Seeing Green

March 17, 2012

Here is a celebration of Green for St. Patrick’s Day!

Green candy on my window sill

Green and white striped candy canes

Green buttons

Green thread

Disposable fountain pen with green ink

My favorite sweater, a gift from my friend and colleague Kathy who finds treasures like this at thrift stores.

A new batch of Green Velvet Soup with ham (see my blog post for 12/10/2011 for the recipe)

Green shamrocks on my sister's Bleek sugar & creamer

Watercolor sketch of Bleek sugar & creamer

Seeing Red

February 14, 2012

Here is a celebration of red for Valentine’s Day!

Red candy on my window sill

Red-and-white striped candy canes

Red DMC embroidery thread

Red buttons

Red spools of thread

Hand-quilted dresser scarf in Bear Paw pattern

Three red quilt blocks

Plate of Christmas cookies

Decorating sugar cookies with crushed candy canes

One of our Christmas traditions is making sugar cookies using special cookie cutters shaped like a star, snowman, candy cane, bell and Christmas tree.  The recipe we use was handed down from my Grandmother who once owned the farm where I grew up.  Last year my daughter modified the recipe by sprinkling crushed candy canes on top of the frosting.  A festive touch!

Old-Fashioned Soft Sugar Cookies

4-3/4 c flour
1-1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
3/4 c soft butter or margarine
1-1/2 c sugar
2 small eggs
2 tsp vanilla
3/4 c sour cream

Cream together butter and sugar.  Add eggs and vanilla.  Gradually mix in the dry ingredients, alternating with the sour cream.  You can refrigerate the dough at this point, or else, roll out on floured surface and cut into shapes.  Bake at 375 degrees for 10 – 12 minutes.  When cool, apply frosting (I use cream cheese frosting.)

Farmhouse Chocolate Cookies

Here is another recipe that I like to make at Christmas time.  Sometimes I substitute Hershey’s Holiday Kisses for the Andes mints.  I simply push a Kiss into the soft cookie the minute they came out of the oven.

Farmhouse Chocolate Mint Cookies

3/4 c butter
1-1/2 c brown sugar
2 Tbsp water
12 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 eggs
2-1/2 c flour
1-1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 boxes Andes mints

Place butter, sugar, and water in a saucepan on low heat until the butter is melted.  Add chocolate chips and stir until partially melted.  Remove from the heat.  Continue to stir until fully melted.  Pour into a mixing bowl and let stand 10 minutes to cool slightly.  With mixer at high speed, beat in eggs, one at a time.  Reduce speed to low and add dry ingredients.  Chill dough one hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line cookie sheets with foil.  Roll dough into small balls and place 2 inches apart on cookie sheets.  Bake 11 to 13 minutes.  Immediately place a mint on each hot cookie.  Allow to soften, then swirl over the top of the cookie like frosting.  Remove from cookie sheets and cool.