Thursday, January 30, 2014

Double Chocolate Walnut Biscotti



Wanting something Italian to serve on the Feast of St. John Bosco, (January 31), I originally was going to go with store bought biscotti.   I let my interest get the best of me and asked on FB for biscotti baking advice and recipes for "beginners".

I went with this recipe that I received from Father Dominic, The Bread Monk, because I had all the ingredients I needed to get started.

Trust me.  It was so easy, just a little time consuming because of the twice baked method.

Ingredients::

1/3 cup butter, softened
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips
2/3 cup chopped walnuts (I crushed mine in a ziplock bag with my rolling pin.)

Directions::

1.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.  In a medium size bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Beat in the eggs one at a time, then add the vanilla and mix.

2.  In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt; stir into the sugar mixture until well blended.


3.  Mix in the chocolate chips and walnuts.  We used a sturdy spoon to do this.


4.  Divide dough into two equal parts.  Shape each part into a 9 x 2 x 1" loaf.  Place them onto baking sheet, evenly spaced.

(We got out a ruler to make sure the measurements were spot on.)

5.  Bake for 20 minutes in the preheated oven, or until slightly firm to the touch.  Cool on the baking sheet for 30 minutes.  Discard used parchment and line pan with fresh.

6.  Using a wavy knife, slice the loaves diagonally into 1" slices.


(We used the ruler again to cut more accurately.)

7.  Place the slices on their sides on the baking sheet.  


8.  Bake for 10-12 minutes on each side, or until dry and crispy.  Cool completely before storing in an airtight container.

Optional: Melt a couple of squares of almond bark, (or Wilton candy chips like we did), and drizzle on biscotti in a wavy pattern.


I dunked mine in coffee and Mabel dunked hers in milk.  Biscotti is a hard, crunchy cookie traditionally served with a sweet wine or coffee and there are many variations available.

Enjoy!

~  Patty ~

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

9:20 am

I decided not to fear making home made Biscotti, (for the Feast of St. John Bosco this Friday.)  The result?

By 9:20 am my kitchen looked like this...













Just to conquer my fear of Biscotti.

And we (Mabel and I) hit a grand slam on our first at bat!  (Recipe and pics to come - after we've tidied up. Ha ha!)

~ Patty  ~

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

It's a Smorgasbord Today

~  The dentist.  Does anyone else get anxious over having to go?

Dental techniques and preventative care have certainly changed in the past 40 years.  My kids' teeth?  Perfect.  Mine?  Not so much.  I envy the care and dental hygiene that they have been using since toddler age.  My teeth are in good shape except for the all the repairs to the old fillings from years ago.  It is terribly frustrating for me and seems as though every time I go, there needs to be another fix.

Every cleaning makes me nervous.  I sit there waiting for the  dentist to say, "Well look-y here....another crack in a filling.  We need to fix that, you know."  Cha-Ching.

I was recently asked by my new dentist why I had not repaired that old filling.  I wanted to ask if he would  like to pay the bill,  but I did not.

This week will take me back to the dentist for repair work.  I did pick up insurance so my bill should not be anymore than $1500.  (Insert depressing sigh.)


~  Onto a cheerier note.  Look at the platter I painted at our last Moms' Night Out!


I totally stole  borrowed the idea from the ceramic shop.  I am glad the owners of the shop had ideas on the shelves for the customers; otherwise, I think I would still be sitting there trying to figure out what in the blazes to paint.  Ha ha!

Do any of you paint ceramics?  It really was a lot of fun.


~  Indulging a wee little one and appreciating the warp speed of time.

Oh my goodness gracious how she loved her owl cake.  (She started fancying owls when she had a pair of Carter's owl jammies last summer.)



And as I said, I did not make it.  I lack the skills and time.

Did I  indulge a bit?    Absolutely!    Ha ha!

From my perspective, when you have a history of miscarriages and find it very difficult to even conceive a child...and then, by the grace of God, you find yourself bringing a new life into the world in your 40's...well hallelujah... damn right I'm going to indulge!  Ha ha!

With birthday number 45 almost here for me, I honestly admit, I appreciate this "time around"  in some ways more than the others.  When the others were little, I was in too much of a hurry for them to grow up.  I really, really regret that.

~  Living Liturgy.

This Friday we are celebrating the Feast of St. John Bosco.  We have never celebrated this feast day, have you?

Since he is the patron saint of boys, I thought the kids would really enjoy learning more about this holy man.

We are going to watch this movie...


...and gnosh on (store bought) biscotti.

Speaking of  Living Liturgy plans, I decided which feast days we will celebrate in February.

* February 11, The Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes.

I am excited about these grotto kits I ordered from Illuminated Ink.



I wanted something the older girls would enjoy making, too.  They are going to love these!

* February 14.  The Feast of St. Valentine.
* February 18.  Clementine's baptism birthday.


~ Step 1 of my piano / interior decorating should be complete by this weekend.  (Thanks, again, for all the GREAT ideas!!)  I will show you pictures when I am done and then I will need advice on Step 2.

~ Last but not least, I finished my hat!


Badda bing!

As I mentioned on FB, it is full of mistakes and a good wind could probably blow it off, but I did it!  Many, many thanks to my teacher, Ester!  (The child has the patience of a saint I tell ya.)


Wishing you all a fantastic week!

~  Patty  ~

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Daybook - Look Whooo's 2 - A Winter Owl Birthday - Jan 26, 2014

Outside My Window...

70's today (30's tomorrow.)

I Am Thankful For...

~ January, 26, 2012 - The chance of bringing life into the world... one more time.



~ January 26, 2014 - This joy that has been filling our home & hearts ever since.




I Am Thinking About...

~ How much fun January birthdays are!


(I found the owl gift wrap  here. )

A snowsuit for her baby doll.







That cute cake was not made by me :)  It was SO good, especially the cookies & cream filling!


(Banner found here.)

Winter & owl  themed presents for the birthday girl.



From The School Room...

Coloring  and finger painting these days.



Painting (with jello).



From The Kitchen...

Her 4 main food groups were chosen today ::

Donuts -




Pizza -


Cake & Ice Cream -

Not quite sure what to think about lit candles and people singing....



....so she leaned her head against her daddy's for a little bit of reassurance.  (My favorite moment of the day.)



I Am Praying For...

A long and healthy life for this bundle of joy!

I Am Listening To...

~ Clementine's preferred play list

Home by Phillip Phillips

I Will Wait by Phillip Phillips

Ho Hey by the Lumineers

Pontoon by Little Big Town

Tonight by TobyMac

as well as Rain, Rain, Go Away and Happy Birthday To You!


Around My House...

Face timing Grammy!  (Technology can be really awesome!)



Clementine's godfather, his lovely wife and son,  and our pastor came for pizza.  





A Picture To Share...

New, matching winter pajamas to put on before bedtime :)


She had such a FUN day and was so very tired when it came to an end.

Happy birthday  sweetie pie!  We love you very much!

Love,

Mommy and Daddy

Friday, January 24, 2014

Our Eureka Moment!

My mom called it that.  A eureka moment.

Twice in one day!

First ::  Last Sunday, David, Stan and I went to a flea market to return a defective item I purchased the month before.  We were not planning on shopping, just returning.

Casually walking into one of the many antique booths, we saw a beautiful piece of antique furniture and stopped to admire it.

The lady told us she  had it for 6 months and would like to sell it.  She said, "Take $100 off of the tag."


David, knowing woodwork, said that we really could not pass it up.  I told him that someday, Clementine would need a dresser in her room…

We bought it for $175!

Solid oak, about 100 years old, dovetail joints on the drawers, original hardware, and hand chiseled decorations.

So we have never EVER done shopping like that.  EVER.  And it was so exciting!  As David said, he would rather spend $175 on a solid piece of wood rather than $175 on a piece of "modern looking" furniture that is made out of plywood.

They just don't make them like they use to.

Second ::  A neighbor called last Sunday asking for David's assistance.  She needed his truck and his tools.

Apparently, two model homes in our subdivision were sold and the company was selling the model furniture and all accessories in them.

(I have never been to one of these sales, but talk about AWESOME deals!)

She had snagged an adorable twin bed for her daughter's room and snagged the bedding for us, if we wanted it.

For $39, this is what we purchased…

(1) Duvet mattress pad - twin

(1) Duvet comforter  - twin

(1) Double-sided, custom made, quilted duvet cover

***Let me add right here…I never had a "Duvet" anything.  Barely knew how to pronounce the dang word!  ha ha ha****


(1) Custom made bed skirt - twin

(2) Custom made pillow shams

(2) Decorative pillows




Where the HOT Pink is pretty bright, we can definitely use all of the other bedding.

All of that for 39 bucks!  39!

Clementine is still in a crib, but I think the bedding will be perfect for her twin bed when she grows into it.  She just may have the fanciest bedding in the house!

Have a great weekend and a blessed Sunday!

~  Patty  ~

Thursday, January 23, 2014

The Ripple Effect of Sin

We all sin.

Each sin has a ripple effect that reaches (and harms) others around us.  It is never just between God and oneself.  No.

Why do we sin?  Even those who try so hard?  Why do we fall prey?

After baptism, after the original sin from Adam and Eve has been wiped off of our souls, our souls are left week and easily succumb to sin.  Actual sin.  The sin we ourselves commit.

Catholics recite a penitential prayer in Mass called the The Confiteor.  The Confiteor in Latin means "I confess" or "I acknowledge."    We stand together and publicly acknowledge our sinfulness together, ending with the petition of asking our brothers in sisters (in Christ)  to pray for us.   We do this because sin effects all who are around us.

Last spring I sent out a prayer request regarding the spouse of one of my siblings.  That spouse, in a split moment, had made a choice that would effect so many others for the rest of their lives.  Yesterday, the judge passed down a sentencing.  It was a strong statement.

The actions of that person have forever changed the lives of all around.  There are the victims who are being battered by the direct hit of the immediate ripples and then there are those who are further out yet still touched in some way by the outer reaches of the ripples.

We all sin.

Some sins are bigger than others.  If we stop and reflect more often on how our actions hurt the others around us, that sin is not just between ourselves and God, maybe we would stand strong in His grace and pass up sin more often.

We must never forget about His mercy and forgiveness, the greatest gifts of all.  Know that if we desire His forgiveness, it is ours, but we must change our ways.  Faith and action go hand in hand for all…for those who seek forgiveness….and for those who must find a way to forgive.

~  Patty  ~




Monday, January 20, 2014

Daybook Post - Scoliosis - Jan 19, 2014

Outside My Window

Glorious weather.  The kids are outside as often as they can be!  (We take advantage of this as much as possible since they really cannot play outside in the summer heat in TX….except for early morning hours.)

I Am Thankful For

~ A mother's intuition.  After suspecting something wrong with the back of one of my children,  I scheduled a well-child check up and received a referral to a pediatric orthopedic hospital in Dallas.   Scoliosis.

You can read about Scoliosis here.

The curves were larger than what we expected,  but we are hoping a brace will slow them down if not stop the progression until her growth spurt is over.  Said child will need a brace to wear at bedtime for 2-3 years and X-ray growth charts taken every 4-6 months.  Not fun.  For a child, 2-3 years seems an ETERNITY.

We were trying to find the silver lining in it all.  We certainly saw dozens upon dozens of children who had such terrible orthopedic problems and I am sure that those children would give up their walkers and crutches for a brace to wear.

None-the-less, it was an emotional day for parent and child, yet we are grateful for the medical care.

   **If anyone has your own story to share about scoliosis with a daughter or son, please email me.  I would like to learn more  about it.**

~ SO, so grateful for living in an area that has great hospitals and doctors!

~ Moms' Night Out.  I know I am really blessed to be part of an amazing home school group, and once a month we have a moms' night out.  Recently, we headed to a pottery shop for a night of painting.


Only six of us were able to make it, but it was still fun.  (We always miss our comrades who cannot attend.)



I Am Thinking About

A LOT!

~  My dad.  I wish he were alive to pick his incredibly intelligent brain about scoliosis.  Being the smartest pharmacist  I had ever met, his opinion and thoughts on many medical issues were always appreciated.  I would call him before  the pediatrician whenever the children were sick.

~ Scoliosis.

~ St. Valentine Pizza Party / Talent Show.  My friend Elizabeth and I are planning a home school pizza party/ talent show.  It should be a great evening!  For the kids who cannot display their talent on stage  (i.e. swimming) or are too shy, we are going to have tables set up for kids to "showcase" their talents as well.

~ A birthday is coming up very, very soon!  It's going to be a hoot!

Her dress arrived the other day and she insisted on trying it on immediately  :)  I ordered it from The Dizzy Dragonfly.

Miss C's words:  "Awe.  So Pretty.  Fits.  Awesome.  Show Dad."   She is talking up a storm these days!


From The School Room


~ Sally is writing her research paper on Rose Hawthorne Lathrop, (daughter of Nathaniel Hawthorne, author of The Scarlet Letter.)

~ Ester is reading Saint Isaac and The Indians.  She picked this saint as a fulfillment for one of the two she must report on this semester.

~ Mabel is reading Saint Edith Stein Blessed by The Cross.  What an inspiring story this one is!  Mabel has two saint books to read and report on this semester as well.  This is her first of the two.

(The smiling orange is Mabel's bookmark :)


From The Kitchen

Since our Mondays are Pizza and salad nights traditionally, I thought I would share a few things we had over the past week.

Slow Cooker Pepper Steak, recipe found here.


Using the words from my bloggy friend,  Nancy, "My house smelled so good we wanted to eat the walls!"  Yep! It is THAT good :)

This time, I served it with rice AND polenta.  The tribe members could choose what they wanted.


Another Meatless Friday - Fancy Grilled Cheese Sandwich (Mozerrella, avocado, tomato, grilled cheese)  Recipe found here.


Girlfriend, you can make these however you wish.  Get your creative on with those boring, grilled cheese sandwiches!

Panuche Frosting, recipe found here.


This is an easy, brown sugar frosting.  We were really wanting to try the frosting recipe and decided to add it to the butter pecan cake that Mabel made.



What I Am Reading

Following Mary to Jesus, found here.


I Am Praying For

~ My father-in-law and mother-in-law.  It is so difficult for her to see her beloved of almost 60 years be in the state that alhzeimers has put him in.

~ My child who was diagnosed with scoliosis.

~ For all those who have asked me to pray for them.

~ A very important intension for a sibling and the extended family.




I Am Listening To

My husband make his morning coffee and the washing machine chugging away.



Around My House

~ I changed my header picture.  The pics are of what it looks like to our north.  To our south, it is pretty much all cosmopolitan.  What a contrast between the two!

~ Stand4Life Dallas.  "It all began in Dallas.  Let's end it in Dallas."
(Picture taken in from of the Earl Cabell Federal Building…where it all began.)

Sally attended the rally and Mass at the Dallas Convention Center with High School group from church.

(The "Bikers for Life" are the K of C bikers :)



A Picture To Share



It is never too early to learn!



Wishing you all a great week!

I linked this post up with Sarah's "Encouragement Theme" link up over at Amongst Lovely Things.



~  Patty  ~

Saturday, January 18, 2014

The Bread Monk and Penuche Frosting

Mabel declared that 2014 will be the year she becomes a skilled baker in our kitchen.  I am glad that my girls enjoy being in the kitchen!


We were recently inspired to try a Penuche frosting recipe by my former teacher, Brother Dominic as I knew him in 1983-1987 but now known as Fr. Dominic Garramone,   The Bread Monk.


Photo credit:  The Bread Monk (website here.)

Fr. Dominic has quite a few recipe books out as well, Breaking Break,  Tis The Season To Be Baking,  Bake and Be Blessed and more!  He also has some baking shows on t.v.  Father is a ton of energy and his Italian side really shines through in his baking.

So…

I saw a scrumptious recipe he posted on Face book and the frosting he used caught my eye.  I wanted to make it as soon as I saw it.

Penuche Frosting, original recipe found here.



We decided we should make this brown sugar frosting for the butter pecan cake Mabel made.

Ingredients::

1/2 cup butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup milk
2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
hot water

Directions::

1.  In a saucepan, melt 1/2 cup butter.  Add brown sugar.  Bring to a boil and then turn down heat to medium/low and continue boiling for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.



2.  Add the milk slowly and bring to a boil, stirring constantly.  *When we did this, the mixture really popped and sputtered making Mabel a little nervous.*



3.  Cool to lukewarm.



4.  Transfer to a mixing bowl.  Gradually add the sifted confectioners' sugar.  Beat until thick enough to spread.  If too thick, add a little hot water at a time.  Beat well after adding the hot water.*



*When I mixed in the confectioners' sugar, the mixture grew really pasty.  Adding a little HOT water at a time thinned it instantly.  Just mix well after adding the hot water.

This frosting cannot sit around too long or it will harden because of the butter in it.  You should have your cake, muffins, or banana bread ready to be frosted immediately.

It doesn't hurt to have a still warm cake to spread the frosting on.  The heat enables it to spread further.






This was actually VERY easy.  Just make sure all of your ingredients are ready to go when you need them because the preparation is fast paced!

The kids LOVED the frosting.  They said it tasted like Caramel Corn.  David and I, on the other hand, liked it.

I think it would taste even better on a cinnamon muffin or banana bread.

P.S.  I sent Father Dominic that picture of Mabel and her cake just to let him know that he is inspiring young bakers as well!

Enjoy!

~  Patty  ~


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