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Sunday, August 30, 2009

Triple Chocolate Biscotti

I have a dear friend who has a birthday on August 30, and I make her biscotti every year, because she loves coffee, and has everything else. So I decided to photograph the process, even though everyone knows how to make the stuff.

Crisco is the shortening I use for it. You can use butter, but the flavor would be lost with all this chocolate, and since I am Irish (that country is not too far from Scotland) I like to savc a little money when it won't compromise the flavor.

Add the eggs one at at time (I use jumbos for cooking), and beat the devil out of the eggs, sugar and shortening.

Cocoa is lumpy so I sift it with the flour.

Just barely mix the dry ingredients with the egg mixture, and then add the

chocolate chips. Here I used milk chocolate; semi-sweet are good too.
I use whole pecans, but if you like to work go ahead and chop them. I do chop the almonds.
Form the batch of dough into a log, and bake. Cool completely, slice and bake again. My dad made this cutting board out of a huge cotton wood log, and it has had the wear!
I decorate mine with royal icing--egg whites, vanilla and enough powdered sugar to make an icing. Yes, I know all about salmonella, but this dries, and no one has ever been poisoned with my royal icing! These got a little crispier than I like, and after looking at this photo I am almost tempted to go buy a couple of new cookie sheet. "Almost."
Double Chocolate Biscotti
5 C flour
1 1/2 C cocoa
2 T baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 C shortening
2 C sugar
6 eggs
1 T vanilla
2 C chocolate chips
3 C pecans, walnut, almonds or raisins if you like. Just suit yourself here.
1. Cream shortening, vanilla, and sugar, then add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
2. Sift the cocoa with the unsifted flour, baking powder and salt, and add to the creamed mixture, and mix.
3. Add the nuts.
4. Form into a log on a greased cookie sheet, and bake at 375 for about 20 to 25 minutes.
5. Cool completely, and slice in 3/4 inch slices.
6. Bake 10 minutes at 350, turn over and bake on the other side.
You don't have to ice them if you don't want to. These are great to dunk in coffee.
P.S. Happy birthday, Rita!

Sewing bee...

Yesterday I went to my son and daughter-in-law's house to help sew nursery things. Here is Marina hard at it. Marina, Kathy (her mom), and I were the team, and we worked all day until we got it done--bumper pads, curtain, bed skirt. Now, that may not sound like a whole lot, but just wait until you see what it involved.
Kathy and I are working out our strategy for the bed skirt. It takes lots of figuring and experimenting when there is no pattern.
Kathy has the bed skirt under control.
Marina is really good at using the rotary cutter.
Kathy and I wrestled with the bumper pad. Did you know that they have pre-made bumper pads? All you do is make the covering. We did one contiuous tube instead of making it in sections, and that meant a lot of work getting six sections poked down into the casing.
Marina is very relieved that we got it done, and that the nursery is nearly ready. Hope you like it, Marina, because you will be spending a lot of time in this room!
Kathy and I were amazed it came together in one day. It was lots of fun, and I am so happy we can sew. There is a little business in town that custom makes bumper pads, sheets, and the works (you pick the fabric) for about $800! We had a blast and saved a ton of money. So the moral of this story is--learn to sew, and then be creative.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Hable Espanol?

Here I am back in Odessa! This is one West Texas village that is bi-lingual. I starved all morning so I could get blood drawn for cholesterol, and when I walked out of the lab this is what I saw just across the street, so naturally I went over and ordered a plate of enchiladas--not good. If you get a chance to go here, order the fajitas, fajita burrito, or probably any other burrito, because that is their specialty!
This was my next stop to get a "mamografia" (high-light of the year, as all you ladies know)! Last of all was the sleep doctor, who is Indian, and did not have anything written in Espanol for me. After an afternoon of all this, I went to my son and daughter-in-law's for supper. I wonder why I haven't lost any weight? School is in full swing, feet aren't hurting, and the week is nearly over. Saturday I go to help Marina make bumper pads for the baby bed. Two more months, and grandson will be here! I will be sure and take pictures on Saturday. More later.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

School has kicked off, and summer is still here!

There were at least three of these beautiful butterflies on the Mexican Sunflower when I got home today. They are frantic for the nectar, and don't seem to notice me. Their numbers have increased, too.
We have had two days of school--assemblies, schedule changes, computer problems, but we are up and running. Yesterday my feet hurt too badly to do anything but crash in the recliner when I got home. Today is better, and tomorrow we will all be in the groove. I am going to oversee two dual credit courses from Midland College, and am actually looking forward to English 1301, and history 1301. These are juniors who have not had college classes yet, so I am taking notes and preparing study questions for them. I also have two special ed. math classes with kids to prepare for the state assemssment so they can graduate, and textiles and apparel (the easiest one for me). More about school later.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Sacked Out (I wish)!

Saturday, and I thought I would be just like Tommy T., all sacked out sleeping, resting, dreaming, but, "No." At 3:00 a.m. I am awake! It is because we spent all day yesterday with the new high school principal discussing dress code, cell phone, food and drink, duties, deadlines, PDAS (teacher evaluation), and I can't even think of the rest, and we are not done! It is hard to break in a new principal, but after we get in the groove it will be alright (it always is). We went to Cluster In Service in Odessa, and got to hear a very inspirational teacher from Atlanta talk about helping found the Ron Clark Academy, a very successful private school in one of the toughest parts of Atlanta. The Academy is giving a teacher award, and the deadline is September 1, so if you know of a teacher you want to submit, you need to go to and fill out the paper work. Hurry! Today, I am going to do the washing and ironing, straighten up around the house a little, and then go live at school the rest of the day. I will let you know how the first day goes.
I also want to bless one of my former students, who lived next door to me last year. She is off to college, now, and I pray that she will go with God every step of the way. Stay the course, Lauren! I am proud of you.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Red Shoes!!!!!!!!!

The Farmer's Wife sent me the cutest pair of red satin shoes I have ever laid my eyes on, and so far they have been to church, although, there is a pair of cushions in the box that are supposed to be put in the shoes to keep them from slipping when you go dancing. I think I will stick with church. I measured the heels on the inside, and they are 3"; the school secretary insisted that they should be measured on the outside (4.5"). At any rate I feel like I am touring over everyone when I am wearing them. Thanks, dear neice.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Rummage Sale Treasures!

It is true--I am the one who suggested that it was time for the church to have a rummage sale, because it had been five or six years since the last one, and if everyone collects as much junk as I do, we could have gobs of stuff, and make a fortune! People gladly dropped off their donations all summer long. I was overwhelmed by the massive piles of clothes, this and that stuff, appliances, dishes, and pure junk. It took a lot of time and effort to sort, and set up, but we made over $700. I told the ladies if I ever suggested doing it again, just shoot me! Amazingly, I scored three outstanding items.
The bean pot looking piece has: Coors, Rosebud, USA on the bottom, and is from the '30s. In 1910 Adolph Coors invested in the Herold China and Pottery Factory in Golden, Colorado (same place the beer is produced, and same Coors company). The company has evolved into Coors TEK, a manufacturer of technology that "serves every industry with advanced products." The ash tray is hollow, and it has the signature, Anthony, and 273. USA on the bottom. Come to find out a company called Freeman-McFarlin manufactured these ashtrays during the 50s and 60s. It was bought out in the 80s. So, if you have any "Anthony" ashtrays, keep them.
And last, but not least, is this dresser. I got the boys to put it under the car port for me so I can work on it. Come to find out, under that blonde, 1950 style finish, is solid oak, and it is heavy as lead! The sides of the drawers are oak and dove tailed. More about the dresser when I get done fixing it. Just in case your wondering, the cookbook in the other picture was a gift, and it is written by Joyce Wilde, owner of the store. I even saw her cookbooks in a shop in Illinois! Now it is time to get ready to go to school, and do bulletin boards (and visit). Have a great day!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Sassy Fox--where Roudy Rockstars, Crazy Cowgirls, and Sassy Shoppers all go!

Sassy Fox has pressed tin ceilings, a mosaic floor, and the owner likes Bohemian chandeliers, and fabric along with beads draped from the ceiling. Spot lights give the store a mysterious atmosphere, as opposed to glaring fluorescent lighting that murders color and mystique. It's sort of like walking into a night club.Owner of Sassy Fox, Barbara, is a busy lady, and is on the move, on the telephone or helping customers every second of the day. She also makes a great milkshake! Sassy has a soda fountain where bored husbands can enjoy their visit while wives and daughters shop.
Barbara said she and her family rescued the store, which had been condemned, and turned it into this showplace. They are obviously talented artists with great vision, because they put this mosaic floor in themselves. Here is Barbara, red hair, fancy earrings and manicured nails inlaid in the floor.

The entire floor downstairs is mosaic. Even the family cat has been included in the design.
The store lives up to it's name with the most sassy clothes, shoes, and jewelry you can imagine!
The posh dressing rooms are located on another level with a chaise and coffee table for adoring mothers to patiently wait for their daughters, or just take time out from trying on. No mothers waiting while I was prowling around. They were all trying on clothes themselves!
This is the dressing area, and I am telling you it is fancy! Pictures just cannot create the atmosphere that you will experience when you walk in the door. What a place! Come and visit 34 East Concho Avenue the next chance you get.

Friday, August 14, 2009

J. Wilde's--a walk on the wild side!

J. Wilde's Boutique specializes in the unusual. She has the latest fashions in clothing, shoes, and purses. If you are looking for something unusual go here. Along side the fashion items you will find retro bags, decorator fabrics, furniture and accessories for your home from the 50s, 60s, and 70s.
Just one example of the newest bag, and any of you Texas ladies that were into fashion during the 60s will remember the Collins bags. Wilde has a collection of them!The latest in the peasant tops are here in full color.
Winter clothes are also on display.
Boots of all kinds are ready to walk out the door!
I didn't see many heels that were lower than 3 inches unless they were flats.All the shoes are unusual.
Retro lighting, anyone?
I just had to have a picture of this cute orange lamp. It reminds me of Saturn with its ring. This is called a Bohemian chandelier, and it seems to be a favorite of Wilde's and Sassy Fox.
One section of the store was devoted to Mexican things, and this is a statue of Our Lady of Guadalupe (also on the lamp shade). Here is a purple Christmas tree all lit up in the Mexican section of the store.
There are lots of painted items to buy, and here is a mirror with leopard spots and jewelry chests all painted up.
Fabric covered chests!
More fabric covered chests, and animal print is still in!
It seems like everything is displayed in a most unusual way, with lots of fabrics draped on the walls and ceilings. The store is over 7000 square feet, and the fabric pulls things together.The colors are bright, flamboyant, and wild--not for the cautious minded person! If you need some unusual upholstery fabric, she has it (this is only a small sample).
If you need something, and can't seem to find it, call Joyce Wilde in San Angelo. She probably has it at 325.655.0878. I have got to get going. We are having a rummage sale at church, and there is one more day of it. What torture, and to think it was my idea!