Monday, December 28, 2015

Date-Nut Bars

Our Christmas was wonderful and relaxing. My husband and I slept in (7:30 am- is sleeping in for us) and ate biscuits. Well, cinnamon rolls. My Grandma's recipe. Growing up my Mom would make a double batch- that is about 12 pans- and give them to our neighbors and each of my sisters and I would give a pan to our teacher. We would eat those "biscuits" every Christmas morning and my Dad would make "Christmas eggs." (A big pan of scrambled eggs with lots of cheese!) When we go to my parents' this week, we will have them when we celebrate Christmas with all my family.

One gift I was really surprised and happy to receive was the box set of Little House On the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder. I love reading about life in the 1800s and how simple, yet extremely difficult it was. Thank you to my wonderful, Mother-in-law!

This year, I didn't bake as many Christmas cookies as I normally do. I'm afraid to even tell you that I didn't make cut-outs this year. I know! What is wrong with me?? I participated in two cookie exchanges and that gave me the variety I needed for the Season. Because of Christmas parties and gatherings, I've had a cut-out or two, so my craving for them has been met. (And not having cut-outs in the house is better for my lack of self-control.)

There a few cookies that make me think of Christmas: frosted cut-outs, Spritz, Pepperkakar (Swedish gingerbread) and Date-Nut bars.

I don't think my Mom always made Date-Nut bars. I don't remember them much growing up, but then again, I was a super picky eater and so I probably just blocked them out of my memory because they had dates in them. I didn't even like raisins as a kid. What was my problem??

Now, being almost thirty, I love Date-Nut Bars! They are chewy, with a wonderful blend of spices. Even though my Mom has made them and they will be at her house when we visit, my husband wanted me to make a batch. The recipe is my Grandma Waite's Molasses Crinkle cookie with walnuts and dates mixed in. To make them into bars, the dough is shaped in a different way.

Date-Nut Bars
3/4 c. shortening
1 c. brown sugar
1 egg
1/4 c. molasses
1/4 c. sugar
2 1/4 c. flour
1/4 t. salt
2 t. baking soda
1 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. cloves
1/2 t. ginger
1/2 c. walnuts, chopped
1/2 c. dates, chopped
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Mix shortening and sugars. Add molasses and egg. Add dry ingredients.

Stir in walnuts and dates until well incorporated.
Divide the dough in half and flatten out each half into a rectangle.
*My Mom usually brushes water on top of the dough, and sprinkles on sugar. This step was somehow left out when I asked for the recipe. Waah, waah...
Bake for 14 minutes.
Once out of the oven, cut it in half down the middle and into small bars.
The dough will continue to bake on the sheet, so if it looks under done in the middle, it will set up just fine.
Allow to cool before breaking the bars apart.
Or don't.
It's really hard to wait.
What cookies make you think of Christmas?

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Christmas [post]card for 2015!

Here is our Christmas [post]card for 2015!
"Let every heart prepare him room"

Transferring my image to the wood.

Starting to carve...
 This year, I used a piece of wood for the print in lieu of linoleum, so my letters aren't as crisp or sharp.
I changed the "2015."

First proof.
I added more hearts afterwards to fill in some spaces.


I opted for a rainbow roll because they are wonderful. The print looks entirely different in a rainbow roll compared to the solid black of the proof.

Every year, we add more people to our Christmas card list. Last year, I printed 40, this year was a little over 50. (I need to invest in a small relief press, so I can crank these puppies out with more efficiency and even pressure. If anyone knows of a place to get one, let me know!)
From our family to yours,
we hope that you have a wonderful and blessed Christmas!

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Grandpa's shirt

I recently made two pillows for a coworker. Her father had passed away last year and wanted something for her family to remember him by. She found a picture of a shirt turned into a pillow.

She gave me two shirts and I bought two throw pillows for the forms. I cut the shirts into two squares and sewed them right sides together. Because of the buttons I could turn them right side out. If they ever need washed, you just unbutton the shirt and throw it in the washer.

I made little tags for them that say:
"This is a shirt I used to wear.
Whenever you hold it,
know that I am there.
Love, Grandpa"
This is something you could make in time for Christmas. It's only straight sewing- easy peasy! Make something memorable this Christmas <3

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Christmas party fun!

Don't you just love to get together with friends to craft, eat good food or participate in a cookie exchange?

[I pick D- all of the above.]

Last Wednesday, our ladies at church got together and did just that.

For the exchange I chose,  Mom's Molasses Sugar Cookies. These are one of my favorite cookies. They spread out nicely with good cracking throughout. Around Christmas however, they take a slightly different form...

The sprinkles came out a little fast...

Cookie exchange!

For our craft time, we made cute ornaments, fueled by [lots of] hot coffee.

I'm doing another cookie exchange at work and I think I'm going to make the same kind.
Isn't it the most wonderful time of the year? <3

Monday, December 7, 2015

Hello, Minion!

I have two gifts done so far: a Hello Kitty hat and a Minion hat.

I think hats with earflaps are [SO] cute!

This hat pattern is from and I looked at for the Hello, Kitty hat.

I'm still trying to figure out what to make for the other two nephews and four nieces. My family isn't getting together until after New Year's to celebrate, so I do have some extra time.

I'm all about practical gifts; things that can be used or worn.
(Preferably sewn or crocheted.)
Any suggestions? <3

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Gramma Cather's Oatmeal Dinner Rolls

Gramma Cather's Oatmeal Dinner Rolls
2 c. water
1 c. quick oats
3 T. butter
1/3 c. warm water
1 package yeast (2 1/4 t.)
1 T. sugar or honey
1/3 c. brown sugar
1 1/2 t. salt
4 3/4- 5 1/4 c. flour
Vegetable oil
Bring 2 cups of water to a boil. Add oats. Cook and stir for 1 minute.
Remove from heat and add 3 tablespoons of butter. Allow oats to cool to lukewarm.
In a large mixing bowl, dissolve yeast in 1/3 cup of warm water (110-115 degrees) with 1 tablespoon of sugar or honey. Let it proof for about 5 minutes.
Add oats, brown sugar, salt and 4 cups of flour. Mix well.
Add enough flour to make a soft dough. Knead for 5 minutes.
In mixing bowl, pour a tablespoon of oil (any neutral cooking oil).
Place dough in bowl and turn, covering all the dough in oil. Rise for 1 hour.
Punch down and let rest for 10 minutes.
Shape into 18 balls. Place in 2 greased 9" round pans.
Let rise for 45 minutes.
Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes.
Brush with butter and cool on wire racks.
This recipe was requested by my sister, Alice.
When my husband saw what I was typing he said, "You're giving away the family secret??" If other people can be enjoying this homemade bread, then yes. <3