Category Archives: food

Virtual Cookie Exchange – Hosted by Staci Troilo

Staci Troilo invited us to have a Virtual Cookie Exchange and share our recipes on Thursday, December 16, 2021. My recipe, along with many recipes from the friends in this blogging community will be there. Please be sure to visit her tomorrow when she shares all the goodies with you.

Staci Troilo: First Cookie Exchange

Virtual Cookie (Recipe) Exchange

My husband used to have a sweet tooth. I don’t bake cookies for him anymore because he is watching out for the sugar intake. 

During the last two visits to my daughter’s family, I made cookies for the grandkids. I made chocolate chip cookies with M&Ms on top. Autumn doesn’t have those cookies regularly. She doesn’t do many things regularly such as watching two movies in a row, only when grandma is there (I tried so hard not to be a grandma who spoils the grandkids)!

Hubby and I will be visiting the grandkids for Christmas. I wanted to make some cookies for them. I wanted to make some chewy cookies, so they’ll stay soft until we get there. These are oat, fruit, and nut cookies.

I did a variation on the ingredients. Let me talk a little about the ingredients first.

Vegetable Shortening – I used vegetable shortening instead of butter. Butter contains milk solids, fat, and water. Butter can cause steaming while baking which can dry out the cookies. Vegetable shortening is made up entirely of fat that melts at a higher temperature which gives the cookie batter more time to rise.

Egg yolks – I double the egg yolks and omit the white of each egg which tends to dry out when baking.

Brown sugar – I used all brown sugar with no white sugar. Brown sugar contains more moisture. You can use half white and half brown sugar.

Nuts – I used mostly pecan for nuts because they are softer. 

Temperature – I baked in 325o F instead of 350o F. 

Here are the photos of the baking. The recipe is below.

Oat, Fruit, and Nut Cookies Recipe

Prep: 25 minutes

Bake: 10 – 12 minutes

Stand: 1 minute

Total: 36 – 38 minutes

Servings: 36

Yield: 3 dozen cookies

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Ingredients

½ cup vegetable shortening (or butter)

⅔ cup packed brown sugar (or half brown and half white)

½ teaspoon baking powder

¼ teaspoon salt

4 egg yolks (or 2 eggs)

½ teaspoon vanilla

1 cup whole wheat flour (or all-purpose flour)

1 cup rolled oats

1 cup dried mixed fruit bits, dried cranberries, raisins: and dried apricots, snipping the large pieces

¾ cup chopped walnuts and pecans

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Directions

Step 1 In a large mixing bowl beat vegetable shortening with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add brown sugar, baking powder, and salt. Beat on medium speed until combined. Beat in egg yolks and vanilla until combined.

Step 2 Sift in flour gradually and beat with the mixer. Stir in any remaining flour with a wooden spoon. Stir in oats, mixed fruit bits, and nuts.

Step 3 Roll dough by hand into balls and place them 2 inches apart onto a greased cookie sheet.

Step 4 Bake in a 325°degree F oven for 10 to 12 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Let cookies stand on the cookie sheet for 1 minute. Transfer cookies to a wire rack; let cool. Makes about 3 dozen cookies.

Please visit Staci and enjoy all the yummy Christmas cookies (recipe)!

Animated Christmas Tree PNG Transparent Image | PNG Mart

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Do you bake or buy Christmas cookies? What are your favorite Christmas cookies?

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Christmas Traditions

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Christmas is an annual festival celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ, observed primarily on December 25th each year. Christmas is both a religious and cultural celebration observed by billions of people around the world, both Christian and non-Christian.

The observance of Christmas occurs in 160 countries worldwide and celebration varies by country. Some countries celebrate on Christmas Day or December 25th. Australia, New Zealand, Bolivia, South Africa, Argentina, and Madagascar celebrate Christmas in another month other than December.

Christmas celebrations around the world can vary greatly in Christmas traditions. They usually involve setting up a Christmas tree with lights, hanging Advent wreaths and stockings, candy canes. Churches and families set up nativity scenes depicting the birth of Jesus Christ. Families also send out Christmas cards, exchange gifts, and prepare a Christmas feast to share with their family or their extended families.

I have practiced the following traditions most of the years or done it in a different way as time changed in the recent years.

1. Send Christmas Cards or Letters

I wrote a Christmas letter one year to print it on the Christmas stationery. After that, I switched to sending photos. I picked photos that represented the major activities or events of that year and included descriptions of them. The first couple of years, I made a collage of photos with Publisher, saved it as Jpeg, made 5”x7” prints to send them out. Then I switched again to order the 5”x7” Christmas cards from Costco. For the last two years, I ordered two-sided cards.

2. Exchange gifts

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My husband came from a large family. In the early years, instead of giving gifts to everyone, members of the extended family drew a name to be the receiver of the gift. The members of the immediate family, of course, exchanged gifts on their own. I bought gifts for my immediate family and wrapped them and put them under the tree. For the last five to seven years, I no longer bought gifts to send to my daughter’s family. Instead, I asked them what they would like to have for Christmas, then ordered them on Amazon, Macy’s, Columbia Sportswear, REI, or Sierra. The stores sent the gifts directly to them. If the clothes, shoes, or other items are not exactly right, they would return them, and I would order the right size until they’re happy with them. I don’t wrap Christmas gifts anymore.

3. Have a Christmas Dinner

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Our extended family used to have the Christmas dinner on Christmas day around 1:00 p.m. After dinner, some members would go to visit their in-laws from another part of the town, or another state. After the children are grown and married, most of the members spend Christmas with their grown children and grandchildren. We don’t meet as a large family.

I have been going to Portland, Oregon for many years to spend Christmas with my daughter’s family and enjoy our time with the grandkids.

4. Advent/Christmas Countdown Activities

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One friend brought a 2’x2’ wooden Advent calendar with drawers to a women’s meeting to share her tradition with us. She used this calendar for years during the growing-up years of her kids. She had age-appropriate activities for her four children. Another friend who was a teacher brought a 2D calendar to share what she did for her second-grade class for many years. Ideas such as filling 24 drawers with notes, candy, small toys, or keeping special ornaments in each box! For a 2D calendar, each day can be a window that opens to show the activity for that day.

5. Decorate a Christmas Tree

My granddaughter Nora picked a tree

We’ve had a Christmas tree almost every year ever since we live in a house. We only have the artificial tree, though. When I first decorated a tree, I covered the entire tree with garlands and ornaments. Several years ago, my daughter inspired me to do it with minimal decorations. I like it. It leaves so much room to show the green. My daughter and her husband pick their tree either from the national forest or tree farm. People can get a permit from Recration.gov to purchase a permit. It cost $5 for a permit of each tree plus $2.5 for the online processing fee charged by the website.

I think they got their tree from a tree farm this year. Autumn and Nora had a great time helping to pick one.

6. Start a Holiday-Themed Collection

My Hallmark Singing Snowmen Collection ⛄️ (2017) - YouTube

My sister-in-law collects snowmen. She hosts Thanksgiving dinner for many years. She put up Christmas decorations before Thanksgiving to make the event festive. She decorated the entire house with snowmen, from ornaments to wall hangings, stuffed snowmen, snowman candles, to a ten feet tall figure. I collected Santa, angels, and nutcrackers, but didn’t go too far before I stopped.

7. Attend a Christmas show or see The Nutcracker Ballet

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I have done both. We bought the season tickets to see the Broadway shows at Candlelight Pavilion Dinner Theater for many years. The Christmas show is always a heartwarming story of Mr. and Mrs. Santa. The last song is an invitation for all the kids to come on the stage with the help of the elves. Mr. and Mrs. Santa would pick the youngest kids to sit on their laps when they sing the last song.

When I was teaching, I took my students to see The Nutcracker ballet every year as one of my field trips. I teamed with another class to go to share the cost of the school buses. I also took my daughter to the theater to see The Nutcracker. When I stopped going to see it in the theater, my daughter and I still watched the DVD at home.

On Saturday, December 11, 2021, my daughter Mercy took her older daughter, Autumn, to see The Nutcracker. They’ll start a new tradition.

8. Watch a Christmas Movie

My favorite Christmas movies are White Christmas, It’s a Wonderful Life, Miracle on 34th Street, and The Polar Express. There are many newer Christmas movies. I don’t watch too many movies and I like these old ones so much that I seem to watch the same ones all the time.

9. Visit Christmas Lights, before or after Christmas

We went to this Christmas Boat Parade in 2018

Since 1932, each house on Peacock Lane – Christmas Street, in Southeast Portland Oregon, has been decorating for Christmas. The residents of Peacock Lane are happy to share that they will display their lights from December 15th – December 31st. For safety reasons, the Portland Police may shut down the Lane to motor vehicle traffic. My husband and I joined my daughter’s family to stroll up and down Peacock Lane one year. Each house had themed light decorations. The address is SE Peacock Lane, Portland, OR 97214.

For the last four years, except in 2020, my husband and I went to Newport Beach to take a cruise to watch the Christmas Boat Parade.

10. Build a Gingerbread House

One year, our church fellowship group had the Christmas catering dinner at a retirement facility. Every year the chef starts months before the season to use his own time to build the Gingerbread Village. He built one house at a time, and the trees, the decorations, and put them in the freezer. Right after Thanksgiving, he would set up the village and add the operatable train. The residents and visitors admired this creation with wonder.

My daughter built a Gingerbread house with Autumn. I know many families do this activity with their kids.

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You may have practiced some Christmas traditions for years, but you no longer keep them because of life changes. You may still keep some, or you want to start a new one. How about traditions your parents had? How about traditions your grown children have with their families?

Please describe them and share them with us in the comments. Thank you! 

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Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #91: Simplicity

Patti Moed invited us to focus on the theme Simplicity this week as the Coronavirus pandemic spreads and intensifies, many of us around the world are spending a lot of time at home, following governmental regulations to shelter in place.

As of April 6, 2020, California has 15,221 cases reported and 351 deaths, according to a New York Times database. The government issued the rules of wearing masks outdoor and when shopping.

 

We have tried our best to stay home and keep things simple. We set up a home gym with workout bench, dumbbells, and treadmill. Hubby has a manikin to practice boxing. He runs in a nearby park. I walk around a nearby lake or in the neighborhood.

1. morning walk

2. morning walk

 

We eat simple food with eggs, avocados, tomatoes, and fruits for breakfast, vegetables and alternate chicken and salmon for dinner. The shopping list is simple, so Hubby only goes once a week for a quick run. I rarely go to the stores.

3. breakfast

 

To increase physical activity, I do more gardening when weather is clear. I planted some seeds for gladiolus several years ago. They multiplied, and some flowers grew under a grapevine last year, not getting enough space and sunlight to grow. I dug them up last week and transplanted to another area to grow better.

4. flowers3

5. gardening5

 

My daughter has a Tinybeans.com account where she posts photos of her kids and family activities. I checked the account every day to look at the photos and videos. They give me much joy and I look forward to them every day. The daycare is closed, so Autumn stays home. She plays in the backyard, rides her balance bike or skateboard in the nearby park or on the street.

6. Autumn skateboard2

 

Stay safe and please share with me in the comment how you maintain simplicity yet keep your life interesting.

 

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #91: Simplicity

 

 

SoCS 2019.10.05 – Healthy Taste

Your Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is “-tast-.” Find a word that contains “tast” and use it in your post. Enjoy!Linda G. Hill

For health reason, Hubby and I are on a low carbohydrate but tasty, healthy and balanced diet. When he retired in 2016, he said, “You have been cooking for me for twenty years. From now on, I’ll do all the cooking.” He has kept his words literally. We eat two meals a day. He makes a tasty and colorful brunch with eggs, fruit and vegetable. For dinner, he makes tasty salmon and different vegetables. Once in a while, he makes thin crust pizza and continues to improve on his secret recipe. Two or three times a year, we have barbecues with lean meat.

For dining out, I usually have seafood and he has steak. Basically, we stay away from fat and starchy food.

 

 

brunch 2017.08.28

Brunch – Hubby’s portion, half size for Miriam

2018 pizza 1

Thin Crust Pizza – Pepperoni for Hubby, Veggies for Miriam

2017 BBQ

Barbecue dinner with homemade potato chips

Crusted New York Strip

Dining out – Hubby’s dinner

Cedar Planked Salmon

Dining out – Miriam’s dinner

 

 

SoCS 2019.10.05 – Healthy Taste

 

 

 

 

 

Tuesday Photo Challenge – Delicious

The theme for Tuesday Photo Challenge is Delicious!

My husband likes ultra-thin crust pizza. All the pizzas we have had in the restaurants or bought from the stores are not thin enough for him. When we visited Mercy, Will, and Autumn during Christmas, we finally went to a restaurant in Portland, Oregon that makes ultra-thin crust pizza to his liking.

Last year, He started making homemade pizza. He watched videos to get different recipes. He only gave me the ingredients of his first recipe. Since then he kept a secret for the changes he made in the subsequent attempts. By the fifth try, he considered that he had perfected his recipe for his desired thinness and taste of the crust.

As for toppings, he always wants extra cheese and extra pepperoni. Eating too much cheese upset my stomach, so my portion of the pizza was always different, depending on the vegetables available in the refrigerator. I used to like Canadian beacon, so for the first try, I asked to have a thin layer of cheese with pineapple pieces. Subsequently, when he made pizza again, I chose different vegetable toppings on my portion.

Whatever secret recipe he has, his homemade pizza is super delicious. Oh, we made blackberry pie to go with the pizza.

Pizza 2 2017.04

Pizza 3 2017.06

Pizza 4 2017.08

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Frank’s Dutch Goes the Photo: Tuesday Photo Challenge – Delicious

Daily Prompt: Label

label 2Label

Daily Prompt: Label

My husband and I love to go to Soup and Salad restaurants for lunch. I love the varieties of soup and choices to make my own salad. One day, we went to this frequently visited restaurant. To my surprise, I saw my colleague and her husband. We decided to sit at the same table and visit. It was delightfully enjoyable to have company for lunch.

My colleague introduced her husband to us. He owns a labeling company. Through the conversation, I found out something about labels of food products. Many kinds of food have brand name labels or chain store labels. He said the content is the same, but the food with chain store labels is cheaper because the chain order large volume for the retail stores. Whereas the Brand name products are more expensive just because of the famous brands.

Ever since I had the conversation with my colleague’s husband, I buy chain store label products for many of the household items.

Daily Prompt – Resist, Self Control

cocolate-1

Someone in this house

Like the bittersweet of

Dark, dark chocolate

If some are in the fridge tonight

They will be gone by dawn

Someone in this house

Like the bittersweet, can’t

Resist dark, dark chocolate

Rather gobble down, than

Leave them to be found

Someone in this house

Has sweet tooth and teeth

Self control is needed

That someone is not me

Daily Prompt: Resist

Daily Prompt: Control

Daily Prompt – Ice Cream Float

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In response to the daily prompt – float, I wanted to make ice cream float. I found this easy recipe and easy process, so I decided to make it.

I need blueberries, black cherry ice cream and strawberry soda, and a serving glass.

I put the blueberries and the ice cream in the serving glass alternatively, then add the strawberry soda until the ice cream floats.

Here it is, my first mixed berries ice cream float. Hope you like it!!

Daily Prompt: Float

Daily Prompt – Tempted, Sweet Tooth

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I don’t have a sweet tooth. I can’t even have sweet at night because it keeps me awake. Usually I give all of the desserts to my husband. The only occasion that I have a hard time is party time! I am so tempted by the presentation of the desserts. As I approached the dessert table, I grabbed a plate, inching my steps toward the table. I said to myself, “I’ll just sample them. Just take a little bite of each.” Pretty soon, I had the whole plate (small plate though) of desserts. Guess what? I couldn’t sleep all night! Oh well, it only happens a few times a year!

Daily Prompt: Tempted

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