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Lemon Cookies

Eat these lemon cookies right out of the oven for their softness. Allowed to cool, they become crisp, but remain just as delicious.


Prep time 15 minutes

Oven 350 degrees

Mix together
1 stick of salted butter, softened**
**30 seconds in the microwave will do the trick
and 1 cup of white sugar

Add in
1 egg
1/8 cup whole milk
1 TSP lemon extract
rind of half a lemon, finely grated

Beat 3 minutes until light and fluffy

In a separate bowl whisk together
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/4 TSP salt
1 TSP baking powder
1/8 TSP baking soda

Stir dry mix into the wet,
then finish off with a mixer for 2-3 minutes

Add 4-6 drops of yellow food coloring.
Mix until color is spread evenly throughout.

Place 1/3 cup of white sugar in a shallow bowl.
Drop teaspoons of dough into bowl one at a time rolling into a ball about 1-11/2" in size. Coat all sides with sugar.
Colored sugar is great. Try pink sugar with the yellow of the cookies for a beautiful treat.

Place sugar coated balls onto greased cookie sheet about 2-3 inches apart.
Press down with thumb in the middle of each dough ball just enough that the ball doesn't roll, but not too deeply.

Bake 10-12 minutes at 350 degrees.

Makes about 2 1/2 dozen cookies.

Served warm, the lemon cookies are warm, soft and fragrant. Once they cool they will become crisp, not hard, still delicious, and perfect for lunch boxes.

A Great Deal

We went to Last Chance Thrift Store in Decatur yesterday. I bought a 0.99 goldfish bowl I'll use as a terrarium. I also found this great Liz Claiborne purse for $5.99. I own at least a dozen black purses already. What drew me to this one was the three compartments with built in pockets for everything. Finally I'll have a place just for shopping lists! Honestly, I don't think I have enough stuff to fully utilize every nook and cranny. Maybe I'll turn into my grandmother someday and start carrying a gun and my will with me.

There's even a small outside pocket for keys. I pulled out my old silver spoon key chain and added a gingham bow for that -oh so cute!- look. Now I'll have to wear black more to justify using the purse all the time. Won't be the first time I've worked a wardrobe around a new purse or pair of shoes.

3 lb of Red Delicious Apples: Second, the Apple Brown Betty

Red delicious apples can only be appreciated in a tasty dessert. Red delicious apples may be red but they are not delicious. The only time I buy them is when they are on sale and I want a baked apple dessert. With a 3 lb bag, I can make a pie and a brown betty.

The Apple Brown Betty was found at cooks.com with a listing for the ingredients and not much in the way of either instruction nor spice. With a few changes, I've made it my own.


350 degrees

Peel and slice 4-7 apples into half moon shapes.

Combine 1/2 cup sugar
and 1 TSP cinnamon

Sprinkle apples with the sugar mix and stir well.

Pour apples into an greased 8x11 pan.

Next combine
3/4 CUP all purpose flour
3/4 CUP brown sugar
1/8 TSP mace
1 TSP cinnamon
Dash of Nutmeg

Cut 1/2 CUP cold butter into the topping mixture.
Then stir in 3/4 CUP regular dry oats.
Add the topping to the apples.

Bake 45 minutes at 350 degrees.

Stir in options & substitutions
Apple Brown Betty
Add 1/2 CUP walnuts and 1/4 CUP raisins
Blueberry Brown Betty
Substitute 2-3 cups of fresh blueberries for the apples.
Add 1/2 cup of pecans to the blueberry version
Consider substituting 1 cup granola cereal for the oats.

3 lb of Red Delicious Apples: First, the Apple Pie

Red delicious apples can only be appreciated in a tasty dessert. Red delicious apples may be red but they are not delicious. The only time I buy them is when they are on sale and I want a baked apple dessert. With a 3 lb bag, I can make a pie and a brown betty.

The first recipe, apple crumble pie, comes from the BH&G New cookbook. The lemon gives the apple the perfect tartness and the apples remain solid, not turning to mush when sliced into half moons.


Oven 375 degrees

Thinly slice 6 cups of peeled apples.

Sprinkle apple slices with 3TBSP of lemon juice.

1/2 cup of sugar
2 TBSP all purpose flour
1/2 TSP grated lemon peel
dry peel is what I usually use, but fresh will add to the tartness even more.

Toss the apples with the sugar mixture.
Stir well.
Immediately add sugar coated apples to a frozen pie crust. Regular depth is fine if you gently press the mixture into the pan.

For the topping combine
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 TSP cinnamon
1/4 TSP ginger
1/8 TSP mace, a must for the best flavor.
Wisk well mixing all the spices into the flour.

Add 1/4 cup cold butter, divided well into 1/2 TBSP size.
Add butter to the topping mix.
Stir to coat the butter
Then using a pastry blender, incorporate the butter. You will be left with a grainy crumble when complete.

Top the pie with the crumble topping.

Line the edges of the pan with AL foil to keep the crust from burning. Done properly, the crust will end up glazed and beautiful.
Bake for 30 minutes at 375 with the foil in place. Then bake another 30 minutes with the foil removed.

Allow to cool before serving.

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Too Funny

Pictures from http://imvotingteaparty.com/

Baked Parma Rosa Penne

Necessity is the mother of invention. I won't go grocery shopping until Friday so it's use what you have day. Lack of time, 88cent pasta, left over cheeses and 25cent canned whole tomatoes set the mood for this experiment.


Prep time 15-18 minutes

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Set water to boil for 1 lb of dry penne pasta.

In a deep saute pan, add 2 TSP minced garlic to 1 tbsp olive oil. Saute until done.

Puree 2 QTY 14-16 oz cans of tomatoes in food processor
I'm sure sauce will work fine, but canned sale tomatoes were in my pantry.

About now you should be able to add pasta to the boiling water and prepare according to directions.

Add pureed tomatoes to garlic.

Toss in 1 TSP Italian seasoning. Any basil and oregano combination will do.

1/4 TSP ground Cayenne Pepper
4 oz of cream cheese
1/4 cup parmesan grated
1QTY 4oz jar of diced pimento, liquid included
1/2 TSP ground black pepper
1/2 TSP salt

Stir constantly over medium heat until pasta is finished or until the cream cheese has completely melted. Other Parma Rosa recipes call for heavy cream but I am more likely to have cream cheese on hand, plus it's on sale at least once a month.

Drain pasta.

Spray lightly an 8x11 glass casserole dish.
Put pasta into the casserole dish.
Top with tomato sauce mixture.
Stir gently to mix.
Top with a layer of grated parmesan.

Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.
Not much longer or the top noodles get crunchy.

Go do laundry!

Leftovers: This makes a lot of pasta so you can halve this and use an 8x8 pan knocking off 5-8 minutes baking time. Or if you are too busy, this makes a great lunch box addition for adults and kids.

Back to school

The kids went back to school today.

I awoke before 3am to find my daughter, a new freshman, crying. Finding it difficult to sleep with a head full of questions, fears and bubbling excitement, I had to remind her that all freshmen felt this way, tucked her in, and said good night again. At 5:30am she bounced out of bed bright eyed and ready to go. At the bus stop she realized she had neither her schedule nor the school map. I reminded her that I had pasted a one in her organizer and we went over her schedule and map short cuts. For two days prior she had poured over the schedule and the map, facebooked her friends and emailed others. As expected, she knew exactly where to go and when.

My son, on the other hand, thought nothing of returning to school and scowled as he got on the bus. What's new?

My mother is a hoarder

For about 10 years my mother has been a serious hoarder. It has become so bad that we are no longer speaking. About 5 years ago I tried to help her out. That's when I took the pictures below. Since that time it has become worse, much worse. My stepfather has given up and adds to the piles as well. As of late last year they began hoarding animals and it was then that I reached the breaking point. Last I knew they had an indoor dog and about a dozen cats. At least two of the cats were living inside and the rest lived around the front porch. These are people who have given up taking care of themselves and are in financial ruins due to compulsive shopping. Now they have adopted stray cats which they claim to have taken to the vet and two of the cats have had surgery. It is a frustrating situation to put it mildly.

Hoarding in Athens, GA: Mom's bathroom

It was after several years of avoiding regular visits, having heard on the phone that they were working on the house, that I took my son to visit them. Long ago, my mother's childish and irrational rambling raves and behavior drove my daughter away; she refused to visit. My son was quite polite and chose to focus on the two indoor cats, their numerous toys, and play stations. However, it was when we left, he let his guard down. In the car, my normally talkative child was quiet, too quiet. Eventually I asked. He was immensely bothered and overwhelmed by the house and his grandparents strange behavior. For weeks afterward, I dreamed of that horrible house. I found I had to check my own behavior; specifically, I keep a neat house, a well organized home, office and studio. Suddenly the cleanliness issue was nagging and bordered on compulsive. It took several month before these feelings passed.
Hoarding in Athens, GA: Mom's bedroom

Finally I knew I had to do something. I had to confront my mother. It's not that I had been silent before. Rather, I would ask what she was doing to take up her time. Then I would move into asking her about the cleaning situation, what she had managed to do, what she was working on. Always her answers were short, hurried through, and she would become anxious to move onto the next subject. Unfortunately, I always seemed to always hear of a sale, some discounted thing, a deal that couldn't be passed upon. Or perhaps it had been a meal out, after all, she can't cook in the kitchen due to the piles of junk. Never would she linger on the house.

The confrontation did not go well. My mother has always been a vain woman, highly emotional and given to fits of depression which led her to sleep my childhood away. "Born tired and had a relapse," was the way her own mother described her. These were the reasons I had avoided a direct confrontation until then. By the end, I had issued an ultimatum, "clean up your life if you want me and my family in it." I have regretted the decision to confront her; yet, I know that no good can come of this situation unless she takes action. She refused, going so far as to forbid me to contact the Athens, GA, authorities.

Hoarding in Athens, GA: Mom's bedroom

Over the years, my sister, the good, sweet, loyal one- and I say this with all sincerity - has tried. She and her husband went so far as to redo mom's bathroom, replacing all the fixtures, flooring and cabinets. My sister and her husband also redid my mother's other bedroom so they could have a nice new room to live in while they worked on the old double bedroom. That was the bedroom my sister had redone, combining two bedrooms to accommodate my mother's growing piles. Yet again, my mother trashed the new bedroom, layering piles on the new furniture, on top of the new floors, and overflowing the closets.

Hoarding in Athens, GA: Mom's overflow bedroom and her regular bedroom

My sister remains. I have left. I can not help her if she won't help herself. It kills me to see her choose to live this way. Further, I can't continue dealing with a person who refuses to get help for not only hoarding, but also, compulsive shopping, serious depression, eating disorders and I fear perhaps senility issues given her bizarre childish behavior. Am I the bad daughter? I guess I am. Am I a good mother? I sure as hell try. It is for my own mental well being and that of my children I can not have a relationship with my mother at this time.

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A Great Deal

Nine West Pink Purse and Coin Wallet, $10, P.S. Too in Athens, GA
My daughter loves this purse and immediately found two shirts to match the purse. Good thing we share!

The figs are in

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