First of all, Happy 4th of July! I hope that all of you celebrating the holiday this weekend have a safe and fun time cooking out, going to the parades, boating, watching fireworks, and enjoying America the Beautiful!
I knew I would be making these Lemon Nut Star Cookies the minute I saw the vibrant red, white, and blue cutouts in a Taste of Home email newsletter. You can find the recipe and few few pictures of the preparation process at the end of this post.
And now for some blogging business. Awards! A couple of weeks ago, I received my first two awards on Krista's Kitchen. And then this week a third award! I am so flattered! After almost 9 months of blogging I feel like I am just learning the ropes and meeting other bloggers! Before beginning this blog I didn't even know there were so many food blogs out there! I'd only seen one. A tiny little, obscure, rookie blog called The Pioneer Woman Cooks. Maybe you've seen it? LOL. I started a family blog about a year ago so that all of my friends and relatives could catch up with our family. Once I caught on, I decided to write a cooking and meal planning blog as well. I was getting a number of questions about my meal planning methods and recipes from friends and thought it would be so much easier to just type up the information and say, "It's on my blog" if someone requested my Rotini Salad recipe, for instance. I had no idea there was a whole food blogging sub-culture. I'm finally "meeting" other bloggers and enjoying their recipes and writings and getting to know them well enough that I could, with certainty, say "This blog is great! What wonderful recipes! What a good ideas!". So it's not that I am unappreciative of my awards that have not passed them along, it's that I wanted to pass along the awards to blogs that I truly enjoy. So without further ado, I give you the awards. Oh, one more thing...since I'm late to the game, I apologize if I pass on an award to you that you have already received.
First I received the Extraordinary and Awesome Blogger from Heidi at Tried and True Cooking with Heidi. My first award ever! I love her family friendly recipes!
I'd like to pass this award along to Katy at Food for a Hungry Soul, Heather at girlichef, Mary at My New 30 and Donna at My Tasty Treasures.
Next, I received the Premio Meme award. With this award I needed to post 7 of my personality traits, which I have already done, here. Carole of Hey Mom, What's for Dinner Tonight awarded me with the Premio Meme. I can't wait to try her Raspberry Chicken. She's got a wonderful cooking blog and if you're into travel and decorating, check out Hey Mom What's For Dinner for more of Carole's expertise.
I'd like to pass along this award to Caitlyn at My Neat Little Domestic Life and to Reeni at Cinnamon and Spice and Everything Nice. Caitlyn is actually a former student of mine (one of my favorites). I hadn't seen or talked to her in years and through the miracle of Facebook, we found each other and realized that we both blog about food! Crazy! Reeni from Cinnamon and Spice and Everything Nice has amazing, tasty recipes that I always want to try...or wish that I were just invited for dinner.
And then, this week from Rachel vs. The Kitchen, a fellow Indiana girl (I will always be an Indiana girl at heart,no matter where I live), I received the Kreativ Blogger award.
This one requires a little bit of homework. I have have to post 7 things about myself that people might find interesting. Here goes:
1. I am the oldest of 3 girls in my family. I love my little sisters (who aren't actually little anymore, but the mothers to my niece and nephews) and talk to them almost every single day.
2. When I was 15 I toured the great American West with my family. I call this period of time in my life "17 days in a big blue Suburban". It was all very Griswold. We saw everything...the Badlands, Wall Drug, Mt. Rushmore, The Grand Canyon, Jackson Hole, Cheyenne Frontier Days, the Redwood Forest, the Painted Desert, and much, much more. At the time it seemed kind of "dorky". In retrospect, it was the best trip ever!(My Carribean honeymoon aside) Some day I'd like to recreate the memory with my children.
3. I was the president of my FFA chapter my senior year of high school.
4. I began college with a double major in Agriculture Sales and Marketing and Political Science. I dropped my Poly Sci major after the first year and I didn't change my major to Family and Consumer Science Education until my (first) senior year. I love teaching and have never regretted the decision. Thank goodness my family supported me!
5. My first job out of college was teaching Parenting (basic child development to teenaged parents) and Interpersonal Relationships in an inner city high school. After that school system made cuts, I went to work for with the children's program in a long-term homeless shelter. From there, I went on to teach in one of the most priveledged and "best" public schools in my state. Talk about extremes!
6. My two favorite hobbies, besides cooking and blogging, are reading (fiction, mostly) and hiking.
7. My husband and I, and consequently, our children have moved 4 times in 6 years of marriage. When we got married, I thought we'd always stay in the same place, close to our families. 6 weeks after our honeymoon my husband's company sent him to Ohio for a few weeks to help "fix a problem". We ended up moving there. Since then, we have moved from Indiana to Ohio, back to Indiana, then to Georgia, and last summer to Ohio again... a different city this time. For a girl who grew up outside of a small town with tons of extended family around me, it suprises me that moving and discovering new places actually suits me. That said, I know that our days of moving are drawing to a close. We want our children to grow up in one place that they can call home.
I'm passing on the Kreativ Blogger Award to:
1. Chow and Chatter
2. Elizabeth's Edible
3. Colleen's Recipes
4. The Ungourmet
5. Keep Worthy Recipes
6. Sporadic Cook
7. Chicago Mom at What's for Dinner?
The rules to this award are as follows:
1. Thank the person who nominated you for this award.
2. Copy the logo and place it on your blog.
3. Link to the person who nominated you for this award.
4. Name 7 things about yourself that people might find interesting.
5. Nominate 7 Kreativ Bloggers.
6. Post links to the 7 blogs you nominate.
7. Leave a comment on each of the blogs letting them know they have been nominated.
Lemon Nut Star Cookies
Here's whatcha need: flour, confectioner's sugar, butter, eggs, baking soda, salt, lemon (for juice and zest), cream, and nuts. While there are almonds in this picture, I actually used pecans. When I opened the almonds they smelled a little "off", then I looked at the date and found that they expired in 2006. I'm not sure how they remained in my pantry unnoticed through two moves. Anyhow, I like pecans better, so I used pecans.
I had my assistant mix these up according to the recipe. Isn't she a snappy dresser? Just look at all of the prints competing for attention in her carefully chosen ensemble. Such a little fashionista.
Chill the dough for at least two hours. I divided mine into three individually wrapped parts to chill. A heads up, this makes a very soft dough. 2 hours is not enough. I'd definitely chill it overnight. We tried to roll it out after 3 hours and had a mess on our hands. Also, forget about "lightly floured surface". You'll need some flour. It's sticky stuff.
Ahh, we survived the rolling and cutting. Put the cookies on a baking sheet and pop them into a 350 degree oven for 8-10 minutes. The cookies below were tiny, so they only needed about 6 minutes.
Lemon Nut Star Cookies from Taste of Home...again.
1 cup butter, softened
2 cups confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
4 teaspoons half-and-half cream
2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
3-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup ground almonds
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 cups confectioners' sugar
1/4 cup light corn syrup
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Red and blue food coloring
In a large bowl, cream butter and confectioners' sugar until light and fluffy. Add
eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the lemon juice,
cream and lemon peel. Combine the flour, almonds, baking soda and salt; gradually
add to creamed mixture. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours or until easy to handle. On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to 1/8-in. thickness. Cut with a floured star-shaped cookie cutter. Place 1 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 350° for 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove to wire racks to cool. For glaze, in a small bowl, combine the confectioners' sugar, corn syrup and lemon juice until smooth. Divide into three bowls. Tint one portion red and one portion blue; leave the third portion plain. Spread overcookies; let stand overnight for glaze to harden.
Yield: about 5-1/2 dozen.