Thursday, May 27, 2010

Ideal Sugar cookies....



Ideal Sugar Cookies

Martha Stewart

Soft cookie dough loses its shape when moved; to retain crisp cut edges, refrigerate dough until firm before baking. Note: This recipe is adapted from "The Martha Stewart Living Christmas Cookbook" (Oxmoor House, 2003.)

So since I am frustrated with the customer "service" from smart (aka...dumb) cookie, I went looking for a recipe to replicate it.  I found this one and I am going to have to try it.  I will keep you posted!  :-)


Makes 2 dozen.
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 tablespoons brandy, or milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Royal Icing for Sugar Cookies, optional


  1. Whisk together flour, salt, and baking powder in a medium bowl; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar; mix until light and fluffy. With mixer running, add egg, brandy, and vanilla; mix until well combined. With the mixer on low, slowly add reserved flour mixture. Mix until just combined.
  2. Transfer dough to a work surface. Shape into 2 discs, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with nonstick baking mats or parchment paper; set aside.
  4. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out dough to 1/8-inch thickness. Cut into desired shapes, and transfer to prepared baking sheets, leaving an inch in between. Leftover dough can be rolled and cut once more. Bake until lightly golden, about 10 minutes; do not allow to brown. Transfer to wire racks to cool.
  5. Decorate with Royal Icing, optional.

Monday, May 24, 2010

SNOW!!??? It's the end of may....I'm crying out loud!

So this morning, I was going to go out and work on the garden some more.  I heard the rain on the roof and decided to take a short "nap" instead.  When I woke up, I found SNOW!!!  Luckily I hadn't planted I run to the back to check on my plants....YEP...buried in snow.  I quickly brush off the snow and try to find a spot out of the direct line of fire (snow).  Most will be ok....but one of my trays of plant was REEEEEALY covered.  That one is in the bathtub right now to thaw.  I hope they all pull through this!  I will be super mad if they die!  They cost so much and for mother nature to wipe out my garden for the summer (and all my fruit trees!) in one fatal swoop would just be mean!

Now I am trying to figure out: If April showers bring May flowers...what does May SNOW STORMS bring?! (and do I WANT to know?)

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Great Idea: How to Make Hanging Tomato Planters With 2 Liter Pop Bottles

What a great idea!!!
Put your old 2-liter bottles to good use by keeping them out of the landfill and making cheap upside-down tomato planters. Even if you lack any gardening space at all, you can have fresh tomatoes throughout the growing season with these planters. They can hang from your porch, patio or a sunny window. Making soda bottle tomato planters is also a fun way to introduce children to gardening, while teaching them to be environmentally friendly.
Step 1
Remove the cap. Cut off the bottom of the soda bottles with a utility knife or scissors and discard them.

Step 2

Decorate the bottle, if you desire, by painting the outside with acrylic craft paint, or wrapping the bottle in colorful contact paper or duct tape.

Step 3

Punch three holes around the sides, spaced out evenly, approximately ½ inch from the top. Thread one piece of twine through each hole, pulling it through so that the ends meet evenly. Hang them over the outside of the planter.

Step 4

Have someone hold the soda bottle for you upside-down, or sit and hold the bottle between your knees. Remove a young, small tomato plant from its starter pot and turn it upside-down. Insert it into the bottle, threading the leaves and stems very carefully through the hole. Hold the root ball up so just the top fork of the plant is sticking out of the bottle spout.

Step 5

Stuff some cotton into the neck of the bottle around the stem to prevent soil from falling through. Add potting soil or your favorite tomato growing medium. When the soil is high enough to support the root ball, let go of it. Continue filling the bottle to the top.

Step 6

Remove the cotton carefully by pulling it out of the neck of the bottle.

Step 7

Gather the ends of the twine. Tie them around a sturdy bar or hook to hold up the planter.

I found this idea here:

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Smart Cookie company....not so smart!

So I had a great coupon from the "Entertainment Book."  It was for a new cookie store called "Smart Cookie" and its up by the new movie theater on Union Park Ave.  The coupon was for buy 6, get 6 free.  Cool!!!

I get there on a Saturday afternoon and there is only 2 girls working.  One finally comes out and starts helping customers.  I was #3 in line.  I ended up waiting for over 15 minutes...(Bad sign #1).  The second girl never came out to help.  I ordered my 12 cookies and noticed that they don't sell cookies by 6...they only sell by:
1 cookie= $2
4 cookies=$6
8 cookies= $10
12 cookies= $15

So since they didn't sell half dozen, I figured they would just do half price of the dozen.  WRONG!!!  (Bad sign #2).  They charged me for 4 and 2 $10....what a HUGE SAVINGS!!!  That wasn't a good deal at all!  I tried to explain to the workers that the half dozen would be better...but they looked at me like I was speaking in Swahili.

When I got home, I wrote to their company head quarters.  I got an email back (Bad sign #3):


I appreciate your comments and feedback. We're new to the Entertainment book just this year.

The employee you saw in the back would have been my baker, and she would have been baking. She's in-charge of all kitchen production. I apologize if you got caught in the middle of a big rush.  It happens from time to time.

As the new books are not yet printed, I have yet to see a printed copy of the coupon (I assume you got this coupon off their website?), but I'm fairly certain it says "Enjoy one complimentary 1/2 DOZEN _ COOKIES when a second 1/2 DOZEN _ COOKIES of equal or greater value is purchased".  You were charged $10 for 12, because our menu price is $10 for 6, or normally $15 for 1 dozen.

I apologize for the misunderstanding, but I think the offer is clearly stated.  Again, my apologies for causing any stress or unhappiness to you.

We hope to see you again.

SO,....I felt tricked!  They don't SELL a "Half dozen."  This was sneaky and misleading.  I wrote them back and told them I felt tricked.  They didn't seem to care!!

So..."Smart Cookie"......NOT SO SMART after all!!

P.S.  If your interested...the cookies are WONDERFUL!!!!!!  YUM!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Grand Canyon......or Oceanside, CA

On Sunday, we were on our way to the Grand Canyon for a week of hiking and camping when we got a call from John's parents. They called to see if we were still was snowing....they got 2 inches of snow in 30 minutes. We started to ponder if this would be a vacation we would regret. We were already on the road. If we go and its snowing, we would have to camp in our minivan....not too fun. The snow would melt and make the hiking trails muddy...again, not too fun.

We decided to make a course correction and go to California instead.

We went as far as Barstow and camped that night.

In the morning, we hurried to get to Lego land. It just so happened it was homeschool day...and it just so happened that I hadn't deleted the email from JANUARY! We ran to big lots and bought a printer to print out that email.

We had a fun day at legoland and camped at the beach in Carlsbad. We stayed on the beach for 3 nights. We played at the beach and in the ocean. Had tons of fun!

On Thursday we went to the Oceanside farmers market. We also found a super yummy fish market restaurant.

We stayed with family on Thursday and Friday. It was wonderful to catch up with them!

Saturday we drove home...what a long drive! It was about 95* in the car with no A/C.

What a fun trip!!!