Sunday, March 10, 2019

Maple Walnut Biscotti

My love of maple syrup started as a child. My parents would treat us to maple sugar candy in our Easter baskets, and in the summer they would treat us to maple walnut ice cream at an ice cream parlor. All because it was my mom's favorite you see. It competed only  with coffee ice cream for mom.

I help support the maple producers here in Central New York, and was delighted to find a biscotti recipe from Costco Connection Magazine several years ago. It's a winning recipe that we recently served with tea to dear friends. It's rare that I have anything in the cookie jar these days, but I got lucky that day :-)
Happy to Spring Forward! Have a wonderful week. xo

Friday, March 1, 2019

Traveling Tote - The Shenanigans Continue

If you are here for the first time, welcome to Mountain Breaths. Today I am joining a group of talented bloggers to bring you our 18th Tales of the Traveling Tote. 
According to Wikipedia:  The "Tales of the Traveling Tote" is a group of well-preserved, dynamic women that bring a MacKenzie-Childs tote bag on a trip and take pictures of it in front of famous (and infamous) landmarks. 
Believe it or not, I have enjoyed the winter but am now looking forward to spring and getting my garden ready. I hope you'll come back on June 1 to see where I am off to with my new bathing suit. 

As you have already guessed, Joe and I have a winter anniversary so Miss Aurora and her sister have been enjoying winter activities in the mountains. Just when we thought we would like to warm up in Key West in February, we changed our minds and made plans to travel to the Mirror Lake Inn in Lake Placid and spend time with our family and friends at our camp for our anniversary. The groundhog said we will have an early spring, so we have been skiing and snowshoeing as much as possible.
My sister Diane and I love to visit the Old Forge Hardware Store near our camp. And let me tell you, this hardware store has everything you can (and cannot) imagine. I don't think there is any tourist that passes by the hardware store without stopping. It is an icon! They also have beautiful clothing. 
Joe and I have been staying at the Mirror Lake Inn for 20 years, and enjoy their lovely meals. The distinguishing feature of this inn, which has been in business since 1924, is that all 131 rooms have a view of Mirror Lake and the Adirondack Mountains. The sunrise and sunsets are amazing. 
Miss Aurora has fond memories of Key West, and is waiting patiently to return. 

Thoughts and prayers for our fellow toter RJ @ The Sketchy Reader as she is away caring for a family member.

Come along and travel with:

Debbie with Miss Aurora @ Mountain Breaths (you are here)
Emily with Miss Courtney Childs @The French Hutch
Jackie with Miss Madi K @ Purple Chocolat Home  
Linda P with Miss Lola @ Life and Linda 
Jenna with Miss Coquille @The Painted Apron 
Patti with Miss Kenzie and Miss Taylor @ Pandora's Box
Rita with Miss Luna C @ Panoply 
Sarah with Miss Merri Mac @ Hyacinths for the Soul
Cherry Kay with Carrie Ann Hall @ Entertaining Women -- Cherry Kay is hosting the giveaway!!!!

Thanks for stopping by! 

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Italian Cream Puffs

Italian cream puffs are always made around this time of year, always in time for Valentine's day and especially for the Feast of San Giuseppe, St. Joseph's day on March 19th. In the bakery, you have your choice of the traditional vanilla custard (zeppoli) and the other is filled with a rich cannoli cream (Sfinge). The "feast" honors the patron saint of all fathers, and since my husband's name is Joseph (his family is from Massena, a harbor city in northeast Sicily), he enjoys them "the Debbie way". The photo below is from last year.
 I've been using a recipe from a handwritten cookbook that my friend's family put together over 30 years ago. I had very little interest in baking desserts when I was younger, and when I made these cream puffs for the office (at age 25) everyone raved about them and asked for the recipe. I remember being so proud of myself and it was one of my first successful baking experiences. So fast forward to St. Joseph's Day, the cream puffs are consumed on his "Name Day", it is a celebration that is larger than one's own birthday. 

Debbie's (and Joe's) Cream puffs

Heat to rolling boil in saucepan:

1 cup water
½ cup butter

Stir in:

1 cup sifted flour

Keep stirring over low heat until mixture leaves pan and forms well – about 1 minute. Remove from heat.

Beat in thoroughly:

4 eggs – one at a time

Stir until smooth and velvety. Drop from spoon onto ungreased baking pan. Bake at 400 until dry 45-50 minutes. Cool puffs before filling. Makes 8.


2 half pints heavy cream
1 ¼ cup cold milk
1 package instant vanilla pudding

Whip all ingredients until thick. The filling makes enough for 16 puffs.

Filling the puffs:

Cut off tops; pull out any filaments of soft dough. Fill puffs with filling. Replace tops. Dust with powdered sugar or drizzle with chocolate. Refrigerate until serving time.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Custard Pie with Vintage Roses

An easy custard pie recipe. Make this for your co-workers or your next gals party. A delicious recipe from Marie Saba, courtesy of Monique at La Table de Nana. You're welcome!

  Today we celebrate twenty years of marriage, and I am often told how kind we are to each other. Joe is always nice to me. Always. He treats me (and everyone) kindly, and it's so easy to be kind in return. Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength.
Thank you to everyone that left a sweet comment on my blog post Where In The World Is My Mug......... I wish I could give everyone one of these cheery dish towels! We all need some sunshine.

The winner of the MacKenzie-Childs sunflower towel giveaway is:

Kitty @ Kitty's Kozy Kitchen
Kitty, I will be shipping the towel to you today. Congratulations!


Friday, February 8, 2019

Love Is In The Air

 I am still swooning over these heart shaped sugar cookies with Magnolia Bakery buttercream frosting that I've made for Valentine's day for several years. It is the only buttercream recipe I ever use. Even though making these cookies is a big accomplishment for me, you must check out this Gal-entines Day Dessert Party. Major swoon!!! I'm having the gals over on Tuesday for dinner, and I've chosen to use Old Ivory from Syracuse China that I inherited from Joe's aunt that lived in NYC. I discussed the china with my friend that works in an antique shop, and she said Syracuse China is the only china that is selling right now. I am happy to use it and enjoy it with the gals. 
My Valentine  gave me an early gift, the 12th memory bottle he has made for me. I posted about these bottles back in 2012 and really need to take some recent pictures. Ever since we have been married, he secretly stashes business cards, tickets, receipts, brochures, artifacts, wine bottles and stuff from our travels. The bottles still bring many smiles, and I have them on a shelf in our sunroom that is eight feet off the ground. I have to stretch my neck to see them.

Using an empty wine bottle, he uses wood glue, glue-all or contact cement to secure the memory items to the bottle. After he glues, he puts rubber bands around the bottle to keep everything tight while the glue dries. When he gets to the top of the bottle, it gets a bit challenging. So he cuts those items at an angle so they will fit better. Once the glue is dry, he puts a thin coat of shellac on the bottle. Since ink can bleed on thin paper (such as store receipts), he  doesn't put shellac on those items. 
This is my attempt of decorating for Valentine's Day. If I was home more often, I would probably decorate more. It seems like only yesterday when I married this very special man. My thoughts return back to February 14, 1999 . Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength. Cupid's got nothing on us. 

World Famous Paradise Bakery Sugar Cookies with Magnolia Bakery Buttercream Frosting

Cookie Ingredients:

1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup powdered sugar
2 cups vegetable shortening
3/4 teaspoon vanilla
1 large egg, beaten
3 1/3 cups cake flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

1) Preheat oven to 375°.
2) In a medium bowl, cream together the sugars and shortening using an electric mixer.
 3) Mix on slow speed 30 seconds, then scrape down the bowl with a spatula.
4) Increase speed to medium and mix for 3 minutes.
5) Slowly add vanilla and beaten egg while mixing.
6) In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Gradually add the flour mixture to the mixing bowl, mixing on slow speed until just blended. Do not overmix.
 7) Scoop with an ice-cream scoop if decorating with sugar only
8) Place directly on cookie sheet.
9) Bake at 375° for 9-10 minutes. Cookies are done when small cracks appear and are pale golden. Ideally, the edges do not brown.

If making cut out cookies form dough in to two balls, chill dough in refrigerator for at least two hours covered.

Roll out dough on floured surface and cut out cookies with desired shaped cookie cutters.
Place directly on cookie sheet. Bake at 375° for 9-10 minutes. Cookies are done when small cracks appear and are pale golden. Ideally, the edges do not brown.

Decorate with Buttercream Frosting or Sugar (See recipe below).

Magnolia Bakery Buttercream Frosting Ingredients:

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 so much for stopping by!


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