Masterpiece Monday: Downton Abbey Season 3, Episode 2
Archie & Oliver, January 2013

Thoughts on, and from, My Kitchen ...

Happy Wednesday, my friends! What's up in your kitchen this week?

Are you trying a new recipe? Is your sink shiny, a la Flylady? Are you happy with how things are organized?

Well, it's a snowy winter's day here, which is lovely ...

Snowy kitchen day

... and a quiet homey day is just what I need. :)

According to my weekly routine, it's "kitchen day," but friends - my kitchen is in such a state, I can't tell you! I really haven't cleaned it much since Christmas. Or maybe even before that, I'm afraid ... Because first there was morning sickness slowing me down, and then there was the rush of the holidays, and then we got sick ... so I've mostly just been keeping up with the dishes, sweeping the corners, and giving the counters an occasional swipe - just to keep things somewhat sanitary. Clearly then, this room's due for a deep cleaning!

And as if I needed further inspiration, I came across a picture I had taken a few years ago - a snap for a post, I'm sure - and in this particular picture my kitchen is the cleanest it's ever been. It looks so fantastic! I showed it to Bill and the boys and they didn't even recognize it as our kitchen at first!

Clean kitchen picture

So I've posted that picture near my workspace as a reminder of what can be. The kitchen is the heart of our home and when it's looking its best, my "homemaker heart" feels its best. That may sound shmaltzy, but it's true - for me, anyways. And all that open space really makes me want to cook up a storm! Nothing fuels the urge to bake/cook/create like a ready-to-go kitchen ...


Now, I have a couple of cookie recipes to share ...

The first is a recipe I've shared off and on over the years: my favorite (and dare I say, signature) Christmas treats - lemon snowballs. Reader Joanna brought it to my attention that the posted link no longer leads to the original recipe. So I searched through my (seriously disorganized) recipe collection and found the print-out I'd kept. (Good ole paper to the rescue again!)

In case you're interested, here it is ...

Lemon Snowball Cookies

Cookie Dough:

2 sticks butter
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
2 cups flour


1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon Kool-Aid lemonade unsweetened drink mix powder
(Mix these together in a bowl)

Cream butter, sugar and flavorings. Add flour and mix until a dough forms. Roll into 1" balls and bake 1" apart on ungreased cookie sheet at 350 F. for 15-18 minutes. They will not be brown on top. While cookies are warm, toss them in the lemon powdered sugar mixture and put on a plate to cool.

Makes about 3 dozen cookies.

(My print-out does not say where I got this recipe, but I know I found it somewhere online. Also, when I make these, I roll a few in plain powdered sugar so that Earlybird may indulge if he wishes.)

Snowball cookies

And as I was searching through all those recipes - making plans for a major pruning and sorting - I came across one for lavender tea cookies. Generally speaking, I love the idea of herbal cooking moreso than I do the actual flavor, but I'd like to give this one a try. Because I read somewhere that the expecting Princess Kate has been craving "lavender biscuits" lately ("biscuits" meaning cookies in Britain). As you all know I'm a certified Anglophile as well as a big Princess Kate fan ... and I also happen to have a large lavender patch in my front yard. So yes, I'll be trying these cookies this summer ~ I've even made a note in my summer planning pages. (Had I managed to dry and save those lovely buds last summer I'd have some to try now, but alas, I must wait till my lavender's in season.)

In case you'd like to try this recipe as well, here 'tis!

Lavender Tea Cookies

1 cup unsalted butter

2/3 cup minus 1 tbsp. superfine sugar

1 egg, beaten

1 1/4 cup minus 1 tbsp. self-rising flour

1 tbsp. fresh lavender flowers

 Preheat your oven to 350 F. Cream butter and sugar, add egg and beat well. Stir in flour and flowers. Drop by teaspoonful on a parchment-lined cookie sheet, spacing widely to alow for spread. Bake 15-20 minutes until pale golden and edges tinge brown. They will be soft until cooled on waxed paper. Store in airtight tin.

(From The Summer Book by Susan Branch. I find all those SB cookbooks so charming - I've had my collection for years. )


Speaking of cookbooks, then ~ can you recommend any new/good ones?

I have The Everlasting Meal: Cooking with Economy and Grace on request once again ... Elizabeth Q. first mentioned this book to me some time ago, and today Elizabeth F. reminded me of it! I liked it the first time I got it, but as usually happens with me and library loans ... I only get a chance to skim a book before I have to return it. This time however, I'll make time to get through it.  :)

Also on my hold shelf - The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Food from My Frontier and Meat-Free Monday: A Full Menu for Every Monday of the Year. The latter I read about in a magazine this week, and the idea of more meatless days really appeals to me. While the former is chock full of meat recipes, I'm sure - but hey, it's all about balance, isn't it? And finding what works best for my family. We'd never give up meat entirely, but we are trying to cut down on our consumption - for economic, environmental *and* health reasons. Ironically I was told to up my protein intake at my last OB appt., so I'm looking for ways to do this without just adding more meat. I've never been a big meat-eater really - except it seems when I'm pregnant. ;)


OK, one more kitchen topic before I go - how are your coupons working for you?

I myself am giving up on coupons ... for the time being at least. Yes, there, I said it. No more coupons for me. I'm just not finding the time to deal with all the steps involved in successful couponing - clipping, sorting, comparing, matching - and they get to be such a mess ...

So instead I'm concentrating on other methods for keeping grocery costs down ... cooking more from scratch, buying in bulk, meal planning, etc. Perhaps I'll revisit my Money $ Monday posts for more ideas? I'll let you know how it goes. :)


Well my friends, I guess I'd best wrap up this post. Goodness, I can be wordy!

I hope wherever you are - on this earth, in this day - you are feeling healthy, happy and hopeful ...

See you here again very soon!