Wednesday, December 26, 2007

A Great Cookie Recipe: Stacie's Rollo Cookies

Stacie made these great cookies. Everyone fought over the last few.

Caramel-Filled Chocolate Cookies

Delicate pastry wraps chewy caramel and chocolate in this winning cookie.


2 1/2 cups All Purpose or Unbleached Flour

3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup sugar

1 cup firmly packed brown sugar

1 cup margarine or butter, softened

2 teaspoons vanilla

2 eggs

1 cup chopped pecans

48 Rolo® Chewy Caramels in Milk Chocolate, unwrapped (from 13-oz. pkg.)

1 tablespoon sugar

4 oz. vanilla-flavored candy coating, if desired

Preparation Directions:

1. In medium bowl, combine flour, cocoa and baking soda; mix well.

2. In large bowl, combine 1 cup sugar, brown sugar and margarine; beat until light and fluffy. Add vanilla and eggs; beat well. Add flour mixture; blend well. Stir in 1/2 cup of the pecans. If necessary, cover with plastic wrap; refrigerate 30 minutes for easier handling.

3. Heat oven to 375°F. For each cookie, with floured hands, shape about 1 tablespoon dough around 1 caramel candy, covering completely.

4. In small bowl, combine remaining 1/2 cup pecans and 1 tablespoon sugar. Press one side of each ball into pecan mixture. Place, nut side up, 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets.

5. Bake at 375°F. for 7 to 10 minutes or until set and slightly cracked. Cool 3 minutes; remove from cookie sheets. Cool on wire rack for 15 minutes or until completely cooled.

6. Melt candy coating in small saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly until smooth. Drizzle over cookies.

High Altitude Instructions:

Increase flour to 2 3/4 cups. Bake as directed above.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Making: Our Favorite Hot Cocoa Mix

Hot Cocoa Mix-- We make this every December-

1 14-quart box nonfat dry milk

1 1-pound jar coffee-mate creamer

1 2-pound box Nestle's Quik

1 2-pound bag confectioner's sugar -- sifted

1 15-ounce jar chocolate malted milk mix (Ovaltine)

Combine all ingredients together in a VERY large bowl. Mix well. Store in airtight containers (like jars). Attach instructions for use with each jar.

Instructions: To use, mix 1/3 cup of the dry mix with 2/3 cup boiling water. Stir and top with marshmallows, if desired.

Sledding Fun

Spiderman Birthday Cake

Baking: Babka with Poppy Seed Filling

1/2 cup milk (plain soy milk will also work)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup wrist-temperature water
1 1/4 teaspoons yeast (half a package)
3 tablespoons sugar
1 large egg
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
About 2 1/3 cups bread flour or unbleached all-purpose flour
(Enough to make a soft dough)
Nonstick spray for the bowl, the work surface, and your hands

1. DO THIS AHEAD: Gradually heat the milk in a small saucepan until it becomes very hot but is not yet boiling. Remove the pan from the heat, and add cut in the butter in about 4 or 5 slices. Set aside to cool to wrist temperature, during which time the butter will melt.
2. Place the water in a medium-large bowl, sprinkle in the yeast, and let it stand for about 5 minutes.
3. When the milk mixture has cooled to wrist temperature (and no warmer!), add it to the yeast, along with the sugar and salt. Beat in the egg.
4. Add the flour one cup at a time, beating after the first addition with a large whisk, and after the second with a wooden spoon. At some point you will have to graduate from the spoon to using your hand. Add small amounts of flour to keep your hand from sticking too badly, and m;ix until all the flour is incorporated, and you have a soft dough. It's OK if it's slightly sticky.
5. Lightly spray a clean work surface with nonstick spray. Turn out the dough, and knead it just a few times, pushing it into itself, so it comes together in a smooth ball . If it is too sticky to handle, spray the palms of your hands with a little nonstick spray. The goal is to keep the dough as soft as possible–even a little wet!
6. Clean out and dry the bowl (or use a second clean, dry bowl) and coat the inside surface with nonstick spray. Place the dough in the bowl, and spray the top surface with more nonstick spray. Cover the bowl with a clean tea towel, and put it in a warm place to rise until doubled in bulk.
7. Punch down the dough, and proceed with filling and finishing. You can also refrigerate or freeze the dough at this point, if you don't intend to fill and finish it right away. (Wrap it in a sealed plastic bag.)

Monday, December 03, 2007

Recycled Christmas Tree

Check out this Christmas Tree made out of Mountain Dew Cans.
"This must be the most creative Christmas tree ever. Using about 400 cans, some PVC pipe for the trunk and construction flags these guys spent 4 days turning all that aluminum into the perfect decoration." From Gecko and Fly

Baking: Cream Cheese Chocolate Cupcakes

Quinn made these yummy cupcakes and I helped a little. I found this easy but good recipe on this blog called How about Orange.

1 package (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
1/3 c. sugar
1 egg
1/8 tsp. salt
1 c. chocolate chips
1 c. peanut butter chips (or just use more chocolate if you want)

1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1 c. sugar
1/4 c. baking cocoa
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. water
1/3 c. vegetable oil
1 Tbs. white vinegar
1 tsp. vanilla

In a bowl, beat cream cheese. Add sugar, egg, salt. Mix well. Fold in chips. Set aside. For cupcakes, combine flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. Add water, oil, vinegar, and vanilla. Mix well. Fill paper-lined muffin cups half full with batter. Top each with 2 Tbs. of cream cheese mixture. Bake at 350º for 25-30 minutes. Cool 10 minutes and remove from pan. Makes 18.

Christmas Things

We spent the icy weekend getting out Christmas Decorations and putting up the tree. I love the vintage bird ornaments that Quinn and I found at the thrift store last year and we set up the $3.00 garage sale nativity set that I found in September. In fact, everything in the pictures were either thrifty finds or given to us.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Vintage Cookie Recipes: Orange GumDrop Cookies

Here is my Grandma Mildred's recipe for Orange Gumdrop Cookies. I looked all over on the internet and combed through lots of my cook books and couldn't find the exact recipe. I hadn't made these for a long time. I often buy the orange slice candy but someone always gets into them before I get the cookies made.
Check out Twisted Candy for a few vintage cookie recipes. I am going to try out the Date pinwheel cookies. I hope they are like the ones I remember.

Grandma Mildred's Orange Gumdrop Cookies

1 pound orange slices cut up and rolled in flour
1 Cup oleo ( I used butter)
1 Cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
Add 2 eggs and 1 tsp vanilla
2 Cup Flour
1 heaping tsp baking powder
1 heaping tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 cups rolled oats
1 cup coconut

1 tsp out on greased baking pan
Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes
Makes 5 1/2 dozen

Counting down to Christmas

Here is a poem perfect for today. Cade spend some time outside in the cold today doing chores..We didn't even have to nag him. He is highly motivated by the fact that "Santa" is watching or maybe he thinks good behavior equals good Christmas presents. I don't know how long this will last.

Jest 'Fore Christmas

FATHER calls me William, sister calls me Will,
Mother calls me Willie but the fellers call me Bill!
Mighty glad I ain't a girl---ruther be a boy,
Without them sashes curls an' things that's worn by Fauntleroy!
Love to chawnk green apples an' go swimmin' in the lake--
Hate to take the castor-ile they give for belly-ache!
'Most all the time, the whole year round, there ain't no flies on me,
But jest'fore Christmas I'm as good as I kin be!

Got a yeller dog named Sport, sick him on the cat.
First thing she knows she doesn't know where she is at!
Got a clipper sled, an' when us kids goes out to slide,
'Long comes the grocery cart, an' we all hook a ride!
But sometimes when the grocery man is worrited an' cross,
He reaches at us with his whip, an' larrups up his hoss,
An' then I laff an' holler, "Oh, ye never teched me!"
But jest'fore Christmas I'm as good as I kin be!

Gran'ma says she hopes that when I git to be a man,
I'll be a missionarer like her oldest brother, Dan,
As was et up by the cannibals that live in Ceylon's Isle,
Where every prospeck pleases, an' only man is vile!
But gran'ma she has never been to see a Wild West show,
Nor read the life of Daniel Boone, or else I guess she'd know
That Buff'lo Bill an' cowboys is good enough for me!
Excep' jest 'fore Christmas, when I'm as good as I kin be!

And then old Sport he hangs around, so solemn-like an' still,
His eyes they seem a-sayin': "What's the matter, little Bill?"
The old cat sneaks down off her perch an' wonders what's become
Of them two enemies of hern that used to make things hum!
But I am so perlite an' tend so earnestly to biz,
That mother says to father: "How improved our Willie is!"
But father, havin' been a boy hisself, suspicions me
When, jest 'fore Christmas, I'm as good as I kin be!

For Christmas, with its lots an' lots of candies, cakes an' toys,
Was made, they say, for proper kids an' not for naughty boys;
So wash yer face an' bresh yer hair, an' mind yer p's and q's,
And don't bust out yer pantaloons, and don't wear out yer shoes;
Say "Yessum" to the ladies, and "Yessur" to the men,
An' when they's company, don'a pass yer plate for pie again;
But, thinkin' of the things yer'd like to see upon that tree,
Jest 'fore Christmas be as good as yer kin be!

Eugene Field

Friday, November 30, 2007

Paper Angel Ornaments

These are the Paper Angels that the kids in 4-H made. They will be used on our local Angel Tree. Thanks to Amy at Precious Treasures for putting together an example and letting me use her Die cut machine. I got the idea from Vicki's Blog.

The Bather Garden Statue: We named her Myrtle

Look what I won! We placed her in the garden near the pond . The boys are calling here the naked lady statue and the dogs keep barking at her. Other than that I really like her. Thanks Josh for the incredible give away.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Cherry Cheesecake Pie

Cherry Cheesecake Pie
From Not Your Average Pie

Serves 12
Active: 15 min/Total: 1 1⁄4 hr

Planning Tip: Can be baked up to 4 days ahead. Refrigerate covered.

1 box (15 oz) refrigerated ready-to-bake pie crusts
1⁄2 cup sugar
1 Tbsp cornstarch
2 bricks (8 oz each) 1⁄3-less-fat cream cheese (Neufchâtel), softened
1 large egg
1⁄2 tsp almond extract
1 can (21 oz) cherry pie filling
White from 1 large egg, in a small bowl
1⁄3 cup sliced almonds

1. Heat oven to 350°F. Have ready a 9-in. pie plate.

2. Fit 1 crust into pie plate. Unroll or unfold remaining crust on a cutting board; cut in 1⁄2-in.-wide strips. Cover with plastic wrap; refrigerate.

3. Mix sugar and cornstarch in a medium bowl. Add cream cheese; beat with mixer on medium speed until smooth. On low speed, beat in egg and extract until just blended.

4. Spread batter evenly in crust; spoon pie filling evenly over top. Beat egg white with a fork until foamy. Brush on pastry strips. Arrange about 8 strips evenly spaced across pie filing. Place 8 more strips diagonally over first strips to form a lattice (discard remaining strips). Trim and press ends to bottom crust. Brush rim with egg white; press on almonds.

5. Bake 50 to 60 minutes until crust is golden brown and cherries bubble. Remove to a wire rack to cool. Serve warm, at room temperature or cold.

Per serving: 360 cal, 6 g pro, 40 g car, 0 g fiber, 19 g fat (9 g sat fat), 51 mg chol, 305 mg sod

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Making: Thanksgiving Cards

Nantucket Cranberry Cake

Here is a very easy and festive cake recipe. It is perfect for using fresh cranberries this time of year.

Nantucket Cranberry Cake
Serves 8

This recipe comes from one of my favorite Cook books : Simple Vegetarian Pleasures

Butter for greasing the dish
2 cups cranberries, washed
1/2 cup finely chopped (not ground) walnuts
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1 cup unbleached flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly butter a 1 1/2 quart-capacity pie plate or quiche dish (not with a removable bottom) about 10 inches in diameter.
Arrange the cranberries evenly on the bottom of the dish. Sprinkle on the walnuts and sugar.
To make the batter, in a large bowl use an electric mixer to beat the butter and sugar together until light and somewhat fluffy. Add the egg and the vanilla and almond extracts and beat until very smooth and fluffy. Be patient.
Sprinkle in the flour, baking powder, and salt and beat a few seconds. Pour in the milk and beat just until incorporated.
Using a spoon, drop small mounds of batter all over the cranberries. With a narrow metal icing spatula spread the batter around to evenly cover the berries.
Bake 45 minutes, or until the cake springs back when you gently press the center with your finger. (The cake will be a rich golden color.) Cool completely before serving. Place confectioners' sugar in a sieve and dust the top of the cake with it. Cut into wedges and serve.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Getting the Koi Pond ready for winter

Fall Ponding information

The pond is at its healthiest in the fall. The water is the most clear at this time. Give the pond a good vacuuming or cleaning in early fall. Start bringing in ornaments, tropical plants and animals, and filters and pumps for the winter. See winterizing above for more information.

Leaf Nets and Skimmers:
Put a net over the pond if leaves will fall in it. An alternative is a leaf skimmer which are usually only installed on koi ponds (they also suck in small fish and floating plants that non-koi ponds want to have). Leave the net on until all the leaves are off the tree and collected off the ground from the immediate pond area. While some leaves provide cover and food for pond animals, excessive leaves will cause the pond to have an overload of organic material. In the fall, leaves may tint the water brown or yellow from the tannins which also may decrease the pH. In the spring, the leaf litter translates into a massive algal bloom and perhaps dead fish as well as a dirty looking pond. So, if you are not striving for the all natural pond and have deciduous trees, then a leaf net or a skimmer is a must.

Leaf Removal Hint:
We found a great way to get leaves off the huge leaf net on our 1800 gallon pond. Instead of grabbing for them and risking falling in or trying to use a grabber or net to get one or two leaves at a time, we use a wet/dry shop vacuum to suck up leaves off the net and rocks. It saves a lot of time and makes it easy to remove leaves far out on the net.

Fall Tasks:

* Repot overgrown plants
* Stop fertilizing plants.
* Bring in any tropical plants, sensitive fish, etc. that will not survive the winter.
* Remove all tropical plants, dead foliage, and leaves. Clean out the pond. Vacuum clean the bottom.
* Do a good water change and top off the pond as needed.
* Clean out filters as needed. Check them at least weekly.
* Slowly stop feeding fish. Do not feed when the water temperature is under 50 degrees F.
* Put up filter systems, pumps, equipment, ornaments, etc. that are not to be used over winter (remove filters after fish have stopped eating).
* If you use them, put on the leaf net (early fall) and put out the de-icers (late fall).
* Check pond daily for dead fish, leaks, overturned pots, or other problems.

Above information came from this site

November Gardening Chores

November Garden Chores

Fall is a beautiful time of year. Fall is also time to prepare the garden for winter. The following chores should be completed in November.

Modern, bush-type roses (hybrid teas, floribundas, and grandifloras) require protection during the winter months. Iowa's low winter temperatures can severely injure and sometimes kill unprotected roses.

Hilling or mounding soil around the base of each plant is an excellent way to protect bush-type roses. Begin by removing fallen leaves and other debris from around each plant. Removal of diseased plant debris will help reduce disease problems next season. Then, loosely tie the canes together with twine to prevent the canes from being whipped by strong winds. Next, cover the bottom 10 to 12 inches of the rose canes with soil. Place additional material, such as straw or leaves, over the mound of soil. A small amount of soil placed over the straw or leaves should hold these materials in place. Prepare modern roses for winter after plants have been hardened by several nights of temperatures in the low to mid-twenties. Normally, this is early November in northern Iowa, mid-November in central areas, and late November in southern counties.

Strawberries should be mulched in fall to prevent winter injury. Excellent mulching materials include clean, weed-free straw and chopped cornstalks. Apply 3 to 5 inches of material. After settling, the depth of the mulch should be approximately 2 to 4 inches.

Allow the strawberry plants to harden or acclimate to the cool fall temperatures before mulching the bed. In northern Iowa, strawberry plantings are normally mulched in late October to early November. Gardeners in central and southern Iowa should mulch their strawberries in early to mid-November and mid- to late November, respectively.
Vegetable Garden

Finish harvesting root crops, such as beets, carrots, and parsnips. Afterwards, clean and till the garden. Fall clean-up and tillage provides several benefits. Many plant pathogens overwinter in the garden on infected plant debris. Removal and destruction of the diseased plant debris reduces the severity of many diseases. Removal of the plant debris also eliminates hiding places for some insects and helps reduce insect populations. Additionally, a fall-tilled garden dries out and warms up more quickly in the spring, permitting earlier planting of cool-season crops.
Trees and Shrubs

During the winter months, rabbits often gnaw on the bark of many woody plants. Heavy browsing can result in the complete girdling of small trees. Rabbits also may clip-off small stems at snow level. Small trees with smooth, thin bark are most vulnerable to rabbit damage. Apple, pear, crabapple, and serviceberry are frequent targets of rabbits. Other frequently damaged plants include the winged euonymus or burning bush, Japanese barberry, dogwoods, roses, and raspberries.

The best way to prevent rabbit damage to young trees is to place cylinders of hardware cloth around the tree trunks. The hardware cloth cylinder should stand about 1 to 2 inches from the tree trunk and extend several inches above the expected snow depth. The bottom 2 to 3 inches should be buried beneath the soil. Small shrubs, roses, and raspberries can be protected with chicken wire fencing.

For spectacular blooms during the Christmas holidays, pot up an amaryllis bulb in early to mid-November. When planting an amaryllis bulb, select a pot which is approximately 1 to 2 inches wider than the diameter of the bulb. The container may be clay, ceramic or plastic, but should have drainage holes in the bottom. Plant the bulb in good, well-drained potting soil. Place a small amount of potting soil in the bottom of the pot. Center the bulb in the middle of the pot. Then add additional potting soil, firming it around the roots and bulb. When finished potting, the upper one-half of the bulb should remain above the soil surface. Also, leave about one inch between the soil surface and the pot's rim. Then water well and place in a warm (70 to 75°F) location.

After the initial watering, allow the soil to dry somewhat before watering again. Keep the soil moist, but not wet. When growth appears, move the plant to a sunny window and apply a water-soluble fertilizer every 2 to 4 weeks.

During flower stalk elongation, turn the pot each day to keep the flower stalk growing straight. Flower stalks that lean badly may need staking. Flowering usually occurs 4 to 6 weeks after potting.
Garden Tools

Proper care of garden tools and equipment prolongs their lifetime, prevents costly repairs, and improves their performance. In fall, remove caked-on soil from shovels, spades, hoes, and rakes with a wire brush or a stiff putty knife. Wash the tools with a strong stream of water, then dry. Sharpen the blades of hoes, shovels, and spades. Wipe the metal surfaces with an oily rag or spray with WD-40. Sand rough wooden handles, then wipe with linseed oil to prevent drying and cracking. Hang or store the tools in a dry location. Drain water from garden hoses. To prevent kinking, store hoses on reels or coil and place on a flat surface.

Remove grass and other debris from the underside of the lawn mower. Drain and change the oil on mowers with four-cycle engines. Clean the air filter. Check the spark plug and change it if worn. Start the lawn mower and let it run until it is out of gas. Sharpen the mower blade. Finally, store the lawn mower in a dry location.

With the gardening chores completed, it's time to relax and enjoy the upcoming holidays.

This article originally appeared in the 10/8/2004 issue.

Prepared by by Richard Jauron, Department of Horticulture

101 Nebraska Map Cookies for 4-H

Monday, October 15, 2007

Pumkin Cake with Caramel- Cream Cheese Frosting

I Received the new issue of Food and Wine in the mail- not knowing that we got a free subscription. The currant issue - November- has some great fall recipes. I tried out the Pumpkin Cake recipe. It is like a cross between cake and pumpkin pie. Great with the frosting.

"In this fun variation on traditional pumpkin pie, pumpkin cake spiced with ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves gets frosted with a slightly tangy, super-caramelly frosting. It's delicious served cold or at room temperature.


1 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
2 T heavy cream
1 pound cream cheese cut into 2 inch cubes


2 Cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1 1/4 cups light brown sugar
4 large eggs
3/4 cup vegetable oil
one 15 ounce can pumpkin puree
1/2 cup whole milk

1. Make the frosting: In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar, water, vanilla bean, and seeds. Cook over high heat, stirring, until the sugar is dissolved. Using a wet pastry brush, wash down any crystals from the side of the pan. Cook over moderate heat without stirring until a medium-dark amber caramel forms, about 9 minutes. Remove from heat and immediately stir in the butter and heavy cream. Discard the vanilla bean.

2. Transfer the Caramel to the large bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a whisk and beat at low speed until the caramel cools slightly and comes together, about 5 minutes. With the machine on, beat in the cream cheese, 1 cube at a time and beating well between additions, until silky. Transfer the frosting to a bowl and refrigerate until very firm, at least 6 hours.

3. Meanwhile, Make the cake: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour two 8-inch round cake pans. In a med bowl, whisk the flour with the baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, baking soda, nutmeg and cloves.

4. In a bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the brown sugar and eggs at med-hi speed until fluffy, 3 minutes. Beat in the oil, then beat in the pumpkin puree. Alternately add the dry ingredients and the milk in 3 batches, beating well between additions.

5. Pour the batter into the prepared pans and smooth the tops. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. let the cakes cool on a rack for 20 minutes. Run a knife around the edges to loosen the cakes, then invert them onto a wire rack to cool completely.

6. place one layer on a plate and spread with 1 cup of the caramel-cream cheese frosting. Top with the second layer and frost the top and the side. refrigerate the cake for 2 hours before serving.

Pink Ribbon Cookies to Support Breast Cancer Research

Margarita cookies

Halloween and Fall Cookies

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Martini Cookies

Puzzle Piece Cookies

Got School S P I R I T ?

Can We go for a Walk Aready?

Well, enough blogging for this morning. Agnes is ready for a walk.

Morning Glory Full of Glory

These beautiful flowering vines are at their peek currently. I have heard that REAL gardeners never plant these- once planted you will always have them. The plants produce loads of seed and reseed easily. I guess I will wait until next season and see how I feel about this flowering annual- until then I will enjoy their beauty.

note: I panted at least 6 different varieties of morning glories this spring.

A Visit To Joslyn Castle

You May also like

Related Posts with Thumbnails