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The Results Of Laboring Over A Hot Oven!


COOKIES!  Nestled all snug in their air tight containers!

Mlle Renee comment: “Did you make any of them without chocolate?”

[Pay no attention to the All Hallows window hanging in the background. They really are Christmas cookies.]



MY DAILY CALENDAR FOR SATURDAY, DAY 355 OF 2013:  The bad news is … today is officially the first day of winter and the shortest day of the year. The good news is the days get longer from here. To make today a totally miserable day, it was cold and it rained all day!  That also mean there were slick roads in a few areas around town. I stayed in and baked cookies.



It wasn’t easy, but I only allowed myself to taste test one of them. Believe me, they are better than good! And easy to make, too. Here’s the recipe …

Oreo Cheesecake Cookies
1 cup (2 sticks) softened unsalted butter
6 oz. carton of cream cheese at room temperature
2 cups granulated sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup mini dark chocolate chips
2 cups crumbled Oreo cookies
(Preheat oven to 375 and line a cookie sheet with parchment.) 
In the bowl blend the butter and cream cheese with an electric mixer until combined.
Add sugar and vanilla, mix well.
Add flour one cup at a time and mix on low just until combined.  Stir in chocolate chips with a rubber spatula.
Pour Oreo crumbs into a shallow bowl.  Scoop dough in 1.5-inch balls and roll in cookie crumbs until they are throughly covered.  Space cookies about one to two inches apart on the cookie sheet. Place the cookie sheet on the center rack of the oven and bake about 15 minutes. Remove and cool on the cookie sheet for about five minutes then move the cookies  to a wire rack and cool completely.


Just wanted to show you the messages I get on weekends.

6efcd7ddccf21234c TODAY’S MENSA PUZZLE:DSC08656

And in case you forgot, there’s only three more shopping days to Christmas.






SUNDAY – DAY 188: Wha-ta hell! My clock radio woke me up this morning from the heart of hillbilly heaven. What happened to my classic radio station? It was there somewhere in the background playing Bach, but it was being drowned out by a country/western station and a twangy girl singer mooing about being wronged by a false hearted lover. Don’t get me wrong, I openly admit I am not a fan of today’s over-abundant sound-alike girl singers in the genre, and I don’t appreciate them moving in on my local classical FM bandwidth. OK, so while it might be caused by low-flying satellites, or solar flairs, I prefer to think it is the work of some mustachio-twirling villain’s vendetta to ruin my Sunday morning wake-up. Either that, or Mlle. Renee is using her tail to serve as an extra antenna to get me out of bed to get her something to ear. It only happens on Sunday mornings.

I just remembered that I forgot to show you the Pumpkin Spice Oatmeal Cranberry Nut Cookies I baked for my brother yesterday.DSCF0445

My Origami Calendar Challenge – Like I noted yesterday, no challenge on the weekend calendar again. But to keep my fingers nimble I asked another of Stan DeMon’s cousins to visit.  Meet Flora DeMon from Hawaii.DSCF0432_2

FLORA: Aloha, boys!

FRAN: She’s our cousin?

STAN: Distant, very distant.

If you would like to fold your own member of the DeMon Family, just follow these simple steps. Remember you have to start with a perfectly square thin sheet of paper.DSCF0428

If you don’t know how to fold  the starting  BIRD BASE, I refer you to my post of DAILY CALENDAR CHALLENGE #131 – MAY 11, 2013

 ROUND AND ABOUT THE WEST WALNUT MANOR HOMESTEAD – Well, its July and the Rose Of Sharon (Althea Hibiscus syriacus) is busting out all around the yard.


I grew these shrubs from seeds I collected from the plants that grew through the fence of the Sisters Of Saint Mary’s Motherhouse behind St. Mary’s Hospital several years ago. My shrubs are now about five-feet tall and have reached mature blooming state. They are a member of the Hibiscus family that is native to China and India. In the Western world it received its name from the Biblical Rose Of Sharon which it isn’t. It also grows quite well in the mid-west where it can be trained to grow as a shrub or tree. Mine are rather shrubby.  If you look closely you can see a visitor at the bottom of this blossom.



That is one big old bee who is really getting coated in pollen. DSCF0438

I expect to have a bumper crop of seed pods this fall.

Anybody want some seeds? They still carry the Sisters’ blessing. And they’re easy to start in the spring.

Meanwhile, back in the backyard a member of the near extinct Eurasian Tree Sparrow family dropped in to see what kind of seed was in the feeder today.DSCF0442

Looks like mostly cracked corn, and he prefers the millet and nut pieces.

To hot to cut grass today, so I’ll just rest today and get to it early tomorrow morning or after sunset.


Roll out the pastry;

Add more nuts and chocolate chips again.

Fill up the center,

I may use some cream cheese, or but some cherries in now.

For we need a little Christmas

Right this very minute,

Baking in the kitchen

That the way to bring it

For we need a little Christmas.

Need a little Christmas.

Need a little Christmas NOW!

So, that’s how I spent my day … baking Christmas stollens, and rustic bread, too. You might say I was on a yeast rising, dough kneading high. And while I baked, I sang to Christmas songs. And murdered Jerry Herman’s lyrics along the way.

ChristmasTreatsSuper Chocolate-filled Delight and Orange Marmalade Coconut Surprise.

As I’ve mentioned in the past, whenever I sing Mlle. Renee prefers to sit in the backyard or pretend she’s playing football with the kids in the greenway next door. She did return regularly for doggie sniffs in the air at the kitchen door.

I had already baked three kinds of cookies last week, and today all I had to do was pack them in individual gift boxes. As an extra holiday touch I addressed each box with the recipient’s Elf name.elf name

Thank goodness, I didn’t have anyone named Pinky Monkey-Buns!

Since I started baking, I’ve been telling Renee that if I had a broken or leftover cookie I’d give it to her. And today was payoff time. Notice how patiently she waits sitting up with one paw on my knee. Renee is a good girl, and she didn’t lose a crumb of that snicker-doodle.Finally


SantameAnd to all a good night!


OK, here’s fair warning … food pictures coming up! Since I spent the entire afternoon slaving over a hot stove, I thought I could at least milk it for all that it’s worth. My headline is a bit misleading. I didn’t spend the entire day cooking. I only spent the afternoon cooking. I spent the morning slaving over a hot kitchen sink cleaning up the mess I made cooking dinner last evening. I would have cleaned up after dinner, but I was being deluged with phone calls from the Romney and Akins campaign offices who were attempting to cover up their latest campaign faux pas. Don’t political parties realize we freeloaders spend the hours between five and seven either cooking, eating or cleaning up from same?

Anyway, back to today. It turned out that word of the Oatmeal Pecan Pumpkin Spice Cookies I took to my brother on Sunday got around and I got a reminder from my niece that her birthday would be celebrated on Friday. So I started  by whipping up a batch for her birthday which will be celebrated at the Zoo.

Not wanting to be stuck with another sink full of dishes, I immediately washed up after each cooking experience.

Next up, I whipped up a batch of Apricot/Pecan Cream Cheese Muffins for Saturday morning’s brunch following a Friday evening sleepover.

Clean-up time again … before starting on creating dinner that is. And surprise of surprises — NO annoying phone calls this evening. So I was able to clean up my dinner dishes before Project Runway came on.