One of my favorite Christmas gifts this year came from my Buddy, B. She's a sneaky little thing and sent me a handmade gift that went straight to my heart. I have to admit, I had never seen this craft project, but she tells me it's all over the crafting blogosphere. I have been a bit remiss in my blog readings of late...so I've missed this adorable idea.
It's a wreath made from the pages of a book- two different books to be exact. The poetic justice is that she one of the books she used was from Janet Evanovich. (If you have been reading this blog or following my podcasts with Beth, you would really see the humor in that.) The other novel used was from author, Lori Foster. (Another old favorite of mine...)
I absolutely love this idea! It is completely adorable and personally meaningful. I've decided to hang this wreath on the french doors that lead into my office/library. The perfect place! This way I wll be reminded regularly of my friend who lives afar, but is never far from my thoughts.
I love the detail. I'm such a freak, I was trying to guess the books by reading snippets from the rolls of book pages. I totally figured out one of the books before she told me the other novel. (which by the way, she derived great pleasure in tearing out the pages...i.e. Janet E.)
If you would like to make one of your own- type into google, "book page wreath" and you will be overwhelmed with images and how to's! It looks like a lot of fun....I might try one myself!
This past weekend, I did my first bit of holiday baking. I decided to mix up a batch of pizzelle cookies. I haven't made these cookies in several years and after listening to my sister talk about her baking extravaganza, I decided I would break out the old pizzelle iron once again.
Years ago, I would take the first weekend in December and bake up a storm. My sister and I would drive to my mother's house, ingredients in tow and spend the weekend baking. Sun up to sun down and more, we would make about a dozen different kind of cookies, along with nut roll (kolachy) and some candies/fudge. For some reason, we stopped getting together. I can't remember why, probably because one year we couldn't work the dates out and went out on our own in the baking frenzy. I eventually cut back on the amount of cookies made and at one time, just made one kind, but a lot of them to give away to friends and neighbors. It wasn't until I decided to host a cookie party a few years ago that I my family was able to enjoy a variety of cookies on their Christmas Cookie tray once again.
My sister however, has remained true and has mastered the holiday baking marathon. She takes two days and pounds out about a dozen varieties of cookies. (I usually count on her to bring dessert at Christmas.) She inspired me to bake a little more. So, in honor of her, my mother who gave me my first pizzelle iron and my Grandma Rosso who gave us the recipe, I am happy to share our pizzelle recipe.
Now, a lot of people don't like pizzelles because they have only tasted ones that are heavy on the anise flavoring. Anise is a crucial ingredient, but it is not the only flavoring we use. We have a special blend so to speak, that makes for a milder flavored pizzelle. A couple of other secrets, we don't store our cookies in an air-tight container. They get better as they age....we store them in a paper bag covered with a cotton dish towel. Don't ask me why- it's just the way it's done. And because the recipe makes so many cookies, you undoubtedly will have leftovers after Christmas. They are best served in the morning with coffee, for dunking if you prefer.
Grandma Rosso's Pizzelle's
1 1b butter (melted and cooled)
1 dozen eggs (yes...that is correct)
3 1/2 cups sugar
Mix these first three ingredients well, then add-
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 tbl. lemon extract
2 tbl. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. anise extract
1/2 tsp salt
12 cups of flour ( I mix in 2 cups at a time)
Mix well with mixer in the largest mixing bowl you have...when done, roll into walnut sized balls and press in pizzelle iron. This recipe makes 12 dozen or so- and the bad news, you can only make two at a time. I usually press in iron for 30-45 seconds, until golden- but not brown. Cool completely before stacking and storing. (They will be soft but harden up as cooling.)
They look adorable package in cellophane bags and you'll be the hit of your neighborhood or office if you share these delights. I am a bit of a pizzelle snob, in that I won't eat store bought pizzelles, (I scoff!) or other people's pizzelles. I only like our family recipe. Which I might add, there was a bit of a family feud regarding the pizzelles. My grandfather's sisters (all 100% Italian) thought they made the best. Their cookie was a slightly crispier cookie. My grandmother's, (100% Hungarian married to a 100% Italian man) who developed her own flavoring (with the addition of the lemon extract) were a little thicker. although, I liked them both, I still prefer only our family pizzelles and am partial to ours.
Folks who think they don't like pizzelles, haven't tried them enough...or tried ours.
**Special note- you must use a pizzelle iron. Available online or at any kitchen speciality store or any Italian speciality food store.
Today marks the anniversary of my mother's birth...(doesn't that sound more dramatic than "her birthday?") Sometimes, I crack myself up.
Anywho- Happiest of Birthdays, Momzie- love ya!
You taught me most everything I know- and although I don't necessarily practice everything you preach, I'm glad to have that knowledge in my back pocket. We will miss seeing you this Christmas season...quit spending months at a time in Europe, so Dad will be more amiable about traveling.
Yes- three times- I've started this post and then walked away, did about a dozen other things and then forgot about the post, didn't save it and then had to start all over again.
I know- you're thinking what the heck, Deb, what's the problem? Well, aside from playing nursemaid to my Beloved, Eldest had surgery last week, (she's fine- she had cysts on her vocal chords removed, as well as her tonsils.) Needless to say, I'm on a first name basis with all the drive-thru folks at Sonic...Eldest was living on their slushes.
On top of working, nursing, trying to finish decorating for Christmas, starting about 3 other mini-projects, cooking, cleaning, Christmas shopping, and getting ready for Beloved's side of the family Holiday Christmas celebration- I was in a car accident. (I'm doing okay- just a raging case of whiplash.) I was rear-ended by some fool with no car insurance.
Whew- I feel better getting that off my chest....back to post I was trying to write.
~~~~~~~~~Doing the Pick Up
Don't you just love your "pick-up" friends? These are the friends- who you may or may not have know for life- but no matter the time or the distance, when you do see or speak to one another, you just "pick up" from the last time you saw or spoke to that person?
A couple of months ago, I had the pleasure of meeting up with one of my "pick-ups." I accompanied Eldest to our State Capital to take her state boards. I needed something to occupy my time- and instead of shopping or hanging at a coffee shop alone, I gave my buddy, V a call.
I have known V since "before." That is before husband and kids! She was one of my very best work friends, we were cubicle mates. Our friendship transcended the workplace and now twenty three years later....we are still doing the "pick up."
V was kind enough to play along- go for a ride so to speak, do what we needed to do while we waited for Eldest to complete the morning activities, pick her up for her lunch break and then take her back for the afternoon.
We started the day at place I had never gone to before. Supposedly, this joint had been featured on one of those Food Network shows, not sure which one...but primarily to feature it's signature sandwich.
Neither one of us was in the mood for the Dagwood, so we opted for breakfast items. We had a wonderful time catching up on all kinds of things- mostly about the kids and such. I swear, nothing makes time go faster than having kids and living through their milestones to mark that time. V has two boys. When I met her, one was a baby and the other maybe four years old. Now, they are grown, gorgeous men, college graduates and starting their adult lives- away from mom.
We had a great time chatting and driving through some of our old haunts and checking out some new cool places. As always, the time just flew by and before we knew it - Eldest had called to say-
We said our goodbyes- but not to worry, the next time we "pick up" will be on New Year's Eve day. That's her birthday and the day we both make cabbage rolls. In fact, it's her recipe that I use!
Thanks, V- it was great catching up and spending time with you.