Thursday, December 31, 2009

time will tell ~ Wishes for the New Year

~ The treasury I created today was inspired by New Year's wishes ~

~ My wishes for you ~
adventure ~ explore and travel, experience new things
time ~ there never seems to be enough
luck ~ we could all use some
the key ~ to get where you need to go
foresight ~ just once and awhile it would be nice to know what's around the bend
peace ~ calm from within
joy ~ happiness that makes your heart sing
growth ~ for a stronger, better you
home ~ a place to call your own
family ~ surround yourself with people who care
chocolate ~ speaks for itself doesn't it?

Hoping that 2010 will bring all of these (and more) to you, only time will tell!
Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Thrift Store Finds

I knew winter would put a damper on the treasure hunting. What I didn't realize is how much I would miss "the hunt". There are a few thrift shops not too far from here and my mom and I set out today to see what we could find. I was bummed out when we pulled up to one and found out that it was closed for the week. Then I remembered another...

Wonderful Nativity Scene
My daughter saw this and asked if we could buy baby Jesus. We did need a nativity season, after all this is what Christmas is about. So even though the pieces are all marked W. Germany and I know they would look wonderful in my Etsy shop next year, we will keep them for our own!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Curious Find ~ Virginia Housewife Cook Book

My vintage shop on Etsy has continued to grow and blossom. Each item I've added to my shop has given me opportunity to learn something new. I found this recent addition interesting in so many ways.

This book The Virginia Housewife or Methodical Cook was written by Mary Randolph. This addition is an undated copy published by Hurst & Co. I did quite a bit of research on this piece and would date it circa 1880.

Originally published in 1824, this cookbook has been called the "most influential American cookbook of the 19th century" and "the first truly American cookbook". It contains early evidence of the influence of African cuisine in Southern cooking, though most of the recipes are derived from European traditions.

The author Mary Randolph was the Godmother to Mrs. Robert. E. Lee. Born to an elite family and trained in "proper household management practices", she married David Randolph, an outspoken Federalist. When her husband was removed from his position as United States Marshall by his cousin, President Thomas Jefferson, Mary Randolph opened up a boarding house in order to retain her standard of living. Later in her life she decided to write a cookbook. She died in 1828 and was the first person to be buried in the Arlington National Cemetery.

This book contains cooking instructions for everything from hearty soups to lamb and pork dishes, along with fish, poultry, sauces, vegetables, puddings, cakes, preserves and more.

In addition to traditional Southern fare as okra soup, curry of catfish, barbecued shoat (a fat young hog), field peas, beaten biscuits and sweet potato buns, there are also recipes for dishes, condiments and beverages rarely seen on today's dinner table: sweetbread and oyster pie, grilled calf's head, shoulder of mutton with celery sauce, fried calf's feet, pheasant “a-la-daub,” tansy pudding, gooseberry fool (cold stewed gooseberries with custard and whipped cream), pickled nasturtiums, walnut catsup, vinegar of the four thieves, ginger wine and may others.

This comprehensive cook's reference also provides an introduction to the food and customs of the antebellum South, as well as instructions for making soap, starch and cologne water, cleaning silver, drying herbs and much other useful advice.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Chocolate Covered Cake Balls And Other Fine Treats

We made these decadent treats for the holidays. They were way too wonderful not to share. Whip up a batch before the new year hits and you have resolutions to stick to!

Chocolate Cake Balls
1 box of your favorite cake mix (we used golden vanilla)
1 can of your favorite icing flavor (we used caramel)
1 bag or bar of your favorite baking chocolate (we used a bag of white chocolate morsels and a bag of chocolate morsels)
Mix and bake cake according to directions.
Let the cake cool and crumble into a big bowl.
Add container of frosting and mix well.
Roll into half-inch balls and chill in refrigerator for about an hour.
Melt down chocolate and dip each ball into the chocolate and then re-chill until chocolate is set.

~ My Cake Crumbler ~
I found it easier to use my Kitchen Aid to mix the cake and frosting together.
This mixture was way too sticky for me to roll into balls.
It really needs to be chilled and then rolled. I stopped rolling several times to re chill.
(*and worked on the following chocolate covered pretzel recipe at this time)
Place the rolled up cake balls on wax paper.

When melting the chocolate be sure not to overheat or get water into the chocolate.
I rolled the balls around the melted chocolate then spooned them out & back onto the waxed paper.

I found sprinkled coconut flakes did a nice job of hiding the less than perfect places.
It also gave my daughter a very important job.

These really were scrumptious and I would definitely make them again!

While I waited for my cake/frosting mixture to chill we made these incredibly easy ...

Chocolate Covered Pretzels

and with the many new Hershey Kiss flavors out we made several different kinds (have you tasted the candy cane kisses, wow!). So simple and little ones can really help out.

Bag of pretzels ~ the recipe I found called for circle pretzels but I picked up a bag of these window panes and it worked just fine.
Bag of Hershey Kisses ~ we used dark chocolate kisses, cherry, and hugs. The cherry ones were delicious but a bit messy as the melted cherry filling doesn't quite harden (don't let this deter you if you like the cherry kisses!)
M&M's ~ you won't need a whole bag (oh what to do with the leftovers)

Remove foil from the Kisses. (perfect kid job but keep your eye on the kid or they will eat your chocolate)
Place the pretzels on a cookie tray (lined with wax paper for easy clean up).
Place one Kiss on top of each pretzel.
Heat in 200F oven for about 5 minutes or until chocolate has softened (the hugs/white chocolate tend to melt faster).
Remove from oven, place an M&M on top and lightly press down.
Cool in refrigerator for about 10 minutes or until set.
Store in an airtight container or eat them all right away!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

and it was a Merry Christmas!

From picking out the perfect tree...

and after much head scratching figuring out how to save Christmas from the little guy.
(and it worked!)

Hoping your Christmas was filled with the makings of happy memories.