December 21, 2010

I’ve had this recipe for a while but can’t remember where it came from. It has been shared with several really good cooks because it’s WONDERFUL. It turns out great each time. (Some times it does turn out chewy and other times just crunchy right. I have no idea why. But each is good.)

1 pound butter
1 box light brown sugar
1 Tablespoon corn syrup
1 tsp salt

2 cups chopped pecans
1 pkg Hershey’s kisses

Butter 2 8×11 pans, then sprinkle the pecans over the bottom of each pan.

Melt butter and sugar in heavy saucepan. Add corn syrup and salt. Stir constantly with wooden spoon till temp reads 300 degrees on a candy thermometer. Remove from heat immediately. Pour equal amounts into each pan. Place the unwrapped kisses on top of the candy. Cool. Break into pieces. Store in covered tin.

A December Read

December 17, 2010

After family preparations and holiday visits are done, the time of the year is just around the corner for curling up with something hot in one hand and a book in the other. So….if your budget is blown and you have no money left for an actual visit to a B&B for yourself, you can go to the library and pull Anita Schreve’s A Wedding in December off the shelf. The storybook setting is at a fictional B&B with all the bells and whistles–a one stop shop for perfection–a little contrived, but you will feel like you’re there. The book is long enough to entertain for many hours, and so for that reason, it’s better than a made-for-TV movie, which is over all too quickly when you really want to settle in for a virtual visit to SomePlaceElse. (Plus you can make your own commercials and only when you need to.) It’s a reunion and a wedding all at once, so there are the complications which go with those. But it just feels a little flat for my taste if you’re looking for real meat. It’s entertaining, but it won’t change your life. However, if you just want to take a hop to Never Never Land in the World of B&B’s, then this won’t cost you a cent; you won’t have to complicate your own life, and it might be just the thing for a cozy chair “holiday.”

….And if you can’t stop thinking about B&B’s but you’d like something, well…., a little simpler than Nora’s place, then it’s not too early to make a get-away day reservation at Simply Bed & Bread!!

Cemetery Christmas

December 14, 2010

My parents' grave

Janie's wreath & our swag on Aunt Bernice's footstone

Aunt Bernice's headstone at Chester Cemetery

On a shortcut through the cemetery the other day, I passed by Aunt Bernice’s stone. It looked cold and empty. It needed something. Later an idea popped into my head: I would ask my sister if she wanted to traipse through her woods to gather greens so that we could make swags for all of the graves. So that’s what we did today.

Growing up, going to the cemetery at Christmas time was a tradition; my mother and Aunt Bernice never let a holiday go by without trips to the cemetery. When I became an adult with my own family, I considered the idea antiquated. With my typical 20-something bluster, I announced that I would focus on spending time with the living rather than with the dead. And I left the tradition to Aunt Bernice to continue. As the years went on, Aunt Bernice’s faithfulness to visit the cemetery with large lush grave blankets or gorgeous florist wreaths became yet another of her “ways” that were endearing. She spent a small fortune decorating the dead and in later years, I would drive her and put them in their places for her.

So the other day when I saw her empty stone, it just didn’t seem right. And as I thought more about the whole thing, I realized the living are busy and the dead hold memories that are dear and close and they take on new significance when you lose the one who lived for so long and who knew you when you were little. And when that person dies, well, something changes inside you. You become one of the oldest in the family and those traditions once silently scorned become sweet.

Janie, our cousin, had already put beautiful wreaths on each grave. I wasn’t surprised; she’s thoughtful like that. We just added our’s. And then our part was complete, too.

It was a good day.

Simply Socks! begins TODAY!!!!

December 13, 2010

Simply Bed & Bread Flyer

Bliss, Remembered by Frank Deford

December 10, 2010

a great read

About 10 minutes after leaving our Open House last Sunday, Ken, our neighbor from down the street, rang our bell. He said, “I just finished this today,” and he handed me his copy of Bliss, Remembered. I had heard him and Kathy, our across-the-street neighbor, talking about it at a different neighborhood event, and my interest was more than piqued. I really wanted to read that book. So Ken said he’d bring me his copy when he was done, which was just what he did.

Written by the well-known sports writer, Frank Deford, (well, well-known by sports fans, at least, but his name was new to me), it’s fiction, and it’s a real treat. It’s sweet and saucy, and it’s a story of a mother’s gift to her grown son.

The mother, Olympic swimmer, Sydney, is dying. She’s old and she’s OK (she hopes) with her life,with both her past as well as her present, and in typical Sydney-style, she has prepared a written account of her life for her children to read. But she’s invited her son to hear parts of it told between just the two of them.

From p 105: “…..His name was Horst Gerhardt.
Mom stopped and smiled that special smile that I recognized only comes from bliss, remembered. In fact, as she kept sitting there, musing, blissfully, it didn’t seem that she was going to pick up the thread. So I finally spoke up. “Well, who was Horst Gerhardt?”
He was my gold medal, Teddy.
She beamed.

Since one of my favorite things was listening to Daddy tell me his stories of growing up, I savored my time with Sydney and her 60-something son, Teddy. In fact, even now, since finishing the book, I only have to see the living room couch with the pillow where my head lay as I spent my hours reading….Ah. Bliss, remembered.

Pecan Fingers, from my Betty Crocker Cookbook

December 7, 2010

Incredibly delicious--guests will rave!!!

From p 139

3/4 cup butter
3/4 cup confectioner’s sugar
1 1/2 cups flour
2 eggs
1 cup brown sugar (packed)
2 Tablespoons flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 cup chopped pecans

Oven — 350 degrees.

Cream butter and confectioner’s sugar. Blen in 1 1/2 cups flour. Press evenly in bottom of ungreased baking pan, 13x9x2 inches. Bake 12 to 15 minutes.

Mix remaining ingredients, spread over hot baked layer and bake 20 minutes longer. Cool; cut into bars, about 3 x 1 inch. 32 cookies.

Santa’s Whiskers

December 7, 2010

A incredibly good cookie made with candied cherries & pecans, then rolled in coconut

1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
2 Tablespoons milk
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup finely chopped red and green candied cherries
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
3/4 cup coconut flakes

Cream butter and sugar. Blend in milk and vanilla. Stir in flour, cherries and nuts. Form into 2 rolls, each 2 inches in diameter and 8 inches long. Roll in coconut. Wrap and chill several hours or overnight. Slice rolls 1/4 inch thick; place on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake in 375-degree oven for 12 minutes or until the edges are golden. These freeze well. Our neighbors wanted the recipe. Really, they’re amazing little cookies. Warning: they’re very, very addictive. (But Santa will love them).

Cream Wafers (Betty Crocker, 1975)

December 7, 2010

A light, flaky, fragile cookie with a buttercream filling

From p 149 in my tattered, stained, rumpled, curled copy of my Betty Crocker cookbook received as a wedding present in 1975:

1 cup soft butter
1/3 cup whipping cream
2 cups flour

Mix all 3 ingredients thoroughly. Cover and chill.

Oven: 375 degrees

Roll dough out about 1/8 thick. Cut out rounds. Sprinkle with sanding sugar (large crystals), prick with tines of a fork, then place on baking sheet. Bake for 7 to 9 minutes till just set but not brown; cool. Put cookies together with filling.

Filling: Cream 1/4 cup soft butter, 3/4 cup confectioner’s sugar, 1 tsp vanilla. Beat till smooth and fluffy. Tint with a couple of drops of food color, if desired. Add milk or cream, if needed.

Yield: About 5 dozen cookies

Cookie Strength

December 7, 2010

Pecan Fingers--a bar cookie

Cream Wafers that melt in your mouth

Chocolate Mint Dreams in the front

Judith Viorst, author of the children’s book, Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, said: “Strength is the capacity to break a chocolate bar into four pieces with your bare hands–and then just eat one of the pieces.” And so it is with cookies as with chocolate bars….having a plateful and only taking one…..or having 4 plates full of them at the Holiday Open House Weekend and only eating one (one cookie, that is, not one plate). Oh dear……,I’m afraid I’m not very strong, but then, it’s never a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day at all when there are cookies around!

Recipes coming in future posts!

COOKIES!!! Cookie Baking Retreats!!!

December 3, 2010

Tomorrow will be a big cookie baking day, in preparation for the Kent County Holiday Open House  Weekend!  Woo hoo!  Pics and recipes to come!

Interested in booking a Cookie Baking Retreat?  Book any weekday in December and we’ll make Christmas cookies together!  Cost will depend on what you’d like to take home with you.  If you just want the experience, then it is free!  We’ll have cookies and coffee morning, noon and night, and the Sugar Plum Fairy will have nothing on us here!

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Location, Location, Location.

You might notice the WAC Administration Building cupola out of the corner of your eye as you walk onto Simply Bed & Bread's brick path, since our house is just a stone's throw away from the college. Or it might be the ...
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