Tuesday, June 24, 2014

"Welcome Bag" Cookies!

Sour Cream Sugar Cookies cooling!
A beautiful day, loving family members/ close friends, happy guests, a meaningful ceremony, delicious food.  These are some of dreams on the "wish list" for Brides & Grooms as they prepare for their wedding day.  My son's & daughter- in- law's wishes did come true when they were married a little more than 2 months ago!

They wanted their guests to feel very special and also very welcomed during the weekend!  They did succeed!  A Welcome Bag was waiting at the hotels where the overnight guests were staying.  This was a very thoughtful gift and it was also a gift that was new to me.  Each bag with a cute logo contained bottled water & munchies.

After I learned about the Welcome Bags, I knew that I wanted to add a tidbit for the happy guests who would be celebrating a very special occasion.  Suddenly it came to me!  Cookies, specifically
Sour Cream Sugar Cookies!  These rolled out/ cut out cookies are definitely a family fave and they would be a great surprise!  They are my holiday cookies

My Heart and my Bell cookie cutters were located quickly!  The wedding colors were Purple + Sage, so Lavender & Green colored sugars were purchased for the bells along with plastic bags & ties.  The Red colored sugar I already had  for the Hearts!  Fat Free Sour Cream, Low Salt Butter, Sugar & Flour were placed on my grocery list.  These cookies were baked 3 weeks before the wonderful wedding & placed in our freezer until needed.

Sour Cream Sugar Cookies are a 2 day process.  I prepared 4 batches of batter - each separately and placed in my fridge overnight.  The next day 250 rolled, cut- out cookies were baked.  After they cooled, stacks of cookies were carefully placed into Gallon Sized Ziploc Freezer bags.  Then they were placed very carefully on a shelf in our large freezer.

The day before we drove to upstate NY for the beautiful wedding, the cookies were defrosted.  Each cute cookie bag contained 1 decorated cut out Heart + 1 Bell per person.  These soft, light, yummy cookies were for a very special couple & their guests!

For those of you who have a special family member or friend who will be getting married, bake these delicious cookies to place in the Welcome Bags!  They are definitely a yummy treat!  There is nothing like a homemade Sugar Cookie!  The Sour Cream makes it very light.  This is my fave Sugar Cookie!

Packaged & ready for the "Welcome Bags"!
***Note:  1 batch required 1/2 hour to prepare the dough.  1 batch required 1 hour to roll out/ cut out & bake the next day.  The recipe for 1 batch is below along with a printable recipe card.

Sour Cream Sugar Cookies
     printable recipe card (click here)

Oven:  375°F
Yield:  About 5 dozen, depending on size

4 Cups Flour
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/2 teaspoon Nutmeg
1 Cup unsalted Butter, softened
1 and 1/2 Cups Sugar
1 Egg
1/2 Cup Sour Cream (can be Fat Free)
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract

Colored Sugars for Decorating
Cookie Cutters


Day 1-
  1. In large bowl with electric mixer beat Butter and Sugar until light and fluffy. 
  2. Add Egg, beat.
  3. Add in Baking Powder, Baking Soda, Salt and Nutmeg. 
  4. While beating on Low, slowly add Flour, 1 Cup at a time. 
  5. Add in Vanilla and Sour Cream. Beat on Medium until well combined. Dough will be stiff
  6. Remove dough from bowl and place on plastic wrap, wrap dough.
  7. Place wrapped dough on aluminum foil and wrap well.
  8. Refrigerate overnight.  
 Day 2-
  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. Unwrap dough and cut into four parts. 
  3. On well floured surface, roll dough to 1/4" thickness. Use cookie cutters.
  4. Place cookies on pan/ sheet 1" apart. (Maybe 12 cookies to a sheet.) 
  5. Sprinkle with colored sugars. 
  6. Bake 10 - 11 Minutes. Bottom of cookies will be a light golden brown. 
  7. Remove with spatula to wire cooling racks.  
  8. When cool store in airtight containers.
***My very thoughtful hubby definitely helped on baking day!!!  Four hands worked twice as fast with an oven door opening & closing every 11 minutes!   :)

The 4 batches of Sour Cream Sugar Cookies were cooled & a few hours later packaged in freezer bags.  Into our large freezer they were placed.

Yes, they were a delicious treat for all of the over night guests, including our family!  :)

We all Enjoyed!

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Happy Father's Day!!!

Blueberry Buttermilk Pancakes!
Just in case you have not yet decided on a special breakfast for Father's Day, these light Blueberry Buttermilk Pancakes would be an excellent choice!  Yes, these are the pancakes in my header!  Using Egg Whites, Low Fat Buttermilk & Olive Oil results in oh so light pancakes!  Add in Cinnamon & Nutmeg = Yummy!!!

This AM I made my batch, so my DH is enjoying his fave pancakes twice this weekend.  Tomorrow AM 2 servings will be reheated in our microwave and we will enjoy them along with Turkey Sausage.  Did I mention that they freeze well?  They sure do!  This is one tasty Father's Day breakfast!

These pancakes can be enjoyed any time of year using fresh or frozen blueberries.  If you do not have the ingredients on hand, make them next weekend!

Click on the link below for the recipe: 
Blueberry Buttermilk Pancakes recipe

I wish all Dads 
a very  
Happy Father's Day!!!


Sunday, June 8, 2014

Free Fun Fridays - 2014

It begins Friday, June 27th and ends on Friday, August 29thFREE FUN FRIDAYS!!!  Each Friday during that time period, there are 5 museums/ cultural venues with no admission fee!  It is a program sponsored by the Highland Street Foundation. (Click on their name for their info.)  This program is for residents of Massachusetts, tourists vacationing here & also visitors driving through my scenic state.  It's a great opportunity to spend a day at one of 66 interesting places with no general admission cost.  During the summer school children sleep a bit later in the AM!  No homework or papers are due the next day.  However, it's always a great idea to feed those inquiring minds!

There are so many FuN places to visit in Massachusetts!  So many are on this list.  Take a look at the schedule & click on a venue.  Click on the venue's website.       

The Franklin Park Zoo (my grandson's fave), Tanglewood, Plimoth Plantation, Springfield Museums (where I volunteer), the Boston Children's Museum, Historic Deerfield & Museum of Fine Arts, Boston are 7 of the 66 choices!  So many more wonderful places waiting for you, your families & your friends to visit.  Take this opportunity!  It's for children of all ages!

Here is the complete schedule.  Remember:  5 specific venues will be offered throughout Massachusetts to visit.  This occurs on Fridays!  Find your fave & spend some family time learning together!  Visit more than one!     

Thank you for your generosity,  
Highland Street Foundation!!!

We will enjoy!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Banana Apricot Bread

Banana Apricot Bread - Yum!
What??  The Bananas are way too ripe for me to enjoy eating??!!  What am I saying? I do not like bananas! It was not good.  Well, it started that way- not being good.  Then, a recipe was located that I had not used in a very long time!  It all began when my fruit bowl contained 3 bananas that were definitely too ripe for me.  Suddenly, I remembered my conversation with one of my DILs about Banana Bread.  That led me to search for the "old recipe" that I always used so many years ago.  When my 2 sons were young I baked Banana Bread often.  Perhaps I had baked one too many breads using that fruit or it was then that I realized I do not like bananas.

Time does move on!  My younger son enjoys spinach!  Bananas are once again part of my daily diet.  Gotta' love that potassium!  As time has moved on I now bake with Olive Oil, Egg Whites & Soy Milk.  They are great substitutions for butter/ margarine/ vegetable oil, whole eggs & whole/ low fat milk.  I also add Cinnamon & Nutmeg into the batter so often when baking!

My old fave recipe was included in the 1978 printing of the Home-Baked Breads section of the McCall's COOKBOOK COLLECTION.  The recipe was located and I used my substitutions.  Also, 7 Apricots were cut into small pieces and added to the batter.  While this quick bread was baking, my kitchen smelled so good!  It was a hint that this would be a yummy Banana Apricot Bread!  It is delicious!  Whenever you have 3 yucky looking bananas, use this great recipe!  Keep some apricots on hand, too!  They contain potassium, also & they sure taste great here!

Banana Apricot Bread

Oven Temperature:  350°F     Baking Time: 60 Minutes


2 and 1/2 cups Flour
3 teaspoons Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1 cup Sugar - I use slightly less.
1/8 teaspoon Cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon Nutmeg
1/4 cup Olive Oil for baking & sauteing
2 Egg Whites
1/2 cup Milk
3 overripe Bananas, mashed
7- 8 dried Apricots

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Spray 9" bread pan with PAM.
  3. In large bowl mix together Flour, Baking Powder, Salt, Sugar, Cinnamon & Nutmeg.
  4. In small bowl beat Egg Whites until frothy.
  5. Mash Bananas in another small bowl.
  6. Add Olive Oil, Egg Whites, Milk & mashed Bananas to dry ingredients.
  7. Stir together until combined.
  8. Cut Apricots into pieces. (Cut in half. Cut each half into 3 pieces.)
  9. Add Apricot pieces to batter & stir.
  10. Pour batter into bread pan.
  11. Bake at 350°F oven for 60 Minutes or until cake tester comes out clean.
  12. Place on rack to cool for 10 Minutes.
  13. Remove from pan & cool on rack.  
This is a very yummy Banana Bread!  Amazing combination - Bananas + Apricots!  Another 15 years will not pass before I bake this one again, especially with my additions & substitutions!  I now have more dried Apricots!  Bake this bread, you'll enjoy it!


Sunday, June 1, 2014

The Colors of June

Some of the colors in our yard on a warm June day...

The purple Iris buds will open soon!


Bright peonies soaking in the sunlight.


Dainty Dogwood blossoms!

We have been waiting for all of them!