In a well-furnished kitchen there are not only crystal goblets and silver platters, but waste cans and compost buckets---some containers used to serve fine meals, others to take out the garbage.
Become the kind of container God can use to present any and every kind of gift to his guests for their blessing.
" You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies." Psalm 23:5

Thursday, December 23, 2010


I have been a slave to my kitchen for the past week. I did stop and make myself this cheery Christmas egg salad for lunch one of the days. A lettuce leaf with half and avocado filled with egg- salad and a few Roma tomatoes sliced on the side. It was really good!

We bake lots of cookies here at the cottage for Christmas week and Christmas day. Every good Scandinavian has a least 7 different cookies on their Christmas buffet. These are for my son-in-law Nate. I don't have a name for them it is a Ritz cracker filled with peanut butter and dipped in milk chocolate. You may use any chocolate you like but he is fond of the milk chocolate.

WE also have at least 3 kinds of quick breads. This is Cranberry-Orange Bread. We will also have Date-Nut Bread and Eggnog Bread and if there is time there will be Lemon-Poppyseed( I am working on this recipe, not happy with the one I have)

This is a bar cookie called Cranberry-Coconut Pecan, a very good one. We have Springerle, Snowballs (Grandma Dows Recipe), Berry butter Nuts(My dads recipe) Sugar cookies. Gingerbread cookies, and Almond Roca cookies. There may be a Gingerbread House next year if little Hunter is up to it. He will be 3 by then and hopefully his attention span will be improved.

This year there will be an assortment of mini-cheesecakes. Pumpkin. Turtle, and regular with a variety of toppings. The pumpkin has a ginger cookie for a crust, the turtle has a chocolate wafer and the rest have a vanilla wafer.
(sometimes I cannot find a chocolate wafer and then I will use the vanilla)
This is the pumpkin with a spiced sour cream topping
We have Peanut Brittle ( My dad's Recipe)
and Caramels ( I made this a family favorite)
and this year for the first time Almond Roca. This is a favorite of my mother and I hope to send her a small sampling (she is diabetic so a small sampling is all that is allowed)

I was at the craft store doing last minute shopping and found these cute red cupcake domes so I bought 2 for the Buffet

They add a bit of color don' you think?
Now what will I put in them?

I wasn't able to post all the pictures but I hope you enjoy some of these treats yourself
If the recipe is not posted here you will find it , in the next few weeks, at either or
~Merry Christms~

Saturday, December 18, 2010


~Welcome to my Cottage~
Winter is almost here and the decorating is almost finished for Christmas. The baking has begun and the shopping for Christmas Dinner will be completed on Tuesday. The coffee is on or if you prefer many Teas, Cocoas or instant Ciders are available. Come and sit awhile, there are cookies too!
This picture is out of order but I have always said I am still learning how to use this crazy machine. A corner in my kitchen

This is the picture I wanted to begin with because it is the most important reason we celebrate Christmas. Without Christ there would be no Christmas. I am a personal follower of Jesus and because of Him I will be in Heaven someday. This is the small hallway leading to the kitchen and living room.

As you enter our humble cottage you will find a new bench in the foyer`it has two drawers and a big basket. The winter here in Minnesota is harsh and requires lots of extra clothing. I now have a basket for all the gloves and scarves, a place to sit to take off my shoes( the snow, salt and sand ruins carpets and floors) and drawers for keys and stuff.
The stockings are hung by the chimney with care...while the snowmen watch for St. Nick

The small trees on the side do light up but I am not sure if I will have them lit yet.
The childrens corner is almost ready. The snowman plate will have a few crackers or goodies for the wee ones. Hunter who is 2 and Eleanor who is 1 will be joining us, both their mommies are expecting their second child, one in February and one in July . The train will also have a couple of surprises in it. Mr. Moose likes reading to his friends..Mr. Bear and Lilly

The top of the T.V. cabinet

Mr. Snowman holds a small light

A full view of the wall

This still needs some work but it will be nice to have treats here where the guests may serve themselves.

Some of these packages will be leaving with us on Christmas Eve. We are spending the evening with Pauls sister who just moved here from southern California. If you look close you can see the snowflake on top of the tree, it is white and sparkles. Yes, that is snow covering the ground outside the window and the temps have been barely above zero. This room is almost finished. I still need curtains, an accent rug and a few lamps.

If you look close here you may see the pinecone garland on the mirror??? A little tweaking and this will be ready for the big day.

All that is left is the setting of the table and the preparation of the food . Thanks for coming, did you want another cup of coffee or a slice of cranberry-orange bread?
~Merry Christmas~

Thursday, December 16, 2010


This is a great way to use fresh cranberries. I like it best with the fresh berries but you may substitute the crasins if that is what you have.
1 cup flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup chopped pecans

In a medium mixing bowl combine flour and sugar, cut in butter with a pastry blender until it resembles coarse crumbs, stir in the pecans. Press this mixture into a 13x9x2 inch pan and bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. While this is baking make the filling.

1 1/4 cups sugar
2 Tablespoons flour
2 eggs beaten
2 Tablespoons milk
1 Tablespoon orange zest
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup chopped cranberries
1/2 cup coconut
1/2 cup pecans, chopped

Combine the sugar and flour. Stir in the eggs, milk, orange zest and vanilla. Fold in the cranberries, coconut and 1/2 cup chopped pecans. When crust comes out of the oven pour this over and bake for 25-30 minutes more. Just until the tops is lightly golden. Cool in the pan on a cooling rack and then cut into bars. I say what ever size yoou like but it should make about 36 bars. Mine never does, I like them bigger so about 24 for me.
I found this recipe in a Better Homes and Garden magazine but I have altered it a bit to my liking. You may use 3/4 cup of coconut if you like coconut. I have tried this and I like it. It isn't to much, in my opinion. My daughter Michelle likes this one alot. I started making it when we moved to Minnesota 10 years ago. Most of my family lives in Washington state and so it was up to me to do all the Holiday baking. I like to try a few new things every year and have to change them out for some of the old things but it works well for us. If I made it all I would never get out of the kitchen and I would be 500 pounds and unable to cook.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


Here we are at the Christmas table. I purchased all the linens at the Target clearence sale last year. I just decided on the plates this year.
I think I will have to put the napkin on the side or it will hide the cute little snowflake

This is what I have so far for the centerpiece. I was thinking of having 8 small gifts around the wreath and each guest could take one after dinner...maybe a truffle or small ornament.

I hope to be finished decorating soon and then I will be able to share some more pictures. We are going with a winter-snowflake decore` this year. It seems I always run out of money before I run out of
Merry Christmas

Monday, December 6, 2010


This was Parent-Child Dedication at our church this past Sunday. Ellie was dedicated and the family was there to witness. She is getting a little nervous and wanted Grandma for just a minute. Hunter was trying to make her relax.

A big smile for the camera for a little practice.

Pastor Steve praying over Ellie and her parents

Grandma was trying to get some pictures and hopes God understands

Then it was off to Ellies house for lunch and gifts.
WE got her a water globe with a cross and a beautiful saying about the Lord keeping her.
It played amazing grace. We had the front engraved with her name and date.
Hunter thought it was another birthday
He is going to be a big brother in February

What a little cutie

Ellie liked all her special gifts

Here she is opening a beautiful plaque from auntie Cheryl and Jo

We had to take a small break Ellie wanted Hunter to share in all the fun

A cute lamb from Aunt Lucy

An engraved photo album from Aunt Mary,Uncle Nate and Hunter

What a fun time and a blessing for Ellie to know everyone will be praying for her to grow in the Lord and follow the path he has for her.
~God Bless you Eleanor Lorraine Rolfzen~
Dedicated on December 5, 2010

Monday, November 29, 2010

HAPPY THANKSGIVING but where did the time go????

Once again Thanksgiving has flown by and I forgot to get all the pictures I wanted to post here. Hunter was going to sit here because we had soup and he is two years old and still makes a mess. He made it about 5 minutes and then dedcided he wasn't hungry and wanted to go play. For Christmas I am looking for a childs table because Ellie will be here too and I thought they would like their own little space.

I think the table setting came out well. I struggled with what to do with the napkins. I had napkin rings to match the chargers but decided at the last minute to just put them under the plate. We had Chicken Wild-Rice Soup and the top plate was removed after the guest finished their soup. The first time I made this soup and it came our really well. My hubby just ate two bowls last night. I found suckers for favors..I thought they were white chocolate but they were not..OH WELL.

We had pumpkin and apple pies which had to be made twice. I was really having a hard time with my treats this year. The pie crust just kept falling apart so I had to change the recipe a little and was able to get two pretty good pies but had to throw away three not so good pies...OUCH!! that hurt. There were rice krispies bars made into leaf and pumpkin shapes too!!

We had four adult guests and then my husband and myself and one grandchild. I tried a cage free Turkey this year but wasn't overly impressd by the bird. There were mashed red potatoes and turkey gravy of course. The classic green bean casserole, corn for Hunter and his daddy, two dressings one plain and the other with extra celery, onions, apples, crasins and pecans added. Sweet potatoes and cranberries funished by Auntie Jo-Jo (as Hunter would say) A vegetable salad furnished by my daughter (Hunter's mommy) and a Harvest Waldorf salad ( you add pears and crasins to a classic waldorf salad. We must not forget the potato rolls.

We had cappuccino caramels which by the way came out a little harder than I would like so I will have to be careful with the new candy thermometer at Christmas candy making time. I made glazed pecans and glazed almonds which were a big hit. They are so easy and really would make a nice hostess gift. I posted them on the food blog lefsagirlsinthekitchen. We also had the traditional Chex party mix and caramel corn.

Haystacks one chocolate and one butterscotch. I usually make these only at Halloween. Very easy one bag of melted chips, one cup peanuts and one cup chow mein noodles mix all together and plop on wax paper till cooled. I made this orange walnut fudge but it just dried up so I threw that away also. The flavor wasn't bad but the texture was so dry. Candy making is an art and very sensitive I am going to tweak that recipe before putting into my cookbook.

We went to Ikea before the holiday and purchased some Glogg which I forgot to serve and will use for Christmas. I made a cranberry hot wassail and it was really good. I also had a variety of teas, cocoas and instant flavored ciders. The kids like cocoa with sprayed whip cream and chocolate sprinkles and syrup drizzle ..opps.. and marshmallows. I make a little beverage center out of a wine bar that I have and people can just help themselves to what ever they like. I use an electric tea pot for hot water. We always have fresh hot coffee with a variety of flavored creamers. Yep..I really over do every year...

Hunter mostly had sprayed whip cream and did not like the cherry on top.
I am really struggling with a lot of pain in my right arm so getting dinner together took a toll. I guess I will have to go to the doctor or admit I am getting older and just can't do it all by myself anymore. I have cut back and downsized my food but I so love to bake and create so it is difficult. When you see your guest enjoy the food it just brings so much joy for all the hard work you put into it. I am resting up for Christmas and am not able to use my arm as much at the computer so I hope you enjoy this family time and will be back for a Christmas update.
Happy Thanksgiving

Friday, November 12, 2010


Tuesday I had to go with my daughter to the doctor. She had a baby appointment and Hunter had to get a flushot booster. Why they can't do just one shot is mind boggling, Anyway Hunter was just fine going to the doctor as he put it " to get an owie" . When we returned to gammies house we decided to make cookies for the food blog, and it keeps him real busy for awhile.
He just loves to bake with grammy

WE are messy cooks

Hunter is trying to scoop up some of the flour he spilled or maybe he is just playing with it

He loves pouring the ingredients in but his aim is a bit short sometimes and grammy has to help, which is diffult for a two year old to agree with. He likes to do it all himself.

These cookies are called Pfeffernusse, a German Holiday cookie. We like them and Hunter enjoyed licking the beater so they must not have been to spicy.