Thursday, February 15, 2018

MY REMODELED BATHROOM

I have been wanting to remodel my "hall" bathroom forever, it seems. The bathroom isn't very big and I just always felt so cramped in it. I found an antique washstand at an estate sale probably close to a year ago that I wanted to use for the vanity. It was smaller than the vanity in the bathroom and so much prettier. I had planned to buy a new toilet, but decided the one I had was too nice (even though I could have gotten a smaller one that would have given me even more room). 

Well, I finally got it done before Christmas (that was the main reason I ended up not decorating for Christmas - if you follow my blog and read about this fact earlier) and I am so happy with the results.

Here is a picture of it before....




Everything out and ready for new tile on the floor...




We also had the entryway at the front door retiled with the same tile. Love it too. Wish I had a before picture of it.



Now for the finished bathroom....AFTER...



Friend Janice and I found the mirror in an antique mall. It goes perfectly with the washstand.



Trying to decide on a towel to hang on the rack...



The other wall...




The wall cabinet above the toilet was made by my maternal grandfather. (He was the village blacksmith in the town I grew up in.) In the picture below you can see how he stained it. I didn't want to mix the two different wood stains, so decided to paint it the Betsy's Linen I used on the wainscoting.

Here are pictures of that ordeal...



I set it on pint jars to raise it up to paint...



The three drawers, each unique for the slots... so unique that after they dried, one would not fit in the slot with the several layers of paint. I ended up having to sand the sides and edges to remove as much paint as I could so that the drawer would slide into the slot. (That's why I referred to it as an "ordeal".)



I shared the "after" picture on Facebook on a post from a group I am in called HGTV Fixer Upper Show Followers and someone asked me to show pictures of the inside.



I loved the results of the top drawer that Marcus, my contractor, did so that I still have use of most of the drawer. (I am still deciding how best to utilize the space.)



Did you notice the different shower curtains? I made them from quilt tops I made. I didn't need another quilt so just decided to make my own shower curtain. Since the first one, I have made these two more. The one in the "before" picture is my favorite quilt block, churn dash. The other one is a disappearing nine patch. I hope to make one that would be "fallish" before fall this year.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

AMISH COOKIES (LEMON SUGAR COOKIES)

The footnote on this recipe says, "The recipe for this delicious Pennsylvania Dutch cookie was passed down in the family of Kay Wunsch of Hubertus." I found the recipe in Milwaukee Sentinel Food Fair and Cooking School's 1983 Recipe Book. They should have added the word "awesome" in that note. It's too bad Kay Wunsch didn't have a more descriptive name for the cookie. If I were naming them, I would call them Lemon Sugar Cookies because that's what the cookies taste like.

My cookie jar was empty and I had seen the recipe a few weeks ago. Like so many cookie recipes I find, it made 6-1/2 dozen cookies. Rarely do I want to make that many cookies unless I need a bunch to take somewhere. The first thing I always do is look to see how many eggs the recipe calls for. That's about the only ingredient I can't halve very well if it isn't an even number. Lucky me, the recipe called for 2 eggs. I halved everything else except the lemon extract. I felt like 1/2 teaspoon wouldn't be enough so I added a whole teaspoon (the amount the full recipe called for). Even if I made the full recipe, I would double the extract. That's what gives the cookies the lemon taste.

I am going to give you the recipe I used. If you want to make more, it will be easy for you to double the recipe.



AMISH COOKIES (LEMON SUGAR COOKIES)

1/2       cup butter (1 stick), room temperature
1/4       cup + 2 tablespoons oil (that is 3/4 cup oil if you double the recipe)
1/2       cup granulated sugar
1/2       cup powdered sugar
1          egg
1          teaspoon lemon extract
2          cups flour
1/2       teaspoon salt
1/2       teaspoon baking soda
additional sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.


Cream together the butter, oil, and sugars
(til light and fluffy). (I just let the mixer run while I gathered all of the other ingredients together. The mixture was light and fluffy when I finished.) Scrape the sides of the bowl.


Add egg and lemon extract.
Mix thoroughly.


Sift together the flour, salt, and baking soda.

Add to creamed mixture and mix until blended.

Scrape the sides of the bowl again.
Make balls of 1 level tablespoon of dough and place on ungreased cookie sheet, preferably one with a non-stick surface.
(A cookie scoop works great for this.)


Press each "cookie" lightly with a fork dipped in sugar. (If you like, you can add a little extra sugar if not much sticks to the dough when you flatten it.)


Bake for 12 minutes. Be careful not to let the cookies brown. (12 minutes was perfect in my oven.)


Remove from cookie sheet and cool on wire rack.


They made the prettiest, uniform cookie. Very impressive if you want to give them away or serve them to guests. They are perfect alone, but would also be good with a dish of sherbet or ice cream. 

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

CRANBERRY WALDORF SALAD


This fruit salad was like a special treat I made recently for dinner. I really don't know why I don't make fruit salads more often. Seems like we just generally eat fruit as snacks during the day, but it is nice to sorta "splurge" ever once in a while.

This one from DeLoris Nance of Auburn, Washington was in the Cooking for One or Two section of Taste of Home 2003 Annual Recipes cookbook. I hadn't cooked dinner in several weeks and cooked so much that evening that even though this recipe was for two, we had leftovers from it (that we enjoyed the next day). So it was a special treat for us two days in a row.



CRANBERRY WALDORF SALAD

1       medium apple, chopped
1       celery rib, chopped
1/2    cup dried cranberries
1/3    cup mayonnaise (I used salad dressing)
1       tablespoon sugar (I used stevia)
2       teaspoons lemon juice


In a mixing bowl, combine the apple, celery, and cranberries.


In a small bowl, combine the salad dressing, sugar, and lemon juice.


Pour mixture over apple mixture and
toss gently to combine.


Cover and refrigerate before serving.


When ready to serve, transfer to serving bowl and serve.







Serves 2 generous servings.

Monday, February 5, 2018

COOKING WITH TYLER & MADISON

A week or so ago I shared part of our fun day with our MO grandchildren, Madison (7) and Tyler (almost 6). We planned to go down to Union Station and look at the model - train display and then walk over to Crown Center, but other than that we were just going to hangout at our house. (They always seem to enjoy coming to our house, but not that often. We just usually go to their house.)

As I said in the other post, I wanted to make something for the boys who were in the process of moving out and thought they would enjoy helping me. (One time when we spent the weekend at their house, we made some cookies that they really had fun doing.) I don't really remember who brought up the peppermint sandwich cookies I made and took to their house back in December, but we ended up making some that morning along with the brownies for the boys. I had been thinking about making them and using some red coating wafers for Valentine's Day, but couldn't find a bag of red ones. Instead I found pink ones and decided that would work just as well.



Here is a link to the ones I made in December, but I will go over the recipe again here.

They enjoyed unwrapping the peppermint Kisses and then placing one in the center of each cracker on the cookie sheet. They also had to eat a Kiss. (Tyler is standing on a stool.)





All finished. (You have to make sure you have enough crackers to make a "sandwich".



They bake in the oven preheated to 250 degree F. for about 4 minutes. (I did make sure they stayed back when I opened the oven door and then didn't touch the warm cookie sheet when I took it out of the oven.) Then you place another cracker on top of each softened Kiss and press flat (til the "Kiss" filling covers the whole cracker).





Ta-da .... all finished and ready for the freezer for an hour. (Madison insisted on putting them in the freezer.)



Then Tyler decided to go out and help his grandad do some yard work and Madison mixed up the brownies for the boys.

As soon as we put them in the oven, she was ready to check on the "cookies". I told her they still had about 20 minutes in the freezer and we would have to wait just a little bit longer. Then we could start on melting the candy dipping wafers. (Tyler didn't return until we were totally finished. He did get to enjoy eating one though.)

Melting the wafers using the microwave method...





I showed her how to coat the cookies and how I would tap the cookie against the side of the bowl to get rid of the excess.



Then she tried... (I continued to tap them against the side of the bowl and running a toothpick under the bottom of the fork to get ride of the excess.)



We ended up making some using chocolate chips that hadn't been processed on machinery with peanuts for Tyler.



Madison saw the sprinkles in the pantry (I had put sprinkles on the ones Tyler could eat back in December) and wanted to sprinkle some on Tyler's. I had a little bit of chocolate left and decided to drizzle it over the pink ones. Then Madison decided to sprinkle them also.



When we were all done, Madison took a picture of the three of us. She loves taking pictures with my phone. So does Tyler. (They are still in their "fakey" smiles looks for the camera.)



When we took the brownies over to the boys, Madison also gave them a pink cookie.

It was a totally fun time with the kids and I can't wait to have them back. Now I just have to find a recipe they can make with just my supervision. 

Thursday, February 1, 2018

CHOCOLATE TEA BREAD


After being away for almost six weeks, I went to Hillcrest Thrift Shop Tuesday to donate the clothes and things I have been gathering. Exciting things are happening with the thrift shop. We are moving to a larger building in a shopping center which is behind the only building the thrift shop has ever known. Unofficially it is opening today. A ribbon-cutting ceremony is planned for later this month. 

But back to my story...Knowing my husband and I were going to take the things down there Tuesday and knowing I hadn't been there for over a month, I went on the search for something I could bake and take to the volunteers that I knew were working hard to get the new shop organized. I didn't have to search for long because the first cookbook I picked up was the latest one I bought, the Hershey's Chocolate Cookbook. In it I saw this recipe for Chocolate Tea Bread. I liked the idea that it only had 2/3 cup sugar in it. It also sounded like it would be fast and easy.

Well, I made it Monday afternoon and wrapped it in foil so it would be moist the next morning. I have often found breads, especially when wrapped in foil, taste better and are more moist the next day. 

Tuesday morning I sliced it before we went (and tried a piece myself, of course to make sure it tasted okay). We went by the "old" shop and dropped off a few slices. There isn't much left there since everything in the shop (except furniture which was 25% off) has been 50% off for several days, but I wanted to give them a treat also.

Response was very positive with the bread. In fact, when my husband and I went back yesterday to shop (Management allowed the volunteers to shop the day before opening to the public.), several people who had been there Tuesday working stopped to tell me how much they liked what I brought. Jerry told me how he wasn't fond of chocolate, but this bread was just the right amount of chocolate. 


CHOCOLATE TEA BREAD

1/4         cup butter or margarine, softened (I did use butter)
2/3         cup sugar
1            egg
1-1/2      cups unsifted all-purpose flour
1/3         cup Hershey's Cocoa
1            teaspoon baking soda
1/4         teaspoon salt
1            cup buttermilk or sour milk
3/4         cup chopped walnuts
3/4         cup raisins (optional) (I did omit)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease the bottom only of an 8-1/2 x 4-1/2 x 2-1/2 - inch loaf pan.


Cream butter, sugar, and egg in large mixer bowl until light and fluffy. (This took several minutes on a higher speed.)


Combine flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt in a smaller bowl with a whisk.


Add alternately to creamed mixture with buttermilk
beginning and ending with the flour mixture. (1/3 each time with
half of the buttermilk each time)


Beat on low speed just until blended. (Scrape the sides of the bowl first.)


Stir in nuts and raisins if using them.


Spread evenly in loaf pan.
Bake for 55 to 60 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean when inserted in center.

Remove from oven and cool on wire rack for 10 minutes before removing. May need to run a knife around the insides to loosen.


Cool completely on wire rack.








Wrap in foil and wait overnight before cutting.