Thursday, July 2, 2009

Happy Birthday America and Some Blogging Stars

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 eggs
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.


chow and chatter said...

thank you so much for the award loved learning about you, love your blog and and these cookies are perfect for today have a fab 4th Rebecca

Mary | Deep South Dish said...

Awwww thanks for thinkin' of me!!

LOVE the cookies - what a beautiful job! Happy 4th!!

Heather S-G said...

First of all, these cookies rock! So fun for the 4th (or anytime really). Congrats on your awards, it was fun learning a few facts about YOU!!! AND, thank you SOOOOOOO much for passing an award on to me [...with a big smile and a little blush] :) This "current" (because I'm not originally from here) Indiana girl loves your blog!

theUngourmet said...

Your cute are so cute! Perfect for today!

I started blogging after following the Pioneer Woman's blog too! She is so talented!

Thanks so much for the sweet award. I think your blog is wonderful and it was so nice reading about you. :0)

Coleens Recipes said...

Great cookies for this American holiday! Thank you very much for the award!!

Reeni said...

Congratulations on all your awards! Thanks for passing one on to me - your welcome for dinner any time! These cookies are wonderful. So festive! And your daughter is adorable! Thanks for sharing those tidbits about yourself.

Donna-FFW said...

Krista.. thank you so so very much for thinking of me. I so appreciate the award.

Your cookie letters look fantastic and I love the sound of the flavors.

Katy ~ said...

Krista, how festive these cookies are. You are so clever and so good; I rarely think to do something holiday-ish like this. And isn't your little one is just as precious as an angel! Oh my goodness don't you just want to smoosh her up with hugs and kisses all the time.

Congratulations on your blogging award! You certainly have a lovely blog with terrific recipes. I love coming out here and hanging out with you, seeing what's on the menu and copying your ideas because they are too delicious to pass up. Awards are terrific fun and affirming to be recognized and it's gratifying to be appreciated by one's peers.

However, Krista, I made the decision shortly after I started my blog not to participate in the blogging awards activity. I have great fondness the blogs I follow and for those who find my blog interesting enough to bookmark and follow. I simply cannot choose I feel each and every one is special and offers something unique and delicious. For me the reward is when someone cares enough to stop by, leave a comment, and perhaps make something I've posted. It all makes my heart swell with delight and is more than I hoped for when I started blogging.

Dearest Krista, thank you so much for your thoughtfulness. I treasure your thoughtfulness in my heart where it keeps me warm.

the twins said...

those cookies are so cute, thanks for the recipe!

Julie said...

Thank you so much for the award! I loved reading your 7 things, and the cookies look super :)

Elizabeth said...

Thank you Krista - I am honored!

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