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Friday, February 23, 2018

Short and Sweet: A Shortbread Recipe

The rains here appear to have stopped -- or at least stopped in my basement. I've got to fix that leak before spring! But as I write this, parts of our city are on flood watch and/or evacuation notice.


Rick and I went to Old Town for lunch the other day and to check out the river. If you look at the photo below, see the ramp in the middle of the photo on the center/right, just to the left of a bare tree?? Well, that should be WAY out of water -- it's part of our river trail for walkers and cyclists.


This was sort of a puzzler. A tree with buoys and floats on it. Apparently it has something to do with canoers are a warning but the tree holding it up came out and is floating.


And I wouldn't want to be the people whose basement or ground floor was on this lower level.


I have a feeling they're doing some major clean-up about now.


But the pizza was nice and crisp! A great day to lunch out and check out our city.


Now, for something sweet! A number of you asked about the shortbread recipe I used and the molds.


Here's one of the molds. The are made by Brown Bag Cookie Art and I'm sure there are others. They are a nice stoneware, easy to maintain and clean. I can't tell you how these recipes would work in a vintage mold. I suspect the prep might be a little different but never having used an "original," I'd check another source.


If you don't have a mold you could probably roll/pat this out about a half inch thick, give or take, and use a cookie stamp.

Classic Shortbread

Preheat oven to 325 degrees and use cooking spray in your mold.

Cream 1/2 c. butter (at room temp) and 1/3 cup unsifted powdered sugar.
Add 1/4 t. vanilla
Work in: 1 c. unsifted flour

Press the shortbread into your mold and prick with a fork (which I forgot to do and it was fine). I tend to use my fingertips to gently pull the dough away from the edge just a bit, which I think makes it easier to unmold.

Bake 30-35 minutes or till lightly browned. Cool the shortbread in the pan for 10 minutes. Then loosen up the edges with a knife and turn pan onto a wooden cutting board. Immediately cut into serving pieces while it's still warm.

The Ginger version I also made has the same procedure and timing but slightly different ingredients. And this gets a little browner.

1/2 c. butter and 1/4 c. light brown sugar, mixed
Add 3/4 t. ginger (personally, I didn't think this was enough)
1 c. flour and
1 Tablespoon of cornstarch.


Yum!

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

It's Raining. Hard.

So, we had all this snow.


Then it rained. This is the rain in Paris, 2012, looking out a window at the Louvre. It's actually kind of pretty.


We got used to that rain -- it rained every day we were there.


I look at the photo below, taken at Montmartre Cemetery with our blog friend Peter (and if you love Paris, check out Peter's Paris.) There's something extra sad and beautiful about a cemetery in the rain.


There is nothing beautiful about my basement in the rain. The ground is frozen (or at least was, I'm not so sure about now) and it's leaking inside. I will not show you a photo because as little as I get embarrassed about a lot of stuff I probably should, I would definitely be embarrassed for you to see the basement. Instead, I'll share the one who doesn't seem to mind the rain -- because she isn't mopping it up and wringing out towels (because the washer and dryer are both broken -- don't start me.)


It may all be gloom and doom today but in the long run, not so bad. I've been painting a bit -- lots of springy bookmarks, which are good training for bigger pieces.


Here's a start of a collection! They still need their ribbons at the top.


And practicing my winter trees. This one needs work, but I did it based on a Leslie Frehling tutorial HERE for my painting pals.


Before Valentine's Day I made a few of these very cute lace hearts I'd seen on loads of your blogs! I thank MANY of you for the inspiration.

                   

And I made Rick a Valentine's Day book -- a poetry book of poems from our year.


Pretty simple art, but loads of fun.


I needed a little color in the house. First I went for the gold!


Then the purple. Do you sense a Mardi Gras theme here?


And I baked shortbread cookies for Valentine's Day using my molds. The one on the left is regular shortbread, the right is ginger shortbread and hence a little darker.


I ended up dipping the triangles in chocolate.


Then I added coconut to the rest of the dipping chocolate for a few treats.


And all was good!

I hope it stops raining soon because otherwise you'll never hear from me again. I'd like to think this rain is the start of Spring.


But when you live in Michigan, you know you're still dealing with this!


Keep cozy. And dry.

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Saturday, February 17, 2018

Making Rosettes with Betty

Remember that big snow from this post? Well, those photos were taken a couple days after the big snow when the roads were plowed and the sky was blue. But on that very day, after the first 10 inches or so, Rick and I went out to a wonderful dinner!  And we got to help!


We met Doug and Betty on New Year's Eve and they invited us all to a winter dinner. Oh, so good with white chicken chili and salad, bread, wine and dessert. And we were going to help make the dessert!

When Betty came to New Year's she brought a tray of beautiful rosette pastries (below) and we were all wanting to learn how to make these crunchy cookies. So, Betty taught us! This may be old news to some of you, but join us in the kitchen.


First, you heat the oil to 350 --


-- and keep an eye on the temperature with the candy thermometer. You don't want it too hot -- or too cold. Just like Mama Bear.


Then you mix up this batter...


...and get out this handy thing! (Which, I am told, is available at World Market and probably a zillion other places including Amazon.)


So, you take the rosette iron...


...and dip it in the oil, empty. Then dip it in your batter. Not all the way, just up to the top.


Then you put it in the hot oil.


In a very short time it will loosen up and help it off the iron with a chopstick, like Kate is doing here.


Then let it stay in the oil till it's the desired amount of brown-ness for you. Mark liked his a little darker.


All this you do with an eager and very interested audience!


Well, not everyone is that interested.


After you remove them from the oil, place on paper towels to drain grease and dry a bit.


The sprinkle with powdered sugar -- perfect for our snowy night!


And serve! The rest of Betty's dessert included a delicious slice of grilled pineapple and ice cream.


There was another part of the evening that was special to me. Betty's cat, Max.


Max bears a more than striking relationship with the late, great Stimpy. That's Stimpy on the left and Max on the right. I can't even put their photos in the same file because I'm not sure I could tell them apart, save for the background!

 

Stimpy was my first cat-boy and a wonderful animal. And, if you remember my Valentine post, Stimpy is responsible for my meeting Rick!


I'm convinced of the nine lives theory (even the timing worked out!). Happy to see my boy again, in new form and with a wonderful home.

It was a night to remember! Thanks, Betty and Doug!

Sharing with Let's Keep in Touch    /   Pink Saturday  

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Snow Day

Winter returned with a vengeance here in mid-Michigan. Over three days and several snowfalls we got about 14 inches of snow.


And it really looked beautiful till you drove around in it!


My journey to physical therapy took me by the Michigan State campus so I made a quick stop at the children's garden.


I think these look like Coneheads!


And no one wants to sit in the Butterfly chair today.


Is this a student who froze or a sculpture? Ah yes, I think I know the answer.


White sheep or tan sheep?


No one was taking a leisurely rest on the benches today.


And whoever was riding this? Bad idea.


All lovely. But it wears thin!


The snow was high on this tree at the physical therapy parking lot.


And even higher at Kroger!


I thought I'd take a quick spin by the Ditch just to show you what it's like in the winter. It's hard to believe that white space on the far side of the fence is water. Or rather, ice.


Pretty white!


No one was sitting on this bench either!


Right now the only ones who can get along the unplowed paths are skiers or snowshoe fans. Cross country skier Rick, on the other hand, is in seventh heaven. Meanwhile, I'm hoping my neighbor got his truck dug out.


 It's a very good time to paint! (By the time this posts, we're supposed to have rain and 40 degrees. I don't understand winter anymore.) And thanks for all the nice comments on my Valentine post! Yes, I'll keep him!

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