Many Hands One Heart

WE ARE ALL CONNECTED

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If everyone would join hands and become one with the universal heart of LOVE our world would be a happier, warmer, safer place.

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These hands include my Mom who is 77, my daughter who is 21, and my neice who is 10. Can you tell which hands belong to which person? They all painted their nails with glitter nail polish over Christmas. I love this photo. It says so much.

Cheers,

Cathy

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Home For The Holidays

Memories are treasured moments in time that stay in our hearts forever. I am blessed with an awesome family and many happy memories. Like all families, we have our share of trials and tribulations, illness and challenges. But along with that, we all have a positive outlook on life and share laughter between us as often as possible. I want to share a few photos from my holiday journey to Vermont this year. It was a special time together and many new memories came to be. This first photo to the left is a view of Mt. Ascutney from the front porch. It’s a beautiful mountain that’s great for hiking up in the summer and skiing down in the winter.

 

 

This is Mom and Dad back in the early 1990’s.

 

A woodburning stove warms the whole house in the winter!

 

Here’s my Mom, Grammy, with my daughters and Meggie!

 

And here’s my Dad, Gramps, with McKenzie. We love to shoot the 22 off the deck…winter, spring, summer and fall. Dad and Kenzie have rigged up some tin cans to aim at off the deck!

 This photo of my daughters is over-exposed and blurry from low light, but I still love it!

Here’s Meggie. She rules the house!

One of my favorite childhood memories is my Dad reading his childhood book of “Uncle Wiggily” to us each night. The illustrations are fabulous, and this one of the Skeezix is one of my favorites 🙂 ….or Nurse Jane Fuzzy Wuzzy…or Sammie and Susie Littletail…

Dad has a small room, it’s about 8′ x 8′ and we call it Dad’s Museum. Dad has treasures, collected over his 77 years, from numerous butterflies to a miniature Taj Mahal, hand made gifts from grandchildren, a Reagan button, and countless other special remembrances on shelves and in cases, all artfully and carefully arranged. One could spend hours looking at the unique items. But even more fun is when Dad tells the story behind each one..

 

One of our traditions over the years has been hand made gifts. The forget me not egg above is one I painted for my Dad many years ago. Forget me Nots are a favorite flower of ours!

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This ship is a model ship, also in Dad’s museum, that is framed. The photo in the corner is a picture of my Dad in younger years.

Every year, at Christmas, the grandchildren and children gather to make gingerbread houses. Mom and Dad construct the house frames ahead of time, so that the afternoon can be spent decorating the houses with an amazing variety of candy. Here are some photos of our fun afternoon this year… 

 

 

 And last, but not least, a view of the mountain from the back deck. It’s like a little piece of heaven on earth in Vermont…

 

Cheers,

Cathy 

 

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Spinach Casserole

My daughter Brooke got this spinach casserole recipe from a friend of hers at Michigan State, so I’m not sure who to credit for this easy and delicious dish. It has been a big hit and as I’ve had quite a few requests for the recipe, I’m sharing it here on Truffles and Tea. Enjoy!!

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Spinach Casserole Recipe

2 boxes spinach – defrost
6 eggs
6 Tbs. flour
1 stick melted butter
1 larger carton of small curd cottage cheese (24 oz.)
1 bag shredded cheddar cheese (2 cups)
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Drain and squeeze excess water from spinach. Set aside.
Whisk the eggs and add in the flour.
Melt the butter, and add the cottage cheese and cheddar cheese to the eggs and flour.
Mix well with spinach.
Add seasoned salt or salt and pepper.
Put in greased baking dish.
Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

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Cheers,

Cathy

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Christmas Cookies

As I mentioned in my last post, I’ll be posting the Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies. Since the season is well underway, today’s post has four of our family favorites. Hope you enjoy them as much as we do! Posted are: Rum Balls, Vanilla Crescents, Spritz Butter Cookies, and one of my favorites, Butter Nutties.

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Rum Balls

1 cup crushed vanilla wafers
1 cup powdered sugar
1 cup chopped walnuts
2 Tbs. cocoa
2 Tbs. light corn syrup
1/4 cup rum
1/2 cup fine granulated sugar
cherry halves (candied)
Combine vanilla wafers, powdered sugar, nuts and cocoa. Add corn syrup and rum. Mix well and shape into 1″ balls. Roll into granulated sugar and top with cherry halves moistened with corn syrup. Store in airtight container. Can be frozen.
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Vanilla Crescents

2 cups flour
3/4 cups sweet butter
1 1/2 cup almonds (blanched and grated)
1/2 cup sugar
Topping:
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 to 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract or original recipe 1 vanilla bean scraped out
Work flour, butter, almonds and sugar into a dough. You can grate the almonds in a food processor. Form into small crescent shapes and bake in 300 degree over for 15 – 20 minutes. Let sit for a few minutes and then dip in vanilla sugar while still warm.
Note: For vanilla sugar topping: the original recipe calls for a vanilla bean scraped out and added to the 1/3 cup of sugar. Vanilla extract can be used. Make ahead of time and let the sugar mixture dry before rolling the cookies in it.
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Spritz Butter Cookies

1 cup soft butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
3 cups sifted flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
Mix dough with all ingredients listed. Add food coloring, ie. green for trees. Put into cookie press/gun and choose your favorite design. Sprinkle with multi colored baking decorations or colored sugar before baking. Bake on teflon or greased cookie sheets. Bake 5 – 7 minutes at 375 degrees.
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Butter Nutties

2 1/2 cups flour
1 cup chopped walnuts
3/4 cups sugar
1 tsp. grated lemon rind (packed)
1 cup soft butter
2 eggs, separated
12 – 15 candied cherries
Grease baking sheets lightly and pre-heat over to 325 degrees.
Chop nuts to the size of split peas.
Cut cherries in half or quarters
Grate lemon rind
Cream butter until shiny, then add rind and sugar gradually creaming well.
Beat in egg yolks until fluffy.
Stir in flour in 3 or 4 portions mixing until smooth after each.
Cover and chill for an hour or so.
Beat egg whites very slightly and pour into shallow pan.
Put nuts in shallow dish.
Measure dough by tablespoons on to waxed paper and shape into balls.
Roll the dough balls in egg whites then nuts.
Place 1 1/2″ apart on prepared (greased) sheets.
Press 1/2 cherry on each (may have to use clear corn syrup to make stick)
Bake 20 – 23 minutes (until golden)
Remove to cake rack to cool on pan for a minute or so and slide carefully onto rack to finish cooling.
Makes about 2 1/2 dozen.
12 to 15 candied cherries
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If you have any questions on any of the recipes, leave a note on my blog and I’ll check with my Mom and get back to you! Happy baking and Merry Christmas!!

Cheers,

Cathy

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Sweet Tradition


Growing up, the Christmas season started with putting up the Christmas tree and the aroma of Christmas cookies baking in the oven. My mom makes the best Christmas cookies in the whole world. The variety seems endless, but I’m guessing she makes about 30 plus cookie recipes and the same ones year after year. Some of the recipes came from her mother (Dolly), some came from my Dad’s mother (Granny), some just from Mom. We all have our favorites and now the grandchildren have their favorites too, so Mom starts right after Thanksgiving baking these delightful and mouthwatering favorites. Dad loves this time of year because he gets to do all the taste testing and in return, Mom lets Dad do all the cleanup but he says it’s well worth it! They’re a team, Mom and Dad. So, for my 12 days of Christmas treat to all of you, I will post 12 all time favorite cookie recipes between now and Christmas. We’ll start with one of my favorites…Russan Tea Cakes (mid left in photo)…

Russian Tea Cakes


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1 cup butter
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 1/4 cup sifted flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
3/4 cups very very finely chopped walnuts
Extra powdered sugar to roll cookies in


Mix all the ingredients together and form into 1 inch balls. Bake for 14 – 17 minutes in a 400 degree oven. While still hot, roll in powdered sugar.
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Cheers,

Cathy

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Solitude

In every moment we are alone and one with the vastness of the universe. In every moment there is hope and sorrow. In every moment there is grace and gratitude. In pensive reflection in the middle of a crowded market this beautiful young soul sat quietly as her friends played their violins to passerbys. Some stopped to listen and watch the young musicians. And while their music rang melodiously through the crisp and bustling air…I connected with the one on the sideline…in stillness with her thoughts.

Cheers,

Cathy

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The Man Selling Orchids

The glow of the human spirit is so bright. Where before I might have passed on by, I now notice the uniqueness of each person. No two are alike. No two have ever been the same. Throughout time. Throughout history. Each human being contains the same blueprint for life but the master architect makes each one of us unique and perfect in our own way. We each have our own special gifts we bring to the world during our lifetime. The key to happiness is the treasure hunt and cherishing each gift we discover along the way.

Wishing You JOY On Your Unique Journey!!

Cheers,

Cathy

 

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