The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places; Indeed, my heritage is beautiful to me. ~ Psalm 16:6 nasb

Friday, March 29, 2013

Scotch Shortbread Cookies

Two days of cookies!  Yay!!

Yesterday's post featured Frosted sugar cookies.  Today we have Scotch shortbread cookies.  While sugar cookies will hit your sweet spot, these shortbread cookies are deliciously light and simple.  These two cookies complement each other well.

Scotch shortbread cookies surround pink frosted sugar cookies.

A plate of Scotch shortbread.

You may notice that my Scotch shortbread cookies show flecks of brown in them.  That's because I used a combination of Golden White Flour, with the bran and germ included, plus a little of my home-ground soft wheat flour.  Since my grinder doesn't grind as finely, you'll see the flecks of wheat in the cookies.

Recipe credit:  My friend Linda gave me this recipe.  Here she is at a Christmas tea, holding her favorite tea mug.

On to the recipe.  It's really easy.  Three ingredients.  Can you handle that?  I also double the below recipe, because you can never have enough cookies on hand and because they freeze so well.

Linda's Scotch Shortbread Cookies

1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
2 1/2 cups flour (I use Golden White, which includes the bran and germ)

Cream butter and sugar.  Stir in flour.

Here's the only "tricky" part.  The recipe instructs you to chill several hours--it'll be hard as a rock, though.  Chill an hour, two at the most.  Or, chill until whenever, then pull it out of the fridge and let it sit for an hour or two, or until you can roll it out.

Roll the dough 1/4" to 1/2" thick on a floured surface.  I floured very lightly, and it was just fine.  Cut cookies out with a 1 3/4" cutter.  I used a 1 1/2" heart-shaped cutter, which worked great.  I think smaller cutters are better than the really big ones for this recipe.

Bake on an ungreased cookie sheet at 300 degrees Fahrenheit for 25-30 minutes.  They don't really brown, unless you've severely overbaked them, so keep an eye on them.  They should look set.  I never know myself when to pull them out of the oven, but I haven't ever ruined them, so bake according to your oven's tendencies (I tend to have to bake slightly longer).

Cool slightly; remove from pan.  Makes about 42 cookies.

Yeah, you know I took pictures.  (I love picture books!)

I mixed the dough--a double batch, of course--in my Bosch Universal Mixer.  Awesome machine.

I put the dough in a 4-cup glass measuring bowl, covered with plastic wrap, and chilled it.

Stacked by Danny (notice the perfect pattern) in a freezer container.

Not too sweet, but sweetly simple.

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Thursday, March 28, 2013

Frosted Sugar Cookies

We all need a little dessert every now and then.  If you're looking for sweet, this recipe fits the bill.   I made these for a bridal shower, along with Scotch shortbread cookies, and interspersed the two among my pretty white china plates.  They were beautiful.

Frosted sugar cookies (in pink), surrounded by Scotch shortbread cookies.

I took home empty plates.

Credit:  I found the original recipe here on High Heels & Grills.  I think she got the original elsewhere, too (she's got the link in her blog post), so you know these cookies are good.

Also, if you click on over to the other recipe, you'll see pictures of beautiful square cookies.  I wanted to try making little hearts with my Pampered Chef heart cutout (about 1.5" in diameter), so mine look different.  Squares are a lot easier; trust me on this.

Frosted Sugar Cookies


2 1/2 cups pastry flour (I use the really good stuff with the bran/wheat intact; substitute all-purpose)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder (I use Rumford aluminum-free)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup cane juice crystals (or sugar)
1 egg (I use pasture-raised fresh)
1 1/2 tablespoons sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.  In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt.  Set aside.

In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about three minutes.  (The longer you beat it, the fluffier your cookies will be.)  Add egg and combine well.  Add sour cream and vanilla and mix until completely blended.  Slowly add the flour mixture and stir until well combined.

Gently press the batter into the greased baking dish and spread out with hands.  If things get sticky, butter or oil your hands.  Place dish in oven and bake for 17-20 minutes, or until edges become lightly golden.  Set aside to cool completely.  Completely.  I mean it.


1/2 cup butter, softened
4 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup half-n-half
1 teaspoon vanilla
pinch of salt
several drops of food coloring, if desired

In a medium bowl, cream together butter, powdered sugar, and half-n-half until light and fluffy.  Stir in vanilla and salt; combine well.  Add food coloring until desired color is achieved.  Frost your cooled cookie in an even layer; cut into squares and serve.

That's the recipe in words; here it is in yummy pictures:

The dough is really soft!

Gently press into the baking dish (I used a 13x9 Pampered Chef stoneware)

Aaand, since I doubled the recipe, I also used a glassware dish.  :)

Golden on the edges.

Let it cool completely--or your frosting will melt and you'll have a mess.

I tinted my frosting pink for the bridal shower--a red, white, and pink affair.

Spread the frosting evenly on the sheet cookie.

Cut your cookies into squares and lift out with a spatula.  I used a little heart cookie cutter.

Once I was able to lift the sheet cookie out of the pan, I worked on a cutting board.

There were a lot of frosted pieces left when I used a cookie cutter.  But I have guys at home who helped me out and ate all the pieces.  Thanks, guys!  (Of course I ate some, too--I had to test them, y'know.)

The finished cookies.  Don't use a cookie cutter unless you have a lot of time to kill.  Trust me.

Remember, they're not cooling on that rack above!  They're already cooled.  Completely.  No, I didn't mess up that step; I just want to make sure you don't either.

Frosted sugar cookies and Scotch shortbread cookies, ready for a bridal shower.

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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Hummus Spiced Up

As I sit here huddled in my blankets typing this post, I'm thinking of heat.  A bit of global warming would be really nice right about now.  Heat of any kind sounds good to me--and that's why I'm posting this recipe.

Credit--I found the original recipe on All Recipes.  My friend directed me to it, but warned me that the chef who created the recipe probably wrote down the ingredient amounts she thought she used.  I took the original and experimented.  You know me by now--everything was written down, then changed if I added more, or erased if it didn't work.  The "new and improved" recipe is here now, to warm you up on the inside, even if it's still snowing in March, like it is here.

Dry beans--Please use them!  They're so much more economical than canned, and so much healthier for you!  Yes, you have to plan!  Yes, I'm using exclamation points!  :)

Jalapeño Hummus

This makes a large batch (about four cups), so if there are just a few of you, you'll want to halve everything.

2 cups dry garbanzo beans, prepared (keep the liquid!!)
1/3 cup canned jalapeño peppers (I use my home-canned ones, with the liquid)
4 tablespoons tahini
5 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons lemon juice (I try to use fresh)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
salt to taste (for this big batch, I use about one teaspoon)

Prepare the garbanzo beans:  Sort, measure into a pot (3-quart pot works nicely for this amount), and cover with water.  Let soak overnight or several hours (dry beans need to be soaked!).  After soaking, drain, re-cover with fresh water, bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for 2-3 hours or until soft.  Drain most of the liquid off, reserving it (you'll need it!).  Now on to the recipe.

You may use a blender--put all the ingredients in it.  Or you may use a stick blender--plop the blender into a bowl with all the ingredients in it.  (A full-size blender will produce a creamier consistency.)  I use a stick blender because it's faster and there's less to clean up.

Blend everything up.  Use the reserved liquid, adding it bit by bit as you blend, to achieve the consistency you desire.  That's the whole recipe--how hard is that??

Of course you'll want to taste test the yumminess.  Add more jalapeños if it's not spicy enough, or more garlic if you love that.  Serve with tortilla chips, pita chips, spread on crackers, eat by the spoonful.  Oh, and lick the bowl when you're done.  Yum.

Jalapeño hummus with tortilla chips.  Spicy yum!

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Monday, March 25, 2013

Sweet Potato Muffins

I never thought to put the words potato and muffins together.  But some brilliant cook did.  And I have her to thank for it.

I'd really like to give credit where credit is due, but I can't remember where I got this recipe!  I searched online a few different places, to no avail.  I cut the recipe out of a magazine; the backside of the recipe has a story about Groundhog Day, but I couldn't find a catalog or date reference. 

If you've browsed my blog's recipes, you'll know that I do things from scratch as much as possible.  Well, the same goes for this particular recipe.  Please don't tell me if you're using canned sweet potatoes.  I don't think I could handle it.  ;)

I baked my sweet potatoes--I actually used organic garnet yams--in a covered stoneware dish in my oven for a little over an hour at 350 degrees.  Once they were soft, I let them cool, scooped out the pulp, mashed it with a pastry blender (easier to clean than a potato masher), and measured out the amount I needed for the recipe.  I used 5 small-ish yams and had a little bit left over--good enough to eat straight.  (Someone please tell me the difference between sweet potatoes and yams...)

I've made modifications for our own family's tastes and diet, and the recipe I'm sharing with you today has those modifications included.

Also, the original recipe's yield was 20-22 muffins, a rather strange amount.  I simply doubled the recipe and made larger muffins, so my yield is three dozen.  It worked out well, since I have two Pampered Chef nonstick muffin pans, plus one Pampered Chef stoneware muffin pan.  You could always bake two dozen muffins, and put the remaining batter in a bread loaf pan (or a mini loaf pan!).  Or, just bake the muffins in batches.

The batter, topped with cinnamon sugar.

I'm sure these freeze well, but that's something I'll have to try in the future.   You see, I made three dozen of these delicious muffins, one of which we ate for Saturday brunch.  The other two dozen I brought to church for our weekly potluck meal.  My men--especially my husband--argued that I should just bring hotdogs to church and leave the muffins for them.  I was tempted.

Sweet Potato Muffins

two sticks butter, softened
2 1/2 cups cane juice crystals (or sugar; you can also probably get away with using just 2 cups)
4 eggs (I use farm fresh from pasture-raised hens)
2 1/2 cups cooked and mashed sweet potatoes (or yams)
1/2 to 2/3 cup milk (I used homemade kefir and measured somewhere in-between)

Dry Ingredients (mix these up in a bowl, which I did the night before)
3 1/2 cups freshly milled soft wheat flour (use less if you're using white or store-bought)
4 teaspoons baking powder (I use Rumford aluminum-free)
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon (I use spices from Penzeys)
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg (I grate mine from whole nutmeg; use a lot less if you do this!)

Options (I didn't use these)
1 cup raisins
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  (If you use dark muffin tins, lower the temperature to 350 degrees.  So says Pampered Chef.)  Cream the butter until light and fluffy.  Gradually add the cane juice crystals, beating on medium speed.  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Stir in the sweet potatoes and milk (I just kept using my electric mixer).  Add in the dry ingredients, stirring until just moistened.  If you're using the raisins and pecans, fold them in now.  The pecans would be a nice touch on top of the muffins, if that floats your boat.  :)

Spoon the batter into greased muffin pans (I use coconut oil; you can also use muffin papers), filling about 2/3 full.  Sprinkle the tops with sugar and cinnamon.  (I mix two cups of cane juice crystals with two tablespoons of cinnamon and store it in a jar.)  The recipe says to sprinkle liberally.  I ditto that.

Bake for 18-25 minutes.  It's always best to use the shorter time, then add time as needed.  For my muffins, I baked for 18 minutes, then added a total of about six more minutes.  I had my oven at 350 degrees, too, so make sure you check your muffins!  Test for doneness with a cake tester or toothpick; it should come out clean.

Warm from the oven, with butter.  Fork needed.

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Tuesday, March 12, 2013

News Flash -- News News News!!

I hope the post title got your attention.  :)

This blog is not new.  Same old address.  I've got lots of food pictures, so there will be something new here:  lots of recipes!!!!

What's new, you ask?  My business website.  It's short and simple.  Like me.

My business name didn't change.  Just the web address:  See?  Short and sweet.  Click on over there to browse some sweet and fun images.

Oh, and click over to my photography blog, too:  CeeAnne Blog.  I shortened that address, as well.  You may need to update your blog feeder, reader, or whatever, since the address changed.

The new web address:

Here's a peek at what I'll be posting over there soon.  Enjoy!

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Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Another Place for Everything

Blog Commercial:  This is Part Two in a two-part series.  Click here to read the step-by-step how-to, with a list of tools you'll need, in Part One.  Now on to our scheduled programming...

After my successful adventure in organizing my peninsula drawer with all its kitchen tools, I decided to keep the ball rolling and design and organize the only other large drawer in my kitchen:  the silverware drawer.

Since the step-by-step instructions are in Part One, I'll show you the step-by-step process in photos here, with a brief explanation as you scroll down.  Photos are better than words, anyway.

The Before Photo:

Tape together paper to fit the size of the drawer.  (Obviously not the first step--first, clean out the drawer, then remove the drawer onto a table.  There.)

Use a yardstick and pencil to design the spaces you want.  Feel free to erase.  A lot.

Lay out drawer items to make sure they'll fit (generally) on the paper spaces.  Keep in mind that the Sturdy Board (which is what I used for the walls) is about 1/8" thick, and you'll lose a little space once it's in place.

Frame out the drawer.  Don't do the side pieces first--do the long, wide pieces first!  We unknowingly did it right the first time--cut the longer, width-side pieces first, then anchor them in place with the shorter side pieces.  Also, the front long-side piece will bow inward just a bit, due to the drawer face screws and knob/handle screws (which you can see below).  Cutting the long pieces first then anchoring them with the side pieces will help those long pieces stay in place.  Remember, cut the long pieces first!

Start cutting out the inner pieces according to your paper design.  All these pieces are the height of the inner drawer side walls--2.5 inches.  (More on that below.)

All the pieces are in place--nothing is secured yet.  (Don't breathe!)

Take a popcorn break.  I did.

Double check all the spaces.

I set several pieces of silverware inside the spaces to check for depth, etc.  Still nothing glued yet--walls kept falling down on me!

Okay, here's an important note:  See the fallen-down walls in the above photo?  Since those walls are deeper in the drawer, we cut their height to two inches, half an inch shorter than the rest of the walls.  This helped with ease of reaching in to the back of the drawer, which is pretty deep, once the drawer is back in its cabinet.  You can see their shorter height in the image below.

Next step--Elmer's Glue!  Just a little around each joint, then let everything dry.  Go do the laundry or something.  More gluing comes later.

I didn't take pictures of the "more gluing" stage for this drawer, since that's detailed in Part One.  You simply put the drawer on its side and place a bead of glue along each seam.  Once those are dry (do some more laundry, or dust, or something), flip the drawer on its other side and place a bead of glue along those seams.  Let those dry, too.  You get to accomplish lots of chores while all the drying takes place.  I did each drawer over a period of two days.  Patience!

Voilà!  The finished drawer is in place and ready to be filled--the most fun part.  Note the walls that are the shorter two-inch height for ease of reaching in!

In Part One, I noted that my walls weren't exactly square; they ended up just a tad bowed in some spots.  That problem persisted in the silverware drawer, as your discerning eye may be able to see in the image above.  But they're generally, decently square, and my own perfectionist heart does not care.  So you shouldn't sweat it, either.

I made a little slot in the front left corner of the drawer for my twister container:

Notice the glue hasn't quite dried in the above image?  I'm not that patient.

In the front right corner, I created a little space for my clothespins bag closure clips.

Also along the front center is a space for cell phone charging cords.  (And the cords are twist-tied so they don't go all over the place!)

The After Photo:

P.S.  We're Not Done Yet.

I found candles floating all over the original silverware drawer.  What to do, what to do...

I love those little zipper-lock craft bags, about 2x3 inches, that you can find at Hobby Lobby!

The candles are contained!

I found a spot for the candle bag in the peninsula drawer, between my Tupperware freezer labels and the Post-In Notes.

Supreme bliss!

***UPDATE:  If you're using your drawer organizer to store heavy items, such as silverware as I've done in this blog post, please read this new blog post to see how I solved the problem (that you'll end up eventually having) of sagging drawer bottoms and creeping kitchen items!

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