Tuesday, March 29, 2011


Did you ever have one of those days where, plans change and then the whole days seems to go astray?  Well, that is how my day has gone. After being under the weather yesterday, a bit of a stomach flu bug I think. I went to bed early to get alot of rest and looking forward to a trip to Madison for yarn. Now, that doesn't sound like such a big deal....but Going to Madison early means a quick stop at Lazy Janes for a croissant and some Almond Vanilla coffee.  My favorite treat. In fact that could make a bad day turn good all by itself.  Well, like life...plans change and we are not to go today. Coffee at home and no almond croissant or scone form Lazy Janes.  The day is sinking fast. Add to that the teens are on summer break and they will somehow find a way to disrupt my day.

The morning coffee was good but just not right, toast instead of croissant.  This day must get better.
I am working to get items finished for orders and upcoming shows as well as my Etsy shop. People are not cooperating, they must not know my plan for the day, or do and just don't care.  I feel myself slowly slipping downhill. Not good.  Projects coming along slowly and constant chatter.  They should be in school!

Now with housework done and projects started. I am trying to make some cute hang tags for the hats and sweaters. ... another surprise......the two little guys are back. Days early, so much for major production happening here today. That's ok,  we will watch Franklin the Turtle and play Mr. Potato Head instead. It won't be long before these two are big and no longer need or want to spend quality time with Gramma.

At nap time to pacify my need for a croissant I went online and found this recipe and in the morning before my day can get off track will make these.

Almond Croissants

Adapted from Chocolate and Zucchini
•4 large day old croissants
•2-3 tablespoons flaked almonds
•1 tablespoon icing sugar
For syrup
•1/2 cup water
•1 tablespoon caster or superfine sugar
•1.5 tablespoons light rum (optional)
For almond filling
•1/2 cup sugar
•2/3 cup ground almond meal
•a pinch of salt
.50g (1/2 stick) unsalted room temperature butter, diced (take it out the night before if you need to or blitz it in the microwave on very low for a very short time if you need to)
•1 egg

Note:You can make the syrup and the crème d’amandes up to a day in advance: transfer into separate airtight containers, and refrigerate.

1. Prepare the syrup: combine water, sugar and the rum (if using) in a saucepan. Bring to a slow boil over medium heat, and simmer for a minute, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Remove from heat, transfer into a shallow soup plate, and let cool completely.
2. Prepare the almond filling by combining 1/2 cup sugar, the almond meal and the salt in a bowl and mix until combined. Add the butter, and mix again until well mixed. Add in the eggs one by one, and mix until creamy.
3. Preheat the oven to 180° C (350° F) and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Dip a croissant into the syrup, coating both sides and the ends well – the croissant should be quite moist. Slice horizontally like you would for a sandwich (I sliced the back as that seemed easiest), and place on the cookie sheet. Spread the inside with about two tablespoons almond filling, and place the top back on. Spread the top with another tablespoon of almond filling, and sprinkle with sliced almonds. Repeat with the remaining croissants and filling.

5. Put into the oven to bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until the almond cream is set and golden. Transfer onto a cooling rack, dust with confectioner’s sugar, and serve, slightly warm or at room temperature. They will keep for a day. If you can resist them!

This is one of the few projects finished and tagged today... hopefully more to come.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Things are just Ducky

  I woke very early this morning with a list of all that needed to get done on my mind.  I came out turned on the coffee and sat down to quietly work on a few projects before the house woke up. Ahhhh, peace and quiet. This is spring break for our kids and people are always coming and going. A couple are in Chicago visiting, Liz has a college tour and the other teenagers will sleep in. I should have a great morning. Now that the sun is finally up it is a bright but chilly morning. The kind I will just admire from inside where it is warm.

I am finishing some duck items for Easter and the Etsy shop.  I am hopng to get a yellow pinafore done. What a cute spring outfit that would make paired up with a duck or even chick hat. The pattern I am using is from 1974 and was my Grandmothers. My girls had a pinafore for every occasion. Toss a pinafore on over a tshirt or turtleneck and some jeans and adorable and fancy as the kids used to say. Pinafores can also be worn over a dress to spruce it up. So many options and oh so easy. On the back of this pattern, in her own writing are all the little changes to get the pinafore in other sizes.  She was amazing. On some days it still brings tears to my eyes to see her handwriting. She was one of a kind. She took great pride in having the best dressed Grandkids at school or church. We wore handmade and I don't think I realized until now how much love went into dressing us. Thanks Gram!  I just hope my Grandkids will feel the same years from now about me.

Ducky Purse

Girl Duck Hat

Ducky Hat on Carsen

duck hat and sweater

Hooded ducky sweater

Ducky Cupcakes
24 vanilla cupcakes baked in yellow paper liners 20 plain doughnut holes
2 cans (2 cups each), plus 1 cup vanilla frosting 14 orange fruit chews (Tootsie Fruit Rolls, Starburst)
Yellow food coloring 48 brown mini candy-coated chocolates (M&M’s Minis)
12 marshmallows

Yield: 24 Servings Shopping List:Add Recipe Recipe Added!View shopping list directionsPrep: 15 min Total: 45 min Try Kitchen View! Take your computer to the kitchen and view this recipe full-screen, with step-by-step directions. Enter Kitchen View 1
Tint 1 can plus 3/4 cup of the vanilla frosting bright yellow with the yellow food coloring. Spoon the yellow frosting into a microwavable measuring cup; cover with plastic wrap. Spoon 1/4 cup of the vanilla frosting into a ziplock bag, press out the excess air, seal, and set aside.
Cut the marshmallows in half on the diagonal with scissors. Spread some of the vanilla frosting from the remaining can on top of a cupcake. For the head, place a doughnut hole on one side. For the tail, arrange the cut marshmallow, pointed end up, on the edge on the opposite side. Repeat to make 20 heads-up ducks. To make the bottoms-up ducks, place a cut marshmallow in the center of each of the remaining 4 cupcakes, pointed end up. Spread vanilla frosting up the sides of the doughnut holes and marshmallows on the cupcakes to fill in the gaps and smooth. Place the cupcakes in the freezer for 15 minutes, or until slightly frozen.
Microwave the yellow frosting, stopping to stir frequently, until it has the texture of lightly whipped cream, about 45 seconds. Remove 1 cupcake at a time from the freezer. Holding the cupcake by its paper bottom, dip it into the yellow frosting just up to the liner. Allow the excess frosting to drip off back into the cup. Turn right side up and let stand. Repeat with the remaining cupcakes. If the frosting becomes too thick, reheat for several seconds, stirring well.
For the beaks, cut 10 of the orange fruit chews in half. Shape each piece into a 3/4-by-11/2-inch oval. Fold the fruit chew almost in half, then pinch at the fold and shape to look like an open beak. Place the folded edge of the fruit chew on the front of the doughnut hole head, pressing gently to secure. For the feet, cut the remaining 4 fruit chews in half on the diagonal. Flatten each piece into a 1-by-11/2-by-11/2-inch triangle. Shape the short end to make the webbed feet. Score the top with a small knife. Insert the pointed end of the feet at the base of the tail on the bottoms-up cupcakes. Snip a small (1/8-inch) corner from the bag with the vanilla frosting. Pipe a white dot on either side of the head for the eyes and add the mini brown candies.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Time Out

Now as a Mom and Grandma we all know what a time out is.  They came into be after my kids were school age, but I now use them.....for me . That is what I call 3:00 at our house...that is when The Nate Show comes on and I want to sit quietly if possible for that one hour. Is that really too much to ask? To sit and look at all I could accomplish shoule I set my mind to it. I am pretty darn creative, but with a lack in cooperation mnay of my dream projects have not come to be.  This spring I intend to make some big changes and on my own.... We are woman hear us roar.....who needs help. The other nice thing is every so often they have great recipes on there like this one

Spicy Smoky S’mores Bars


18 crackers or 2 packages plain graham crackers
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, melted, plus more, softened, for pan
4 cups milk chocolate chips
1/2 teaspoon chipotle pepper powder
4 cups mini-marshmallows

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.

Line the bottom and sides your 9 by 13-inch baking pan with foil. You want to leave about 4 inches of overhang on the 2 opposite sides. These are going to serve as your handles to remove the bars from the pan in one piece, so make sure that there is enough of the overhang for you to have a solid grip. Grease the foil well.
In your food processor, grind the graham crackers into a fine meal (you need 2 cups). In a large bowl, combine your crumbs, sugar, sea salt, and melted butter. The mixture should look and feel like wet sand. Set aside 1/2 cup of the crumb mixture for the topping. Evenly press the remaining crumb mixture into the bottom the foil-lined pan. Pop your crust into the oven and bake until it is golden brown and your kitchen smells of graham crackers, about 12 minutes. Remove the crust from the oven and allow it to cool on a rack or on a dishtowel on your counter.

Melt your milk chocolate in a saucepan over low heat, stirring continuously until fully melted. Do not turn up the heat to hurry this process; you must keep it on low. Once the chocolate is fully melted, it's time to add your chipotle pepper powder and stir it in completely.
Preheat the broiler.
Pour the melted chocolate over the cooled graham cracker crust. Spread the chocolate evenly over the crust with the back of a butter knife. Then sprinkle your marshmallows over the chocolate, pressing them lightly, and then sprinkling the reserved crumb mixture over and in between the marshmallows so that you cannot see the chocolate peaking through the marshmallows. Broil the bars until the marshmallows are golden brown, it should only take 30 seconds to 1 minute.
Refrigerate the bars until the chocolate is hard, 2 hours or so. Grab the ends of the foil liner and lift the bars out of the pan in 1 piece. Move them to a cutting board and cut into 24 squares.

Yield: 24 servings
I omitted the chipolte powder and everyone just loved them.

I have been busy getting some things together to post on etsy... here are a few
flower clip for hats etc.

lady bug hat with wing earflaps


owl bib...there is a matching hat on Etsy

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

An Irish Blessing

May the Blessings of Each Day

Be the Blessings you need most

We cannot share a sorrow,

If we haven't grieved a while

Nor can we feel another's joy,

Until we've learned to smile.

May the Leprechauns be near you

To spread Luck along your way.

And may all the Irish Angels,

Smile on you St. Patrick's Day.

May the saddest day of the future

be no worse . . .

Than the happiest day of your past.

Health and long life to you,

Land without rent to you,

A child every year to you,

If you can't go to Heaven,

May you die in Ireland.

May the Luck of the Irish possess you.

May the devil fly off with your worries.

May God bless you forever and ever.

Have A Good Day Always

One of our little leprechauns !

I am getting a head start on sending blessing for St. Patrick's I am off to get the soda bread strted and a grocery list together. 
Later today I hope to post some photos of the new sweaters and adorable birds I did for the etsy shop and share a new recipe I found for the holdiay. Have a great day

Monday, March 14, 2011

It looks like Spring!

After going to town for a meeting this morning, I felt like spring really was right around the corner. We set the time and date for our 4th annual Easter Bunny Parade. It is so much fun to see the kids and grown ups alike enjoy a simple walking parade through the downtown. No big frills or fancy stuff, just a stroll with the bunny collecting some candy along the way from local shops. From Grandmas to babies we have a fun time.  Last year we had a good sized crowd and hopefully it keeps right on growing!
Now I need to make a trip to The Garden Center in town and pick up some potted tulips and hopefully a daffodil to make the house look like spring also. I know this is Wisconsin and we cannot rush spring but inside is another story. So, tomorrow I intend to make some lemon blueberry muffins and start some spring cleaning .  Take down the curtains and lighten up the rooms and make it feel fresh and spring like. Hubby will begin to freak, he hates change.......especially if he has to be somehow involved.

Lemon-blueberry Muffins:

Makes 12 muffins
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
6 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 large eggs
the zest and juice of one lemon (approximately 1/4 cup of juice)
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 /2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 cups frozen blueberries (one 10-ounce bag if using frozen berries)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a standard muffin tin with paper liners.
In a large mixing bowl, mix the sugar and butter until it is creamed. Add the cream cheese until it is completely blended with the sugar and butter mixture. Add the eggs, one at a time, until they are incorporated into the batter, then add the zest and pour in the lemon juice. Mix until zest and juice are also incorporated.

Meanwhile, stir together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium mixing bowl so that the baking powder and salt are evenly distributed, then add the dry ingredients to the wet. Mix until the flour mixture has just been incorporated into the wet, then gently fold in the frozen blueberries. Folding in is just as it sounds: pour the berries into the mixing bowl, then, using a spoon or a spatula, move batter from the bottom of the mixing bowl to the top to cover the berries, mixing those batter-covered berries into the rest of the batter, and repeat until the berries are evenly distributed throughout the batter.

Using two spoons - one to scoop from the mixing bowl, and one to scrape into the muffin liners (as we have ourselves a very sticky batter) - transfer approximately equal amounts of batter to each of the 12 muffin liners.

Bake until the muffins are golden brown, and a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin emerges batter-free, 32 to 35 minutes. Allow the muffins to cool in the muffin pan for 10 minutes, then transfer them to a cooling rack until they are completely cooled.

Try a batch of these and then let me know if you don't feel spring in the air also!

Friday, March 11, 2011

A Touch Of Friday Humor

  I was out walking with my Grandson.  He picked up something off the ground and started to put it in his mouth.  I took the item away from him and I asked him not to do that.
  "Why," my Grandson asked.  "Because it's been on the ground: you don't know where it's been, it is dirty, and probably has germs," I replied.
  At this point, my Grandson looked at me with total admiration and asked, "Grandma, how do you know all this stuf?  You are so smart."
  I was thinking quickly and said to him, " All Grandmas know stuff. It's on the Grandma test. You have to know it, or they don't let you be a Grandma."
  We walked along in silence for two or three minutes, but he was evidently pondering this new information. " Oh....I get it!" he beamed. "So if you don't pass the test you have to be a Grandpa."
"EXACTLY," I replied with a big smile on my face.

this was in our local paper submitted by Charlie Cotter, Elgin S.C.   Have a great weekend and SMILE

Finally Friday

Well, it looks like a glorious day here in Wisconsin. If you do not listen to the news or block out what is going on in the capital. The sun is shining and they are calling for warm weather. Sitting here looking out the dining room window I thought I saw a bluebird hovering near their house in the garden. My husband started out making one made from a pvc pipe, so the squirrels would not bother them to 4 last year. Each houses a family all summer long. Maybe spring really is here.
I am in the mood to bake so I had to look for a recipe that does not include chocolate after giving it up for Lent.  Here is what I came up with....


1/3 cup fine-ground yellow cornmeal
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon creme fraiche or sour cream
1 1/2 tablespoons sunflower oil
grated peel of 1 unwaxed lemon
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 egg
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup blueberries

Preheat the oven to 350F.
Combine the cornmeal, flour, and baking powder in a bowl, then set aside. Beat the Creme fraiche or sour cream, oil, lemon peel, and juice together in a small pitcher, then set aside.
In a separate bowl, beat the egg and sugar together for about 4 minutes until thick and pale, then add the lemon mixture and fold in. Sift the cornmeal mixture over the top and fold in to combine.

Spoon the mixture into the paper liners, then drop about 4 blueberries on top of each one, gently passing them into the mixture. Bake in the preheated oven for 15-16 minutes until risen and golden and a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
To decorate
15 oz cream cheese
2/3 cup confectioners sugar, sifted
1/2 teaspoon grated unwaxed lemon peel
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
about 1/2 cup blueberries
strips of unwaxed lemon peel
To decorate, beat the cream cheese in a bowl until creamy, then beat in the sugar, lemon peel, and juice. Swirl big dollops of frosting on top of the cupcakes and decorate with fresh blueberries and strips of lemon peel.

makes 10  more great cupcake recipes can be found here.

In between my baking I am making more fun hats for Easter.  A customer emailed me about a fun hat she saw. Could I make one? Well this is what I came up with.

Bright and cheerful , I hope she like it. ! I will be making some and adding them to the Etsy shop !  Think Spring!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Wednesday Already

  Time seems to fly when the two little men in my life are gone to their Moms. Before you know it they will be back and the noise and business will fill the house. Awwww I love it. Right now though I am enjoying another cup of coffee while I ponder over my choice to give up chocolate for Lent. I usually don't give up anything but this year I decided to join in.
Chocolate is one of my downfalls and seems like a good thing to give up. So, no more in my morning creamer, or a bite when the day has gone crazy. I have a money bet with my daughter, she will lose I am sure of it!
The snow is really coming down now as I sit and watch out the dining room window.  Hubby and #1 grandson are trying to get the car unstuck from the middle of the road. No plow so far. Of course it is supposed to be almost 50 by the weekend so it will all melt. The car can't sit that long so they are out there shoveling and pushing.
This is the time of day when I need to decide what to make for dinner. Cold, snowy, the little guys back. Feels like chicken and dumplings.
This is my favorite recipe for them. The family was crazy about the dumplings. I just can't say enough about them. You need to try this one for yourself. Easy , but tastes like you slaved away all day over a hot stove. I can put it on and crochet the afternoon away while it cooks, then right before five get the dumplkings in and the family will be thrilled. Maybe if the day goes well even add a batch of Pioneer Womans dinner rolls. Another easy and delicious recipe.
The photos on Pioneer Womans sight are also amazing, you can almost smell the food! I ordered her books from Walmart online.
So, off to take a chicken out of the freezer, refill my coffee cup and get busy on some duck hats for the Etsy shop. There is a tan bunny hat on order that needs doing and I really need to stock pile for upcoming shows. Maybe I should have given up sleep for lent.
Have a great Day and try the chicken and dumplings!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Widening my Horizons

  Happy Fat Tuesday.... and NO, that is not how I intend to widen my horizon.  As I drink my morning coffee and referree the three dogs playtime, I have decided to put in place a way for those customers of mine who share my shop with friends and family can get a bonus. Another Etsy shop had an article on this and it sounds like a wonderful way to not only reward those customers but find new ones.
                   Here is what I was thinking:

Earn a $10 Credit for Every Friend You Bring to the Grammas Gifts !

Would you like to earn a free item?  Since you’ve already been spreading the word and sharing your love for  Grammas Gifts,  I have started an affiliate program to thank and reward you!   If you’re interested in becoming an affiliate, please contact me through Grammas Gifts or write to me at

Here’s how it works:
First....Contact me , letting me know you would like to be an affiliate.
Next    I’ll create a special 10% discount that you can share with your friends.
Then.... Each time one of your friends make their first purchase (of $10 or more) and use the 10% discount code, you receive a $10 Grammas Gifts gift certificate!

You can share your code anywhere and everywhere!
 Tell your friends, email relatives, and post it on your blog!
For every new customer you bring, you earn $10.00 certificate toward your choice of an item from the shop!
Visit the Grammas Gifts and  get started ♥

     Now with that finally in type I can get back to my Paczki and coffee.  I have a new baby sweater in the works. Lady Bugs is the theme for this next set and I can hardly wait to get it done and show it off. I need to use my time wisely today because the little guys come back tommorrow and then for four days it is hard to even finish a thought . A sweater seems out of the question!  As I am typing I can see on the tv they are calling for 6-8 inches of heavy wet snow startting tonight. I am glad I have more than enough yarn to hold me over, so all I need now is someone to run for milk and we are set to be snowed in for awhile. I think our road is the last one plowed in the county! That is ok with me , I will watch the flakes fall as I work away.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Fat Tuesday Fast Approaching

   I woke up this morning thinking of my Gram.  It happens often and usually she clears up a question I have been poindering or seems to calm the craziness around me. But, today I woke thinking  of Pączki Day. I had to smile, in her later years she did love her bakery. I think it is engrained in us. My biggest dream is to open a bakery, oh would those Grammas be proud of me then! My Great Grandmother was raised near Warsaw, Poland in what was then  Prussia, and came to this country in 1912. Her German family worked on a large farm and sent her and a brother Otto to America for safety. She was never to see any of them again. I think becasue of this she held old traditions and family very tightly and made us #1 always.  My Grandmother followed right behind.  We were her family treasure and what she left behind was in our hearts and memories, not the bank. . Of the many customs and traditions she brought with her was Paczki Day.  Now if my Gram was still here, I would need to stop at the bakery today to have some Paczki there for her morning coffee. That sounds wonderful, but no longer living in the Chicago area, we have no good bakery near us and I may just need to bake today so I can share this with my grandkids in the morning. Is it life changing if I don't? No, but these little things somehow, someday may bring a smile to their faces on a cold grey March day.
For those of you who could use some back ground on this festive day read on.....

In English, the common pronunciations /pɔ̃tʃki/ or /pɑntʃki/[1] imitate the Polish pronunciation, but some speakers pronounce the word /puntʃki/

Pączki Day In Poland, pączki are eaten especially on Fat Thursday (the last Thursday before Lent). Many Polish Americans celebrate Pączki Day on Fat Tuesday (the day before Ash Wednesday). Traditionally, the reason for making pączki was to use up all the lard, sugar, eggs and fruit in the house, because they were forbidden to be consumed due to Catholic fasting practices during Lent.

In the large Polish community of Chicago, and other large cities across the Midwest, Pączki Day is celebrated annually by immigrants and locals alike. In Buffalo, Toledo, Cleveland, Detroit, Grand Rapids, Milwaukee, South Bend, and Windsor, Pączki Day is more commonly celebrated on Fat Tuesday instead of Fat Thursday. Chicago celebrates the festival on both Fat Thursday and Fat Tuesday, due to its sizable Polish population.

In Hamtramck, Michigan, an enclave of Detroit, there is an annual Pączki Day (Shrove Tuesday) Parade which has gained a devoted following. In the Greater Cleveland area, it is wide spread through out the region, that many bakeries have people that will wait in lines for pączki on Pączki Day.[citation needed] The Pączki Day celebrations in some areas are even larger than many celebrations for St. Patrick's Day.[citation needed] In some areas Pączki Day is celebrated with pączki-eating contests. The eating contest in Evanston, Illinois, started in 2010. Hamtramck contest started in 2001. Both are held on weekends closest to Fat Tuesday.

DOUGH. Dissolve 2 cakes crushed yeast in 1 c. lukewarm milk, sift in 1 c. flour, add 1 T. sugar, mix, cover, and let stand in warm place to rise.

Beat 8 egg yolks with 2/3 c. powdered sugar and 2 T. vanilla sugar until fluffy. Sift 21/2 c. flour into bowl, add sponge, egg mixture, and 2 T. grain alcohol or 3 T. rum, and knead well until dough is smooth and glossy. Gradually add 1 stick melted lukewarm butter and continue kneading dough until it no longer clings to hands and bowl and air blisters appear.

Cover with cloth and let rise in warm place until doubled. Punch dough down and let it rise again. Transfer dough to floured board, sprinkle top with flour, and roll out about 1/2" inch thick. With glass or biscuit-cutter, cut into rounds. Arrange on floured board and proceed in either of the following ways:

SMALL PACZKI. Place a spoonful of fruit filling (rose-hip preserves, cherry preserves, or other thick jam) off center on each round. Raise edges of dough and pinch together over filling, then roll between palms snowball fashion to form balls. Let rise in warm place until doubled.

LARGE PACZKI. Place a spoonful of fruit filling as above on only 1/2 dough rounds, cover each with another round, pinch edges together, and roll between palms to form a ball. Let rise until doubled in warm, draft-free place. Heat 11/2-2 lbs. lard in deep pan so paczki can float freely during frying. It is hot enough when a small piece of dough dropped into hot fat immediately floats up.

Fry paczki under cover without crowding several minutes until nicely browned on bottom, then turn over and fry uncovered on other side another 3 minutes or so. Note: If using electric fryer, set temp. at 360-375 degrees. If frying in stove-top pan and fat begins to burn, add several slices of peeled raw potato which will both lower the temperature and absorb the burnt flavor. Paczki may also be fried in oil, but lard produces the tastiest results. If you are cutting down on animal fats, you can compromise by using a lard and oil combination.

Transfer fried paczki to absorbent paper and set aside to cool. When cool, dust generously with powdered sugar, glaze or icing.

EXQUISITE OLD WARSAW PACZKI. This is an old recipe modified for those who prefer granulated, active dry yeast to a the more traditional compressed fresh yeast.

Beat 12 egg yolks with 1. t. salt at high speed until thick and lemony. Dissolve 2 packets of dry yeast in 1/4 c. 110-degree water. Separately, cream 1/3 c. room-temp. butter with 1/2 c. granulated sugar until fluffy, and beat into yeast mixture. Scald 1 c. whipping cream and cool to lukewarm.

Gradually add 2 c. flour and the cream, plus 3 T. French brandy, beating constantly. Then add 2 more c. flour and finally the yolk mixture. Knead well until air blisters appear. Cover with cloth and let stand in warm place until doubled. Punch down and let rise again. Roll out on floured board, sprinkling top of dough with a little flour, about 3/4 inch thick.

Cut into 2 inch rounds and top half of them with spoonful fruit filling. Cover with remaining rounds, pinch edges together with seal. (Note: If dough is dry, moisten edges with water before pinching together.) Place paczki on floured board, cover with cloth, and let raise until doubled. Fry as above, drain on absorbent paper, and when cool, dust with vanilla sugar or cover with glaze, preferably containing some grated orange ring.

OLD POLISH UNFILLED PACZKI. Add a pinch of saffron to 2 T. 190-proof grain alcohol and let stand several hours. In bowl, sift 1 c. flour and scald it 1 c. boiling milk, mixing with wooden spoon until smooth and lump-free. Set aside to cook. Meanwhile, mix 1 stick room-temp. butter, 1/3 c. honey, and 1 cake yeast. Stir in 21/2 c. flour, add 1 pinch salt, knead until smooth, cover with cloth, and allow to rise in warm place. When it has doubled, work in 1 T. rum, the strained saffron-flavored alcohol, and 1 T. finely chopped candied orange rind. Knead again briefly and set aside to rise once more.

Tear off walnut-sized pieces of dough and roll between floured palms into balls. Arrange on floured board, cover with cloth, and allow to rise until doubled. Fry in hot fat, drain in absorbent paper, and, when cool, dust with powered sugar or glaze as above

Friday, March 4, 2011

Being MOM is a Tough Job

With all that goes on in the world today, I think one of the toughest jobs out there is MOM.  Everything in a childs life depends on MOM. From food and care to learning to be strong and independant. The ability to love and show love and being kind and respectful.  That is alot to put on one persons shoulders but since the beginning of time.....that is how it has been and for good reason. We as women are more patient and better equipted for the day to day care of such precious cargo. All that being said there are the days when I wonder   " How much can one person take?" I was reminded of something my Gram would say to us when things just looked to big to handle, " God never gives us more than we can handle."   A friend on Facebook and fellow crafter had a post on this just today   The Grahn Homestead: Say What You Mean and Mean What You Say!
All of this was very reassuring after a few bad days with teens at our house.  My kids are all grown but I am raising three great grandkids. But, like most kids there are days when you want to ask...What happened to the kids?  Someone has taken them over, they are possesed.  Some say give in and quit but I think it is my job to stand firm and guide them through these rough patches to be great young adults. Not to take the easy way out and let them run the house. Hopefully I am right becasue I am not backing down. I am not their friend but Gramma and responsible for them.  I WANT them to be not just good kids but good people who can think and resolve issues and I can boast about at every turn.
 I was so upset yesterday that I thought I could have eaten a vat of triple choclate brownie icecream. After hubby brought it home, I was so upset I could'nt swallow a bite. Grammas get hurt feelings too. Kids can be thoughtless and down right rude. I have brought all this to the table and want changes made and NOW. I want better treatment and ...want it NOW. So, until they get home and I see if this happens I am consoling myself with two little grandsons who love me unconditionally and making and taste testing oatmeal cookies.

"Better than Grandma's Oatmeal-Raisin Cookies"
Dry Ingredients
2 Cups all-purpose Flour
•1 teaspoon baking soda
•1 teaspoon baking powder
•1 teaspoon Kosher Salt

Wet Ingredients
•1 Cup Unsalted Butter (I have used "regular" butter with great results too!)
•1 Cup Sugar
•1 Cup Dark Brown Sugar (firmly packed)
•2 Large Egg
•2 teaspoons Vanilla

Then Add
•3 cups oats (NOT instant)
•1 & 1/2 cups raisins
1.preheat oven to 350 degrees f.

2.whisk dry ingredients together, set aside.

3.combine wet ingredients with mixer on low speed to combine; Turn mixer speed to HIGH and cream together until color lightens and the mixture is light and fluffy.

4.Stir the flour mixture into the creamed mixture until no flour is visible (DO NOT OVER MIX!!)

5.Add Oats and raisins and stir to combine.

6.Drop Approx 2 tablespoons of dough onto a greased cookie sheet spaced about 2 inches apart.

7.Bake 11-13 min (on center rack of oven) until golden, but still moist in the cracks. on cookie sheet for approx 2 min before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.


The cookies are helping some, but I could use some prayers.  Maybe there is an Irish Blessing for raising teenagers. If so, please send it my way.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Your Gramma Does What?

  That was the question that came up the other day.  My lovely granddaughter answered , she crochets, paints, bake, and writes a blog.
This is Isabella and from the look on her face you can see she is thinking....She writes a what.  Hard to believe. Everyone who knows her, knows she has no idea of where or when to use punctuation. Obviously!
Yet, she still types away and tells the world about things that go on in her little part of the world as often as she can.  Yes, to our embarassment she has learned to post photos of her loving family. Not all of them always flattering. Why?  they ask....because she can.

Sure, Gram wants you to believe we enjoy or photos plastered on here. That we somehow look forward to the constant hat fittings and photo ops. OK some of us do. In fact I wish she would send me a few more hats to try out.. Maybe something with a flower, girly yet fun!

This was my first hat, a darlign penguin number. I wore it home from the hospital.  Why does she make these hats and stuff?  Good question, he Gramma made all kinds or crocheted things and every baby came home in one of Grammas handmade things. My Mom grew up in the ponchos and sweaters and the pinafores for every occasion. I think it is a Gramma thing.
I should Thank Isabella for her wise input!  Maybe a new hat and sweater for Easter !

Now yes, I do enjoy watching them dressed in my hats and such and I now realize the pride my Gram had as off we went to school dressed in her creations. First me and my siblings, then my kids, and then my grandkids. Gram loved every stitch she did and you felt it in the warm hooded sweater or delicate christening outfit. Now, I am not nearly as talented but I keep trying in my own way.
I have found that I like to share the sometimes silly or troublesome things in my life. Maybe someone will smile, or find the answer to a problem they have. If so, I am very happy. So please in each future blog, ignore the punctuation and just read for fun. Read between the lines and enjoy.