Wannabe Martha

Still trying to figure out which Martha

I’m on vacation

I’m really on vacation. Haven’t taken one in 10 years. No email. No financials. No reports. Just a lot of flour and butter and cinnamon and sugar. What a perfect day!

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So, What’s Going On?

Well, it’s been a very busy time here Chez Maeve et Filles.

First off, we put up the Christmas tree – with help.  Lots of help.  Once again, I found myself buying more tree than I can comfortably manage on my own.  And that’s largely because I wanted something bigger than 3 feet.  Nearly decapitated it on the ceiling fan. Then we discovered that our “classic” lights (you know, the big bulbs that get really hot and threaten to burn down your house?) had many dead bulbs and fuses.  We were unable to replace them.  This meant that I had to buy new lights. And now all you can buy are LED lights.  I complained a lot about that because it feels government-intrusive-y (and I’m going to stop now because this is not a rant about my issues with light bulbs).

Anyway, I bought them.  Eight strands of them and we put them on the tree.  So now it’s just waiting for us to decorate and we’ll do that once Iseult’s exams are over.

On le baking front, I’m making Peppermint Meltaways with Peppermint Cream Cheese Frosting as my next Advent cookie.  Yes, I’ll get it posted once I’ve got them made.  The Frosted Toffee Cookies are after that.  Le Yum!

I bought the stuff to make the hot cocoa ornament.  So we’re closer on that front too.

My company has given me the OK to take all of Christmas week off!  Seriously!  I can’t believe it either.  I’ve worked every single Christmas Eve (barring weekends, of course) for the last 10 years.  And the day after Christmas.  Not this year.  Got told to shut down my computer.  I just said, “Yessir”.

I finally  have up the ceramic Christmas Tree my parents bought their first year of marriage.  It’s kind of a big deal to me.  I’ll post of pic of it later on maybe.

Here’s the list of cookies to be made (Santa has really high expectations at our house and I don’t dare let him down):

  • Snickerdoodles
  • Orange Ricotta Cookies with Dark Chocolate (my new fav)
  • Frosted Sugar Cookies
  • Czechoslovakian Kolache Cookies (I don’t know how Czechoslovakian they are.  I got them from my Church’s Ladies Guild Cookbook and I make them most years.  The FIL get a little teary-eyed if he doesn’t see a plate of them, and we can’t have that)
  • Chocolate Chip (I don’t know why but we have to make them)
  • Russian Teacakes (with and without walnuts)
  • Cinnamon Rugulach (my ex-husband’s all-time favorite cookie and one of mine as well. OK everyone in my house loves these)

I think that should make Santa happy.

With luck there will be baking tonight and an accompanying post.  I’m crossing my fingers.

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Happy National Cocoa Day

And by this I mean the stuff you drink, not the actual cocoa powder (although it’s worth its own celebration).

It’s quite cold here in Chucktown – had to scrape frost off my windshield this morning.  Happily, there was a tin of Hershey’s™ Cocoa (the baking stuff) so I made myself a cup of their Perfectly Chocolate Hot Cocoa (recipe provided herein for your convenience):

  • 2 Tbsp. sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. Hershey™ Cocoa
  • Dash salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • ¼ tsp. vanilla extract

Mix the sugar, cocoa and salt in a large mug. Heat the milk in the microwave on high for 1½ minutes (or until hot) gradually add the milk t the cocoa mixture and stir well. Add the vanilla and enjoy.

Maybe you’re wondering if there really needs to be a methodology to make hot cocoa from scratch. YES there is and here is why. It’s necessary to mix together the sugar with the cocoa powder and then add HOT milk to the mixture because otherwise the cocoa will seize up and you’ll have clumps that (so help me) you can beat until kingdom come and they’ll still be there. It’s a chemistry thing and I’m not going into it – but the actual reasons are out there on the inerwebz, so you can check it out if necessary.

OK – now that we’re done with that, the other day I was hanging out of FB, admiring the craftiness of some of my friends, and then this adorable Felt Hot Cocoa Ornament from Flamingo Toes popped into my feed:

Cocoa Ornament from Flamingotoes

The photo isn’t mine – it’s from Flamingo Toes. Mine won’t be this perfect, but I’m going to try.

 

 

Isn’t this adorable!  I desperately want to make it.  Yes, all the stories are true – I can’t sew to save my life.  But that’s all about to change because I really really REALLY want to make this.  So, this afternoon I’m headed to Michaels to get the stuff needed.  Yes, I will post a pic when its done and no promises that it will be done today (I’m hoping by Christmas).

Anyhoo… here’s hoping that if it’s chilly in your neck of the woods that you’re keeping warm with some cocoa. And if it’s not chilly, well blast the AC until you’re shivering, whip up a mug of the hot chocolaty goodness and think of snowflakes.

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Advent Baking Week 2 – Orange Ricotta Cookies with Dark Chocolate (updated)

People.  If you don’t bake any other cookie this year, bake THIS one from Two Peas & Their Pod (a favorite place of mine to hang out). I’m a bit at a loss for words to describe them.  They’re puffy and moist and cakey and a little dense (but not heavy).  They’re fragrant with orange zest.  Not too sweet.  Coated in an orange juice glaze.  Drizzled with dark chocolate (I used the Ghiradelli 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chips – melted them in a Ziploc bag which I know you’re not supposed to do, then snipped the corner and liberally drizzled the chocolate over them). Angharad took some into work and came home with an empty tray and a bunch of requests for the recipe; Iseult announced that her friends devoured hers and would I please make more.  You bet I will. This is one of those recipes that I can see myself making over and over again and I can’t recommend it strongly enough. For those wondering why I’m not posting the actual recipe here, well, I thought I’d use this time to steer folks over to some of the sites I love.  Hopefully y’all will discover other delicious recipes that have your family and friends clamoring for more.

Edited to add a couple notes.

  • I used a large naval orange and a very fine microplane to zest it; ended up with about 1Tbsp. orange zest.
  • I used my OXO Good Grips Medium (1.5 Tbsp.) cookie scoop and they came out perfectly.
  • Bake these on parchment paper for a couple reasons – (1) they don’t stick and (2) you can slide the cookies on their sheet of parchment onto cooling racks and let them finish cooling there. But that’s not all. Just glaze them while they’re still on the parchment and you’ll have a lot less mess.
  • Finally – I needed a bit more orange glaze than the recipe called for and made up a little extra (1 Tbsp orange juice to 1/2 cup powdered sugar)Enjoy!

    The photo just does not do them justice. They’re one of the best things I have ever baked

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Sunday Sillies – Shopping for Christmas Presents Edition

 

The site (FB and merchandise) is often quite obnoxious and I frequently toy with the idea of deleting it from my feed.

And then this T-shirt shows up:

Heavy Metals T Shirt

Science Rocks!

 

Now tell me, isn’t there some science buff in your family who would looooooooove to receive this?

(I know this is late. Sheesh – I know I’ve been dink for months now with my Sunday Silliness. Haven’t been much in the mood, but I’m seeing this as a good sign)

 

[nb.  the photo isn’t mine.  Belongs to the I Love Science Store.]

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Advent Baking-Red Velvet Gooey Butter Cookies

Look what I made the other night – they’re all over the web thanks to the publication of THIS COOKBOOK (Dear Santa, please leave this in my stocking even though I’m trying to cull the cookbooks).

So, what’s with the “Advent Baking” thing? Well, I was thinking about all the tasty cookie recipes that keep hitting my FB feed and how I wanted to make them and then it came to me – make a new cookie each week and ship them off to folks who like getting cookies. Nifty, right?.

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Yummy Delicious Red-Velvety Goodness

 

OK, so about the cookies. They’re super easy, and they have that distinctive “red velvet” taste – you know the one: slightly chocolaty but with that particular flavor that can only come from an insane amount of artificial food coloring? Yep – that taste. I actually grabbed the recipe from Chef in Training (a terrific site – do check it out) and the only teeeensy weeeeensy adjustment I made (isn’t there always one with me?) was to add 1 tsp. vanilla extract.

One other thing is the sheer versatility of these cookies.  Let’s say you’re looking for a St. Patrick’s Day sweet – you can make them into Green Velvet Gooey Butter Cookies; maybe you’re thinking something pompous – go for Purple (it’s kind of the royal color, right?); Feeling Smurfy?  Do Blue.  The possibilities are endless (except I don’t think you could pull off yellow or orange or the like – the albeit small amount of cocoa powder in them would make for a mud-like color and that’s just nasty.

I’ll be posting another cookie next week, hopefully earlier.  In the meantime, take a break and whip up a batch of these lovelies. They’ll be perfect for your tree-trimming activities.

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Some Fun Things to Celebrate in December

Can you believe it’s been a whole year of tasty happenings? More importantly, what am I going to do next year? And how will all my faithful readers know what to celebrate when if I don’t post these handy reminders? (OK, maybe I’ll figure out the Page function in WP and put them there for posterity – I don’t know).

December brings some wonderful deliciousness; I am also happy to report that there are no whiney appeals to our better consciousness this month.

  • National Fruit Cake Month (say what you will, it’s an important fixture)
  • National Egg Nog Month (without the You-know-what!!!)
  • Cookie Cutter Week First Week

And now for some Daily Devotions:

  • December 1: National Pie Day – Sort of maybe (there is some real controversy here – I’ve always held that 23 January is National Pie Day – and this was a big deal because it was my Daddy’s birthday AND pie was his favorite dessert. So, as far as this blog is concerned, 23 January is National Pie Day – but you should bake a pie today anyway because every day is a good day for pie)
  • December 4: National Cookie Day (dances with joy!)
  • December 8: National Chocolate Brownie Day (Oh Happy Day!)
  • December 9: National Pastry Day
  • December 12: National Cocoa Day
  • December 14: National Bouillabaisse Day (yeah, whatever)
  • December 15: National Cupcake Day
  • December 16: National Chocolate-Covered Anything Day (except insects)
  • December 17: National Maple Syrup Day
  • December 18: National Roast Suckling Pig Day
  • December 19: National Hard Candy Day
  • December 20: National Fried Shrimp Day
  • December 22: National Date Nut Bread Day (I don’t actually like it but lots of people do)
  • December 24: National Egg Nog Day (Yes – I will share my awesome recipe)
  • December 26: National Candy Cane Day
  • December 27: National Fruit Cake Day
  • December 28: National Chocolate Candy Day

Some Boozy Festivities…

  • Lager Beer Week Second Week
  • December 5: Repeal (of Prohibition) Day
  • December 10: National Lager Day
  • December 20: National Sangria Day
  • December 24: National Egg Nog Day (because some crazy people ruin eggnog with booze)
  • December 31: National Champagne Day

How the Heck did these get their own day?

  • December 6: Microwave Oven Day
  • December 30: National Bicarbonate Of Soda Day (Baking Soda)

Some Seriously Misplaced Observances…

  • December 1: Eat a Red Apple Day (September = Apples)
  • December 3: National Apple Pie Day (see note above)
  • December 6: National Gazpacho Day (Nothing scream WINTER like a SUMMER SOUP)
  • December 7: National Cotton Candy Day (because all the Fairs are in what season?)
  • December 13: Ice Cream and Violins Day (Ice cream AND violins?)
  • December 21: National Hamburger Day (shouldn’t this be on Memorial Day?)
  • December 25: National Pumpkin Pie Day (Thanksgiving is in NOVEMBER!)

 

Maeve’s note: There is no “Day” (National or otherwise) to recognize the deliciousness that is Sticky Toffee Pudding (I had it once as a small child and have never forgotten it). I’m making it this year for Christmas. I’m sure the (dead) Irish relatives are going to hurl (metaphysical) things in my general direction, but they can stuff it. If you haven’t ever had Sticky Toffee Pudding before, maybe you should make it this year as well. I’ll share the recipe I plan to use later on in the month.

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