Happy New Year to all of my family, friends, bloggers, and fellow knitters!
I don’t know how most of you are feeling, but I am sooo glad the holidays have past. Even though the greyt spouse and I try to keep it simple, there is still a lot involved that takes us away from our normal, retired routine. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure it is not a bad thing to have our routines shaken up. In fact, it is probably good for my aging mind, to keep it sharp and all. The greyt spouse and I wonder how we did it all when we were younger. We both had stressful, demanding jobs, and three teenagers at home. When we look at our children, now grown with kids of their own, we are amazed, because life seems more stressful now then it did thirty-some years ago. Or maybe thirty years ago the greyt spouse and I were just living day-by-day and not thinking about how we did it all.
I started the new year with a family dinner celebration. Two of our four kids were here with their families, which has expanded to include members of my son-in-law’s family. Also, cousins that live locally, along with my uncle were here. The day after, I sat enjoying the memories and scolding myself for not taking even one pic to share with my fellow bloggers.
I love spending time with my cousins, Betsy, Bert, Kim (my cousin-in-law) and my Uncle Gil. Uncle Gil was married to my mother’s twin, Lillian. Betsy and Bert are their offspring. About 16 years ago, we all relocated to the Denver area. We always have a greyt time when we get together. Unfortunately, our busy lives take us in different directions and make it difficult for us to get together. I must make more of an effort, to break out of my lazy routine, and connect with them more.
Yesterday I stripped the house of all signs of the holidays. Three months of scary witches, falling leaves, and playful snowmen. No more bright lights, and I am hoping soon that all the holiday edible treats will also be gone. The house looks as if nothing special happened. It is a bit melancholy, but there is also comfort to be back in the old routine of lazy days.
Jack put his hat on and wore it most of the evening. The Mum of Lil’Max really fell in love with it, and Max did not seem to to mind wearing it until bedtime.
COOKING FOR THE HOLIDAYS! Some of my favorite recipes.
For New Year’s Day, I found an awesome vanilla yam recipe to go along with the ham and black-eyed-peas. It is called ‘Vanilla Bean-Whipped Sweet Potatoes‘ from the food and wine network. OMG, it is like having dessert with your meal. My son, was very adamant that he ‘does not like sweet potatoes!!!!!’ Well, this mom made him take a bite. His face lit up and he immediately took an even bigger bite. A successful convert!
Lesson learned: you are never too old for your
CRANBERRY ORANGE BREAD: Every year I make this bread and I keep some in the freezer. But, I also pass it out to our neighborhood and family members. The recipe I use comes from the ‘Joy of Cooking’ website and I always use fresh cranberries. I also make some without the pecans, for those with food allergies. Several of my friends eagerly wait to receive their annual tin. And I am sure some are hoping that next year I find a new favorite recipe!
I lost track of the different cookies I made. This is the time of year I do most of my baking. I make double batches of each cookie and store them in zip lock bags in the freezer to be enjoyed throughout the year.
DATE-NUT BARS: this is a favorite of the greyt spouse. The recipe came from my Aunt Ruby and has been enjoyed by my family ever since I was a teen.
The crust is 1/2cup butter, 1/2cup brown sugar, 1 cup flour. Mix until crumbly and press into bottom of 9×13 pan, sprayed with cooking spray. Bake at 350 for 10 minutes.
Next, mix together 2 slightly beaten eggs, 2 Tbsp flour, 1 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp salt, 1 tsp vanilla, 1 cup coconut flakes, and 1/2 cup each of chopped dates and chopped nuts. Spread this over crust and bake at 350 for about 25 minutes. They are amazingly delicious and chewy and I always add more dates than specified in the recipe.
Cooking tip. I buy items in bulk from Costco. Things like flour (of all types), nuts, dates, coconut can be kept in the freezer and stay as fresh as if you just bought them! The dates and nuts usually last a couple of years, but if double bagged do not acquire a freezer taste.
SUGAR COOKIES: I am not much for sugar cookies, all that rolling of the dough, and then painstakingly decorating them. Not for me! But this sugar cookie recipe I love. Unfortunately I do not remember where I got the recipe.
1 cup each powdered sugar and granulated sugar, 1 cup softened butter, 2 eggs. Mix these ingredients until smooth and creamy, add 2 tsp vanilla. Slowly add 3 cups flour, 1 tsp baking soda and 1 tsp Cream of Tartar.
Chill dough about 30 minutes. Roll into balls, dip in granulated sugar. Bake 350 for about 10 minutes. Eat warm from the oven!
OATMEAL COCONUT COOKIES. This recipe also came from my Aunt Ruby. These cookies are crisp and also chewy. Mix together 2 sticks softened butter, 1 cup each of granulated and brown sugar, 2 eggs. Mix until smooth and creamy, add 1 tsp vanilla. Slowly add 1-3/4 cups flour, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp baking soda. Stir in 3 cups quick oats, 3/4 cup coconut, 1 cup chopped nuts. Bake 350 for 10-12 minutes. I also, like to add about 3/4 cup craisins, I’m not much of a raisin fan. OMG, you can never eat enough of these.
Cooking tip: most of these recipes have been modified for cooking at high altitude. So beware the amount of flour if you decide to make.
My memories of my Aunt Ruby are always of her in the kitchen. She was a fabulous cook and baker. She, along with my Uncle Cecil were my favorite relatives as a small child. I remember visiting her and my uncle. Uncle Cecil was always smiling. Come lunchtime, there was always one their grown kids in the kitchen,checking out what Aunt Ruby had cooked up or what leftovers might be in the refrigerator, and of course, teasing Aunt Ruby.
Here is wishing all of you ahealthy, happy and peaceful year. With lots of time for knitting!