Wednesday, February 1, 2012


   This recipe comes from www.mangiodasola.com .  Enjoy making a couple batches to give to family and friends.

Remember those Lofthouse Sugar Cookies I blogged about before? No? Well, here they are again in heart form. I am really really not a lover of all things pink with hearts. I tried to make the icing red, but it didn't happen. I guess I needed to add the whole jar of dye to get that color. What I ended up with was hot pink! ugh!! This was my first time working with dye, so oh well...

Anyway, as everyone knows, the holiday of love is coming up. I might not have a Valentine this year, and I'm totally okay with that. Relationships bring on too much drama for my needs haha. I enjoy being single, especially while being a graduate student.

So, in honor of this holiday and for the people out there who actually like hearts and the color pink, you should try out this recipe. This is a soft, cakey, delicious cookie. These cookies are so good that I have to control myself from not eating the whole batch.

I made these cookies for my students (and made a few extra for me hehe). I'm trying my best to keep my hand out of their cookie jar. Because if I don't control myself, only one student will end up with a cookie tomorrow LOL! They take some time to make, so make the dough the day before Valentine's. I posted a few process photos below so that you can see how thick the dough is. You'll need a bit of flour to handle the sticky dough, but it's worth all the trouble.

Lofthouse Cookies
adapted from Recipezaar
For 4-inch cookies, you will end up with two dozen cookies. So, if you make 2 1/2 - 3-inch cookies, you should end up with about 3-4 dozen cookies.
1 cup butter
2 cups sugar (in my halved version, I added 2 Tbsp (1/4 cup for full version) EXTRA of sugar to make the cake part a tad sweeter)
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract (optional)
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 cups sour cream
5-6 cups AP flour, until desired consistency for rolling (in my halved version, I used 2 1/2 cups in the dough and then added about half a cup more of flour while rolling out the dough. I needed more than a cup for the full version.)
Cream together butter and sugar. Beat in eggs, sour cream, and vanilla. Mix in dry ingredients.

Cover and refrigerate overnight (or 6-8 hours).

Preheat oven to 425ºF. Roll out dough to a 1/4 to 3/8 inch thickness using a generous amount of flour (I used a combination of flour and powdered sugar for a non-stick surface and flavor). Cut out shapes, and bake on an ungreased cookie sheet for 8 minutes.

Cool on wire rack.
Frost (recipe below), and decorate as desired.

Lofthouse Cookie Frosting
adapted from Recipezaar
Yields enough for 2 dozen cookies, so double the recipe, if you need more.

3 1/2 - 4 cups confectioners' sugar (depending on how sweet you want it)
1/2 cup shortening
5-8 Tbsp (or more) evaporated milk (or regular milk), until you reach the desired consistency
1 tsp vanilla extract
red food coloring (optional)
In a large bowl, cream together the confectioners' sugar and shortening until smooth. Gradually mix in the evaporated milk and vanilla with an electric mixer until smooth and stiff, about 5 minutes. Color with food coloring, if desired.


    The U.S. National Tobaggan Championships is the only organized wooden toboggan race in the country and possibly the world. The toboggan chute is located in Camden, Main at the Camden Snow Bowl, a community owned year round recreation area which has developed thousand of deicated skiers since 1936. All race revenue goes to off setting the Snow Bowl budget.


    The original chute was first built in 1936 by a dedicated group of volunteers who also built a ski lodge and ski hill, one of the earliest in America. The chute was again rebuilt in 1954 by local Coast Guardsmen and lasted until 1964 when it was brought to an end because of rot and neglect.
    In 1990 it was resurrected once again out of pressure treated wood by another enthusiastic group of volunteers and material donors and was to become known as the Jack Williams Toboggan Chute. The week before the race, many hours are spent during the dark of night, when it is the coldest, to coat the wooden chute with layer upon layer of ice. This is accomplished by a "Rube Goldberg" invention of David Dickeys, which pulleys a tub up the chute slowly dispensing water from holes in its back.

    The chute is 400 feet long, and with the 70 foot high hill, toboggans can reach speeds of up to 40 miles per hour. The run out is on to frozen Hosmers' pond. If there is clear ice on the pond, some sleds will go the entire way across the pond ( over 1/4 of a mile).
The Nationals are usually held the first weekend of February, but to avoid conflict with the Super Bowl, the event has been changed to the 2nd weekend in February starting in 2008.


    The race toboggan must be of traditional shape, material and design to qualify for the Nationals. The race is like any race, in that the few rules are constantly pushed to the limits by tweaking the toboggan to make it go a tenth of a second faster. Even the "Inspector of Toboggans", from the 2007 race, was found to have violated the slat rule to make his go a little faster.
    The most wonderful aspect of the U.S. National Toboggan Race, is that anybody can participate in a national race and anybody can be the National Champion, no matter their age or ability. In 2007 two gentlemen from Tennessee, who had never seen snow before, went on to become the 2nd place champions in the two man division.


   This diy comes from www.lovemaegan.com .  Reminds me of Christmas decorations from the 40's and 50's, which now we consider modern design.  I still like it, add a little bit of nostalgia to your next Christmas tree!

starburst diy - decor - tree topper

In all my life, I have NEVER found a tree topper that I've liked. Not once, not ever. When I was growing up we always had angels, which are fine, but inevitably end up crooked. A crooked tree topper is one of those things that no matter how pretty my tree is, it will be the only thing I notice every time I look at it. A few weeks ago at JoAnn's, gathering supplies for all my Christmas Crafts, I bought a bunch of white and silver pipe cleaners with snowflakes in mind. But the other day I looked at them and thought, I'm just going to see if I can come up with a tree topper out of these. And without documenting it, I totally did... beyond anything I could have imagined, and honestly, I can't believe pipe cleaners have become my favorite tree topper ever. I had to make a second one to demonstrate how I did it for you after I posted it on Instagram... and here's how (it's really easy & inexpensive but looks quite the opposite!)

Starburst tree topper diy-materials

* White and Silver {or gold or any other metallic you'd like} Pipe Cleaners

Starburst tree topper diy-1

* Begin by overlapping your white pipe cleaners to create a star.

Starburst tree topper diy-3

* Take a new pipe cleaner and bend it in half.

Starburst tree topper diy-4

* Squeeze it over, careful not to bend any and use it to sort of hold your other pipe cleaners together. Your bent PC also adds "rays" to whatever side it lands on.

Starburst tree topper diy-5

* Continue overlapping straight pipe cleaners with L shaped ones until you have a full white starburst.

Starburst tree topper diy-7

* Begin the exact same way with your metallic pipe cleaners, laying them on top of your white starburst and using bent PC's to hold it in place.

Starburst tree topper diy-8

* Take one metallic pipe cleaner, bend it over the top, through the sides and carefully twist it at the base in the back. This will be how you attach it to the top of your tree. Continue overlapping metallic pipe cleaners until you get your desired starburst.

Starburst tree topper diy-9

...and here's where the second one ended up.

decorated cow skull head- holiday decor

* You could also make a handful of these in various sizes to create a sort of Mid-Century Modern wall art sculpture. Honestly, you can barely tell they're pipe cleaners in reality!

Have Fun!