Monday, November 29, 2010

Jam Filled Sliced Cookies

My Mom used to make thumbprints which are a base dough with a dent in them filled with jam and then sprinkled with nuts. Her recipe though I think uses brown sugar as they have a golden color to them. I was always the picky one growing up and I just didn't like them. But as an adult who like jams I couldn't resisit the simplicity of this recipe.

This recipe is from Kraft Food & Family but I made them without the nuts as Michael doesn't like nuts. It was a very easy recipe and very tasty. I had several good comments about them. I have to say the base dough of this had a great texture and taste. It would be a good base dough to experiment with to make other kinds of cookies.

1 pkg. (8 oz.) Cream Cheese, softened
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
2-1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp. Baking Powder
1/3 cup Walnut Pieces, finely chopped
3/4 cup strawberry preserves
1 tsp. powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Beat cream cheese, butter and granulated sugar in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended. Separate 1 of the eggs; set egg white aside for later use. Add yolk, second (whole) egg and vanilla to cream cheese mixture; mix well. Gradually add combined flour and baking powder, beating until well blended after each addition.

Divide dough into four equal pieces. Roll each piece into 12x1-inch log; place, 2 inches apart, on large ungreased baking sheet. Use handle of wooden spoon or fingers to make depression down length of each log, about 1/2 inch wide and 1/2 inch deep. (Beat reserved egg white with fork; brush over dough. Sprinkle with walnuts. -- didn't do that one because didn't coat with nuts) Fill depressions with preserves, using about 3 Tbsp. preserves in each log.

Bake 25 to 27 min. or until edges are lightly browned. Transfer to wire racks; cool slightly. Sprinkle with powdered sugar. Cut each log into 12 diagonal slices.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Crockpot Chicken & Dumplings

Chicken and Dumplings is the ultimate comfort food. I usually try to make it a couple times during the winter. It is really getting cold here so I thought instead of chicken I would use leftover turkey and make this tonight. I will cut the cooking time down too since it isn't raw turkey.

Chicken Mixture
1 1/2 cups frozen peas & carrots
1 cup frozen green beans (optional - I had them on hand so threw them in last moment)
1/2 cup chopped onion
14 oz. can chicken broth
1/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. dried thyme leaves
1/8 tsp. pepper
1/8 tsp. garlic powder
2 tbsp. margarine or butter
2 tbsp. half & half (I use fat free half & half)
1 1/2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breast or thighs, cut into 2" pieces

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/8 tsp. salt
3 tbsp. margarine or butter
1 cup milk
1/4 cup minced fresh herb leaves such as parsley, chives (I didn't have any one hand tonight so left out - and it is optional they taste good with or without)

In crockpot add onion and butter. In medium bowl, combine chicken broth, half & half, flour and spices and blend well until smooth. Pour over onion and butter. Add chicken. After cooking for six hours add frozen carrots, peas and green beans. Cook for 1 more hour until chicken is thoroughly cooked and no longer pink in center.

30 minutes before serving mix flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Add (optional) herbs. Microwave butter and milk for 1 minte 30 seconds to 2 minutes until just warm in a large bowl. Slowly add dry ingredients. Mix with a fork or knead by hand two to three times until mixture just comes together. Take spoonfuls of dough and drop into on the surface of the chicken mixture. Cover, cook on High for 20 to 25 minutes until dumplings are cooked through. They will be fluffy and a toothpick inserted should come out clean.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

On Facebook I have been doing gratitude posts here is the ones I did this month...

November 2: I am thankful that political ads and phone calls will stop (at least until the next election season starts)

November 3: Today I am thankful that my love made pancakes for dinner! They were great. Thanks honey! You are the best!

November 5: Today I am thankful for the beautiful day we had, the aroma of banana bread baking, nice emails catching up with some friends, people in my life who have gone out of their way this week to help me solve some problems. I recognize I have many things in my life that are blessings.

November 8: Today I am thankful for the beautiful state I live in - Colorado is breathtaking. Today the Mt. Garfield had some light hitting it but with dark clouds behind and it looked gorgeous.

November 10: Today I am thankful for beautiful fall trees, toasted homemade bread, wonderful friends helping me with a project, warm fuzzy socks, inspiration in unusual places and Michael fixing my computer.

November 11: Today I am thankful for all the soldiers, both past and present, who put their lives on the line every day for our country.

November 12: Today I am thankful for Michael making breakfast for dinner and being so great when I am extremely scatterbrained lately (thank you Michael I love you!), shopping for our soon-to-be niece, sweater weather and hot tea.

November 14: Today I am thankful for Michael getting me a purple phone, hot chocolate, Sunday breakfast, phone calls with my Mom and a stack of books on my nightstand.

November 18: Today I am thankful for leftovers so I didn't have to fix dinner, mail love, a beautiful handmade scarf from a fabulous friend, a Turkey Day present and a new member of our family (a cousin had a baby).

November 23: Today I am thankful that my niece is at home with her parents, for good friends that offer words of comfort in difficult times, that I have a good start on our Thanksgiving meal for Thursday and for good memories that come in unexpected ways such as tonight when I opened my Betty Crocker cookbook.

November 24: Today I am thankful for my love Michael...he is an amazing man. Very kind, giving, supportive, funny, smart and mixture of qualities that make my heart fill with an abundance of love.

November 25: Wishing everyone a very Happy Thanksgiving! I am so blessed to have amazing friends and family. I am thankful for the troops here and overseas serving. With all the struggles of this past year - I know that I have things everyday to be grateful for... I am blessed. And I am thinking of all those who are homeless, sick, without jobs and not able to be with people they love during the holidays.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thankful Heart

I am thankful for the following:
* my wonderful love, who makes me smile and gives me so much love
* my loving and generous parents
* my fabulous friends, who keep me sane with good conversations and laughter
* my wonderful extended family - aunts, uncles, cousins, grandmothers
* Michael's amazing parents and family
* fur babies
* social media for letting me easily stay in touch with my friends all across the country
* the people in my life who are supportive and accepting of me
* the wealth of inspiration on the web
* chocolate
* Eat Pray Love
* lip balm
* cookbooks
* pecan pie
* a new med that work
* warm and fuzzy pants to stay warm
* Colorado
* the library
* clean sheet
* incense
* movies and music that make me smile
* having a roof over our head
* people who serve such as nurses, firemen, those work in help and defend the less fortunate
* photos of family when I am so far from them
* amazing bloggers out there inspire me daily
* distractions such as Farmville
* Reese's Peanut Butter Cups
* the color purple
* Owls
* socks
* hot tea
* our troops
* people who are kind

I recognize I have so much to be thankful for...this is just a little list.

Adding this link 7 Tips to Make Thanksgiving Mindful

Monday, November 22, 2010

Potato Herb Rolls

These were a roll I did a couple years ago for Thanksgiving and thinking I might do them again this year. I did the dough in my bread machine and then took it out, shaped and baked in oven. I didn't want to do my usual just little round bun shape so I googled how to shape dinner rolls and came up with a really great link from Cooks Illustrated. It is a pdf with instructions on how to shape dinner rolls. I did mine a few different shapes just to play and see what I liked best. I did the double knot and then from another website just a single cross over. I didn't brush mine in egg as I was out of eggs.

Potato Herb Rolls

1 C. plus 2 tablespoons water (70 to 80°F.)
2 T. olive oil
1 t. salt
2 t. dried herbs -- I use more then that and use garlic powder, onion powder, basil and oregano
3 C. bread flour
1/2 C. instant potato flakes or buds
2 T. nonfat dry milk
1 T. sugar
1 1/2 t. bread machine yeast


1 egg, lightly beaten

To make dough: Measure all dough ingredients into bread machine pan in the order suggested by manufacturer, adding potato flakes with flour. Process on dough/manual cycle.

When cycle is complete, remove dough to floured surface. If necessary knead in additional flour to make dough easy to handle. Divide dough into 12 equal pieces. Roll each piece to 10-inch rope; coil each rope and tuck end under coil. Place rolls 2 inches apart on large greased baking sheet. Cover; let rise in warm, draft-free place until doubled in size, about 45 to 60 minutes.

To Top:
Brush tops with egg; sprinkle with sesame seed (optional). Bake in preheated 375-degree oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until done. Remove from pan; cool on wire rack.

Note: Dough can be prepared in 1 1/2 and 2-pound bread machines.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Gratitude Friday (on Saturday)

I am thankful for...
1. my sister and my niece are doing well
2. a wonderful package I received this week from a friend. It was full of such great things from Smoked Salt to Caramel Apple body gel. And then a beautiful scarf scarf she made. The yarns are beautiful blues and greens. (I think I will try to get pictures of it.)
3. finding an adorable little Christmas one piece for my niece that says, "I am on my Auntie's Nice List"
4. a surprise from our Thanksgiving Fairies (Michael's parents and my parents) - it was very sweet of them to give us such unexpected but wonderful gifts.
5. late night drives with the sky full of stars

Friday, November 19, 2010


My sister had her baby today! I had to go get a blood draw for lab work (just yearly check up) this morning and I kept thinking about my sister and wondering if she would have her baby today. And then I got a call from my Dad telling me she had Chloe Jo! I can't wait to see photos of her! And to hold her!

I am an Auntie!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

2 Holiday Wreaths

I like this DIY 5 minute garland wreath tutorial that Creature Comforts posted.

Our front door has southern exposure. And we even have sun(burn) spots on our door. It desperately needs to be repainted because of it. I have hung wreathes on it that I used a glue gun and the sun melts the glue and things fall off. I am not kidding. You will open the door and all the little ornaments...anything I glued will on the ground. It is highly annoying. So this wreath I could do without glue and I have all the materials on hand so I wouldn't have to buy anything. I think I will try to make a red flower on it though. I just still wonder how it will hold up under the sun's heat. But it is worth a shot so at least I can have something on the front door that looks festive for Christmas.

If I make it, I will post photos of how it turns out.

I also have another wreath I want to make to hang on the dividing wall between the kitchen and living room.

This is the Refurbished Christmas Ornament Wreath from The Little Apartment. And again I think I would have most materials on hand for it. I think it is just so pretty.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Outside just as Lovely as the Inside

I love the idea of packaging gifts in unique pretty ways. My problem is often I am rushed and don't get time to package things exactly how I wish. I try often though. And all these beautiful examples give me inspiration to try more often.

1. From Martha Stewart - using black and white images as gift toppers I think is such a great idea.

2. From Nice Package Blog - which is one of my favorite blogs! They used to be a shop when they first started the blog but sadly aren't anymore. But they do showcase and have several tutorials on gift wrapping ideas to make the package very pretty. The flower in the image is one of their tutorials. It is made from wax paper.

3. From - This is a package of bread wrapped in saran but then set in coffee filters and wrapped with a ribbon. How easy!

4. From Martha Stewart - I like the linen with the frayed edges.

5. From Sweet Paul Magazine - Gifts wrapped in craft paper and then the toppers are buttons on wire, yarn pom-pom and vintage hat ornament glued on the package

6. From Nice Package Blog - paper pom poms tutorial

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Kind-Hearted Blogger Campaign

Recently I had encountered some very mean-spirited words on another blogger and it gave me pause of why that person felt the need to do that. It wasn't helping. And so why? I had a moment of wanting to jump in and defend my friend who was being attacked but I didn't after writing her and she said she wouldn't be engaging the person at all and didn't want me to either. And I agreed - it was a sound reason/practice. As trying to defend herself wouldn't have mattered/helped either. And neither would my help.

A few days after that incident I stumbled upon the Kind-Hearted Blogger Campaign and knew instantly I wanted to join in.

So I am taking the pledge to:
  • create, inspire, and admire rather than compete with fellow bloggers
  • be understanding of each other-- in the blogging community, as well as in the world
  • stay away from internet/blogging bullying
  • speak my opinion freely, while still being mindful of other's feelings-- be tactful.
  • make an effort--no matter how big or small the gesture, to spread kindness or joy to others
  • acknowledge that I will make mistakes, (I am only human) but remember to learn from them
  • know that at times I will post about the negative stuff in life, and maybe even some complaining (I am only human) but I will always follow up with something happy/positive too.
  • believe that this world is a good place, filled with good people.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Consumer Disobedience

Here is a great post about Consumer Disobedience. She has outlined 14 acts of consumer disobedience and it was a good read and struck a cord with me especially since I just watched The Story of Stuff again just recently.

Here are a many things on her list that I believe we can follow now here are just a few...

5. Be a borrower. Whether it’s a book, a ladder, or a dress to wear to a special event, explore borrowing options before you buy. Check out the library, tool shares, car shares, toy shares, and other programs in your area.

6. Swap. Trading your old stuff with others is a great way to save space (one in, one out!) and money. If you can’t make a swap among friends and family, go online: sites like, Paperbackswap, SwapStyle, and Zwaggle help you trade books, CDs, DVDs, video games, clothing, accessories, toys, and more.

14. Want less. Advertisers, marketers, and corporations will do everything in their power to make you want more. But to be richer, happier, and freer, all you need to do is want less

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Quiet Storm

I am alive although very quiet. It just isn't here that I am quiet. I am quiet in all aspects of my life. I should say quiet externally - but internally it has been a year of roller coaster emotions. And am kind of introspect. And it all makes me quiet as I am not sure what to be writing or who I am or where things are at as everything seems out of focus.

Right now is our slow time with work so I should be taking advantage of the down time to be doing lots of things around here. And I just can't wrap my mind around it.

So some good things....

* My sister will be having her baby very soon. If she hasn't had her by the 21st then she will be induced. I have shopped for baby gifts. Which IS SO MUCH FUN! I am so excited about being an Aunt. Every time I think about it - I break out in a huge smile. I know though it is going to be hard to be so far away.

* Phone call with a good friend I hadn't talked to in quite a long time. It was good to catch up, laugh, cry and just share as we do always - no matter how long we don't talk or when the last time we saw each other we can get on the phone and talk like no time has passed. I am very lucky to have such beautiful friends that have such amazing compassion and strength.

* I just watched the Harry Potter movies and have never read the books but I want to do that too. Silly as this will sound - they never interested me until recently when I saw JK Rowling on Oprah and after that interview is when I realized I wanted to read the books and see the movies.