Monday, December 29, 2008

Material Monday: New Year's Eve traditions

We started the tradition of eating fondue on New Year's Eve a number of years ago after some of my coworkers mentioned that that was something their families did. I picked up the vintage avocado fondue pot at our local thrift store. The sauce always burns because the sterno can is way too close to the bottom of the pot but it cleans up easily.

The white fondue set is for chocolate. We usually dip oranges and raspberries and cookies or pound cake.

Another tradition (which I sometimes carry out on my own) is to watch and cry over 'It's a Wonderful Life' one of the best movies of all time.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Wordless Wednesday: DEFINITELY our worst Christmas tree ever

Still netted and bare...

Rivaling the Leaning Tower of Piza

Sunday, November 30, 2008

2008 Christmas Cookies: Molasses Crinkles

Abe sez: they're extra yummy and really cute
Molasses Crinkles
(makes 5 dozen)
from Mollie Katzen's Still Life with Menu
Wet Ingredients:
2 sticks butter
1/2 c blackstrap molasses
2 c sugar
2 eggs

Dry Ingredients:
1/2 t salt
2 t each: baking soda, cinnamon, allspice, ground ginger
1/2 t ground cloves (not in the original recipe)
4 c flour (I'm happy with the white whole wheat flour I've been using lately; I can't recall the brand name)
1/4 c sugar

1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a cookie sheet.
2. Melt the butter in a glass bowl, add wet ingredients and stir until combined
3. In a separate bowl sift together dry ingredients (except the additional sugar), then add to the wet mixture, stirring until combined.
4. Form 1-1/2 inch balls of dough, roll them in the sugar until coated, and place on baking sheet.
5. Bake 12-15 minutes until firm to the touch. Cool and enjoy!

2008 Christmas Cookies: Chocolate Snowflakes

I first collected this recipe from a cookie exchange at work, probably 16 years ago, but I also found it here (which saved me some typing). These taste like powdered bites of brownie. I like them because butter is not required - nothing against butter, but I don't always have some on hand when the baking mood strikes.

Chocolate Crinkles (make 4-5 dozen)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
4 (1 ounce) unsweetened chocolate squares, melted
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup sifted powdered sugar

Combine sugar, oil, and melted chocolate in a large mixing bowl; beat at medium speed of an electric mixer until blended.

Add eggs one at a time and then and vanilla, mixing well after each addition.

Combine flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. Add about one-fourth of dry mixture at a time to chocolate mixture, mixing after each addition.

Cover and let chill at least 3 hours. (I baked a small batch one day after chilling and then returned then dough to the front porch and then forgot it was there for 3 days. They baked up fine even after this neglect.)

Shape dough into 1-inch balls, and roll in powdered sugar. Place cookies 2 inches apart on lightly greased cookie sheets. Bake at 350 degrees F. for 10 to 12 minutes. Cool on wire racks.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Monday, November 24, 2008

Material Monday: Running clothes for winter

Here is what I wore yesterday: Running shoes. Plain old ankle socks. Long underwear with little pink flowers. Cut off below the knee knit pants (yes, the flowers showed!). Long sleeved knit shirt. Another, heavier long-sleeved knit shirt over it. A heavy old black hooded sweatshirt with the hood up at the beginning. A spring-weight jacket. Headband. Gloves.

These were all default clothes partly because I don't know what else to wear, and partly because I don't have a lot of money for gear.

Perfectly adequate, however, at least for the level of cold we had yesterday morning, about 20 degrees, maybe. I did sweat, put the hood down, took off the gloves, but didn't get unbearably hot. Probably a pair of sweat pants would be suitable, or something wind/waterproof . . .