Thursday, November 12, 2015

A Short-Lived First Snow

There's supposed to be a video of snow here. It shows in the preview but won't post. I dunno either. 

That was last evening. It was a strange weather system that blew through. We started the day with 60 degrees, then torrential downpours, then 60+mph winds, then tornado watches, then warnings, then a tornado just across in Iowa, then freezing rain, and finally snow. By morning it was all gone, and today was gloriously sunny and warm enough to go out without a jacket.
The wind was still whipping about today, so I skipped doing my hair, opting for combs instead. Didn't help much as you can see the wind blowing hair across my face in this photo. The skirt was a wise choice as it is long, heavy, and has a weighted hem-perfect when you are under a high-wind warning.

We spent the morning making batch after batch of dough for our Christmas baking. We decorate our tree on Thanksgiving (it is an artificial tree) and I like to hang decorated gingerbread people in sealed treat-bags from it. I love being able to tell people to, "Go grab a biscuit off the tree" at Christmastime. We'll get them rolled, baked and decorated this week so they will be ready for the tree in time.

Lebkuchen, pfefferneuse, and springerle all require aging after baking (in a tin with a slice of apple) so those need to get baked this week as well. After a few weeks, they become cake-like and I can have them to offer throughout the month of December. The dough can also be frozen, and I have two pounds of butter-cookie dough ready to use when the mood strikes us to do some jam thumbprints, or iced snowflakes. The only way I survive the month of December is with serious planning.

I put Danny to work painting a large bag of old fashioned peg clothespins white to make angels. I have some beautiful iridescent origami paper, tulle, and ribbon to adorn them with. Most years we do a batch of bread-dough ornaments, but I thought the clothespin project sounded fun. I also started making the Christmas cards-five down, thirty to go!

 "Did someone say, "Lebkuchen?"
If that squirrel keeps eating like this he won't be able to climb up the tree. I should talk.

 Outfit Particulars:

Pendleton Country Sophisticates blouse-Goodwill?
Oversized silk and lurex cardigan-Goodwill
Silver brooch-Hand-Me-Ups
Earrings-K Mart
Vintage suede handbag-Goodwill
Vintage Naturalizer shoes-Thrift World
Grey tights-Walgreen's
Fragrance-Sofia Vergara, Sofia (best bargain scent I've tried lately-it completely makes up for the disgusting Celine Dion perfumes. It starts sweet, but then turns into just the most beautiful woody/floral scent. For $12.00 I got a large bottle, a purse spray, and a body lotion. It lasts for hours and hours).

Right next to where I live there's a bank on the corner that hosts a "tree of lights" every year for the Salvation Army's holiday fundraising campaign. Tomorrow night is the lighting, and they have food, entertainment, children singing holiday tunes, and that sort of thing. Since I live less than a two minute walk, we head down there after the politicians are through blathering, and get to see the lights go on amid music. The best thing? From now until January I'll know where 90th and Dodge is when I walk home in the dark! Really, the tree is massive-it really cheers me up to see it in the cold, dark winter evenings.

If you're a local and plan to go, drop me an email and I can bring you a thermos of cocoa or something.


Bibi Maizoon said...

I'm surprised you like Sofia as it is very sweet & almost gourmand. Ms Vergara has a new scent out called Love for 2015. My mom's Mennonite clan age their pfeffernusse, springerle, & lebkuchen in old pillowcases hung in a dark closet for a month. A brisk & clear 71F/22C here, although the mountains are shrouded in mist so it's probably snowing up there.

Goody said...

Sofia starts sweet, but man, that base is worth waiting for. You're right-it isn't my typical thing, but I can't stop spritzing myself with it. Go figure.

I'll pass on hanging food in a closet-my closets are all far too full of clothing, and it would crush the biscuits.

Mim said...

I had no idea all those biscuits needed ageing. I always buy those - they're not something Brits have traditionally eaten, though with more people moving here from europe we're seeing the shops more and more, so new traditions may be born. I am considering making a stollen this year.

I've already started on my mince pies; I make meat pies fairly regularly for tea, so I've used any leftover pastry for mince pies which have been frozen raw - then when we want some over Christmas we'll be able to egg and sugar the tops and bake them straight away. Pete did make a load of mincemeat this year.

That is one FAT squirrel! Someone's got a nice warm layer of lard to see him through the winter...

Goody said...

That's smart, freezing ahead as you have pastry. They're such pretty little pies too, with the sugared star on top. I always mean to do them, but just end up making "bars" (a layered biscuit in a pan, then cut into squares) because I run out of energy, and the jars of mincemeat are waiting to be used. Mr. ETB's family make full-sized mincemeat pies for Thanksgiving, which is just too much. A couple small pies, yes-a huge slice on a plate after a heavy meal? No thanks.

We do stollen for Christmas morning (sans marzipan) as my husband's mother is Pennsylvania Dutch and that was a tradition at their house growing up. The only advice I have for baking it is to use more butter than you think you'll need after it comes out of the oven-it helps the layers of icing sugar stick. Don't worry if the first sifting of sugar melts into it-that's normal. Just keep adding a layer every ten minutes or so as it cools, and eventually it will have a nice snowy white finish. If you wrap it tightly in greaseproof paper and then cling-film the stollen will keep fresh for a very long time. Stale slices (if you have any left to go stale) make excellent eggy bread/French toast as you come to New Year's. What you don't want to do is store it in a plastic bag, or it will mould over in a week.

Just from experience...German breads/pastry tend to look sweeter than they are. My first experience with a German pastry shop as a child was a cream-puff (shaped as a swan, of course) that was filled with unsweetened (but vanilla flavoured) whipped cream. It was a terrible shock. Stollen is rather dry and not terribly sweet inside, so the coating is where you really need to make up for it.

Good luck with it-they ARE fun to bake.