Tuesday, October 26, 2010

ginger gems and pumpkin dip

Do you have seasonal foods that you only seem to make at certain times of the year?  I tend to have an collection of desserts and dishes that I only make in the autumn.  Pumpkin cake, pumpkin curry soup, and pilgrim cakes, just to name a few.
Ginger gems are one of those cookies that just scream autumn to me.  They are ginger snaps that you dip in a creamy pumpkin dip.  The crunchy/chewy cookie and the creamy sweet dip are perfect together. 
I gathered this recipe from a friend many years ago and it's one that's stood the test of time. (thanks Beth Ann!)  I go back to it over and over again.  When I made them to take to a meeting, my guy asked me why I didn't make them all summer.  I was trying to explain to him that they were an autumn treat.  "Mom", he said, "These are too good to be just for autumn time. Make them all year."  Well.  There you have it.  I guess we'll be enjoying these year round. 
Here's the recipe in case you'd like to try them:
Ginger Gems
*3/4 cup shortening         *4 TBSP molasses           *1 cup sugar             *1 egg
*2 cups flour                  *2 tsp baking soda           * 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
*1/4 tsp. nutmeg              *1/2 tsp allspice               *1/2 tsp. cloves
*1/2 tsp. ginger

Cream shortening, sugar, molasses and egg.  Add dry ingredients.  Chill for 1 hour.  Roll into balls and then roll in sugar.  Bake 10 minutes at 375 until edges are light brown and middles are soft.  Serve with Pumpkin Dip. 
Pumpkin Dip
*15 oz. can pumpkin pie filling (without the spices)
*1 8oz. block of cream cheese, softened
*2 cups powdered sugar
*1/2 tsp. ginger
*1 tsp. cinnamon

Mix and chill. 

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

y is for yarn

I'm typically a one project gal.  I like to knit one thing at a time.  I figure that my chances of finishing a project are increased exponentially if it is the only thing I'm knitting.  However, I have three items that I'm currently working on.  Don't ask me how that happened.  I have no idea.  Obviously, my self control is lacking at the present. 
In my knitting bag:
gaia shoulder hug #2
a dropped stitch scarf (pattern compliments of Kristyn)
a super sweet baby sweater (pattern compliments of Beth)
What this means is that I won't have any knitting to show for a while and then all of a sudden I'll look like I'm cranking out the handknits.  Feast or famine.  Actually, this weekend should bring some significant progress to my projects.  John and I are headed over to Morgantown for the West Virginia/Syracuse game and I'll be knitting my way over the mountains. I won't be able to knit during the game...I'm way too into the action. (sorry Jodi, I'll be cheering for the Mountaineers!)  In the meantime, I'll keep rotating my projects and adding more items to my queque on Ravelry. oh. And making dinner and doing laundry..... What's in your knitting bag?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

you really can go back...

Twenty years ago I left this place and headed off to 'start my life'.  I was a fresh-faced young thing heading to the altar and then off to a new teaching job.  I remember the drive home - my car loaded down with posters, sweatshirts, a big stuffed dog, a typewriter and 4 years worth of memories.  My parents followed me in their mini van carrying all the rest of my stuff.  We weren't even on the turnpike and my mind was already thinking about the future.   
Fast forward twenty years plus a couple of months and I walked back onto campus just amazed.  I'm amazed at the changes that twenty years has brought.  Changes not just on campus but in myself.  Those 4 years were some of the best years....I made life long friends, I worked through fears, I discovered who I really was (and who I wasn't), I took stands, I ventured outside of my comfort zone, I didn't back down, I learned to like coffee, I laughed until I cried and I moved on to the next season of my life a whole lot better for having been there. 
This time back on campus, I had a daughter who was taking it all in with eyes that wondered if she'd be sitting at those same cafeteria tables, walking those same walks, sitting in those classrooms learning and soaking and growing. I watched her wondering the very same things.   I tear up when I realize how close she is to being off on her own and learning those lessons that seem like they happened to me just only yesterday.  I'm thankful to know that the same God who walked me through all my lessons will continue to walk my daughter (and all my children) through hers as well.  
It was a wonderful weekend reconnecting with friends.  We met for our twentieth reunion.  The weather was gorgeous, the food was better than I remembered  and more memories were added to the trunk of my car.  I realized that you really can go back....although nothing is ever quite the same.  but that's o.k. 

Sunday, October 3, 2010

hello october

I'm so happy to see October...
You see, September is a birthday busy month in our family.  This year it was loaded with big birthdays...my mom turned 70 and Maggie turned 16!  John had a special birthday in there too! To say I've been busy organizing and scheming and cleaning up would be an understatement.  Here's a glimpse at some of the celebrating we've been doing over the last 4 weeks.  (There are a lot of photos because I want you to get a real sense of my exhaustion elation!)
birthday celebration #1: friends from Kentucky and an early celebration (we had to take advantage of their visit and celebrate life long friends as they turn 16)
birthday celebration #2: surprise party for Maggie and her friend Sarah (both have birthdays in September, so we did a combo surprise party for the two of them ~ 30 teens + 10 pizzas = fun!)
birthday celebration #3: John's birthday ...outside on the deck watching the WVU/Maryland football game while picking crabs and hanging with good friends.
birthday celebration #4: Mom's birthday weekend...dinner out with her friends and then shopping all day together Saturday
birthday celebration #5: Maggie's actual birthday and family dinner
What a wonderful month it was, full of celebrating, rejoicing in milestones and making memories.  Every weekend was loaded with some sort of party or celebration. We went through 5 birthday cakes...whew.   I'm not sure what happened to all of the cakes I made for Maggie...they all cracked open.  I told Maggie it was symbolic of all the blessings that would spill into her life in the up and coming year, that there would be so many that she wouldn't be able to contain them. (but if anyone can tell me why they split...feel free to enlighten me)  So, now that September is over, I'm looking forward to enjoying the beauty of the season.  How about you, what are you looking forward to as we say hello to October?