Cookbook Treasures

I ordered two cookbooks on the recommendation of Cherry over at Cherry’s English Kitchen. They are two of the most beautiful books I have ever put my hands on.


I dont know what I expected. They came so highly recommended. And it took FOREVER it seemed for them to arrive. I ordered them through But they were SO worth the wait. The paper is amazing. The photos are stunning. The recipes are so do-able. I love a pretty book but for it to be pretty (beautiful actually) and useful…well it is more than can be hoped for. Tessa Kiros is the author of these two treasures (she has more…they are on my list). She has lead a most interesting life and one I might be jealous of if my life wasnt so near perfect.

I will certainly be sharing more about these books as I read them…word for word.


Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas

Today is pj and movie day. We will not get out of our pjs except to shower…provided there is no emergency or some other nonsense. It is to be a dark and dreary day weatherwise…perfect for such activities. Since we have had all our family gatherings it will be just the younger three and me today. They will get their stockings when they wake up and I suppose then we can move on to post holiday activities.

In the way of pjs, my new favorites are a short gown I bought from American Eagle (aerie) and a pair of yoga type pants Hannah and Rachel gave me for Christmas…they are grey and oh so comfy. So with the temperature it will be the grey yoga pants today.

Our first feature presention for today is a miniseries from the BBC (OMG we love the BBC) ~ North & South. Set against the backdrop of Victorian England’s industrial north, Daniela Denby-Ashe and Richard Armitage star in Sandy Welch’s adaptation of Elizabeth Gaskell’s passionate love story. If I ever find a hat like Daniela wears in this series, I am buying it even though I look completely insane in a hat. My hair is far too unruly for headwear. Though I have been known to wear a lovely embroidered beret lately.
embroidered beret

Forgive my jumping from one subject to the next…holidays are really tiring as you all know and my thoughts are not in order this early. I know one thing I consumed much too much sugar yesterday. It makes me tired and lethargic and adlebrained. So now that Christmas is over, I am back to the program, might even try to get to the gym a couple of days a week over the next few weeks. At least before I open back up my shoppe.

After the “tv watching” today, I am going to clean my kitchen thoroughly, finish the laundry and make a few pages of menues for the next month. There is an Asiago/Pear pork loin I am putting on the top of the list. Of course you will be privy to how that turns out.

On my list of things to do while off work, is to pull books for discard. Our house should be set up like a lending library. I intend to send people who have asked, a list of books I have for discard. Hopefully they will go quickly. I am only asking for postage ~ I just want them to have good homes. This is in anticipation of books that will be arriving in the next few weeks from and also bookclub purchases I have made. It is really against everything that is in me to discard books but I have no more room and honestly, if I havent used them in the past two years, I probably wont.

The kids and I are to the city tomorrow to do some after Christmas shopping. I am going to look at sergers…I really want/need one. And I am looking for a bag for this lovely new MacBook my husband bought me for Christmas. And a passport/document holder for him. Plus gathering some cooking ingredients that are just not available here in this little village we call home. It should be pretty weather for us by tomorrow. SOME of us have gift cards as well.

Well…the coffee pot needs to be refilled and I need to type up my sugar cookie recipe ~ hope you all have a Merry Little Christmas!


Christmas Cookies by Rachel

This years cookies turned out beautiful…absolutely amazing. Rachel (14) did the decorating. She has quite the knack I think.

I hate to think they will be scarfed down tomorrow with little regard for the work that went into them…but we did make them to eat!

Susan’s Sugar Cookies
3 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
1/2 cup butter flavored shortening
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp lemon extract
1/4 tsp almond extract
1/2 vanilla bean (optional ~ cut the vanilla bean in half then slit one half lengthwise and scrape the insides out with the blade of your knife, add this scraping to the dough before adding the flour)
Cut, glaze and decorate as desired.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, soda and salt. In a large bowl, beat the butter, shortening and sugars with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time and then the flavorings (including the vanilla bean if you choose to use it). On low speed or by hand, mix in the flour combination. Divide the dough into thirds, wrapping each third in a piece of waxed paper. Place dough in freezer bag and refrigerate 2 hours or over night. This dough can be frozend for up to 3 months.

Preheat oven to 375.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough 1/8 inch thick. Cut out desired shapes and place 2 inches apart on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Bake 8-10 minutes or until edges begin to brown. Let cook on the baking sheet for 2 minutes and then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

Royal Icing
I use Martha Stewart’s Royal Icing with one acception…I add 1 TBSP light Karo syrup. Makes it shiny and very smooth and she has some great tips for decorating cookies as well.

We keep a wide variety of cookie decorations…sugars, pearls, dragees, jimmies…you name it we have it! A couple of great place to purchase these things is Fancy Flours and Country Kitchen.

I dont think I haven mentioned this before but, we catered for 12 years before I opened my soap business. We still get calls from past customers wanting baking done. Sometimes we can oblige…sometimes there is just no time.

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