A Little Snapshot of Our Christmas Season

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Merry Christmas to all of you!  I know it has been awhile since my last blog post and I hope to get back to posting more in the near future.  My reasons for the long gap is basically due to the ongoing technical difficulties that have been occupying my time for the past few months. Most of the situations have been solved, and the rest will have to be addressed later.   I made a decision to separated myself from it -for now to spend time with family and friends and enjoy the holiday season.  I still periodically post on Instagram if you are wondering or wanting to know what Bill and I are currently up to. There you will find pictures of our daily life, ideas, and whatever interests us (mostly me).  Here in this blog post I have included some pictures from White Gunpowder Instagram along with other pictures that I took during the month of December.  The above picture is of our little red shed/chicken coop that Bill built to house our chickens.  It was taken earlier this month during  a snow storm. It made for a pretty Christmas picture with a simple wreath hanging on the door.

I hope you enjoy a moment here and Merry Christmas!

december-christmas -wreath

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The accessory of the season…Hannah was staying warm and cozy wrapped in her chunky knit scarf.

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Our family Christmas tree hunting was a success!  The morning after Thanksgiving, we headed out to the Christmas tree farm in search of the perfect tree. With help from our kids (Hannah-left, Grace-center, and Caleb-right) and an hour later, we found just the right Christmas tree.

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A mini forest of trees.

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I left the house early one morning and went in search of candies, gummies, and all things sweet for the kids annual gingerbread house decorating party.  My first stop was at The Confectionery at the University Village shopping center in Seattle.

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An assembly line of gingerbread houses made it through without cracks, dents, or broken pieces.  The process from gathering all the ingredients to glueing the pieces together took me three days to complete.  For the recipe and gingerbread house template, click Here and Here.

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To add a hint of color, some of the gingerbread cookies were sprinkled with a little bit of crushed peppermint candy canes.

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The Christmas season is a busy time and the more I plan ahead the better.  One of the things I like to have on hand and ready to bake at anytime is cookie dough.  Once the cookie dough has been made, I used an ice cream scooper to scoop the dough onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and place it in the  freeze until the dough is frozen.  After an hour or two, the frozen dough balls can be transferred into a plastic freezer bag or an airtight freezer container.  The cookie dough will keep well for up to three months.

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A gift bag of a sampling of cookies is a wonderful idea to give.  Here I’ve decided to do a chocolate theme package of cookies consisting of chocolate-peanut butter cookies, chocolate chip cookies, and chocolate crinkles.

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A few gingerbread cookies were sprinkled in for an added touch.

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Glory had a busy day of watching us decorate the Christmas tree.  When all was quiet in the house and no one was watching, she moved her doggy bed over to the Christmas tree and made a cozy spot for herself to take a long nap.

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Christmas is one of our favorite times of the year.  It is the time to spend with love ones, a time to give and share with others, and of course the reason for the season is to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.

So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
    and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.

Luke 2:4-19  (NIV)

 


Posted by Kay

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Pumpkin Cookies with brown-butter icing

pumpkin cookies

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This is one of those cookies that you can’t eat just one.  Pumpkin Cookies with brown-butter icing is a favorite fall cookie for our family.  They are soft and tender with a nice balance of cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg spices mixed in.  Each cookie is topped with a layer of sweet browned butter icing. I discovered this recipe about ten years ago in a Martha Stewart Living magazine. Over the years I have changed and adapted the recipe just the slightest to suite my taste.

pumpkin cookies

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pumpkin cookies

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pumpkin cookies

· print recipe ·

makes about 5 dozen

Ingredients:  for the cookies
3      cups all-purpose flour
1      teaspoon baking powder
1      teaspoon baking soda
1¼  teaspoons salt
1½  teaspoons ground cinnamon
½    teaspoon ground ginger
¼    teaspoon ground nutmeg
¾    cup unsalted butter, softened
2¼  cups packed dark-brown sugar
2      large eggs
1½  cups canned solid-pack pumpkin {15 oz}
¾    cup evaporated milk
1      teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Ingredients:  for the icing
3     cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
8    tablespoons unsalted butter
¼  cup evaporated milk, plus more if needed
1    teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 375º F.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg in a medium bowl, and set aside.

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1.  Put butter and brown sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  Mix on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes.

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2. Mix in eggs.

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3. Reduce speed to low.  Add pumpkin.

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4. Add evaporated milk and vanilla; mix until well blended, about 2 minutes.

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5. Add flour mixture.

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6. Mix until combined.

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7. Scoop the cookie dough {1½-inch rounds} onto parchment-lined baking sheets, spacing about 2 inches apart.

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8. Bake cookies about 11-12 minutes.  Let cool on sheets on wire racks.

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pumpkin cookies with brown-butter icing

Make icing:

1. Put confectioners’ sugar in a large bowl and set aside.

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2. Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat.  Cook, swirling pan occasionally, until golden brown, about 6-10 minutes.

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3. Immediately add butter to confectioners’ sugar, scraping any browned bits from sides and bottom of pan.

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4. Add evaporated milk and vanilla; whisk until smooth.

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5. Spread about 1 teaspoon icing onto each cookie.  Cookies can be stored in single layers in airtight containers at room temperature up to 3 days.

Note:  If icing stiffens, stir in more evaporated milk, a little at a time.

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pumpkin cookies

Simple packaging for pumpkin cookies using cello bags, parchment paper, twine, and tags.

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· print recipe, Pumpkin Cookies ·

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Posted by Kay

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Sharing and Cooking with Julia Child

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As I was putting this blog post together my intention was to share a recipe from one of Julia Child’s cookbooks, but things don’t always go as planned.  I have expanded from one recipe to four and added some personal stories relating to Julia Child.  I hope you enjoy this blog post and maybe be inspired to try one of her recipes. Bon Appetit!

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My earliest introduction to Julia Child was during my childhood years.  My parents would tune to her television cooking shows on PBS and often times I was there to watch it with them. Having followed her over the years, I didn’t attempt to make anything she featured on her shows or from her cookbooks until my later years when I started to cook for Bill and I.  Early in our marriage, Bill noticed I was missing one particular cookbook and surprised me with a brand new copy of  Mastering the Art of French Cooking. The cookbook became my resource for basic cooking questions such as how to boil eggs, cook vegetables, and bake simple desserts. I can’t recall which particular recipe was my first attempt, but one I do remember well was trying to follow all the steps to the recipe on how to make the perfect scrambled eggs {oafs brouillés}. The recipe called for 8 eggs…I might have reduced the quantity by half for the two of us and I think it came out well and we ate it. I have expanded my repertoire since then, but there are still many more recipes that I look forward to trying.  Julia Child published her first cookbook in 1961 and her last book came out in 2006, My Life in France.  To see the entire collection of all her cookbooks, the Julia Child Foundation has on their website a page chronicling them all and when they were published.

· print recipe,  Scrambled Eggs ·

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Julia Child cookbooks

Can you guest as to who this might be?  This is a mini doll version of Julia Child from my daughter, Grace’s elementary school project from a few years ago.   Her teacher assigned the students to write about someone special,  who made the world a better place, and was an inspiration to others. Julia Child, was the person she picked for the project. Grace came to me and asked if I could help her make a doll to be a part of the presentation, and of course I said, “Yes.”  She drew a picture of how she wanted Julia to look and my part was to make it {easier said than done}.  I took some miscellaneous scraps of fabric/felt and other supplies we had around the house and used them to make the doll.  The pearl necklace was the last added touch.  That was how this little “Ms. Child” came into being.

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· print recipe, Roast Chicken ·

This delicious Roast Chicken recipe came from Julia Child’s most well known cookbook, Mastering the Art of French Cooking.  This is a fairly simple recipe with a few important steps to follow during the 1½-2 hours of roasting.  Here I have decided to use a Vallauris casserole pot {an oven safe pan/deep dish will work as well} to roast a four pound chicken and the result was delicious.

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Julia Child cookbooks

{Ruthie was holding her signed copy of the cookbook, From Julia Child’s Kitchen}

When the cookbook, From Julia Child’s Kitchen came out in 1975, Julia Child along with her husband, Paul Child began a cooking demonstration tour that started here in Seattle with stops in San Francisco and Honolulu.  My friend, Ruthie, had the privilege of attending one of the four classes that were held here in Seattle to benefit St. Mark’s Cathedral.  Julia Child didn’t just talk, but gave those who attended a wonderful cooking experience showcasing a wide range of dishes similar to the ones she demonstrated in San Francisco {Caneton en Aspic à la Parisienne and Charlotte Malakoff, Beef Wellington and Quiche aux Asperges, Le Loup en Croûte and Crêpes à la Pagode en Flammes}.  To end the evening, Ruthie went home with a signed copy of the cookbook as a reminder of the lovely time spent with Julia Child.

In an interview with The  New Yorker, Paul Child recalled, “In Seattle we performed in the auditorium of the cathedral, on a set put together mostly from found objects.  Somebody had contributed a stove, another person a refrigerator, and there were chests of drawers for work spaces and a couple of child-sized tables under the counters for shelves.  It was really very clever and workable, and it didn’t cost much.”

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Julia Child cookbooks

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Julia Child cookbooks

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Julia Child cookbooks

A mini tour of Ruthie’s Pantry where she kept her cookbooks, kitchen supplies, and her beautiful serving pieces.  To see her other kitchen pieces, click here.

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Julia Child cookbooks

julia child cookbooks-creme-fraiche

· print recipe, Crème Fraîche ·

From Julia Child’s Kitchen was the fourth cookbook published by Julia Child.  The recipes are easy to follow and could be read like a novel.  She would often accompany the recipes with such detail as to how to prepare and serve it, explain the reasons for certain techniques and methods and sometimes a little history was told. One of the recipes she included in the cookbook is crème fraîche.  It is a thick cream with a slight nutty flavor.  This cream is a versatile ingredient in French cooking to use in pasta sauce, cream soup, with fruit and vegetables, and to accompany desserts such as pies, tarts, and poached pears.

julia child cookbooks - creme fraiche

To make 1½ pints of crème fraîche, in a saucepan combine 1 cup of soured cream and 2 cups heavy cream, and stir to make a smooth blend.  Heat gently on medium heat to take off the chill and to start up the fermenting action.  Do not let the mixture temperature go over 85 degrees or you will kill the ferments.

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Pour the liquid mixture into a container.

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Set the container on the kitchen counter partially covered for 6 to 8 hours, or overnight, until the cream has thickened.

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Stir the thick cream, cover, and refrigerate until ready to use.  It can be refrigerated for up to 1 week.

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· print recipe, Poached Pears ·

Poached Pears is a wonderful and simple dessert to make for this time of year. I discovered this recipe many years ago from the cookbook, Baking with Julia, and have enjoyed making it often.  I recently featured it on the blog along with the recipe, here.

Julia Child cookbooks

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recipe- poached pears

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julia child-cookbooks poached pears

A little dollop of crème fraîche or whipped cream will be a nice addition to this simple dessert.

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To see the entire collection of Julia Child’s cookbooks, click here.

· print recipe ·
Crème Fraîche
Poached Pears
Roast Chicken
Scrambled Eggs

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Bon Appetit!

.t


Posted by Kay

1 comments

Spooky Halloween Treats

halloween spooky treats

Transform ordinary cookies, doughnuts, and cupcakes into something spooky and slightly creepy for Halloween.  Whether they are homemade or store bought treats, with the addition of little googly eyes will instantly turn them into little monsters and creatures that the kids will have fun eating. A little dab of royal icing onto the back of each one of these eyes will hold it in place.  These adorable candy eyes can be homemade with royal icing or purchased at the grocery stores or specialty stores. The royal icing recipe is available at the end of the blog post.

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Pear Muffins with Walnuts

pear muffins

Pears are in season and I’ve been serving up homemade Pear Muffins for breakfast.  For this particular recipe, I used Bartlett pears, but any other type of pear will be just as delicious.  It is especially nice to bake a batch of it during the weekends and enjoy it with the family.

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