Saturday, December 28, 2013

Saturday Commonplaces 5

A random collection of thoughts and happenings from my week.

Stephen's Testimony at the Gideon National Convention 2013
Stephen had the opportunity to give his testimony at the Gideon 2013 National Convention last July. We recently got the DVD's. I just discovered that it has been on YouTube as well since October. So here it is!

Christmas Baking
I made a number of new recipes leading up to this Christmas. These were my favourites.
Speculaas Spices
This is an essential spice mix for Dutch baking. This recipe is the best I've tried. It may have helped that this is the first year that I've managed to find every one of the ingredients. I couldn't find ground anise, but I crushed the whole seeds and used 1/2 tsp instead of 1/5 tsp, and that worked fine. I also used 1/4 tsp for each of the other ingredients that called for 1/5 tsp. 1/5 of a teaspoon is just too complicated for me to figure out! I used the spices in my kruidnoten (below) and in some fun shortbread owls.
Kruidnoten (Dutch "Gingerbread Nuts")
I made these for our homeschool co-op cookie exchange. I made a double recipe, and used 1 whole egg instead of 2 egg whites. I realized belatedly that the egg was for brushing on top, not for in the dough. They turned out excellent, though. I found the required coarse, dark brown sugar at Bulk Barn (I think it was called "Demarara style."). I skipped the orange zest, though it would probably have been delicious.
Raspberry Almond Thumbprints
The almond icing makes these special (I only used half of the icing recipe). I made it a little stiffer than drizzling consistency, put it in a bag, cut off the corner, and squeezed. The boys loved helping with these cookies: rolling little balls, making thumbprints, adding jam with a little teaspoon. I might make some with apricot jam next time as well.
Millionaire Shortbread
This is a rare case where my finished product looked as wonderful as the pictures on Pinterest. I had no corn syrup, so I substituted 1/2 tsp cream of tartar in the caramel. (Yes, really! Thank you David Lebovitz.) I substituted honey in the chocolate. I also used half the amount of butter in the chocolate...somehow 1 stick seemed like a lot for 8 ounces of chocolate. I went with my gut on that one, and it worked out well.

Outdoor Time
With Christmas being this week, we have once again fallen short of our goals. No matter, we will begin again next week!
Sun. (snowstorm) 0 hours
Mon. .5 hour
Tue. 1.25 hours
Wed. .5 hour
Thu. 1.25 hours
Fri. 2 hours
Sat. TBD

I am extremely proud of this accomplishment. I think I've mentioned before that I am not a "crafty" person. I made up a schedule of our day with notecards, pencil crayons, string, and clothespins. I got the idea from Bobby Jo over at Where the Blacktop Ends.
I even drew some little illustrations. Go me!


  1. Those little cards for your schedule are so pretty and what a beautiful way to "follow a schedule"! Very nice :)

  2. I love the schedule cards - what a neat idea!