Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Baking Extravaganza!

Warning!!! Major baking and recipes ahead. This post is not for those who are weak at heart when it comes to the kitchen. Proceed with caution. I even brought my Kitchen Aid mixer with me, so you know this is serious business.

I would like to introduce you to my lovely assistant, otherwise known as Mom. Okay, so she taught my all I know. It was so much fun to spend this time with her.

Recipe #1 - Berry Shortbread Dreams (and they are a dream)

(This picture is before they were glazed.)

1 cup butter softened (no substitutes)
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 tsp almond extract
2 cups flour
1/3 to 1/2 cup seedless raspberry jam (or whatever flavor you choose...we used peach as well)

1 cup powdered sugar
2-3 tbsp. water
1/2 ts. almond extract

In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar. Beat in extract; gradually add flour until dough forms a ball. If not easy to handle, cover and refrigerate for a short time. Roll into 1 inch balls. Place 1 inch apart on ungreased baking sheets. Make an indention in the center. Fill with jam. Bake at 350 for 14-18 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Remove from baking sheet to cool. Spoon additional jam into cookies if desired. Combine glaze ingredients; drizzle over cookies. Allow glaze to harden some before stacking cookies.

This recipe is compliments of my friend, Judy Callaway. She is an amazing baker!!!!

Recipe #2 - Ginger Sugar Cookies (my favorite)

1 cup sugar
3/4 cup shortening
1/4 cup molasses
1 egg
2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. cloves
1/2 tsp. ginger
1/4 tsp. salt

Cream sugar and shortening. Mix in egg and molasses well. Blend in flour mixture till dough is completely moist. Shape into 1 1/2 inch balls. Roll in sugar. Bake at 350 only 10 minutes. Cool before removing.

This recipe is from Great Grandma Wirth. I never met her, but her recipes are fantastic.

Recipe #3 - Monster Cookies (just because they sounded yummy)

3 eggs
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
3/4 tsp. vanilla
3/4 tsp. corn syrup
2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 cup melted butter
1 1/4 cup peanut butter
4 1/2 cups oatmeal
2/3 cup chocolate chips
3/4 cup M & M's

Mix all ingredients. Drop by ice cream scoop and flatten. They don't spread very much. Bake at 350 12 minutes.

Recipe #4 - Chocolate Shadows

There is no picture because I haven't made them yet. This is the next cookie on my agenda.

1/2 cup chocolate chips
1 1/4 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 egg

Melt chocolate chips and keep separate. Mix all other ingredients. Marble the melted chips through the batter, do not mix in. Form into 1 inch balls. Flatten with glass dipped in sugar. Bake at 375 for 8-11 minutes until golden brown. Cool before removing from baking sheet.

This was Grandma Wirth's recipe.

Project #5 - Birthday Cake for Jesus

I have the cake and frosting made and I'm going to decorate it tomorrow. I'll make sure to take some pictures and post them.

I hope you enjoyed my little baking extravaganza! I'm having a great time on vacation. I have so enjoyed having a relaxed schedule. It's nice to get up, exercise, get ready, do my devos and then bake till my heart is content. We've been making my dad watch those sappy Hallmark movies with us at night. Poor Dad, but he loves us.

I hope you are all enjoying the Christmas Season. God is so good!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Not Much Time Left

Well, there is only a little more than a week left of 2008. I committed to reading through the Bible in a year and thought I should give you a little update. I'm done with the Old Testament, which was my big concern. I still have about half of the New Testament to go and then I'm done. Do you think I can make it? I'm on vacation this week at my parents' so I'm hoping to get some extra reading in.

I have to say that I have really enjoyed it. But I am looking forward to reading at a slower pace once again. I find that when I take my time, I'm able to retain more and find more application.

So how have you done? Many of you said that you were also going to try to read through the Bible in a year. Have you met your goal or are you a little behind like I am? But more importantly, is God's Word impacting your life?

Friday, December 19, 2008

Thank you, Ma'am

So I hate to admit that I'm old enough to be called, Ma'am. I go to the store and all the people working say, "Thank you, Ma'am." Wow! Who ever thought that one word would just take away your youth.

As most of you know, there is another Aaron that works in the office. It can at times be confusing when someone asks to speak with Erin/Aaron. I often have people ask me about games in the summer because they were told to ask Aaron, but they thought of me. The kids around here have it down. They refer to me as the girl Erin and him as the boy Aaron. Well, I guess there is a new way to keep us straight. Yesterday, someone called and asked to speak to the young Aaron. I should have hung up! Yes, he is younger than me, but come on!! Am I not still young? Especially compared to the caller!

Okay, I guess I'm over it. I am 32 after all and need to start thinking and acting my age. I remember when my parents were this age and I thought they were soooo old. (Side Note: I'm sorry Mom and Dad. You still aren't old. I have a little more perspective now.)

I'm heading to my parents' tomorrow for an entire week! I can't wait! We are going to bake lots of cookies, watch lots of movies, and laugh lots and lots. I hope you all have a blessed Christmas just in case I don't post again before then.

This old maid is signing off.

Another Side Note: This post is meant in the spirit of humor/sarcasm. I know that I'm cool and hip and fun. I know that I am not an old maid or spinster. Just want to clarify this so I don't get a bunch of angry comments from old maids and spinsters saying how much they understand my plight in life. And please no comments from old maids or spinsters that are upset that I'm not upset with my lot in life. So now I have to apologize for using the words plight and lot in regard to my life. Those words do not fit. Amen - I'm done now.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Pandora Radio

Check out this neat music site. Type in the name of an artist you like and it will play that artist and others like him/her. If you don't like a particular song, just hit the thumbs down sign by the song and it will never play that song again. You do have to register for it, but it's free. It will save all the artists you type in and you can even mix them up a bit.

I've been using it at work for a few weeks now and love it. Right now I'm listening to Nat King Cole (holiday). I'm getting all the good ole boys (Bing, Dean, Frank, Johnny, etc.) singing Christmas songs.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Chair Project

I bought new fabric/foam for my dining room chairs several months ago. Anna helped me pick it out and said she would help me learn how to do it. Well, we haven't found the time to do it since then. But last night was the night! I had Aaron, Anna, Shane and Lynnae over for supper and then we worked on the chairs. The boys watched a John Wayne movie while we measured, cut and and got stared.
Lynnae was our chief measurer (I'm not sure that's a word).

This is the only picture of me and you can tell I'm excited. It was the end of the night, what can I say?

After the movie the guys even pitched in to take apart the remaining chairs and Shane even helped staple. He was pretty much ready to go home and he thought he could staple better than Anna.

We have four chair completed and only six more to go. I think they look great! All the fabric for the other six is already cut and the chairs are already apart and ready to be stapled. I couldn't have done it with their help. Thank you!!!!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

I'm Thankful

I know that Thanksgiving is over, but I just want to say that I'm thankful. I'm so thankful for wonderful family and friends. I find that I am truly blessed.

I spent Thanksgiving at my aunt and uncle's house in northern IL. My parents made the drive up as well and we had a wonderful time. We saw my brother and his family on Friday and exchanged Christmas gifts with them. I can't believe how much my niece and nephew are growing. It won't be long and they will be towering over me...okay, maybe that's a few years away.

I made it home by Saturday so I could be in my church on Sunday. Due to a conference, vacation and illness it seems like I haven't been there in a very long time. That is another thing for which I'm thankful. I love my pastor, church family and Jr. Girls' Class. I don't know where I would be without them.

So that's my quick update. Hope you all had a fabulous Thanksgiving! Enjoy the pictures!

They said they didn't listen to their tummies and had to stretch out because they ate too much.
We stopped in to see my grandpa before he headed to Texas for the winter.

My adorable niece and nephew. They are growing up so fast!

Last but not least....isn't my mom gorgeous. I hope I look like her when I'm ___. (I'm sure she'll apprecaite that I didn't fill in the blank.