Sunday, December 10, 2017

Day 3 and 4 of 12 Days of Cookies and 12 Days of Christmas

Day 3 yielded no cookies. I did, however, stock up on unsalted butter, salted butter and eggs.
We had snow here in my area and I had work to get done before the roads were too bad to be running around on.

Third day of cookies - None
Third day of Christmas - 3 French Hens
Dirty Dish Count -  stands at 23
Observation - Bring your wine glass.
My day also had me at the holiday party at my Aunt's Assisted Living Home. It was so nice to see the good cheer all around as my Aunt gets acclimated to her new surroundings. One particularly fun guest brought her own crystal wine glass down from her room to the party.
Another resident was served her heavy appetizers and looked at her plate for a while before asking one of the staff if that was her dinner. Minutes later after considering the contents of her plate for a while, she left the room clearly unhappy.
I hope when the time comes for me that I need more help that I am the lady with the wine glass. She was optimism personified.

Time to make up some ground on Day 4 with Candy Canes and Macaroons on the agenda.  The Candy Cane cookie I chose calls for egg yolks and the Macaroons give me a cookie to make with the left over egg whites. Genius!

I haven't had an occaision to separate eggs in a while. Luckily there's YouTube.
There are video tutorials of most anything, including how to separate eggs.

I now remember why I never make Candy Cane cookies. Out of 20 attempts I ended up with 3 whole cookies and am wondering how long my hands will stay red from the food coloring. Anyone with red dye allergies stay away.  I got a bit frustrated and mixed the red and white dough together and used cookie cutters to salvage a few more whole cookies from this batch of Christmas cheer.
Fourth day of cookies - 3 Candy Canes, 1 Pile of Candy Cane parts, 
1 dozen assorted shaped cookies
1 dozen Macaroons
Fourth day of Christmas - 4 Calling BirdsDirty Dish Count -  37 

Friday, December 8, 2017

Day 2 of 12 Days of Cookies 12 Days of Christmas

Day 2 is chocolate chip cookie day. Nestle Toll House's recipe is my go to and I added in some multi-colored sprinkles I had in the cabinet. Yum.

Easing in is still my plan. It's going to snow this weekend and that will give me some time to just stay in and work on a more complicated cookie. What it will be is still up in the air, stay tuned!

Betty Crocker did make a contribution to my project in the form of my 20 year old mixer. It amazes me that it has lasted all this time. They don't make them like they used to!

Update: We got our tree. The lights and garland are on. Decorating, Chinese food and The Polar Express movie are on the agenda for tonight.
My college kiddo is home for a brief visit and all is well with the world.

Second day of cookies - Toll House Chocolate Chip with sprinkles 

Second day of Christmas - 2 Turtle Doves 
Dirty Dish Count - 23

Stay tuned for more from My Middleton Chronicles. 17 days 'til Christmas and counting ...

Thursday, December 7, 2017

12 Days of Christmas 12 Days of Cookies

I loved my cookie baking last year and am starting this years 12 Days of Cookies today.
There are only 18 days until Christmas and the timing is perfect to have a nice seleciton of cookies done just in time for the holiday festivities and some giving.

Having done no planning yet I am going to start with sugar cookies, easy peasy. There are so many sugar cookie recipes out there which recipe to choose is the big question ... I want them to be as simple as possible.

I'd love to get fancy and use cookie cutters but I need to just dig in and get started and am not ready for anything more complicated. Yet. I am going to choose some more elaborate cookies as I go along but for today nice, round sugar cookies will have to do!

Searching recipes online I happened upon Martha Stewart's "Basic Sugar Cookies".  Right away I realized this was not the simple, quick recipe I was looking for.
Total time for Martha's delectables: 2 hours
Prep time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Items Martha's recipe calls for that I do not have:
Parchment paper
Time to chill dough
Time or patience to rotate cookies halfway through baking.
Sorry Martha, your recipe is out.

Moving on I checked out Betty Crocker's "Classic Sugar Cookies". Betty is showing her age by calling for margarine in her recipe. Sadly the Betty Crocker classics are also a miss because they call for almond extract and creme or tarter. Not only do I not have those ingredients I don't think my family or friends would be very excited about these cookies. Sorry Betty, your recipe is out too.

So it's back to one of my favorite websites for basic recipes -
I have all I need to get started and there's no chilling, cutting or parchment needed.

Do you have favorite cookies you make at the holidays? I'd love to hear about them, post in the comments. Any and all suggestions and recipes welcome!

How is decking the halls going for you?
Around the English household we are easing in to the holiday spirit this year. I've still got dead mums hanging around that need to be replaced by wreaths and greens. A few things are out and I am expecting a delivery with a new tree skirt (I have been wanting one for YEARS) and table runner.
The tree buying excursion (a drive around the corner) is happening tonight and the hope is we'll be further along with our decorating by the weekend.

One area that is ready for Christmas is my dining room. It has the 12 Days of Christmas framed and hanging. That was done in time for Thanksgiving and I love it.

First day of Christmas - A Partridge in a Pear Tree

First day of cookies - Easy Peasy Sugar Cookies

Dirty Dish Count - 11

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Room Re-Do on a Budget Update

I could have titled this post 'My Trip To Ikea Hell'. Actually it was not that bad, however the Ikea desk/vanity is not yet complete.
In my last post I showed you the Pinterest inspiration for the re-do, you can check out that post here:

There's a reason they call it Pinterest Perfect. The real life version of that includes a trip to Home Depot, figuring out where to get succulents (Home Depot!) a trip to Ikea, a Youtube video and calls and emails to Ikea.

Yep, Ikea. That's where the project hits a snag. It was easy and fun to cruise the aisles and have some lunch at the mamoth Ikea store that is about an hour from home for us. My daughter just turned 15 and it seems it is all the rage to re-do your bedroom when you hit that milestone. Or maybe it was the back to school thing and seeing all the college kids setting up thier dorms. Re-decorating fever is real.

But back to the strugggles. Let's start with the directions in the HUGE box that contained the Alex drawer system that was to hold up one end of my daughters desk/vanity. Or should I say lack of directions? I'm pretty sure Ikea hired a cave man to draw the most basic of directions and I am pretty sure said cave man is laughing his ass off as he thinks about the unknowing consumers (like me) who are scratching thier heads wondeirng how the heck to assemble this beast.

2 weeks after our attempt at the desk/vanity it is still not done. Not for a lack of effort. Thank you YouTube for having a huge trove of how to videos on assembling Ikea stuff. It still took a lot of brain power and screw turns but we figured it out.
The reason it is still not done is we were missing 13 out of 16 little, tiny wooden dowels. Ugh.

Phone calls, emails and a trip to the hardware store and we still don't have what we need to complete the desk/vanity. But we will in 7-14 business days the snotty customer service rep told me. I killed her with kindness because I did not want our precious wooden dowels to get "lost" in the mail. If I did not have that in the back of my mind I could have reached through the phone and strangled her.
I swear explaining what you need to a customer service rep after waiting on hold for 15 minutes subsequent to trying to solve your issue via email and being told to go to the stores "As Is" section to see if they have what you need because the part # you provided is not found. Ugh again.

Here are some photos of our progress so far. We are close to done! I'd post a pic of the painted bed but it is not made at the moment so you'll have to wait with baited breathe for the next Room Re-Do on a Budget post :)

The succulents look great! We put them in a used up candle jar and a small mason jar.

Bag O Ikea Parts 
Will be complete in 7-14 business days!

Monday, October 2, 2017

News - Monday Quote

Typically on a Monday I post an inspiring quote for the week. Not today. The news from Las Vegas is sinking in. I heard it on the radio with 3 kids in the car, 1 was my own daughter and the other 2 are carpool buddies.

We shut the radio off and I assured them of the safety of thier school.
Sending my thoughts and prayers to Las Vegas victims, families, first responders and to our country. This should not be happening here.

Photo by Natalie Collins on Unsplash