Sunday, December 21, 2014


Have a lovely Christmas~

Je vous souhaite tous..un Joyeux Noël  et une Bonne Et Heureuse Année~

May you all be blessed with health and happiness

A few things that brought joy this past week..snow..looking over to both my neighbours yards..seeing the lone swing Jacques built covered in say we used to have 4..time does indeed fly and stands still for no one.

Watching a cross-country skier go by..I will soon be donning my skis..
A little bit of painting..
Marie's adorable card..her own artwork..she even looks a bit like Marie..:)
Wrapping special gifts..making small natural wreaths to attach to them..
Filling Donella's tin.
Making Cookies w/ that mold:) I tried a new twist this year..same recipe as last year.the one that comes on the cradboard wrap of this mold..BTW it is an excellent mold...but gleaning from here..I added a melted layer of mint chocolate and white chocolate..Some of my chocolate broke off but some are intact enough to offer~I think her candy canes may prevent that.Cute cute Blog.
Pinning things here and there for this Christmas and next Christmas..
Pinterest is my very favorite storage place..
Seeing what all of you have been up to leading to Christmas..and gleaning from each and every one in different ways.
Cards in the mail.
Correspondences by e-mails.. you know..
A fire going in the fireplace.
An invitation to go to coffee in a new coffee shop.
Visiting my favorite blogs..bloggers and discovering new ones.
Seeing the sun shine for 2 days:)
My darlings..each and every one..The big ones like the little ones..:)
Cutest thing for me.. Oli wanted to play hockey with his brothers outside..and told me his mitts were all wet and too big.. 3 brothers who all come home w/ wet mitts in their backpack wearing none of course:)
I told him that nana was going to buy him mittens this week:)
To this he said :"Dry mittens Nana?:)
Be still my heart.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Still in the kitchen♥

I really do love Christmas..and the preparations..I always husband loves it even more I think..And our girls are the same..their trees are up..the Elf On The Shelf is creatively popping up everywhere in their homes every morning..

I listen to Christmas music while baking..and wrapping.
I know it is all so commercialized now..
Bu it's the feeling I get ..that is so NOT commercial ..that I love.
It's cozy..snowy..memories flow in and out of my mind..I think of words spoken..sentiments shared.
I think of those I have lost and loved..
and those I love now.I love to thank people who have been kind to the pharmacist's aide..doctors..mail carriers..If I could catch my garbage men..
You know the people that do their jobs with heart..
Not easy..  and yet they do it.
Great moms..  good neighbours..blogging friends..
Thanks..thanks so much.

And Ricardo:)

Just thought I would share this great little icebox cookie recipe and how I decided to wrap them ..if giving..
Icebox cookies are great because you can keep them frozen or refrigerated..and slice and bake as you need.
Ricardo had these pecan his latest magazine..

La Recette~

2 cups of flour
1 cup icing sugar
1 egg
1 cup chopped pecans
 1 cup room temp butter(soft..I actually have to warm mine a bit these days because of a cooler kitchen when no sun)
I use salted butter so I don't salt..
Cream butter and icing sugar until soft and fluffy
add the egg and blend in well
add the flour and mix..add the pecans..
Form into 2 logs..and refrigerate..
I roll my logs by wrapping in Saran Wrap and the the cylinders are nice and tight..
For gift giving ..or even for me to know which is which when making a few kinds of ice box cookies..
I take plain paper..stamp..roll over the saran..add some bows or twine..and there you have them.
You could even type the instructions etc..

Oh..Bake at 350 F 12-14 Minutes..

I love the way my fruitcake turned out ..I made 2 small ones and Jacques wanted to try I decorated it to practice the Christmas table one..with the cute things I was able to find  here..

I don't put almond paste on my fruitcake..I make an icing with butter..icing sugar..almond extract and some milk..Beating everything to the consistency I want:)And the flavor I like.
They are small..I think no more than 5 inches across.
Thanks Gail..for mentioning the CD of Bing..I got it to add to our Christmas CD collection..ongoing for so many years.
I also bought The Downtown Abbey double CD w/ 45's classic and lovely.Quite classical.. you have to enjoy old world..classical..and I do..
I also love Ryan Smith and Benjamin Francis Leftwich:)and Rod McKuen..and Francis Cabrel..and Adele..and Norah Jones ..Serge Lama..Aznavour..
I have favorite Christmas cds we have collected over the years..
..Kenny G Miracles..Rod Stewart..James Taylor,Rosemary Clooney..The Carpenters..Andrea..André Gagnon....Tony Bennett..Diana Krall..the list goes on and on.
André Hervieux..Michael Bublé..even Victoria's Secret CD collection..must be 20 yrs old..
Anyways..just saying ..I enjoy listening to these at this time of year~That's my gift.:)

PS..I ordered a few items..intermittently ..from  a company..that I favor..Archambault..
All items arrived within 2 shipping..customer service on the phone was everything that was packaged and delivered.oh..and the  free shipping? minimum required..a QC company..
I called them to tell them how happy I was with them..and she was surprised.. she said usually we get phone calls for problems some people feel they may have encountered..but it is rare we get a call just to say thank you..
It made me think..
Life is have a compliment..say love someone..say think soemeone is special..say think someone is talented..say it.
you think someone needs a'
La vie.. est belle lorsqu'on démontre notre appréciation.
So easy to be bah humbug..I know..I feel it too.
But I find it easier..much easier and feel say..
You did a good job.Thank you.
I love you.

PS..I also ♥ the Christmas cards in the mail..snail mail can be such a nice surprise..we received one from Australia..German friends..that skipped Fl to visit cute is that?Of course we can't understand it..Ushi wrote in German:) We will have them translate:)
Auntie in a new home with her I have her address..
Fl friends..etc..
A little pick me up at the mail boxes!
Stamps are $ now..But I don't want to give it up yet.
Do you still write cards?~
Just curious..:)

I'll be winding down now..

I am practicing these for Christmas morning.. freeze unbake or baked..I will let you far..fresh..yum..not too sweet just right.

But these are things I would still like to make..there are more..but I am yawning at my words by myself.. rosemary shortbreads.. a Xmas tree bread stuffed w/ chocoltae..(I tried..:( )
..pity it's only the two of us on an ongoing basis:)

These snowflake trees..
How cute are they? Mine will have to be stars..I don't have graduated snowflakes..

If I could make it the day before Christmas breakfast here I would..But I will probably make on another occasion..Love that blog and I reprimand myself for not commenting ..except once in a blue moon.When I should every single time I see her posts.

This bark..  but that mold was nowhere to be found in Canada..Believe me..I looked.:(

This Challah..and not only because of her cute helper:)
A small footnote..since our return from Florida..the sun shone once for 1 hr..when I took the church photo.. across Ice Lake.  A book written here..about here.

Last but not least..we get Macleans magazine..Jacques put one of them aside and Martin Short's story..

He talks about losing his wife..I said:"It will be too is the week I lost my mom.."..he said:" no read's lovely.."
And I did and it was..
And that's when I realized I was Teflon coated.
This is but an excerpt..the whole story is a keeper.♥

Sunday, December 14, 2014

A new favorite for 2014~

Don't you just love that dear little handstitched ornament♥?
Charming and whimsical..and dear.
And how about that church?
I love going to the beach in summer..but winter brings it's charms also..I got our mail.(rural delivery..we pick it up).and then decided to keep going to one of our town parks..which is on the is already partially frozen..and the picnic tables and benches are covered in snow..I felt like setting a table on one..but was alone and had nothing:)
So I simply looked across the partially frozen lake and admired the view~
God Bless Us Everyone~

It's all about cheer and goodwill right now..and parties (not me)..and festivities..
But everywhere,everywhere..someone is sad or hurting..missing someone..or in ill health..worse.. alone..
When I see people alone at hospitals..I very brave and courageous you are.
No one there lifting you up..encouraging you..making a day perhaps a bit more special.
So many questions..
While in Florida..I walked one day a peaceful stretch of beach..we walked neighbor an I least 1 .5 hrs..and talked a lot..
And wondered about many things..
How some seem to go through life unscathed..and others go through it tumultuously..or in pain  etc.
Her husband had passed this Sept afer living many many years in pain.
We talked of Robin Williams..and the deep sorrow  that lives in some.
No answers did we find.
But I loved that walk and talk.
So much more than party trivialities.

I just want people to know that what most of us show  on our blogs ..are all the good things ..
But into most of our lives some rain does fall...
And you are not alone.

I was baking yesterday  and thought again how fortunate we are to have the means to bake.
This is not afforded to everyone...and I was and am grateful.

I am still trying out new things here at Nana's..
Last year ..I had Pinned little wreath cookies..but not sure why I did not make them as I had planned on it..
Didn't take much convincing to make them this year when I read this post..
I knew instinctively..that these could become favorites..
They are so favorited by me! And Jacques..I can't wait for the girls to try..
Just look at the ingredients..the rice flour..the vanilla sugar(I always keep a jar on hand)..the icing sugar,the butter,the zests,,and the fact that you make them by rubbing the ingredients together..
Oh and wait..once they are done you ZigZag white melted chocoltae on them and then sprinkle your chopped up pistachios and dried cranberries..
The cookie..and topping ..blend into a citrusy..sweet salty bite of sheer delight.
Not to mention how very pretty they are..They actually look perfect in person..I took one to take a pic and it may not be the perfectest one:)
I see one of my pistachios is a bit over the top:) person..they are perfect little wreaths..
I had a feeling I would appreciate the dough..and I had a feeling it would hold an imprint well..
My Starbucks stamp/cutter is probably the most intricate and I tried..look  ..look Terry:)

Now this is a cookie that holds it's shape and imprint while being delicious and probably easier than my Italian the measurements were SPOT on.
Just remember you will need to knead to render it malleable enough to roll out.
Use all the zest..It's delish!
We haven't had one ounce of sunshine in the past week I most of my Christams baking photos are coming out a bit grey..
I need that pretty light..

Here is La Recette~ Courtesy of..Little Sugar Snaps~

PS..I may have gone overboard on my toppings..I should have looked again at her beautiful post..but I printed out the recipe the night before and thought I was invincible....not..
Plus make sure your white chocolate is perectly melted..I couldn't wait I think and the first few times..harder chacolate blocked my piping Baggie hole..
Look at hers..and do them as well as hers:)

I was a bit messier.

Ok here goes..

2/3 cup rice flour
1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 cup cubed butter (I use salted)
1/3 cup of icing sugar
1/4 cup of vanilla caster sugar
1 tsp mixed spice..(I used a touch of cinnamon only)
Finely grated zest of half an orange
Finely grated zest of half a lemon

Take your hands and finely blend all the flours and sugars and zest ..rubbing..add cubed butter and continue until it becomes like cornmeal ..or breadcrumbs as she said:)and then it comes together..Knead gently.
Roll out on a lightly floured surface to about 1/4 inch  thickness.
I used a Linzer cookie make the shapes.Chill ap 30 mins..
I put mine in my screened in must realize it's the arctic here.
You bake them at 300 F for 25-30 mins..until you can see they are done..go read how she says you don't want them to have a suntan..just lightly gold..and baked..mine took a bit longer..
Cool..then take your melted white chocolate and zig zag across the cookies..sprinkling the pistachios and cranberries..
I worried my choc. would dry too fast so I did 5 at a time..
It was just right.

The topping that falls the centre is great to eat once you remove the cookies:)

Be prepared to just ♥ these.
PS I will run out of things soon:)

PPSS Please read Jane's full post..for the whole proper chilling the wreaths etc,,:)

Friday, December 12, 2014

Petite homes..

It's a winter wonderland here .Rose Cottage,  our potting shed , is wrapped in a comfy blanket..
I walked around outside this morning ..admiring how nature paints such a classic holiday scene with a big snowfall..our street  is so pretty with all the huge trees covered in snow..the yards all white still..

As soon as Christmas preparations are  a fait accompli..I'll be back to my once weekly posts..there will not be a lot to talk about..But I thought I would squeeze in some more in case anyone wanted to try new things..
I don't want to show you a cute cookie cutter AFTER Christmas..or a week before even..
Now is the time to share ideas..
I bought this fantastic little cutter on was close to $10.00 I think..gulp..but cute no?

And  worth it as in one have all the pieces to make a gingrebread house..a petite one..
Read below for

They are fun to make..I made the mug houses by cutting each the past.. with a pattern I drew..
No more with this ingenious cutter..just cut an extra opening in the sit on a mug..
It was fun the year I did them..I may do far I did the one above..the others..I just knew after  the one I baked from the mix..  it  would not architect dough it is not:)for me..for others it seems to be wonderful..I could have had a really off baking day..maybe that's why ..I had a whole in the baggie and 1/2 the royal icing slid down the front of the dishwasher onto my furry slippers..OY.

Think of the time you save..and they are fun to decorate..make sure your royal icing will act as glue..
I do have some suggestions though..

Head to Target..they were ap.$3.49 there in the Christmas baking Florida..but I bet throughout the US if you are lucky you can get one..I spotted them after I bought mine..
Second tip..make a dough that will not spread..such as the cookie stamps cookies I have shared here.
You need a firm gingerbread dough..this one..above was made with the chocolate shortbread dough as in the critter cookie cutters I shared..and the dough was perfect..
I tried a shortcut to make more with a mix I found in Fl..Betty Crocker limited edition gingerbread mix.
It did not work for me..I even tried my Williiams Sonoma..message cookies..and all the words ..the letters..melted into themselves.But for some it works beautifully!

Fun things to do  ..and they can be made ahead of time..
So it's just me..wanting to tell you about this cute and ingenius invention♥

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Cookies For Santa..faves..shortbreads~

It much so beautiful much..As I snapped these pics with the mini this AM..the paths have still not be plowed and shoveled..but by this aft..things will fall into place..
I love to garden..and have showed the peony bed often..this is how it looks now..the markers are for Jacques to know where to plow for access to the potting shed etc and the ski trails..
It looks quite lovely when he is done..
See the mini pond bed? You could never tell there are beds of beautiful blooms sleeping under this white carpet.

I adore the first heavy snowfall and walked to the mail in the pitch black last night just to see the snow falling..the trees laden and the sparkling lights.
It felt quite serene and car drove up our street as I was almost at the daughter:) So I took a ride home..:) To see her.

Made 2 shortbreads on the weekend..auntie Bernice's..with my small twist of some rice flour..
And the Walker Wannabes..
I have shared these fact I think I do every year..:)
Just in case you have not tried them yet:)

Plus I wanted to show you that you do not need a fancy mold to make shortbreads..(says me..I know..sounds totally out of place..for the cookie cutter,stamper amasser..)
The Walker Wannabes..are just cut on a cutting board into 1"x3" pieces and pricked with a fork..
For Auntie Bernice's this year..I patted the dough into an 8" round cake pan..cut out a star in the middle when baked and the others in wedges.
Waterlogue loves snow too♥

You can find the Walker Wannabes last year's post~

And auntie Bernice's here...

1 lb butter
1 cup icing sugar
 4 cups flour..
Cream butter and sugar..and flour mix well..knead until well blended and smooth..
Pat into 2 8x8 square tins..or round like I did this time..
I often put  less all purpose flour and make the difference up with rice flour..say ap 1/4 c..

Bake at 300 F for 1 hr.
You know they are baked when you look at a slice..  sideways..and see all the layers are butter line:) Or raw dough line:)..Just in case you are wondering..

Shortbreads are a favored cookie here.
I end up making more shortbreads than any other ccokie..
I may be shoveling a bit this afternoon~

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Cookie Cutter Critters~

How sweet are these cookie cutters?
A gift from my nana friend♥we knew each other when we only had girls..and now we have boys:)
Years and years..we have been virtual and more friends:)

Crate and Barrel.
Can't believe I was in that mall w/ a Crate and Barrel..and breezed in and out thinking we would return..and didn't.
Must have been the valet parking that did it:)
Knowing time is advancing so quickly into this December 2014...I did some baking Saturday and Sunday..
Tried a new chocolate shortbread cookie put my new cutters to good use.
I must admit working wih chocolate cookie dough is not my fave..Dark..and messy..
I looked at the recipe I had pinned..and changed it..first of all I made half..
Subbed all flour for some rice flour..added a bit more sugar..
and a bit less vamilla..
They held their shape quite fact spot on..
But I love regular shortbread better.
I used Wilton Fondant for the white parts..and my black gourmet food writer for the noses and eyes..
Except for Mr Owl..I used my pre made eyes:)

La Recette~

3/4 cup flour
1/4 cup rice flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup icing sugar
1 stick butter softened
1/2 tsp vanila bean paste
pinch of salt

With stand mixer blend butter and sugar until creamy..add vanilla.. salt..and blend in flours and cocoa powder.The mix may still be granular..knead with hands..
Roll out and cut into desired shapes..
Bake 300  ap 20-25 minutes.. do I did mine convection 260 ..and just kept checking..
It made the cookies you 2 big moose..and a tiny house.

I think these would be so sweet as a gift..or even just one of the critters added to a mélange of festive treats.
This is called PLAYING in the kitchen..:)


Friday, December 5, 2014

Mele Kalikimaka~

One of my vivid Christams seeing the white and red Big Crosby LP..  the one where he is wearing a Santa Hat..on my parents stereo console..
You know that long credenza looking thing and the middle opened up for LPs..45's maybe too?  I just remember the LPs with my parents.
I eventually got my own small turntable for my 45's..:)

But that album..and Bing singing Mele Kalikimaka..♥  Well that meant Chrsitmas..I don't have a lot of memories..but I can feel Christmas..when I hear that song..and I clearly see the console..with the album..the humble tree in the living room window..and my mom..sitting on the sofa.. enjoying her lights in the dark♥listening to her music.
I am listening to it..adding the link..and the tears well up..

It's looking a lot like Christmas here..
I have to tell you..driving home from Florida.. all 3 days..were so gloomy..and misty and rainy and freezing rain in Pennsylvania..
When we drove into QC..I said to Jacques.:".this is the first time we drive into QC in daylight...after a trip to Fl.".
What a difference..
Florida was at it's best when we humidity..sparkles on the water..palm trees..bougainvillea..plumbago...morning galore.seashells..sea glass...and smiles short..technicolor.Meli Kalikimaka style:)

We drove into grey..icy..humid..cold...QC.."Mon pays ce n'est pas un pays..c'est l'hiver"~

Thank goodness..the sun shone the next day and routine settled in..

Have you heard of Black Friday?

It is big ..but not crazy anymore it seems in Fl.. we went to a few stores because it was downright chilly by the sea..not so inland..the stores were quiet..probably because the sales start the day before..and we went at lunchtime the next day..
I caved in..and bought a Mini Ipad..
Carol..Susan.. Linda.. etc..recommended Ipads..My daughter's home is all APPLE..
I had seen Sarah's..Marie's..  Waterlogues..
And well I wanted to see if it could be a tool to learn..and Carol also uses it to trace..
So I bit le bullet and did it.
Oy what a learning curve..
Have to tell a piece of cake for me compared tp Apple.'s exercising my brain..
And so far..I love Waterlogue♥
That's our can see my Nana garden fave Santa..the air dry clay tags.. Joy..Fairies..Gardening ornaments..A big skate with fur on the trim..:)
How fun.
Now if this thing teaches me a few ropes in watercolor....
I will be impressed.
One thing I love about the beach and Florida.. no one knows where you live..what kind of have..
We basically all look like little beach bums..during the much so.that if we go out..we can bump into people we see on the beach..and we don't recognize each other..:)
 How nice is everyone?
So nice..
Germany..New York.... Ontario..Pennsylvania..Minnesota..Michigan..Arizona..Florida..South Carolina..Massachussetts..
Everyone is so friendly.
And nice.
It's a very special little place.♥

One store we stalked..was a newer Trader Joe's there..Fun to be able to find different things than here.
I had made s hort list of things I had found recommended..
One of them was The Gingerbread cake mix.
Everyone who knows me ..knows I am not a mix person....But I had the new mold from last year..and wanted to try it out:)

It's from last know..sometime in it was almost given away..
The Nordic Ware mini Gingerbread Homes..
One package of the TJ's Gingerbread Mix makes 2 homes..
And it's good and moist.
You can decorate the wee houses..but I know the people I am intending these for like I dusted icing sugar to look like snow..
There is a recipe on the Nordic Ware cover too..or you can use your own..I just wanted to get a head start and to see if the good reviews were fair..and they are.
The staff at TJ's.. every time we went..was wonderful.
A friend..Donella..likes spicy tea..and I think one of these homes will look good in her treat box..
They did rise a bit too much..but all you do is slice the bottom w/ a serrated knife..and eat the remnants with a cup of tea or coffe..
While you plan the wrapping for your houses..

Love the little stamp..I had seen it on Curly Girl's while in FL..I went into Hobby Lobby,,(♥) for 5 minutes while Jacques and Fred stayed in the car..
Would like to spend more time in that store..

The tree is festooned..the mantle sparkly..
Some of our decorations are from 1974 on..
Some are new♥
The chalkboard hearts are so sweet..

This very pretty star..was a gift from Diane..a Fl friend from PA..she made it for me there..and then brought over strips of this lovely glacé paper..and showed me a link on You Tube..on how to make them.The next morning I was determined to not let her down..and make a Star before she left..
Talk about exercising your need to watch the 2 videos..I have since seen many many other videos..but this is the one Diane showed me.
I was happy to do it..learn how..and offer her we have matching stars :)
You must be :focused: LOL.

If you would like to make one..Look at his video..then part 2..I love them.
The cute little reindeer were bought at Etsy.. at Sweetestelle..whole lot of cuteness going on there♥