Friday, March 23, 2012

Bee Treeats:White Queen/Red Queen Shortbread Hearts


Welcome to a new feature: Bee Treeats, where I'll be featuring yummy recipes that have either appeared in a recent post or in our kitchen.  Today I'll kick things off by sharing a new weakness- shortbread! My fondness for shortbread is newly acquired, starting with this Elvish lembas bread for a Lord of the Rings birthday.  It was so good- I was hooked!

I have used great restraint to not whip up a batch every weekend. I waited until the next birthday to make it- in the form of these beautiful heart cookies, courtesy of the Joy of Baking website (and only slightly modified by me).  The colors went with our wonderland theme perfectly, and a double batch made exactly enough cookies for each guest to have one. These are thick cookies (but that didn't stop me from eating mine AND one left behind by someone else- oh, the hardships of being a hostess!).  The tartness of the raspberry jam balances the buttery richness of the cookie quite nicely- but feel free to experiment with jam flavors if raspberry isn't your thing.

 Raspberry White Chocolate Shortbreads 

INGREDIENTS:

Shortbread:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 t salt
1 cup butter, room temperature
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 t pure vanilla extract
1/2 t almond extract

Filling:
1/4-1/2 cup seedless raspberry jam
2 oz white chocolate, grated

Whisk flour and salt together in a small bowl.  Set aside. 
In the bowl of your mixer, beat the butter until smooth (about 1 minute).  Add the sugar and beat until smooth (about 2 minutes). Beat in vanilla and almond extracts. Gently stir in the flour mixture just until incorporated- you don't want to overbeat at this point, or you will end up with tough cookies. flatten the dough into a disk shape, wrap in plastic wrap, and chill the dough for at least an hour.

Preheat oven to 350° with the rack in the middle of the oven. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough until it is about 1/4" thick (I used two rulers wrapped in plastic wrap to make them an even thickness.  You can also use paint stirrers wrapped the same way).  Using a 2"-3" cookie cutter (heart, round square) cut out the dough. Use a smaller cookie cutter (3/4"-1") in the same shape to cut out the centers of half of the cookies (this forms the "window" in the sandwich cookie).  Place the cut cookies (and small cut outs)  on one baking sheet, and the solid cookies on another. Place in the fridge for about 15 minutes so the dough firms up and doesn't spread too much when you bake.  When chilled, bake for 10 minutes, or until cookies are lightly.  Cool on a wire rack.

To assemble cookies:
Place cookies with the cut-outs on a wire rack and dust the tops with powdered sugar.

Flip the uncut cookies over, and spread 1/4-1/2 t of jam on the bottom of the cookie.  When assembled, the cookies will be placed bottom to bottom.  Sprinkle with a little grated white chocolate. Place the cut-out cookie on top and gently sandwich them together, making sure not to smudge the powdered sugar. Using a small spoon, fill the cut-out with a little more jam- making sure to not over-fill. 
Yield: About 12 sandwich cookies. (plus some little snack size cut outs!)

***You can store the unassembled cookies for several days in an airtight container.  It is best, though, to assemble the cookies the same day as serving in order to keep the cookies crisp. Alternatively, on days where you don't want the hassle, skip the filling and just cut out cookies- either way, they are a great treeat!
 xoxo

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Wonderland


We recently celebrated a certain now 7 year old's birthday, with an Alice in Wonderland dress up tea party.  It was so much fun!  We had a few friends sleep over the night before, and after dinner we spent time making paper lanterns to decorate the tea party with.


I think we have an ambi- she was cutting left and right handed!



After all that crafting, we got snug into jammies,  made some popcorn and watched the animated Alice in Wonderland.


The morning hours flew by, with sleeping in and hurried preparations.  There were a billion things that I had wanted to get done that had to be scrapped because of time...but I'm having to get used to that with a wee babe.  Thankfully everyone pitched in, and it was so much fun!














It was a mix of the old animated Disney Alice and Tim Burton's Alice, and it worked out great.  Everyone looked so cute, and the White Queen/birthday girl had a day she won't ever forget!  We love you Olivia!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Fabric Love

I love picking up fabric at the thrift stores- usually they have bags of random pieces for a low price.  If I like what I can see, I get it- it's really like a mystery grab bag! Thankfully, most of the time I've gotten some really cool stuff.  These are recent finds:


I love these- especially the one on the right.  I can totally see a cute skirt, some cool pillows, and random projects coming from this (maybe a chair cushion?!).  It's well over 3 yards of fabric, so I am excited to have found this! 


So Happy!

This next one was sandwiched in between some fabric, and a neat surprise. It's cool because it's a panel, so there are different pictures to it...







This next piece was hanging, and not in a bag.  I loved it right away and grabbed it for the fabric.  It ended up  being curtains.  I was going to hold onto them for a project...


When I got them home, I realized that with some sewing magic, I could transform them to fit our kitchen windows. They came out super cute, and inspired a little switch in the kitchen.  The very next thrift trip, I found this for under $2.00...

And I DO!!!



Isn't it funny how this seems to happen- things just come together sometimes when you aren't even trying!  I had a few other things that I've been holding on to in this same color/style- so we are enjoying a happy change for spring.  Do you like to change things up seasonally?
xoxo























     
      




Saturday, March 10, 2012

Coffee, Tea, Soda Pop...

Oh dear me! :)   I have been finding some fun stuff lately, and I'll be sharing it with you in the next few posts.  First up are some great drinking buddies.  This carafe was the first in the grouping.


I really love the look of this.  It makes me want a cup of hot coffee and pie.  It says "Made in Sweden" on the bottom, along with this trademark:


It's a crown with "JUNE" underneath.  Does anyone know anything about this manufacturer?  Google was useless.  I would love to know more.

I found some super cute cups, too- in separate trips.  First, this adorable Herself the Elf mug:



Soooo cute- such a nice way to start the morning!  Then yesterday I found this amazing set of four Takahashi retro flower mugs and saucers...

These make me so happy!  I love the colors and design, and I know a few little girls that can't wait to get their hands on these... :)

I also found this complete set of Libbey glassware- in the original box!  I love these glasses, and they will be making an appearance at a certain soon-to-be seven year old's party...

Hello, 1975!



I love the flowers (are you sensing a theme?!) and the bubble design at the bottom.  It was a great find for us, as usually sets come in four or six, but we needed 8, and all three sizes were present and accounted for!  I've been having to clear a bit of space for some of these new things, but I really don't mind.  It's so much fun to find these vintage items when they are also super useable.  I'll be back soon with some more thrift magic- have a beautiful weekend!
xoxo

*Linked up with Her Library Adventures flea market finds...check out all the fun stuff!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

I Love Fun Mail!

A few weeks ago I had some nice things waiting for me in my mailbox...which is soooo much better than bills and junk. :)  They came in the middle of a nasty sinus infection, so it was perfect timing to cheer me up!

First up, my mom found a SWEET Pyrex butter dish for me.  I've been wanting one, but haven't seen any in my thrifting.  She found it for $1.00, and with half-off day...YUP! Fifty Cents! 

Cool Woodland Pattern
I'm afraid my mom now has the Pyrex bug after this score...she has scored a few bowls for herself and is constantly thinking of the thrifts now...someone call a doctor, cause the lady has the fever!

My bloggy friend Amber, over at I Heart Everything was having a fundraiser of sorts for her sweet ol' Dodge Dart Wagon.  She has an Etsy shop with some cool vintage finds, and I was able to pick up this:



She was sweet and stuck a few great surprises in my order for me and the kiddos...



Vintage Pyrex Ad- I have that Primary Yellow Bowl! :)

Fun Stickers, and this cool '60/'61 Activity Book

Take a gander at a very cool project:



Oh, Yes Please!!!
Now if I can figure out a way to enlarge this stuff. ;)  Thanks, Mom and Amber for making my week more cheery!