Friday, December 30, 2011

Christmas Baking: Sugar Cookies

So I did manage this year to make all the Christmas goodies I had on my list.  For the final cookie I made sugar cookies.  I used this recipe that I found in a What's Cooking magazine a few years ago.  These are a soft, delicious sugar cookie.  The addition of cream cheese makes them a bit more expensive to make but it also makes them oh so good.  They are easy to roll out as well.  I always get the kids to help with these.  This year we cut them out with a star and tree shaped cookie cutter.  I then made some icing, divided it into two, and coloured it yellow (for the stars) and green (for the trees) and let the kids decorate them with candy and sprinkles.  They turned out very tasty and were a lot of fun to make too.  LK even helped to decorate them.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Christmas Baking: Butter Tart Slice

Well here it is January already.  I hope everyone had a good holiday.  Ours was busy, fun-filled and over too fast.  I know this is late in going up but I wanted to finish posting all the recipes for the Christmas goodies I baked.  I am back dating this for December so that next year I can find all the Christmas baking posts in December.  All of the goodies went over well and I had plenty to put out a large tray of cookies at least 3 times over the holidays.

Today I am sharing with you a recipe for a butter tart slice.  I love butter tarts!  However, I don't always have the time to make a crust, roll it out, and cut out circles for tarts.  So instead I throw together this butter tart slice.  It is simple and easy to make.  The only thing I suggest is lining the pan with parchment paper as the filling is quite sticky.

Butter Tart Slice

1 1/4 cups flour
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup brown sugar

Combine and press into a 9 inch pan.  Bake 15 minutes at 350* F.

1/3 cup melted butter
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup brown sugar
1 tbsp. flour
2 tbsp. cream
1 cup raisans
1 egg beaten slightly

Mix above ingredients and spread over baked base.  Bake again for 20 to 30 minutes in a 350*F oven.  Cool and slice.

I doubled this recipe and made it in a large approx. 9" x 13" pan.

Friday, December 23, 2011

LT is 3 Months Old!

I can't believe LT is 3 months old already.  The time has just flown by.  She has been a very happy baby (except when she was sick the other day but that is to be expected).  This month she has learned how to roll over and can roll from front to back and from back to front.

She is also discovering her hands and is starting to grasp objects and toys.

While discovering her hands she also found out that her thumb is perfect for sucking on.

And this month she reached one of my favorite milestones, sleeping through the night.  I am not getting too excited as I know this can change but for right now I am enjoying the nights of (mostly) uninterrupted sleep.

What a wonderful little girl she is and such a blessing to our family.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Christmas Baking: GIngerbread Boys

Here is another one of our Christmas recipes, gingerbread boys.  I got this recipe from my mom.  My kids don't like regular gingersnaps as they are not a fan of the molasses flavor.  However they really like these gingerbread boys as they have no molasses.  We had a lot of fun making these this past weekend but for some reason the cookies expanded into gingerbread blobs.  So no pretty pictures of fancy cookies but we had a lot of fun laughing at our gingerbread blobs.

Gingerbread Boys (or blobs)

1 cup butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
4 tsp grated orange peel
2 tbsp corn syrup
3 cups flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ginger
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp salt

Thoroughly cream butter and sugar together.  Add eggs; beat until light and fluffy.  Add orange peel and corn syrup; mix well.  Sift together dry ingredients, stir into creamed mixture.  Chill dough thoroughly.  On a lightly floured surface, roll dough to 1/4 inch thickness.  Cut with gingerbread man cookie cutter.  Place 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake in 375* oven for 8-10 minutes.  Cool 1 minute before removing from pan.


If you are in a hurry I have made these No Chill Gingerbread Cookies and enjoyed them.  However they have molasses and weren't such a hit with the kiddos.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Christmas Baking: Vanilla Walnut Crescents

This week I got another item crossed off of my Christmas baking list.  I made these delicious Vanilla Walnut Crescents.  This is not a traditional family recipe but one I started making a few years ago after coming across the recipe in a Country Woman magazine.  They have quickly become a favorite and are one of the most popular items on my Christmas goodie tray.  You can find the recipe here  They are delicious and very easy to make. 

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Book Review: The Ride of a Lifetime by Kitty McGregor

I received this book from to review.  In The Ride of a Lifetime Lucas McCade, a superstar rodeo cowboy, has retired and is trying to make up for lost time with his family.  He moves with his wife and teenage son Conner to Oklahoma where he takes a job at the Falling Star Ranch.  His wife is happy but Conner is not impressed.  He misses his life back in Texas and feels this effort by Lucas to be a father is too little, too late.  As the McCades settle into life in Oklahoma they find a church but feel something is not quite right in the community.

This book is a modern western featuring a battle of good versus evil.  It is rich in description and the author does a good job of drawing you into the story.  The book does jump around from setting to setting a bit but it is easy to follow as the author skillfully brings you along.  The plot is interesting but I was a little a taken a back by the evil spirits in the book.  I am not a huge fan of books about the occult and was surprised to find it in this Christian book (I guess I should have read the product description a little better).  Overall, I found the story engaging, the scenery lovely, and the book was full of action.  However, while I enjoyed the beginning of the book I was a bit disappointed with the ending.  I thought it was melodramatic and a bit over the top. 

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Christmas Baking: Shortbread Cookies

So last week I got another item of Christmas baking completed.  I made a large batch of shortbread cookies.  I think shortbread is one of my most favourite Christmas cookies.  This a cookie that we only ever make at Christmas time and I love the way it just melts in your mouth.  This is the recipe that my mother made.  It was also found on the back of a box of cornstarch for many years.  Some people fancy them up by adding candied cherries, sprinkles or other things but for me I just prefer them plain.

Here is the recipe:

1/2 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup icing sugar
1 cup flour
3/4 cup butter, softened (not melted)

Sift dry ingredients together then add butter.  With large wooden spoon work butter in thoroughly.  Work with hands until soft, smooth dough forms.  Shape into 1 inch balls.  Place 1 1/2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet, flatten with lightly floured fork.  Bake in 300*F oven for 15-20 min. or until edges are lightly browned.  Store in tightly covered container.


Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Yarn Along - Turtle

Yarning along this week again with Ginny from Small Things.  I am still working on this turtle for Sky.  I have a lot of the pieces done I just have to sew them together (which is my least favorite part of the process). 

As far as reading goes I am reading Large Family Logistics by Kim Brenneman.  I know I don't have a really large family but she has some good tips in the book that are helpful for families of any size.  My biggest complaint about this book is that it is a large hardcover book.  Most of my reading these days is done while nursing LT and it is difficult to hold that large of a book while nursing a baby.  Also on my Kobo I am currently reading The Ride of a Lifetime by Kitty McGregor that I will be reviewing for

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Christmas Baking: Date Squares

I don't do a lot of Christmas baking but I do love me some cookies.  So I try to make a few extra goodies for Christmas.  Some of these only get  made at Christmas time so they are an extra treat.  Also I try to let the older girls help with baking so it can become a fun family time (it doesn't always work though as mom has trouble giving up control but we try).  I thought I would share what is on my Christmas baking list for this year along with some of the recipes.

My baking list for this year is:

Shortbread Cookies
Gingerbread Men
Sugar Cookies
Vanilla Walnut Crescents
Butter Tart Squares
Date Squares

Yesterday I made some Date Squares.  This isn't the most Christmassy goodie but I really like Date Squares and I hardly ever make them.  Also this is one of the more healthier recipes I make for Christmas.  It is full of good fibre, iron, and magnesium.

Without further ado here is the recipe:

Date Squares

5 cups (2 3/4 lb/1.25 kg) pitted dates, coarsely chopped
Finely grated rind and juice of 1 lemon
1 1/2 cups water

3cups quick oats
1 1/2 cups flour
1 cup brown sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup butter, melted

For filling: in saucepan combine dates, lemon rind and juice, and water.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, covered, for about 15 minutes or until dates are very soft.  stir mixture well to mash dates.

For crust: in bowl, combine oats, flour, brown sugar, baking powder, and salt.  Stir in melted butter until thoroughly combined and crumbly.

Pat half the crust mixture onto bottom of lightly greased 9 inch by 13 inch baking pan.  Spread filling over crust evenly, sprinkle with remaining crumbs.  Bake in preheated oven 350*C for about 45 minutes or until deeply golden.

Cool before cutting into squares.  I then place them in paper muffin cups.

I make this recipe pretty much as written.  I didn't have a lemon on hand though so I just put some bottled lemon juice in the filling.  Also I like oats so I added an extra cup without changing any of the other ingredients.  I imagine this might have made the crust a bit more crumbly but that was okay by me.  Enjoy!

What are you baking this Christmas?

Here the girls are making Sweet Potato Whole Wheat Gingersnaps.