Monday, July 4, 2016

Filling that Christmas Box of Goodies for Your Fighting Lad

Many years ago, I happened upon one of the coolest things I have ever seen in my life. This may seem like an exaggeration, however, I am obviously really into baking, but I am also extremely into history!  Additionally, when I discovered this really cool item, I was baking for American soldiers every month (I did this for three years and my mom still does it to this days... it's been like 8 years!).

When looking through one of my mom's cookbooks, I found this paper...

It is from 1944 and was geared toward the families of all who were serving during WWII. I couldn't believe what I had found. I bonded with this paper. I know that that must sound silly, but I was doing the same thing for service men and women, as many did in 1944! I just found that really neat and I know that there are tons of you out there that are doing the same exact thing. So, I say well done!

Here is what the article states, before listing the recipes:

The cookies you bake for the serviceman's gift package should be the kind he's sure to like and the kind that keep and travel well.

Cookies that contain fruits and nuts are not practical unless they will arrive within three or four weeks.

If the cookies are on their way too long or if sent to hot or moist climates, the nuts are apt to become rancid and the fruit may cause the cookies to mold. Cookies that are very rich or tender are not recommended at all, because they will break and crumble in transit.

Honey and molasses cookies are among the good ones to keep in mind. They're always fine flavored and they keep well. You'll do well to include some of these especially if you need to economize on sugar.

Quite as important as selecting the right kind of cookies is their packing. Each cooky should be wrapped separately and the spaces between them should be filled with bits of crumpled up paper or small hard candies so they cannot move about in the package.

(My grandpa was 10 when this came out and now he is 82! I love them mentioning the rationing of sugar and how that was an important factor at the time. I do not often think of rationing anything in my life... if at all. History!! It is so great. Also, how fun that they spell cookie as cooky.)

Here are the recipes, in the same order as they are presented in the article:

Surprisingly, I have yet to make any of these recipes... but I will make them all eventually! I hope that you try some out and that they are just as delicious as their history!

Review: All the Winters After

All the Winters After All the Winters After by Seré Prince Halverson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I won this book through Goodreads giveaways. I tried and tried, and tried again and I finally won! Thank goodness, because, Wow! What a story!

Thank you for the opportunity to read this novel!

Have you ever been constantly reminded of something in your past, that you know you need to confront, in order to move on and fully live? But, you haven't the courage to do so. You think about confronting, but never actually meet it head on. And then one day you just go for it 100%... That is what characters in this novel are working through. Some share a tragedy and feel guilty for it, even though they could never be to blame. So, for 20 years they have distanced themselves from a life of love and closure.

A young woman is also fleeing her past. Her's is a different one than what most of us people today would think of. She's been so afraid, that for 10 years she has secluded herself, with no chance of interacting with any human soul.

An old woman is reflecting on life and the choices she has made. However, without her and without her choices, none of the characters in this novel would have been connected.

A wonderful story is weaved as these characters bump into each other and react and interact with each other. Bonds are formed. Deep bonds. Their lives begin to change for the better as they let others and light into their lives. Yet, with this new understanding and zeal for life comes sadness.

The story ended and I had a bit of a heavy heart. You know that slight aching, when things are sad, and you wish that things would have ended a different way?? I know that the young woman needs to explore and I know that the other characters still need to fully work their way into their new reality. It all seems good. It has to end this way.. but it also seems wrong. I want a few more pages... chapters to tell me how things turn out!

Ugh! Good read! Life certainly can be a delicate dance at times and this book highlights that beautifully.

View all my reviews

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Bon Appetit Desserts: Cinnamon-Sugar Plum Cake

We're plum lucky to get two plum recipes in a row! I mean... I really like plums! I was happy to find another recipe that utilizes their amazingness!

This cake comes together in two shakes. It is so simple. It looks beautiful as you pull it from the oven. The plums half hidden, half exposed in the cake. As I took the cake from the oven I was filled with joy. There is something to be said about mixing a few common ingredients and getting a different and glorious result every time. Baking is something that I can continually come back to and nothing has changed. I know it and it knows me. We are old friends and whenever we get back together, it is like no time has passed.

This cake to me, looks like a little art piece. I did not want to cut into it... but alas, I did.

(I think the baking process was really enhanced by the music of Agnes Obel playing in the background. You should check her out!)

Cinnamon-Sugar Plum Cake 6-8 servings

1-1/4       cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1             teaspoon baking powder

1/4          teaspoon salt

1/2          cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature

3/4          cup plus 1-1/2 tablespoons sugar

2             large eggs

1             tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1             teaspoon finely grated lemon peel

5             large plums (about 1-1/4 pounds), pitted, cut into 1/2-inch wedges

1/4          teaspoon ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Butter 9-inch-diameter springform pan. Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt in small bowl to blend. Using electric mixer, beat butter in large bowl until fluffy. Beat in 3/4 cup sugar. Add eggs 1 at a time, then lemon juice and lemon peel, beating until blended after each addition. Beat in flour mixture. Spread batter into prepared pan.

Press plum wedges halfway into batter in concentric circles, spacing slightly apart. Mix remaining 1-1/2 tablespoons sugar and cinnamon in small bowl; sprinkle over plums.

Bake cake until browned on top and tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 50 minutes. Cut around cake; release pan sides. Serve cake warm or at room temperature.