Sugar Cookie Extravaganza and it’s Back to School Already?

Wow, I am amazed that this summer break has flown by so quickly. More quickly than when I was working full time and commuting.  Not sure how that is possible, but it certainly feels that way. Where we live school starts August 20th. That’s exactly 2 weeks away! There are times I wish it didn’t start until after Labor Day like when I was a kid, but in exchange we are out for the “summer” earlier than most people in May. Which means if we take a vacation right after school ends, we beat the crowds.

So the last few days have been a flurry of cookie making. Decorated Sugar Cookie making to be exact. Sometimes I wonder why I can’t be like other moms and just buy the cookies, or make plain circle cookies and slather on some pink frosting, shake some rainbow sprinkles on them and call it a day. But NOOOOOO, I become possessed by some Martha Stewart spirit and wind up turning it into a 3 day cookie making extravaganza for my daughter’s Dance Company’s Bake Sale Fundraiser.

I did my research. I followed the rules and directions and I do have to say that I am quite pleased for my first attempt at this decorating style. I was lucky enough to stumble upon this website that offers really great explanations and how to’s. I wanted to have those professional looking cookies that you find at fancy bakeries. I can see now why they always charge $5 a cookie! However, I’m sure after doing this a few times, I would be able to complete the process much faster.

I was pleasantly surprised by all the compliments I received over these Dance Themed Cookies, taste and the decoration. Everyone in the dance company went berserk for them. They sold out on the first day! Being somewhat of a perfectionist, I see all the things I could have done better, all the little spots that didn’t come out exactly perfect. But in the end cookies were eaten and loved by all.


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Here’s the recipe for Rolled Sugar Cookies that was inspired by The Glorious Baker

Ingredients for cookies:

  • 1 Cup Golden Flaxseed Meal
  • 2 Cups All Purpose Flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon good quality vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon of almond extract
  • Parchment paper

Directions:

  1. In a medium bowl, stir together the flour and baking powder and set aside.
  2. In a separate bowl combine all the dry ingredients and set aside.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, using the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  This should take about 3 minutes.
  4. Add the egg, vanilla and almond extracts and beat another minute or so.
  5. Add the flour mixture slowly, mixing after each cup is added.  (Be careful not to add too much at a time.
  6. Blend until all of the flour is incorporated and the dough begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl.
  7. Take the dough out of the bowl and place it on a piece of parchment paper.
  8. Place the dough in a large plastic (ziplock type) bag or tupperware bowl with a lid and refrigerate for about 2 hours.
  9. Prep an area to roll out the dough. I use a roll out mat, and a little flour.
  10. 15 min before you remove the dough from the refrigerator, preheat oven to 350 degrees (F).
  11. Take about half the dough at a time and roll it out until about 1/3 to 1/2 inch thick.
    Carefully stamp each cookie cutter until that piece is full. (If cookie cutter starts to  stick, dip the edges in flour.)
  12. Pick up the scraps and re- roll the dough, continue to stamp cookies until full, then repeat.
  13. Place cookies on an ungreased cookie sheet and place in the freezer for about 5 -10 minutes. This assures that the cookies stay very cold and will help prevent spreading.
  14. Take the other half of the dough and repeat the process until all cookies have been stamped.
  15. If you don’t have enough cookies sheets you should leave the unrolled dough in the fridge until your first batches are completed.

    PRO TIP: Place similar sized cookies on the same cookies sheet. That way all the cookies will cook evenly and you won’t have some cookies under-baked and others to crispy.

  16. Bake cookies for 8-10 minutes depending on the size of the cookie.  Bake until they are just barely beginning to take on a golden tone.  They will continue to bake as long as then are on the pan, so don’t let then get too brown.
  17. Cool for just a minute or so on the pan, then carefully remove cookies from the baking sheet and place on a cooling rack.
  • This recipe yields about 30, 2 1/2 inch cookies or 16, 3 1/2 inch cookies.
  • Once cooled, the cookies can be decorated with frosting, royal icing or rolled fondant.


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::: ROYAL ICING RECIPE :::

Ingredients:

  • 6 oz (3/4 cup) of warm water
  • 5 Tablespoons Meringue Powder
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 2.25 lbs. powdered sugar

*** Note; if your meringue powder has no vanilla flavor (vanillin powder) in it, add a teaspoon of vanilla extract to this recipe.

****************************************************************************

COOKIE DECORATING TOOLS NEEDED

OPTION 1 – Pastry Bag Method:

  • Piping bags or Candy Melts squeeze bottles
  • Glasses – to stand your icing bags in
  • Clean cloths – a few damp and dry ones nearby
  • Elastic bands or bag clips
  • Piping tips(at least #’s 1-5)
  • Couplers
  • Toothpicks
  • Food gel coloring
  • Parchment Paper (Decorating Bags)

****************************************************************************

OPTION 2 – Squeeze Bottle Method :

I used this method and it works great!

  • Candy Melts squeeze bottles for flood fill
  • Decorating Squeeze Bottles with changeable tips
  • Clean cloths – a few damp and dry ones nearby
  • Piping tips(at least #’s 1-5)
  • Couplers
  • Toothpicks
  • Food gel coloring
  • Parchment Paper ( Decorating Bags)
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Left: Flood Fill Icing Bottle ************** Right: Border icing and Final Detail Bottles with Changeable tips

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Directions:

  1. Using Kitchen-aide mixer, pour in the warm water and the meringue powder.
  2. Mix it with the whisk attachment (or by hand) until it is frothy and thickened…about 30 seconds.
  3. Add the cream of tartar and mix for 30 seconds more.
  4. Pour in all the icing sugar at once and place the bowl on the mixer.
  5. Switch to the paddle attachment.
  6. On the LOWEST speed, mix slowly for a full 10 minutes. Icing will get thick and creamy.
  7. You will want this to be thicker at first so you can use this for your borders. (You will add water as needed later for the flood fill.)
  8. In small bowls place some of the white frosting in each one. Tint with food coloring or thin the icing with small amounts of warm water to reach the desired consistency. For the borders, you want it to be stiff and thicker, but still able to squeeze out.
  9. Once your desired colors are mixed, then fill each bottle, or parchment bag.
  10. DECORATE : See below for the how to video’s and ideas.
  11. While the borders are drying, use the same bowls as before to mix your thinner flood fill icing. This needs to be thin enough to “set” itself in about 10 seconds. Add only a few drops of water at a time. If it’s too runny, then you will had to add more powdered sugar and mix again.
  12. Fill pastry bags or candy squeeze bottles with flood will icing
  13. Once your borders are set and dry you can begin filling in all your designs and colors. The possibilities are endless, so watch the videos for inspiration.
  14. In-between uses, cover the bowl of plain white icing with a dampened tea-towel to prevent crusting and drying. You can also cover each bottle with a tip or damp cloth to prevent them from getting hard or clogged.
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In the process of bordering and flood fill. The square cookies can be anything you want. I just wrote out words or drew things with the border icing. This was the only photo I took of the in between process. Next time I will add some step by step photos of each cookie.

 

  PRO TIP: To make sure the icing is at the right consistency for the FLOOD FILL, use the “10 second rule“.  Drag a butter knife through the surface of your royal icing and count to 10.  If the icing surface becomes smooth in anywhere between 5-10 seconds, then your icing is ready to use.  If it takes longer than approximately 10 seconds, the icing is too thick.  Slowly add more water.  If your icing surface smooths over in less than 5-10 seconds, it is too runny.



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Here are some links to some tutorials and decorating ideas that I used to create my cookies.

::: Information ::: Tutorials ::: Pro-Tips :::

The Glorious Baker says:

I also highly recommend the book Cookie Craft.  This is the best and most complete book I’ve found on decorating cookies.  This book has gorgeous photos for inspiration, but also has every bit of information you need, including directions and recipes.  Despite the thousands of cookies I’ve made over the years, I still come back to this book for ideas or to refresh my memory on a particular technique.



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The finished cookies all packaged up in my Snapware Cupcake & Cookie carrier. I LOVE this thing. Not only does the inner tray flip ever so you can hold cookies, cupcakes, and muffins, I also used it to carry sandwich or burger fixin’s with an ice pack under the inner tray to keep it cool. So many great uses. I got mine at Costco, but you can find them on Amazon.com (click photo to go there) and it comes with 3 stacks with the flipping inner trays.

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So Much Musical Theater News!

Great Post by The Daily Geekette. I love Kristen Bell, Kiki Palmer and I love her take on skin color – because that’s ALL IT IS. It has NO bearing on weather you can sing, dance or act. I think Kiki will make a great Cinderella. Also I was wondering the same exact thing about Netflix lately. Even when Dr. Horrible’s sing a long Blog was there, there are FAR too little musicals to watch streaming. We need the classics too and the newer shows. It’s how actors and singers learn and get inspired. Please Netflix, bring back our MUSICALS!

The Daily Geekette

Tons of awesome theater things have happened this week and I have crazy strong feelings about all of them.  This past weekend, Hair was performed at the Hollywood Bowl and it may have been one of the best casts they’ve ever put together, Cinderella is getting a new lead who has stellar pipes, and Netflix let me down in a major way.

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Bonus Points for Lego – Girl Power!!!

Finally a toy company is making strong, intelligent, awesome female characters. They are not all pink and purple Lego blocks, they do not look like a Barbie, they don’t worry about what size pants they wear, they aren’t wearing high heels, they aren’t wearing shirts that say “Math is Stupid” or “School Sucks” and they don’t play beer pong, or work at Hooters; they are just awesome.  I might even have to get these just for myself ( nerd alert … nerd alert). It does say ages 10+ and I am in the “plus” range.

Originally posted on Lego.com website

Explore the world and beyond at the Research Institute!

The Research Institute has everything that you need to explore the world below, around and above us! Created by real-life geoscientist, Ellen Kooijman (alias:Alatariel), and selected by LEGO® Ideas members (formerly known as CUUSOO), this collection of scenes depicts three varied professions within the world of natural science. Help the paleontologist study the origin of dinosaurs with the magnifying glass, map the skies with the astronomer and her telescope, and assist the chemist as she carries out experiments in her lab. This set also includes building instructions, as well as a booklet containing information about the creator and an introduction to each of the professions featured in the set. There’s a whole world of exciting professions out there to explore – build and role play them to see if they suit you! Includes 3 minifigures: paleontologist, astronomer and a chemist.

  • Includes paleontologist, astronomer and chemist minifigures
  • Features paleontology, astronomy, and chemistry scenes on a 6×6 baseplate
  • Paleontology scene features a dinosaur skeleton, microscope and a magnifying glass
  • Astronomy scene features a telescope and a sky chart
  • Chemistry scene features a cabinet, tools, bottles and flasks
  • Discover new stars and planets through the telescope
  • Study the dinosaur skeleton up close
  • Concoct new formulas in the chemist’s lab
  • Gives a great insight into the world of natural science
  • Build the model voted for by LEGO® Ideas members
  • Includes building instructions and booklet with information about the creator and professions featured in the set
  • Each scene measures over 1” (5cm) high, 1” (4cm) wide and 1” (4cm) deep

If you want even more female characters, A Mighty Girl is offering a huge set of all female characters in a variety of jobs for $49.99. Check it out right HERE.

Lego Community Minifigures Set

Celebrate the life of an Amazing Woman: Pioneering Chemist Stephanie Kwolek

Originally Posted on A Might Girl: http://www.amightygirl.com (You can also find them on Facebook):

Today in Mighty Girl history, pioneering chemist Stephanie Kwolek, whose invention of Kevlar has saved countless lives, was born in 1923. Kevlar is a fiber five times stronger than steel that is now used in numerous products ranging from boots for firefighters to spacecraft — and most famously, in bulletproof vests. It’s estimated that since Kevlar’s introduction to body armor in the 1970s, the lives of 3,000 police officers have been saved, as well as those of innumerable soldiers and others in conflict zones. On the day that she died last month at the age of 90, DuPont announced that the one-millionth protective vest made using Kwolek’s lifesaving invention was sold.

Born to Polish immigrants, Kwolek grew up near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and earned a degree in chemistry from Margaret Morrison Carnegie College, now a part of Carnegie Mellon University. Kwolek initially planned to become a doctor but could not afford medical school. She accepted a position as a chemist with DuPont in 1946 on what she thought would be a temporary basis until she could pursue her interest in medicine. After becoming engrossed in research, she decided that chemistry was her passion and eventually stayed at DuPont for over 40 years.Today in Mighty Girl history, pioneering chemist Stephanie Kwolek, whose invention of Kevlar has saved countless lives, was born in 1923. Kevlar is a fiber five times stronger than steel that is now used in numerous products ranging from boots for firefighters to spacecraft -- and most famously, in bulletproof vests. It's estimated that since Kevlar's introduction to body armor in the 1970s, the lives of 3,000 police officers have been saved, as well as those of innumerable soldiers and others in conflict zones. On the day that she died last month at the age of 90, DuPont announced that the one-millionth protective vest made using Kwolek's lifesaving invention was sold. Born to Polish immigrants, Kwolek grew up near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and earned a degree in chemistry from Margaret Morrison Carnegie College, now a part of Carnegie Mellon University. Kwolek initially planned to become a doctor but could not afford medical school. She accepted a position as a chemist with DuPont in 1946 on what she thought would be a temporary basis until she could pursue her interest in medicine. After becoming engrossed in research, she decided that chemistry was her passion and eventually stayed at DuPont for over 40 years. Kwolek discovered Kevlar while working as part of a team trying to find alternatives to replace the steel used in radial tires in order to make cars lighter in anticipation of a future gas shortage. In 1964, she was trying to convert a solid polymer into a liquid form and her creation turned out thin and opaque rather than the syrupy mixture she expected. Although her peers thought it was a failed experiment, she persisted with her investigation and discovered that, after the liquid was removed, the fiber was unusually stiff. Further research revealed the vast potential of Kwolek's discovery and DuPont eventually invested $500 million to develop it for commercial application. The recipient or co-recipient of 17 patents, Kwolek has been widely honored for her contributions to science, including the1999 Lemelson-MIT Lifetime Achievement Award, 1996 National Medal of Technology, the American Innovator Award, as well as being inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame. DuPont also awarded her the company's Lavoisier Medal for outstanding technical achievement and she remains the only female employee to ever receive that honor. To Kwolek, however, who headed polymer research at DuPont until her retirement in 1989, the impact of her work was her greatest reward. In an interview with the Chemical Heritage Foundation, she observed: "When I look back on my career I'm inspired most by the fact that I was fortunate enough to do something that would be of benefit to mankind. It's been an extremely satisfying discovery. I don't think there's anything like saving someone's life to bring you satisfaction and happiness." To watch an excellent 15 minute video biography on Stephanie Kwolek and her incredible scientific contributions, visit http://bit.ly/1lkHy15 Stephanie Kwolek is one of the many female inventors featured in the excellent book "Girls Think of Everything: Stories of Ingenious Inventions by Women" for ages 8 and up at http://www.amightygirl.com/girls-think-of-everything She is also the subject of a children's book for ages 7 to 9, "The Woman Who Invented the Thread that Stops Bullets: The Genius of Stephanie Kwolek" at http://www.amightygirl.com/stephanie-kwolek For a fantastic fictional story starring a girl who loves to invent, we highly recommend "Rosie Revere, Engineer" for ages 4 to 9 at http://www.amightygirl.com/rosie-revere-engineer To encourage your Mighty Girl's interest in science, visit our "Science Toys" section at http://www.amightygirl.com/toys/toys-games/science-math And, for one of our favorite toys to get kids excited about chemistry from a young age, check out this colorful set of Periodic Table Building Blocks at http://www.amightygirl.com/periodic-table-building-blocks

Kwolek discovered Kevlar while working as part of a team trying to find alternatives to replace the steel used in radial tires in order to make cars lighter in anticipation of a future gas shortage. In 1964, she was trying to convert a solid polymer into a liquid form and her creation turned out thin and opaque rather than the syrupy mixture she expected. Although her peers thought it was a failed experiment, she persisted with her investigation and discovered that, after the liquid was removed, the fiber was unusually stiff. Further research revealed the vast potential of Kwolek’s discovery and DuPont eventually invested $500 million to develop it for commercial application.

The recipient or co-recipient of 17 patents, Kwolek has been widely honored for her contributions to science, including the 1999 Lemelson-MIT Lifetime Achievement Award, 1996 National Medal of Technology, the American Innovator Award, as well as being inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame. DuPont also awarded her the company’s Lavoisier Medal for outstanding technical achievement and she remains the only female employee to ever receive that honor.

To Kwolek, however, who headed polymer research at DuPont until her retirement in 1989, the impact of her work was her greatest reward. In an interview with the Chemical Heritage Foundation, she observed: “When I look back on my career I’m inspired most by the fact that I was fortunate enough to do something that would be of benefit to mankind. It’s been an extremely satisfying discovery. I don’t think there’s anything like saving someone’s life to bring you satisfaction and happiness.”

To watch an excellent 15 minute video biography on Stephanie Kwolek and her incredible scientific contributions, visit http://bit.ly/1lkHy15

Stephanie Kwolek is one of the many female inventors featured in the excellent book “Girls Think of Everything: Stories of Ingenious Inventions by Women” for ages 8 and up at http://www.amightygirl.com/girls-think-of-everything

She is also the subject of a children’s book for ages 7 to 9, “The Woman Who Invented the Thread that Stops Bullets: The Genius of Stephanie Kwolek” at http://www.amightygirl.com/stephanie-kwolek

For a fantastic fictional story starring a girl who loves to invent, we highly recommend “Rosie Revere, Engineer” for ages 4 to 9 at http://www.amightygirl.com/rosie-revere-engineer

To encourage your Mighty Girl’s interest in science, visit our “Science Toys” section at http://www.amightygirl.com/toys/toys-games/science-math

And, for one of our favorite toys to get kids excited about chemistry from a young age, check out this colorful set of Periodic Table Building Blocks at http://www.amightygirl.com/periodic-table-building-blocks

Yam & Quinoa Fritters with Zesty Black Beans

 

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Looking for something unique to make for dinner? Perhaps it’s “Meatless Monday” and you are tired of the same old dishes.  I love yams and I love quinoa, but I have never come across a recipe that combined them until now. Adapted from makingthymeforhealth.com food blog, Sarah created these fritters, however with any recipe I find I modified it.

They are a little messy to make, when you are forming the fritters, but overall an easy meal to make. The flavors all compliment each other so well, you will be treated to a tasty treat, plus you are getting so many nutrients from the beans, yam and quinoa your body just won’t know what to do with itself.  These are vegan (and can be made gluten free),  however any meat eater is sure to enjoy these this tasty meal. The salsa mixed with beans makes them saucy and flavorful. Like things spicy? Then sub out the mild salsa for a hot one. This is an easy dish to customize to your tastes.

One of the things I love about this is that you can do all the prep work ahead of time, even a day or two. If you pre-cook the beans, yams and quinoa, then all you have to do is assemble and form the fritters. Or you can make the fritters ahead of time too and keep them in the fridge to cook them up as you need. The last batch I created, somehow made so many fritters that I ended up freezing them for later user. When you refrigerate or freeze, separate the fritters with wax paper so they don’t stick together.


Prep Time: 20 minutes        Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes        Makes about 15-20 fritters depending on size

Ingredients
  • 1.5 cup dry quinoa (before cooking)
  • 2 med-large sweet potato (about 2 cups cooked)
  • 1 cup whole wheat panko breadcrumbs (or gluten-free breadcrumbs)
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 6 green onions, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • salt & pepper (about 1/4 teaspoon each)
  • juice of one lime
  • Egg Replacer for 2 eggs or 2 tablespoons flaxmeal + 6 tablespoons water
  • 32 ounces salsa (your taste preference)
  • 3 cups cooked black beans ( or two cans)
  • 1/3 cup vegetable or olive oil for frying
  • Vegan Sour Cream (or regular sour cream for non-vegans)
  • 1-2 Avocados (optional)

Instructions

  1. Prepare the quinoa: either use a rice cooker (1 part quinoa to 1.5 parts water/stock) This takes about 20 minutes and comes out flawless. I use water with a couple tablespoons of vegetarian chicken stock. If you use only water, add about 1/4 tsp salt and any other seasonings you prefer. Pour the quinoa and liquid in at the same time and press “Cook”.  Put cooked quinoa into large mixing bowl, and let cool. If you prefer you can prepare on the stove-top.
    • STOVETOP: Add quinoa to a medium size saucepan along with 3 cups of water and bring to a boil. As soon as it starts to boil (keep an eye on it or it will boil over), turn heat to low and cover with a lid. Allow to cook for 15-20 minutes, fluffing with a fork half way through. Put cooked quinoa into large mixing bowl, and let cool..
  2. Meanwhile, peel and cut the yams into 1 inch cubes. Place the yams in your Lekue Steamer or other microwave save container with a lid.  Add a tablespoon of water, close your Lekue or loosely cover other container and microwave for 8 to 12 minutes (time will depend on your microwave wattage). Allow to cool for at least five minutes, then mash with fork or potato masher.  Put yams into the same large bowl with the quinoa.
  3. If your beans are canned or cold (from pre-cooking) heat the black beans and salsa either in a microwave safe bowl, or on the stove-top, by pouring them together and then allowing it to simmer on the low setting until hot.
  4. Chop the cilantro and the green onion and place in the same bowl and yams and quinoa.
  5. Add the breadcrumbs, ginger, lime, egg replacer, cumin and salt & pepper,  to the mixing bowl then stir until well-combined.
  6. Taking about 1/4 cup of the mixture at a time, form small patties with your hands and set aside on a large plate or baking sheet lined with wax paper.
  7. Once all of the patties are formed warm the olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Cook each fritter for about 5-7 minutes on each side, or until they are golden brown and firm.
  8. Serve cooked fritters on a bed of the black bean salsa.
  9. Top with sour cream, avocado and a sprig of fresh cilantro.

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Summer Reading #2 – The Royal Spyness Series

::: The Royal Spyness Series by Rhys Bowen :::

I am completely addicted to book series. If they are well written, well narrated, historical and a murder mystery or adventure,  then I am smitten.  That’s exactly what happened with Rhys Bowen’s Royal Spyness series. I have listened to them all through my Audible.com account and I just can’t get enough. In fact I am eagerly awaiting her latest episode, Queen of Hearts to be released next month.

Let me take you back to the beginning. Lady Victoria Georgiana Charlotte Eugenie, is the  daughter of the Duke of Atholt and Rannoch. Her father has since passed on, and as a young woman in the 1920’s and 30’s she is of course, penniless, as all wealth would go to a male heir, in her case her brother, even though she is the King’s cousin and is thirty-fourth in line for the throne.  Georgianna has been taught only the things a fine young lady would learn: the perfect curtsey, what fork to use and when, how to dance, and what outfit to wear at each corresponding meal. But her brother (and his overbearing wife, Fig) cuts off her allowance, so she leaves Scotland for London where she begins her journey and winds up a novice sleuth.

                cover_spyness_200     cover_royalpain200    
Keeping in fashion with shows such as Downton Abbey, these books take you back to a time and place that seem to real and alive that you sometimes feel as if you are right there with Georgiana. All the glorious characters are present, just as they are in Downton Abbey, as are the palaces, the opulence, the poverty, the servants, the romances, the fashions, the history, and the hierarchy.  If you are looking for something to fill the void when Downton is off for the summer, this is the perfect filler.
 
Each book takes you on a foreign journey that is just lovely, and not too gory or lusty. Bowen has the perfect balance that gives each character their moment to shine. Below is the order of books and besides just grabbing all of them at your local bookstore and plowing through them, I highly recommend listening to these on audoibook.  Because if you do, you will be treated to one of the best audiobook narrators in existence, Katherine Kellgren.  (Insert photo here: –> ) KatherineKellgren3 (2)
 
 Katherine Kellgren has recorded over a hundred audiobooks, including winners of the Audie Award, the American Library Association’s Odyssey Honor, the Earphones Award, the Publishers Weekly Listen Up Award, and ForeWord Magazine’s Audiobook of the Year.
 
Katherine does ALL the voices, in each and every book in this series. She prepares and studies each new dialect, and person wholeheartedly and authentically. She perfectly performs each job she is give, and really gets in to the heart of each character. They all seem so real, as if we are listening to a blip in time and these people actually existed. Go out and do something nice for yourself and listen to these books! Don’t forget, I told you all about audiobooks in an earlier post, but in case you forgot, check out Audible.com and my blog post regarding that: Time for Some Summer Reading.
 
For ease of reference here are the order of the books to date.
  1. Her Royal Spyness (2007)
  2. A Royal Pain (2008)
  3. Royal Flush (2009)
  4. Royal Blood (2010)
  5. Naughty in Nice (2011)
  6. The Twelve Clues of Christmas (2012)
  7. Heirs and Graces (2013)
  8. Queen of Hearts (August 2014)
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Coming in August 2014

Buttermilk Pie

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The first time I ever heard of Buttermilk Pie was earlier this year. I was dining with a group of friends at one of my favorite place, The Freemont Diner, and Buttermilk Pie as their pie of the day. We all took a chance, not knowing what it really was. OMG, it was the most delicious thing my taste-buds have ever experienced. The sweet creamy filling, had traces of nutmeg and cinnamon and their flaky crust was the best pie crust I have ever devoured. I was almost like if you took creme brulee and turned it into a pie – this would be that pie.

I knew after that day, that I would need to research this new amazing treasure and find out exactly what’s in this pie. Well lo and behold, as I was going through a magazine the very next day, a Penzeys Spices Catalog which I had for several months but hadn’t bothered to look at yet,  there was THE PIE…. the Buttermilk pie! I couldn’t believe my eyes.  Was the universe telling me I needed to make this pie? yep, I am pretty sure it was, and I did.


::: Buttermilk Pie :::

Adapted from Colleen Dyroff as Published in Penzeys Spice Catalog

This is one of the easiest pies I have ever made, the ingredients whisk together so quickly.

Ingredients for filling:

  • 1/2 Cup (1 stick) butter, melted
  • 1 3/4 Cup sugar
  • 3 Tbls all purpose flour
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 1 Cup buttermilk
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp salt

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Ingredients for crust:

Note: I used a frozen store bought crust once for this pie, and it just wasn’t the same. The homemade crust really makes a huge difference.

  • 1/2 Cup (1 stick) cold butter
  • 2-4 Tbls milk or water
  • 1 Cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Instructions for the crust:

  1. Prepare the crust first – cut the butter into small pieces, place in Kitchen-aide mixer bowl or food processor
  2. Add the flour, salt, and sugar to the butter, blend slowly until combined
  3. Add the milk or water slowly until dough holds together
  4. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for about 30 minutes
  5. Sprinkle counter or rolling mat with flour and gently roll out the chilled dough
  6. Roll until its a large enough circle to fit in pie pan
  7. Carefully transfer to dough to pan and press down to fit into the bottom
  8. Trim edges of dough if needed
  9. Crimp or scallop the edges of the crust for decoration

Instructions For the Filling:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. In a small bowl, whisk the eggs
  3. In Kitchen-aide mixer, combine melted butter, sugar, flour, eggs, buttermilk, vanilla, nutmeg and salt
  4. Mix on low until smooth
  5. Place pie crust on cookie sheet in case of bubbling over
  6. Pour into prepared pie crust
  7. Place cookie sheet in over, and bake for 50-60 minutes, until its puffy, golden brown, and a toothpick comes out clean.
  8. There will be a lot of bubbling, as it gets close to being done that will subside. Cool on wire rack
  9. Serve warm or refrigerate
  10. Serve with fresh berries and/or whipped cream

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