Saturday, July 31, 2010

Colored Pencils

I love colored pencils!  I'm not an artist, but I do like to doodle.

I drew all sorts of designs for costumes during my daughter's dance years.  I doodled fun little pictures on the lunch bags that my kids took to school.  I still scribble nonsense on napkins at the kitchen table when I talk on the phone.

I keep all my colored pencils in an old milk bottle carrier.   I love the bright splash of color they add to the room.  And I like having them handy whenever I have a minute to be creative.

Laurie is hosting A Few Of My Favorite Things Saturday.    Please visit her blog to see all sorts of fun favorites!

Monday, July 26, 2010

When The Daughter Asks For Cookies...

We went to visit our daughter this weekend.  Last week she asked me if I would please bake her favorite cookies and bring them along.  We moms who miss our  college students will do anything to keep our kids happy, including turning the oven on to bake cookies in the heat of the summer.  Since I was baking I figured I should join my friends who were celebrating "Christmas in July" here on the blogs.

One of our favorite cookies to make during the holidays are Fanciful Raspberry Ribbons.  I found this recipe years ago, in the December 1993 Midwest Living magazine.   The magazine featured holiday recipes from historic homes in the heartland, and this one was from The Ramsey House in St Paul Minnesota.   

(this pic from the web)

As you can see from it's tattered and stained appearance, this is a well used recipe.  They are so easy to make.  And all the cookies fit on just two cookie sheets, so they are done in no time!

Over the years I made one alteration to the original recipe, because we like a little more flavor in the cookie.  Orange zest.  You can decide to stay with the original, or add the zest like I do.  (This is a handy little gadget to have around.  Makes the job of zesting orange or lemon peel so easy!)

Fanciful Raspberry Ribbons

1 cup butter, softened
2 and 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg, slightly beaten
Orange zest from one orange (Not part of the original recipe.  I added this.)
Raspberry jam

3/4 cup powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon almond flavoring
3 to 4 teaspoons milk

In a mixing bowl, beat the butter with an electric mixer on medium speed for 30 seconds.  Add about half the flour, along with the sugar, vanilla, salt, egg and orange zest.  Beat with mixer until throughly combined.  Add the rest of the flour, mixing until the dough sticks together to form a ball.  (Here's another handy little gadget!   I love this silicone spatula.  If you do not have one of these yet, run to your nearest cooking gadget store and pick one up. You will never go back to the rubber spatulas on a stick.)

Gather the dough into a ball and knead slightly.  Divide the cookie dough into 8 equal portions.

On a slightly floured surface roll each portion of dough in to a 9 inch long rope.   (My kids always helped roll these and we called them "snakes")  These do not have to be perfect.

Place the ropes/snakes of dough on ungreased cookie sheets, about 2 inches apart.

With a wooden spoon handle, press a long groove down length of ropes.

Bake in a 375 oven for 10 minutes.   (You can see that they puff up a bit, but do not spread a lot.)  Spoon jam into groove.

Bake for about 5 minutes more, or till edges begin to slightly brown.   Cool on cookie sheet for 5 minutes.  Mix up the glaze while you are waiting.  Add powdered sugar, almond flavor and 3-4 teaspoons of milk to make a drizzling consistency.

Using a large spatula, remove cookies to a cutting board.  Drizzle powdered sugar glaze over warm cookies.

Cut into 1 inch slices, on an angle.

Cool cookies completely on racks.  Makes about 72 cookies.  Yummy and pretty!

Last Christmas I took homemade goodies over to several neighbors, and if you look closely you can see the Fanciful Raspberry Ribbons tucked in there, under the green ribbon.

PS-  I see that this has become a popular post.
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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Family Tea

We held the annual summer tea party with my niece last week.  Sisters, parents, cousins and of course, my little niece.  
 (Family photos may not be borrowed or pinned.)

 (Family photos may not be borrowed or pinned.)

Two pots of hot tea, iced tea and fresh squeezed lemonade.  (Teapot, sugar and creamer are Franciscan, Desert Rose.) 

(The teacup in the center is the newest in my Mom's collection.  So pretty with the violets on the outside and the pale green inside.  I do not remember who the maker is...  Do any of you recognize it?)

Monday, July 19, 2010

I wish...

This is what I wish my yard looked like.  If I could pack my parents yard in my suitcase and bring it home with me, I would.   

Looking out at the lake.

Cottage tucked away in the trees.

One of the kitty cats.

See our little visitor?

It was a little Mama raccoon.  She snuck in the house and ate some of the cat food.  The little Bandit!

Bottle tree

Violets and bunny



Rose campion and daisies


Pink and purple geraniums and buttercups

Cranesbill geranium


Morning glory


Monarda and mint


Friday, July 16, 2010

Views From The Window Seat

The ever changing views from the window seat.

I love to fly and I always request a window seat.  There is so much to see and I don't want to miss any of it.