Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Warm and Fuzzy Thoughts for 2015

Happy New Year!

I hope you find this time of year as restorative as we do. Winter is the time we step back and take a cleansing breath before our gardening chores start in spring. 

I'm taking the next month to enjoy some winter activities. 

Once the excitement of the holidays has passed, we can fill our lives with simple activities. Take a walk outdoors in the winter to get fresh air and sunshine (if we are lucky).

Develop a good schedule and stick with it. We have been walking at 5:30 every morning before work, and have stuck with it for four months and will continue.

Maybe squeeze in a movie, and dinners and get togethers with friends and family.

Keep warm, keep busy, keep happy. My dear friends, thank you for your visits in 2014. My wish is that 2015 will be a good year.


Sunday, December 21, 2014

MacKenzie-Childs Nutcracker Christmas

 The Winter Solstice begins at 6:30PM with 9 hours of daylight. We go up from here! The light will return to us again!

My Christmas wish for you, my friends
Is not a simple one
For I wish you hope and joy and peace
Days filled with warmth and sun
I wish you love and friendship too
Throughout the coming year
Lots of laughter and happiness
To fill your world with cheer
May you count your blessings, one by one
And when totaled by the lot
May you find all you've been given
To be more than what you sought
May your journeys be short, your burdens light
May your spirit never grow old
May all your clouds have silver linings
And your rainbows pots of gold
I wish this all and so much more
May all your dreams come true
May you have a Merry Christmas 
And a happy New Year, too .. 
I decorated my mantel with nutcrackers, just like I did in 2011. Each year the mantel is different, but the nutcrackers is one of my favorites and all I had to do was pull the box out of the attic. 

I am joining A Stroll Thru Life for Inspire Me Tuesday.
Thank you for stopping by!

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Magnolia Bakery Buttercream

Grab a cup of cocoa, and help yourself to a cookie with my favorite Magnolia Bakery buttercream frosting. I am joining Rattlebridge Farm for Foodie Friday where we were invited to share old posts for this Special Holiday Edition. The frosting recipe is very popular on my blog so I thought I should share it again.

Make your sugar cookies. Use your favorite recipe.

Decorate with Magnolia Bakery Buttercream Frosting.


1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
6 to 8 cups confectioners' sugar
1/2 cup milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Place the butter in a large mixing bowl. Add 4 cups of the sugar and then the milk and vanilla. On the medium speed of an electric mixer, beat until smooth and creamy, about 3 to 5 minutes. Gradually add the remaining sugar, 1 cup at a time, beating well after each addition (about 2 minutes), until the icing is thick enough to be of good spreading consistency. You may not need to add all of the sugar. If desired, add a few drops of food coloring and mix thoroughly. (Use and store the icing at room temperature because icing will set if chilled.) Icing can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Thank you for stopping by!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Mom's Almond Paste Cookies

Mom has been making these Italian American cookies for our Christmas gathering for over 40 years,  and we look forward to these cookies appearing on the Christmas tray each year. We refer to them as Almond Paste Cookies in our family, but they are well known as "pignoli". The word pignoli refers to the pine nuts that you roll the cookie in.

If you try these cookies, I'd love to know. My young niece asked for the recipe last week and made them for her Christmas party. She said they were enjoyed by all.

Almond Paste Cookies

1/2 lb. almond paste (1 cup)
1 cup sugar
2 tbsp. flour
3 egg whites
1/3 cup powdered sugar
l lb. pine nuts (you can also use walnuts or sprinkles)

Mix almond paste, adding sugar slowly.  Mom uses a fork or finger tips. I use my food processor and it works perfect for me. Add egg whites and when well blended, add flour and powdered sugar which has been sifted. Roll a teaspoon of dough (it will be very sticky) into a bowl of nuts. Place on a well-greased cookie sheet. (I use parchment paper). Remove while still warm with a  spatula. If the batter is allowed to chill, it will be easier to handle. 

Bake 300 degrees for about 30 min. I take mine out when the edges start showing a golden brown. Don't overbake.

Thanks so much for stopping by during this busy holiday season!  I am joining Rattlebridge Farm for Foodie Friday.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

My granola recipe, just in time for gift giving

 If you're in need of a homemade food gift, this granola looks very pretty 
all dressed up in a mason jar with a big ribbon.  
It is delicious on it's own, and a delight 
served over yogurt.

For Fine Granola - break apart while still warm.

For Larger Granola - break apart when cool.(This is my favorite way to eat it...I look for the big clumps with lots of nuts)

I am joining Rattlebridge Farm for Foodie Friday