Sheared Bliss


Merry Christmas
December 24, 2013, 8:00 am
Filed under: Randomness | Tags: , ,

Wishing you and yours a warm, cozy, and bright Christmas.

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Happy Easter

This was SweetP’s second Easter, but the first that he was mobile enough to hunt for Easter eggs.  Finding the eggs was exciting and they made interesting noises when he shook them.

The bit about putting them in the basket was a little confusing though.

After we showed him that the eggs were full of tasty things he started to get the picture.

Meanwhile, I’ve been busy dyeing up my own basket of goodies.



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.



Eating of the Green
March 17, 2010, 8:00 am
Filed under: Baking, Family & Friends, Food | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

It’s St. Patrick’s Day which means that it’s time for the traditional eating of the green.  What?  Your clothes shouldn’t get to have all of the fun.  Just to make sure no one feels left out, you really should both wear green and eat green (and drink green, if you’re so inclined).  Thanks to Sarah we’ve had some lovely green treats to enjoy at Chez Bliss lately.  She posted a little while ago about her love for royal icing and she wasn’t kidding.  Check out these babies:

Ok, so Sarah’s cookie packing skills could use a little work, but she has some mad baking and icing skills.  My favorites are the tiny pint of green Guinness, the Storm Warning cookie, and the intricate Gaelic Storm logo (which I appear to have eaten before taking a picture of, oops).  So, everybody hoist your green beer (or cookie) and try to squeeze in as many Irish clichés as humanly possible today.  Sláinte!



Just Checking In
January 5, 2010, 10:42 pm
Filed under: Family & Friends, Randomness | Tags: , , , ,

Hey ya’ll.  How’s everybody doing?  Anybody else feel like the holidays ran them over like a truck?  CodeMonkey and I have been visiting family from before Christmas to after the New Year.  It was loads of fun and so nice to see everyone, but now I need to catch up on sleep, laundry, and the giant pile of extremely urgent stuff that has accumulated on my desk at work.  So yeah.  As soon as I climb out from under my to do list I’ll post something more interesting.  Right now, however, I have a kitty on my lap and I’m going to have to concentrate on petting her.  Happy New Year!



Happy (belated) St. Lucia Day!
December 15, 2009, 11:56 pm
Filed under: History, Museum | Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

This past weekend was Holiday’s Eve, the museum’s annual Christmas event.  Since it happened to fall on December 13th, we used it as an excuse to celebrate St. Lucia Day – mmm . . . Lucia buns . . .

Early in the planning stages for this event, there was some talk of me portraying Lucia because I happen to own an authentic Swedish Lucia dress.  I perceived a number of problems with this plan:

  • I am not young enough or blond enough to play Lucia.
  • Despite being a dancer, I am not what you would call a graceful person.  I run into things.  Wearing candles on my head would be a bad idea.
  • The Lucia dress is thin cotton and it is coooold here.

It was wisely decided that we would simply lay out the Lucia dress and crown next to a smorgasbord of Swedish Christmas foods because the event was at night and (obviously) Lucia had already come that morning.  That left me with the challenge of dressing as warmly as possible while remaining historically accurate and not looking like a sausage.  I wore:

  • 2 pairs of stockings
  • 1 pair of boots
  • 1 pair of drawers
  • 1 chemise
  • 1 corset
  • 3 petticoats
  • And the Best Dress Ever

Seriously, look at this thing:

PioneerJ has started referring to it as the bumble-bee dress.  NurseK says it makes her think of traffic lights.  Leslie pointed out that it’s the MacLeod tartan (appropriately known as the “loud” MacLeod tartan).  I don’t care.  It’s wool and that’s all that matters.  It was gloriously warm.  Plus, the plaid kind of grows on you, doesn’t it?  Or maybe that’s just a sign that it’s starting to damage your retinas . . .