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I’ve been making up my cookies to give the neighbors and take to family events.

Here’s my list-  If you want the recipe for any of these let me know in the comments and I will share.

1. fruitcake -ok – not a cookie!

2. lemon coconut dainties- holiday version

3. brownie bites – again – not a cookie.

4. ribbon cookies

5. pizzeles

6. shortbread w/chocolate

7. + 8. biscotti x2

9. apple tart bites- hmm- not a cookie.

10.salted breadsticks- sour cream version- not a cookie.

11. gingerbread cutouts

Several of those are technically bars or breads- but they fit very nicely onto the trays and are cut in the style of a cookie- and I LIKE THEM!

What is on your cookie list?


DSC01418 I’ve been meaning to do this for a long time.

Since summer’s end, actually.

But things went awry.

I made plans, started working on projects- but some major parts of them didn’t come to fruition- so I started thinking up new plans.

And then I started working on some gift exchanges and that brought me back to the earlier idea of giving away a gift from Steps on the Journey.

I wanted to make note cards- but it just didn’t come together.

So- I have a pumpkin tea cozy- and some Santa cinnamon stirring sticks that I made to give away to one of you, my friends and family in the blogging universe.

Leave a comment, or a verse, or a seasonal wish between now and next Thursday ( when I will be in Chincoteague!) – and I will send you a happy little knitted pumpkin cozy for your teapot and a cup cozy to match.  I may even throw in some homemade chai tea mix- and cinnamon stir sticks.

I’d love to hear from you!


I may not be able to get it to you before Christmas- but it will be nice in the new year, as well.  🙂

Fruitcake recipe, per my niece’s request.

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My mom would make it in early November and wrap it in cheesecloth soaked in brandy until Christmas.  So it is fruity and nutty and a little boozey.

The recipe – typical of ALL of my mother’s recipe is basically a list of ingredients with  temperature and baking times tacked on the end.


2 cups flour

1 3/4 cup sugar

1 tsp. baking powder

1 pint marachino cherries

1/2 lb. candied pineapple

1 lb. dates

1/2 lbs pecans

1/2 lbs. walnuts

1 lb. candied fruit mix

5 eggs, beaten

BAKE at 250 degrees F for 2 1/2  to  3 hours.

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Fruitcake 006

Just smell the deep and festive mix of  fruit and nuts!   Fruitcake 008


Fruitcake 009

Add flour, sugar and baking powder and stir until all of the flour and sugar is incorporated.

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This smells so good!

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add beaten eggs  to mixture  and stir well.

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The dough is thick and looks very sticky.

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Grease pans liberally and use wax or parchment paper to keep mixture from sticking to sides of your pan.

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Now you can decorate the cakes, using candied pineapple and the red and green glacee cherries.  Cut the green pineapple into leaf shapes and the red into petals- pop some cherries in for the centers and you have bright and happy little fruitcakes!

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You can make them in smaller sizes or in a large loaf pan- just make sure that you use parchment or wax paper and lots of Pam to keep them from sticking.

Happy Holidays- and don’t forget to wrap them in whiskey or brandy soaked cheesecloth for a couple of weeks, at least!

Baking day

When it snows like this- ALL I really want to do is make soup and bread.

Today was one of those days when I wandered around a bit- doing this and that.  I’d start on one thing and then walk away and start something else, only to abandon that and move on.  It ends up being kind of cyclical- I come back to the first task and do a little more until distracted and move on.

I know- not organized or effective.

Just me.

So- I started the bread at around 11 AM- cleaned out a closet- came back and kneaded the dough- oiled the bowl and covered it and then pulled out the gingerbread cookies I hadn’t decorated  yet.  I wandered upstairs, got dressed (gasp- it was about noon by then) and brought down a load of clothes to wash.  Sat the basket next to the basement door, melted some white chocolate in the microwave and rooted around in the freezer for the cake balls I had frozen last Friday.  I painted the gingerbread apple centers with white chocolate and finished decorating another dozen or so cookies.  Then I added more discs to my bowl and melted some more white chocolate.  While the microwave was doing the actual heating- I punched down my dough, and then ran the dirty clothes downstairs and started a wash. (Plus I washed my hair.)

Now about 1:30- I decided to have some lunch- I made a grilled peanut butter and bacon sandwich and an apple- then started dipping the cake pops into the melted white chocolate and decorated the tops with red jimmies and a cinnamon imperial. ( the cake pops were made from Frank’s b-day cake- carrot with cream cheese frosting)

DSC01349 This cake- so the white chocolate and cinnamon of the little red hots will be perfect!

When I finished those, I packaged them back up for the freezer and started the soup.  Cauliflower soup with ham and cheese.

DSC01410list of ingredients:

1 1/2 cups chopped onion

1 1/2 cups chopped ham

3/4 cup chopped carrots

I TBS. olive oil

I head cauliflower

5 cups chicken stock ( or 4 cans broth)

Ragu double cheddar cheese sauce-

(or make a white sauce and melt 1 cup shredded

strong cheddar cheese into it.)

1/2 bag of fine noodles


Sautee first four ingredients until lightly browned, about 10-15 minutes on med-low heat.

Separate flowerettes of Cauliflower – you will end up with about 6 cups of small pieces.

(Separate by hand- DON’T chop-cutting tender vegetables with a knife seals the edges and

keeps the flavors from intermingling.)
Add cauliflower to sauteed base and pour 5 cups of chicken broth into pan

and allow to simmer about 45 minutes until tender.

When cauliflower is fork-tender, either make a white sauce and melt cheddar cheese into it or

add jar of double cheddar sauce.

In a medium pan, boil fine noodles for 1/2 of cooking time- then add to pot of soup.

I use these cooking cylinders I found at the thrift store- they work with boiling water

and never overcook pasta.

Add to soup pot and continue to simmer for about 15 to 20 minutes until all the ingredients meet and

marry in the pot!

Hah!  It is about 4:00 and I’ve baked nothing as yet.

BUT- I still have that dough I made much earlier raising quietly.  I really punched it down and it is slowly raising – so now- soup simmering-

I grab  the bowl and make Knotty Italian Rolls.


These are my all -time favorite rolls to go with soup.

The recipe-


5 to 6 cups of bred flour

5 TBS of EVOO- the higher quality the better the flavor. I use one that is greenish in color .

(Olive Oil)

2 1/2 cups warm water (Not too Hot- but warm enough to give baby a bath!)

2 TBS yeast

1 TBS salt

3-4 TBS sesame seeds

egg white (for wash- to keep the seeds attached and to give rolls a shine!)


Mix together water and yeast and proof. ( You can add a half teaspoon of sugar to feed the yeast and it will proof faster. Proofing means to add water to the yeast and set aside for several minutes to allow the yeast to grow. If it doesn’t start foaming within this time- then discard and try again- your water was either too hot and killed the yeast or too cold and never started it going- or your yeast is VERY old- check the expiration date!)

In a large bowl, mix together the salt and flour and make a well in the center of your flour. Pour yeast water into the well, add olive oil and mix well with large spoon. If it is too wet, add some flour. If it is too dry, add some warm water. It should come together in a lump or ball- roll the dough around the inside of your bowl to clean off the sides a bit, flour the counter and dump the lump onto the counter top.

Clean as much as you can from the bowl, then flour your hands and start kneading. Knead for about 10 minutes- your heart should be pounding slightly and your arms should be tired- and the dough should be feeling smooth and elastic. Put about 1TBS of EVOO in your bowl- You don’t have to wash it- but you should have done a better job of cleaning out the dough- and roll the dough around the inside to cover with oil. Cover with plastic wrap and tea towel and allow to raise 1 1/2 hours- then punch it down and let it raise another hour or so. This makes the yeast work and the gluten strands are formed with the second raising.

When it has raised the second time and leaves a small indentation when you poke it, you can start shaping your rolls.

It should look like this .

Take a small handful and start rolling it into a long snakey shape with your hands. It needs to be about 12 inches long.

Because you are going to fold it in half. Don’t put it back on the counter- I was my own photographer for this session and had to put it down to take the picture- but you want to keep it in your hands. Because the next step… involves twisting the strip and pulling it through the hole at the top (it helps if you are ambidextrous- but this is not necessary)-

pull it through TWICE and then secure the bottom of the twist to the top by pinching it. It should end up looking like this- a knotty roll!

( To answer the perennial question of “But why is it so naughty? ” Anyone who actually makes these rolls already knows the answer- it is difficult to make them take their intended shape. Practice, practice ,practice.)

If you can’t get them into this shape Then just twist them, put on a little egg wash, shake some sesame seeds on top of that and allow them to raise another 30 minutes and them bake in a 375 degree F oven for about 20 minutes or until a light golden brown.

So , you can decide if you want rolls or twists- either way- they are delicious! Enjoy!!


OK- those were made, set to raise and baked by 7:00 for dinner.  So I did end up baking.  It was just a convoluted day- a lot like this post.

Here’s one final picture of the rolls- I’m not calling it a crumb shot because these have a texture that is stretchy and chewy and crunchy- just like the very best Italian bread.


Winter Wonderland?


We got hit by the storm that has been slowly (or not so slowly) crossing North America.  It started with large lacy fat snowflakes sailing down from the dark skies.  It was very pretty.  Like little girls in white lawn dresses doing cartwheels across your front yard.  You looked up, and smiled- because there weren’t enough to worry you and it is December, after all.

Then, without warning they started coming down in flurries and the wind picked up slightly pelting you in the face with decidedly cold little pellets (surely these weren’t fat and flaky – they stung a little on contact.  And it didn’t stop for a rest- all night- all day- snow falling- sometimes causing white out conditions.

I was out a little while ago to get the mail.


And it is still snowing.

So I decided to shovel out the drive to surprise my husband.

There is at least 10 inches of wet snow and it is heavy.

Now I am wondering if I will be able to get up tomorrow morning.

But- since the storm is supposed to last until noon on Tuesday-

maybe I’ll just sleep in,



For now- I’m going to take several aspirin and a hot bath.

What was I thinking??

Biscotti !!

I didn’t take any good pictures today.

In fact, I just looked and I’m referring to yesterday as TODAY>

I haven’t taken any pictures yet, today.

But I made two batches of biscotti- and they are good- really good!

I used the recipes from Celia, at fig jam and lime cordial– and the results are quite brilliant!

DSC01384Double chocolate and almond- in the jar.


DSC01385 cranberry and almond, in the container.

I’m going to add white and dark chocolate layers- but I tried them with coffee this yesterday afternoon and they were perfect plain as well.

so, I’m winding up this day- headed for bed-

Here’s a picture of the Christmas tree in my living room to say-DSC01383 DSC01390

“Happy Holidays and goodnight!”

Psalm 131- In the season-

Psalm 131

A song of ascents. Of David.

1 My heart is not proud, LORD,
   my eyes are not haughty;
I do not concern myself with great matters
   or things too wonderful for me.
2 But I have calmed and quieted myself,
   I am like a weaned child with its mother;
   like a weaned child I am content.

3 Israel, put your hope in the LORD
   both now and forevermore.

New International Version, ©2010 (NIV)

Advent is marked by a spirit of expectation, of anticipation, of preparation, of longing.  It is a season of hope.

I am humbling my heart and expectations.

Keeping my eyes on Jesus.

Looking at the sins of my heart and repenting of them.

Preparing my life for the Hope to appear.

Because He came as a baby-lived to be a man- sacrificed Himself to pay the debt of sin- and He is coming again.

“…put your hope in the LORD

both now and forevermore.”

Making Bread-

… no Yoga exercise, no hour of meditation … will leave you emptier of bad thoughts than this homely ceremony of making bread.

–M.F.K. Fisher, The Art of Eating

This is so very true.

And for the past two days my thoughts have been pure.


I made a lovely couple of loaves of toasting bread.  I love this bread.

It cannot be burnt in a normal toaster- and my husband is notorious for burning the toast.  So for his birthday I made him some bread he can’t burn!


As a special surprise, I sliced it, too!

Then I made him a carrot cake for his Birthday.


It was quite lovely, as well.

And then- I made some sourdough bread- it doesn’t burn in the toaster either- and it has a greater appeal for my taste buds.


I tried a method of baking I’ve been hearing a lot about and decided to give it a try.  Actually, Joanna,over at ZEB BAKES, made some the other day and inspired me to try.

It is baked in a VERY hot pot inside a VERY hot oven.

DSC01366 This pot- an old cast iron pot I got at a garage sale many years ago.  I’ve used it to cook chili in the fireplace when the electricity was out- I’ve made coney sauce in it over the grill- and now it has baked my bread!  DSC01351

( I lined it with parchment paper)

DSC01352 – because the bread raised in a bowl in the garage all night and I didn’t want to disturb it- so I lifted it with the paper and gently dropped it into the VERY hot pot and baked it up.

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The bottom crust and the crumb shot.  I think I needed to degas it and let it raise again- but I really wanted it for my toast this morning.

Joanna also made some brioche and shared the recipe.

So I made it too.

I had made brioche years ago and then never made it again.

Now I remember why.


Brioche is a very buttery and eggy bread.

The dough is very sticky.

And to make it right- you have to give it a lot of time to develop.


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And then there is the shaping.


It turned out – not great- but acceptable-

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-except I remembered why I never made it again.

I don’t like egg-y bread.

DSC01375  I bought this book back in 1996.  And I made her breads- sourdough and artisan breads- great recipes- In fact- my sourdough baking started that year because of her delicious breads.

But she has them labeled by time allotments- and the brioche was a 3 day bread.

First a white starter, then a long time in the cooler- then a cold mix with the mixer going for about 20-30 minutes.  Then another long time in the cooler.

Then shaping- a VERY long raise and baked at 500 degrees F- and I didn’t enjoy the egg taste. 

But – I made it- gave it another try- and won’t be making it again.

Thanks Joanna for the challenge-

I’ll be taking this with some jelly to knitting class, tomorrow.

Maybe they like brioche!


Nancy Silverton’s Breads from the La Brea Bakery, (1996) is still available from Amazon Books.