Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Sometimes I Amaze Myself

I have a rather checkered past when it comes to driving. I've been ticketed for rolling through a stop sign and for speeding (twice). And I've had more than my share of accidents. The first six months I lived in Nashville, I had three.

I have not, however, had an accident in about 19 years.

And this morning I was once again amazed at what I good driver I have become. I was driving to work in the dark, freezing fog at about 55 mph when a silver mini van turned left across traffic. I stepped on the brakes and spun the wheel to the right, easing the car onto the shoulder and narrowly missing both the mini van and the sedan sitting in the driveway of the gas station where the woman driving the mini van had turned in blissful ignorance of my plight.

The gentleman in the sedan looked at me wide-eyed and then smiled and gave me a thumbs up. Something tells me that if I had gotten out of the car, he would have high fived me.

A quiet prayer of thanks for safety and skills, and I was back on the road.

By the way, I've not had a speeding ticket in 15 years, but only due to good luck, not any weight loss in my right foot.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Holiday Baking

I had every intention of getting it all done over the week-end. I really did. I woke up feeling sluggish on Saturday, but soldiered on. I made the dough for Rugelach and tossed it in the fridge to set up. A couple of hours later, my nose began doing it's impression of Niagra Falls while I was trying to assemble the cookies. I lost all sense of smell later that evening.

Last night I decided to make cranberry pistachio biscotti. I pulled out all of the ingredients and realized I didn't have orange oil. Okay, I'll use orange extract. I don't have that either. Why did I think I did? What to do? Well, I did have a bottle of Grand Marinier extract, so I decided to use it. And instead of regular dried cranberries, I upped the orange a little with orange flavored Craisins.

Since I haven't been able to taste anything since Saturday, I have no idea how they taste or if my substitutions worked. Oh, well. I'll find out Friday when I make a cookie tray for work.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Soldier Cookies and My New Obsession

Last Sunday I baked cookies for Operation Baking Gals and mailed them off on Tuesday. The day we had torrential rain. It was the most fun, ever! I love OBG because it gives me the opportunity to try new recipes. I love to bake cookies, but certainly don't need them hanging around where I could eat them. So I bake, sample a couple, and send the rest off to foreign lands. In this case, to Afghanistan.

This month I baked for David King, my old friend Mary Kay's hubby, who is currently on his second tour in Afghanistan. Here is a picture of David & Mary Kay and their two sons, Zach and David.


First I made Black Forrest Crinkle cookies, but they did not crinkle up as well as I thought. They did taste good, so I made a second batch of those.

And then I made Koulourakia (Greek Butter Cookies)

I'll give you three guesses on the first ingredient.


3/4 pound butter softened
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 eggs, plus 2 eggs, for glaze on top
2 tablespoons orange juice with no pulp
2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
5 1/4 cups flour

All ingredients should be at room temp. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter for 5 minutes. Add sugar to the mixture and beat another 5 to 7 minutes. Add eggs and beat until blended.


Add the orange juice and the vanilla extract.


In a large bowl combine the baking powder and baking soda with about 1 cup of flour and stir in the egg mixture slowly. Add the remaining cups of flour gradually. The dough is ready when it leaves the sides of your mixing bowl completely. The dough is soft and pliable.


Pinch off a piece of dough and roll out the dough into long rope like portions, fold over in half and twist.



Place the cookies on a greased baking pan.
Beat the 2 eggs in a small bowl to make the glaze. Brush the cookies on the pan with the glaze and bake in the oven for 25 minutes until golden brown.

Butter cookies done
Voila! Cookies. Enough to feed a unit of the National Guard.

Now, about my new obsession...If you haven't checked out this site, your really should. Start at the very beginning and read forward because there are a couple of entries from the same people regarding lawn chairs that are truly side splitting.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Christmas Decorations

Karen, Ruth, and I went on the Holiday Home tour Saturday, in which we toured several homes built in the 19th Century decked out in their holiday finest. Among them was Elm Springs which houses the offices of the Sons of Confederate Veterans (and if you think that doesn't make me uncomfortable, think again)and the Polk home.

They were all lovely and very Victorian and I was inspired to go home and pull out my Christmas "stuff".

While Alabama romped Florida (it is, after all, the season of miracles), I put up my tree.



My main decor theme, if you can call it that, is angels and I am happy to say that I have plenty. And I dearly love the Mary's Angels from Hallmark. I receive one each year for my birthday.



Aren't they just too precious?

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

It's a long list....

The list of things that I don't care about.

I don't care about the state of Brad & Angelina's relationship.
I don't care about what Lady GaGa wore or didn't.
I don't care about where Brett Farve plays football.
I don't care about misbehaving royals.
I don't care about child custody agreements of celebrities.
I don't care about what Michelle Obama wears.

But mostly...I don't care about Tiger Woods and his wife. Really. It's none of my business. I wish the news media would believe me.