Sunday, December 25, 2016

Week 53, 12-25-2016

Thoughts and Quotes:  Life is what we make it.  Always has been.  Always will be.
                                                                        Grandma Moses (1860-1961)

We're getting ready to start a brand new year. Let's make it our best one yet. As you look back over 2016, what did you accomplish? Where did you go? What did you learn? These questions are some I asked myself at the end of 2015, and I was amazed that an entire year had slipped by and I scarcely remembered it. That's when I started my blog. It's my memory jogger. In the coming week, I'll go back and read my life and then I'll plan my 2017. I'm not suggesting that you start a blog, but spend $1 on a calendar with a square for each day large enough to jot down your life. Not a journal - just a little nudge. "Dentist", "Planted bulbs", "Washed windows", "Left for cruise", "Ft. Lauderdale", "Playa Carmen", "Grand Cayman", "Jamaica", "Home from cruise", "Made birthday cake for mom", "Tea at Patsy's". You get the picture. I think it's such a good idea that I'm going to do it myself, even with a blog.

Teas: I had Winter Tea for my cooking sisters: 



Carrot 


Radish


Sliced Beef, Bacon-Cheese


Ham Biscuits


Mini-Quiches


Snowballs


Ginger Krackles


Coconut Macaroons


Mint Chip


Jello (Cherry and Lime) Don't make these. We didn't like them.


The recipes for Carrot Sandwiches, Quiche Lorraine Bites, and Ginger Krackles are on Week 45. The recipe for the Bacon-Cheese Sandwiches is on Week 50 and Mint-Chip Cookies is on Week 44.

COCONUT MACAROONS
(From Taste of Home Magazine)

2-1/2 cups flaked coconut
1/3 cup flour
1/8 tsp salt
2/3 cup sweetened condensed milk
1 tsp vanilla extract

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, combine the coconut, flour and salt.

Add the condensed milk and vanilla and mix well.

Drop by tablespoonfuls onto greased baking sheet.  

Bake 15-20 minutes to golden brown.

Note: You can easily double this recipe, as one can of sweetened condensed milk is exactly the amount you need for a double batch.



SNOWBALLS
(aka Mexican Wedding Cookies, Russian Tea Cookies)

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sifted powdered sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla
1 cup chopped walnuts (or nuts of choice)
2 cups flour
Powdered sugar for coating

Heat oven to 350°.

With electric mixer, beat butter until light.

Add vanilla; then add sugar, a little at a time.

Beat until light and fluffy.

Add flour and combine well.

Stir in nuts.

Form into 1” balls and place on ungreased cookie sheet an inch apart.

Bake 12-15 minutes to pale golden.

Cool on sheets for 5 minutes and then roll in powdered sugar to completely coat.


Tip: Don't remember if I told you before, but here goes. I keep my recipes in Word files. When I want to make the recipe, I can just print it, slop it up with butter or whatever, throw it away when I'm finished. I save them under My Documents - My Recipes - Appetizers, Beverages, Bread, Breakfast, etc. If you see a recipe here which you'd like to keep, just copy and paste. In case someone asks for a recipe, I can either email it or print it. Or I can just copy and paste it into my blog post. Easy-peasy.

I also keep a copy in a binder on my cookbook shelves in the kitchen for quick reference. If I'm not sure I have enough coconut for macaroons when I'm making out my grocery list, I can get the answer without going to my computer.

Tasting: When Mim came to tea, she brought me some of her Cappucinno Balls, which are a variation of Snowballs. Here's her recipe.

CAPPUCCINO BALLS
Mim

1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsps. vanilla
2 tsps. instant coffee powder
1/4 cup cocoa
1-3/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups pecans, finely chopped

Cream butter, sugar, and vanilla until light.
Add instant coffee, cocoa, flour, and salt.

Mix well, then add pecans.
Shape into 1” balls and place on ungreased cookie sheet.
Bake at 325° for about 15 - 18 minutes.
Roll in powdered sugar while warm.


'Tis the Season: I went Christmas shopping at the mall with Joey and we had a glorius day. We saw Santa, and I loved his minimalist white trees with red balls - so easy, but so striking.


Joey commented that if you bought these, you'd keep adding and probably spend $5,000, and I told her that, yes, it's probably like card making - you just keep adding tools and supplies until you go bankrupt. I tried adding a little video so you could see how all the pieces move, but alas, no success. Sorry, too, because it's rather fascinating how they all interlock and move at once.


Then we came to these stands where they personalize tree ornaments. They're beautifully made and themed to match the receiver if you're giving them as gifts. Joey bought a baby's first year for a new great-grandson. They had sports themes, occupations themes, hobby themes, boys in the service, etc.




Time for Others: My cardmaking friends took time to make me a card, and I love them. It's so fun to see how creative people can be. And everyone has her own individual style. I thought you might enjoy seeing them.

Amy, who sponsors the Five on Friday linky party (see it here) organized a card exchange and I was matched with my blogger friend Carrie (click here) and she made this sweet card with a handmade tiny doily and a vintage pin for wearing during the holidays. She also spoiled me with a packet of cardmaking bits with a cooking theme and a tin of her world-famous sugared pecans.


From Joey, and I'm so sorry that glitter doesn't show up well, because this card has plenty of bling.


Vickie, our Stampin' Up demonstrator (click here)


Katie


Jeanne


Susan


Bette'


Give these girls a great big hand and a few bravos!

Thank You: To my chosen niece Terri for my beautiful Christmas flowers. The evergreen makes my house smell so Christmasy.



Teaching and Learning: What do you know about Kwanzaa? It starts the day after Christmas and it's celebrated by African Americans. That's about all that most people know, including myself. I decided to investigate.

Kwanzaa in Swahili means "first fruits of the harvest". It starts on December 26 and continues until January 1. Kwanzaa originated in the United States, started by African Americans to celebrate their heritage.

Here's the celebration: First a straw mat is placed on a table. It has beautiful patterns which represent "tradition". An ear of corn for each child in the family is placed on the mat, along with apples, bananas, nuts, pears, yams, in honor of earth's abundance.

Seven candles are placed in a wooden candle holder: a black candle in the middle; three red candles on one side and three green candles on the other. 

Day 1: The black candle is lit to celebrate unity of the race and of the family.

Day 2: A red candle is lit to celebrate traditions. For example, the women might teach the girls how to braid hair in fancy styles. Some families will teach the beating of drums in African rythms.

Day 3: A green candle is lit to represent collective work and responsiblity. The family joins together to accomplish a chore or project.

Day 4: Everyone saves coins for an entire year to buy a family gift. This is gift day and a red candle is lit.

Day 5: Another green candle is lit and this is the day for goal-setting and planning for the future.

Day 6: The third red candle is lit for creativity: Dancing, singing, artistic projects, or planting seeds.

Day 7: The final green candle is lit to celebrate the faith that only good will happen. This is the day for eating traditional foods like roasted yams and collard greens. To begin the feast, an adult spills a few drops of water from the Kwanzaa cup to honor the ancestors, and then each person takes a sip to toast family unity. After the blessing, the feast begins.

Pretty wonderful, right? Maybe we could all use a little Kwanzaa in our lives.

Tomorrow: Once Christmas is only a memory, it's time to plan for a perfectly exciting 2017. I need a little structure in my life, so I've divised a plan which I hope I can follow, at least for awhile.

Muffin Tin Monday: There are countless things to make in muffin tins. I thought it would be fun to try some of them.

Tidy Up Tuesday: I need to do a deep clean on my entire house, so I'm going room by room and use Tuesday as the day to do the "extras" instead of the usual vacuum, dust, mop routine.

Where Shall We Go Wednesday: I spend entirely too much time at home when there's a big wonderful world out there. Wednesday is out to lunch (and maybe more) day.

Try Something Thursday: So many things just waiting to be discovered - a gadget I bought and never used, a new recipe, a new restaurant, a new card making tutorial on Pinterest. 

Friends Over Friday: This doesn't have to be a soup-to-nuts meal with a special tablescape. A bowl of soup and a game of Scrabble or Chickenfoot Dominoes will work, too. I'm old enough to remember when "visiting" was how we spent our time - not TV and the internet 24/7.

So Long Saturday or Say Goodby Saturday or See You Later Saturday: I haven't decided on a name for Saturday yet. I keep telling myself that I'm going to put things in order, so that when I'm gone my kids will have a written account of everything they need to know in order to settle my affairs. I'll work on this project on Saturdays, along with a real effort to pare down my belongings so they won't have to spend days hauling my "stuff" to the thrift store.

Slow Down Sunday: Afterall, it is the day of rest.

For those of you who would like to join me, I'll have a plan for the week starting January 2 on next week's post.

MERRY CHRISTMAS

HAPPY NEW YEAR

HAPPY HANUKKAH

WORK ON YOUR GOALS FOR 2017

HUG YOUR LOVED ONES

THANK YOU FOR SHARING MY LIFE











13 comments:

  1. Such yummy foods (could I visit you in real!) and the wonderful holly-pottery! A white Christmas tree - how cool is that?!
    Never seen so many things for the tree... (but, well, I have my things too, over many years and would not buy all new)
    With the calendar, thats a good idea, I will do it. Normally I cannot plan my week, to many random things and with a 90years old mother always something happened, what is to do for me and what make down all my plannings. But well, that's life!
    Wish I could make more my own structure...
    Enjoy your holidays, hugs

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    1. I have to go buy my calendar for 2017 so I can fill in the squares. Also a new address book. Mine becomes so cluttered over time that I need a fresh start. That time is now. It will be painful when I can't put my brother's address in my new book. One of the difficult things about aging is that you lose family and friends. But as you said, "That's life". I'm just grateful for the time we had together.

      Happy New Year, Mascha. Let's make it a good one!

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  2. Wow, what an amazing spread. I'll have to try the macaroons, but only when I have somewhere to take them. Today is Day 1 of the Eating Healthy Diet!
    The cards are lovely. I haven't make cards in ages -- although I have plenty of supplies!

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    1. Make those cards - people love receiving them, and it will make you happy.

      I'm interested in your Eating Healthy Diet. I signed up for a plan on the internet, but so far, I haven't heard a word. Is yours on the internet?

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  3. Oh you do put on one yummy table there Lady!! Everything looks so good!!

    And I love your flowers - fresh flowers really add something, don't they?

    But oh I had fun gazing over each of your cards! So much fun there!! ;)

    And I loved the kwanza lesson...I have truly wondered about it for years too, but never took the time to research. What beautiful meanings for the items and for each day. I love it!

    And I'm in! I"m totally with you on shaking it up for the New Year and diving in to something new. Excellent plans for organizing each day of the week. By using each day as a tool like that - just think what you can accomplish!! I have some definitely new endeavors planned for myself...as well as my continued focus on health, exercise, weight loss etc.

    I'm all for us continuing to be good cheerleaders for each other, as well as keeping each other in "check". Lol!!

    Praying you had a wonderful Christmas weekend and wishing you many blessings for 2017 my dear Patsy!! xoxo

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    1. Always such a delight to hear from my Dear Friend. Yes, it's our year. In your photos you look perfect. Do you really want to lose weight? My goal is to be my ideal weight by the end of the year. I'll probably eat those really calorie-laden black-eyed peas and cornbread on New Year's Day, but then I'm Zoning.

      Yes, we'll cheer each other on to perfect healthful diets so we can live forever and make cards and have teas and watch the kiddos grow up and have beautiful babies and wonderful lives.

      Will start working on my goals tomorrow. It's going to be a lulu of a year. Rest will be a necessity instead of a treat. I have LOTS of goals.

      Love to you and yours and wishes for a perfect 2017.

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    2. OH my goodness - could I love you more?? I'm far from perfect (and I"ll pay you for that lovely comment later) :) Lol! I'm on the vertically challenged side (only 5'3") and I could definitely stand to lose at least 20-30 lbs to be much healthier. I like to exercise - and that would be easier on my hips if I lost more weight too. We will cheer each other on and encourage away so we can both be healthier!! Yay for 2017!! Love the live forever and making cards and having our teas plan. I'm in!! And I've still got lots of time - but grandbabies someday are definitely a dream of mine.

      Love all of your goals and excited to see where 2017 leads us. Blessings xoxo

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    3. Oh PS: my Christmas/winter tea is delayed 1 more week due to other belated Xmas events happening this week. So it will now be a New Years tea! Kind of a fun way to start 2017 don't you think? ;)

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    4. I think it's a perfect way to start 2017. I, on the other hand, must get my nose to the grindstone. I am, however, in great shape to do just that. I went to the doctor today (will tell you about that on Sunday, Jan. 1), and he says that I'm in perfect health. He only hopes that he'll be as healthy when he's my age. I'll not let it go to my head though. The health plan for 2017 is still in effect.

      Hope you're having a wonderful snuggly anniversary evening at home. Love to you both, Patsy

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  4. Such a super post! Your winter tea looks lovely and I like the personlised decorations in the shopping mall. All your homemade cards are delightful and I love your list of daily things to do. Hope you and yours have a wonderful 2017:)

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    1. And the same to you, Rosie. If I follow through on all my goals, 2017 is going to be a very busy year.

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  5. Thank you so much for stopping by my blog and leaving a 'footprint' in my comment box. In reply to your query, yes, I do think white chocolate would turn that chocolate roll into something new and special for Eastertide. Another name for that tasty treat is Stained Glass Window cookies.

    I enjoyed my visit to your blog... you share some lovely photos and ideas and recipes. Look forward to seeing what you are up to in the New Year.

    Wishing you a very happy 2017.
    Brenda

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    Replies
    1. Thank you for the reply. I really believe that those cookies would look beautiful in white with the pastel colors of the marshmallows.

      Must file that in a special place - Easter is months away and I have senior moments.

      My next post may not be very interesting for you. I live in the southwest part of Missouri which is sort of wanna be The South, so our New Year tradition is to eat black-eyed peas for luck, collard greens for money, my years in California added rice for health (from the Chinese), tamales for good luck (from the Mexicans), and I add ham and cornbread because it goes so well with all the rest. Probably sounds disgusting to a Maple Leafer.

      But after that we'll get back to teas and tablescapes. Promise.

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