Sally’s Baking Addiction, December Challenge: Iced Sugar Cookies

IMG_4056

This month Sally challenged all of us to make sugar cookies decorated with royal icing. I am a fan of royal icing for my sugar cookies and made some last year, so I was ready to try to improve on my earlier attempts.

I began by making Sally’s recipe for the sugar cookies. This is a really straight forward dough and easy to work with, not to mention tasty. I rolled out the sheets and refrigerated them for a day, then used 9 different cutters to punch out the shapes.

The cookies were baked off, cooled and stored for another full day. Here is were I made a crucial decision. I used pre made royal icing from a baking supply store. I should have stuck with Sally’s royal icing recipe as it tastes better! The pre made icing looks great, was easy to work with but has more of a sticky, marshmallow consistency that we don’t really like.

But, I learned a valuable lesson and won’t do it again! Sorry Sally.

Once I got the premix to the right consistency, I began the outlining and flooding of the cookies.

There was some planning that has to go into this as the icing needs to dry before detail work can begin. Also, I decided to do some cookies with the wet-on-wet technique so those had to be handled quickly in order to prevent the icing from drying. I had to have a plan in place before I started!

I gathered all my decorations and mixed several colors of icing.

Then set to work! The snowflakes, snowmen, trees, bells, stockings, candy canes and lights were flooded and allowed to set to for one day so that I could add detail later.

The mittens and ornaments were flooded then other colors were added immediately. I used a straight pin to pull the colors together.

IMG_4053

IMG_4068

IMG_4061

IMG_4066

IMG_4059

IMG_4065

IMG_4062

A little colored sanding sugar and pearls finish them off.

IMG_4069IMG_4063

IMG_4058

The verdict: I did ok. I think I did a better job with the wet-on-wet technique but I really suck at writing on the cookies! And, as I said before, I would not use this pre mix again. The consistency was a little too thick. I also will use only #1 or # 2 tips next time. The #5 was too wide and hard to control the flow of icing.

I had so much fun decorating these. I didn’t realize how many hours went into them until my hubby told me, apparently he was keeping track 🙂

I am not sure if Sally will be continuing this challenge series moving into 2018, but I hope she does as I have learned a lot and had so much fun challenging myself in the kitchen.

 

SaveSave

Black & White & Color Photo Challenge

I have a spot in my backyard garden where nothing will grow. It’s near the path and the sprinklers just won’t reach it, no matter how I  configure the nozzles. I decided to find a Buddha statue to place there but have had little luck finding just the right size and style that I really liked. Then, while my daughter and I were in Leavenworth (where we were supposed to be purchasing Christmas gifts for friends and family) I saw it.  Exactly what I had envisioned for the bare patch!

I will be placing it in the garden when the weather warms up, but for now here it is by the fountain. Black & White, or Color? Either way I am happy with it 🙂

 

export

 

export copy 2

Grab your camera or phone and join Linda from Everyone Else has the best titles and Take the “Black and White and Color” photo challenge!

Cheeky Life Lessons

No one says it better than Miriam! Another wonderful post by a special lady 🙂

Out an' About

With all of our dramas and flooding issues at home lately, life’s been a bit full on. But enough’s enough!

We all have our hard times so a big step back is sometimes necessary. Time out from the serious stuff where we can take a few deep breaths and focus on something lighter.

What better way to do that than through the cheeky antics of our pets and the animals that share our world.

View original post 569 more words

Black & White & Color Photo Challenge

One perfect Fall leaf!

We have had a few dry days here and the fallen leaves are finally drying out. I couldn’t resist documenting this rare occurrence in December in the  Pacific Northwest.

 

 

IMG_2703 2

 

IMG_2703

Grab your camera or phone and join Linda from Everyone Else has the best titles and Take the “Black and White and Color” photo challenge!

Roda’s December Gift of Gratitude Series

Yesterday my daughter and I went shopping. That, by itself is not so impressive, especially this time of year when everyone is purchasing gifts for the holiday.

What was special about this trip is where we went to spend my money! We headed out to Leavenworth, which is a Bavarian themed town, 2 hours north of our home in Redmond, Washington. It is a special community located in the mountains and they know how to do Christmas right!

The drive took us over the mountain pass into the middle of nowhere, and then all of a sudden this town appears.

 

IMG_2668

It was a clear day, but cold! 34F was the high, and a decent wind was blowing.

IMG_2666

The views are spectacular!

IMG_2681

The main street, which runs through the middle of the town, is in the Bavarian style and decked out in lights, garlands and holiday colors.

IMG_2662

There are shops and plenty of restaurants.

IMG_2647

We strolled along the street, stopping every so often to buy a gift or duck into a store to warm up!

IMG_2648

 

IMG_2652

 

IMG_2655

We had lunch and lots of coffee on this chilly December day.

IMG_2678

IMG_2675

IMG_2674

We marveled at the gorgeous decorations inside the stores

IMG_2658

IMG_2670

 

IMG_2671

 

IMG_2659

Finally, it was time to head home. We grabbed one more cup of coffee and climbed into the car for the 2 hour return trip, and this is where the gratitude part comes in!

An hour into the drive we were stopped on the road. We saw flashing lights about 100 yards ahead of us on the only two lane road out of town. No cars were traveling in either direction and we knew something bad had occurred. More cars came behind us as we waited for the accident to clear, but we didn’t move. An hour passed as we thought that we would be moving “any minute now”.

People around us began to leave their cars and walk over to the scene of the accident, and it was getting darker on this mountain road. I checked the map app on my phone and found that the only detour was to return to the town and head over two other mountain ranges to get back home. A detour that would take 3 hours and 20 minutes.

As a group passed our car, I rolled down the window and they told me it would be at least 4 more hours until the investigation was complete. There was a fatality.

A motorcyclist had lost his or her life that day. My daughter and I processed this differently. She was irritated that we did not leave earlier, assuming that we would have been through the area before the crash. I was not so sure.

As we turned around to begin the three hours detour she continued to be irritated at our misfortune. But I was grateful! What if we had left earlier and were in the accident? What if it was my daughter lying under that tarp?

We had just spent a marvelous day together and the worst that happened to us was that it took 5 hours to get home instead of 2.

But we were home, safe and sound. Eventually she came to the same conclusion and we both felt happy and safe at the end of this day, when another family had a horrible tragedy to process.

IMG_2657Our hearts go out to that family this holiday season.

Merry Christmas 🙂

Join the amazing Roda from Growing Self in her Gift of Gratitude series.

Black & White & Color Photo Challenge

I did some experimenting in the kitchen the other day. I wanted to make candy turtles but wasn’t sure which type of caramel or chocolate combination would be best. The hubby and I are in agreement with the caramel choice but not on the chocolate options.

You know what, they are all good! But now which beauty shot is best? I leave that to you good people, I know you will pick the best one! 🙂

IMG_2613 2

IMG_2613

Grab your camera or phone and join Linda from Everyone Else has the best titles and Take the “Black and White and Color” photo challenge!

Holiday Cocktail: The Hot Apple Pie

IMG_4032

A couple weeks ago, the hubby and I went to happy hour at a local restaurant. I had a drink called a hot apple pie. It had spiced cider, orange infused vodka and butterscotch schnapps! A very sweet drink but so good on a cold, rainy night 🙂

Then, a few days ago, my daughter told me that her boyfriend really wanted hot apple cider. I saw my opportunity to recreate (or at least attempt to) the hot apple pie.

I decided to use my crock pot, since I was also making a beef bourguigon in my dutch oven, and I wanted extra!

I combined allspice, cloves and nutmeg in a coffee filter (I was out of cheesecloth) and tied it with cooking twine. The sachet was added to 1 gallon of apple cider along with cinnamon sticks, star anise, orange and lemon slices.

 

I set the slow cooker on low for 4 hours and let the flavors steep into the cider.

IMG_4020

IMG_4021

IMG_4029

By now the house was smelling wonderful! The spiced cider was delicious on its own, and even better with a few embellishments!

IMG_2597

I did not have orange infused vodka, but used my vanilla flavored one instead. I added 1 oz. of each of the vodka and “Buttershots” (which is the butterscotch schnapps).

 

IMG_4032

 

IMG_4033

 

IMG_2604

I was quite happy with the end result! I do recommend this one 🙂

 

Hot Apple Pie Cocktail

  • Servings: 10 cups
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Take your spiced apple cider to the next level with this sophisticated and elegant cocktail, perfect for the holidays!

Credit: Invisible-no-more.com

Ingredients

-1 gallon apple cider, filtered or unfiltered

-1/2 cup brown sugar

-2 Teaspoons whole allspice

-3 Teaspoons whole cloves

-2 dashes of grated nutmeg

-4 cinnamon sticks

-4 star anise

-2 oranges, 1 cut into half and the other sliced

-1 lemon, cut into slices

-1 oz. Vanilla infused vodka, or orange infused vodka

-1 oz. Butterscotch schnapps

 

Directions

  1. Add the 1 gallon of cider and brown sugar to a crockpot and stir to mix.
  2. In a coffee filter or cheesecloth, place the allspice, cloves and nutmeg. Carefully fold up the coffee filter, making sure none of the spices can fall out. Tie up with butcher’s twine and place into the cider.
  3. Slice an orange in half and place sliced side down into the cider, along with the additional orange and lemon slices. Add in the cinnamon sticks and star anise.
  4. Cover and heat on low for several hours before guests arrive, or can be heated on high for an hour or two until it’s hot enough and then turn the heat down to low.Keep spice bag and orange halves in the cider the entire time.
  5.  Add the liquors to a glass and fill with the hot spiced mixture.

SaveSave