Thursday, December 31, 2009

Before There was Burger King, There was Molly

In an earlier post I gave a recipe for oatmeal cookies, but I have to tell you how I actually make them, but first the back story.

When I was growing up, my mother had a take it or leave it policy regarding food. Don't like frog loaf, too bad, it's what's for dinner. There was no option to make yourself a frozen pizza or a peanut butter sandwich. I was also of the clean plate generation, so over the years my siblings and I ate a lot of things we didn't like. When I married and moved to my husband's home town, things were much different. Tom's mother made everyone exactly what they wanted. You like cold fried chicken? I'll put it in the freezer while I get everything else ready. Counting calories? I'll bake yours instead. You want your chocolate pie warm? I'll put it in the oven a bit while we have supper. (pre microwave days) We always went to her home on Sundays and at least once a week when I didn't feel like making dinner. I'd call and ask her if we could come, and she never turned us down. It was always a spread.

My cooking is a hybrid of my mother's and my mother in law's styles, but I do carry the recipe for oatmeal cookies to the extreme. When I make them, I just make one batch. In the final stages I pull out some of the dough for my daughter who doesn't like nuts. When a friend came for Christmas one year, he didn't like dried fruits, so I made his with just nuts and chocolate chips. It gets complicated, but like Molly, I say, "Have it your Way".

Molly died two years ago today, and I will always live by the lessons she taught me. Thanks!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Birthday Presents Under the Tree

Anyone who has a late December birthday knows the challenge of sharing the celebration with the festivities of the Christmas season. My Mother's birthday was December 21st, and my older daughter's is December 31st. I married into a family with three birthdays in late December, so there have always been birthday presents under the tree. I did a little creative wrapping this year and used what I had in the studio to make festive gift wrap. Freezer paper for wrapping, and markers and gel pens for drawing and embellishing. Happy Birthday Laurel!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

More Fiber Arts in Jordan

good fortune camelsOn our last day of the tour, we visited the Roman city of Jerash, about 45 minutes from Amman. The columns of the city were beautiful, and many of the Corinthian capitals are beautifully preserved. Of course you always leave a historic site through the gift shop plaza. In one of the shops, I found these camels, made just like Kelli Perkins good fortune birds. I’m making three sets of Kelli’s birds for a swap, but maybe I’ll make some camels too.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Carter’s Oatmeal Cookies

It just wouldn’t be Christmas without these cookies. My mother came up with this recipe forty-five years ago, and it is still my family’s favorite cookie. The original recipe included raisins, but when my children came along, they turned up their noses at anything with raisins in it, so I substituted dried cranberries.

Carter’s Oatmeal Cookies

1 Cup Crisco (don’t even think about a substitute)
1C brown sugar
1C white sugar
2 beaten eggs
1t. vanilla extract
1t. baking soda
3/4 t. salt
1/4 t. nutmeg
1 t. cinnamon
1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
2 1/2 cups quick cooking oatmeal (not instant)
2 cups goodies (I use 2/3 cup each of chocolate chips, pecans, and dried cranberries)


Cream sugars and shortenings, add eggs. Add vanilla and mix well. Add soda, salt, nutmeg and cinnamon. Mix, then add flour. Mix again, then add oatmeal. After more mixing add nuts, chips and fruits. Drop on cookie sheet and bake 12-15 minutes at 375 degrees. Forty five years ago, it made 60 cookies, but along with everything else, they have been supersized, so you might get 45-50 cookies.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Fiber Arts in Jordan

Shortly after we arrived in Jordan, we visited the city of Madaba and saw its beautiful mosaics in a 6th century Byzantine church. While walking from the bus to the church, we passed a store with beautiful handmade dolls. I just had to have one.doll from Madaba

Journal Pages (corrected)

Tom and I just returned from a wonderful trip to Israel and Jordan. I tried something new with my journal on this trip. Before we left I painted several pages in an inexpensive sketchbook. While we were traveling, I dated each page, then listed the letters of the alphabet. During the day, I would jot down a word or a phrase for as many of the letters as I could. Many letters had more than one entry. Then at the end of the day, I would doodle all over the pages with a type of drawing inspired by zentangles. I found it very relaxing, and while doodling, I would always remember other things to add to the list of the day’s events.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Extreme Shepherding

I found this video on Robinsunne's blog, It will make you smile.

click here to see video

We leave for Israel tomorrow morning. I promise photos when we get back. My Christmas shopping is done, and today I’m packing and cleaning up my studio so it’s all ready for me when I return.