Archive for the ‘Gifts’ Category

In the Little House books, Laura Ingalls recalls how rich they felt on Christmas to open their stockings and have a few pieces of candy and an orange.  How things have changed!  But this always reminds me of my own nostalgic recollections of Christmas Eve when I was growing up.  (more…)

The only thing better than a great candy recipe is a great candy recipe with only three ingredients, filled with things that are good for you and that is completely simple.  So, without further ado, I present to you…Sea-Salted Smoky Almond Chocolate Bark, the new star in your homemade candy firmament.  It has a place every year, along with my Peanut Butter Fudge and biscotti, on the plates I take to the librarians and people who work at other places I frequent, and is always a big hit.  Put that star power to work for you this year and just smile deprecatingly when people rave about how good it is.  (I gave out recipes to two of the painters just today.)  🙂 (more…)

It’s Wednesday, so it must be time for weekly writing fun with the Friday Fictioneers.  Happy birthday to November-born Fictioneers Lora, Charles, Madison (founder and still participant) and Russell.  Many happy returns and copious blessings in the upcoming year.  Rochelle, you’re the current hostess-with-the-mostess and Sean thanks for this week’s picture.  Read more by clicking on the link at the bottom of the page and have a wonderful Thanksgiving!  (Yes,  I know it’s not until next week, but it’s never too early for good wishes.  And continued prayers for all those still without power and otherwise impacted by Hurricane Sandy.  We’re so grateful for all those helping during this whole time!)

Copyright Sean Fallon

Power Source

When the redolence of pumpkin pie filled the house and brightly-hued leaves beautified the yard, Mom brought out the jar.  As the spareness of winter approached, she said it reminded her where her power came from.

She somehow remembered what every battery represented: a friend who’d helped when Dad  lost his job, the blessings of a thriving garden, each of us.  Some were more whimsical—one for the flowers Dad gave her each birthday, one for each memorable trip they’d taken, one for libraries.

There was a bigger jar each year.  Mom said the jar reminded her of God.

(If you got this via email, I made a few small changes, changes that came to me while cleaning this morning.  I think they make the story better, but I hope you enjoyed it either way.)


We discovered Grandpa’s Cider Mill (https://sustainabilitea.wordpress.com/2012/11/02/cider-mill/) on our way to The Chocolate Garden, http://www.chocolategarden.com/ in near Colomo, Michigan, where our older daughter wanted to stop to get a gift.  (more…)

Last night found me hustling around the kitchen making and baking biscotti. I posted the recipes for chocolate chip biscotti and honey almond biscotti in a previous post, https://sustainabilitea.wordpress.com/2012/02/14/biscotti-for-valentines-day/, but these are special biscotti, the Black Forest biscotti that contain both tart cherries and dark chocolate chips, as well as cocoa powder.  Like other biscotti, these make great gifts.  I imagine you could gild the biscotti lily by dipping these in chocolate, either on one end or on one side, but they’re just fine the way they are.  Enjoy!

                                                                Black Forest Biscotti

Preheat oven to 350. Bring water just to boiling, add cherries and set aside.

1/2 c. dried tart cherries (2 1/4 oz.)
1 c. water

Cream:

1/4 c. butter, room temp.
3/4 c. sugar

Blend into butter/sugar combination:

2 eggs
1 t. each vanilla extract and almond extract

Fold in:

1/2 c. chocolate chips (I like to use Ghiradelli double chocolate for that dark chocolate taste.)

Drain cherries, pat dry and stir in.

Sift together in another bowl:

2 c. + 2 T unbleached flour
1/3 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 t. salt
1 1/2 t. baking powder.

Fold wet ingredients into dry until dough holds together when pressed with lightly floured hands.

Place on an oiled/sprayed baking sheet. Shape into a 14 X 4 X 1″ long. Bake 25-30 minutes or until just firm and slightly brown. When cool enough to handle (about 10 minutes), cut into 3/4″ pieces. Bake for 5 more minutes per side.

Optional: Add 1/2 c. sliced, toasted almonds.

(about 20)
from Moosewood Restaurant New Classics

Ready to bake for the first time.  If you don’t have a pan long enough, just make two shorter logs.

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After a 10-minute cooling period, slice.  An electric knife works wonderfully for this.  Return to the pan, but the little piece at each end is the baker’s prize!

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Ready for the second baking of 5 minutes per side.

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Cooling.  Be sure to wait until the chocolate chips (melted now) have cooled before eating!

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By Saturday afternoon, Bill and I will have reached another milestone on our trip together through life–28 years of marriage.  It’s been quite a ride!

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My parents bought me this coat rack in Cody, Wyoming many years ago as a surprise and I’ve treasured its beauty in my everyday life, as well as the love it represents, each day since.

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