Giving up on Perfect…Is

4 Comments

The table is totally trashed…linen, glasses, cookie crumbs…the post holiday table at it’s finest. The only difference for me is that this picture was taken on December 26th, not Christmas night. image

Now, my mother has given me much sage advice over the years and she has proven to be 98.76% correct. That other 1.24% includes never go to bed with a messy kitchen.

First off, if I took that advice I’d die of sleep deprivation.

Second, who exactly is harmed when I don’t clean up? If the little fairies don’t come in during the night, who else will see it?

And if the little fairies do come and they don’t clean up then what good are they, anyway?

I have discovered that what would take me 2 hours at night will only take 30 minutes in the light of the next day.

I was not struck by lightening last night. All that happened was a good night’s sleep.

Have a yummy day!

About these ads

Mexican Wedding Cakes

1 Comment

20121219-072221.jpg

Mexican Wedding Cakes

Servings: 8-9 Dozen little cookies
Categories: Christmas
Source: JudeTheFoodie.com

Ingredients

• 2 c Butter, room temperature
• 1½ c Confectioners Sugar, sifted
• 2 tsp Vanilla
• 4 c Flour, sifted
• 2 c Walnuts, finely chopped

• Additional Confectioners Sugar

Directions

Cream butter and confectioners sugar on 4 using a stand mixer. Add vanilla until blended.

With mixer on low (stir setting) add 1 cup of flour until blended. Add 2 cups nuts until mixed through.

Refrigerate for at least two hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 300°

Using a small (1.25″) cookie scoop, roll into balls placing onto an ungreased cookie sheet, ½ inch apart. I like using parchment paper for easy clean up. Bake 25-30 minutes until cookies are a creamy color.

Place foil under cooling racks. Cool cookies for about 10 minutes on the rack then roll in confectioners sugar and place on cooling rack. Cool completely. Roll cookies one more time and place in storage. You’ll thank me for the foil tip!

Makes 7- 8 dozen little cookies.

Chocolate Spice Cookies

1 Comment

Chocolate Spice Cookies

Categories: Christmas
Source: JudeTheFoodie.com

Ingredients

• 1 Chocolate Cake Mix
• ⅓ c Oil
• 2 Eggs
• 1c Chopped Walnuts
• 1c Chocolate Chips
• 1tsp Cinnamon
• ½ tsp Ginger
• ½ tsp Nutmeg
• ¼ tsp Cloves

Directions

In large bowl, with a wooden spoon, mix all ingredients except the spices.

Add spices and stir until blended. Refrigerate at least an hour or overnight.

Preheat oven to 350°

Using a small cookie scoop, place small teaspoons onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake about 9 minutes. Cool on racks.

Roll in powdered sugar or frost with your favorite chocolate frosting.

Makes about 5 dozen small cookies.

from http://therecipeboxapp.com

Christmas Cookie Blitz

4 Comments

20121215-132803.jpgIt always feels like I have more time than I do on December 1st.

Today I will:

Decide what I am baking.

1. Cut Out Cookies – I use the “Deluxe Sugar Cookie” recipe from the book shown above. It is Betty Crocker‘s Christmas Cookbook Copyright 1982 by General Mills. It is a great recipe, delicate and buttery… Recipe to follow later.

2. Magic Cookie Bars – I always say I’m going to make these during the year but usually save the treat for Christmas.

3. Oatmeal Crackles – these are one of my son’s favorites.

4. Shortbread – I use a recipe from my friend Lauren. Years ago I attended a cookie exchange. It was fun and I loved the sisterhood of sharing.

Lauren’s Shortbread

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

Cream together butter and sugar. Add flour one cup at a time. Press into 13″ x 9″ glass baking dish. Score with fork. Bake for 45 minutes at 350 degrees. Sprinkle with granulated sugar. Couldn’t be easier.

5. Chocolate Spice Cookies – I got this one from my mother. It is made with a cake mix. Boom!

Chocolate Spice Cookies…to be continued…

Christmas Cookies: My Top Tips

11 Comments

Originally posted 12/19/2010

20121203-175953.jpg

Of all the things that I do at Christmas, my favorite is baking cookies. I love the joy it brings my family and friends and use them as a personal gift to my colleagues. I have tried many things over 32 years and have developed these secrets. That it saves me time is the icing on the cookie!

Plan with the end in mind. Why are you baking? Is it to have cookies to share at home with your family and friends? Do you need to package them and travel? Do you want to do this as a family project? Do you want to bake and share (this is what I do)? Whatever your reasons, determine them now because it will determine the kinds of cookies you should make.

Picture your cookie tray. When you decide what kind of cookies you want to bake think about color and shape. While I love chocolate, try to bake cookies that have a variety of color.

Less really is more! Decide what to bake. There were years when I would bake 15-20 different kinds of cookies. Was I nuts? Perhaps, but I was also not employed outside the home at that time. I have a Christmas cookbook from the year I was married. I continue to use recipes from there along with those I have clipped or downloaded throughout the years. Since I went back to work fulltime, I ask my family to identify their top three cookies from my repertoire. I do not include cut-out cookies in their list because that is a family favorite and is the only cookie I do not share. This year I am making 8 kinds.

Plan twice, shop once. I get laughed at all of the time when I go to the store with my list but not having to go back to the store to buy a key ingredient allows me to have the last laugh. I make a spreadsheet which has all of the ingredients on each row. The columns are for each cookie and the totals determine how many pounds of flour, bags of chocolate chips or containers of colored sugar I need. When I say I list everything, I mean everything including the storage container. I take an inventory of containers prior to shopping and fill in as needed. I love the new plastic containers which won’t break my heart if not returned. When else do you even think about Cream of Tartar except at Christmas?

Mix all cookie dough and refrigerate before baking. If you are making any bar cookies, mix and bake those while you are mixing all other cookie dough. I cover each bowl with Press and Seal Wrap so that I can write the kind of cookie on each bowl. I do not use my mixer again until I make frosting. This saves a tremendous amount of time. Even if you do not have the entire day to bake, bake one type of cookie before you go to work.

Choose a size and stick with it. Early in my cookie baking career I decided to make all my cookies the same size. This makes packing easier and presentation prettier. I used a melon ball gadget until it snapped on the rock solid chilled dough. Plan B! I bought a small sized heavy duty cookie scoop at a gourmet store. It is a great investment and I highly recommend making that purchase. Making your cookies small gives you more bang for your buck, especially if you give many away.

Invest in 4 heavy cooking sheets. I purchased half sheet pans from a restaurant supply store. They were “marked” meaning they had a few scratches. I figured that I would scratch them as soon as I used them so saving about 50% seemed like a good plan.

Use parchment paper. Before my cookie baking marathon, I measure a whole roll of paper, cutting and folding it so it fits the sheets. I put them between several pans to keep them flat. I change the sheets as needed but you can bake more than one batch on them. This assures your cookies will not stick to the pan as well as allows you to reuse pans without washing them during the baking process.

Buy about 6 inexpensive cooling racks. I cover my table with foil then line the racks on top. I cool sheets on top of my stove for a few minutes before moving the cookies to the table racks.

I bake two sheets at a time. Have one rack on the low setting and one just above. Set one timer for the entire baking time and the other for half way. At the half way mark, switch racks and bake for the remaining time.

Bake cookies that need to be frosted last. This way, as you bake you can store the cookies and get them out of your kitchen. Living up north gives us an advantage because we call our garage our outdoor fridge!

Over the next few weeks I will post my favorite recipes.

Have a yummy day!

Quick Sip: Starbucks Christmas Blend

2 Comments
20121201-075901.jpgStarbucks Christmas Blend and a handy refillable “K” filter:
Brewed in my Keurig, Christmas is a quick sip!

Have a yummy day!

Gratitude

6 Comments

Gratitude….to all my friends around the world I thank you today for reading my blog and celebrating life with me.

In the few short months since spinning my blog into my own website I am blown away by the international following I receive. Good food, good friends and a good life transcend borders.

On this day of gratitude in the United States I extend my best wishes to you on what is the kick off of the holiday season.

Thank you!

Have a yummy day!

JudeTheFoodie.com

20121122-093907.jpg

Today We Clean!

20121119-073506.jpg

Actually, my friend Lola shared that her mother used to say “we tidy before guests arrive, we clean after.”

Face it, with only three more sleeps until Thanksgiving there is a ton to do. And most of you, like me have to go to work this week.

Here are a few things to do today to make help Thanksgiving day a little easier.

—Clear one flat surface in every public room (don’t forget the bathroom). Put everything that does not belong in that room on that flat surface. Once you have done that in every room, start again, this time bringing things to the rooms where they belong.

Put things away or throw them away. If you don’t have a spot for them immediately put the remaining items in a large plastic bin. Use more if necessary. Store the bins out of the way until after Christmas. On your calendar write where you stored the items on December 31st.

Odds are, when you sort through the bins you can get rid of stuff.

—Dust. Dust only places people can see. Today is not the day to get behind the end table. For even quicker work use a multi surface cleaner. I like Pledge.

20121119-074808.jpgYou can use one cloth for mirrors and glass tables as well as furniture. The up side is it gets clean faster but the down side is it seems to get dusty faster, as well. After the holiday you can use good furniture polish like the picture above. I think Old English is great.

—Vacuum today then spot vacuum Thursday. You may need to redo pathways but you should be good to go if you do a good job today.

—I save mopping the floor for after the turkey is in the oven Thursday morning. I cannot be bothered until most of the food prep is done.

—Check linens. This would include sheets for guest beds. If they need to be washed and changed, time to do it. Iron any table cloths and napkins today. Fold the table cloths width to width until they fit on pant hangers. Use 2-3 hangers to store your cloth until it’s time to set the table.

—Check how many chairs you have against how many you need. It’s a good idea to let cousin Jane know to bring a few before she drives to your house!

—Clean any silver or precious pieces today.

Tomorrow we set the table!

Have a yummy day!!!

20121119-075726.jpg

Quick Bite: Salerno Santa’s Favorites

6 Comments

20121114-123758.jpg

I remember them called Jingles. But, no matter what you call them these anise flavored cookies not only evoke memories of Christmases past but specifically of a lady in the office at my father’s car dealership. My mother did not buy them so I only ate them there. Have a yummy day!

Merry Christmas!

As my life changes, as our son gets older and is on the brink of independence, Christmas morning is a most precious gift to me.  No matter what the packages contained, that it was my husband and my son with me around the tree with a warming fire in the hearth and classic Christmas carols on the background, my joy is complete.

Christmas Eve and the continuing family celebrations give me strength, warmth and sustenance.

The Christ child gives me peace and hope that someday I will see my son in heaven and be with Him forever.

To those of you I know and to those of you who I may never meet, peace and joy today and always from my house to yours.