Sheared Bliss


Homestead Holiday

Pioneer Celery decorating the tree and looking festive in the bumblebee wrapper

Pioneer J turning out the boiled pudding

The Christmas feast of pork roast, roasted potatoes, preserves, and pork cake

Merry Christmas from the 1860s!



Feelin’ Nutty
December 23, 2010, 10:53 pm
Filed under: Baking, Family & Friends, Food | Tags: , , , , , ,

As you may have gathered, things have been a little bit stressful around here lately.  As a result, it’s taken me a while to start feeling the Christmas spirit.  I think I’m finally getting there though.  The tree is decorated, there are wrapped presents under it, there’s Christmas music playing on Pandora, and I finally baked some Christmas cookies.

Now, I know that a lot of people think that Christmas cookies are, by definition, gingerbread (or possibly sugar) cookies that are rolled out, cut with cookie cutters, and decorated.  I’m not a huge fan of roll-out cookies – I don’t have a good place in my kitchen to do the rolling, I hate the mess it makes, and they’re not even my favorite cookies to eat.  I’m more of a drop cookie kind of girl usually.  However, in my family there are certain cookies that embody the essence of Christmas and I was definitely feeling like a little essence of Christmas was required.

I pondered a couple of options.  From my dad’s side of the family we have kolacky – yummy jam filled squares of cream cheese dough.  However, these require rolling out dough, measuring and cutting it into precise little diamond shapes, and boiling jam.  I just wasn’t up to it this year.  On my mom’s side, one of the major Christmas cookies is the nut cup.  These don’t require rolling out and cutting dough or boiling pots of sticky jam.  They do require mini muffin tins and a bit of patience in shaping the dough – two things I didn’t have.  Luckily, CoworkerK very kindly gifted me a mini muffin tin and my new favorite kitchen gadget which helps to eliminate the fussiness of the dough.  Nut cups, here we come!

Crust

  • 1/2 pound butter
  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • 2 1/2 cups flour (I used a gluten-free flour blend, but you can use whatever kind of flour you prefer)

Filling

  • 1 1/4 cups packed brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped nuts

Preheat the oven to 375º.  Beat the butter and cream cheese together until well combined using the paddle attachment on a stand mixer.  Slowly mix in the flour, changing to the dough hook if the dough starts to climb the paddle.  When the dough comes together in a smooth mass, remove it to a cutting board.

The dough needs to be cut into 48 equally sized pieces.  Roll the dough into a snake and cut it in half.  Cut each resulting snake in half.  Repeat this step until you have 16 small snakes.  Cut each small snake into 3 pieces.

Place one piece of dough into each cup of a mini muffin tin.  Smoosh the heck out of it with my new favorite kitchen gadget (or, you know, shape it gently with your fingers if you’re feeling patient).

Put all of the filling ingredients except the nuts into the work bowl of the stand mixer and beat with the paddle attachment until smooth.  Add the nuts and beat until just combined.  Spoon one teaspoon of filling into each cup.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until the crust is golden and the filling is set.  Let the nut cups cool slightly before removing from the tin.

Cool completely and store in an airtight container or enjoy immediately while warm with a glass of milk or a cup of tea.



Scratch That
December 19, 2010, 9:39 am
Filed under: Randomness

Well, things went a little pear-shaped and crazy-pants.  The job transition is not happening which is both sad and happy.  Ah, well, life goes on.  Back to our (semi-)regularly scheduled blogging!



Life
December 12, 2010, 8:00 pm
Filed under: Randomness, Work

It’s getting in the way of my blogging again.  I’m in the process of changing jobs and I’m going to be pretty crazy busy while the transition is happening.  That combined with the holidays means it may be a little quiet around here for a while.  I do have quite a few FOs to catch up on.  Hopefully I’ll find time to post some of those periodically until my schedule calms down again.  Wish me luck with the new job!



Queen City
December 12, 2010, 12:36 am
Filed under: Family & Friends | Tags: , , ,

I confess, I’m a bad blogger.  CodeMonkey and I spent almost a week and a half visiting my family for Thanksgiving and I didn’t take a single picture the whole time we were there.  While I remembered to pack my camera, it somehow stayed packed cozily away in my carry on bag the whole time we were there.  A hundred lashes with a wet noodle for me.  Luckily, my dad did a better job.

In addition to hanging out with friends and family, eating pie, and all of the other typical holiday activities, we got an opportunity to see what my dad has been working on for the last few years.  Now, thanks to Dad’s ability to remember his camera, you get to see it too.

While my mom is the one who encouraged all of my crafty endeavors while I was growing up (thanks Mom for putting up with years of beading, sewing projects, paper twist doll making, and much more), there’s definitely making stuff genes on both sides of the family.  When my dad makes stuff though, he makes really big stuff.

Dad built the tall building in the middle.

Here I am with dad on top of it.  We’re right underneath the crown on top of the building.

There’s quite the view from up there.

Ooh . . . pretty . . .