Hello Friends! I'm currently in my favorite PJ's and eating a frozen Snickers bar (stolen from my son's Halloween stash and hidden in the back of the freezer : ) I went in the kitchen to make a cup of tea, and then I remembered what I had done....oh yes, the freezer! Seriously, I can't wait for this candy to be gone! My lack of self control is so bad. ♥
Anyway, I am just back from my shopping weekend with my Mom. We had so much fun together! I didn't get as many good "buys" and Christmas presents as I would have liked - but on the bright side I did get some cute goodies for ME and the house for the holiday season that I can't wait to show you. I promised myself that I would wait for the day after Thanksgiving to start Christmas decorating, so it will have to wait until then. I'm in spirit though. We listened to Christmas music the whole 3 hour drive it took to get there.
I will share with you more details from our shopping trip soon, but now I would like to tell you about a delicious cookie that I made last week. Lemon Butter Cookies. I got the recipe from Susan Branch's new book A Fine Romance.
Have you read this book yet? If you are a Susan Branch fan I'm sure you definitely have. If you haven't please run to the book store right now and get a copy of this book. It is truly charming, enchanting, and amazing! Yes, I am a fan ♥
A Fine Romance is Susan's diary as she and her honey Joe, traveled (via The Queen Mary 2) to England last May. They spent weeks traveling the English country side, visiting places like the home of Jane Austin, Sissinghurst, the Emma Bridgewater Factory, and Beatrix Potter's home, which was a life long dream of hers. She visited gardens, antique shops, pubs, cottages, castles, and country sides. The book is hand written as all her books are and in between the stories she tucks in little tid-bits for us like what music to listen to while driving though the county (Frank Sinatra of course!) and how to have the perfect cup of English tea. She gives us recipes, travel tips, and the every day-to-day musings of renting a flat in England for two months. She painted, wrote in this diary, baked, and took long walks in the morning while the birds were singing. I loved this book so much that I read it as slowly as possible because I didn't want it to end.
Here is a picture of the inside of the front cover. Right away I knew this was my kind of book. Susan is a romantic and begins the book with the story of how she and Joe met many years ago. On their first date they talked about sailing to England one day, the old fashioned (and I think the most romantic) way - by boat. And what a boat! For their 25th anniversary they set sail aboard the Queen Mary 2 and crossed the Atlantic for a 2 month adventure. Just like Cary Grant and Debra Carr in An Affair to Remember, Susan and Joe stood on the deck overlooking the ocean, arm & arm, under the moonlight. My heart is melting...
Once they arrived we were off! I say "we" because Susan takes us along every step of the way. Through the beautiful walks along the green hedges of the country side, to the rainy, damp, days by a fire in a local pub, to visits to the most magnificent castles in the world. Susan even went to Hever Castle, which is the childhood home of Anne Boleyn. It looks like a fairytale castle, and is steeped in history. A place I would love to visit someday.
While in England Susan visited her good friend Rachel (visit her lovely blog here) and her husband Paul. Susan and Rachel were once pen pals and over the years became the best of friends. I love reading Susan's blog post when Rachel and Paul come to visit and vice-versa. Their friendship is proof that kindred spirits will always find each other, no matter what distance lies between them ♥
Rachel is a baker and before Susan left, gave her some of these butter cookies to take with her. You can find Rachel's recipe on page 139 of Susan's book.
It's an easy batter to make. I had all the ingredients on hand! Yay! ♥
You form the dough into two logs, refrigerate for an hour, then slice.
Sprinkle with sugar and bake.
They come out so yummy and tasty. Lemon and buttery, with crispy edges and sugar on top! : )
Here is the complete recipe as it reads on page 139:
Lemon Butter Cookies:
1 cup butter, softened
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
zest of one lemon
1 1/2 cups unbleached flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
1/4 cup cornstarch
sugar crystals (for extra crunch, but optional)
Cream butter, sugar, vanilla, & zest until smooth. Add dry ingredients until just incorporated. Use wax paper to shape and roll dough into two 8 inch logs - about the width of a cookie. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour or so. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Slice cookies about 1/4 inch thick. Put on ungreased cookie sheets. Sprinkle them with sugar crystals (or roll the logs in sugar before cutting). Bake 15 min until slightly golden. Cool on waxed paper. Makes about 40 cookies. Can be rolled out and cut with cutters into teapot or heart shapes. Just YUMMY with a special cornmeal crunch!
Perfect with a cup of tea and a goooood book!
This is my dream trip that I'm wishing will one day happen. Susan gives me hope that if I keep dreaming it will come true ♥ I'll get there one day when the time is right. (fingers crossed!)
Maybe on our 25th anniversary, just like S&J!
For now I will have to travel through her eyes. I'll stay here, eating cookies, and enjoying the last days of Fall. I can already feel the air changing a bit. The colors are just about gone and soon it will be Winter. The holiday rush is about upon us, but you would never know it by looking at this sunset. Just beautiful.
Nothing seems to last too long around here, so we best enjoy it while we can! I know someone who is, that's for sure! xx
Have a wonderful day! And if you are looking for a good read, check out A Fine Romance.
It is indeed! ♥♥♥
It is indeed! ♥♥♥