Saturday, April 4, 2015

TAKING THE EASY ROAD


I might aspire to fun and fancy foods, but when it comes down to the bottom line, I always choose the easy way.  So when I had a hankering to make a "nest with cute egg" dessert for Easter, the only choices I found just sounded a le-e-e-tle bit too difficult or time-consuming.

So I adapted a recipe I already had in my box!  Known as Mud Cookies, Wax Paper Cookies, and No- Bake Cookies, these make excellent gluten-free bird nests.



WAX PAPER COOKIES

3/4 C. sugar
2 T. baking cocoa
1/4 C. butter
1/4 C. milk

1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/4 C. peanut butter
2 C. uncooked gluten-free oats

candy that looks like small bird eggs, such as jelly beans (malted bird eggs are NOT GF)


1.  Decide what type of pan you will use.  Tiny muffin tins make small nests, but you can also place wax paper onto a cookie sheet and just shape the nests with a spoon.  You can see in the photo that I tried it both ways--the muffin tins are toward the front and the hand-shaped are toward the back.

2.  Combine the first 4 ingredients in a saucepan.  Stir to a boil over medium heat and boil for 1 minute.

3.  Stirring constantly, add the next 3 ingredients.

4.  Quickly drop the cookies with a teaspoon into tiny muffin tins or onto wax paper.  Place a candy egg onto each one.

5.  Put the pans into the refrigerator for 30-60 minutes to help them harden well; then you can remove them and display how you wish.

BUTTER LAMBS

Reposted from 2009

BUTTER LAMBS

Years ago when my husband and I lived in Buffalo, New York, there was (and still is) a big Polish Catholic tradition of purchasing butter in the shape of a lamb for your Easter celebration.

I don't ban the bunnies, but I feel a lot happier with a few lambs and crosses around my house, especially at this time of the year.  Those sorts of things are getting more difficult to find nowadays on account of having to make store shelf room for the camouflage plastic eggs and the Barbie tin pails that someone out there feels is a MUST-HAVE for your modern egg hunt (I have to admit that those little rubber duckies they have this year are adorable!).

So when we lived in Buffalo, I joyously bought my butter lamb every year. When we left Buffalo, I was very sad to have no more.  So I make my own now.

Some people make a "wooly" lamb by making the butter all squiggly through a garlic press, but I just use a plastic mold that you might buy for making chocolate lambs.   I have 2 kinds:  one has a front and a back that makes a whole lamb, and the other is for chocolate lollipops--the front of a lamb without a back.


You can purchase a whole lamb mold at a baking supplies shop or at the Polish Art Center.

Here's how to make a butter lamb!

1.  Using clean hands or the tip of a table knife, press semi-firm butter into the molds.  Keep looking on the front-side as you're pressing, to make sure you get the air bubbles out.


2.  Scrape the back-sides level, wipe off the excess around the edges, and attach the two sides together.


3.  Put in the freezer for at least 30 minutes.

4.  Carefully take the lamb out of the mold.  Using a knife and/or paper towel, trim the excess off the seams.


5.  Traditionally, peppercorns are used for the eyes; I melt a few chocolate chips and use a toothpick to paint the eyes.

6.  Traditionally, the lamb has a bow or sash, and a toothpick flag with a red cross is placed in his back.  I usually put a red or purple ribbon bow on mine, using melted chocolate to attach it.

May you have a blessed Easter, Friends!

"All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all."  ~~Isaiah 53:6

Monday, February 23, 2015

CHOOSING THE RIGHT COLOR


The sun is shining today and the temperature gauge reads -1 below.  It makes our drinking glasses shine in the window.  Can you guess which color is mine?




Before we each had our own glass, we "dirtied" glasses galore--just for a drink of water!  A typical American thing, I think.  But when my grandmother died, I inherited the cup she used every day when she was thirsty.  What a beautiful whimsy to think about.



Today there are very pretty enamel cups for sale, and I bought a different color for everyone.  Here is mine:



But alas, it's not like the old days.  These cups very quickly became cracked and broken, exposing the material underneath, and we had to abandon them.  So we switched to....

ACRYLIC.  

Yep.


It's not all so bad.  For one thing, it's cheap enough that if you get tired of your glass, you can buy a new one--as long as it's in "your" color.  You can get anything you want, really--as long as it's in your color.  I myself am very picky as to how a drinking glass rim feels in your mouth, and as to how the water tastes from the glass.  For example, while aluminum glasses feel nice, they taste very odd indeed:



Some rims are too wide, and you have to struggle to maintain an adult appearance while trying to prevent water from dribbling down your chin.



And some just do not feel or taste right at all.



So here's an encouragement for a cold winter's day:




* I'd be obliged to take the one on the left.


Friday, November 7, 2014

THE CHICKEN AND THE EGG


I have been thinking a lot about chickens and their owners lately.

I love the looks of a chicken.  I could collect chicken photos on Pinterest forever, they're so beautiful.

My co-mother-in-law's chicken



I get excited about chicken houses too, and the different ways you can protect your chickens while gleaning all of their benefits.



But purchasing good eggs on a regular basis seems to be a very difficult thing to do.  There was a time whereby an egg owner would give eggs to a friend at her church, and then I'd have to stop by the friend's house to pick them up, but that eventually chickened out.



Then someone in our church appeared to want to regularly bring eggs to OUR church, but that turned out to be a one-time deal.  Then there was a patron of the library who brought them once.  Then there were a couple of families who said they would bring regularly, but they keep forgetting....you get the picture. These folks seem to be...well...so flighty.

It has set me to wondering if there's a certain type of folk who raise chickens.

My brother and his family recently began to raise chickens.  They have been very methodical about it, doing research, building things.

My niece and the one my brother built.


It sounds like such fun!  I haven't heard much news since the chicks arrived, but eggs have started coming.  He lives far away, so I'll probably never partake. But now I'm wondering what kind of person he REALLY is.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

LOVE MY LIBRARY


I'm working at a new job now--or I should say, SECOND job.



My first love.

My love of reading began when I was a child, in our very small town library.  I won top prize for the Most Books Read every summer for a while.  My mom and I always had to have something to read.

My love of libraries began in the 7th grade, when I became a volunteer in the school library.  The librarian encouraged me in that art, having me read to the kindergarten children (that's how I contracted the chickenpox--me and the little ones) and even taking me to a librarian's conference.

I got my master's degree and was a school and public librarian before the boys were born.

Now I'm back, and glad to be so!  It's interesting how someone who loves libraries just can't stay away.  "Now you know the part-time job we're hiring you for doesn't make full use of your librarian degree, right?" the director asked me during the interview.  Our library actually has several people with a degree who volunteer or are part-time, just checking out books or shelving them.

And HECK YEAH, WE LOVE IT!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

HEM IT ALL IN


I am starting to wonder if sewing is becoming a lost art.  And I don't mean sewing A DRESS; I'm talking about the simple work of hemming and mending.

I have the unfortunate circumstance of not only being short of stature, but short of waist and narrow of shoulders too.  It truly is not possible for me to buy slacks without plans to shorten them.  I take the previous statement as an OF COURSE comment, but lately I've met sales clerks who seem not to have heard of hand-sewing store-bought clothes.  One lady in a "high end" store was bereft that she couldn't find slacks that were my right height and she showed surprise, horror (and a bit of awed interest) that I was purchasing some with the intention of hemming them when I got home.

This summer a clerk didn't want me to try on a blouse.  "That's going to be far too long," she said.  I chuckled and said something along the lines of "Oh, that's life...that's the way it is...no getting around it!"

Later she saw me and asked how THAT all went for me.  There was a bit of snidefulness in her tone as if to say "I was right, wasn't I?"

I told her the sleeves were too tight.

Anyhow, I suppose it never entered her mind that hemming is an art some people HAVE to do.

Otherwise, it could go one of three ways:

1.  Wear the one piece of clothing that fits over and over again as the years go by.

My dad, 1989

2.  Wear them as is.



3.  Go naked (sorry, no photos).

I hemmed a new pair of capris today.






Monday, November 3, 2014

CAN'T MAKE PANCAKES IN THE FALL


I don't flip over too well.  



Time changes don't agree with me anymore; I'm quite happy to stay up even later in the night, but still I wake up early in the morning--TOO early.  That adds up to quite a lack of sleep.