Thursday, December 31, 2009

Christmas Cookies - Part 1

On Christmas Eve, I did the rest of my Xmas baking. My "baker-girl" daughter Molly (the name she gave herself when she was about 8) was home and anxious to create.
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First thing I started were the lovely, fragrant, feather-light, delicious breakfast rolls. I used to bake breads a lot (back in my SAHM days); and I love the kneading process -- I love feeling the bread become elastic and pliable. (And just as when I was a wee little girl, I love having a small nibble of the dough!!) *
We made the rolls a little larger this year; but we still got about 3 dozen crescents, fan-tans and cloverleafs.*
We also made sugar cookies; and we got to use my new snowflake cutters.*
Then we moved on to Molly's favorite, Rugelach. Rugelach is a delicate cinnamon scented cream cheese dough with various fillings inside. We made our 2 favorite fillings: apricot jam & crushed pecans and raspberry jam w/ mini chocolate chips and almonds.
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The dough is then formed into little crescents.
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Mama has to do quality control .............yep! They're delicious! (Attractive picture, huh! I'm thinking of submitting it to E-Harmony!)
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Stay tuned because later I'm going to introduce you to our gingerbread cookies.
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THAT was lots of fun -- lots of rolling out; and lots of cutting out; and lots of creative decorating.
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(And LOTS of being super delicious!)

Christmas Cookies - Part 2

The Orange Gingerbread is my favorite Xmas cookie. I like them with a light glaze; but that's probably because I've never had the slightest inclination to do anything more with my cookie. So, I gladly leave the decorating to my daughters.
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And this year, my daughter Molly (the one on the left with the saloon girl cleavage [Saints preserve us! She will not listen to her mother!! ] and her faithful sidekick, Nicole took on the task!
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And what a job they did; I think they decorated from about 6 to 9 pm. Nadine decorated a giant Xmas tree for herself, but Molly and Nicole did the rest.
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It wouldn't be Christmas without Santa Claus, right? (That his hat lower right on the rack.)*
And Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without some beautifully decorated trees!*
And everyone needs a few gingerbread men in the house at Christmas, right! But some people obviously find the standard gingerbread men or women a little boring. So, I think they did a "Spring Break in Fort Lauderdale" theme this year.
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I realize that not everyone's house at Christmas contains this particular treat. But for the past 3-4 years, our house ALWAYS has a Donald Trump! (And it's the only time I can say anything positive about his comb-over -- and that thing is "yum"!)*
I must admit though that this is the first year we've had an accident victim on the festive cookie plate! The colors do go well and he tasted yummy! But I'm on the fence about repeating this particular cookie! *
As well, the gingerbread "bears" somehow got turned into gingerbread "frogs"! Still, as Shakespear once said: "A bear by any other name would taste as sweet!" (Or something like that!)*
There was also lots of gingerbread stars as well as a hippie and a hobo! We welcome ALL at our house at Christmas!! Brittney Spears did not make an appearance for Xmas 2009; the girls said she was so "last year"!!! Nor (thanks be to God above for His infinite mercy to long-suffering and prayerful mothers) did we see any "ho's" or "junkies" on the cookie plate! This mother has had cause in the past to question her "allowing the children to express their creativity"!!
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Still, when all was said and done, they did an ACE job, wouldn't you say?
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Well done girls! Delicious work! I may just hire you out next Christmas!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Santa Was So Good to Me


I got such wonderful gifts for Christmas!
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Here are the books I purchased last February during the sales (and wrapped and hid under my bed). Other than the top book, I couldn't remember any other titles: so it was a real hoot opening the package and saying "Ohhh! This one looks good!"*
I also got The Beatles coffee table book, a Xmas book (from Adriana) and a German calendar (from Nadine). Now I'm just going to get all confused and not know my Montag from my Freitag!*
Santa also brought me this beautiful necklace and earrings set from the Lunenburg Craft Fair in late November. He sure has good taste!! *
Adriana also gave me this beautiful platter; it's about 16" in length. (Do ya think she might be hinting around about the possibility of having something yummy to celebrate her return on Jan 9th??)*
And Nadine also gave me this extremely thoughtful gift: it's filled with pictures of the things we did together. I am so touched by this!
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My lovely Libby bought me these beautiful reflective wine glasses. (Too much wine always makes me reflective anyway! Hic!!) Or perhaps she's hoping that I'll actually see myself in the glass as I drink and notice the negative affects it might be having on me before I go too far! Wadda ya think?*
I got Santa earrings and a selection of nose studs from my Molly. (Isn't that what most daughters buy their 55 yr old mothers?? A nose stud for every outfit??) And I got pretty tea towels, a beautiful red shawl (a wonderful score from the thrift store -- brand new! Santa's also thrifty!), lavender bath goodies, Xmas napkins; and I'm estimating that I got about 8 lb of chocolate! EIGHT POUNDS!!!
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Well, actually, it was just 2 boxes of chocolates! But I'm pretty sure by the time I'm through with it, it'll be that same 8 lb I lost just before Xmas smacked right back on my pudgy little torso!
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There just so darned tasty!!

Breakfast is Served....

Oh my!! It's been a while since I blogged. What on earth have I been doing?
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Well, after several days of turkey sandwiches (and I'm still not tired of them) and dozens of sweeties and a goodly number of glasses of wine, my digestive system was screaming this morning. It was saying:
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"Please don't eat a banana and 5 shortbread cookies for breakfast again today!!"
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So, I listened to my body. And this morning for breakfast I had this --


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Wasn't I a good girl? Then I took my tea and went back to the table to finish jigsaw puzzle number 3. But what's that next to my mug?

Oh dear! Are there STILL chockies left? Why that's such a glaringly obvious oversight on my part!
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Ahhhhh! A chocoholic's work is never done ................ THANKFULLY!!


Friday, December 25, 2009

An International Christmas

Set the table all pretty .....
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And just as dinner is bubbling away and Eva and I poured a glass of wine, Santa arrived! This Christmas, Santa-Brady is making me a settle bench for my front hallway. (It's still in it's early production stage.)
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There was a lineup down the hallway to get dinner. We held pinkie fingers, and Brady asked the blessing over the food. Everyone shared my family tradition of Xmas crackers and funny hats!
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Libby and Brady ...

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Here are our new friends Andrew, Ken and Tyne (St Martin's, Caribbean). They came up here to pick up a boat; Brady is doing some work for them, and as they would be here for a couple of weeks yet, I invited them to join us for a Canadian Christmas.*

My darling Eva with her son Matthias (formerly Czech Republic) but now new Canadians!
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Nadine (Germany), Molly's friend Nicole, moi and Molly.

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Time for a group shot! *
What a wonderful, fun-filled Christmas day!
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Goodnight!
Aargh! After I take my Alka-seltzer, I am waddling off to bed. (Must eat lettuce and yogurt tomorrow!!)

Merry Christmas Morning




The long awaited day is here at last!


Merry Christmas Everyone!

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I woke at 6:45 and spent some time just drinking in the day and talking to God about how wonderful He is and how much He has blessed this family!
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It's a quiet 9 AM now. The children are nestled all snug in their beds (and I have an extra 19 yr old this morning as well!). Mama in her kerchief? Well, in her jammies -- covered by an apron! The stockings are stuffed and the Sandy Claus gifts have been added to the others under tree. You couldn't possibly put another gift under there!
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I put the pies in the oven to bake set the Christmas breakfast table. Two 5 kg turkeys are stuffed and lovingly rubbed down with salt and pepper. They've just begun to roast in my wonderful convection oven (which equals less time and more tender meat).


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As I was yet again in front of the sink (I've spent a lot of time here over the past couple of days, me and my pruney hands), I reflected on just how much work I put into this season with the cleaning and decorating and buying and wrapping and baking and cooking. It's an enormous effort! And there'll be 11 of us around my Christmas dinner table today, representing 4 countries, stuffed into my roughly 10 by 10 ft dining room, feasting on a wonderful meal cooked in my even smaller kitchen. And sometimes this thought flits across my mind - "How do you get yourself into these things, Sandy?"
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But then drying another dish, I suddenly fill with joy and I remember what this is all about. I think of my having a house that can be filled with people! I think of having a pantry filled with things to share with others. I think of how my children won't always be here with me; and isn't it wonderful that they feel that it's a place to share with their friends. I think of my aging body and how there might come a day when I either won't have the strength or ability to do this. I think of loved ones no longer able to share this day with us because they aren't here -- separated either by distance or by death!
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(And I remember as well that after this gargantuan meal today, I go off duty! Others clean up! And the remainder of my Xmas is about rest and relaxation; and my focus is on me and what I want to do -- or not do!)
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And it's all worth it! It's all part of my soaking in the season!
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I have been greatly blessed by God!
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May your Christmas reflect the blessings in your life! Happy Day my friends!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Let the Baking Begin ...

Other than the Christmas fruitcake and pudding, I have been told not to bake our usual Xmas cookies until Daughter #2 arrives. (That's late tonight!) But when Santa's Little Helper appeared, I thought I could at least do some prep. (Santa's Little Helper looks a little familiar, doesn't she? And just a tiny bit crazed!!! Must be the dual thoughts of the end of another toy-making season and a much needed sugar fix soon to come!)
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Every job needs the right music. So, I dig out the old familiar "baking" cassettes....
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And I get the ingredients ready ....
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I'm not allowed to cut these out; but I can prepare them at least! It'll save on the work tomorrow morning as well as helping with crowd control; with 3 of us milling about in my tiny kitchen & dining area, it well get a little congested!
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I've been searching for the ultimate shortbread recipe for years. LaHave Bakery in the community where I use to live make these beautiful golden, layered, crisp, buttery shortbreads that I keep (unsuccessfully to date) trying to replicate. And no matter how unsuccessful, it's wonderful fun (and calorific!!) to keep trying.
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Here goes Attempt 2009 (the year and not the no. of attempts!). And I'm going to bake these in the pretty Xmas mold pan I bought last month at the church flea market.
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But I'm also a sucker for anything with oats and bittersweet chocolate! So, let's try these as well.
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Oooooo! Look at them - they're pretty huh! The "buttery shortbreads" are okay; yeah they're quite nice. But I should have known that with the icing sugar, they're more of a sandy, melty texture: so they don't meet the standards of my particular shortbread goal. And I now know that the Xmas mold was meant for cakes or muffins as they're a tad thick [somewhat like Santa's Little Helper] and the mold features are a bit "blurred" [also somewhat like Santa's Little Helper!!}). The oat & bittersweet chocolate shortbreads, however, look (and taste) to be a wonderful contender!!! Just look at these lovely little guys! They're like an extemely rich 'n' buttery oatcake! So, I'm hoping that after aging for a day or two, they'll be even better!! [If we apply this theory to Santa's Little Helper as well, do you think some rich, single, Christian guy would fall for it???]
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With 10 expected for Xmas dinner, I thought I'd bake a couple of pies -- homemade mincemeat (containing real meat) and apple.
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And because Brady is bring Molly home tonight, I think I'll thank him with a new recipe for cinnamon buns. *
And there was also enough for our house! Yum, yum, yummy! A little icing and some pretty packaging, and they're all set!

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Now ... a quick shower and primp, and I'll be ready to meet friends for coffee and carrot cake. A much needed break and "fuel-up" as tomorrow will be more baking!

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Oh dear! Enjoying oneself is such hard work!!!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Shovelling through a Winter Wonderland

We had a lovely blizzard yesterday afternoon. The snow came down for hours and hours; I hunkered down at home and cleaned.
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This morning, I had to go to the doctor for 9:30; so the snow had to be shovelled. I woke at 7 am, and this is what I saw when I opened my front door.

While the girls snoozed and snoozed, I shovelled and shovelled. It was a nice temperature (about 1 deg Celsius), quiet and peaceful, and the snow was light yet it clumped together. A very good workout!
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Here's the scene after my shovelling.


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Day was breaking as I finished and walked back to the house. Tea on the sofa sounded great about that time.