Saturday, December 22, 2012

Les Miserables

My love affair with Victor Hugo's moving story started when I was in high school and read The Bishop's Candlesticks.  It became a tradition with my daughter that on her birthday, December 31st, we would watch a different version of the story.  And because I LOVE to makes lists, I can't help it, must be something instilled in my by my mom - like list all the states, in an effort to keep us busy. Lets see how many you have seen.

Titles Jean Valjean
Les Misérables (2012) Hugh Jackman
Les Misérables (2000) Gérard Depardieu,
Les Misérables (1998) Liam Neeson
Les Misérables (1995) Jean-Paul Belmondo
Les Misérables (1988) Aiden Grennell
Les Misérables (1982) Lino Ventura
Les Misérables (1978) Richard Jordon
Les Misérables (1972) Georges Géret
Les Misérables (1967) Henry Krauss
Les Misérables (1958) Jean Gabin
Les Miserables (1952) Michael Rennie
Les Misérables (1948) Gino Cervi
Les Misérables (1935) Fredric March
Les Misérables (1925) Gabriel Gabrio
Les Misérables (1913) Frank Finlay
Les Misérables (1909) Maurice Costello
Les Misérables (1912) Henry Krauss

Posted from a draft back in December.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Kitchen Doings for Christmas

Yesterday I celebrated my 60th birthday.
Today I said goodbye to my best friends mother Rita as we attended her funeral in Rome, NY.
Tomorrow I will bake cookies.

We celebrated Tyler's first Christmas with him in Kentucky.
 Left just before the New Year and a huge Snow Storm blew in. 

Snow storm in Louisville 2009

So that is just where I am at tonight.
My grandson called to tell me that "the internet man is coming tomorrow".
That means I get to watch him "have Christmas".
I can't wait.

Tyler's second Christmas with us.  Decorating the tree at church

But back to the Cookies.  A tradition so many families have - but not ours.  In fact every year is always something different.  This year I am making two kinds of cookies.  One that I will back - French Lace Cookies and one that I won't - Kentucky Bourbon Balls.  The hardest part after buying the ingredients is not eating the finished product.  THAT is why I am waiting until tomorrow or even Sunday to make them.

Then on Sunday evening we will all go to a special church service to sing, fellowship and eat cookies.

FRENCH LACE COOKIES - Gramma Frieda would only make these for Christmas.

1/2 cup ground almonds (about 2-oz.)
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup firmly-packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
Pinch salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Position two oven racks in the middle and upper third of oven. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
2) In a food processor, grind almonds finely; measure out 1/2 cup and set aside.
It is also possible to buy ground almonds for use in this recipe.
3) In a medium saucepan over low heat, heat the butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar, and corn syrup until the butter melts and the sugar dissolves, stirring often. Increase the heat to medium high and, stirring constantly, bring mixture JUST to a boil. Immediately remove pan from the heat and stir in flour and salt until incorporated. Stir in ground almonds and vanilla extract.
4) Drop batter using a teaspoon, 3-inches apart, on prepared cookie sheets (about 1/2 dozen cookies per cookie sheet). Prepare all your pans of cookies at this time even though you are only going to bake 1 or 2 sheets at a time.
5) Bake cookies until evenly light brown, approximately 8 to 10 minutes until cookies spread, become thin, and take on a deep golden color. If you are using 2 cookie sheets switch top to bottom and back to front at 5 minute mark to promote even baking. Cookies will begin to spread 6 minutes into baking time.
6) Line wire cooling racks with plastic wrap. When cookies are done baking, remove cookies from oven and, as soon as they're firm enough to lift off baking sheet (which will take just a few minutes), use a wide spatula to transfer them to prepared cooling racks to cool completely. Allowing cookies to cool slightly on cookie sheets will also cause them to flatten out more. NOTE: If cookies become too cold and hard to remove from baking sheet without shattering them, replace pan in the oven to soften the cookies again. Bake remaining cookies; batter will have firmed up a bit, but that is fine. Store flat cookies between sheets of parchment paper in a tin or plastic container with a tight-fitting lid. Yield: 25 to 30 cookies.

My father, German in heritage, loved Christmas and would make decorations for outdoors and trim with
lights around the porch. We had a lionel train that circled the tree and would set up our putz village. 

I always like red trimmings with white lights as I got older. 

Some more vintage ornaments - our little musical elves. 

Christmas Time means a Christmas stocking for the family.  
 I enjoyed making this one for Tyler.

Tyler visited for Christmas last year (2011) and help his UNC decorate the tree. 

Carefully checking out the ornaments

Tyler's special touch --- fishing bobbers?

Last year we had NY Christmas early and then drove down south for a KY Christmas.
Visited the local Walmart, got a good price on a table top tree, some ornaments and viola.
We were also treated to a wonderful light display on the village green. 

KENTUCKY BOURBON BALLS - My sister would make these every year calling them rum balls.   Now that we are Kentucky lovers we will use bourbon from Kentucky. 

1 cup yellow cake crumbs or 1 cup vanilla wafer
1 cup sifted powdered sugar
1/4 cup good unsweetened cocoa powder
3 tablespoons light corn syrup
1 cup chopped pecans
1/4 cup Bourbon
1/8 cup unsweetened cocoa powder or 1/8 cup powdered sugarDirections:

Place the cake crumbs or cookie crumbs into a plastic bag and smoosh them.
Combine the cake crumbs or cookie crumbs, sugar, 1/4 cup cocoa, corn syrup & Bourbon.
Blend and mix very well.
Fold in the pecans.
Roll the mixture into 1-inch balls.
If mixture is not rolling together easily, add more corn syrup.
Roll the balls in the cocoa powder or the powdered sugar to coat them.
Store in an airtight container and refrigerate.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Elizabeth meet Jesus....

The story of Mary and Elizabeth ..... so much more than just the two meeting together for a chat.
When I first saw this picture of Mary and Elizabeth meeting I was overwhelmed with the whole aspect of that meeting.  Here was Mary, a virgin, a young maiden perhaps and mostly likely a young teen, who had just been told she was pregnant.  Can you imagine how she must have felt.  I must say that she probably didn't understand the vastness of what was happening.  But God chose her because of her faithfulness.  Her willingness to believe what she couldn't understand.

I hope you will click on the link above and read for yourself this great story in Luke about GOD choosing Mary, a young maiden to be the mother of JESUS.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Thankful or Grateful??

One topic at church this week was - what are you thankful for and what are you grateful for and is there a difference.  I am thankful  

 "I think our governments will remain virtuous for many centuries; as long as they are chiefly agricultural; and this will be as long as there shall be vacant lands in any part of America. When they get piled upon one another in large cities, as in Europe, they will become corrupt as in Europe." 1787 December 20.
In a letter from Thomas Jefferson to James Madison - prophetic??

It is Thanksgiving Day.  

Turkey's in the oven, 
Potatoes on the stove,
Pies in the cupboard and table is set.

I think this is the first year I have seen more than 15 minutes 
of the Macy's Day Parade.
 Not a big tradition in our family. 
 What is a big tradition is our tag team way of preparing the BIG meal. 

James makes the pies - i clean up

Doug makes the stuffing - I clean up
Turkey Day - James sleeps on the couch and Doug cooks the turkey and we clean up.

Doug moves out to the living room and I peel and cook the potatoes.
I move to the living room and Doug starts the squash and brussel sprouts. 
I come back and mash the potatoes and set the table. 

Everything is finished ---  except the gravy. 

Doug doesn't eat it, James doesn't want it, I'm not going there so.....
we might just have a gravyless meal.  

       This is my country
Land of my birth
This is my country
Grandest on Earth
This is my country
Land of my choice
This is my country
Hear my proud voice.
I pledge thee my allegiance
America the bold
For this is my country
 To have and to hold.

Finally .....

I knew I had three sons for something ..... finally got one of the two IKEA cabinets half way finished.  I must remember that good things come to those who wait....and wait... and wait.  I happily did a craft show with one of my best friends this morning praying... LORD, I need to make enough money to buy the counter top for these cabinets.  Didn't quite make the full amount but came very very close plus found just the counter top I wanted already precut for just the right price.  GOD is so Good.
Since we have become such avid coffee drinkers,  I need a place to stash and prep all of 
our drinks.  The short computer table just wasn't cutting it.  NOW, I have 6 feet of cabinets and 
countertop to  play with.  Thank you John, James and Joshua for all your hard work.

addendum: the counter top is 3/8" to wide because the walls aren't even ---- who'd of thought.