"Gather ye rose-buds while ye may." Robert Herrick

"Gather ye rose-buds while ye may." Robert Herrick

Hello Friends!

Friends, Romans, countrymen...y'all. Foodies, gardeners, artists and collectors - let's gather together to share and possibly learn a thing or two in the mix.

Donna Baker

Friday, December 31, 2010

Lemony New Year

My lemon harvest this year has been the largest yet. Literally. I've been growing lemons for several years now. Mostly Meyer lemons, but this year I also harvested Etrog and Ponderosa lemons. The small lemon is about the size you'll find in grocery stores, the next size up is the baseball sized Meyer lemon. The Ponderosa lemon is soft ball sized. And, just look at the football sized Etrog. Hard to believe isn't it.

So, now you know what I'll be doing New Year's Eve. Juicing lemons. I've run out of things to do with them. Curds, strudels, limoncello and juice... Last year, I tried preserving them like they do in Morocco, but I never did use them. Ditto, the limoncello tastes good if you are a heavy drinker as it is about 1000 proof and will grow hair on your chest. And, I still have juice in the freezer from last year. Wish I could share them with all of you.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Felted Dogs

Here is a last minute gift idea for those of you (like me) that are still looking for gifts. ANTHROPOLIGIE has these little felted dog ornaments. I watched this season of MAN SHOPS GLOBE, a show on the Sundance channel, that follows the head buyer for ANTHROPOLIGIE around the world looking for the unique. An artist in Ireland makes felted dogs (larger) and they auctioned off some for charity, that went for thousands. Dog lover that I am, I had to get these. Of course, I have to keep them, so I am still shopping...

Monday, December 20, 2010


To all my new and old friends, I wish you a very merry Christmas holiday season. I haven't been in the loop lately, and like many of you, I'm tap dancing just as fast as I can. I don't have much time, so I'm re-posting this picture of my oft requested peanut butter balls. These chocolaty goodness morsels will melt in your mouth. The best part, they require no cooking. Yes, even the kitchenophobics will be able to make these. Type in peanut butter truffles in the upper left hand corner and get the recipe. As your friends and family gather together another year, give them some of these. They'll love you for it. And again, have a blessed time with your loved ones this season.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Christmas Sugar Cookies

I've been sick. But, I am better. I didn't even feel like going near the computer. I am so behind on Christmas preparations, I probably won't get everything done this year. My priority is to get all the gifts purchased and wrapped. So, I will give you the gift of the recipe for these sugar cookies. I love re-using old posts.
My children and I used to ice sugar cookies for every holiday and woefully, I just about burned them out. I still have a little granddaughter and grandson to pass on the tradition to. I made these for a tea room for a year or so and that was too much as they take a lot of time when you are making them a hundred at a time. Nonetheless, I have quite a following and still get many requests for these - which I refuse. We used to make great works of art out of them even using paint brushes. These look like hell, but I just wasn't in the zone today, not to mention I burned an entire batch while trying to upload pics to this blog. Oh well, my sweet little grand babies enjoyed one.

Sugar Cookies

2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 cup butter
1 cup shortening
4 TBS. milk (I use half and half)
2 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. salt
5 cups flour

Combine butter and shortening. Add the sugar and cream until well mixed. Next, add eggs, milk and vanilla. With a hand-held mixer, mix until all ingredients are combined. Add flour and salt and mix. Dough will be fairly stiff but sticky. Roll out dough on a heavily floured surface. Cut out designs with desired cookie cutters and transfer to an ungreased cookie sheet with sides. Bake at 350 degrees for 12 - 15 minutes (depending on how thick and large your cookies are). Continue to roll and cut out designs until all the dough is gone.
Tip: the secret to my success in baking is that I always slightly undercook my baked goods. These cookies will melt in your mouth. Also, I roll them out to about 1/4 inch thickness. I guarantee you will get raves for these.

Sugar Cookie Icing:
In a bowl, combine 2 tablespoons butter with a bag of confectioners sugar. Add enough cream to get a spreadable consistency. You can use any method you want for application. In our family, we use butter knives and toothpicks. If you want to make different colors of icing, split the batch into smaller bowls and add a few drops of food coloring to each bowl. If icing starts to become too thick, add a few drops of cream to thin. You can also use the various icing implements and flood the cookies etc. Also, you can use meringue powder if you want a stiffer icing. Royal icing works well too. These really aren't difficult to make just time consuming.

As an aside, I must tell you you can make your own cookie cutters. I used to make large cookies and couldn't find large cookie cutters. You can go to the hardware store and buy galvanized tin and/or copper and a pair of aviation snips that will cut out the strips to form cutters into whatever shape you can imagine.

Merry Christmas, every one...