One Week Before Christmas…

Lord, give us Thy Joy, that Joy that no man, no poverty, no circumstances, no conditions can take from us.
A.J. Russell

Hello, sweet friends…

With it being only one week before Christmas…


I am packing in as much joy as possible…

after all this is the season of magic…

and wonder…

That being said…

recently after a delicious dinner…

which I had prepared (big smile)

Joe & I hopped in our car and headed out…

for a date night which included ordering Fries from McDonalds…peppermint lattes from a coffee kiosk (both drive- thru) and cruising around to check out the local Christmas lights…

(Love the color of this door!)

The evening was reminiscent of ‘Driving Miss Daisy’ as Joe chauffeured me around…

while I sat in the back seat snapping out orders up photos.

One of the homes in the neighborhood was wired to a local radio station which played Christmas music. It was a great evening!
Along with decorating…shopping… watching Christmas movies…and spending special in reflection during this Advent season…

my most favorite thing to do this time of year is baking…

CANDY CANE COOKIE BAR

I started baking these when I still lived in California. They are quite chocolatey and rich…(which is why I love them!) I also love candy canes because they are sooooo cute. Anyway, Joe often helps me out with crushing the candy canes by driving over them with his car in our driveway. Joe likes to have fun too!

Ingredients

1 cup butter melted

1 cup sugar

1 large egg

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract (I also add 6 drops red food coloring)

3/4 cup candy canes, crushed (you can purchase them…we like crushing them ourselves)

2 cups mini chocolate chips

Instructions

In a large bowl, cream together the butter and the sugar with a hand mixer.

Add the egg and mix well into the butter mixture.

Add the flour, salt, vanilla and 1/4 cup of crushed candy canes. Mix well to combine.

Spread the batter evenly into a greased 9-inch by 13- inch pan.

Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.

Remove from oven and sprinkle the chocolate chips evenly over the cookie base.

Immediately cover the pan with a piece of heavy-duty foil. Let stand for 3 minutes.

Remove the foil and spread the chocolate evenly with an offset spatula.

Sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup crushed candy canes.


Click on the arrow for a Neighborhood cruise with Joe as chauffeur.🥰

Marcia
Posted in 2020, A Quarantined Life, Coastal Living, Cooking, Together Apart, What’s Cooking? | 4 Comments

The Love of Home…Decorate…Bake…Repeat…

He is happiest, be he king or peasant, who finds peace in his home.”

-Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe


Hello, sweet friend…

Today I thought I’d share a bit of my Christmas decor…


This is admittedly the most decorating…

I’ve done…

since our move from SoCal five years ago.

I’ve had so much fun this season…

decorating trees & mantels.

Decorating has been a labor of love for me…

and realize that…

my style isn’t for everyone…

So I definitely encourage you to find your own.

That being said…

Coming home will always be the best feeling in the world to me…

and though this Christmas…

may be a little different than last…


I hope…

you will always be…

merry in your hearts.

Here we are at the top of the stairway…

where I’ve wrapped a bit of garland & red bows around the banister…





👩‍🍳

Let’s Bake…

Sugar Cookies

Everyone needs an easy sugar cookie recipe! These are melt in your mouth delicious. You actually don’t even need to frost them…but of course I did.🥰

Ingredients

1 cup unsalted buttersoftened at room temperature

1 cup granulated sugar

1 egg (large)

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 Tbsp baking powder

3 cups all purpose flour

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 °F with a rack in the center. Whisk together flour with baking powder in a small bowl and set aside. 

Using a stand-up or hand mixer, beat the butter together with sugar. To the mixture add vanilla extract and egg and beat to combine. 

To the butter mixture, add flour in 3 parts until fully incorporated. 

Divide the dough into two equal parts. On a lightly floured surface, roll into ¼-inch thickness.

Use a cookie cutter to cut out your favorite shapes. 

Bake cookies on a parchment or silicone baking sheet at 350˚F for 10 minutes, or until the edges are just beginning to turn golden.

Let the cookies cool for about 5 minutes on the baking sheet before moving them to a wire rack to cool completely. 

Royal Icing

Ingredients

1 Cup shortening, such as Crisco (I know…but trust me once a year during a pandemic is fine…🥰)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon almond extract

8 cups powdered sugar, about a 2 lb bag

1/2 Cup heavy cream , or whole milk (more or less added to desired consistency)

Food coloring, if desired

In the bowl of your mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a large bowl for use with your handheld electric mixer, place shortening and extracts. BEAT until creamy (at least 1 minute).

ADD powdered sugar 1 cup at a time.

ADD cream 2-3 Tablespoons at a time, alternating with the powdered sugar.

MIX until creamy. Use more or less cream (or whole milk) to reach desired consistency. (I like for it to be smooth enough to pipe through a piping bag, but still a bit more firm than typical store-bought frosting.)

ADD a 2-3 drops of gel food coloring if desired.

Marcia
Posted in 2020, A Quarantined Life, My Style, Our Cottage, Together Apart, What’s Cooking? | 4 Comments

The Lights of Christmas…& A Recipe For Gingerbread

Our hearts grow tender with childhood memories and love of kindred, and we are better throughout the year for having, in spirit, become a child again at Christmastime. – Laura Ingalls Wilder


Hello, sweet friend…


This is the time of year…

where most people begin their Christmas decorating…

unless they were like me and couldn’t wait for the sparkle, twinkle & shine to begin.

The lights on a Christmas tree automatically brings a smile to my face.

This year more than ever I want to make the most of this magical time…

before it’s gone.

Over the next few weeks I thought it would be fun to share how I’ve decorated.


But for now what do you say we grab a cute apron…something warm to drink (it’s chilly where I live) and bake!

👩‍🍳
What’s Cooking?

Gingerbread

Last year a friend that I met via Facebook (Jill) told me about the Nordic Ware gingerbread house…I ordered it months ago and had been waiting to use it. I’ve now baked up several gingerbread houses. They turn out so cute…and of course yummy! (of course) If you don’t have a mold I’m sure you can still bake up this recipe. It pairs perfectly with tea or coffee.



Ingredients

3 eggs

1 cup sugar

1 cup molasses

1 ½ teaspoons ginger

1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon

1 teaspoon cloves

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup vegetable oil

2 teaspoons baking soda

2 tablespoons warm water

1 cup boiling water

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 9×13 cake pan or line with parchment paper.

Mix eggs, sugar, molasses, spices, and oil in with a hand mixer until well combined. Sift in flour.

Combine baking soda and 2 tablespoons water.

Add to the batter and mix well. Stir in boiling water until fully combined.

Pour the batter (it will seem thin) into the prepared pan.

Bake 40- 45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool completel and serve with whipped cream.

Marcia
Posted in 2020, A Quarantined Life, Coastal Living, Our Cottage, Together Apart, What’s Cooking? | 4 Comments

Celebrate Thanksgiving 2020


There is always time for Gratitude and new beginnings


Hello, sweet friend…

Cheers to Thanksgiving 2020!


With it being nearly 30 years since both my parents passed away…I have discovered the importance of creating a home for quite a while now.

That being said a holiday has not gone by in which their memory and those earlier years haven’t come to mind. As time goes on…these memories become more precious…mainly because they have made my own traditions richer. At the heart of these memories is a gratitude for having the opportunity to experience the richness of family in it’s fullness and a love which has inspired me to create my home today. New traditions to make, time to enjoy with my husband Joe, and a day to create a special meal. Memories which have taught me to focus on what I have instead of what I’ve lost. I know that’s easier said than done, but I hope all of you can focus on what you have to be thankful for, too. In a year with so much instability, tragedy and loss, I’m thankful for every day offered.

👩‍🍳

What’s Cooking?

I thought this Thanksgiving it would be nice to bake something that I never baked before. Something easy…and this pecan pie was the perfect choice. It just happens to be one of Joes favorites!

Pecan Pie

INGREDIENTS

3 eggs

1 cup sugar

2 tablespoons melted butter

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup corn syrup

1 1/2 cups chopped pecans

1 pie crust ( I baked my own…store bought is fine)

DIRECTIONS

Mix the eggs sugar melted butter salt and corn syrup together until well blended.

Then add chopped pecans and mix into egg mixture.

Pour mixture into pie crust.
Bake in preheated oven 40 to 45 minutes.

Marcia
Posted in 2020, A Quarantined Life, Coastal Living, Together Apart, What’s Cooking? | 5 Comments

Halfway Through November…

Take time to play! Ask for what you want. Laugh. Live loudly. Be avid. Learn a new thing. Be yourself! -Mary Anne Radmacher

Hello, sweet friends…

My new flocked Christmas tree

I was able to attend a Holiday Open House recently…

The event was “socially distanced” & mask mandated.

It was just what I needed to get into the spirit of the holidays.

I arrived early when they opened…

and departed with a few adorable Christmas items…

I don’t know about you…


but this gal has a strong desire for deckingtheyeardecking the halls this year…

That being said once they are decked…

I promise to share…

👩‍🍳

What’s Cooking?

I have been decorating for Christmas while planning out my Thanksgiving menu. So 2020😂😂😂 This side dish was a winner with Joe. Picture caramelized rice & raisins…browned & savory sweet…divine

Cranberry Apple Pecan Wild Rice

INGREDIENTS

1 1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth

1 1/2 cups apple juice

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

3 tablespoons butter, divided

1/2 tsp EACH salt, dried parsley

1/4 tsp EACH pepper, dried oregano, dried thyme

1 bay leaf

1 cup wild rice blend, rinsed and drained

1/2 large onion, diced

1 Fuji or honeycrisp apple, chopped

1/2 cup chopped pecans, toasted

INSTRUCTIONS

Bring broth, apple juice Dijon, 1 tablespoon butter, salt, pepper, dried thyme, oregano, parsley and bay leaf to a boil in a large nonstick skillet.

Add rice, cover and reduce heat to low (dial should be just above lowest LOW setting). Simmer 45-60 minutes, or until rice is tender and almost all of the liquid has been absorbed, stirring occasionally and replacing lid. Add additional water if needed if rice has absorbed all the liquid and is still not done cooking. Check for doneness at 45 minutes. Once cooked, drain rice and leave in fine hole strainer.

To the now empty pan, melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Increase heat to medium high and add onions and apples; saute for 5-7 minutes, or until onions and apples are tender. Add garlic and saute for 30 more seconds.

Return rice to skillet along with cranberries and pecans.

Add apple cider vinegar a little at a time to taste if desired for more tang (I use 2 teaspoons). Toss to evenly combine. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste. Garnish as desired.

Thanksgiving Blessings🙏

Marcia
Posted in 2020, A Quarantined Life, Coastal Living, Together Apart, What’s Cooking? | 1 Comment