Sunday, December 4, 2016

Christmas Around the World. Lebkuchen (German Spice Cookies) #ChristmasCookies

We are 1/3 of the way through our 12 Days of Christmas Cookie Event.  Yep, today is Day 4 as we travel the globe celebrating Christmas around the world.  Thus far, I have shared Anginetti from Italy, Rogaliki from Poland and Ghraybeh from Lebanon.

Today we are traveling to Germany where we will try these delicious, frosted spice cookies containing candied fruit.  It is like individual little fruitcakes, absolutely amazing.

I found this recipe on Epicurious.  I had to adapt it quite a bit but they still turned out spectacular and are a great addition to my Global Cookie Platter.  The original recipe calls for 3/4 c. hazelnuts and 3 T. baking cocoa.  I couldn't find any shelled hazelnuts and did not want to shell them myself so I adapted by eliminating the cocoa, cutting down on the sugar and using Nutella.  The recipe also calls for you to grind the almonds with the dry ingredients to make the nut flour.  I used my Vitamix but you could just as easily substitute almond flour instead of grinding the almonds.

The original recipe also called for cutting rounds from rice paper on which to place the cookies.  I don't know who has time for that nonsense when baking for Christmas but certainly not I.  I covered my baking sheet with parchment.

adapted from

3/4 c. sliced almonds
2 3/4 c. flour
1 T. cinnamon
1 t. ginger
1/2 t. cloves
generous pinch of salt
1/2 t. baking powder
1/4 t. baking soda
3/4 c. Nutella 
3/4 c. dark brown sugar, packed
1/2 c. honey
4 T. unsalted butter, room temperature
2 eggs
1/2 c. finely diced fruitcake mix
2 c. powdered sugar
3 T. water

Finely grind the almonds with the flour, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, salt, baking powder and baking soda using a heavy duty blender or food processor.  

In the large bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the Nutella, brown sugar, honey and butter until creamy.  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each.  Turn the speed to low and gradually add the flour mixture until just blended.  Stir in the candied fruitcake mix. The dough will be like a fudge brownie type mixture.

Using a cookie scoop, place the dough onto a parchment lined baking sheet approximately 2" apart. Bake in a preheated 350* oven for about 15 minutes, until the surface no longer looks wet. Transfer to cooling racks and allow to cool completely.

Sift the powdered sugar into a small bowl and stir in the water until smooth.  Using a knife or an offset spatula, place a swipe of frosting onto each cookie.  Print Recipe

Welcome to 12 Days Christmas Cookies, hosted by FamilyAroundTheTable and CookingwithCarlee. We'll be sharing delicious cookie recipes all week long in celebration of the holiday season. Perfect for your holiday cookie trays or party dessert table. Search #ChristmasCookies to see all the goodies these 12 days. Follow the 12 Days of Christmas Cookies Pinterest board for more cookie ideas. Please visit all the blogs sharing cookie recipes today:

Here are the offerings for Day 4 of the 12 Days of #ChristmasCookies

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Weekly Menu for the First Week of Advent

Happy Advent everyone.  It is a time of great anticipation as we ready the way for the Lord.  We start our preparations by decorating for Christmas. The first item to be displayed is the Advent Wreath. This comes out on the first day of Advent which is always the 4th Sunday before Christmas.

Image result for st nicholas day

The remaining decorations follow shortly thereafter so that all is ready in time for the Christmas season. In this household, that season begins on December 6th with St. Nicholas Day and ends on January 6th with the Epiphany.

Image result for epiphany

Frank is finishing up the cabinets on either side of the fireplace.   Stay tuned for those photos.  We hope to get both the inside and outside decorations complete before St. Nicholas Day but need to have it completed by next weekend when Santa arrives to have lunch with all the littles in the family.

Today, we have our annual Dive Shop Christmas gathering.  We all bring a dish to pass...I have been baking my heart out in the 12 Days of #ChristmasCookies event so that is what we will be bringing to the table.  Tingting is dropping Mel off with us after her gymnastics class.

Tomorrow morning we will be singing at Mass.  Tomorrow afternoon is slated for the outdoor decorations.

Monday during the day we will finish the outside and start the inside decorations.  Nicole and Pierre are having the Klik family over for a holiday dinner.  I was asked to bring Deviled Eggs and I am also bringing an appetizer to pass.

Tuesday we will continue the inside decorations before going to Amy and Doug's for our annual St. Nicholas Day celebration.  I will be posting more about this later in the week.  I am bringing a cookie platter, using some more of the cookies I am sharing all week long.

By Wednesday, our decorating should be complete and I can start concentrating on the upcoming parties that we are planning.   On Friday, we are having our first dinner party of the season.

So here is the Weekly Menu.  Please stop by each day as we post our updates on the house, decorations, recipes and photos.

Soup Saturday
Turkey Frame Soup (using turkey frame from Thanksgiving)

Sunday Supper
Spaghetti with Meat Sauce

Dinner at Nic and Pierre's

Dinner at Amy and Doug's

Leftover Turkey Soup
Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

Dinner out before Choir

Friday-Dinner Party with friends
Shrimp wrapped in Basil Leaves
Mom Klik's Mushroom Soup
Chopped Salad
Prime Rib Roast
Fully Loaded Stuffed Potatoes
Balsamic Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Creme Brulee

Christmas Around the World. Ghraybeh (Lebanese Butter Cookies) #ChristmasCookies

Welcome to Day 3 of the 12 Days of Cookies, hosted by Family Around the Table and Cooking With Carlee.  We will be filling the season with all kinds of delicious cookies.  Be sure to check out some of the recipes below or you can follow along on Facebook or Twitter by searching #ChristmasCookies.  We also have a 12 Days of Cookies Pinterest board where you can see all of the goodness!  May your holidays be sweet!

I am traveling around the world during these 12 days and bringing you a Christmas Cookie celebrated by different countries.  So far we have visited Italy with these delightful, bright, lemony Anginetti and Poland with these rich, decadent almond crescents called Rogaliki.

Today we are heading over to Lebanon and I am sharing these tender, orange flavored cookies called Ghraybeh.  Ghraybeh can be coated in powdered sugar if you like a sweeter cookie.  I like just a touch of sweetness so chose to top mine with pine nuts.  I LOVE pine nuts and these cookies with just a hint of orange are the perfect foil for them.

These little darlings only contain 4 ingredients and no eggs so they are perfect for any of you who suffer from allergies.  I found this recipe on a new (to me) blog, Rosewater and Orange Blossoms. The author of this blog lives right here in my home State of Michigan and shares "fresh and classic Lebanese recipes".  I have a feeling I am going to be visiting this blog a lot.  Maureen posted this recipe for Lebanese Butter Cookies back in 2012.  I am very glad that I found it and I think you will be too.

slightly adapted from Rosewater and Orange Blossoms

2 sticks butter, room temperature
1 c. powdered sugar
1 t. orange blossom water
2 c. flour
Pine nuts for garnish

In large bowl of stand mixer, fitted with whisk attachment, whip the butter at high speed for 5 minutes, scraping occasionally, until creamy and pale.  Add the sugar and orange blossom water and beat until fluffy.  Turn the speed to low and mix in the flour, 1/2 c. at a time, until well combined. Cover the dough and let rest for half an hour.

Form handfuls of the dough into 1/2" logs and then slice the logs into 1/2" diagonal slices.  Place onto a heavy, ungreased baking pan and press a few pine nuts into each cookie. Bake in a preheated 300* oven for 20-25 minutes, until the bottom of the cookie is golden but the top has not browned at all. Let cool completely on the pan before removing.  Print Recipe

Day 3 of 12 Days of #ChristmasCookies

Friday, December 2, 2016

Christmas Around the World. Rogaliki (Polish AlmondCrescents) #ChristmasCookies #IntnlCookies

Here we are celebrating the second day of 12 Days of Cookies, hosted by FamilyAround TheTable and CookingwithCarlee.  We are sharing delicious cookie recipes for 12 straight days in celebration of the holiday season. 

You can search #ChristmasCookies to see all the goodies these 12 days. Follow the 12 Days of Christmas Cookies Pinterest board for more cookie ideas. Please visit all the blogs sharing cookie recipes. Links will be found directly beneath my recipe.

Today I am also joining the International Cookie Exchange hosted by Sarah from Curious Cuisiniere, where a group of cookie-loving food bloggers is sharing recipes for cookies from around the globe. Get ready to break out your mixing bowl, because these recipes are sure to inspire you to fill your cookie jar with cultural treats!

You can follow along on Twitter with the hashtag #IntnlCookies, and you can find these great recipes and more cookies from around the world on the International Cookie Exchange Pinterest Board.

I decided to travel to Poland today via  This is a wonderful site for finding authentic international recipes.  This Rogaliki recipe was adapted from Barbara Rolek, Eastern European Food Expert.

It was a good thing that I snapped this photo before my family got a taste of these cookies.  They are G O N E.....gone!!! I am going to have to make another batch (or three) of these buttery almond flavored crescents before Christmas, for sure.  Luckily they are quick and easy.

I adapted the recipe by using almond flour from Bob's Red Mill instead of grinding my own.  I also added 1/2 t. of almond extract and reduced the vanilla from 1 t. to a 1/2 t. because we love almond flavors in this household.

adapted from Barbara Rolek, Eastern European Food Expert 

2 sticks butter, room temperature
1/2 c. sugar
1 egg yolk, room temperature
1/2 t. almond extract
1/2 t. vanilla extract
1/4 c. almond flour
1 2/3 c. flour
Powdered Sugar

Place the butter and sugar in the large bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat until light and fluffy.  Beat in the egg yolk, almond extract and vanilla.  Add the flours and mix at low speed until thoroughly combined.

Shape walnut size pieces of the dough into crescents and place on a baking sheet that has been covered with parchment paper.  Bake in a preheated 350* oven for 20 minutes or until slightly browned on the edges.  Remove from oven and roll in powdered sugar while still hot.  Place to cool on a wire rack.  When completely cooled, roll again in powdered sugar.  Store tightly covered.  Print Recipe

Let's take a look at the other recipes for Day 2

Here's the #IntnlCookies Tray...
listed in alphabetical order of the cookies' country of origin

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Christmas Around the World. Anginetti (Italian LemonDrops) #ChristmasCookies #FilltheCookieJar

Welcome to Day 1 of the 12 Days of Christmas Cookies event.  This event is  hosted by Family Around the Table and Cooking With Carlee. We will be filling the season with all kinds of delicious cookies.  Be sure to check out some of the recipes below or you can follow along on Facebook or Twitter by searching #ChristmasCookies.  We also have a 12 Days of Cookies Pinterest board where you can see all of the goodness!  May your holidays be sweet!

It is also time for my monthly installment for Fill the Cookie Jar.  A fun group hosted by Cynthia of Feeding Big.  We post each month and it worked out very nicely that this month's event coincided with the 12 Days of Christmas Cookies event.  You will find links to all the cookies in both events following this post.

I decided that I am going to travel the world during this 12 Days of Christmas Cookies event, starting with today's offering Anginetti.  Anginetti is a traditional Lemon Drop Cookie from Italy that is served during the Christmas Season.

These tender, bright morsels are actually like a bite of Spring to me.  I was surprised that lemon was the traditional flavor for these cookies.  Happily surprised, that is.  These are absolutely amazing, light and not overly sweet. The photos found on where I found this recipe actually showed the cookies served up for many occasions with sprinkles to match the season.  I decided to sprinkle mine with poppy seeds because I love the lemon/poppy seed combination.

Other than the poppy seeds I made these cookies just as written and am very glad I did as the recipe is perfect.....easy peasy and delicious.

Don't forget to stop by tomorrow when we visit Poland on our 12 Days of Christmas Cookies Adventure.

Anginetti (Italian Lemon Drop Cookies)
slightly adapted from Kim D at

1/2 c.. sugar
1/4 c. vegetable shortening
3 eggs
1 1/2 t. lemon extract
2 c. flour
1 1/2 t. baking powder
dash of salt
3 c. powdered sugar
1/4 c. water
1 t. lemon extract
Poppy Seeds for garnish

Cream together sugar and shortening until light and fluffy.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each.  Mix in 1 1/2 t. lemon extract.  Add the flour, baking powder and salt.  Mix on low speed until flour is combined then mix well.  Using a small cookie scoop, drop the dough onto parchment lined baking sheet, leaving about 2" between cookies.  Bake in a preheated 350* oven for 12-15 minutes or until firm and lightly browned. Cool completely on wire racks.

Combine the powdered sugar, water and 1 t. lemon extract in a small bowl.  Spread onto each cookie, sprinkling immediately with the poppy seeds.  Print Recipe

Day 1 of 12 Days of #ChristmasCookies

Anginetti from A Day in the Life on the Farm
Candy Cane Cookies from The Freshman Cook
Christmas Sprinkle Cookies from Family Around the Table
Chocolate Coconut Layer Bars from Making the Most of Naptime
Cookie Butter Crisps from Palatable Pastime
Coffee Dipped Chocolate Shortbread Cookies by Feeding Big
Crispy and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies from A Kitchen Hoor's Adventures
Cuppa Cookies from Cooking With Carlee
Gluten Free Gingerbread Cookies from Simple and Savory
Melting Snowmen from Cindy's Recipes and Writings 
Meyer Lemon Cookies from Caroline's Cooking
Pizelles from Hezzi-D's Books and Cooks
Red Velvet Snowballs from The Chef Next Door
Snowday Cookies from Jolene's Recipe Journal

Let's #FilltheCookieJar

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Tuesday Talks

It has been a crazy month since we have moved into the new digs.  I feel like I have barely had time to connect with all of my guests here on the blog.  I barely have found time to post the recipes I was sharing for the different events and groups to which I belong.  But things are finally calming down around here.  The light at the end of the tunnel is very bright right now.

So we locked up our babies and found a few minutes to shoot some photos of the (mostly) finished project.

The flooring is nearly complete.  It is only missing the trim between the carpet and wood flooring that had not been sent with the order.  Hopefully it will be in soon and the installer will come back out to finish the project.  The window treatments in the great room are scheduled for installation on Thursday.

The master bedroom is entirely complete.  I cannot tell you how thrilled I am with my tropical oasis. It is like we are going on vacation every time we walk into the room.

Tomorrow starts the 12 Days of Christmas Cookies event.  I am travelling the world for the next 12 days and sharing cookies from a different Country each day.  This is just a sampling of some of my cookies that I took with me to our Alpha meeting last night at the church.

Mel, for her part, is very comfortable in the new home.  She no longer calls it the new house just Grammy and Grampy's house.  She loves coming to visit and we adore having her.  It is going to be a perfect Holiday Season!!!


Monday, November 28, 2016

Savory Sage Muffins #MuffinMonday

Happy Muffin Monday everyone.  Thanks to Stacy of Food Lust People Love, we celebrate the  last Monday of every month by baking and sharing muffins.

I almost didn't join in this month because I got busy and forgot I had put my muffins in the oven until I started smelling them.  I was afraid that they had overcooked and was going to feed them to the chickens but I decided to try one first.

I broke one open, took a bite and...oh my was delicious.  Crisp on the outside, tender on the inside with a cheesy hint of sage in every bite.  I am so glad that I decided to try them before they became chicken food.

I adapted a recipe that I found online from Cabot Creamery.  I reduced the recipe to only make a dozen muffins and I served them up alongside Turkey Pot Pie.  One of my favorite things about Thanksgiving is using the leftovers for Turkey Pot Pie the next day.  YUMMMOOOOO.  

Please stop by and visit my friends who are sharing muffins today.  You are sure to find the perfect match, whether you are looking for breakfast, lunch, dinner or a snack.  I love that muffins are so versatile and they travel so well. They only take minutes to make and can easily be baked and handed out to your loved one's as they leave the house in the morning or taken to work and enjoyed by colleagues. 

Start with mixing together your dry ingredients.  Then whisk together your wet ingredients and fold it into the dry.  Stir in any add ins, scoop into your tins and bake for 15-20 minutes. Everyone will be impressed with your homemade muffins and you can just sit back and enjoy the glory.

You can flavor your muffins with any add ins that you like.  You can make them sweet or savory.  I had some fresh sage left from my Thanksgiving recipes and knew that it would be delicious in a muffin and would pair beautifully with my dinner made of leftovers.

Savory Sage Muffins
adapted from Cabot Creamery

1 3/4 c. flour
1/4 c. corn meal
2 T. sugar
1 T. baking powder
pinch of salt
1 c. sour cream
1/2 t. baking soda
1 lg. egg
1/3 c. milk
1 c. shredded cheddar jack cheese blend
2 T. chopped fresh sage

Combine the flour, corn meal, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl.  Whisk together the sour cream, baking soda, egg and milk in another bowl.  Make a well in the dry ingredients and fill it with the wet ingredients.  Stir just until combined.  Add the cheese and sage to the muffin batter.  Divide the batter between 12 muffin tins that have been treated with cooking spray or lined with paper cups. Bake in a preheated 425* oven for 18-22 minutes, until nicely browned.  Print Recipe

More Monday Muffins

#MuffinMonday is a group of muffin loving bakers who get together once a month to bake muffins. You can see all our of lovely muffins by following our Pinterest board.

Updated links for all of our past events and more information about Muffin Monday, can be found on our home page.