all the things I do in my hideaway

Archive for May, 2012

Easy cookies…

I have a baptism to attend today, and I want to take some cookies for afterward.  Well, busy Saturday ahead.  I got up just after 5 am to finish a science investigation for my students.  (That’s another story for another post.)  Decided to make the cookies before leaving, using the fastest cookie recipe I know.  I will replace the “emergency cookie supplies” when I shop today.  Then I am always prepared.   Here goes:

Pumpkin Cookies


All necessary materials (other than the oven, can opener, cooling rack, and hot pads)  assembled.  That is right – a spice cake mix and a small can of pumpkin.  Other optional ingredients:  chocolate chips, white chocolate chips, nuts, raisins, your choice.

Mix cookie mix and pumpkin together.  This is a fairly stiff, cake-like dough.  Add desired “other” ingredients.  I chose chocolate chips for two reasons.  The girl being baptized likes chocolate, and I will not eat the cookies (keeps down the calorie intake for the day).


Ready for the oven.  An added bonus to this recipe.  For those of you who tempt the “Salmonella bug” by eating raw cookie dough in spite of the raw eggs, there are no eggs added to this recipe.

Bake on a greased cookie sheet, 375 degrees, 9 minutes (in my oven).  These don’t brown much, test with a toothpick on your biggest cookie until you know the timing for your oven.


Cool on a rack.  Note:  Cooling not required, yummy when hot!

Yield:  depends on the size of your cookies.  I made 4 dozen nice sized cookies, not the “itty bitty” kind.  Yummmmm!

Note:  the wonderful new mixing bowl is the smaller of a set of two I got at the annual YW garage sale two weeks ago.  I have wanted some heavy mixing bowls, but the price was more than I am willing to spend.  These were priced just right!  First time I’ve used it, and oh, so nice to work with.


A beautiful Saturday…

Today, rain falls from the sky, and the temperature will never make 60 degrees.  But yesterday…that was another story.

What more could I ask for than…


(Looking southwest from my driveway…)



The bedroom had a heavenly fragrance last night.

I decided to make homemade yogurt.  A friend taught us how to do this at Relief Society earlier this month.  I tried last week, made a huge mess, but the result was okay.  Today, was much better.  Takes time, but really easy, and so much better than anything I have ever bought.



1/2 gallon milk (whole, 2%, 1%, non-fat, your choice.  I used 1% both times)

Sweetener (if desired – I don’t use any, just add fruit and a dash of cinnamon when I eat it.)

6 oz plain yogurt, at room temperature when you use it (any kind, use as a starter.  You can use your own yogurt as the start for the next batch.)

Clean glass jars with lids (I used 4 pint jars and 1 – 1 cup jar)

Small cooler (see picture)

Candy thermometer


Muslin (see picture)


1.  Heat milk to 180 to 185 degrees

2. Cool milk to 105 – 115 degrees (I pour mine into a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and check temperature as it cools.  Mine took 1 hour in the refrigerator to reach proper temperature.)

3.  Gently whisk in starter, add sweeteners, if desired

4.  Pour into clean jars.

5. Place in cooler and fill cooler with hot tap water (hottest from the tap, I put the water to the bottom of the rings on the jars.  I put something under the shorter jar so it is the same height as the pint jars.)  Put on lid and leave it for at least 4 hours.


6.  Let sit until yogurt is set, 4 – 6 hours.  Mine was set at 6 hours.

7.  Line colander with clean (no fabric softener) muslin, place in bowl, allow whey to drain off until yogurt is the thickness you want.  I let mine drain for about 90 minutes.  The longer it drains, the thicker the yogurt.  Strain longer to make a cream-cheese like spread.  I haven’t tried this yet.  Picture:  colander ready for the yogurt from the jars.


8.  Spoon into container, whisk gently until smooth.  This will stay smooth and will not separate.  Flavor as desired.


Already had two servings…I like it on cereal with fruit and cinnamon.

Saturday…a wonderful day.  The memories will keep me going through the rainy week ahead.


Mother’s Day weekend, with sunny skies, a light breeze, and warm air.  Lawn mowers can be heard in the neighborhood, and in my front yard, the sound of the edger working its way through the grass overrunning the sidewalk buzzes away.  I’ve even thought about hanging clothes on the “solar powered clothes dryer” that resides in my back yard.


Dandelions, the first flower to appear…


Azaleas herald spring days…


Blue and white bells form a carpet around the sourwood tree.


The promise of harvest in recently pollinated plum flowers.


Forget-me-nots will grace the yard all summer and into fall, then, magically, reappear in spring.


The true “yard” miracle this spring was the regrowth of three fuschia plants in the basket Suzanne and Glen gave me last year.  I bought one more plant in a 4′ pot this morning, and repotted the plants.  While it won’t have flowers immediately, there are tiny buds forming, and soon, pink and purple flowers will hang outside my patio door.


My rhododendrons usually bloom about Mother’s Day.  This is the first, and only bloom, open yet.  There is promise of more to come.