Saturday, July 25, 2015

TEA TIME .....

I love recipe books, and have quite a few of them ....... that translates to FAR too many .... but Ho Hum !!!
This recipe book just tickles me ...... the cover encapsulates everything "English Tea" for me. I found it in a bookstore on one of my visits to my sister, and it was my reading material of choice for my flight back - and oh what a flight that was !!! I was upgraded to Club Class (similar to First Class on other airlines) ..... OH MY GOODNESS ....... it was wonderful, amazing, fantastic ............. But I digress .....


It accompanies the TV series - The Great British Bake Off (watch it on You Tube if you can - it's fantastic). The Great British Sewing Bee, is well worth the watch too.
My preference when it comes to cake, is fruity, light with little to no icing - I'm not a big icing fan !!!
This book has THE perfect cake for me, it's called Lemon Drizzle Cake !!!
I made it for the first time 2 weeks ago, and it didn't even last 24 hours. Yesterday, I had some oranges I needed to use up, so thought I'd try substituting the lemon with orange (Hubby's favorite flavor is orange, so bonus). It was every bit as delicious !!!!
I love everything about this cake - it's shape, it's height, it's flat top .... the perfect cake !!!!


You make an orange syrup that you pour over the hot cake as soon as it comes out of the oven.


Cake perfection !!!
I've woken up this morning to find the cake 3/4 devoured ......... it only came out of the oven at 6 O Clock last night !!!!

The book has so many recipes I remember eating growing up .... Rock Cakes, Bakewell Tart ..... I plan on making them all !!!!

Friday, July 24, 2015

THE PERFECT PAIR ......

For those who read my blog, you may remember this little "lady" that I made for a friend of mine, way back in April ....


I loved every part of making her - from drawing out her shape, creating her outfit, giving her facial features, to finally distressing her ...... It was just THE best time for me, creatively.
Earlier this month, it was Val's (www.yarnigras.blogspot.com) birthday. Val and I have never ever met in person (we WILL remedy that one day, I have no doubt), but I count her among my most special friends. We met through our blogs, and I think if we did live close to one another, it could mean trouble ....... Of the best creative kind, of course !!!!

Every lady needs her knight in shining armor, so after a long few months, this sweet pair, have been reunited .......


So dapper, with his studded leather belt and groovy tie dye pants !!! Not to mention the bolt in his head ...  he really is a big hearted guy !!!! He, like his lady, was a treat to make .... I had SO much fun !!!
These dolls really do evolve as I make them. I start with no fixed plan, draw my shape and go on from there. A dig around in my scraps box, usually leads me in the direction I take, and then it's time to rummage around in the box that has all those odd bits and bobs that you find, but at the time have no idea what you'd use them for, for the finishing touches.

Since starting to make them, I've decided, that I need to have a supply of coffee stained muslin available at all times.   It gives my dolls the primitive look I love. I'll be making more of that this weekend.

Wishing you a wonderful weekend ..... Thanks for stopping by, your visit is so appreciated.

Monday, July 20, 2015

SUMMER DAYS .....

It's Summer, and anything fruity is catching my eye !!!!

Growing up, soda was a treat. A single glass with Sunday lunch was all we were allowed. The rest of the time we drank water (in truth, probably not as much as we should have), or we drank orange squash mixed with water.
On arriving here, I was surprised to learn that it was pretty much an unknown commodity .... I can't tell you how many bottles of it, I have brought back from the UK in my luggage !!!
Over time I have become increasingly concerned at the amount of soda Boy Child and Hubby drink ..... they just wont do the water thing, and the thought of all that sugar, makes my toes curl !!! So this past week, I hunted down a few recipes, and decided to give making my own orange squash a try ......


It was a little time consuming (squeezing and zesting 10 oranges isn't for sissies), but well worth the time and effort, and the kitchen smelled delightful. What I got was two and a half bottles (such pretty bottles too) of a lovely tart and refreshing orange squash. It's a little too tart for the boys, so I'm going to make up a bottle of simple syrup, so that they can add a dash of it too the squash and water ..... sweeten it up just a little. I'm planning on trying other fruits and fruit combinations ....... Passion fruit and mango, Lemon lime, to name a few.

While I was on the citrus kick, I found a recipe for Lime Jelly. Last year my canning goodies never saw the light of day. This year I wanted to make at least one new jelly or jam ...... stocks are running a little low !!!


Delicious is all I can say !!! Not too sweet, with the most awesome zingy lime flavor ..... Girl Child has been eating it, on a spoon straight from the jar !!! I think it would be scrumptious as part of a marinade for grilled meat .... we must give it a try :-)

There has also been a lovely moist Lemon Cake that has passed through the doors of my kitchen ..... it didn't survive long enough for pictures !!! As well as scrumptious homemade pizza - I've learned to make pizza dough, and Oh Boy, is it good !!! No more store bought for us !!!!

Hope that you're all having a wonderful Summer ..... it is passing by really fast - TOO fast. The school emails have started to show up in my Inbox again, over the past week ...... not fun !!! I love the slow, lazy days (not the heat !!!) of Summer, spent with my kids :-)

Saturday, July 4, 2015

4TH OF JULY .....

Happy 4th Of July to all my American friends.
As has become customary in our home over the last little while, no celebration is complete, without some decorated sugar cookies. They have become my addiction ...... Cookies Anonymous anyone !!!!


I kept the shapes and colors simple ...... circles, hearts and stars ..... red, white and blue.
My favorite are definately the firework cookies !!! I have a  chocolate mold that has little numbers. I made a few 4's in white chocolate, and then dusted them with shimmery gold dust (edible), to finish them off. I added them and the little white sprinkle stars to the icing as soon as I had flooded the cookie, before the icing dries.

As I've mentioned before, I don't use Royal Icing. Instead I use an icing that tastes delicious,dries firm so your cookies can be stacked, but doesn't cause broken teeth !!!
This is not my icing recipe, I found it on Pinterest. I've been asked about the recipe I use, so here it is ....

COOKIE FROSTING

- 4 Cups Icing Sugar
- 6 Tablespoons Whole Milk
- 6 Tablespoons Light Corn Syrup
- 11/2 Teaspoons Almond Extract

- Whisk (I use my hand held mixer) together icing sugar and milk until smooth
- Add corn syrup, and almond extract, and whisk together until shiny and smooth, and mixture drizzles off whisk easily.
- This consistency will be your fill consistency (the one you use to flood your cookie after outlining it)
- Add extra icing sugar, a teaspoon at a time, to get your piping consistency.

The amount that this makes is enough to ice 3 dozen cookies. If I have less to ice, I just halve the recipe, and it works great.

This has a lovely almond flavor to it ..... I have wondered what other flavors would taste like. I might have a play around this week sometime. Richard leaves for 10 days away at Scout Camp tomorrow !!! I find keeping busy is the secret to dealing with just how quiet the house is without him. Brittany loves the quiet (and the only child status :-), but for this Mama, the house is just not quite the same without the noisy one ...... he's going to have such a great time though - he did last year !!!

Have a great 4th ..... Family, Cookouts and Memories Made.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

PEPPERMINT PATTIES ....

York Peppermint Patties are a favorite chocolate treat in our house. Hubby especially is a BIG fan !!!
I found a recipe a while back, for homemade peppermint patties - I think I found it on Pinterest (I can't find the place that I found it anymore).

The world celebrates Father Day today .... a day to tell all of those Dads (Our Dad, Dads In Law, and Husbands) in our lives, how special and loved they are. We decided to treat Andy to a sweet treat ......


A jar full of LOVE (and peppermint patties).
I really like the shape of these jars I found at Hobby Lobby ..... I filled another one up with peanut clusters, earlier in the week, for a friends birthday. I added a pretty drawer pull to the top of hers ..... really cute.


Just look at all that yumminess !!!
They have been voted, better than Yorkies by my peanut gallery.
Because I can't find the recipe link, I thought I'd share it with you. (If anyone finds this link, let me know, as I'd love to give kuddos to the person who created this recipe.)

HOMEMADE PEPPERMINT PATTIES

- 1 Tbsp Coconut Oil
- 2-3 Tbsp Half & Half
- 1 Tsp Lemon Juice
- 1 Tsp Vanilla Extract
- 11/2 Tsp Peppermint Extract

Mix this all together, until well blended and smooth.
Add
- 33/4 Cups Powdered Sugar
To the above mixture, 1 Cup at a time. If the dough is too crumbly add a little more Half & Half. (I needed 31/2 Tbsp of Half & Half to get the right consistency). It should have a fondant like consistency.

Roll dough out on a parchment lined cookie sheet dusted with powdered sugar. The dough should be about 1/4 inch thick.
Place in the freezer for 15 mins.
Use 11/2 inch round cutter to cut out circles. Return these cutouts to the freezer for another 10 mins.
In the meantime .....

Melt Chocolate or Almond Bark in a glass bowl.
Remove rounds from the freezer, and quickly dunk them into the chocolate, making sure the patty is completely covered.
Remove from chocolate, and place on a parchment lined cookie sheet.
Place cookie sheet in the fridge, to allow the chocolate to harden.
ENJOY !!!!

Friday, June 19, 2015

LADYBIRD THREAD CATCHER ....

It was a friend of mines birthday on Wednesday .... She's a great friend. A friend who knows exactly how I feel, and what I've gone through, because she's walked pretty much the same path I have walked over the past 10 years. We moved to the States within months of each other, have kids of similar ages, and have been through the same stuff !!!
She is proof to me, that God is good - He gave us one another, knowing how much we'd each need someone who could 100% understand what we go through.

A special friend, deserves a special gift. She LOVES ladybirds ....
I decided to make her a pincushion thread catcher combo. I love this pattern, and making it for the second time was a breeze.
I'm going to apologize for the pictures ...... the light was awful, as Tropical Storm Bill, was in full swing when I took them .......... there was torrential rain pouring !!!!


The pattern calls for boning, but I use that really thick, stiff interfacing, and it alleviates the need for the boning. The thread catcher bucket holds itself open beautifully.


The pincushion part is a great size ... even with the pretty flower.
As you can see, it's roomy inside ............ it'll hold a fair amount of trash.


I really must make myself one. I've only ever made them to give as gifts ..... I'll add it to my already ridiculously long "To Do" List :-)

Hope you're all having a wonderful, restful Summer, making memories with your families, that will last a lifetime.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

SUMMER LOVING .....

 That title sounds so appropriate for this time of the year ......
I love the fact that in less than 72 hours my kiddos will be out for the Summer ....... a loose routine, lazy mornings ..... no school run .... no school lunches (I detest packing those things !!!!!) ..... time spent making memories, BUT,  truth be told, I am no lover of the Texas Summer .... it's too hot, too humid and I spend too much time grumpy and irritable because of the heat.

After the busyness of the past month, and all that I planned, prepared and put on for our 8th Grade group, it's time now, to take the time, to show some appreciation to a few people, without whose help, the task would have been so much more difficult.

I wanted to give them just a little something .....


Some Summer themed sugar cookies. I think that they turned out so cute :-) Those little flip flops just make me smile....


I can just imagine some pretty painted toes peeking out .... While enjoying an ice cold slice of watermelon .....


Dreaming of far off islands - close your eyes .....  feel the warm sun on your face, and hear the wind rustling the leaves of the palm trees and the gentle lapping of the waves.


I used my regular shortbread cookie recipe and my go to sugar cookie icing recipe (it's not Royal icing (nobody wants to pay the dentist a visit !!!), but it does set up firmly).

Wishing you warm summer days filled with love and laughter ......