Tao of Ducks: What Do You Mean You’re Trying To Work

Trying to get some work done today. It’s almost 60 degrees outside, so the patio door is open.  That just leads to this:

We are going to start a dedicated Youtube channel for the ducks. Just waiting for my GoPro to arrive. Because they HATE cameras and my only chance of catching their antics is via stealth.

Stay tuned…


 

Waiting On Santa Treats

Look at these well-behaved pups. Santa must have some really good treats. Missing: reindeer antlers. Scout broke hers in her enthusiasm to get them off, so we went without. May get individual photos with the remaining pair.  Because what’s a holiday without embarrassing my pets.

One more Holiday Gifts recipe coming up, as I finish baking the last of the spritz cookies.


 

Waiting For Santa

This is Gabe’s favorite spot this year. And how he gets there is adorable. He’ll come into the livingroom, crouch and do the butt wiggle, and then charge full speed to the tree. Then he snuggles down.

Santa’s Danedeer may make an appearance later today. Until then…


 

Holiday Gifts: Sesame Brittle

Always a fun treat to find on a cookie tray. These sweet, addictive bites are a breeze to make.

Such a simple recipe. No candy thermometer needed. I used to use oiled wax paper, but oiled parchment works better. The heat of the candy on the wax paper melts it in places. Difficult to peel off.

Sesame Brittle

  • ½ cup butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup toasted sesame seeds
  • salt

saucepan, parchment, and baking sheet Continue reading

Holiday Gifts: Pecan Cookies

These have several names: Mexican Wedding Cookies, Russian Tea Cakes, or just Pecan Cookie Balls. Whatever you call them, they are melt-in-your-mouth delicious.

Pecan Cookies

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 ¼ cups flour
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 cup chopped nuts pecans
  • Powdered sugar for rolling

Preheat oven to 350°. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Continue reading

Holiday Gifts: Instant Pot Dinners for Two

 

Getting my parents Christmas gifts is impossible. They really don’t want more stuff and if I give them cash, they give it back. ❤

This year, since I was traveling home last week, I decided the best thing I could do was cook for them. So that’s what I did. I made twelve meals for two.

This included:

Spinach Tomato Soup (recipe here)

Spinach Lasagna (recipe here)

Chicken Tortilla Soup (recipe here)

Shredded Chicken – I shredded two pounds of chicken that I cooked with garlic, sage, rosemary and basil in the Multi-Pot/Instant Pot. They can then use it for chicken salad or BBQ chicken.

Chicken Noodle Soup

  • 1 lb chicken, diced
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 32 ounces low-sodium chicken broth
  • 32 ounces of veggie broth ( I use my vitamix to blend carrots, celery, garlic, onion to make a quick, nutritious vegetable broth)
  • 12-ounce sliced carrots (I use frozen)
  • 12-ounce green beans (I use frozen)
  • 3 stalks of celery, diced
  • 1/2 onion diced (optional, my parents love onions)
  • 10 oz of small bowtie pasta or egg noodles.

Continue reading

Holiday Gifts: A Variety of Spritz Butter Cookies

In honor of National Cookie Day, my favorite Christmas cookie recipe:

Spritz Cookies

I love spritz butter cookies. They’re tiny little, melt-in-your-mouth bites that go great with a cup of coffee. I didn’t realize how easy they were to make. It helped that a friend of a friend gifted me her all-metal, ratchet handled press. These are not easy to come by any more, at least not when I went looking. Most of the new ones are partially plastic and received tepid reviews, especially for durability and ease of use.

I love all the cute designs. Although my Christmas trees kind of look like trilobites, they taste great.

I have also upped the ante and made zesty butter cookies – one with lime zest and another with lemon zest and dust with citrus powdered sugar. Recipe here.

Spritz Raw

Spritz Cookies

  • 1 cup butter, softened/room temp
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3 egg yolks, room temp
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Continue reading

Holiday Gifts: Spicy-Sweet Pecans

I received this as an early Christmas gift. Yum. They are addictive. The rosemary is the surprise ingredient that takes it up a notch. This will make your gift boxes and bags really stand out.

Friends Mary and BJ included the recipe.  Here you go:

Mary and BJ’s Spicy-Sweet Pecans

  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tsp finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp finely crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 large egg white
  • 4 cups pecan halves

cooking spray, wax paper, bowls, baking sheet, parchment paper Continue reading