Archive for December, 2011

From Soup to Cookies

December 14th, 2011 by Terra | No Comments | Filed in Cooking, Uncategorized

Decoupage isn’t the only thing I like doing during the holidays. Though it’s pretty much fun to do ANY time of the year, making cookies at the holidays is somehow extra terrific. Maybe it’s that you finally have an excuse to have sixteen different cookies around, all at the same time. (Okay maybe not sixteen, but we have three varieties in the house already, with more to come.) It might also be because, when you make so many different cookies, you have more to give away, and the smiles on people’s faces when you hand them a plate of baked goods are certainly good for the soul.

I have very, very many cookie recipes. Some are in cookbooks, some have been scrawled on paper from friends’ kitchens, some are memorized. (Nestle Tollhouse chocolate chip, for example.) Some are complicated and some are easy. All of them are, of course, delicious. This one in particular is one of my favorite recipes, because it has three important elements: 1. It is very easy to make. 2. It comes from a friend. 3. It is a great combo of classic, as well as unusual and surprising. I hope you enjoy it, and the rest of the cookies in your own house!

 

Rosemary Pine Nut Bars (aka, “Adult Shortbread”)

1/3 c. pine nuts, toasted
1 stick (8 Tbsp) unsalted butter
1/2 c. powdered (confectioner’s) sugar
1 Tbsp chopped fresh rosemary (or 2 tsp dried)
1 c. all purpose flour, mixed with 1/2 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a medium saucepan, over medium heat, melt the butter. Remove pan from heat, and stir in powdered sugar, rosemary and pine nuts. Then stir in the flour. Spread in 8″ square baking pan.
Bake until bars are golden and firm around the edges–about 20 minutes. Let bars cool in pan 10 minutes. The bars can be stored, tightly covered, for up to 5 days or frozen for 1 month. Makes 16 bars.

Songs In My Head Upon Waking in the Last Week
“Topaz,” by the B-52s; “Santa Claus is Coming to Town,” by the Jackson 5; “Goodbye Girl,” by Squeeze; “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” by John Denver and Rowlf the Dog; “Yesterday When I Was Mad,” by the Pet Shop Boys; “Rumor Has It,” by Adele; “A Little Soul,” by Pulp

 

 

Time to Decoupage

December 7th, 2011 by Terra | No Comments | Filed in Uncategorized

The holidays are coming, and I’ve hardly been crafty all YEAR. So now it’s time to get out the Modge Podge, and make some gifts.

Some of you know that I have a penchant for paper crafts. As in, I love doing them. There’s something very . . . zen . . . about cutting out pictures and then gluing them onto other things. Whether that other thing is a scrapbook, or a journal cover, or a hatbox . . . I just love the act of it.

So, as I stretch my much-neglected little decoupage wings for the month of December, I thought I’d share some interesting tidbits about the art with you (all of which come from the friendly and informative website, www.decoupage.org).

*  Decoupage is a 20th century word which comes from the French word decouper meaning to cut out. Paper cutouts are reassembled and designed and then glued to a painted or gilded surface. The most traditional technique includes applying 30-40 layers of varnish which are sanded to a beautiful smooth sheen. However, cutouts may also be applied under glass or alternatively raised to give a three-dimensional appearance. With such a long and varied history, it is not surprising that decoupage is still evolving with new styles.

* As far back as the 12th century, Chinese peasants were creating paper cutouts in vivid colors to decorate windows, lanterns, gift boxes and other objects. This Chinese practice and expertise with scissors is thought to have come from Eastern Siberia, where cutout felt figures and designs were decorating objects in the tombs of Siberian nomads. The tombs date back to before Christ.

* [In the late 17th century] . . .  the wealthy classes were using master painters to paint their furniture and decorate their walls and ceilings. However, in time, because of excessive demand and the fact that many people could not afford the works of the masters, an alternative form of decoration developed. Drawings from the artists of the day were cut out, glued down and covered with lacquer to resemble original paintings. From this derivation came the alternative term l’arte del povero-poor man’s arts.

So . .  clearly it’s been going on for awhile. And you can pick up the skill, too! Just grab some magazines, some heavy glue, a paintbrush, and whatever surface you feel like sticking things onto. Paste your images on, and then give everything a coat (or two, or three) of final sealant, to make sure everything’s sealed down and varnished. And then . . . enjoy the positive feedback!

 

Songs In My Head Upon Waking in the Last Week:

“Here Comes Your Man,” by the Pixies; That Figaro-Figaro-Figaro song from the opera, FIGARO; “The Gambler,” by Kenny Rogers; “Cruel Summer,” by Bananarama; The theme song to “30 Rock”;
mixed up jumble of songbits; “We Are Gonna Be Friends,” by the White Stripes