Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Grandma Faloney's Cookies

As promised, here is the yummy cookie recipe that my college friend asked me to post. Sweet mercy! These cookies are good.

Hats off to Grandma for passing down her heirloom recipe!

Grandma Faloney's cookies
2 cups flour
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 1/3 cups butter
1 ¼ cups granulated sugar
¾ cup brown sugar (firmly packed)
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 Tablespoons rum
¾ cup raisins
¾ cup Craisins
1 cup nuts
2 ½ cups uncooked oats (regular)

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Soak the raisins and Craisins in the rum.

In a large bowl, combine flour, salt, baking powder, soda, and cinnamon. Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together the butter and the sugars. Add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition.

Add the vanilla and rum in which the raisins have soaked; beat until well blended. Add the nuts, and oatmeal to the dry ingredients and stir into the liquid mixture. Stir in the raisins and Craisins. Mix for about 3 minutes.

Drop by large spoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake in a 350°F oven for 10 to 14 minutes or until light brown, being careful not to overbake.

Makes 4-5 dozen cookies, depending upon size of cookies made.


If you're still reading, let me add just one or two personal notes.

This is the third rum recipe I have field-tested in my humble test kitchen. These fun, little food experiments have cemented my belief that rum raises up ordinary dishes. It adds a level of moisture, delectable texture and a surprising depth of flavor.

Need proof? Rum-raisin ice cream. Rum-glazed ham. Hot buttered rum. Rum cake. Panettone French toast with rum. (Okay, now I'm just making myself hungry.) Are you unconsciously salivating right now? Good, you just made my point.

Time now to take a plate of these darlings and a tasty beverage to my favorite reading nook and delve more deeply into Jesse's story — Mortal Ghost

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

It's Here!

I have been eagerly anticipating a parcel in the mail and today it arrived. It is a signed, paperback copy of Mortal Ghost, the young adult novel by L. Lee Lowe. I've been reading this author's blog for about a year now and was delighted to have an opportunity to unload swap a mug from my tea cupboard for a copy of his YA fantasy novel. It was a good trade.

Here is a photo of the mug I mailed to him in Germany, and a link to his blog entry that mentions why he bartered for a lidded drinking cup in the first place.

Thanks, Lee. I am thoroughly enjoying Jesse's story so far.

So instead of sitting at the computer, happily feeding prose to my hungry blog, I beg your indulgence while I steal away to start reading. But before I do, I just have to show you Lee's delightful inscription:

It says, "For Karen, In the hope that Jesse's story brings you a fraction of the pleasure I'm sure to get from my new mug! --Lee"

Off to start reading!

Check back tomorrow for a yummy cookie recipe that a college friend shared with me. The cookie recipe is a family favorite, handed down from grandma. Aren't those the best kind?

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Another Scrapbook Layout

With the heat index in the triple digits, I've been finding things to do inside the house. Might as well enjoy the a/c, since we don't know how long the unit will last.

Here is the week 4 divider page layout for Little Sprout's First Year Album. Look at that red face.

To illustrate the design departure this latest layout has taken, here is the previous week's divider page.

Doesn't look that different, you say? Well, that's mostly because of the freebie quick page that is the foundation for each divider. I add the titles, the journaling, the photo and the week stamp.

Is it a sign of growth that I am dissatisfied with the flat look of this quick page? I am feeling the need to remove the two (pointless) fasteners and give the photo shadows and a more stacked look.

Of course then weeks 3, 2, and 1 will need to be revised to match. And that is why I haven't made these changes already — must maintain forward momentum.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Time Flies and Temps Soar

Another whirlwind week has whooshed by, taking the seasonable Spring weather right along with it! Since this weekend we've been sweltering in heat indexes over 100 degrees. Thank goodness our a/c unit hasn't conked out on us yet.

Wanna see cool photos of Miriam, Chris and her fun-loving friends beating the heat? Check out The Stone House blog entries intriguingly titled like buttah! and Sasquatch Visits the Ferry. Miram and her crew battled the blazing temps with cooling river walks, ice cream and sno-cones. Miriam and her man take awesome photos and I need her to capture a few of Little Sprout's Kodak moments.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

We Got a Wegmans!

This morning we rose bright and early to go to the grand opening of the new Wegman's grocery store here in our area. If the clouds had parted to reveal a choir of angels heralding this event, there couldn't have been more excitement. Katie F. from Washington, D.C. said in her post that 1,000 people were waiting when the doors opened at 7:00 a.m.

We knew it would be crazy-crowded, so the throngs of enthusiastic shoppers packing the aisles didn't bother us. This is the largest Wegman's I've been in, bigger than either of the two sister stores in neighboring communities.

Moments after we arrived the power went out, leaving everyone standing frozen in the dark. Talk about adding to the anticipation! Luckily it was only dark for about a minute and then the lights came back on and people proceeded merrily about their shopping.

Big Daddy and I had to divide and conquer to make any headway on our shopping list. Combined with the milling masses, Little Sprout was mesmerized by the toy train running along a track suspended from the ceiling.

An 8,000 square foot wine shop carried an astounding selection of wines. A huge tea section (huge even by Wegman's standards) will keep me coming back. Then there's the Mediterannean olive bar, seafood and sushi bars, prepared food section, bakery and health food section. And throughout the store, a sea of cheerful, knowledgeable Wegman's "team members" (that's what it said on their name tags, instead of "staff") were on hand to make sure our shopping experience went as smoothly as possible. Checkout was swift and effortless.

And did I mention the guy in the parking lot whose job was to gather up shopping carts? I personally witnessed this guy help elderly shoppers load bags into their car, direct traffic so that cars could back out of parking spaces safely and keep parking lot traffic moving along smoothly. They really were ready to wow us with excellent service -- and it worked.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Crock Pot to the Rescue

Since I started working a freelance editing/writing job from home, I've had to kick my creativity up a few notches to accomplish routine tasks around the house.

Crock pot to the rescue! I don't use my crock pot all that much, except for keeping cider drinks or cocktail meatballs hot for parties. Oh, I used to pull it out for the rare meal because of one or two memorable slow cooker recipes I've kept over the years. Suffice it to say that until two weeks ago my crock pot and I had barely gotten acquainted. Now we're fast friends.

No, make that best friends — the back door kind. Here is the recipe for today's ultra-easy dish:

Source: Slow Cooker Favorites 2008 magazine

I have altered this recipe based on items I had on hand in my pantry. It is presented here as I made it, not as it is printed in the magazine.

Prep time: 15 minutes
Microwave time: 20 seconds
Cook: 4 to 5 hours (low) or 2 to 2 1/2 hours (high)
Slow Cooker: 3 1/2 or 4 quart size
Oven: 350° F

Plum-Sauced Chicken in Tortillas

1 8-ounce jar plum sauce
1 cup V-8 juice
¼ cup hoisin sauce
1 Tablespoon quick-cooking tapioca
2 teaspoons fresh ginger
½ teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder
¼ teaspoon salt
⅛ to ¼ teaspoon ground red pepper
1 ¼ pounds skinless, boneless chicken tenders
6 8-inch flour tortillas, warmed in microwave
2 cups shredded red cabbage (shredded broccoli is a good alternative)

Mix together plum sauce, V-8 juice, hoisin sauce, tapioca, ginger, five spice powder, salt and red pepper. Add chicken; stir to coat.

Cover; cook on low-heat setting for 4 to 5 hours or on high-heat setting for 2 to 2½ hours.

To serve, spoon chicken onto each warm tortilla. Drizzle with some of the sauce. Top each tortilla with desired amount of shredded red cabbage or other favorite toppings. Roll up.
Bon appetit!