Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Deep into Cookbooks! Came Out with Cookies!

          I've spent a lot of time this last month (with my granddaughter's help) sorting through the wealth of cookbooks I was able to acquire.  Sorting through means taking time to browse through lots of them...sometimes the gorgeous photography alone demands a leisurely scan!
          It's been interesting to find a quantity of cookbooks that are based on restaurants, bed and breakfasts, and quaint inns in Colorado.  I'm not sure yet whether all states have such an assortment of great cuisine, but I've already listed a few neat Rocky Mountain based books with more to come.
          I really do love the cookbooks that are compilations of area restaurants where they share one of their specialties or most popular recipes.  The ones I've been looking at have all been tempting, inspired, and mouthwatering!  One particular recipe for a lemon dessert sent me on a bit of a nostalgia trip!

          Most of you who know us are already aware that my husband and I are second-time-arounders.  We both lost spouses some time ago, actually in the same year, and met a few years later.  Found out that we had gone to school together but didn't know each other then.  It didn't take me long to decide that this guy was the greatest.
          Since we lived quite a distance apart, our time was limited, but he would make the drive (about an hour and a half) three or four times a week.  Usually we would go out to dinner...he loved eating out!  The least I could do if he was going to drive all that distance was provide home baked goodies for him to take home with him!!!
          I had found out that his favorite "flavors" were/are lemon, pineapple, and oatmeal raisin.  In between visits I would scour every cookbook and every magazine to find new ways to intrigue (and yes, entice) him!  I kept the oven busy!  After all, he had to cook for himself at home...the least I could do was help!

         Over time I developed a backlog of his favorites and could repeat.  After reminiscing on all this, I've decided to share some of the "winners" from all my efforts.   Who know when they might come in handy at your house!

          Although the basic oatmeal raisin cookie on the oatmeal box was always a favorite, this one had a different flair:

 Oatmeal Applesauce Cookies
 1/2 c. Crisco or other shortening
 1 c. granulated sugar
 1 egg
 1-3/4 c. sifted all-purpose flour
 1/2 tsp. each: baking soda, baking powder, salt, ground cloves, ground nutmeg
 1 tsp ground cinnamon
 1/2 c. raisins
 1 c. uncooked oats (right out of the box)
 1 c. applesauce
 Beat shortening and sugar in a large bowl until smooth and creamy.  Add egg and beat well.
 Sift all dry ingredients in a separate bowl.  Stir in oats and raisins.
 Add flour mixture to shortening in three portions, with the applesauce in between.
 Stir by hand until well blended each time.
 Drop by spoonfuls onto greased baking sheets.  Bake in pre
-heated oven at 375 degrees for 15 minutes or until done.
 Let cookies cool on sheets a few minutes to set before transferring them to racks.
 Makes about 3+ dozen.

           The only pineapple cookie recipe I tried didn't work so well...left that idea and went straight on to pineapple upside down cake, which was better received anyway!

 Lemon Refrigerator Cookies
 1/2 c. softened butter/margarine
 1/2 c. granulated sugar
 1 egg
 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
 2 tsp. grated lemon peel
 1-1/2 c. all purpose flour
 1/4 tsp salt

 Mix butter and sugar until fluffy with mixer.  Add egg, beat until smooth.  Beat in lemon juice and peel.  Stir in flour and salt.
 Divide dough in half and place each on large square of waxed paper.  Knead lightly till blended.  Shape each half into a roll.
 Wrap rolls in waxed paper, twist ends closed.  Refrigerate 4 hrs. or more.  Dough will keep up to one week.
 When ready to bake, cut rolls into 1/8" slices and place on ungreased baking sheet.  Sprinkle additional sugar on slices if desired.
 Bake in preheated 400 degree oven 8-10 min or until edges turn brown.  Remove from pans and let cook on wire racks.

 This one was much easier....Lemon Drops
 1 pkg lemon-flavor cake mix
 1 4.5 oz. container Cool Whip (or other) thawed
 1 egg, beaten
 1-1/2 tsp lemon juice
 1 tsp grated lemon peel
 1/2 c sifted powdered sugar

 Combine dry cake mix, whipped topping, egg, lemon juice and peel; mix well.  Don't overmix.
 Drop batter by teaspoonfuls into powdered sugar, turning to coat well.  Place balls, 1-1/2" apart, on greased cookie sheets.
 Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven 12 minutes or until done.  Remove immediately and cool on wire racks.

          Actually, there was another recipe for Lemon Drop Cookies and I will never, ever forget it!  Any time Les would go by Utica Square in Tulsa he would stop at the candy store and bring me a bag of lemon drops.  One very clever recipe I found used crumbled lemon drops and I couldn't wait to try it! 
          It was, to put it mildly, a disaster.
          Lemon drops melt. 
          Lemon drops melt as they bake and stick to a cookie sheet, even a greased one.      
          Lemon drops finish their tenure in the oven by burning their stickiness into puddles on the cookie sheet. 
          Burnt puddled melted lemon drops take a long, long time to clean OFF cookie sheets.

 Words of wisdom....don't!   
 Just enjoy them out of the bag!

Monday, April 16, 2012

When It Rains, It Pours!

          And did it ever!  Just in time for our church's second craft bazaar!  
          Last fall a great group of the ladies in our church Church on the Lake put together a craft bazaar that was quite successful.  We decided to do it again this spring...trying to find a good time in the midst of Easter, proms, Mother's Day, graduation, etc.  We added something new as well...the First Ever Annual South Grand Lake Swing into Spring Cupcake Contest!  

         The cupcake entries came in on Friday and were judged by a fantastic panel of local judges.  They made very wise choices!
         Vendors set up on Friday night to be ready for a great day on Saturday...and Saturday morning it poured!  Buckets and buckets of rain!  Only in Oklahoma!!!  By noon though the sun was shining and the rest of the day was a delight.
         The kitchen was turned into a springtime lemonade stand with chicken salad sandwiches, pinwheels, dessert, and a tall glass of lemonade for the lunch special.  Great menu!!
I took some vintage jewelry (as always), along with a batch of cookbooks from a group I've found, plus some blue willow ware...found out there are some neat collectors of both.       
         Just for fun (and you can barely see them on the left), I took two of the fabulous vintage piano shawls that I found at an auction in Kansas...both silk, one in pink with multicolored floral embroidery and long-g-g pink fringe, the other in ivory with handpainted red roses all round, long matching fringe. They're beautiful...and I just had to share!
         Everyone had a wonderful time...especially the winners of the cupcake contest who took home fabulous prizes.
         Couldn't resist sharing with you a couple of the prize winning entries.
         Key Lime Cuties - these were delicious!  First Prize winner in the Fabulous Flavors group...best blend of lime...ever!
        Our Grand Prize Winner - when I took this entry, I was amazed!  This must have been quite a project!  It was first placed as number 1 in the Delightful Designs category, but was voted by the judges as as the Best of Show.   It's name was "#1 with Cheese and Fries"!
         The "hamburger" was a brownie or chocolate cupcake, the "bun" a vanilla cupcake with "seeds".  We decided that the fries were probably biscotti cut into strips.
            It brought a smile to everybody who saw it!  What do you think?