Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Gingerbread House

My son loves to make Gingerbread Houses.  We got a kit a few years ago and he fell in love with decorating them.    This year we picked up a kit the day after Thanksgiving, with every intention of making it in early December.

Well, when my son came home from school with this Gingerbread House:

From Cookie Party

I realized that we hadn't done the kit we bought.  So, Monday night the three of us got to work making the Gingerbread House.

We made sure the walls were stable.

From Gingerbread House

And that the roof was secure.

From Gingerbread House

Then we got down to the decorating!

From Gingerbread House

From Gingerbread House

From Gingerbread House

From Gingerbread House

And in no time, we had our Gingerbread House made!!

From Gingerbread House

Merry Christmas!!!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Thank God for Water Filters!!

So, Saturday we woke up to low water pressure in the house.  Not unusual since the flooding here a few years back.  We have a whole house filter on the water line where it comes into the house, and have to change it every couple of months.  My husband figured it was in need of changing when our neighbor called to borrow the wrench we use to change the filter so he could change his filter.  After further discussion with other neighbors who have no filter we found out they had black water in their lines and toilets.

We continued on through the day, dealing with the low pressure, waiting to change the filter after the cookie party.  Night came and hubby decided to tackle the change in the morning.  He went on-line and learned that a water main had broken, but we did not need to boil the water, as it only contained sediment.

Well, here is what that sediment looked like when he took out our filter this morning:

From Water Filter

Here is what my hand looked like after touching it!

From Water Filter

All I an say is Thank God we had the filter so it did not get into the hot water heater, the water softener, or on me in the shower!!!

Cookie Party

Yesterday my son and I hosted a cookie decorating party.  Everyone brought one-two dozen cookies to share and we provided the sugar cookies to decorate.  It was so much fun!!!

Before everyone arrived, we set the cookies out on platters I found at the dollar store.

From Cookie Party

Then, we got down to the decorating!!

From Cookie Party

From Cookie Party

From Cookie Party

From Cookie Party

My son created an elf cookie on the extra dough:

From Cookie Party

Even the hubby got into it and helped to decorate the floor!!

From Cookie Party

From Cookie Party

Here is what was shared:

Peanut Butter Cup Cookies and Chocolate Chip Cookies:

From Cookie Party

Peanut Butter Cookies:

From Cookie Party

M&M Cookies:

From Cookie Party


From Cookie Party

Thanks to all of our friends and family for coming to decorate with us.  We really enjoyed it and look forward to doing it again.

Here are some recipes that were shared, too:

Biscotti (Pictured above):

2 cups flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 baking powder
1/2 cup butter
2 eggs
1/4 salt
1 1/3 cup almond slices (or butterscotch chips, or chocolate chips or whatever)

Cream butter. sugar and eggs.  Ad dry ingredients and mix well.  Add almonds, (chips, nuts, etc).   Roll dough into a 3"x 13"  log and place on greased cookie sheet.  Bake 50 minutes at 350. Cool completely then slice into cookies.  Re-bake until golden brown (if needed).  Dip in melted chocolate and sprinkles as desired.

Cream Cheese Cookie Press Cookies
1 cup of margarine
3 oz. of cream cheese
1 cup of sugar
1 egg yolk
1 tsp.of vanilla
2 1/2 cups sifted flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. cinnamon

Cream margarine, cream cheese & sugar.  Beat in egg yolk & vanilla.  Blend in flour, salt & cinnamon.  Press out dough in cookie press.  Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 min.

Thanks for sharing your cookies and recipes!! Enjoy!

TSO Concert

Last Sunday (12/13) we went to see Trans-Siberian Orchestra in concert in Albany, NY.  When we left home it was raining.  Soon we were in the mixed precipitation of sleet and freezing rain which turned over to snow.  Some of the snowflakes were fifty cent piece sized and could be heard as they hit the windshield of the car. 

Here are some of the pictures I took on the drive up.

It was snowing when we arrived at the Times-Union Arena and parked.  After a quick meal at a place next door, we went into the arena and found our seats.

I had asked a friend who lives just outside of Albany if she would grab us some tickets, and she graciously did.  She could not have gotten us better seats.  We were in the upped level, almost center to the stage.  Now, for those of you who have never experienced a TSO concert-- these are great seats.  You can see all the lights and pyrotechnics that are done from back here.

I took photos of the stage before the concert began with my phone (left the camera in the car-- oops).  I got so wrapped up in watching the show that I did not think to take any pictures during the show.  Which turns out to be a good thing as I can't get the pictures I took to download off my phone.

If you want to see what you missed, you can go to YouTube and search on "TSO Albany, NY 12/13/09" and see what others have put up!!

All I can say is it was AWESOME.  This was my fifth time going and I am already looking forward to going again next year to see what they change and add to make it bigger and better.  If you get a chance to go, take it.  It is well worth it.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


Here are some pictures of the cookies I have made so far this Christmas time.


From Cookies

Peppermint Bark (Chocolate and White):

From Cookies

Snow Balls:

From Cookies

Chocolate Snowballs (these spread out more than they should have, but taste just as good):

From Cookies

From Cookies

I also have fudge made and sugar cookie dough ready to roll out.  Tonight will be thumbprints and later this week--- kolacky's. 

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Cookie Recipe Exchange

Every year we make cookies to give as gifts and to share with family and friends.  This year I thought I would share some of my favorite cookie (and candy) recipes with you.  My goal is for you to share some of your recipes with me.  For all who do submit a recipe, I will collect all the recipes together and send them to you.  Remember, if it is a recipe from a book or website, please give credit to the book/site.  Enjoy!!!

This year I will be making:

Chocolate Crinkles
Sugar Cookies (to decorate)
Snow Balls
Raspberry Fudge Balls

Thumbprint Cookies
This recipe is from Betty Crocker's Cooky Book.

1/2 cup shortening (part butter or margarine)    
1/4 cup brown sugar (packed)                        
1 egg, separated                                      
1/2 tsp. vanilla                                   
1 cup Flour
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 cup finely chopped nuts
jelly or tinted confectioner's sugar icing

Heat oven to 350.  Mix shortening, sugar, egg yolk, and vanilla thoroughly.  Combine flour and salt, stir in,  Roll dough into balls (1 tsp. per ball).  Beat egg white slightly with fork.  Dip balls in egg white.  Roll in nuts.  Place about 1" apart on ungreased cookie sheet, press thumb gently in center of each.  Bake 10-12 minutes or until set.  Cool.  Fill with jelly or tinted icing. Makes about 3 dozen cookies.

Notes:  I like to use green mint jelly and red raspberry jelly for these at Christmastime.  They look very festive that way.

This recipe has been passed down through my family and are a yearly favorite.  You may know them better as Peanut Butter Balls.

1/4 cup margerine
2 cups confectioner's sugar
2 cups peanut butter
2 cups rice crispies
Almond bark (or chocolate chips and wax), melted

Cream first three ingredients.  Add rice crispies.  Mix well.  Roll into balls.  Refrigerate 2 hours.  Dip in melted chocolate and set on wax paper.  Store in refrigerator.

Notes:  When dipping them in the chocolate, we always stab the peanut butter ball in the center with a toothpick and dip it in the chocolate, leaving a small circular area uncovered- it makes it kind of look like an eye (hence the name).

This is not a recipe I am using this year, but it was requested by a friend.  It is also from Betty Crocker's Cooky Book.

1 cup shortening (part butter or margarine)           2 tsp. cream of tartar
1 1/2 cups sugar                                                  1 tsp. baking soda
2 eggs                                                                 1/4 tsp. salt
2 3/4 cups flour                                                   2 Tbsp. sugar
                                                                           2 tsp. cinnamon

Heat oven to 400.  Mix shortening, 1 1/2 cups sugar, and eggs thoroughly.  Blend flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt.  Stir in.  Shape dough in 1" balls.  Roll in mixture of cinnamon and sugar.  Place 2" apart on ungreased baking sheet.  Bake 8-10 minutes.  These cookies puff up at first, then flatten out.  Makes 6 dozen cookies.

Post your recipes to the comments.   I will add more in the next few days.