When I got married over ten years ago, my grandmother gave me a stack of “cooking” magazines she had saved since the 70’s. I guess she was trying to help, since I kind of suck at cooking. But I can bake! So when I was thumbing through those magazines and found this recipe I decided to give it a try and I am so glad I did!
After trying it the first time, we were hooked and I have been making these Chewy Ginger Cookies ever since. The magazine is long gone, but the recipe is now handwritten in my recipe book for future generations. And now I share it with you, so that your family can enjoy that little recipe I found in a magazine from long ago……
Ingredients ¾ Cup shortening 1 Cup sugar 1 egg ¼ Cup molasses 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 2 Cups flour 1 teaspoon cinnamon 1 teaspoon ginger 1 teaspoon baking soda 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon cloves
Now I am a “commando” baker. I just throw all my ingredients into a bowl and mix. But if you must, you start by creaming the shortening and the sugar together. Then add the egg, molasses and vanilla and mix well. After combining the dry ingredients in another bowl, add them to the mix. Make sure your dough is well combined.
Next make the dough into 1 inch balls. Take some extra sugar and put it in a bowl. You then roll the balls in the sugar. This is a wonderful thing for children to help with AFTER they wash their hands. LOL Sorry but my country kids are boys and boys have dirty hands. The dusting of sugar not only adds a little sweet, but it makes the cookies sparkle when they are cooked! Place the balls on an UN-greased baking sheet. Bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes or until lightly browned.
Yes, these cookies are just that simple! Oh but they taste so very yummy. I hope after whipping up a batch this Christmas season, that little recipe I found in a long ago magazine makes its way into your recipe book too!
Christmas is a magical season. Santa, reindeer, elves…… walking, talking snowmen. Here is a fun, easy, and very cheap way to add a little magic to the one room in the house that may be neglected in your holiday decorating.... the kitchen! With just some tape, construction paper and wrapping paper, you can turn your fridge into Frosty the Snowman. Try and tell me that this isn’t cute!!!
I cut out all the “part” and let the oldest country kid “build” our Frosty the Fridge. He was not only excited to make it but talked about it all December last year. And I must admit, it made me grin ever time I had to go in the fridge for something. I guess I am a child at heart.
So why not take a few minutes to start a new tradition in your home…… I promise, you will enjoy that smiling face ever time you need an egg. Because you know we all bake more this time of year, so why not make your time in the kitchen just a little more fun!
Something about the holiday season just makes me want to bake, more so then I normally do, which is quit a bit anyway. As I headed into the kitchen I was toying with the idea of gingerbread and spice cake and said, why not throw those together and top it off with some homemade caramel sauce for good measure! And that is exactly what I did!
2 1/3 cup flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 cup molasses
3/4 cup water
1 stick of butter
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
Now if you have been following my blog long, you will have realized by now I am not one of those bakers who combine dry/wet ingredients separate. I throw all my ingredients in a bowl and just mix it up. So throw all those ingredients in and get mixing!!
I will be the first to admit it, I am a dork. I am the over achieving parent who others look at and either go, "man she is good" or totally just find me annoying. I am the parent who, when my son started to falter on his belief in the Easter Bunny went beyond normal to make the magic continue. I found a photo of a rabbit online and downloaded it to my camera so it looked like I had taken the photo. I then placed jellybeans in the yard where the "photo was taken." I told my son I had scared the jellybeans out of the Easter Bunny when the flash went off! He bought it! He delighted in showing our neighbors the Easter Bunny poo!
My son is now 7 1/2 and in the second grade. I am amazed he has not started to question the fat man in the red suit yet. I mean come one, in this day and age, kids talk! Each year I make a Santa video for him from the Portable North Pole site (it is free.) I think this helps a lot in keeping the magic alive. I mean come on, the big guy actually says my son's name and know things about him in the video! But, I also do things around the house, like this Elf door I made last year. With a simple painted pine board and a knob off an old dresser, I started a new family tradition of the "magic elf door."
You see, no matter where the door is left, against a wall, on the floor, even in a chair...... come night fall, the elves can come through it from the North Pole to check on my son and his behavior. Were his toys picked up? That type of thing. It was simple to make and the pipe cleaner wreath with ribbon was easy to make too, by just bending the pipe cleaner back and forth and then bending the whole thing into a circle. The 'Elves Only" sign helped to seal the magic that ONLY elves could use the door. No matter how many times a child tries to "open" the door to the North Pole, they will never be able to.
Even if you don't have children, I think the door is so stinking cute, it would make a great holiday decoration in any home. So why not find some scrap wood, a little paint, and make some magic of your own!
I want to take this time to tell each and every one of you how thankful I am that you have joined me on this journey through life. I hope I entertain and occasionally inspire you because I really truly value each and every one of you! May your day be peacefull and your tummy be full!!!
So last year, once again I was the go to mom in the oldest country kid's classroom for the holiday party. Guess I did too good of a job at Halloween. The teacher wanted to keep the party snack healthy since lunch was right after the part. Really!?!?! Okay, I was on it...... (man the kids are gonna hate this......)
I mean who has a Christmas party with no candy and cookies!?!?! What was I to do? And that is when I came up with this little idea, eat Frosty's nose! It would be healthy, kids love to dip, and if I made it fun, they wouldn't take me out before I could flee the room!
So off to the store I went for carrots and ranch dip ..... and clear cups. I did this for two reasons. First, I could make the cups look like snowman faces thus adding the fun into a healthy snack. And second, and most importantly, no one likes a kid who double dips in the ranch! Yuckkkkkkkkk. So individual snowman face ranch filled cups it was.
And do you know what? It worked! There where no complaints about where are the cookies. They giggled at the sight of the snack, GIGGLED!!!! I would get out of this party alive!!! And then I started thinking..... this could be used not just in a school setting but at any party. You can control waste by limiting how much is in each cup. No one will have to worry about the dreaded double dip. They are cute and fun and very easy to make. I simply used black paint and the end of a brush handle to make the dots for the faces.
And the few carrots that didn't get eaten but where already on children's plate, we collected up for our bunnies for snacks. Waste not, want not, you know!
When I was little I would watch "The Bozo" show. Every day they would play the grand prize game, which was a bucket toss game. Oh how I dreamed of one day getting to be on the show and play the grand prize game. If you hit the farthest bucket, you won a new bike. Sadly that day never came.
But, when the oldest country kid's teacher called last minute for help with the class Christmas party last year, my creativity and longing to play the grand prize game collided in a "light bulb" moment! A bucket toss game with reindeer! I grabbed some empty formula cans (but you really could use anything, boxes, sand pails, etc) and my craft supplies and I got to work. A little brown construction paper, some puff balls for noses, bend up some pipe cleaners and if I do say so myself, I had some pretty darn good looking reindeer!! Of course they had to have O shaped mouths and big wide eyes as if they were scared of the ball being tossed at them!
And I am glad to report, the game was a hit at school! The kids loved playing "reindeer games." And as I watched my son toss the ball at the buckets, I remembered those long lost days, when I wanted to play the grand prize game, and I smiled. He has no clue of my childhood dream or that it was the creative brain storm behind the party game. He just knows his mama can make some great party games.
The last few weeks we have been busy trying out new recipes and crafts for the Thanksgiving season. We have rounded up all our post here in one spot for you because, well, Thanksgiving is almost here!!! And we didn't want you to miss out on any of the fun adventures, yummy recipes and easy crafts we have shared!!
Recently across the Midwest there were massive storms with very high winds. While we escaped with little damage, my folks were not so lucky. One of their giant pine trees came down, roots and all, during the storm. Now my parents aren't OLD but they are getting older and this was a big issue to have to handle. So instead of them calling their insurance and paying a big deductible, our family offered to come down and help clean up the mess because that is what family does.
Now I am one for education and rarely does the oldest country kid miss school. But I felt that there were some life lessons that were much more important then book learning that day, so I called the school in the morning and told them he would not be in. We loaded up the car, Heidi the homestead hound and all and drove two hours south to tackle the tree.
When I was a kid, I HATED when we would cut wood for winter. I mean I would lie and tell my parents I had to poop so I could hide in the bathroom and not help. I look back and I know they knew what I was up to. I felt bad about not pulling my weight back then and was determined to show them I had grown up. When we arrived we quickly set to work and I did not use the bathroom till break time! LOL
With Thanksgiving almost here, I am sure we have all started thinking about what we are thankful for. One of the things I am thankful for is our chickens and ducks, as I am sure many of you are thankful for yours. They not only give us eggs to eat, but the poo makes great compost for the garden and let us not forget their friendship and silly ways that entertain us all year long. I know there are many of you out there that wish you could have chickens but for whatever reason can't. But you too know the value of a good flock.
So where am I going with this? Well a while back I received a Christmas catalog, but not your typical gift catalog. The catalog was from an amazing group called Heifer International. What are they "selling?" Critters!!!! You see what they do is offer you the chance to donate and an animal (or group of animals) will be giving to a family in need on behalf of someone, say your mother. Your loved one gets a card explaining your gift on their behalf. The donation you make then goes to a family who has completed training and prepared an appropriate facility for the animal(s) you picked.
Let's say you picked a flock of chickens...... not only does the family now have eggs to eat and poo for their garden and a financial income from selling those items, but the family must then "pass on the gift." Once they hatch out chicks they give some to another family to start the process. And then that family, when the time comes, passes chicks to another family, it is a domino effect. So you don't help just one family, you in essence help the whole community over time!!! How neat is that!!!
Heifer International has been around since 1944 and has worked with 18.5 million families in 125 countries. Heifer works with livestock and agriculture to develop programs to alleviate hunger and poverty. The have specialists in the field who train and support the families in the program.
So why am I telling you all this? Because it is a great program but I know times are tough for a lot of us. It might not be feasible for you to send $60 for a trio of rabbits or even $20 for a flock of chickens. So what I thought we could do is band together, each giving just a little, that could turn into a large (maybe very large!?!?) donation to Heifer that could help many families. Call me crazy but I know on Facebook I have close to 3,400 likes. If each person gave just $1, can you imagine the impact we could have on so many!?!?!?! So I want to set a challenge this year for Christmas, let's see how much we can raise for Heifer International. I am sure we can all give up a cup of coffee, a candy bar, or a dinner out........
I have set up a donation Paypal account to make donating to what I am calling the Heifer Christmas Challenge, as easy as possible for everyone. Let's see how much we can raise by December 20th this year. I would also like everyones' input on how the money should be donated, so in the comment section please let me know which programs from the list peak your interest!! (please note, some of the critters are very expensive and we may not raise enough to say give a camel which is $850 but let's dream big shall we.) So what are you waiting for, look in your heart, click the button, and let's band together to make a difference!!!!
Please note if your prefer to send a check, please email firstname.lastname@example.org for address. Heifer Programs Ducks/Geese
Flock of chicks
Trio of rabbits
Where ever Heifer feels it is needed most