Thanksgiving Thinking . . . Snacking Oatmeal Cookies!


November first shows up and you know it is countdown to Thanksgiving. I try and plan ahead but there are always last-minute panic attacks that disappear once the turkey exits the oven and friends and family are nothing but happy with the holiday food placed in front of them. The days leading up to the feasting day can be testy, however, My thought is making a big batch of something fun and sort of healthy to ward off unhappy ‘spirits’ as they get anxious for the real day and are tired of quick meals in order to make time for the big, Thursday meal in November.

My favorite go-to snack has always been oatmeal cookies! I have a multitude of recipes but this is one of my favorites. They go together easily and if things get really testy in the preceding days, I’ve found that sandwiching two  cookies around a small scoop of ice cream is a miraculous tonic.

Barbara’s Favorite Oatmeal Everything Cookies

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs, well-beaten
1 Tablespoon (yes tablespoon) vanilla
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3 cups oatmeal (quick cooking or old fashioned, not instant)
1 cup raisins or dried cranberries
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped pecans
Zest of one orange

The key is to soak the raisins or dried cranberries. This makes all the difference in the world. Beat eggs and vanilla together and then add the raisins or dried cranberries, stir. Soak for about an hour.

Preheat to 350 degrees

Cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy. In a separate bowl combine flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg. Stir the dry ingredients until well blended. Add dry ingredients to creamed mixture and mix well. Now add in the egg and raisin or cranberry mixture. Then add oatmeal and chocolate chips/nuts. zest and combine well. Form into balls on cookie sheet. Bake 10-15 minutes. Let cool on cookie sheet for 2-5 minutes or until firm enough to transfer to wire rack.

Guava Jelly . . . Barbara’s Way

P1000929 P1000930 P1000929I love canning fruit and making jams and jellies. It is never a problem when one of my best friends says she has a bag of guavas and could I turn it into jelly. Fair is fair as she provides the sugar, fruit, and canning jars and I get all the fun! Guavas have a very pronounced scent so I usually cook down the fruit with apples and cranberries to add to the pectin in the jelly and give it a pretty color. I ended up with something like 25 jars. Of course, I had to taste test it and gave it a thumbs up . . . with all modesty, of course!

When my children were small, I first learned how to can fruit. We had gotten a bushel of apples and I decided to make chunky applesauce. The children were fascinated and kept coming through the kitchen  to see what was going to happen to all the apples. Finally, my jars were sterilized and the apple sauce was ready for spooning into them. I quickly put the lids on, gave them the required water bath and happily lined up my first dozen jars on the counter. By the time I got the last of the three dozen jars settled to cool down, I noticed the children had gotten very quiet and discovered them in the living room watching television . . . each with an open jar of still-warm apple sauce in hand. Naturally, they were also equipped with spoons. For once, they had worked together and made sure the two youngest had help getting their own jar open. Much as that was a shock and surprise, I found out they were on their second jar each. Eight jars down before I even had a chance to put them away in the cupboard for the proverbial rainy day!

Little Dress for Africa – Latest Creations Ready to Mail!

P1000943 P1000942 P1000940A friend recently decided to dismantle her sewing room and gifted me with yards and yards of beautiful fabric. They all seemed to lean towards becoming new dresses for little girls who have never had one in their life. The interesting part in accepting fabric from another quilter/seamstress is that you discover how narrow your view of color can be as you tend to have favorites and, as i found, sometimes neglect some creativity with choices outside your usual box.

I particularly had fun working with the pre-printed quilt patterns and fabrics with printed borders. I think I made more red and navy blue dresses this week than I have in the past few years.

I sent off 15 dresses last month and was figuring on taking a break until after my Christmas sewing was done but the temptation of new and wonderful colors proved to be too much temptation!

Historical Respect vs. Political/Multicultural Ambitions?

This was a very sad commentary on our times today. A Russian plane was shot out of the air today with the Islamic State taking credit. Germany and Angela Merkel helped destroy another bit of Germany history and heritage with this move.

Oberammergau Passion Play 1634 to . . . More endings to beautiful traditions?

Makes one wonder if the world will every get back to normal and when a period of relative peace and normality happens, what kind will it be and will we still be free?

Don’t Forget to Fall Back Saturday Night!

It is that time of the year, falling back in time otherwise known as the twice a year Daylight Savings. In the Spring, we ‘lose’ an hour and at this time of the year, we ‘gain’ an hour. No matter how you look at it, it is usually a pain but fun to see the people who never seem to learn showing up late for church on Sunday in the Spring and an hour early in the Fall.

When I was working in an office, the Spring Forward, lose an hour time happened. Great credits to our office as we were all in our place at the adjusted time except for one secretary. At nine o’clock, she came into work, went to the sign in sheet, signed in, and then realized that everyone else was already in place obviously having been hard at work for some time now as in an hour ‘early’. Knowing what had happened, we all watched to see when she would realize what had happened and the look on her face was priceless as we all burst out laughing.

Who is to blame for this twice a year confusion in our lives? Many say that Benjamin Franklin’s essay called, “An Economical Project for Diminishing the Cost of Light” is the original culprit. The essay suggested that people could save on candle power by making better use of available light by getting up earlier.

William Willett, an Englishman, seconded the idea in 1907 and it caught on all too well in the United Kingdom. Robert Garland, a businessman from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, discovered the idea in the United Kingdom and brought it to America.

An interesting result of Daylight Savings occurred in 1999. The West Bank in the Middle East was on Daylight Saving while Israel and just gone back to standard time. Terrorists had plans to place bombs in Israel BUT the changeover confused the terrorist who had set timers on the bombs. The bombs were planted but went off an hour early, killing three of the terrorist.

In August 8, 2005, President George W. Bush signed the Energy Policy Act which set the official times for our current Spring Forward, Fall Backward annual scenarios. In order to cause some yearly confusion, most of Arizona does not follow this and all of Hawaii abstains from the time changes.

So, twice a year now, we all have a good excuse to be either late for Sunday appointments or an hour early for them. And, yes, the majority of us will grin about it so you might take this moment to write yourself a reminder note for remembering to adjust your clocks before going to bed on Saturday night.

October 27th – Who Was Where Then?

History that happen on October 27th long before the year 2015! I always like to see where we have been in comparison to where we are today. Only a few of the many events that happened over the years on this day. Everyone has their interests and these are a few that caught my attention. Personally, I hate to think about what the world a century from now will think about all the events that happened this October, 2015.

1553 – Michael Servetus, who discovered the pulmonary circulation of the blood, is burned for heresy in Switzerland.
1775 – King George III speaks to parliament on American rebellion
1791 – President George Washington sends Congress the results of the first United States census, exclusive of South Carolina which had not yet submitted its findings.
1806 – Emperor Napoleon enters Berlin.
1864 – Battle of Hatcher’s Run (Civil War)
1873 – Joseph Glidden applies for a patent on his barbed wire design
1891 – D. B. Downing, inventor, is awarded a patent for the street mail box.
1904 – New York City subway opens
1927 – Fox Movie-tone news, the first sound news film, is released.
1940 – De Gaulle sets up the Empire Defense Council
1940 – Mafia boss, John Gotti born.
1941 – In a broadcast to the nation, President Franklin Roosevelt declares: “America has been attacked, the shooting has started.” He does not ask for full-scale war at that point.
1962 – The United States and Soviet Union step back from the brink of Nuclear war.
1970 – Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber release Jesus Christ Superstar
1994 – United State Prison population exceeds one million.
2004 – Red Sox win first championship since 1918

What Happened Today?

Chocolate Mint Pots de Creme

Chocolate Mint Pots de Creme

1 cup semi-sweet, mint flavored chocolate chips
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
2 tablespoons instant coffee powder
2 teaspoons peppermint liquor
3/4 cup Half and Half cream, scalded
1/8 teaspoon salt

Place the chocolate, sugar, egg, liquor, and salt in a blender and mix to combine. Add the hot Half and Half cream and blend until very smooth. Pour into very small dessert cups (this is very rich!) and chill overnight. Before serving, garnish with whipped cream and a pretty mint leaf.

Have time to add to the decadence? Make your own whipped cream!
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons sour cream

Combine all the ingredients in a mixing bowl and whip until the cream stiffens and holds it’s shape. Don’t over mix or you end up with butter! You can either pipe it on your Pots de Creme or spoon it on decoratively. After the first spoonful, no one will be paying attention to how it looks anyway!