Thursday, 20 December 2012

Christmas Baking - Peanut Butter Blossoms

These cookies are quick, easy and look like they are store-bought.

Recipe adapted from 100 Best Cookies 2010:  Better Homes and Gardens

1/2 cup of shortening

1/2 cup smooth peanut butter

1/2 cup of granulated sugar

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/8 teaspoon baking soda

1 egg

2 tablespoons milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 cup granulated sugar for rolling

Chocolate blossoms or kisses


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Beat shortening and peanut butter until well combined (about 30 seconds).

Add granulated sugar, brown sugar, baking powder and baking soda.  Again beat until well combined--use a spatula to mix in batter that gets stuck to the sides of the bowl.

Add in and beat the egg, milk and vanilla.  Add about half the flour in small increments and then stir in the rest with a spoon (batter gets too thick to use mixer for all the flour).

Shape cookie dough into 1 inch balls.  Roll peanut-butter dough balls in the 1/4 cup of granulated sugar (place sugar in a bowl for rolling).

Place cookie balls about two inches apart on cookie sheets.

Bake for about 12 minutes or until cookie is firm and bottom is slightly browned.

Place chocolate blossoms firmly in center of cookies immediately after removing cookies from oven.

Makes about four dozen cookies.  Cookies can be stored at room temperature for three days or frozen for up to three months.

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

The Family Man - Nicolas Cage, Tea Leoni

A wonderful, romantic holiday movie...

What if... Jack Campbell (Nicolas Cage) gets a Glimpse.....

One of my favourite Christmas movies is The Family Man.  I wish Nicolas Cage would accept more roles like the one he plays of Jack Campbell in The Family Man.  The chemistry between Jack Campbell and his college sweetheart Kate (Tea Leoni) makes this a great romantic drama/comedy for the holidays.

Jack Campbell a high-powered Wall Street investment broker was once the college sweetheart of Kate Reynolds (Tea Leoni).  Jack left Kate to go to London for an internship and never came back.  Jack became extremely successful and lived a bachelor life of expensive cars, clothes, restaurants and women.

Years later, out of nowhere, as Christmas is approaching, Jack gets a telephone message from Kate.  He throws the message away as he doesn't want to get involved with old girlfriends.    Next Jack Campbell crosses paths with an Angel who wants to show Jack what he is missing in life.

On Christmas Eve Jack Campbell is getting a "glimpse" by an angel of how his life would have turned out if he had come back and married Kate.  Jack goes to sleep in his luxury Manhattan apartment and wakes up in a New Jersey subdivision as a dad and husband to Kate.

Jack struggles as he is thrown into his new life and has everyone wondering what is wrong as he chases down his real life as a high powered executive.  Jack doesn't give up too easily, but when he finally realizes what he really wants is right there with Kate and his family in New Jersey, it's time to come out of the glimpse and back into reality.

Jack tries to stay awake to avoid going back, but sleep finally steals him back to his real life.

Jack then tracks down Kate who is now an extremely successful attorney (who never married).  Kate let's Jack know that she only contacted him to give him his things that he left behind a long time ago, as she is moving to Paris that evening and is clearing out old stuff.  He tries to get Kate to go out for coffee with him, but Kate turns him down and tells him to look her up if he is ever in Paris.

Jack tracks Kate down before she leaves for Paris that night and in the most romantic rant, he explains over the heads of people in line at the airport about his "glimpse", his dream of him of Kate and their family. 

Jack tells Kate, "Please Kate. One cup of coffee, you can always go to Paris.  Just.....please not tonight."  Shocked and intrigued by Jack's romantic vision of their life together, Kate agrees to the cup of coffee.