Milk & Cookies

I’m no stranger to pulling my own cookies out of the pantry. Grown ass woman that I am, not only can I help myself to cookies, I have been known to bake a batch (okay, a double batch) of cookies just because I wanted one.

But just because I can do it, doesn’t mean my grumpy heart doesn’t melt when my husband pulls out a tiny mug of milk and two cookies for us to share.

Happy Tribus Day!

Happy Tribus Day!

A day to celebrate cookies, tea and blogging!Cookies, Tea, Blogging

What? You’ve never heard of it?

That’s OK. I’m sure it’s only because, thanks to CoachDaddy and Rarasaur, it came into existence earlier this week. And what a fantastic concept, because, well, cookies, tea and blogging! It’ll be international by this time next year!

(Of course if cookies, tea and blogging aren’t your thing, Tribus Day can work with that too. Just pick your three favorite things and start the celebration. That’s the beauty of Tribus day!)

I am happy to let cookies reside at the top of my list. They are my favorite thing, specifically chocolate chip cookies. I like other cookies, I might love some other cookies. But chocolate chip cookies never disappoint and that is a beautiful thing in a dessert.cookies

Cookies are extra fantastic because I like to bake. I’m not going to claim to be some expert baker but I’m a master craving fulfill-er. You come to my house looking for cookies, give me 20 minutes and I’ll have a hot one for you. Though you should plan to bring a Diet Coke just in case. You see I have this thing about baking (and driving, and waking up from a nap, and 3 o’clock in the afternoon and sitting at the computer and late at night with bourbon…) it’s just better with a Diet Coke at hand.making cookies with a Diet Coke

While cookies can be made on short order, the tea is always available.

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Better. #notamorningperson

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Mornings inevitably lead to a quick zap in the microwave in order to get the caffeine into my body as soon as possible. Other times of day I’m willing to wait for water to boil and the tea to steep properly for a superior cup. But in all that waiting you’ve got to do something, and nothing goes with tea quite like books.reading a book while waiting for water to boil Then once the tea is made you need to let it cool a bit so you can just finish the chapter, and then once it’s done there is such a nice rocking chair under the window, good light, and a spot nearby to set a cup of tea… Ahhhh!

As for blogging, well let me check some stats here… Looks like I’ve been blogging for 65 consecutive months and published 1,136 posts. This blogging business seems to have some appeal for me!

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I could get used to this!

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And the best part is that a majority of those posts have pictures. Pictures that I’ve taken. In the last few years my camera has gone from being somewhere about the house, to immediately accessible at all times. I have discovered that anything, even a trip to the park, can be made more enjoyable with a camera in hand.   And then, joy of all joys, I get to put them on my blog and share them! What’s not to love!?!

picture of laptop

I just tried to take a picture of the camera sitting next to the laptop – not my smartest move.


All three together?blogging, tea, cookies

Looks like a beautiful day!

Of course a day with my camera in hand and plenty of Diet Coke and books would be pretty awesome too.Camera, Diet Coke, BooksBut then I’d miss my cookies, blogging and tea!

Happy Tribus Day!

How will you celebrate?


Untrustworthy? Me?

You know that person?

The one who’s never met a so called “too rich” dessert?

The one who can eat her cake and your unwanted frosting too?

The one who incorporates chocolate chips into her breakfast anytime she can, always has something for dessert and takes her kids out on Halloween so she can eat their candy?

Yeah, that’s me.

So tonight when we ran out of Christmas cookies – I made dessert.

Gone. All gone.

All gone.

It was, if I do say so myself, fairly fantastic so I wasn’t surprised that Ivy asked for a piece to go into her lunch tomorrow.

I assured her that would be fine and found myself suddenly subjected to a cross examination on what exactly I would or would not be eating for the rest of the evening worthy of a lawyer to be.

It seems she feels I’m untrustworthy when it comes to desserts.

Cranberry Chocolate Chip Blondies

Mom plees do not eat all of them

After the girls went to bed I, of course, went to have another piece and found that Ivy had left nothing to chance.

So I just had one more small piece…

…or maybe two…

If you’d like to try these Cranberry Chocolate Chip Blondies for yourself I found the recipe here:

I needed to bake it quite a bit longer than the recipe called for and happily discovered that a few minutes outside at 0° will work just as well as letting them sit an hour before cutting. All in all they were quick, easy and, obviously, tasty!


Searching for Recipes

Eating on a diet without wheat, corn, rice, oats, lamb, green beans, chicken…. it gets boring.

Really boring.

Fortunately we are starting to successfully add foods back into Clara’s diet (Hooray for tomatoes and cane sugar!) but it’s a slow process.

As exciting as tomatoes are the food we are eating is still pretty boring. Venison roast with vegetables sounds great, unless you eat it at least once a week. Poor Ivy has been begging, for pizza, noodles and dessert and so I’ve been looking and sleuthing online trying to come up with something different. Trying to do a regular Google search for recipes was frustrating. Even using different cooking websites and their recipe sorters was hard, lists of recipe names that I then had to open and double check ingredients seemed like a great idea but was tedious to carry out. Then I found Pinterest. While I’m still a little sketchy on the point of the whole thing and have no plans of creating my own Pinterest account (because what would I do with it?) I discovered you can look at things just from the Food and Drink category. There you can see pages and pages of good looking pictures of food. The brilliant part?  I can glance at a picture and make a much better quick guess if it will work than looking at a recipe name. So as long as I can avoid drooling over the oodles of lovely looking food we can’t have I have been able to sort through and find some new ideas.

We’ve tried Honey Chipotle Turkey Meatballs, which were excellent though next time we’ll be making the sauce separate on more of them, it was “too spicy” according to Ivy. Then I found Chocolate-Covered Katie and Clara friendly dessert made a more regular appearance and life was good.

Previously making dessert was more of an ordeal, we had found a good chocolate cake recipe and a few good cookie recipes, but very few quick desserts or easy snacks. Last week we made Chocolate-Covered Katie’s Cookie Dough Dip with just a few differences to make it Clara friendly.  Clara and Ivy helped me dump the ingredients into the food processor and blend it up. I opened the top, told Clara that yes she could taste it and turned to get a bowl. When I turned back she had two handfuls of it.

Needless to say the Cookie Dough Dip was a hit!

I feel I should also mention that this dip has a base of chickpeas.

I have never willingly ate more than a single bite of a chickpea containing food before.

Of course I also never had them with chocolate chips.

Chocolate, it makes everything better!

The Christmas Cookies

Yesterday I wrote about a few of the traditions in my family, but the Connell family Christmas Cookies were too big of an event to fit on the same post. Now that my laundry pile is much reduced I’m back to tell you more than you ever wanted to know about our Christmas Cookie making tradition!

The event begins a day or two ahead of the gathering of people when Grandpa and Granny (sometimes with assistance by others) use the old hand grinder to grind up almonds and lemon peel and mix them up into the dough. Just the making of the dough is a bit epic, and we haven’t hardly started yet!

Next we gather as many family members (and sometimes brave friends) as possible into the farm house in Pewaukee where we will shape and bake the cookies.

Once gathered the cooking making begins with the rolling. That’s grandpas job and has been for as long as I can remember. Sometimes he has helpers, sometimes he smashes the dough into his helpers face to make “nose prints,” sometimes it’s hard to be Grandpas helper.

Then a cutter must come and trim edges.

They are followed by the butterer…

…who is followed by the sugerer.

Once sugared they are cut into squares, or if Ivy is helping something with about four sides, not necessary straight nor uniform in size.

Then they are finally picked up and baked.

After baking they are cooled on racks before getting put away into the tins. This has been my Dads job for many years. This year there was much harassing about how he is almost as good at it as the 90 year old lady (my great grandma) who’s job he inherited.

Which brings us to the next part of the tradition.

The harassment.

The cookies are too thin, too thick, not buttered enough, too little sugar or not enough. “Your making postage stamps again!” is often heard to be yelled at a cutter. Oddly enough, Granny in the baking position gets very little flack on her work, I’m thinking this isn’t a coincidence.

And all this fun, it’s been going on for years.

I asked Grandpa this year just how long we have been making Christmas cookies.

He said: “Since 1848.”

He was kidding.

Just a tip, never trust Gramps, they don’t call him “The Big Fink” for nothin’.

Then Granny told how they were not always made this way. My Great Grandma used to cut them out with a round cutter and dip them in butter and then in sugar. Granny thought that was ridiculous therefore we don’t do it that way any more. After we got that story  behind us (it’s a yearly event) we attempted to figure out just how long we have been making the Christmas cookies. It turns out 1848 isn’t too far off. The recipe is entitled “Lena Puchners Christmas Cookies”, it calls for 5 cents of potash, (we’ve updated that to baking soda in our new fangled ways and the cookies seem no worse for the wear) and in the top corner is written “Hayton.” This means -stop reading now if you want to save yourself from the family history- that the Connell family (my Moms, Dads family) had brought the recipe to Pewaukee with them from Hayton Wisconsin where they used to live before my Great Grandfather (James A Connell – Grandpa’s Dad) bought the farm in 1913.  My Great Great Grandfather (Richard Connell)  had died when James was only 16 and so when he came to Pewaukee at the age of 28 he brought his mother (Betsy Amelia, who is sometimes called Betsy and usually called Amelia which always manages to confuse me) and her Christmas Cookie recipe along with him. Shortly after they were joined by Jessie (my Great Grandmother) the maker of the round cookies.

What does all this mean?

It means that while we have no idea who Lena Puchner was, or how long before the move Amelia may have made the cookies, we do know that Lena’s got some pretty darn good cookies and my family has been making them for at least a hundred years.

Now that’s a tradition.