Saturday, December 16, 2017

Egyptian Christmas Cookies Along With Danish!

Are you getting ready for my favorite time of Year?  I've had a great couple of days spending time in my kitchen and baking my favorite Christmas cookies.

First on the list were my Egyptian petit fours.  I tweeked the recipe a bit and made them in single cookies without any filling.  And, I just had to add some green Christmas trees.  Every year my Danish grandma would make "spritz" cookies in the shape of green Christmas trees.  I have kept the same tradition for my family. If you want the recipe, you can find it here on my blog from a few years ago.  Remember, the key to this recipe is using clarified butter and powdered sugar which gives this cookie it's unique texture :)

Another popular Egyptian holiday cookie is Uraybee* or Ghorayebah* or as it's known in turkey, Kurabiyesi.  I bought this mix in Turkey and brought it home with me.  Luckily, it had only two ingredients I had to "translate" and again I used clarified butter and oil. (My oil looks green because it's grapeseed oil!)  The cookies came out perfect!  I'm sold on this cookie mix and plan to buy it again.  Kurabiyesi is a rich, buttery, shortbread type cookie with a very fine texture.  My favorite - yum!

Now, we're going to head back to Denmark and here's my pebernodder (peppernuts) that I made this year.  Again, this is one of my Grandma's recipes and I just had to make them since my brother will be joining us for the holidays and he loves these as much as I do!  You can find the recipe here from a previous blog post.  Remember, you need to prepare the dough the night before so that it can ripen  the wonderful, spicy flavor. I love to pop them in my mouth, savor the flavor a minute or two before I bite into this delicious crunchiness.

 
Today I made my Danish Kleiner.  It seems that every culture has their own favorite fried cookie and this is our family's tradition from Denmark.  Again, it's my Grandma's recipe that I treasure.  Hopefully, I can pass this onto my little granddaughter so that she can make them one day.  They will be put away in an air tight tin and wait the arrival of my son since this is his favorite cookie.

Four down and one more cookie to make.  Tomorrow I hope to make some plain, old, much loved, chocolate chip cookies but with a twist using Nestle's Holiday Baking Chips.  Don't you just love how colorful these are?  I'm using my dear friend Elizabeth's recipe which you can find here.

What are you baking?  If you would like to share, please feel free in the comments below.  That's  about all that is happening here at Lilly My Cat.  I hope to share another post soon.

Blessings to everyone,

Pat 

PS *the Arabic language can be hard sometimes to translate into the Latin alphabet since there is no standardized translation.  But, you can google this cookie and see what you come up with since it's a popular cookie for all the countries in the Middle East. 

Sunday, December 10, 2017

~~~ A Norwegian Christmas Luncheon ~~~

Hello my dear friends.  Here I am writing about Christmas and we're having temps in the high 80's today!  I'm still not used to being in  California for Christmas.  Last week my beloved Daughters of Norway lodge held their Christmas luncheon.

Our dear member, Gerd, opened up her home to host the luncheon for us.  The tables were beautifully decorated with the holiday theme.

The tree was aptly decorated and we placed our exchange gifts under the tree.

Our hostess had many beautiful Christmas scenes throughout her home but I loved seeing these Nissemen in their holiday finery.

Some of our members wore their Bunads, the national dress of Norway.  Pictured above is Berit on the left along with Carla.  Berit brought Carla her bunad from Norway this past year and it fits her perfect.  I love the embroidered designs and the bag.  The style of the bunad is based on what part of Norway you come from. 

There were more tables set up in the kitchen where all the food and activity was taking place.  We had pickled herring on brown bread for appetizers and it was yummy.

It was soon time to take our place at our assigned table.  Pictured in the glass dish is lingonberry sauce from Scandinavia.  It went so well with the entree.

We sang table grace in Norwegian before beginning our meal.

Speaking of food, here is what we feasted on; Norwegian meatballs with brown gravy, pork sausage, boiled red potatoes, browned cabbage, red cabbage, and a lovely Christmas colored salad with fresh vegetables.  It was delicious.

After our main course, we had dessert and coffee and then departed to the living room to have our gift exchange. 

It was such a lovely afternoon, spent together with dear friends and to continue the experience of Scandinavian customs.  Being Danish, I'm going to have this same menu for my family on Christmas Eve.  It's a tradition that we have had for many years, dating from the time when I was young and my Danish grandma would be in charge of our Christmas Eve meal.  I warms my heart to be able to carry on this tradition for my family and my grandchildren.

If you are of Scandinavian descent and are interested in joining a lodge, please take a look at Daughters of Norway or the  Danish Sisterhood of America.  They have lodges throughout the United States and are most welcoming to new members.

Do you realize that Christmas Eve is two weeks from today?  My home is decorated, the presents wrapped and now I will start my Christmas baking - my favorite part! Have a blessed week everyone and I will be back again to share some more happenings.  And, Lilly, my cat is doing very well.

With my best wishes,

Pat

PS Thank you dear Heidi for my new blog design.  The header photo is from my beloved Gig Harbor, Washington. 






Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Lilly Update and Fires in SoCal

Thank you everyone for your get well wishes for my kitty, Lilly.  She has been doing well and I'm keeping my fingers crossed that she is over this bout of illness.  She has her appetite back and being 17 pounds little, that's a good sign for sure.


Like many of you pet parents out there, when she became ill, I was so devastated as I've had her for over 10 years and during that time, she has never been sick.  Of course, she goes once a year for her annual vaccinations which cost a minimum.

So, the trip to the veterinarian was an eye opener for sure. She was a lovely, young doctor who was so kind.  She didn't have an answer right away but suggested a plan of treatment and then told me she'd give me the estimate.  I was perplexed but I waited and the assistant brought in the estimate which had a total price of $713.00!  Wow, a bit costly for sure.  The blood work was approximately $250.00 and the x-ray was $250.00.  Luckily, after a little discussion with the assistant, she suggested I give Lilly the medicine treatment (which was $201.00) and see how it goes.  Lilly received two medicines; one for acid reflux and one an antiobiotic, for one week.  So far, so good.  But, she's my baby and  if the symptoms return, of course I'm going to proceed with further testing.  It broke my heart to see her ill.


 
Many parts of our  beautiful, tranquil setting here in Southern California are up in flames at the moment.  Yesterday, a fire broke out which they named the Thomas Fire.  It started at 50 acres and this afternoon is has grown to more than 50,000 acres!  It's northwest of Los Angeles in Ventura County and many structures have burned to the ground.  It's heartbreaking to see it on the TV.  There are a couple of more fires that broke out today.  The culprit is the Santa Ana Winds which started yesterday.  They are very strong, warm winds that wreck havoc with our dry, parched land.  They're expected to blow until early Friday morning.  Luckily, I haven't heard of any fires here in Orange County where I live.  Although, we have taken precaution and put away things outside and shut off the pool filter since it's filled with leaf debris. We are in a wait and see mode.  There are dry, parched hills which border both sides of the area where I live.   

I hope you are safe and warm wherever you may be.  I had a fun post ready to publish today but it's going to wait until another time.  

With my best wishes to you,

Pat

Sunday, November 26, 2017

❄ Christmas Season has Started at my Home ❄

Hello my dear friends.  I hope you had a blessed Thanksgiving holiday.  It was warm here on Thanksgiving day; we set a heat record!  I'm so excited to share with you my latest find. . .

 A vintage 1949 Christmas issue of The Illustrated London Times.  I found it at our local library sale last week.  I was so thrilled to find this.  It's truly from a different time where I think things were more appreciated and classy than today.

 
As you can see, it was published for the US market at one dollar.  It was a weekly publication up until 1971 and it ceased publication altogether in 2003.


You can see that the insert for the subscription card is still intact in the magazine.  
I loved looking through the pages and seeing the advertisements from long ago.  This was published before I was even born!  (And, my children think I'm ancient...)
There were some beautiful illustrations in the magazine along with some wonderful stories that I have yet to read.
It was interesting to read about the Christmas customs of today.
 Speaking of my favorite time of year, you won't find any bah humbug here on my blog.  I too, don't like the commercialization of this blessed holiday but I ignore it.  It's simple really.  My shopping for Christmas is something that I look forward to do and I get it done early.  We bought the fresh tree for the family room yesterday at Home Depot and as you can see, it's up and decorated with hot pink lights!  It contains all the ornaments that mean so much to me.  The living room tree, which is artificial, will go up in a week or so.  Next up is wrapping presents to the sound of Christmas carols and baking my beloved Christmas cookies.


We have a family tradition that we always get our fresh tree the Saturday after Thanksgiving along with our dear daughter and her family.  Supposedly, there's a shortage of Christmas trees this year due to the recession and drought from years past.  Home Depot's tree lot was half full and many of those were already dry.  This is my daughter's beautiful fresh tree which my dear son-in-law takes care of each and every year.  And, looking at it in awe in the spirit of this upcoming blessed season are my little grandchildren.

Do you have fond memories of Christmas from years past?  I do and I have always tried to pass that onto my children and grandchildren.  Yes, we have gifts but it's not really about the gifts.  It's about family, tradition, worship and all the other wonderful things that go along with this holiday that really has nothing to do with money.

On a side note, I'm a little sad tonight since my dear kitty, Lilly, is not feeling well.  She has what I could call kitty stomach flu.  I will be calling the vet in the morning.  I cried earlier today as I'm so concerned about her.  She 12 1/2 years old and we've had her as a part of our family for over 10 1/2 years.  She is my child that I still have at home.  Please say a little prayer for her if you wish.

Until next time, I wish you all the very best for the upcoming week.

With my best wishes,

Pat



Thursday, November 23, 2017

Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving dear readers.


Blessings to you all,

Pat

Monday, November 20, 2017

Chinese Tea in a Tangerine via NYC

Hi everyone.  I hope your week is off to a great start. It's quiet around here after babysitting my little grandchildren last week.  As you may recall, my daughter Heidi went to New York City last week and brought me...
This little ball of Chinese pu-erh tea, all wrapped up in this pretty little package. 

 
 She bought it at McNulty's Tea and Coffee in NYC.  They have been in business since 1895 and have a huge array of coffees and tea.

The tea has been cured in a hollowed out tangerine.  As you can see, the peel is completely dried and the top of the tea has some dried peel too.  Inside, there is black tea without any additions.

I was excited to try it.  I warmed my vintage Japanese teapot and put in a spoonful of the tea, added the freshly boiled water and let it sit.  When I poured it into my Japanese teacup, I was amazed at the lovely, deep, golden red color.  The taste was heavenly.  Thank you Heidi!

Speaking of Heidi, she will be hosting our Thanksgiving this year as she has done every year since 2008.  She's already printed out her menus as shown above.  I will be bringing some pre dinner snacks of Scottish sausage rolls along with some giant stuffed olives I found at World Market.  It's our family tradition to play Monopoly each Thanksgiving evening.  It will be a fun, family day.

https://ephemeralnewyork.files.wordpress.com/2009/11/thanksgivingmenu2.jpg
Heidi sent me a copy of this menu from The Plaza Hotel in NYC from 1899.  Look at those prices! 

 
She and my son-in-law went to The Plaza to enjoy drinks one afternoon.  Don't you just love the traditional decor?  It's my favorite style!

Heidi's favorite movie from childhood is Home Alone Lost in New York.  I think she has every scene in that movie memorized.  She tells me this is the Plaza hotel lobby where Kevin asks where the swimming pool is located.  

Thanksgiving will soon be here and then the holiday season will be in full swing.  We're hoping to get our Christmas tree on Saturday but in the meantime, we're suppose to high record high temps in the high 80's on Thanksgiving day!

Have a wonderful day everyone and thank you for stopping by.

My best wishes to you,

Pat








Sunday, November 12, 2017

Egyptian Foul Medammas & Boca Burgers en Croute on a Lazy Sunday Afternoon

Hello my dear friends. It's a quiet, cloudy, wonderful Sunday afternoon here in Southern California.  I love the cool weather!

Yesterday was a glorious day to sit outside under the gazebo and drink a cup of tea and enjoy nature.  Of course, I couldn't sit without my latest project.  It's a large needlepoint scene that I purchased with 96 skeins of yarn.  I soon found out that 96 skeins of tapestry yarn is way too much but at least I'll have some leftover for another time. 

I wanted to fix something fast and easy for lunch so I made my husband a bowl of foul medammes or as you may know them as fava beans.  Foul (pronounced fool) is an iconic food of Egypt; probably Egypt's first fast food.  It can be eaten many ways; in a bowl with seasoned sauce, as a sandwich in pita bread with fresh chopped salad and tahini sauce, or ground and made into taamia as it's called in Egypt or more commonly known as falafel. 

In the old days, I would buy the fava beans in bulk and cook them in my slow cooker.  Of course times have changed and now you can find them already cooked in cans, ready to be heated and seasoned to your liking.  The dried beans shown above are the large fava beans.  The large beans can also be bought without the skins and these type of beans are used for taamia (falafel) or a wonderful dish called  bisara.  Bisara is a popular dish during the lenten fast as it consists of pureed fava beans mixed with molokhia and seasoned with garlic.  

Today I was trying out a new crochet pattern when it dawned on me that maybe I should fix my dear husband some lunch.  I had two frozen Boca burgers (vegan burgers) in the freezer which I browned in a skillet.  I took two frozen puff pastry squares from the freezer and let them thaw.  I them placed the puff pastry on a greased baking sheet, added a little mix of mayonaise and dijon mustand in the middle of each pastry, and then placed the Boca burger on top.  I turned up the ends and added some cheese to my husband's burger.  I baked them at 400 degrees for about 10 minutes or until nicely puffed and browned.  I added some sauted onions (with a little Worchestire sauce as flavor) to the top and served them.  Voila!  A easy lunch entree.

I have always wanted double ovens and now I have them in this home.  I love to use my oven and I use it a lot!  Unfortunately, here in SoCal, our electricity is so expensive and they monitor your use and tell you if you're using too much. So.....

I easily came up with a solution.  My friend has a countertop oven that works so well so I thought I'd give it a try.  This is a Hamilton Beach that can bake, broil, rotisserie and convention bake.  I purchased it earlier this year from Amazon for around $70.00.  It works great!  And, most of all, it bakes great!

I think today is the calm before the storm...I will be babysitting my dear little grandchildren, shown above, for four days starting tomorrow.  Their parents on going to NYC and of course Grandma and Grandpa are here to take over.  It will be fun to have them and make more memories with them.

I hope your are having a good day.  I want to say THANK YOU on this Veterans Day weekend to all our Veterans who have placed their lives in service to our country.  I appreciate and applaud your service.  I'd love to hear from you if you have the time.  Feel free to stop by for a chat!

With my best wishes,

Pat
 (PS - if you are interested in any of the recipes I wrote about above, please let me know)