Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Mexican Wedding Cookies/Russian Teacakes

My other favorite Christmas cookie is Mexican Wedding Cookies or Russian Teacakes.  The recipes are very similar so it probably depends on what your family calls them.  Another butter based cookie great with coffee!

I also got this recipe from Food.com

Prep:  15 min   Total Time:  45 min  Serves: 36, Yield: 3 dozen


  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 1/4 cups sifted flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup cup nuts (walnuts or pecans)(or both)
  • Powdered sugar (for rolling baked cookies in)


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Cream together the butter and powdered sugar until light and fluffy.  Add Vanilla extract.
  3. Mix together flour and salt, gradually add to butter mixture.
  4. Stir in nuts.
  5. Form dough into 1 inch to 1-1/4 inch  balls and place onto parchment lined baking sheets.  
  6. Bake for 10-12 minutes or just until the cookies start to turn light golden brown.
  7. Remove from oven allow to cool slightly, roll in powdered sugar while still warm (but NOT hot) then cool on wire racks.
  8. Cookies can be rolled again when cooled in powdered sugar a second time once cooled to room temperature.
*1 inch balls will increase yield to 48 cookies*

Spritz Cookies

My favorite Christmas cookie is always Spritz cookies, maybe because they are basically just butter and sugar but they are simple to make.  Well besides using the cookie press.  We recently purchased a newer cookie press to replace our ancient one and it works much quicker.

This recipe is from Food.com, I usually use Betty Crocker, but switched it up this year.  Basically the same recipe.  I use vanilla instead of almond extract because we tend to prefer it and have it on hand all the time.

Prep Time:  25 mins  Total Time:  33mins   Yield:  36-42 cookies


  • 2 1/2 cups All Purpose Unbleached Flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsp almond extract or (Vanilla Extract)
  • Colored decorating sugar or candies


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Combine dry ingredients in a small bowl
  3. In a large bowl cream together butter and sugar.
  4. Blend in the egg and almond extract; beat well.
  5. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture.
  6. Press dough through the cookie press onto parchment lined baking sheets
  7. Sprinkle with decorating sugar or candies
  8. Bake 6-8 minutes until cookies are just starting to turn lightly brown.
  9. Cool on wire rack.

Cannoli Dip

I made this dip for our Family Christmas Eve desert and served with Chocolate graham crackers and waffle cones.   I found the original recipe on Pinterest from the CookingClassy blog, and modified it a little bit to fit my own Cannoli taste preferences.  I left out the heavy cream because I prefer a more traditional style cannoli filling. This is after refrigeration, it looks less like cookie dough when you first make it but I forgot to take a picture when I made it.

I preferred it to be a little sweeter than the original amount.  I would start with 2/3 and 1/4-1/3 cup more powdered sugar till the mixture is slightly sweet but not super sweet. Remember: You will be adding mini semi-sweet chocolate chips to the dip also.

Yield:  8-10 Servings


  • 16oz  Low-Fat Ricotta Cheese, Strained with paper towel or cheesecloth
  • 8oz    Mascarpone Cheese
  • 2/3 cup     Powdered Sugar (Start with 2/3 cup,  Add  1/4 cup-1/3 cup to desired sweetness) Extra for Dusting 
  • 1/2 cup mini-morsels semi-sweet chips
  • Chopped pistachios or nuts if desired for garnish or filling.


  1. Strain Ricotta Cheese by squeezing excess liquid out in several layers of cheesecloth or paper towel.  Remove as much excess liquid as possible. 
  2. In mixing bowl, beat together ricotta and mascarpone until smooth, gradually mix in powdered sugar.  I added about 1 cup of powdered sugar to the mixture.
  3. Fold in Chocolate Chips morsels or nuts.
  4. Serve with waffle cones, graham crackers, fried flour tortillas dusted with cinnamon, animal crackers, fruit, sugar cones,  etc.   

#FrostyVoxBox from Influenster

I received a complimentary box of goodies from various brands in a #FrostyVoxBox which is similar to the promotional boxes most brands send out now featuring their products.  I was excited to see what brands were in my box.  Here is a picture of the #FrostyVoxBox of goodies.

 Fruit Vines Bites- Addicting little things!  Did not last long! #SweetSide
 McCormick Naturals Gourmet Thyme- Can't wait to use in my Copycat Olive Garden Chicken and Gnocchi Soup!  #McCormickGourmet
 Love the Ecotools brush!  The vented styler and smoother is so versatile, the ball tip on the bristles are cushion like and massage the scalp and don't pull your hair when detangling.  #LoveMyEcoHairBrush   Plus its got a bamboo handle that is nice and wide so its comfortable to grip while drying or styling.
 NYC Expert Last LIP Color in Sugar Plum has a pleasant smell, feels smooth and moisture rich and has a pleasant feel.  Its supposed to last  up to 6 hours, I did not track how long it lasted but I did wear it Christmas Eve, but did not reapply or check whether it stayed on after dinner but my lips didn't feel dry all night.  #SugarPlum
 The Rimmel Gentle Eye Makeup Remover removed my eye makeup without any trouble.  I usually use Clinique's gently creme formula and this formula was pretty good although it still had somewhat of a rubbing alcohol affect (maybe just cooling) or due to the fact it has alcohol in it.  It did not burn my eyes or appear to dry out my skin so I will try again.  #Rimmel
The No7 packet I gave to my mom since she is a big fan of their line of products.  The sample was for the Protect and Perfect Intense Advanced Sachet.  #GetAdvanced
I have not tried my sample of tea yet but I love green tea and peppermint so I think if its not to overpowering that it will be a good combination.  It may need some raw honey to sweeten, then it would be ready for drinking on a cold day.   #CelestialTea

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Bailey, Boomer and Kiwi

Bailey enjoying his window seat with his self warming cushion.

Bailey and Boomer enjoying the comforts of soft blankets on the bed. 

                                       Kiwi  keeps jumping down and climbing up the hamper, crazy bird!
Its a tough life being a spoiled animal.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Frosted Banana Bars

This recipe is from Cooking.com via Taste of Home, I added 4 ripe bananas because that is what I had on hand but otherwise followed the recipe as listed.


1/2 cup Butter or Margarine , softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 medium ripe bananas, mashed (about 1 cup) (I used 4 mashed ripe bananas)

For the Frosting:

1 package cream cheese (8 oz), softened (I like to use lowfat)
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 3/4 to 4 cups confectioner's sugar (I used 4 full cups)


Preheat 350 degree F, grease a 15 X 10 X 1 inch baking sheet, ( I lined a baking sheet with parchment paper and greased it with some Crisco.)

For the Banana Bars: In one bowl cream the butter and sugar together.  Add eggs, sour cream and vanilla.  In another bowl combine the flour, baking soda, and salt.  Gradually add the flour mixture to  the creamed mixture.  Fold in the bananas.

Spread into the 15 x 10 x 1 inch baking sheet.  Bake at 350 degrees F for 20-25 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool cake and prepare frosting.

For the Frosting:

Beat the cream cheese, butter and vanilla together in a mixing bowl.  Gradually add enough confectioner's sugar to reach desired consistency.  Frost bars once the cake is cool.  Store bars in the refrigerator.  Next time I make these I may add some banana to the cream cheese mixture to add a little banana flavor to the frosting.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread

Its that time of year again, the weather is getting colder the leaves are turning colors and pumpkin is everywhere.  I made a pumpkin roll a few weeks before which I have posted on the blog before, but had leftover pumpkin and decided to try a pumpkin bread for something different.  I used the same base recipe I use for my banana bread but just added some more cinnamon and some nutmeg for some pumpkin spice.  If you have pumpkin spice you can kick it up a notch if you prefer it really spicy.

1 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4-1 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg (or to taste/desired amt) (or substitute pumpkin spice)
1/4 cup mini chocolate chips (or to taste/desired amount)
1/2 cup butter or margarine melted
3/4 cup light brown sugar (packed down)
2 large eggs
1 tsp real vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Oil the sides and bottom of a loaf pan.  Add brown sugar.  In another bowl add flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon and mix together, set aside.

2.  Add eggs mix well.   Melt butter or margarine in microwave just until melted.  Add slowly to wet mixture.  Add vanilla extract.

3.  Slowly incorporate dry mixture into wet mixture.  Fold in mini chocolate chips.  Pour into loaf pan.   Bake for 55-75 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the bread comes out clean.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Garden Updates

Well the garden topsoil grew some plants better than others.  My poor spaghetti squash got destroyed by squash bugs (nasty little beetles and maggot like larva).  Then cucumber beetles decided to try and take out the cucumbers which have already been slow to grow.  I guess the fact that all the cucumbers were from seed is a victory in itself that they are still alive and growing.  I also finally grew a successful sunflower head from the burpee mammoth sunflower seeds although I would not consider the head to be mammoth sized.  Fortunately, I found three other sunflower plants at the nursery and they grew some large sunflower heads which should keep Kiwi a happy foraging parrot once they are dried out.

The only plants that seem to have taken off were the grape tomatoes and the yellow/green beans.  My brussel sprouts are growing even though they are under constant assault by the nasty cabbage worm/moth that is relentless.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Blooms Broom Dairy

My flight did not leave Baltimore until 6:30pm so I had some time to see the sights after my interview.  I was recommended to check out Blooms Broom Dairy for lunch and I had some macroni and cheese, a half sandwich (pulled pork), sweet tea in a mason jar and an extra small ice creme (andes mint), it was all very good.  I love visiting homemade, farm made, places that keep it simple and homemade.  :)  http://www.bbdairy.com/Hours_Location.html

Hampton Inn and Suites Edgewood, MD

I stayed at the Hampton Inn and Suites Edgewood, MD, it was a great place to stay, I wish I could have enjoyed it more, but my rental car issues ended up making me arrive late to my hotel so I checked in after 9pm.  They were very nice and even upgraded my room to a Suite which was huge and nice since I was not even going to be there 24 hours!  But it was quiet, relaxing and they had a excellent hot breakfast.


I had a window seat for my plane ride to Maryland and since we had to basically circle the airport waiting to get the okay to land I got some neat photos out the plane window.