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Thursday, November 27, 2014


These particular cookies have been a Christmas staple for as long as I can remember.  I've continued this tradition since my Mom passed keeping a couple of her "go to" Christmas varieties in my assortment over the years.

These are super easy to make and taste oh so good!  Similar flavor to Almond Roca.......

1 cup butter or margarine
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups flour 
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup chopped walnuts


Cream butter, brown sugar and vanilla.  Mix in flour, 1/2 cup chocolate chips and 3/4 cup nuts.  Press into the bottom of a greased *15 x 10 inch pan. 

Bake at 350 degrees for 23-25 minutes, or until light golden brown.  Immediately sprinkle with 1/2 cup chocolate chips.  When soft, spread with a knife to frost.  Sprinkle with 1/4 cup nuts.  Cut into squares while warm.  

* I remember my Mom struggling getting the cookies out of the pan and having a very crisp perimeter edge that she would cut off every year.....Once I took over I ran into the same this year, I finally figured out some solutions...First, I cooked my batch for 23 minutes (versus the 25-30 minutes the recipe called for); Second, you can see from the pan, I chose to line it with parchment paper.  I didn't lose a single cookie this year and they came out of the pan so easily!  

I sprayed the pan with cooking spray first, then put the parchment paper down, then lightly sprayed the parchment again before pressing the dough into the pan. 


Sunday, November 23, 2014


I made this particular ornament for my daughter and son-in-law, although I have to say I liked how well it turned out, I can see making these for a wedding gift or bridal shower.
This piece of wood will have a little bit of sentimental value for my daughter; it comes from a limb of an Aspen tree from our backyard....the yard that she grew up in (or maybe I'm the sentimental one).

Anyway, I've been playing around with wood burning....I haven't tried anything too intricate yet, but this particular design lets the beauty of the wood shine through.

It was sprayed a couple of times with a clear protectant finish and left to dry before I added the holiday cheer.

I added a little red bow, some holly leaves and berries and used a  piece of jute as the hanger.

And there you have it, a pretty little Christmas ornament that commemorates their anniversary and something which can be enjoyed for years to come!

Monday, November 10, 2014


I think I may have mentioned before that I really need to work at eating veggies. I know they're good for you, but other than salads, I really am not a huge fan.   So, when I find a veggie recipe that I really enjoy you know I have to share it.

By-the-way, I apologize for the pics.  It was late when I was making this, and due to standard time the sun was already down meaning the lighting in the kitchen was sad, so I just grabbed my cell phone.


3-4 medium potatoes (unpeeled and cubed)
1 zucchini, choppped (I went with 2 small since the recipe didn't indicate a size)
¾ cup onion, chopped (I went with green onions)
¾ cup mushrooms chopped
½ cup chopped red pepper
1 cup asparagus chopped into chunks (I left this out, I really dislike asparagus)
1 shredded carrot (I went with 2, because I felt bad about being an asparagus hater)
1 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 ¾  cups-2 cups mayo
1 cup shredded mozarella/parmesan cheese mixture


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Cut up all of the veggies, place in a large bowl and add the salt and pepper; toss lightly.   Pour the veggies out into a 9 x 13 pan   Spread the mayo over the veggies (it doesn't have to be perfect); I actually measured as I went, and it truly amounted to about 1 ¾ cups to lightly cover the veggies.

Place aluminum foil over the top of the dish and cook for one hour.  Remove from the oven, sprinkle the cheeses over the top and place back into the oven for approximately 10 minutes, allowing the cheeses to melt and slightly brown.

The flavor is so yummy!  Must be the mayo.....and the veggies were so dang moist.  

I can see lots of options with this recipe in terms of playing with different herbs and/or different combinations of veggies.  Oh so yummy!!

(thanks for the recipe)

Wednesday, November 5, 2014


WOW!!! This project was the definition of trial and error.  Honestly, I almost gave up on this, but after four attempts, I finally figured this out.   So please, if you plan on making some, let me share my experiences with you so that you don't have the failures along the way that I had.
 I love the finished product though don't you!  I don't know of many gals who don't like a good soak in the tub...and bath fizzies make that soak that much more fun.

First, let me share the final recipe since I tried a couple of those and this is the final version which includes some grapeseed oil for moisturizing (which many recipes don't have).

3/4 cup baking soda
1/4 cup citric acid (I found this at my local natural food grocer)
2 tsp. grapeseed oil (I put this in my sugar scrubs too)
1/2 tsp. water
1/8 cup of epsom salt (I went with a scented version)
*essential oil (if you don't use a scented epsom salt)
a few drops of food color
plastic candy mold ($1.99)
When you mix the ingredients together it will make 12 mini-fizzies and 4 ice cubes; so double the quantities if you want a larger batch.  

Place all of the dry ingredients into a bowl and mix together, removing any lumps.  Whisk as you add the liquids; most recipes tell you if it starts to fizz you're adding the ingredients too quickly....frankly, with all four batches I did get some reaction, but you can quickly stop it by whisking vigorously in that spot.  It seemed to me when I eliminated some of the water from the recipe and substituted the grapeseed oil, I saw less fizzing.  

silicone mold - LOVE THIS!!
The mixture will be just slightly damp when you've finished mixing the ingredients together and it will clump nicely when you press some between your fingers; similar to damp sand.  You're now ready to press the mixture into the molds.  Try to make them as even as possible across the top the mold.

For my molds I picked up a cheap ice cub tray at Walmart and a plastic candy mold from Hobby Lobby.  I first tried the round plastic globe which comes in two parts to make large snowball size fizzies, and I gave up on those since they fell into two parts.  As I was reading some forums on the web...they seem to be a challenge for many folks and I just wasn't having any fun so I moved on to other molds.   

Now, let me share some valuable tips with you:

1.  Let the fizzies dry in the mold approximately one-two hours; then unmold.  If you unmold them immediately as was indicated in one set of instructions, they start to expand as they dry and lose their fun little shapes (my little yellow guys did that....I was so bummed!)

2.  Do not leave them in the mold too long or you will never get them out!  After my first trial (unmolding immediately), I decided I would make sure they were good and dry and left them overnight....I literally cracked the mold as I was trying to get them out.  Again,  1-2 hours of drying time is perfect.

3.  I switched to a silicone candy mold which I absolutely loved.  Because it's pliable it was super easy to unmold the fizzies.  The trade off is they come in single shapes if you want to have a couple different types, you'll have to invest in more than one mold.  They're pretty reasonable though ($2.99).

4.  Everything I've read said they need to be used fairly quickly or they'll lose their fizzability (I just made that word up).  No more than six don't plan on making a ton and doling them out for birthdays throughout the year.  

For packaging, I picked up some glass jars and then made a label in Microsoft Publisher using Avery shipping labels.  Yay!  I'm so excited to gift these this Christmas season.    Fortunately for me, I have some "duds"  (the yellow guys that deflated) so those are for me to enjoy.  :)