Saturday, December 31, 2016

It's A Vintage New Year!

Happy New Years Eve Everyone!
First, let me apologize for my epic fail at the 12 Days of Christmas Cookies!
Did I have 12 cookie recipes? Yes!
Did I take photos of 12 variety of cookies?  Yes!
Did I post 12 different cookie recipes? No!
Do  feel like a cotton-headed ninny-muggins? YES!!
Oh well...I will try to do better next year!
I'll put my epic fail behind me and share some beautiful vintage New Years cards with you! She's a cute, plump snow girl!
I love the holly I found in most of the vintage cards.  So delightful!
Hearty good wishes going out to all of you!
Papa Albert signed this card.  I don't know who he is, but I wonder why he didn't sign the inside?
Another pretty girl who is about to throw a snowball wishing you a Happy New Year!
This one is a little blurry.
Guess these gentleman couldn't get a date!
No matter the language, everyone loves to dance in the New Year!.
This is a perfect example of why I love vintage cards...the art work is vivid and colorful.
This is where we may be front of the fire instead of at my sister's for our family party.  We have 100% rain predicted with thunderstorms.
This look like a joyful group!
So from my house to yours, I wish you a Happy Vintage New Year!
Blessings from Lynda at Still Woods Farmhouse

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies #4 German Honey Cookies

It's time for another cookie!  This is an heirloom cookie from my father's German side of the family.  Well, both sides of his family are German; so to elaborate further, this recipe came from his maternal Aunt Augusta.  Don't you like how I write the way I think? I know, it's confusing in this brain of mine!

My mother tells the story of Aunt Augusta and her famous German Honey Cookies.  Mom was introduced to these cookies not long after she and my father were married.  Mom thought they were absolutely delicious.  She asked Aunt Augusta if she would share her recipe.  Aunt Augusta was beaming with pride as she said "Ja, Josephine!"  I love that they spoke their native language so much. I would often be asked if I wanted "eier mit speck" for "fruhstuck"  Eggs and bacon for breakfast! My favorite breakfast food was good old Haferflocken.  My little German grandmother created magic with a bowl of oatmeal! So many wonderful memories of special people and good food!  Speaking of special, lets get started on my Great Aunt Augusta's German Honey Cookies!
Great Aunt Augusta's German Honey Cookie
4 eggs                                                                   6 tablespoons honey
1 tsp vanilla                                                           2 cups sugar
3 cups plain flour                                                   1 teaspoon baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon                                                      1 cup chopped pecans

Beat eggs until foamy. Add honey and vanilla.  Mix dry ingredients and add to egg/honey/vanilla mixture. Mix until combined.  Add chopped pecans.  Drop by spoonfuls on greased cookie sheet and bake at 350* until lightly browned (about 8-10 minutes). This recipe makes 50 cookies approximately 2 1/2 inches in diameter.

A few suggestions:
1.  Use parchment lined cookie sheets and spray the sheets with Pam or  Bakers Joy.  These are sticky cookies and I found that using parchment paper alone was not enough.
2.  The recipe is correct.  There is NO butter or shortening.
3.  I used a cookie scoop instead of a spoon.  I always use a cookie scoop!  I love cookie scoops! I hope Santa brings me more cookie scoops for Christmas!

So there you have Great Aunt Augusta's German Honey Cookies.  They have a wonderful, honey laced taste with just enough pecans to add a little crunch.  They are great with coffee, but my favorite way to eat them is with a glass of cold milk.  Dunking is allowed!  Speaking of dunking.  Come back tomorrow for my all time childhood favorite.  They are really dunk worthy!!

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies #3 Gingerbread Houses

Hi Everyone! I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving.  We certainly did.  I love turkey and dressing! We always have leftovers on the day after Thanksgiving and it is at that time that we have our annual Gingerbread House Day!  For years and I mean years, we have made homemade gingerbread houses.  Now we are not experts at our houses, but we always have fun.  We have tried a variety of structures, but always use the same gingerbread recipe.  It makes A LOT of dough.  So lets start with the recipe...

Gingerbread Recipe:
1 cup of shortening
1 cup of sugar
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 cup of molasses
2 tablespoons white vinegar
1 egg, beaten
5 cups of all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves

Cream shortening, sugar, and salt.  Stir in molasses, vinegar and egg.  Sift together then add the remaining ingredients. Chill mixture overnight.  Roll out dough on a floured board to 1/8 inch.  Bake on parchment lined baking sheets for 6 minutes at 375 degrees.  Remove from oven and place on cooling racks to dry.  This recipe will make 5 houses with dough remaining for gingerbread men! I doubled the recipe and made 11 houses and still had extra dough. It smells wonderful while its baking!

Now to put your houses together.  All portions of your gingerbread house should be edible.  One choice is to use royal icing to "glue" the portions of the house together.  This year, I tried the boiled sugar method and loved it.  It's fast and the houses are rock solid.  You have to be VERY careful as boiled sugar will make a nasty burn.  This is no time for the kids to be in the kitchen helping.  All you need is sugar, a large skillet, and heat.  Stir sugar around until it begins to melt.  It will clump up at first as you can see in the photo.  Continue to stir until all sugar is melted.  Remove from the heat source at that time.
I was alone when I did this next step so I am going to have to explain it to you since I couldn't snap any photos.  Dip the one of the side walls into the sugar glue and attach it the back wall.  Sit on a parchment lined sheet. Next, dip the other side wall where it will attach into the two pieces already glued together.  Next, dip both sides of the front of the house and secure it between the two walls.  Do all the houses like this and then go back to glue on the roof line.  When you dip, think of it as placing a caulk line in your home.  You want a small line of glue.  Be very careful when you have to dip two edges such as the front of the home.  We don't want the sugar glue to drip onto your finger.  If you find the sugar glue is hardening, warm it back up on the stove top. You can see in the photo below where I pointed out a house with too much glue at the seam.  It will end up being covered by icing or candy, but it looks messy.

Now for the fun part, have either bowls of royal icing made for each person or go the easy route and buy white icing in the can.  Make sure that it is perfectly white.  Next have lots of candy, pretzels, shredded wheat (great for roofs), candy canes, gum drops, etc.  for everyone to use.  I have sets of items all over the table. Here we are decorating our homes. That's me with the heart made of candy canes!
Ta-da...our finished products!  My husband took the photo, so we are missing his creation! Not our best photo, but I promise we enjoyed making our houses!
Now for the pattern pieces.  We don't use the chimney pieces, but there is a pattern for them if you choose to have a chimney.  I print the pattern on card stock and it is easier when it comes to cutting out the dough.

Lastly, I will leave you with a few tips:
1.  Crush lifesavers and place the crushed pieces on parchment paper lined cookie sheets.  Place in a 350* oven until they melt.  When they harden, they look like stained glass and make great  windows!
2.  Crushed up shredded wheat makes great roofs and walkways. Coconut makes pretty snow!
3.  Use your imagination when it comes to the candy decorations and buy enough for decorating and enough for eating! Always have more than you think you will need.
4.  Make large batches of royal icing or purchase pure white canned icing for decorating.
5. Purchase round cake bases at your local craft store or bakery.  They make a wonderful base for each gingerbread house.
6. If you go the melted sugar route to assemble the houses, remember that it is VERY hot and you must be careful not to get burned.  It is a good idea to have a bowl of iced water near in case any accidentally gets on your hand.
7.  Have fun!  That's the most important part of gingerbread house is so much fun! Have a wonderful week.  I'll be in the kitchen baking!

Thursday, November 24, 2016

A Happy Vintage Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving friends!  The turkey is in the oven roasting to golden perfection or at least that's the goal!  I am sitting here with a cup of coffee and wanted to share a post from several years ago.  It's a few vintage Thanksgiving greetings and magazine covers.  While you're waiting for the turkey to come out of the oven, relax with a cup of tea or coffee and enjoy these images from yesteryear.

I know this mamma is happy to have her sailor home for Thanksgiving!
Please say it isn't so!  I confess...I did love these Banquet dinners when I was little.  Whenever we had them, they seemed like such a treat.  
A simmering-talking pot!
This adorable girl is eyeing the turkey! I am curious about the article by Demaree Bees listed at the bottom of the cover!
Vintage cards are always wonderful expressions of art.  This one is no exception.
Wonder what this little Pilgrim is telling the chicken?
Another nostalgic Saturday Evening Post. What a difference in the football uniforms of today and those of 1928?
Hmmm...maybe they should have plucked and roasted the turkey first!
I have never had a pumpkin pecan pie.  How about any of you?
I guess home makers have been making pies for ages!
Anticipation...I am not so sure about that turkey!  Looks a little diseased.
Over the river and through the woods...
This is a 1914 edition of The Saturday Evening Post.
Lastly, I leave you with this beautiful card.
Many blessings to you and yours this Thanksgiving from
Lynda at Still Woods Farmhouse!  
"Give thanks to the Lord for He is good, His love endures forever"  Psalm 136:1

Monday, November 21, 2016

A Welcoming Thanksgiving Entryway

If you are hosting Thanksgiving dinner, I imagine that you want your entryway to look festive and welcoming.  I love the colors of harvest time.  There is such warmth and beauty in the hues of fall.  There is still time to jazz up your front door before your guests arrive!

There is an old English proverb based on Matthew 6:22 which states the "eyes are the window to the soul".  I think it can also be said that the front door of a home is the window to the soul of the home.  The front door and surrounding outer entryway is the first impression for our guests.  Fall entryway decor can be a fabulous way to make that first impression a lasting one.  With the abundance of mums, pumpkins, gourds, and other fall flowers available this time of year, you too can welcome your Thanksgiving guests with a festive atmosphere.   I thought I would put together a few fantastic examples for you to peruse, maybe with a cup of hot cider by your side. 

We will start with my home.  The front entryway is decorated with pumpkins topiaries, corn stalks, mums, grapevine wreaths with burlap roses, and two jaunty scarecrows. I placed the corn stalks close to the front door.  They have dried corn still attached to the stalks.  
This lovely entryway is compliments of the Inn at Harbor Hill Marina.  I love the corn stalks attached to the posts.  The scarecrows can be stored away until next October and this entry would be a delightful way to welcome guests for Thanksgiving dinner.
Notice the carved street number in one of the pumpkins pictured below fromCornerstone Homes.  Pumpkins and gourds can be used throughout fall; however, many stores begin to sell their pumpkins for a reduced rate after Halloween.  A teacher friend of mine purchased three buggies full of pumpkins from a local super store for all of 23 cents!  Not 23 cents each, three buggies full for 23 cents!  If you want to jazz up your entryway for Thanksgiving, check out the sales.
Here is another example with mums, pumpkins, and stalks.The golden light glowing from the door and windows gives this home a warm and inviting look.Another beautiful entryway!  This one is from Dysfunctional Design blog.  Okay, I would have to sweep up the leaves, but they look great here!
This entryway from Something to Some People is understated, yet lovely.  I think the pea gravel walkway lends a rustic look along with the stone dwelling.  I bet the owner of this home has afternoon tea.
Southern Living is known for beautiful photography and classic designs.  The addition of the lanterns adds a special touch to this welcoming front porch.
I hope I have inspired you with some last minute decorating ideas.  Head outside and make your front door and entryway a place where the eye lingers, the heart stills, and a smile crosses the face of your Thanksgiving guests. 
Blessings and Happy Thanksgiving from Still Woods Farmhouse

Friday, November 18, 2016

Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies #2: Red Velvet Brownies

It's the second in the series of the Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies!  Today, I am featuring a brownie or bar cookie. You will thank me for this recipe.  It's that good.  We may even become "bestest" of friends! You will want to know what else is in my Christmas baking arsenal!  You might even volunteer to help me bake!
Let me introduce to you Red Velvet Brownies.  Look at those delicious layers of red velvet, then cream cheese, and lastly red velvet swirled on top!  These are best eaten without the interference of coffee or milk. Just take a bite and close your eyes...let the flavors mingle in your mouth.  Groaning is acceptable when eating these brownies!

I bet your ready to bake a batch.  Let's take a look at this easy recipe:

Red Velvet Brownie Layer:
1 stick butter
1 cup of sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla
1/4 cup of cocoa powder
Pinch of salt
1 tablespoon of red food coloring
1 teaspoon of vinegar
2 eggs
3/4 cup all purpose flour

Cream Cheese Layer:
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Butter an 8 by 8-inch baking pan and set aside.

Brownie layer: In a saucepan on medium heat melt the butter. Remove the butter to a large bowl and add the sugar, vanilla, cocoa powder, salt, food coloring, and vinegar, in that order, mixing between additions. Whisk the eggs in a small bowl and stir it into the cocoa mix. Fold in the flour until lightly combined. Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan, saving 1/4 cup of the batter for the top.

Cream cheese layer: Blend together the cream cheese, sugar, egg, and vanilla in a medium bowl. Gently spread the cream cheese layer on top of the brownie batter in the pan. Dollop the remaining brownie batter over the cream cheese layer. Using a skewer, drag the tip through the cream cheese mixture to create a swirl pattern. Bake the brownies for 30 minutes. Remove to a cooling rack and allow them to cool completely before cutting.

These are absolutely scrumptious!  I hope to see you next time for the 3rd in the Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies!
Blessings from Lynda at Still Woods Farmhouse
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Thursday, November 10, 2016

Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies #1

Welcome to Still Woods Farmhouse and the Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies!  I am so exited to bring to you a little of my passion at Christmas.  Each Christmas, I put on a cute apron, turn on the Christmas music, and head to the kitchen to begin whipping up batches of cookies.  It's in my genes!  I come from a long line of bakers.  As small children, my sister and I would eagerly await the packages of goodies from our grandmothers.   With my dad in the military, we lived far away from our relatives.  A box of homemade Christmas treats were so special to us.  One grandmother made all kinds of cookies and pies, while the other made delicious candy and cakes.  I take after my paternal grandmother, the cookie baker! My mother is also a Christmas cookie baker.  She has a long list and makes everyone's favorites.  She often bakes over 13 variety of cookies just at Christmas.  Everyone loves her homemade goodness! Who doesn't like homemade cookies?!

For the 1st of the Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies, I am sharing with you my youngest son's favorite cookie.  They are called Chocolate Cream Cheese Swirls! Sounds great, don't they? These are a delicious, quick drop cookies.  Did you hear that?  Quick, to my ears!  Let's get cooking!

The Starting Line-Up:
1 cup of granulated sugar
1 cup of packed brown sugar
1 cup of softened butter
6 ounces of softened cream cheese
2 eggs
2 teaspoons of vanilla
4 cups of all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of salt
2 cups of good semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted and slightly cooled

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.  In a large mixing bowl, combine the butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, cream cheese, eggs, and vanilla.  Beat at medium speed until light and fluffy.

Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt is a separate bowl.  Gradually mix the flour mixture to the creamed mixture.  Mix at a low speed until the flour is thoroughly incorporated into the mixture.

Fold the melted chocolate chips into the mixture.  Be careful not to over mix.  I put a little in at a time and kind of "cut" the chocolate in.  You want a marbleized look to the cookie.

Drop dough by spoonfuls or a cookie scoop onto a parchment lined cookie sheets approximately 2 inches apart. I always use a cookie scoop.  The one I used here is about an inch and a half wide.  Bake for 10-12 minutes.  Cool completely before storing.

Look at this yumminess.  Don't look at the tacky manicure!  These cookies also freeze well.  I'll share tips for freezing cookies in my next post.

Santa loves these cookies!  We leave a plate of them for Santa each year.  I hope you like the 1st of the Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies.  Stop by next week for our second cookie! I love to read your comments so leave a message and let me know what are some of your favorite holiday cookies or baking traditions:)

Blessing and happy baking from Lynda at Still Woods Farmhouse

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