad no bacon", "Cobb Salad no bleu cheese", "Cobb Salad no eggs", and "Cobb Salad no  . . . .

Feel free to take liberties. I prefer lettuce other than iceberg, for example. And I substituted Monterey Jack for the bleu cheese. If you don't care for vinaigrette, use your favorite dressing. 

You can find what's supposed to be the original recipe HERE.

Muffin Tin Monday: My friends and I were just discussing how producers are reducing the size of their package instead of raising the price, and it sometimes messes up our recipes. Maybe this is one of those examples. The recipe calls for a 12-oz tube of refrigerated biscuits. I couldn't find a 12-oz tube in either of the two stories I tried. I ended up with a 16-oz tube. 

I wanted to try a recipe for garlic rolls I found on Pinterest. The recipe didn't specify how many rolls it would make, but just to "spray a muffin pan with cooking spray". I sprayed my 12-muffin tin.

The recipe says to cut each biscuit into four pieces, mix them with melted butter, minced garlic, and shredded Parmesan, and put three pieces in each cup. My tube had 8 biscuits, and 12 oz is to 16 oz as X is to 8 biscuits. In other words, my biscuits weighed 2 oz each (16 oz divided by 8), so the 12 oz tube should have 6 biscuits to be equal. Right? 

So I cut the six biscuits in 1/4's and put three per cup. That made 8 rolls, so I said, "Oh, well, and cut up the other two biscuits. Since I had already sprayed the entire pan, I snipped off pieces to fill the other cups. 

Then I was supposed to top each roll with shredded mozzarella, but I didn't have any, so I used Cheddar. Bake at 375 degrees for 11-14 minutes. My kitchen smelled like an Italian Restaurant on steroids. I still haven't tried one of the rolls. They look good, but I wasn't ready for heavy garlic. Maybe tomorrow. I won't be saving this recipe.

The original recipe from Pinterest is HERE.

Tidying: No acquisitions this week. Good girl! Here are my seven discards:

Tales: As you can see above, I finished An Unexpected Guest by Anne Korkeakivi. A lot of talk about food and Paris, so I'm passing it to Bev. Not a great plot.

The Pepper and Pals Report: No changes. We had bitter cold this week, so I wrapped two soft-sided carriers (one is large) in blankets, put baby blankets inside, left the screen propped open, and the kitties hunkered down out of the snow. Midnight and her three would sleep in the larger one and BJ in the other. I put a potty box out there, and I think they've decided they like indoor plumbing. 

Now that the snow is gone, so are the kitties. They just come for meals. Raining tonight (Sunday), and supposed to get cold again. I'll wash the blankets and be ready just in case they need to stay in again. They must be confused. I know I am. Saturday and Sunday were in the 60's F and now we're in for a 20 degree drop.

Hope you have good weather in the coming week. It makes such a difference in our dispostions. 

Tidbits: I keep hearing about hygge living when I read European blog posts. I think I'm getting the idea. More on this next week.

And I'll try to get up to our new market for photos. I was there Friday, but it was the first day after the snow melted, and I could scarcely push my cart through the aisles. 







Sunday, January 14, 2018

Week 108, 1-14-2018

Thoughts and Quotes: Keep a green tree in your heart and perhaps a songbird will come. 
                                                                                            Chinese Proverb

Tasting: Muffin Tin Monday was a disappointment. I made Apple Cinnamon Muffins from a recipe I found on Pinterest. They got rave reviews so I'm sure it's just that they're not for me for the following reasons: (1) They're too labor intensive. At my age I need "Git 'er done" recipes. (2) You dirty too many bowls (3) I used half the cinnamon for the topping and found it still was overpowering. (4) The cinnamon topping made them look burned. 

Try this instead:


1 egg
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup oil
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 cup peeled and grated (or finely chopped) apples
1-1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1-1/2 tsps cinnamon
Brown sugar to sprinkle on top (optional)

Heat oven to 350°.

Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners.

In a large mixing bowl, beat together the egg, sugar, oil, and vanilla.

Stir in apples.

Mix the dry ingredients and stir in.

Divide batter evenly among the paper cups.

Bake 20-24 minutes.

Tasting: This week's salad.

Don't tell people this is made from Brussels sprouts or they won’t try it

1 lb. Brussels sprouts
1 small red onion, thinly sliced and rough chopped
2 cups finely chopped Granny Smith apples
1 cup dried and sweetened cranberries
1 cup chopped walnuts

Zest of 1 orange
1 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup fresh orange juice
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
Pepper (optional

Cut the bottoms off the Brussels sprouts and discard. Thinly slice each spout, then rough chop the slices.

Put sprouts in a large mixing bowl and add the balance of the salad ingredients.

Mix the dressing ingredients with a whisk and stir into salad.

Note: Right before serving, sprinkle on shredded Cheddar or bacon pieces if you wish.  

Tasting: This week's soup.


1 Tbs butter
1 Tbs oil
1 cup chopped onion (white or yellow)
6 cups peeled and chopped butternut squash
1-15 oz can chicken broth
2 cups apple juice
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp white pepper
dash nutmeg
1-15 oz can pumpkin
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup whipping cream
Creme fraiche, optional

Heat butter and oil in a large pot. Sauté onion until soft and translucent.

Add squash, chicken broth, apple juice, cinnamon, white pepper, and nutmeg.

Simmer until squash is soft. Whirl in batches in blender until all is pureed and return to pot.

Add pumpkin, brown sugar, and whipping cream. Reheat. Serve with a dollop of crème fraiche.

Note: A sweet soup to enjoy anytime. Have a cup with a piece of toast for breakfast. Take a soup break in place of a coffee break mid-morning or mid-afternoon. Have a cup for a bedtime snack. Or replace dessert with comfort soup.

Tissue Box Card: The tissue box I showed you last week -

I used it to make a birthday card for Chosen Niece Terri. I hope it reaches her before she reads this blog post, but if it doesn't she'll forgive me, because that's the kind of girl she is. I made a matching paperback bookmark to include in the card.

Tasting: The Very Exclusive Cooking Club met this week at Bev's. Here are the results.

January 13, 2018, at Bev’s



Chez Collette Salad

Garlic Chicken in Cream Sauce

Potato-Onion Casserole

Buttered Green Beans with Carrot Flowers

Sister Shubert Rolls

Muffin Tin Apple Pies

Iced Tea or Hot Tea


Kitchen towels from Alaska and just-made crème fraiche



3 TBs mayonnaise
1 TB Dijon mustard
1 TB prepared mustard
3 TBs red wine vinegar
1 cup oil
1 tsp salt
½ tsp black pepper
½ tsp dried tarragon
Salad greens and walnut halves

Whisk together and toss with greens.  Add walnut halves and serve.


4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 Tbs oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup white wine
Dash Worcestershire sauce
2 cups whipping cream
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 tsp dried tarragon
1 tsp dried parsley

In a large skillet, brown the chicken breasts on both sides in oil. Remove chicken to a plate.

Add butter to skillet; then add onion and garlic and sauté 4 or 5 minutes until translucent.

Add wine and Worcestershire sauce and cook 2 more minutes.

Lower heat to simmer stage and stir in cream, salt, pepper, tarragon, and parsley.

Return chicken to skillet and baste with sauce.  Keep at a simmer, as boiling will cause the sauce to curdle. Simmer 20-25 minutes until chicken is done.


1 lb. frozen tater tots, thawed
1/2 can cream of onion soup
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
8 oz sour cream
4 oz sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded
Dash garlic powder
1/4 tsp seasoned salt
1/4 cup butter, softened
1-1/2 cups cornflakes, lightly crushed
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 Tbs grated Parmesan cheese

Heat oven to 350°.

Grease an 11 x 17 baking dish.

Combine tater tots, soup, onion, sour cream, Cheddar cheese, garlic powder, seasoned salt, and softened butter in a large mixing bowl. Stir gently to combine.

Pour into the baking dish.

Mix cornflakes and melted butter in a small bowl and spread over the potato mixture.

Sprinkle with Parmesan.

Bake 45-60 minutes or until top is browned and casserole is bubbly.


1-13 oz tube of 8 refrigerated flaky cinnamon rolls
1-1/3 cups canned apple pie filling

Heat oven to 375°.

Spray eight cups of a muffin tin with cooking spray.

Separate dough into 8 rolls.

Press into and up the sides of the muffin cups.

Spoon 2 generous tablespoons of the fried apples into the dough cups.

Bake 14-18 minutes or until golden brown.

Cool in pan 5 minutes.

Transfer included icing to a small bowl and microwave uncovered on 10% for 8-10 seconds.

Place rolls on a serving plate and drizzle the icing over.

Garnish with whipped cream, optional.

Tidying: This week's acquisitions:

After Christmas sale

More after Christmas sale. I needed these for the January Tea table.

My discards. I'm loving these Robert Parker books. His character (Spenser) was on TV - still see reruns sometimes.

The Pepper and Pals Report: Pepper hasn't needed his collar this week; still healing. Stormy worked on her caterpillar tonight. Almost history.

Remember dear little Veronica?

I got a photo from her new mommy, and it's obvious that she has bonded with her new step- brother, Pocket. How cute is this? I smile every time I look at them.

Things that make me happy: I always felt so sorry for the really big alligator who was in a small pool at Bass Pro. He just looked so forlorn. 

Monday night was Bunco night for Sally, so Steg and I went to dinner and then to the new Wonders of Wildlife at Bass Pro. The information desk is near the entrance, and I asked if the alligator died because I didn't see him a couple of weeks ago. 

No, he has now moved to the alligator version of Club Med in Florida. They pulled out a notebook and showed me his photo. Now he's out in the open where he can get some sunshine and plenty of room to roam.

My second happy report is that I got to visit the site of our new library in Nixa. The building is beautiful, and the remodeling will start soon. It might be finished in time for a May tea. Here's the plan - the blue portion is the meeting room and has its own entrance.

Tip: If you lost your wallet, could you quickly report all your missing credit cards? If not, put them all on the scanner and take a picture; then flip them over and scan the back where the customer service phone numbers appear. Put the copy in a safety deposit box or a place no one would think to look if you were burglarized. If copying doesn't work, write out the information and store it.

Think Snow: We got our second snowfall Saturday night and more to come today and Monday. Of course, Miss Nosy Stormy had to check it out with me.

Teaching and Learning: I just learned this on Friday, and if you don't already know about it, I'll teach you something which might save you some money. This only applies to lights with ceramic sockets where you use regular (not LED) bulbs.

Here's my light

It's one of three over the island in my kitchen.

The light bulb over the sink started burning out very quickly. At first I thought I had stored the bulbs too long (later learned they don't have a shelf life). Then I decided it was the cheap bulbs, so I went to Lowes and got more. 

The first one burned about two minutes and went out. When I started to remove it, the glass ball part came off in my hand.

It seems I'm a slow learner, so I removed the filiment and screwed in another bulb. Same thing. I called Terry, my electrician, and he said that I probably had a bad socket and his supplier no longer carries ceramic sockets as they're all plastic now because LED bulbs don't heat up and need the durability of ceramic.

As you know, I'm from the Show Me State, so I went looking for ceramic sockets. No problem. A very smart lady named Pam at Lowes knew exactly what I needed. I bought it, brought it home, and called Terry. I sent him  a photo by email, and he said that it looked like it would work.

When Terry got here, he took out some needle-nosed pliers with plastic covered handles to remove the filiment. Then he ran the pliers around the inside of the socket, put in my new bulb, and said, "Okay, that should take care of the problem". What?! How could that be?

I'm a non-observer about some things, and light bulbs are one of them. Somewhere along the line, they started making the bases of aluminum instead of brass. Of course, they're silver-looking now instead of gold-looking, but I went merrily on my way and didn't even notice. 

It seems that the aluminum reacts with the ceramic socket and forms what Terry calls "white rust". This causes some sort of short that messes up your bulb. Who knew? 

The solution: When you put in a new bulb, spray a paper towel with Pam and gently rub it around the base before putting it in the socket. I guess this forms some sort of barrier which prevents the build-up of "white rust".

I was thinking that if I couldn't get a ceramic socket and the light fixture had to be replaced, I'd also have to replace the other two to match it, and all the time, a little Pam could have prevented the entire problem.

So there, I'm living proof that you can teach an old dog new tricks.

T Goals for Next Week: Because I haven't been working on Teas in order, I ended up with January and February looking much the same; cardinals, same teapot, same colors, so I'm redoing January. 



Tissue card for next week

Tasting: Soup - Beef-Vegetable; Salad - Real Cobb (not the salads the restaurants call Cobb which are impostors); Muffin Tin - Garlic Knots

Tidying: More work on the living room deep clean/Weekly seven discards

Tablescapes: Start the write-ups to go with the photos for the book/Order ISBN numbers

Tunes: Start the gigantic task of converting my LP's to digital

So, until next week -