Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Christmas Simmering Potpourri

I'm a sucker for anything that smells good. If I had invested in Glade sprays or Yankee Candles, maybe we could have retired early on profits! Fragrance is one of those things that's very personal though. This time of year when all the perfume inserts come in the ads, I have to open them and take a whiff. Jessica McClintock is my favorite, it's description are "top notes of cassia, basil, ylang-ylang, bergamot, black currant and lemon; middle notes are jasmine, lily-of-the-valley and rose; base notes are musk and woody notes"... hmm, that pretty well covers all smells known to mankind! But we know what we like and this time of year we all love for our homes to be welcoming and smell like Grandma's house! Even if you haven't had the time to put one single cookie in the oven, you can have that delicious aroma swirling around if you make either one of these potpourri's.  

Simmering Christmas Potpourri #1
Shared from Estelle's Kitchen at The Maine House
Sliced apples
Sliced lemons
Sliced oranges
Bay leaves
Whole cloves
Cinnamon sticks
In a slow-cooker, combine fruit the way you like. Cover in water. Top with bay leaves, whole cloves, and cinnamon sticks. Leave slow-cooker on. Makes your house smell like Christmas Memories!

Simmering Christmas Potpourri #2
1 Quart Pineapple Juice

1 Quart Water
1 Quart Apple Cider
3 Sticks of Cinnamon
16 Cloves
1 Teaspoon Allspice
2 Teaspoons Pickling Spice
Simmer over low heat, until the house smells delicious. Add more water as needed and you can reheat this mixture for days. If you have an electric potpourri pot, all the better! This is just wonderful!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

The Christmas Album

The year my Dad passed we were expecting our first Grandson Jackson. It was a long winter to go through, depression and anticipation are an odd mix. I decided that keeping busy was the best medicine for me so I began putting together a Christmas Album. Up till then, the various years were scattered from album to envelope to the "Picture Box." Every night I'd set down to watch TV and go through the pictures, 1970-1994. Years of Christmas mornings spread out before me to be placed in the pages of an album that I hoped would mean something in time to the Grandchild waiting to be born.

As I went through the pictures, the memories flowed back. Stephanie was 2 when we were stationed at Biloxi, Mississippi in the above pictures (1972).

Stephanie and her Daddy under the mistletoe...Sacramento, California 1974

1981, Amy was 2 and Stephanie 10

Many, many Christmases at our parents houses. We were lucky, they lived across the pasture from each other so when we went it meant TWO Christmases!

1987 at Mom and Dad's

1988, the next year Stephanie graduated from High School

When you look at a picture you see many things, the look of surprise on someone's face, the excitement of opening the gifts and you remember the feelings you had at that moment of being with the ones you love the most.

It was the perfect project for me to work on. I relived the many happy years that my Dad enjoyed his Grand Daughters. His greatest joy was when we were all together. Whether it was Christmas, or digging potatoes out of the huge garden he grew each year, or at the table laughing and talking all at once...he loved every minute. I think that's probably what I inherited from him that I value the most. It's those moments in our lives that add meaning and joy and make each Christmas something so very special...

Friday, November 21, 2014

Libby's Favorite Pumpkin Roll

Libby's Favorite Pumpkin Roll

1/4 cup powdered sugar (to sprinkle on towel)
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup pure pumpkin puree (Libby’s)

For the Filling

1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
6 tablespoons butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup powdered sugar (optional)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a 15 x 10-inch jelly-roll pan with parchment paper and spray with non-stick cooking spray, or you can use a Silpat. Sprinkle a clean tea towel with powdered sugar. Set pan and towel aside.
In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, pumpkin pie spice and salt. In a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat eggs, vanilla and sugar until thick. Add in pumpkin and mix to combine. Stir in flour mixture. Spread batter evenly into prepared pan.
Bake for 13 to 15 minutes or until top of cake springs back when touched. Immediately loosen and turn cake onto prepared towel. Carefully peel off paper. Roll up cake and towel together, starting with narrow end. Cool on wire rack.
In a medium bowl, beat cream cheese, powdered sugar, butter and vanilla extract until smooth. Carefully unroll cake; remove towel. Spread cream cheese mixture over cake. Re-roll cake. Wrap in Saran wrap and refrigerate at least one hour. 
Store Pumpkin Roll wrapped in Saran Wrap for up to a week in the fridge or you can freeze it and store up to a month. Allow the roll to come to room temperature, about an hour before serving.

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