Monday, December 24, 2018

Merry Christmas!!

"Santa Consulting Globe"
by Norman Rockwell
The Saturday Evening Post Cover
December 4, 1926
Norman Rockwell Museum

A great museum to visit in Western Massachusetts is the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge!  Familiar favorite works of art along with new exhibits are always so interesting.  A few years ago when we took the short "road trip" to the Berkshires to visit, we enjoyed viewing the covers of The Saturday Evening Post that were illustrated by this artist.  There were so many!  Each so very interesting to view!

Suddenly, I saw Santa Claus!  It is timeless!  Santa is holding a book titled Good Boys as he uses his globe and magnifying glass to plan his route.  It's also interesting to learn that the magazine cost 5 cents in 1926.  

History is fascinating!  Viewing "Santa Consulting Globe" has reminded me that we need to make the yearly visit to the Norman Rockwell Museum and enjoy dinner at the Red Lion Inn in Stockbridge, MA, soon.


Friday, December 21, 2018

Best Sour Cream Sugar Cookies

Best Sour Cream Sugar Cookies
Just one bite and you will be hooked!  After a taste of this Best Sour Cream Sugar Cookie you will take another bite and savor the flavor, again.  It's a hint of Nutmeg!  Sour Cream is another ingredient, here.  These Sugar Cookies are just the best that I've ever tasted (and baked)!  Baking a batch before Christmas is now a tradition of mine.  The  cookies also freeze well, so many of the baked cookies are cooled and packed in freezer bags- just ready for Christmas. 

It's a 2 step process!

On Day 1 a batch of the dough is prepared and refrigerated overnight.
The next day I find my rolling pin, rolling mat, favorite cookie cutters and colorful sprinkles.  Definitely my cookie pans and cooling racks, too.  Before I know it, my kitchen has the great aroma of Best Sour Cream Sugar Cookies.

After the first pan of baked cookies have come out of the oven and have cooled on the cooling rack, of course there is the "taste test"!  Oh, yum!!!  It's hard to refrain from "testing" another.

Baking these yummy cookies was my project this afternoon.  There sure was the required "taste test" going on!  My yellowish cookie canister was filling up.  Tomorrow, I'll place most of them in freezer bags to defrost next week.  Best Sour Cream Sugar Cookies is a family favorite cookie and enjoying them is one of our Christmas traditions.

You probably already have Nutmeg in your spice rack.  Purchase a container of Sour Cream this weekend.  This will be a great recipe to take out and use!

The recipe:  Best Sour Cream Sugar Cookies      



Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Cranberry Bread

Cranberry Bread
A family favorite recipe came from a very unexpected source.  It was not from a magazine, a newspaper, a friend or another blog.  I never would have guessed that "my" Cranberry Bread recipe would/ could be found in a children's book!  It is true!  Cranberry Thanksgiving by Wende and Harry Devlin is a treasured story that was written in 1971.  Quite a few years ago, in November, one of my son's brought a copy of the recipe home from elementary school.  His school librarian had read the story and also had given him and his classmates the recipe- just in case someone "might" want to bake it at home with a parent's help.

We were up for the challenge and baked a loaf.  The original recipe called for Raisins and Cranberries, but it was November.  We lived in Massachusetts.  For us Cranberry Bread needed to be all Cranberries!  It was and oh, it tasted so good!  Since baking that first loaf I have never used another recipe.  It is that good!  Fresh Cranberries flavored with Orange Juice taste so yummy!

This year before Thanksgiving I didn't have the opportunity to take out this recipe and bake a loaf.  However, yesterday I did.  The cranberries were cleaned and chopped.  The recipe was used again.

Cranberry Bread
     Adapted from Cranberry Thanksgiving 
             by Wende and Harry Devlin  

2 Cups Flour
1 Cup Sugar
1 and 1/2 teaspoons Baking Powder
1 teaspoon Salt
1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
1/4 Cup Butter/ Margarine- softened
2 Egg Whites (or 1 Whole Egg), beaten
3/4 Cup Orange Juice
1 pkg. fresh Cranberries- rinsed in cold water and chopped

  1.  Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2.  Spray a 9" x 5" loaf pan with PAM.
  3.  Rinse Cranberries in cold water (using a colander).
  4.  Chop Cranberries coarsely.
  5.  In a large bowl combine Flour, Sugar, Baking Powder, Salt and Baking Soda.
  6.  Using a pasty blender (or 2 knives) cut Butter/ Margarine into combined dry ingredients- until  mixture is crumbly.
  7.  Add Egg Whites (or Egg) and Orange Juice and stir until moist.
  8.  Add chopped Cranberries to batter.  Fold in.
  9.  Spoon batter into loaf pan.
  10.  Bake at 350°F for 1 hour and 5 Minutes or until cake tester or toothpick comes out clean  when inserted in middle.
  11.  Cool on cooling rack for 10 Minutes.
  12.  Remove from pan and continue cooling on rack.
  13.  After cool, wrap in foil.
*Extra Hints 
  • Wait at least 5 hours after baking to eat.
  •  Use fresh Cranberries- not frozen.
  • This bread does not freeze well.
I will be baking another Cranberry Bread before the New Year!  Will you be baking one, too??



Tuesday, December 4, 2018

"Yuletide at Storrowton"

Storrowton Village Museum
with Storrowton Tavern in the background.
On Saturday afternoon we drove over the river, around the rotary and down a street.  That was the path to "Yuletide at Storrowton"!  Storrowton Village is located in West Springfield, MA- on the other side of the Connecticut River.  It's always a treat to visit and go back to the 19th century.  There are 9 antique buildings around a Town Green at Storrowton Village.  These original buildings were all saved from different towns in New England by Helen Storrow and they were moved here, to this location.  It was a time when many items were handcrafted.

Behind the gazebo is one of our favorite restaurants in Western MA- Storrowton Tavern!

A Little History
A walk down the Town Green led us to the Gilbert House.  Inside the first room was a basket of fruit sitting on a table.  Oranges studded with Whole Cloves were some of the pieces of fruit.  This aroma was so good!  The lady of the house was waiting for our arrival!      

Gilbert House
West Brookfield, MA

Turning another direction in the room was another great view!

Inside Gilbert House
The tablecloth, the train under the Christmas Tree and the wallpaper were all so interesting!  Then, we turned again and enjoyed the decorations above the fireplace.

Another view inside Gilbert House
After leaving the Lawyer's Office we visited Potter Mansion.  An old piano inside caught our attention!

Strolling back down the Town Green and brought us to the Schoolhouse.  Walking in, we saw the stern Schoolmaster.  There were chalkboards on 3 sides of the room.  It's always fascinating to step into an old schoolhouse to take another look at the desks and chairs.    

North Center School
Whately, MA

Next door to the Schoolhouse is the Meeting House.  It was the building used for Town Meetings and also for worship.   

Union Meeting House
Salisbury, NH


It's always interesting to take a step back in time.  On Saturday we stepped back and enjoyed our Yuletide visit.   It was great!!!