Friday, December 29, 2006

Favorite Things

This time of year wouldn’t be complete without some of our favorite things. There are certain traditions in everyone’s family that are a “must” every holiday season.

When I was a little girl, I loved to visit my grandparents in northern Wisconsin. It was a long trip for us. The mileage from Waterford to Glidden was about seven hours long and with great anticipation we counted off the last of the towns that we drove through before getting to Grandma and Archie’s house. Yes, my grandfather was named Archie and that is what we called him. I guess grandpa made him too old sounding.

Upon arrival at my mother’s large, old, family home we would scamper about to burn off some energy. The barn was always a favorite place to explore and see what new places the barn sparrows had made their nests. There was a rope that we could swing on and land in the hay while giggling like crazy and of course a bit fearful at the same time that we might not land as gently as we would like.

When we burned off some of that pent up energy we would go in and listen to the adults tell their stories of a life rich with laughter and hit the cookie jar. We were always sure of finding a few favorites. I never did know if grandma planned these special cookies just for us, or if it just happened because it was a favorite of theirs. Fairy cookies. Yummy. what could be better than that!! They were so fragile and had this incredible melt-in-your mouth taste and texture.

Not only was this one of my favorites, but one of my children’s favorites. Everyone loves a good sugar cookie. Fairy cookies take sugar cookies to the next level while maintaining simplicity of recipe elements.

Often times I take these cookies to gatherings as a contribution to the party. They are consistently a hit and I’m always asked for the recipe. Interestingly enough, my husband Marks family has a very similar cookie tradition but it is called an Amish cookie. No matter what you name it, everyone loves it. So here is the recipe

Fairy or Amish Cookies

Cream Together:

1 C Sugar

1 C Powdered Sugar

1 C Butter

1 C Oil

2 Eggs

1 tsp. Vanilla (substitute almond or lemon for variety)

Slowly Add:

4 C plus 4 TBSP Flour

1 tsp. Salt

1 tsp. Baking Soda

Drop a teaspoon of batter onto a cookie sheet. Press cookie with bottom of glass coated with white, colored, or turbinado sugar. Bake 10-12 minutes at 350.

Now, I dare you to only eat one!

Bon Appetite

Monday, December 25, 2006

Holidays and Resolutions

I think that it is always nice to know who is posting and what a person looks like. This is me, Patti, at our local Kenosha Harbor Marketplace on beautiful Lake Michigan in Wisconsin. This was taken a couple of years ago and except for a little longer hair and a pound or three, I'm that same gal.

I can't help but miss those warm days at the lakefront. It was an incredibly busy summer since I'm a vendor every Saturday, but as the gray cold days of winter settle in these bones, I just want sun and warmth.

We can wish away our precious days or long for the old ones, but I'm determined to take advantage of every single one available to me. There are a thousand things I could and should be doing, but I'm on call with my day job. Yes, it is Christmas day but I'm a surgical technologist and people get sick no matter the day of the week. Someone has to be available to take out that pesky appendix or help to fix that hip of the fragile person who fell going to church on this special day.

I should be taking inventory for my handmade soap business and make my taxman happy by getting my information to him early. Next weekend. I could be working on my projects to organize all my working implements in my designated soap room. Naw, that is too sweaty and dirty of a project with drills, hammers, and nails. I could be feeling sorry for myself since my family is out with other parts of the family and I have to stay close….just in case…… but I’m not. The quiet is rather blissful.

We had family over yesterday complete with a two year old and four year old. OMG! What a whirlwind of noise and activity! Fingers were everywhere. Upstairs and downstairs their little feet scrambled. The piano was pounded in ear-splitting k flat! We had to remove fragile possessions from the level of the little ones. And sometime soon I’ll have to scrape the handprints and globs of unidentifiable stuff from the patio doors. Meanwhile, I’ll just savor those little memories for a bit and remember my own kids when they were little. Did they really create such chaos at their grandma and grandpa’s place??