Thursday, December 31, 2009

"Should auld acquaintance be forgot,and never brought to mind ?Should auld acquaintance be forgot,and days o'auld lang syne ?"Robert Burns Scottish poem written down by Robert Burns in 1788 and set to the tune of a traditional folk song (Roud # 6294).

A luncheon invitation for a few good friends to my home turned into a 50th birthday celebration as well as a meeting of the minds of four creative women. After a toast to the New Year, Happy Birthday and Girl Power we enjoyed a Ham & Cheese Strata, Broccoli Rappini and a Fresh Garden Salad.
Since making this dish for over 30 years, always sure to please a crowd, I find it is perfect to make ahead so I can enjoy being with my guests. I never make it the same way twice so here is a one recipe to give you something to build on, your creation is limited only by your imagination.

8 slices whole wheat bread,cubed
6 eggs
1 lb. ham, cubed (or pork sausage, cook and crumble)
1 lb. fresh mushrooms sliced
add olives, chopped green, red, yellow peppers for color
2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
Layer all of this 3 times in greased 9 x 13 inch pan, with a final layer of cheese.
2 1/2 c. milk
3/4 tsp. dry mustard
Beat these 3 together and pour over casserole.
Cover and refrigerate overnight. Next morning mix 1 can cream of mushroom soup and 1/2 cup milk. Pour over casserole. Top with extra grated cheese.
Bake at 300°F for 1 1/2-2 hours, until set.

Holly is a good sport.
She put on her crown as soon as she arrived. Party hearty Holly...

Signing off with wish for a very Happy Birthday to Holly
and Happy New Years 2010 to all of you ;~)
I spent Sunday in the kitchen preparing a meal for Jim's sister Mari Pat, Susie and their extended families for a late evening dinner.

They were greeted upon arrival into our home with a drink and a hot basket of calamari as an appetizer. We enjoyed homemade Italian meat sauce over whole wheat pasta, garden salad, homemade whole wheat bread with herb seasoned olive oil dipping sauce.

Everyone was anxious to see Niagara Falls, NY the next day, still they took time for a Rafferty Family " Gap Pose" before we ended a fun late night visit.
To the left are undated version of my grandmothers Rich Rolled Butter Cookies with Maraschino Cherry filling topped with a Vanilla Sugar Glaze and festive sprinkles shown here fresh baked with a tall glass of cold milk ready for a visit from St. Nicholas.

This holiday was constantly filled with opportunities to reconnect with old friends and family as well as meet new friends and family.

Rich Rolled Butter Cookies
2 sticks of butter, softened
1 cups white sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Stir in the flour, baking powder, and salt. Cover, and chill dough for at least one hour (or overnight).
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Roll out dough on 10x sugar covered surface 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick. Cut into shapes with any cookie cutter. Place cookies 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheets. For filled cookies, slice marachino cherries into half, add corn starch and heat to thicked half of the juice from the jar liquid. Place a tsp of the filling in bottom cookies top with cookie of the same shape. Press edges together
Bake around minutes in preheated oven. Cool completely.

make a thin glaze from 10 x sugar, drop small amount of skim milk stir until just thin enough to pour over cookies, if desired sprinkle with festive sugar sprinkles for extra color.

New family guests in our home this year were theMeghan's relatives the Green family. Uncle Dan, Aunt Lydia and cousin Danny have lived in Western New York since the 1970's. We had the pleasure to have them in as guests for dinner on Christmas Eve. We had such a nice, natural first visit that we decided to get together as second evening for dessert and dictionary word games. I am sure Barry's & Meghan's wedding will be more fun now that I have to privildege to meet more family and friends.

I love company in my home, love to cook and love to share time with the special people in my life. Company in for dessert and coffee was the perfect time to bake Italian Butter Rum Cake, layered with fresh egg custard, frosted with Butter cream and topped with toasted Almonds.

Italian Rum Cake
6 whole eggs
1 cup sugar
heavy splash dark rum
1 cup cake flour
In a 5 quart mixing bowl whip the eggs and rum adding the sugar 1/3 at a time allowing 3 to 4 minutes between additions until all the sugar is in, whip until real fluffy and fold in your cake flour, add mixture to 3-9x1inch cake pans, bake in preheated 350 degree oven until golden brown, cool.

Syrup For Cake:
1 cup corn syrup
1/2 cup rum
Combine corn syrup and rum
When cake is cool drizzle syrup on to all 3 layers of cake.

3 egg
3 tablespoons corn starch
1/3 cup sugar
2 cup milk
1/2 cup rum
In a stainless steel sauce pan whip together eggs, cornstarch, sugar, milk and rum concentrate. Place pan on stove over medium heat until thick mixing regularly, don't burn. Cool to room temperature.
Assemble Cake:Starting with cake on a cake board or whatever the place filling evenly and repeating until ending with cake on top.

Your cake is now ready to be frosted:Frost with whip cream or Butter Cream Frosting

Don't forget to put your sliced toasted almonds on the top

Saturday, December 26, 2009

"I wish we could put up some of the Christmas spirit in jars and open a jar of it every month." Harlan Miller

Too much, too quickly. Too much to do, too little time; that would be the best way to describe this past week.
Barry, Meghan & kitty cat "Fever" arrived around 10 pm on December 19th. We welcomed them into the house, got bags to their rooms, had a late night snack then played word games until after 1:00 am.
Sunday afternoon, passports in hand, we spent the day at Niagara on the Lake, Ontario, Canada.
We wanted to show Meghan around town and some last minute Christmas shopping.

The damp, cold day was full of surprises. Little did we know the Olympic torch was going to pass through the center of town that day.

After a cold, day enjoying the town Barry treated us to Irish pub fare at the old Angel Inn.
Later in the evening another Olympic torch sighting in Niagara Falls, Canada.

Honestly, after a day out walking around town in the cold I was ready to go home. They wanted to show Meghan around Niagara Falls. She was so excited to ride the SkyWheel. Everyone agreed so I reluctantly put on my wet gloves and damp Beret not anxious to go back out into the cold. It turned out Barry, Kara and Jim do not like to ride on farris wheels so I treated Meghan to a turn on the SkyWheel over looking Niagara Falls. Who knows when we will get the opportunity to do that again.

Here is Meghan just as the ride is about to begin.

My last image from the top of the SkyWheel just as my battery power pack closed for the day.

One final surprise was a fireworks display over Niagara Falls, the perfect way to end the first full day of our Christmas Festivities.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Merry Christmas from rice rafferty; a company of women specializing in women's apparel and accessories. Founded in 2009 by Carol Ann Rice Rafferty & daughter Kara Rice Rafferty. We are committed to improving the quality of life for women through education. Kara and I are funding an educational grant for women returning to college in search of a better life. Ten percent of the profit made from the sale of our products is reserved in an education grant to be announced.

After twenty-two years supporting my husband in his career ambitions, working as a full time mother raising Barry and Kara, as well as, serving as a caretaker for my mother and father simultaneously for three years while they were terminally ill; I finally created time to pursue my dreams to study art in college.

Returning to college at age 45 as a design student I was awarded a Buffalo State College Fellowship Summer Research Grant 2005. Throughout that summer I researched the old art of Devoré, along with Fiber Reactive Dyes and Dye Discharge techniques. For the past four years I have been perfecting my craft through much research, trial, error and experience has gone into the perfection of my craft.

While, Devoré is simple, it is not easy.

First as a student, then as an Adjunct instructor at Buffalo State College, I shared my knowledge with the Fiber Design student for two years. I resigned from that position to pursue more education as at Savannah College of College for Art & Design in the graduate program. Since Devoré is no longer part of the SCAD program due to the caustic nature of the chemicals, I continued to work with my daughter Kara creating one of a kind pieces in silk velvet Devoré.

Devoré, from the French word for devour, occurs when sodium bisulphate is applied to the cloth, dried, then heated. The heat process causes the sodium bisulphate to eat away at the fabric, leaving the treated area transparent. Devoré, is a process that has been used in the fashion industry for many years. Originally it... was known as "poor man's lace" and was called "broderie chimique" in Europe because it was used to simulate magazine embroidery. The main use of Devoré, has been on cut velvet fabric with a pile of viscose or rayon on a silk warp/backing.

With full knowledge of the dangers from working with these materials, like a moth to the flame, I return to my craft for the love of the art of Devoré.

rice rafferty is proud to offer one of a kind wearable art scarves and jacket/capes made with love for years of luxurious enjoyment.

Thank you to everyone who has purchased our products, supported our endeavour to improve the quality of life for women through good aesthetics and education.

A very Merry Christmas to you and yours from Carol Ann & Kara of rice rafferty.

You can follow us on facebook as a fan of rice rafferty,

purchase our products on Etsy

or shop at the wonderful shops listed on my website

Ten percent of every dollar made from the sale of our products is reserved in an education grant

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

"Oh, there's no place like home for the holidays 'Cause no matter how far away you roam When you pine for the sunshine Of a friendly face For the holidays, you can't beat Home, sweet home"

No Place Like Home for the Holidays
Christmas Song

Barry and Meghan arrived around 10 pm last Saturday evening after a long drive across New York State to find this room lovingly prepared for them.

Since we have spent so many Christmas' away from our home Kara and I thought of a few easy finishing touches that we would be happy to find as a guest in some one's spare bedroom.

  • Kara thought a personal Christmas tree would provide a space for some quiet retreat time away from the family activities serving as mood lighting for the room.
  • Since we had an extra microwave oven, we tucked it into the room along with a wooden, breakfast in bed, tray complete with twoCurrier & Ives mugs, Serendipity Hot Cocoa Mix, spoons, napkins and two homemade cupcakes.
  • I added a vanilla bean candle, book of matches and the Sansevieria trifasciata( mother-in laws tongue) plant for some comic relief ;~)
When a large number of people are home, as a perfect accompaniment to the spices, salty and sweet holiday foods, I like to have a large bowl of fresh cut fruits available to refresh, nourish and clear the pallet. Here is a bowl of ripe, apple, bananas, dried cherries and cranberries, papaya, peaches, mandarin oranges, fresh orange slices, pineapple sprinkled with coconut flakes.

Kara had the great idea to offer Meghan, kitchen time and space for her to share O'Reilly-green family traditions and recipes. After all, being together for Christmas is not about converting someone to a certain way of thinking; it is about making a larger circle. We are anxious to learn new ways to celebrate from Meghan.

These hints should make anyone feel more welcome in your home as a guest and new family member.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Happiness is being with people I love and people who love me.

Christmas is the time to say I Love you ;~)

Tuesday December 15th was National Cupcake Day according to National Food Day @

These fresh Chocolate Fudge cupcakes with Cocoa Buttercream Frosting perfect to share with people at work, school or any holiday party. Kara took this batch into share with the people at her office Christmas party.

Cupcakes are like a stolen kiss; sweet and fleeting without too much commitment.

Christmas is the perfect time to renew old friendship.
In early December, while in the NYC area, Jim, Barry, Kara and I were invited for a wonderful dinner in the home of my dear friend from high school Jim McDonald. He used to call me everyday for years, we attended a few formal dances together at Canevin, kept in touch while commuting to classes in college. Jim even attended our wedding. The last time I saw Jim was in winter of 1981 while I was exploring Dinosaur hall with Barry who was just a little over one year old at the time.
I sent a card to Jim's NYC address hoping to reconnect. He called, same voice, to tell me he was happy to hear from me and my card arrived on his birthday March 9th. Somethings are just meant to be. Here we are outside a German Restaurant around Gramercy Square after seeing each other for the first time in 28 years.
After a day of sharing laughs and memories Jim treated us to be his VIP guests for a trip to the top of the Empire State Building 100 club. It was great to have my high school friend conversing with Barry & Kara as adults. When the evening was over they said, "Mom, you have cool friends, we would have been friends with Jim too."

Thank you Jim for a great day, we are defiantly going to keep in touch more often now.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

"Christmas is forever, not for just one day, for loving, sharing, giving, are not to put away like bells and lights and tinsel, in some box upon a shelf. The good you do for others is good you do yourself..."

Norman Wesley Brooks, Let Every Day Be Christmas, 1976

No matter what time I go to bed at night, there high probability that I will be the first one awake in the morning. Being the first one awake, alone in the quite, in the presence of the Christmas tree, offers a opportunity for peaceful meditation. The decorations on my Christmas tree, like my life, are a collage from relationships I treasure.

The oldest item on my tree is this fan, made from a piece of lace that belonged to my great grandmother.

There are a few glass bulbs that my mother saved from her family Christmas tree at home before she married my father in 1951. These ornaments were present on the Christmas trees throughout my childhood.

In 1973, while I was still in high school, I began to collect Christmas ornaments. During my teenage years in the 1970's the country was in an economic recession much the same a this year.

When I grew up I was very appreciative to receive a gift from my grandmothers that was either a small token or perhaps a $5 gift to purchase something I wanted on sale after Christmas.

I have vivid memory of taking the PAT bus into downtown Pittsburgh, going to the top floor of Joseph Horne's department store. This was the same Christmas Village where my mother took my brothers and I to "visit Santa" for years. Christmas items were not on sale until after the holiday back then. After looking through many tables of decorations lavish with large selections all half off ornaments I decided to purchase this rather large glass ornament reduced 1/2 off to $5. I wonder what this ornament is worth in today's market?

"Christmas Around the World" is painted with stylized children depicting many nationalities in native garments of Santa with children from around the world. On the back of the ornament I added the year, 1973, in glue writing coated with sprinkles. This is way too crafty for my aesthetics today, however, everyone has to start somewhere.

Almost every year since 1973 I have added to my ornament collection including; handmade, purchased, gifts from my CCD students, ornaments to mark our first year married 1978, Barry's first Christmas 1980, Kara's first Christmas 1984, a cable car from my brother Fred in California and numerous ornaments either made by or purchased for my children. As is true with all of my furniture and home decor, I have a story behind every ornament that I hang on my tree.

After this Christmas, with both tears and joy, I will begin to divide my treasured collection of ornaments. I purchased special storage boxes for Barry & Kara that will protect my ornaments with hope that they will assimilate my past into their future Christmas trees.

New items I am enjoying on my tree this year are two of the "Heavenly Notes" Hair Adornments I made from hand dyed silk, silk screen text and vintage jewelry embellishment.

This year has been very difficult for many people. I don't know anyone who is going to put 2009 on the top ten list as their favorite year. Life stresses ranging from; job loss, reduction of income, serious health issues, death of loved one, divorce, revelation of extramarital affairs, betrayal of a trusted friendship, bankruptcy and foreclosure have darken many days this year. These events happen every year of course, this year it seemed to have happen all too often, too close together. These events may be seen as tragic ending or ways to launch future adventures pregnant with possibilities.

When I was a teen, I enjoyed a novel by Betty Smith, first published in 1963 Joy in the Morning, “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.” - Psalm 30:5

Find some time to sit in front of your Christmas tree at the close of 2009.

  • Remember the people who have been woven forever into the fabric the creates your life.
  • Have the courage to remove elements that are creating a negative effect.
  • Dream what direction you want you life to pursue.
  • Share with others from your heart, not just your excess.
  • Invite a lonely person to share some time with you.
  • Share your talents with others
  • Learn that is much better to give than to hoard for yourself.

When we give ourselves, our goods away we make room for new adventures, new possibilities.

"Christmas is forever, not for just one day, for loving, sharing, giving, are not to put away like bells and lights and tinsel, in some box upon a shelf. The good you do for others is good you do yourself..."

Saturday, December 12, 2009

TIS the year’s midnight, and it is the day’s,Lucy’s, who scarce seven hours herself unmasks... A NOCTURNAL UPON ST. LUCY’S DAY,BEING THE SHORTEST John Donne
St. Lucia's Day is celebrated on December 13th with the celebration beginning before sunrise. While it is still dark, the oldest girl in the household bakes Lucia bullar ( see image), or St. Lucia's buns, and brews hot coffee and cocoa for her family. She dresses in a white robe with a red sash and puts a crown like an evergreen wreath with candles in it upon her head. Then, in the darkness, she goes to each bedroom, delivering the warm drinks and treats to her family, on a tray.

Kara and have been wanting to make St Lucy Rolls for years. This recipe is adapted from about four different recipes I have been researching including one from Kirsten's , American Girls cookbook. Of course, as usual, I am light on the sugar and substitute my beloved whole wheat flour anytime a recipe calls for bleached white flour. The texture will be a bit courser, full bodied, with a nutty taste but isn't that the point for using whole wheat flour. Yes I did use fresh Saffron in my recipe. It is expensive but the only way to enjoy the unique taste of these rolls. I plan to make Swedish Meatballs and Chipino Seafood Stew/Soup when I have a full house during the holiday season so the purchase will be put to good use.

St. Lucia Buns

1 package active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water (105-115 degrees)
1/2 cup lukewarm milk (scalded then cooled)
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened
2 eggs
½ teaspoon ground cardamom
½ teaspoon powdered saffron
3 cups fine ground whole wheat flour
Raisins for garnish
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 tablespoon water
Sugar for sprinkling
Dissolve the yeast in warm water in a large bowl. Stir in milk, sugar, butter, eggs, cardamom, salt, saffron and three cups of the flour. Beat until smooth. Stir in enough of the remaining flour to make dough easy to handle. Turn dough onto lightly floured surface; knead until smooth.
Place in greased bowl, cover, and let rise until double. Punch down dough; divide into 24 parts. Shape each piece into an S-shaped rope, curling in both ends.
Put a raisin in the center of each curl. Place rolls on greased cookie sheet. Brush tops lightly with butter; let rise until doubled. Mix the egg and the tablespoon of water; brush buns lightly with
the mixture. Sprinkle with sugar. .

Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes
Yields about one dozen buns.

Yes, I realize there is a NOEL candle holder with this Scandinavian St. Lucy Feast Day celebration. Isn't that what life is all about, finding ways to connect, incorporate new ways into familiar traditions, create your own traditions. If you look for differences you will find them, if you look for ways to make things work together, things will work better. During this darkest time of the year sharing baked goods fresh and hot from the oven just may bring a bit of light into someones heart. Don't keep love, pass it around...

"How could one be in this world without feeling dismayed by it? Even if one paints flowers and gingerbread." - Gerhard Richter, German Artist, born 19

"And I had but one penny in the world. Thou should’st have it to buy gingerbread." – William Shakespeare, Love’s Labours Lost

Second only to the fragrance of a fresh cut pine tree; the aroma of fresh gingerbread baking in the oven conjures up pleasant images of Christmas festivities in my head.

Most artists are self absorbed finding nothing quite as fascinating as themselves. That being said, it was interesting to learn that ginger bread, popular in all the countries in Europe, has it's roots in Germany. Since my family line can be traced back to Nuremberg, Germany I am fascinated to learn the history of gingerbread from it's humble beginning of soft bread crumbs, honey, cinnamon and ginger pressed into elaborate wooden molds carved into the shape of the reigning king or other current events. In America, present day sweet aromatic cake can be made firm enough to shape a ginger bread house, boy or served as a soft cake like confection. Who does not love the taste of ginger bread?

"Gingerbread was not baked in homes in the fifteenth century, but rather was made by government-recognized guilds. Nuremberg, Germany was the location of the best known guild."

"In Germany the Christmas period is full of customs, with the German Christmas Market a sight in many towns and cities for hundreds of years now. At these festive events food and drink are high on the agenda, with Gluhwein and Egg punch being used to wash down all kinds of edible delights. German Gingerbread or Lebkuchen as they call it, is a staple part of festive celebrations. Originally it was made by local organizations under government control. These guilds, such as the Nuremberg guild, became well known and their names remain today as indications of the humble gingerbread's past. The Nuremberg guild also decorated their bread with icing and, since the seventeenth century, it has been recognized as the standard by which other brands of Lebkuchen are measured."

"Nuremberg became known as the "gingerbread capital" of the world and as with any major trading center, many fine craftsmen were attracted to the town. Sculptors, painters, woodcarvers and goldsmiths all contributed to the most beautiful gingerbread cakes in Europe. Gifted craftsmen carved intricate wooden molds, artists assisted with decoration in frosting or gold paint. Incredibly fancy hearts, angels, wreaths and other festive shapes were sold at fairs, carnivals and markets."

"Nuremberg (Nürnberg), Bavaria’s second-largest city,is the home of clockmakers and gingerbread bakers. Nurenberg is also the home of my great grandmother Kunigunda Romsaur who emigrated to American in 1841 settling in Western New York. Baking, cooking and sewing garments provides a spiritual connection with the women in my family.

The freshly baked slice of Gingerbread Cake shown in the image above is served on a dessert dish made by
L. Bernardaud & Co. Limoges B & C0 France.
The complete set of china belonged to my grandmother, Clara Lemminger Rice. It traveled with her from Buffalo, New York to her first home in Pittsburgh 1931 on Elsinore Square,
Later the china moved along with Clara Rice to Edgehill Ave. in Dormont, to Lovingston Rd in Mt. Lebanon, to Wilmington, Delaware, to a condo on the beach in Boca Raton, Florida then to New Smyrna Beach, Florida. The china was delivered back north to me on Great Oak Dr. in Pittsburgh after my Aunt Mary's death by her husband Jack along with The Rice FamilyBook of family history and pictures in 1998. These treasured processions moved along with me to Clarence, New York in 1999.

Here is my recipe for Ginger Bread Cake

1 1/4 cups fine ground whole wheat flour
1 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 stick butter, softened
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup molasses
1 egg
1/2 cup boiling water

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour 9" cake pan.
Mix flour, baking powder, ginger, baking soda and cinnamon in medium bowl; set aside.
2. Beat butter, brown sugar and molasses in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until well mixed. Add eggs; beat well. Add flour mixture alternately with boiling water, beating on low speed after each addition until smooth. Pour into prepared pans.
3. Bake 18 to 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
Cool in pans 10 minutes. Remove from pans; cool completely on wire rack.

I whipped about 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream, real vanilla extract, flecks of real vanilla bean and 1/4 cup sugar to form a topping. Spoon a dollop on top and sprinkle with a dash of cinnamon & ginger if desired.

Create some Christmas treasured memories of your own baking ginger bread.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

"Come, St. Nicholas, patron of shoppers and gift-seekers, and make Christmas this year fun, creative and love-filled."

A St. Nicholas’ Note . . . . . . . . . . . . . . "It is fitting that the feast of St. Nicholas comes at the beginning of Advent and the beginning of the shopper’s season. As the patron saint of shoppers he proclaims, ‘Keep it simple!’ Keep it simple enough to fit in a shoe or a stocking.
"Come, St. Nicholas, patron of shoppers and gift-seekers, and make Christmas this year fun, creative and love-filled."
Edward Hays, A Pilgrim’s Almanac (adapted)

The perfect Santa Belles at our Unique Boutique table @ Campwoods Grounds in Ossining N.Y. Poised in this charming hamlet many locals and visitors were anxious to support artists selling handmade items. So refreshing to hear men, woman and teen girls excited about their purchases to give as gifts or to keep for themselves. Many were telling us where they picture installing their items in a window or on the wall illuminated by lighting to enjoying between being wearable art. Thanks to Rena Casey-Wilhelm for organizing the 1st Unique Boutique sale as well as all of the shoppers who supported the artists.

The Boutique sale was just the beginning of a delightful weekend. I spent perhaps the most delightful St. Nicholas celebration of my life as guests in the home of Meghan's family friends.

Invitations into this exponentially growing connection of friends began through Meghan, who is engaged to my son Barry. Kara met everyone during her visit in October when she came home talking for days about how much I am going to love this family. I was invited to partake in a homemade Sicilian Sauce with Pasta & Garden Salad meal at their home since I am the Momma.
Barry, Kara and Meghan are so right; I fell in love with their friends and their charming home within seconds of my arrival. The evening got better every minute until we walked out into a gentle snowfall late in the evening.

Being invited as a guest into ones home is a treasured privilege, the home is the place where one can relax and allow your individualism to shine. Only close friends and relatives are invited into the sanctity of the house to share in house hospitality, it is the one place where more informal communication may occur.

Not wanting to invade privacy, I will refrain from sharing images except for this one showing the dining room table laden with lovely roses, chocolate candies, sweet oranges and even marzipan. Thank you Catherine for the lovely petits fours.

After dinner we relaxed around the fireplace. Here is Misha on the carpet and the final image is of me holding hands with Toby, the contemplative, adorable, pampered pet Poodle.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Nothing Says Loving Like Something from the Oven - 1933 Cookbook Pages -- DESERT - HOME BAKING

"Nothing Says Loving Like Something from the Oven "- 1933 Cookbook Pages -- DESERT - HOME BAKING
Over the river and through the woods, well maybe more like across NY State 90 we go for a weekend visit with Barry and Meghan.
My excitement is building as I sort through what is necessary and what needs to stay behind to make this an efficient, enjoyable visit.
Barry requested that I bring a few samples from our Thanksgiving dinner. Adittionally, I decided to bake some of our family favorites Danish Nut Horn Rolls to bring love from my home to his.
On Saturday we are graciously invited to be dinner guests in of the Ellsburg family home who are good friends of Barry and Meghan. Having heard so many nice things about this family I look forward to meeting them this weekend. Of course I assembled a package of the Nut Rolls as a hostess gift.

On Sunday afternoon I am invited to be a dinner guest of my good friend from Canevin High School, James McDonald. He mentioned something about making Flan for dessert to follow his Italian dinner. Who can resisit a dinner invitation to the bounty of a mans kitchen. I want to be sure he knows how much I appreciate this dinner invitation so I am making a package of the Nut Rolls to share my baking with Jim too.

This Danish Nut Horn Roll recipe made it's first appearance into my mother's repertoire of baking extravaganzas more than 45 years ago. She received it from her Austrian friend and neighbor I affectionately called Aunt Martha.

Danish Nut Rolls

3/4 plus 2 Tablespoons of Evaporated Milk
3 cups flour (I used King Arthur white unbleached whole wheat flour with great results)
2 sticks of butter room temperature
1 pkg dry yeast
2 Tablespoons warm water
1 tsp pure lemon extract ( I also grate fresh lemon zest into the dough)
3 eggs ( separate, add egg yolks to the dough, reserve the egg white, cover with plastic wrap, store in the refrig overnight)

I put all of the above ingredients and mix together in my Kitchen Aid mixer using the bread dough hook for about 5 minutes; be sure to scrape the dry ingredients off the sides of the bowl. When thoroughly mixed cover with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator over night.

Next day, preheat oven 375 degree oven.

Beat egg whites with Kitchen Aid mixer into a fluffy whip consistency, beat in 1 cup white sugar, ( I keep sugar on the light side) continue to beat until stiff. Fold in 1 cut chopped nuts, I used a half walnut/half pecan mix.

On a pastry cloth covered in 10X sugar, cut dough into four equal parts, roll out one section at a time on the 10x sugar to prevent sticking. Spread on quarter of the nut meringue mixture over the circle of dough.

Cut a cross making four quarters, divide each quarter into two, three or four wedges to make large rolls or smaller sized cookies.

Roll up each wedge from the wide side first to make an attractive roll.
Bake for around 20 minutes in a 375 degree oven.

I plan to make this recipe a few time to give as special gifts throughout this Holiday Season.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

"The world is a carousel of color,

"The world is a carousel of color,
Wonderful, wonderful color."
Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color lyrics

Holidays stir up memories of childhood for many people. We remember people with whom we shared our early days, traditional holiday foods and yes the special gifts we received as children that we will always treasure. When I was around five years old I received a tin box, embossed, painted, hinged with a slot in the top to be use as bank. Almost fifty years later I still have this box and the memory of it's contents; underpants delicately embroidered with the days of the week each in a different color.
I loved wearing those underpants and was careful to wear them in the correct order.
This new collection of long skinny scarves by rice rafferty reminds me of days of the week underpants, enjoy a different color everyday of the week.

Each one of a kind, hand dyed, individual patterned skinny scarf is either 7 x 70" or 7 x 90", looks great worn alone to wrap yourself in color or layered two or more to create your unique look.

Items can be custom made; size, hues, pattern design to fit you.

Remember, no two scarves are ever alike, this is the difference between investing in an original painting or a paint by numbers kit.

Select as gifts for special people or wrap yourself in luxurious rayon/ silk velvet

rice rafferty will be available at Historic Campgrounds, Unique Holiday Boutique in Ossining, New York. (Hudson River area)

Buy American made, quality products, support local craftsmen and artists.
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