Thursday, March 29, 2012

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
Altered from the great Mrs. Fields Choc Chip Cookie recipe
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 ¼ cups brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1 ¼ cups white sugar
  • 1 cup salted butter, softened
  • 3 large eggs (I often leave out the eggs!)
  • 1 cup crunchy peanut butter
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ cups best quality semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

In the bowl of an electric mixer blend together the butter and sugars until it they form a grainy paste. Add eggs, one at a time until just blended (or not). Add peanut butter and vanilla and mix on medium speed until the batter is light and fluffy.

Add the flour mixture and blend at low speed until just mixed. Do not over-mix.

Slowly blend in the chocolate chips.

Drop by rounded spoonfuls onto an ungreased cookie sheet. If you find the batter is too soft to handle you can put the bowl into the fridge for 15-20 minutes first so that the dough hardens a bit. It will make forming the cookies a bit easier.

These cookies SPREAD so leave lots of room between them.

Bake for 18-22 minutes until they are slightly brown around the edges. Do not over-bake or they will be crunchy, rather than chewy. Transfer immediately to wax paper to cool.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Nemadji "Indian" Pottery

The myth and magic of Nemadji "Indian" Pottery

Nemadji pottery comes from the Arrowhead region of Minnesota. It has never actually been made by native Americans, but is said to be reminiscent of the style and coloring used by them. It has come to be thought of by many as 'Indian pottery' although it has no connection with the Ojibway tribe. It was originally made using the rich clays dug from the banks of the Nemadji River. Nemadji roughly translates as "Lefthand."

The special painting technique used to give the pottery its unique look was developed in 1929 by Eric Hellman. Production of Nemadji pottery ended in the winter of 2001-2002.

A scrap of paper is often found in each piece bearing the following legend ...
Twenty-five thousand years ago the ice sheet of the glacial age covered the land. It is now known that the primitive ancestors of our present Indians lived here when the great ice sheet started to melt and retreat. Clays of various shades and composition were made by the glacial ice sheets; the great weight of the ice ground rocks and ores into dust, which became clays, afterwards washed and refined by the lakes and streams from the melting glaciers. From these clays Nemadji Pottery is made
The Indians used this clay left by the ice sheet to make cooking pots and vases, and in the ancient warrior's grave are found fragments of his favorite cooking pot. Nemadji Art Pottery is made largely from designs of this ancient Indian pottery and many of their traditional shapes are preserved in our designs.
The coloring of Nemadji Art Pottery is accomplished in a manner that allows no two pieces to be exactly alike. The pottery is burned in a kiln and glazed on the inside. The warm rich colors of this pottery recall the colorful costumes of the redman, who, though long since gone to the happy hunting ground, still haunts in spirit the plains, streams, woods, and lakes of this our Empire.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Mom's Banana Pumpkin Coffee Bread

Banana Pumpkin Coffee Bread

1/2 cup shortening (We always had a tub of Crisco in the closet **)
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
3/4 cup mashed banana
1 1/4 cup mashed pumpkin (I am 100% sure Mom did not use fresh pumpkin LOL)
1 1/4 cup sifted flour (We had a sifter, quite rusted, but Mom used it anyway - maybe that added flavor)
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
nuts (I bet she added this to the original recipe so I am not sure how much. She liked walnuts.)

Cream shortening and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each. Stir in banana and pumpkin. Sift together dry ingredients, add to banana  mixture, mix well. Pour into greased 9x9x2 loaf pan. Bake at 325 for 1 hour.

** According to the Crisco website, Crisco shortening in the can will stay, once opened, on the pantry shelf for about a year. Scary!