Monday, April 30, 2012

Anne of Green Gables April: Raspberry Cordial and Peanut Butter Cookies

"I can just imagine myself sitting down at the head of the table and pouring out the tea," said Anne, shutting her eyes ecstatically. "And asking Diana if she takes sugar! I know she doesn't but of course I'll ask her just as if I didn't know. And then pressing her to take another piece of fruit cake and another helping of preserves. Oh, Marilla, it's a wonderful sensation just to think of it. Can I take her into the spare room to lay off her hat when she comes? And then into the parlor to sit?"
"No. The sitting room will do for you and your company. But there's a bottle half full of raspberry cordial that was left over from the church social the other night. It's on the second shelf of the sitting-room closet and you and Diana can have it if you like, and a cooky to eat with it along in the afternoon."
-Anne of Green Gables, Lucy Maude Montgomery

I looked up several Raspberry Cordial recipes, and none of them seemed quite right, as they called for whiskey, and I am pretty sure that's not the recipe Marilla used. But I came across this gem from the "Anne of Green Gables Cookbook," by Kate MacDonald, and it is lovely. Refreshing and delicious, it is basically a twist on a raspberry lemonade. Also, it's a lovely color. Try it. You'll love it!

Raspberry Cordial
(Slightly adapted from Kate MacDonald's recipe)

  • 2 C. Raspberries (Fresh or Frozen)
  • 1 1/4 C. Sugar
  • 3 Lemons
  • 6 Cups Water

Mash raspberries and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat until sugar is dissolved. Add juice of the first two lemons. bring just to a simmer, and remove and strain. Add water and garnish with slices of lemon if desired.

And since Anne serves cookies with raspberry cordial, I have to share my favorite new cookie:

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies with Peanut Butter Cream Filling
These are like Girl Scout's Do-Si-Do's only WAY BETTER!
(Adapted from allrecipes and Two Peas and Their Pod)

  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup Regular Oats
  • 4 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
  • 3 tablespoons heavy whipping cream

In a large bowl, cream together 1/2 cup butter or margarine, 1/2 cup peanut butter, white sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla. Add egg and beat well.

In another bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add these dry ingredients to the creamed mixture. Put the oatmeal in a food processor and grind until it's a fine, sandy texture. Add to creamed mixture and stir.

Drop by teaspoons onto greased baking sheet, and press each mound down with a fork to form 1/4 inch thick cookies. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 10 minutes, or until edges just begin to brown.

To Make Filling: Cream 3 tablespoons butter with powdered sugar and 1/2 cup peanut butter. Then add the cream and beat until nice and fluffy (About 3-5 minutes). Spread between cookie halves, and sandwich them together. Enjoy!

I double this recipe because I get so frustrated by baking 36 cookies and only having 18 in the end. Not like that's not enough, but believe me: you will want more than 18 of these. Especially if you are expected to be sharing.

And there you have it: All the wonderful flavors of peanut butter and jelly, only with more sugar and fat, and less of that whole grain bread getting in the way :)

Linking Up:

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Anne of Green Gables April: Anne Quote on Damask

The joy of sincere work and worthy aspiration and congenial friendship were to be hers; nothing could rob her of her birthright of fancy or her ideal world of dreams. And there was always the bend in the road!  "'God's in his heaven, all's right with the world,'" whispered Anne softly.
-A Bend in the Road, Anne of Green Gables, Lucy Maude Montgomery

There are so many reasons to love Anne Shirley. I think it's interesting that so many of us, from so many walks of life, identify with her in such a deep and clear way. I love Anne because we are alike in so many ways. For starters, we both think about our noses too much (My friend Emily told me I had a perfect nose in college, and made me just as vain as Anne on that score). But Anne shows me things that I wish I were: She inspires me with the brave way she looks at the world. And when she quotes this line, it reminds me that Faith helps us to see God's hand in our lives. All really is right with the world, if we can just have a grain of His perspective to see it.

A few months back, I saw someone in blogland do really cool frames out of 2ftX2ft boards, and I thought it was so lovely and I promptly forgot about it. Luckily, Jennifer from DearLillie made some amazing Chevron frames recently, and inspired me to get my tush in gear. So here it is:

I took a 2x2 foot piece of plywood (Works out to $2 a piece when it's cut out of a 4X8 sheet at Home Depot), painted it, and stenciled on some damask with a brown glaze. 

Then I added hooks on the back and a nail on the front to hang pictures from. 

Now I can switch out pictures at will. 

But for the time being, my Dad's baby pic and this quote fill their spaces quite nicely, I think.

I love having baby pictures of my parents hanging in my house. Do you know what Anne says about babies? "Each one is a miracle." Looking at those sweet little dimples, I couldn't agree more.

Linking up:

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Anne of Green Gables April: Music Nursery Pillow

Miss Lavendar tripped off to the kitchen on hospitable thoughts intent and the girls found their way up to the spare room, an apartment as white as its door, lighted by the ivy-hung dormer window and looking, as Anne said, like the place where happy dreams grew.
"This is quite an adventure, isn't it?" said Diana. "And isn't Miss Lavendar sweet, if she is a little odd? She doesn't look a bit like an old maid."
"She looks just as music sounds, I think," answered Anne.
-Anne of Avonlea, Lucy Maude Montgomery

Naptime around here equals dish cleaning, laundry folding, or passing out. When I am very lucky, those things are mostly done, and I can get a craft made. Today, Little G fell asleep, and I made a pillow for her nursery with a quote from Anne of Avonlea. 

I printed the reversed quote onto freezer paper (Make sure you are cutting the paper as close to 8 1/2 X 11 as you possibly can, and that you are printing on to the shiny side.)
*I used a bubble jet printer. I cannot tell you whether laser works out or not, since I don't own one. Sorry!*

 Then I ironed it (Glossy side down) onto muslin and rubbed the letters before peeling back the freezer paper. AND I repeated the process because it was just too light for my tastes. (Make sure to line up the second sheet exactly with the existing letters or you're going to have an off centered mess.)

I think this would be adorable on a bolster pillow, but I had a square form laying around, so that's what you get!

Then I made a little flower from muslin scraps. I can't wait to move this to the nursery, but we DO NOT disturb naptime around here unless it's totally necessary. Trust me. 

Monday, April 23, 2012

Anne of Green Gables April: "He Called Me Carrots" Carrot Torte

"Come here, child, and let me have a look at you. 
 Lawful heart, did any one ever see such freckles? 
And hair as red as carrots!"  
~Mrs. Lynde, Anne of Green Gables

My husband married me for my hard body and my carrot cake . . . (which means he married me for my carrot cake).  As my hubby's birthday is this week, I decided that I would spend some time today finding ways to amp up the carrot cake for his big day.  I've tried versions with pineapple and coconut and nuts, but the birthday boy always says that he likes the original version the best.  Since I couldn't tinker with the recipe, I decided to tinker with the presentation instead.  

The result is a mini version of a 3 layered cake, but I like to think of it as a carrot torte.  It sounds more glamorous that way. The key to creating an individual-sized torte was a magical soup can.  I had heard of people cooking bread in soup cans, so I figured why not try cooking cake in a soup can?

Here is what I did:  After cleaning out a can, I sprayed some Pam in the bottom and dusted it with flour.  Then, I lined the inside edges of the can with parchment paper and let the ends overlap so the cake batter wouldn't touch the can.  I also cut the parchment so that it was just a bit taller than the can itself.  Finally, I added my cake batter to the can, put the can on a cookie sheet, popped it in the oven, and poof!  Out came a perfectly cylindrical, moist, individual-sized carrot cake!

After letting the cake cool, I slid it out of the can, unwrapped the parchment, and sliced the cake into four 3/4" layers.  (I decided to only use three of them for my torte and inhaled the fourth layer in the name of 'quality control'.)  I then filled the layers with a tangy cream cheese frosting and topped them with a strawberry garnish.  I like to think of the result as a head-turning version of the original.  And may I be so bold as to say that Anne might have been a little less irked at being called "carrots" if she had been served one of these darlings . . . 

"He Called Me Carrots" Carrot Torte

2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 eggs
1 cup oil
3 cups shredded carrots

Mix dry and wet ingredients separately.  Add together with the carrots.  Mix until well blended.  Fill approximately 10 soup cans between 1/2 to 2/3 of the way full.  Place cans on a cookie sheet and bake for 25 minutes, or until the center bounces back to the touch.

Tangy Cream Cheese Frosting

8 oz cream cheese
4 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 lb powdered sugar, more or less (this is negotiable depending on how thick you like your frosting)

Mix on high speed until silky smooth.  

{via Pinterest}

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Anne of Green Gables April: Wedding Day Wishes

“For a moment Anne's heart fluttered queerly and for the first time her eyes faltered under Gilbert's gaze and a rosy flush stained the paleness of her face. It was as if a veil that had hung before her inner consciousness had been lifted, giving to her view a revelation of unsuspected feelings and realities. Perhaps, after all, romance did not come into one's life with pomp and blare, like a gay knight riding down; perhaps it crept to one's side like an old friend through quiet ways; perhaps it revealed itself in seeming prose, until some sudden shaft of illumination 
flung athwart its pages betrayed the rhythm and the music, perhaps. . . 
perhaps. . . love unfolded naturally out of a beautiful friendship,
as a golden-hearted rose slipping from its green sheath. ”
― Lucy Maud Montgomery, Anne of Avonlea 

Someday I hope to run across a time machine because I have a long list of things I would like to do differently.  Item number one on the list:  wear a different wedding dress.  I'm not sure what possessed me in the summer of 1996 to lay aside good taste and good fashion sense, but I did, and my wedding dress is proof.  I was so obsessed with finding an affordable dress that I forgot the cardinal rule of dress shopping: a bride should feel beautifully transcendent on her wedding day because she is going to see those pictures (and that dress) for the rest of her life.  My wedding dress was neither beautiful nor transcendent.  In fact, it looked more like something I'd snagged at an Amish garage sale with its long sleeves, frumpy waist, and neckline that left everything to the imagination---including my collarbone.  I should have looked like Grace Kelly on my wedding day, but I showed up looking like Laura Ingalls instead.  Luckily I picked the right guy, and luckily he happened to like "Little House on the Prairie" because he looked at my 80 dollar dress that puckered in the chest and still willed himself to say "I do."

I've gone over it approximately 3764 times in my head, and I'm still not sure exactly what dress I would wear if I could do it over again.  However, the more I think about Anne of Green Gables this month, the more I'm sure my dress would have an Edwardian nod to it.  So in honor of Anne, and of romance, and of spring weddings, and of wistful wishes, I've compiled a gallery of Edwardian wedding dresses from the turn-of-the-century, as well as some more "modern" takes on the era.

And now for some Edwardian Era-inspired wedding dresses 100 years later . . .

I love how the soft lines of these dresses compliment the feminine feel of the lace overlays
The dress on the bottom right is so lovely it makes my heart hurt . . .

Couldn't you just see Mary Crawley from Downton Abbey wearing one of these?
Not only is this woman's dress inspired by fashions from the turn-of-the-century, but her raven hair and porcelain-colored skin remind me of what Diana Barry must have looked like . . .
I hope that all of you are thrilled with the dress you wore (or will wear) on your wedding day.  But for those of you in my regretful boat, don't despair.  If ever I find that time machine, I'll be sure to save you a seat. 

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Anne of Green Gables April: Farmhouse Silhouette Pillows

"The cow," gasped Anne, breathless from running, crashing into Gilbert, and being hysterical, 
"the wretched, miserable cow! I came out into the yard this morning—
and Dolly was IN THE MILKING PEN."
"What?" cried Gilbert. "But Dad drove her to Charlottetown last night—"
"That's the worst part," groaned Anne tragically, wringing her hands in her apron. 
"It WASN'T Dolly—it was Mr. Harrison's cow—the one he bought from Mr. Bell last year!"

Anne Shirley and I have at least one thing in common: we're not good with animals.  I've never ridden a horse that doesn't bolt.  I've never had a cat that didn't make me sneeze.  And once, while pet-sitting a neighbor's rabbit, I found the white little ball of fluff lying lifeless in the corner of its cage.  I'm not negligent---just cursed.  I've heard people say that you should try raising an animal before you raise children.  In my case, I'm thinking that once my children have all left the house, I might try my hand at raising a goldfish.

Despite my lack of luck with animals--and in honor of dear Anne and her cow Dolly--I decided to spruce up my front and back porches a bit with some fun animal silhouette pillows.  
(Thank you, Dear Lillie, for yet another brilliant idea . . . ) 

I found some red outdoor throw pillows in a bin at Walmart, purchased some some sticky-backed felt, traced on some animal silhouettes, cut them out, and ta da!  Farmhouse pillows!
 (Jennifer has a quick and easy tutorial here on how to do this.)

My husband thinks the color has partially melted his retinas, but I love the pop of red against the white rocking chairs, and the grey and black exterior of the front porch.

Anne of Green Gables April wouldn't be the same without some farmhouse charm.  And I must admit that I am thrilled to finally have some animals in my life that won't be going "belly-up" on me anytime soon.  Happy silhouetting!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Anne of Green Gables April: A Tour of Prince Edward Island

I love love love to read the way Anne describes beautiful Avonlea So I thought it would be fun to tour Prince Edward Island a bit with her...


“Anne came dancing home in the purple winter twilight across the snowy places.” 


“Look at that sea, girls--all silver and shadow and vision of things not seen. We couldn't enjoy its loveliness any more if we had millions of dollars and ropes of diamonds.”  


“It was November--the month of crimson sunsets, parting birds, deep, sad hymns of the sea, passionate wind-songs in the pines. Anne roamed through the pineland alleys in the park and, as she said, let that great sweeping wind blow the fogs out of her soul.” 

“In imagination she sailed over storied seas that wash the distant shining shores of "faĆ«ry lands forlorn," where lost Atlantis and Elysium lie, with the evening star for pilot, to the land of Heart's Desire. And she was richer in those dreams than in realities; for things seen pass away, but the things that are unseen are eternal.”  -Anne of The Island


“I wonder what a soul…a person's soul…would look like,' said Priscilla dreamily.
'Like that, I should think,' answered Anne, pointing to a radiance of sifted sunlight streaming through a birch tree. 'Only with shape and features of course. I like to fancy souls as being made of light. And some are all shot through with rosy stains and quivers…and some have a soft glitter like moonlight on the sea…and some are pale and transparent like mist at dawn.” -Anne of Avonlea


“The woods call to us with a hundred voices, but the sea has one only — a mighty voice that drowns our souls in its majestic music. The woods are human, but the sea is of the company of the archangels.”  -Anne's House of Dreams


“Do you know what I think Mayflowers are, Marilla? I think they must be the souls of the flowers that died last summer, and this is their heaven.” 

 “One June evening, when the orchards were pink-blossomed again, when the frogs were singing silverly sweet in the marshes about the head of the Lake of Shining Waters, and the air was full of the savor of clover fields and balsamic fir woods, Anne was sitting by her gable window. She had been studying her lessons, but it had grown too dark to see the book, so she had fallen into wide-eyed reverie, looking out past the boughs of the Snow Queen, once more bestarred with its tufts of blossom.” 


Happy Saturday!

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