Monday, December 28, 2009

Two giveaways

So, since I only had two people sign up in the comments, I will be sending two packages of cookies out to Aliceson and MLS.  Congratulations!  And thanks for participating! I'll send you messages looking for mailing addresses to which I can send your lovely package of cookies.  I've noticed less traffic in the blogger world during the holidays, so maybe next year I'll offer it up earlier than say, December 21.

We're stuffed to the gills with leftovers and sweet treats.  Had the ham, sweet potatoes, green bean casserole, forgot to serve the apple salad but ate it later. Stayed indoors Friday and Saturday, though I did manage to make it to the gym on Saturday.  Sunday, we went shopping!  Maybe overdid it a bit.  Two new winter coats for me and Mr. Wild, and our first ever laptop!  Yup, a laptop.  It has a webcam and it was so easy to access our wireless.  Very cool!  I hope to try it out with my sister and her kids someday, so we can see them live time.  It will be interesting if we can get the stars to align.

See you on Random Tuesday.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

A Moment in Time

Grandma, you'll be missed.


Tuesday, December 22, 2009

So Random with Christmas Cheer

Time for Random Tuesday Thoughts!


Courtesy of the Un Mom.

Sooooo busy!  Baking hoska bread for my son's class, whipping up powdered sugar icing, getting in some gym time,  buying last minute presents.  Whew!  Anyone else feel like this has been a marathon?

First things first.  I am having a giveaway.  Click here to see the details.  It is guaranteed to be yummy! You have until Sunday, December 27 to put yourself in the comments to be eligible for the random number generating!

Gave a presentation to my son's class about the history and heritage of Christmas we celebrate today.  Showed them how to make Swedish paper hearts.  Not that I have any of that heritage.  I work at a living history site and we celebrated Swedish heritage, among others, this year.  I made the hoska bread (Czech Christmas bread), again not because I have the heritage, but because we talked about it at my site.  It was fun to share with those fourth graders.  Even if they got wound up.

Who's going out of town for the holidays?  I'm not!  I'm glad I am not, because I like to cook and cook I will at home!  I hate to wash up afterwards.  Usually Mr. Wild isn't too disgruntled, but I do really dirty the dishes and he gets a bit tired of how many dishes I dirty.  Tonight is warm potato leek soup, no matter how much the children cry about it.

So, plans for dinner.  Don't ask me why, but Christmas Eve dinner has been Italian in my house and my parents' house for a while.  Not for any particular heritage.  Maybe because it's easy to make and most of us like it?  So I've carried it into my home.  I am planning mostaccoli (sp?), skillet cauliflower (from Lidia's Family Table cookbook), and a nice spinach and baby pea salad.  I also plan on serving crostini with sun dried tomato spread for an appetizer and Noel tortoni (ice cream with m&ms and maraschino cherries) for dessert.

I also like the tradition that I think my parents started, where we each get to pick one present on Christmas Eve to unwrap.  My parents are supposed to be coming, but with the weather, that may be iffy.  And who hasn't been talking about the midwestern storm.  It could be rain, freezing rain or sleet, or heavy snow.  I'm hoping for the rain, except for the flooding that may occur.

So, menus...
Christmas Day we will have ham, sweet potato casserole, lemon apple (jello) salad, green bean casserole, home made rolls (I'm going homemade, why buy dough for rolls? I can do it myself) and pumpkin pie.  I have been thinking about trying to make a dried cranberry stuffing, but I've not found a recipe I'm satisfied with.  I don't want cornbread, apples, or sausage in it.  Maybe I will, maybe I won't.

We sometimes have savory eggs on Christmas morning.  Thinking lots of Velveeta cheese and eggs and butter.  Yeah, so it's a heart attack waiting to happen, but we only have it once a year.  But me and Mr. Wild and my parents would be the only ones eating it, so if they don't come, it will have to wait.

I realized this year that my kids don't know a lot of traditional caroling Christmas songs.  Their school is so good about being diverse, they don't know Jolly Old St. Nicholas, Here Comes Santa Claus, Away in the Manager, Silent Night.  Some are religious, some are not, but I was thinking how sad they don't know them.  Guess what I think I'll do to remedy it?  My husband will think I'm nuts, I'm sure my kids will groan, but I think I'll organize a yearly caroling party with in-town friends.  Print out the words, meet at our house with their full familes and then wander the streets of our town, bringing Christmas cheer.  No one goes caroling anymore.  Why not?  I think we will, and we'll be silly and goofy and maybe weird, but it should be fun.  Then I'll serve mulled wine, hot chocolate, and maybe wassail and maybe have a chili dump. (Warning to my friends in town who read this, yes, this means YOU!)  We'll be a crowd and there will be safety in numbers for the embarrassment factor.  I miss singing and caroling.  Let's start a new tradition.  Well, I'm going to anyway!

Need to go make soup.  Hope your holiday is shaping up to be a good one!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Instead of Foodie Friday, how about a giveaway?!

Okay, okay, I've been missing from the blogosphere.  That's because I've been shopping, baking, cooking, planning menus, decorating trees, wrapping presents, throwing in a ten year olds birthday sleepover (which was much better than last year, limited to 4 guests this time, whew!), ordering gifts on-line, prepping some get the picture.  This all because I worked weekends the first two weekends in December, which throws my whole holiday life out of whack.  Despite it being out of whack, I am going to do a giveaway.  Yup, you read that right.  And it will be a tin of my favorite holiday cookies, springerle.

They will be almond flavor, because that's what I have left.  This year I made two batches of almond and one batch of orange.  I think I'm about springerle'd out.  But willing to share their lovely goodness.  Sorry no orange, but there is little of that left and the only flavor dear Willa loves, so I am keeping them for her holiday cheer. In addition, my parents are coming to visit and I think they deserve a taste of orange as well.  My brother gets a tin of almond flavor very soon.  I should probably send my sister some so she doesn't feel left out.  Oh, dear.  Bags of it went around to my local friends.

Only fitting that one of my readers should get some too.  I will also send the extra little book of recipes that came with my last mold order from House on the Hill.  Maybe it will inspire you to try making some.  Sorry, no mold giveaway this year.  But you can check out the link and order a small one to start.  I'm up to seven or eight molds right now.

Leave a comment in this post.  I will leave this open until Sunday, December 27 at 5 pm Central Standard Time. That way I will be less rushed in getting this out in the post.  Maybe time to find a tin on sale.  Feel free to share this contest on your blog.  I'd like to have a goodly number of contestants, because, let me tell you, these cookies are worth winning.  I may ask the winner to give a testimonial about the cookies, because I don't want you to just take my word for it.

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Picture Proud!

I took that picture that is in my blog title header.  I'm pretty amazed with myself.  It's hard to read my title and description now, but oh, well, the picture is cool.  I'll be posting Foodie Friday soon.  Sorry to be missing friends.  Work has gotten in the way.  But I will leave you with some of the fantastic images of the snowstorm aftermath last week.  I gotta go get grocery shopping done.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Foodie Friday

Yes, I promised you that gingerbread recipe.  I haven't decided if I really like it or not.  It comes from Miss Beecher's Domestic Receipt-Book, by Catharine E. Beecher, first published in 1858.  If you want to know what they might have dined on during the Civil War decade, this is a pretty good representation.

Sugar Gingerbread (plainer)
Two cups of sugar.
One cup of butter, rubbed with the sugar.
One cup of milk.
Two eggs.
One teaspoonful of pearlash in hot water.**will explain in a minute
Three tablespoonfuls of ginger. (oh yes, that is correct, hope you like ginger)
Five cups of flour.
Make it a soft dough, and add more flour if needed.

Pearlash was a historic leavening, later to be replaced by the likes of sodium bicarbonate or baking soda, and baking powder.  You can replace it with 1/4 t. of baking soda for each cup of flour (so a slightly rounded teaspoon should suffice here).

There is no baking directions, as it would be with a wood stove and oven and you would have to judge what temperature and how long by how you knew your stove ran.  I baked mine for 30 minutes in a 350 degree oven, as that's what other conventional quick breads run at then tested it to see if it was done.  The dough was slightly pourable, maybe a little less pourable than other cakes, but I think I was overzealous with the flour.

My cake turned out a very golden brown.  Without molasses or other spices, it is about the actual color of powdered ginger.  It is very sweet and not hot like ginger can get.

A very cool thing I found while trying to figure out the modern equivalent of pearlash was finding that someone still sold pearlash and saleratus (an early forerunner of baking soda).  Check out this place.

Good luck with trying a recipe from the past....

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

So random...It's Random Tuesday Thoughts!

So random:


Courtesy of the Un Mom. Come on, click the button.  You know you want to.

This is supposed to be Random Tuesday, but it's about my random Monday. Maybe more like manic Monday.  You decide.  I had the day off and away we go....

Baked gingerbread and it's not your mother's gingerbread, or maybe even your grandmother's.  Might be a great great grandmother's.  Check out my next Foodie Friday and I'll surprise you with the recipe.

Took son to orthodontist.  He's getting a bar across the top of his mouth to spread out his upper jaw.  Good thing, there's no room at the inn for the big teeth.

Baked the bottoms of jelly tarts.  Little tiny pie crust type things.  Then, after baking you put jelly on them.

Pressed out eight, count them eight, dozen springerle.  All thanks to my new mold.  And my new baker's ammonia.  Did you know that baker's ammonia is the same compound as smelling salts?  So it's a leavening, and if you need to help someone out of a faint, voila!  Almond flavor yesterday.  Baking them tonight.  It's a tricky challenge to bake them.  They might overpuff and not look as good as they might if they didn't puff so much.  I'm baking at 225 F for 20 minutes.  Keeping my fingers crossed.  One pan seems to be better than the others.  I need another pan like it.  Still planning on a batch of orange flavored.  Maybe next week.

Made a super supper.  Pork chops with Italian dressing in the crock pot.  Tried to make some homemade cranberry dressing, but it didn't turn out quite like I expected.  Steamed sweet potatoes, and green bean casserole to round it out.  Actually good I did a test run of the cranberry dressing.  I need to try again with a tweak of the ingredients before serving it at Christmas.

Bathroom sink got fixed, finally.  It's been dripping for maybe three months.  I replaced the seat springs and rubber bits.  But not before I forgot to turn off the water.  Can anyone say bathroom geyser?  Hence I had to do the towels in the laundry.  Everything, including me and my slippers, soaking wet.

Had to run to the store for broth.  While heading there I realized the moon was full, or nearly so.  Um, can we say no wonder I was a little crazy?

I watched one TV show and played one video game yesterday.

Last night I dreamed aliens that looked like humans (yes, it probably is V influenced) had captured all the humans and were making us do work for them.  Slaves, I guess.  Somehow I came up with the plan to foil them and coordinated the effort worldwide right from where I was standing.  We captured all of them and then I had to get up.

Does that explain why I was sore today?  Nah, maybe it was the mixing and baking and kneading and rolling dough?  My triceps feel like they've been through the wringer all day.

I was up way too late and am very tired tonight.

Good night, Gracie.