Saturday, December 31, 2011

Good bye 2011, Hello 2012!

2011 was not a good year for a lot of reasons. But the biggest was losing two woman in my life that I loved and cared about.

In March I said good bye to my grandmother Joyce Ann Bartylla. What can I say about her. She was like a mom to me in so many ways. We talked a few times a week and I could tell her anything. And often I would. We laughed together often. She would comfort me in the hard times, and I would do the same for her. She shared her past with me. Stories of growing up, meeting my grandfather, her parents, her sisters and brothers. And most importantly she would share stories about my mom that my mom liked to not share or would chose to forget.
My grandma or Wamma is greatly missed by all. But not forgotten at all! Not a day hasn't past where she doesn't come to mind. Now she is in a better place. Where she is no longer sick. She is back with her loved ones that she mourned for years. And now when my time comes I get to meet up with her again. I can't wait to give her a big hug!

December 6th 2011 my dad lost his wife Fran Scarrella of many years. I lost a friend, step mother, and someone I cared so much about.
Sure in our past we didn't get a long. But having a teenage daughter or my own I could only imagine the "joys" I brought daily lol
We would talk about that. She would apologize and so would I. But at the end of our conversations we would be laughing about something or another.
Last November my kids and I got to come visit San Antonio and spend Thanksgiving with my family. She was so happy! We had a good time. I never thought that would have been the last time I would see her.
Like my grandmother Fran was very sick for many years. And now she is in a better place enjoying her loved ones as well. We will meet again!

Now I can only hope that I make a mark on my kids or loved ones the way these two woman did on me. They live in my heart. In my memories.
From this I learned not to take for granted those moments we have with the ones close to us.

Happy 2012!
Saturday, December 3, 2011

Countdown to Christmas

This countdown has been put on hold. Please continue to pray for my Step Mother Fran. And enjoy the Christmas spirit that is what she would want us to do.
Friday, December 2, 2011

Day 2 of my Christmas countdown

This is a recipe that I know my mom has made a few times. I do not think it is the same one but they sure do taste just as good :)

Cinnamon Rolls

2 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
7/8 to 1 1/8 cups lukewarm water*
3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 tablespoons sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup nonfat dry milk
1/2 cup instant mashed potato flakes

*Use the lesser amount in summer (or in a humid environment), the greater amount in winter (or in a dry climate), and somewhere in between the rest of the year, or if your house is climate controlled.

Cinnamon Filling
1/2 cup baker’s cinnamon filling
2 tablespoons water
2 teaspoons milk, to brush on dough

Vanilla Glaze
1 1/4 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 to 3 tablespoons milk, enough to make a soft, spreadable icing

First, make the dough. Combine all the ingredients. Mix and knead everything together — by hand, mixer or bread machine set on the dough cycle — till you’ve made a smooth dough. If you’re kneading in a stand mixer, it should take about 7 minutes at second speed, and the dough should barely clean the sides of the bowl, perhaps sticking a bit at the bottom. In a bread machine (or by hand), it should form a smooth ball.

Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl. Cover the bowl, and allow the dough to rise, at room temperature, till it’s nearly doubled in bulk, about 1 to 2 hours. Rising may take longer, especially if you’ve kneaded by hand. Give it enough time to become quite puffy.

While the dough is rising, lightly grease two 9″ round cake pans. 

Transfer the risen dough to a lightly greased work surface, and pat or roll it into a 16″ x 12″ rectangle. It’s a nice, soft dough, and pats out easily.

To make the filling, whisk together the baker’s cinnamon filling and water. Brush the dough lightly with milk. Spread the filling evenly over the dough, covering the entire surface.

Roll the dough into a log the long way; it’ll stretch to about 20″ long as you

Using a serrated knife, slice the log into 16 slices. In order to cut down on drag, it helps to rinse the blade in hot water, and wipe it off, between slices.

Space eight rolls in each of the prepared pans. Flatten them gently.

Cover the pans, and let the rolls rise till they’re noticeably puffy, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours; they should spread out and start to crowd one another.

While the rolls are rising, preheat the oven to 375°F.

Bake the rolls till they’re brown around the edges and beginning to turn golden brown across the center, about 20 minutes.

If you’re going to serve the rolls immediately, make the icing while the rolls are baking. Combine the sugar, vanilla, and enough cream or milk to make a spreadable icing. If you’re not serving the rolls immediately, don’t make the icing yet.

Remove the rolls from the oven, and loosen their edges with a knife. Turn them out of the pan onto a rack. To enjoy right away, spread with the icing and serve.
To serve the rolls later, allow them to cool completely, then wrap in plastic wrap and store at room temperature for up to 3 days. Fifteen minutes before you’re ready to serve, preheat the oven to 350°F. Unwrap the rolls, place them on an ungreased baking sheet, and tent lightly with aluminum foil. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, until they’re nicely warmed.

While the rolls are reheating, make the icing.

Remove the rolls from the oven, and spread with the icing. Serve immediately.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

My Christmas House

This couldn't go unsaid...

Tonight I started my Christmas countdown on this blog. As I wrote the first post, and started thinking of a recipe to write I started to think about my step mother Fran. 

This is usually the time of year where she just lights up. She loves Christmas!! I remember growing up our tree was up and Christmas music playing sometimes before Thanksgiving. We would go buy a flocked tree. I don't even know if they do that here in Minnesota, or anywhere anymore for that matter. 
With the tree came decorations. And she still has the same decorations( and some new ones) that we had growing up.
Let's not even get into the decorations we had outside our house. You literally felt like you were in a Christmas Village! 
Sure times change. Kids grow up, people get older. Some of the decorations don't last through the years. But we always have the memories. And that is what she did. She gave us some of the best Christmas memories.

Now that I'm older and have a family of my own I enjoy the decorations! I do wait until December 5th to get my tree, but the Christmas music starts the minute they hit the radio on Thanksgiving.
Christmas decorations go outside the house the day after Thanksgiving.
And now since the miles separate her and I we talk on the phone. We share recipes, we gripe about the darn lights and how much we need to spend on new ones this year. 

This post is for you Fran! Get home I have new recipes!

Please keep Fran in your prayers for the coming days. She is currently in ICU in critical condition. She had another blood transfusion but is still in need of more prayers and medical attention at this time. 
Also please pray for my dad and her children.

Day 1 Christmas Countdown

A recipe to share with family and friends one of my faves with hot chocolate. These also make a great gift for the Holiday season. Pack them up with some homemade hot chocolate. What a treat!

Candy Cane Biscotti

2½ cups all-purpose flour
1½ tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
8 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ cup sugar
3 large eggs
2/3 cup finely chopped peppermint candies, plus extra for garnish
14 oz. white chocolate
Preheat the oven to 350° F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicon baking mat.
In a medium mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt; stir briefly with a fork to combine.  In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until well combined, about 2 minutes.  Beat in the eggs one a time, mixing well after each addition.  Add in the dry ingredients and mix on low speed just until incorporated.  Fold in the 2/3 cup crushed peppermints with a rubber spatula until evenly incorporated.
Evenly divide the dough into 4 portions.  Form each into a 9″ by 1½” log on the prepared baking sheet, spaced evenly.  Bake until the cookies are light golden brown on top, about 18-20 minutes.  Remove the pan from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes on the cookie sheet.  Reduce the oven temperature to 325° F.
After the logs have cooled for 10 minutes, use a sharp serrated knife to cut the logs into ½-inch slices on the diagonal.  Arrange the cut pieces on the baking sheet, laying on one of their cut sides so one cut side is facing up.  Bake for 15 minutes more, until the cookies are light golden brown and crisp.  (They may seem a bit soft, but will firm as they cool.)  Transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.
Once the biscotti have cooled, melt the white chocolate in the top of a double boiler.  Dip one half of each cookie in the chocolate, shake gently to remove the excess, and transfer to a baking sheet or work surface lined with wax paper.  Sprinkle with extra crushed candy canes while the chocolate is still wet.  Let stand at room temperature until the chocolate has set completely.  Store in an airtight container.

adapted from Annie

Blog Template by