This Christmas I made ONE kind of cookie... Pizzelles. These are new cookies for me to make. I bought a Pizzelle iron and tried several recipes before I decided on the best one. Most recipes are VERY similar. I tweaked one a little to get a nice anise flavor. Other flavorings can be substituted such as orange, almond or even chocolate.
What fun! I thrive on learning new things. These were easy and so pretty. Their delicate anise flavor and crunch makes them perfect for dessert or even breakfast! They can be rolled to make ice cream cones or filled with a sweet gooey filling.
If you have never made Pizzelles they are worth giving a try...even if you are not abaker. I invested in a good Pizzelle iron. I decided on a this electric, very substantial one by Palmer Company.
Pizzelles will be served as part of Christmas morning brunch. YUMMY! But wouldn't they be wonderful for breakfast on New Year's Day? I hope there are some left over!
3/4 c. sugar
1/2 c. UNSALTED butter, melted and cooled
1/2 tsp. anise extract*
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 3/4 c. flour
1/2 TBS anise seed, ground
2 tsp. baking powder
Add sugar and beat. Add butter when it has cooled. Beat. Add anise extract and vanilla and beat.
Mix flour, anise seed and baking powder in a seperate bowl.
* Grind anise seed using a mortal and pestle or in the food processor.
Add to wet mixture. Beat well.
Heat pizzelle iron according to directions. Drop stiff dough on iron and cook.
Remove pizzelles from iron with a fork and place on a cooling rack. Cool.
Store in an airtight container... or pretty jar!
Pizzelles can be sprinkled with confectioner's sugar for a little extra sweetness... and a heaping helping of panache!
The Stockings at StoneGable are hung, but not by the chimney with care. We hang them on the back of our kitchen chairs. It is just much more practical! And goodness knows these old chairs could use a little sprucing up too! The tree in the background is my Kitchen Tree.
My stocking is made from an antique quilt and embellished with some old lace and antique muslin.
My children's stockings were made more than 20 years ago when they were babies. They are made from my GREAT Grandmother's muslin flour sacks. The sacks were passed down to my Grandmother and I remember her washing them once a year and putting them back into her hope chest (that I now have).
So when the muslin sacks were passed down to me I knew that a few would be used for Christmas Stockings. When grandbabies come some day I will make each of them a stocking made out of their GREAT GREAT GREAT Grandmother's muslin flour sacks.
The Stockings are attached to each chair with a big ribbon and filled with greens for an extra festive touch!
I am saving quilts, fur, cashmere, and old buttons...and have visions of new Stockings are dancing in my head!
Soneone asked me today, trying to make polite conversation, if I was ready for Christmas. In a flash my mind went to the unfinished decorating, the piles of unwrapped Christmas presents, the long grocery list of shopping, the days of cooking awaiting me, and all the scrubbing and cleaning on my schedule this week.
I answered , "Oh, I am ready"... and with a smile and my hand over my heart said, "In here!". A great joy flooded over me.
It is Christmas week. And I am filled with great joy for my lot is more wonderful than I can imagine. And it has nothing to do with a beautifully decorated house or presents under the tree.
I am loved, redeemed, blessed, justified, guided, comforted and at peace. I know the hope I have is real.
It is a time to worship my King! Albeit politically incorrect and certainly becoming out of vogue, it is true. And I am delightfully unashamed. Come let us adore Him. Everything else pales in comparison! Jesus IS the only real reason for Christmas!
So as I get on with my week of hustle and bustle of more things to do this week than hours and energy, I will go about each and every task and minute of the day in an attitude of gratitude and thankfulness... joy overfowing!
What will get done will be enough. What does not get done won't be missed. But the beauty and wonder and miracle and blessing of Christmas can! It can be drowned out by the frenzied static of Christmas preparations and all the crazy frustration that goes along with it. I am making a conscientious decision to choose the miracle! How about you?
Let me ask you, dear ones... Are you ready for Christmas?
Have a wonderful and Merry week!
Monday Roasted Chicken Potatoes, Carrots and Onions Roasted with the Chicken Arugula, Shaved Parmesan, Toasted Pinenuts In A Lemon Vinaigrette
Tuesday Salmon On The Grill Tasty Baked Potatoes Sauteed Spinach with Garlic Oil (again, yummy!) Cheddar Biscuits
Recipe: Cheddar Biscuits
These tasty sounding biscuits come from my dear young friend, Rachel at The Atwoods. She and her darling husband Nathan are just the sweetest young couple. Click HERE for the recipe and to be captivated by this Godly young woman!
Wednesday: Soup Day Matzo Ball Soup
Recipe: Matzo Ball Soup
1 large chicken carcase, plus package of necks and wings OR
1 large chicken cut up
1 large onion quartered
3 ribs celery, rough cut
2 large carrots, rough cut
salt and pepper
6 chicken tenders or 2 large boneless, skinless breasts cut into long strips
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
4 celery ribs, sliced
3 carrots, peeled and sliced
Matzo ball mix
Put chicken pieces in a large pot. Cover with water. Add onion, celery and carrots. Add salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer and skim off any scum that accumulates on top of the water. Continue to cook and skim occasionally for 1 1/2 hours. Turn off heat and discard everything except the broth. Ingredients have all exhausted their flavor into the broth.
Meanwhile, make Matzo Balls while the broth is simmering. Make according to box directions using chicken broth instead of water. When cooked, set aside on a large rimmed baking sheet.
Turn the heat back the soup to medium and add the chicken tenders, chopped onions and celery. Cook for 15 minutes. Add carrots and chopped parsley and cook for an additional 15 minutes. Turn off heat. Remove chicken tenders and cut into bite size chunks. Put chicken back into the broth.
Thursday Chicken Artichoke With Angel Hair Pasta Ceaser Salad Garlic Parmesan Bread
Recipe: Chicken With Artichokes And Angel Hair Pasta
I LOVE artichokes! And I can almost categorically trust Martha Stewart's recipes to be scrumptious. So when I found this recipe for Artichoke and Pasta I just knew I would have a winner! Click HERE for a delicious way to serve artichokes!
Christmas Eve Individual Beef Wellingtons With Duexelles Garlic Mashed Potatoes Madeira Beef Gravy Roasted Asparagus
Christmas Day Brunch Fresh Fruit StoneGable Christmas Brunch Casserole Kielbasa Land Of Nod Pastry Pull Apart Nut Roll Pizzelle's Mimosa's Coffee Bar
Recipe: StoneGable Christmas Brunch Casserole
I make this EVERY Christmas, no exceptions. My kids look forward to this same menu every year.
Now don't keel over when you see the fattening ingredients, it's Christmas! I make this heavenly casserole 2 times a year, Christmas and Easter Brunch. It is a real treat! Now don't try to make it more healthy or figure friendly... just for today, enjoy the goodness... and it IS good! I don't have a written recipe, I tweaked the original recipe years ago, so these are just good estimates. It is not rocket science, just do it! This makes enough for a crowd.
This recipe is assembled ahead and refrigerated overnight.
6-8 large croissants, cubed and let out to dry out for 1 day
2 TBS butter
1 1/2-2 packages of Bob Evans bulk sage sausage ( Do use Bob Evans~ it makes a big difference!)
10-12 large eggs
4 cups milk, I use what I have on hand~ skim is fine, whole is wonderful!
1 tsp. dijon mustard
1 TBS worchestershire sauce
2-3 cups VERY GOOD cheddar cheese, grated
salt and pepper
Cook sausage and break apart. Drain all fat and set aside.
Liberally butter a large (at least 3 quart) rectangular baking dish. Add cubed croissants. Evenly distribute sausage over the croissants.
In a large mixing bowl add eggs, milk, mustard, worchestershire sauce and salt and pepper. Whisk vigorously until will incorporated and fluffy. Pour over croissants.
Sprinkle cheese over the top of the mixture. Cover tightly with foil and refrigerate.
Take casserole out of the refrigerator and let it stand for 30-45 minutes to take the chill off of it.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and bake for about an hour until golden brown and cooked through. If the top gets too brown, tent with foil. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.
Recipe: Slow Cooker Kielbasa
We serve brunch around 10:30 on Christmas morning. This gives me time to get the kielbasa into the slow cooker for just a couple of hours, all it needs. I don't have to fuss over the stove while I am trying to get everything to the table.
1-2 packages of Polish Kielbasa
1-2 tsp vegetable oil
Add oil to a large skillet and heat on medium. Cut kielbasa into 2 inch chunks and brown on all sides. Transfer kielbasa to the slow cooker and cook on low for 2 hours.
Recipe: Land Of Nod
See recipe on facebook.
Look for upcoming post on Thursday evening.
Christmas Day Supper
Because Christmas Brunch is a big event, dinner is low key, comfortable and easy. Everything is made ahead. It just needs to be reheated. We sit around the fire and enjoy family and fellowship. Holiday Beef Brisket Twice Baked Potatoes Green Beans Sauteed In Garlic Oil Citrus Salad Bacardi Rum Cake Christmas Cookies
Recipe: Slow Cooker Holiday Beef Brisket
My sister-in-law served this the last time I was visiting her lovely home. It was so delicious! And easy! My kind of meal. For this easy make ahead main dish click HERE. It will be a holiday tradition.
Recipe: Citrus Salad
I tried this salad last week to see if it would work for Christmas dinner. Oh my goodness! It is delicious! Company worthy and flavorful. Click HERE for my Christmas Supper Salad!
Sunday: Family Dinner Individual Chicken Pies Homemade Pink Applesauce Baby Field Greens with Dried Cherries, Candied Pecans, Bleu In A Wild Cherry Vinaigrette Christmas Cookies
Recipe: Individual Chicken Pie
These pies are just beautiful and so yummy. Click HERE for the recipe and how-to's.
And the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which shall be for ALL people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord".
Christmas is a week away and now is the perfect time to add fresh greens to Christmas decorating.
Here at StoneGable, fresh greens and simple natural elements are filling bowls, vases and baskets. I don't bring in fresh greens before now because they will tend to drop their needles just in time for Christmas. And who wants to be cleaning up needles all Christmas day?
I prefer to keep fresh green arrangements very simple and natural as they are a supplement to my Christmas decor.
Because we have a kitten this year, I kept the greens very simple, no twiggy branches I love so much, no ornaments or even faux snow. These are all play toys to a Hobbes. I did however use greens that would make a statement.
Fresh green arrangements are easy to make and will stay fresh until after Christmas. They add a huge festive visual presence and smell delightful!
Choose a container.
I chose this pretty scalloped ironstone pedestal bowl to hold an arrangement for the sofa table.
Soak oasis or other moisture wicking florist material in water for 30 minutes.
Put oasis in your container and secure with florist tape.
Add base greens.
I used 3 types of greens. Frazer fur (cut from our tree), pine and incense cedar. I used the Frazer fur greens to fill the bowl, making sure to stick the branches down into the oasis to secure them.
Add "fluffy" greens.
I love to add pine to my arrangements. It adds "fluff" or a wispy quality. I purchased 2 yards of pine roping and cut it apart for arranging.
Add accent greens.
Incense cedar was used as an accent in many of my arrangements this year. It has such lovely green/gold "beads". Holly is another favorite of mine to use, too.
This year only pine cones were added to finish the arrangement. But tall twiggy branches, berries, sprays of faux Christmas goodies, etc can be tucked in your arrangement here and there for added interest.
Spraying your arrangement lightly with faux snow or glitter would also look beautiful. Not this year for me, I can just imagine Hobbes tracking it throughout my entire house or eating it... what a rascal!
Here are just a couple of other arrangements around StoneGable. Look for more next week.
Christmas Brunch is a big event at StoneGable. Even bigger than Christmas dinner. Just like most holidays, the menu never changes... it's TRADITION!
The inspiration for this table is the Christmas Woodland dinnerware. I purchased it after Christmas several years ago at Reading China and Glass. It was on sale and ridiculously inexpensive. I bought 18 place settings and all the servings pieces.
It is a hardy porcelain. And it has to be! We use it everyday from the day after Thanksgiving until Jan 31st every year.
The plates have a lovely evergreen, holly, berries and ribbon border. Although they are definitely Christmas dishes, their motif will work just fine through the month of January too!
Four different birds perched on an evergreen bough grace the center of the dessert/salad plates and mugs (not shown).
The Christmas dishes are stacked with my signature white leaf and berry charger as well as 2 different green plates. The different green colors are a rich contrast to the red tablecloth.
A large green dinner plate with a scalloped edge acts as a second charger and give color and a very interesting edge.
A darker, heavily embossed green plate with a bronze oil rubbed band gives texture to the stack. The banding on the plate compliments the wrought iron pieces on the table.
The tablecloth is a cheery red woven cotton with a small white embroidered pattern. For today's table, red marbleized forks and knives are used. I purchased 18 forks and knives last year at HomeGoods. They are wonderful to use when having a large group for dessert.
When I serve Christmas brunch I'll be using my silver and will save the red flatware for desserts. Even though this is a casual table, silver is ALWAYS welcomed at the table!
Napkins that match the tablecloth are caught up with crisp white cotton napkin with an interesting cutwork border.
Little white bird napkin rings continue the bird and woodland theme. These pretty little birdies came from Luckett's famous antique store.
Greens, a holly leaf, tiny pine cones and a small glass ornament are tucked into the napkin ring to give these napkins a festive look.
A pine cone rests at each place. I may add a small name card to each pine cones. I LOVE place cards. It tells the family and guests around my table, " I planned this place especially for you".
Red ribbed gobbets await Mimosa's... another StoneGable tradition!
And don't forget the coffee! Christmas woodland cups and saucers will probably be traded out for a larger mug from the set with a bird that matches the salad/dessert plates. I set up a coffee bar on my kitchen counter.
The centerpiece is a wrought iron tiered bowl. I filled it with all sorts of greens, berries, pine cones, willow balls and shiny ornaments. It has a casual and pretty look. Nothing too fussy.
Making these arrangements are easy if you have little bits and pieces of things on hand. I keep clear boxes with all sorts of berries, greens etc. for each season. Look for an upcoming post about keeping things organized and on hand to make arrangements.
Can you see my kitchen tree in the background?
At the base of the arrangement is a sweet little bird nest, keeping with the bird theme. Encrusted with pine cone scales, the nest is filled with elements that are found in the arrangement.
Willow balls and pine cones are scattered around the base of the arrangement.
No formal candlesticks for this table. Wrought iron risers give height to rustic green glazed post with pine cone candles. A little faux snow was added to the bottom of the pots to nestle the pine cones in. They give the table a lovely glow!
Dessert plates and bowl sit on a low wrought iron stand encircled by a rustic evergreen wreath. A real bird's nest becomes a part of the Christmas decor. No longer holding baby birds, it holds touches of nature and sparkle!
Christmas Day Brunch will be the start of a day filled celebrating Jesus' birthday, opening gifts, family, food and making memories!