The Mice Come to Tea

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Gussie is pleased with the new complete antique Staffordshire tea set in Dresden Flowers which is a different blank from the little sepia Dresden Flowers pot featured in an earlier post. She is also surpressing a giggle about the wee mice on the cake plate.

After showing all the little children’s Staffordshire dishes and tea pots, it is High Tea time to serve the tea and cakes! The girls have been patiently waiting to try out the esteemed recipe for Spiced Mice Butter Cookies flavored with cinnamon, allspice, and cardamon. The cookies certainly did not disappoint, thought the cats could not be interested enough to pose for a photo at tea.

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Brighde places ears on the little mice who have been egg-washed. Some have raisin-bit eyes already, and they await their chow mein noodle tails.

We made one batch at the regular tablespoon size, then we made teaspoon sized doll mice.

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Edith watches over the newly baked and cooling mice so they don’t scamper all over the kitchen.

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Brighde shows the full sized mice on a ruby red plate.

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Would you like another mouse with your tea?

The recipe for Dita Von Teese’ Spice Mice Cookies was published in InStyle magazine with her interview a number of years ago. These little mice seem to be a popular blog topic, so rather than write out the recipe once more, I will share another blog post where you can find it:  Whipped for Spice Mice Cookies. These are melt-in-your-mouth butter cookies with the perfect mild exotic cardamon flavor to make them unusually enticing. And you’ve never seen anything so adorable for the doll’s tea time!

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A cozy, spicy November to you, your dolls, and your mice.

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Thankful for Family Time and Good Food for Sharing

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Miss Ruby enjoys showing our Thanksgiving table and Butterhorn Rolls

I remember my first attempt to make bread. I was 16. As with most of my cooking ventures then, I opened the only cookbook I had available, my mom’s red and white Better Homes and Gardens binder, and chose my recipe. I bought yeast packets, mixed them up with sugar and milk, added flour and a few other ingredients, and kneaded. I shaped the dough into french loaves and waited. Nothing happened. I baked the dough and ate the tasty, but rather solid bread. What I didn’t understand from the cookbook instructions was that the liquid had to be warm, but not too hot, to encourage the yeast to grow.

My dad had talked of making bread when I still lived with him, but somehow, it never happened. Learning to make bread was definitely a time when I needed my dad to show me how. Luckily, I do have his recipe, passed down from Mammaw, for making southern cornbread stuffing!

I was so glad when I met my future mother-in-law, Lucile, to learn that she was an excellent cook, and made bread! I now cherish a number of family recipes from her that we still enjoy. Butterhorn rolls is one that I used to make for holiday dinners, but I haven’t made them in years–not since my boys lived at home, and were all with me for holidays.

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Jonathan & Grandma ‘Cile, Summer 1988

I had a retail job miracle this year, and managed to take Thanksgiving week as vacation time, so I cooked a traditional meal which I shared with my mom and two of my four children, plus my son, Jonathan’s, fiance. Though Brighde and I eat a low-gluten diet these days, for better health, Lucile’s rolls are worth cheating on our diet for. We made butterhorn rolls as part of our feast fare. In tribute to Lucile, and all the feasts and family time I shared with her, I would like to offer you her recipe.

Lucile’s Butterhorn Rolls

  • 1 cup lukewarm milk (whole, organic)
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 package (1 tablespoon) dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup melted shortening (Crisco butter flavored)
  • 2 beaten eggs (yes, organic free range)
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 4 cups high quality unbleached flour (Bob’s Red Mill) plus more for kneading

Add sugar to warm (slightly warmer than skin temperature) milk. Stir in yeast. Alternate adding remaining wet and dry ingredients, to maintain temperature, stirring, and then kneading, until flour is incorporated and dough is elastic.

Place dough in a greased bowl, cover, and let rise in a warm place until double in size, 2 to 3 hours. Punch down. Divide into 3 or 4 pieces. roll into rectangles about 1/4″ thick. Cut rectangles into wedges about 3″ by 5″ (like refrigerator crescent rolls), roll up, shape into a crescent, and place on a greased baking sheet or silpat mat, 2″ apart, and let rise again.

Bake at 400 degrees F for about 15 minutes, until golden. Serve warm with butter.

These are great to pair with Cream of Celery soup! (Click “Home” in the left panel and scroll down to the previous post.)

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To me, Thanksgiving is the best time of the year to share good food and to spend time with those I love best, around the table in person, and in spirit. Happy Holidays, from our family to yours!

I Implore You! Don’t Throw Out That Turkey Carcass!

This is an impromptu post that I am inspired to write as I prepare my Thanksgiving menu and shopping list.

I take my Scottish thriftiness seriously, and cooking is no exception. As long as I can remember, I have saved poultry bones to make broth for soups. This practice is nutritious as well as thrifty. Homemade broth tastes SO much better than what you can buy in cans and cartons, and it is easy to make! Sally Fallon informs us in Nourishing Traditions that bone broth is one of the best sources of protein, as well as usable calcium. Bone broth includes all of the macrominerals: sodium chloride, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and sulpher, as a true electrolyte solution. It’s like a free superfood! So here is how to take advantage of all those nutrients just hanging out in your post-holiday-dinner turkey.

Turkey Bone Broth

**Before you start the broth, pull out the turkey wishbone for a nifty vintage crochet project! I’ll post this one soon.

Place all of your turkey, or other poultry, bones (except the wishbone)  in a pot large enough to hold them comfortably. You may add onion and celery chunks for flavor, but I use just bones. Cover with water and heat on high until boiling. Reduce heat so that the pot remains at a low simmer. Simmer for 3 to 3 1/2 hours, adding more water as needed. Cool slightly, then strain broth with a colander. NOW you can discard the bones.

At this point, the broth is great to make Turkey Noodle Soup, using some of the leftover turkey, or divide it into 2 cup containers and freeze for future use in soups and sauces. Third alternative, make this yummy Cream of Celery soup! My teenage daughter and her friend asked for seconds when I served this soup (made with chicken broth) for lunch today.

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Cream of Celery Soup

Stage 1:

  • 4 cups celery in 1″ chunks
  • 3 cups potatoes in 1″ chunks
  • 4 cups poultry broth (If the broth is heavy, use 2 C broth and 2 C water)
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Bring to a boil in a pot. Cook until soft. Blend with a submersion blender. (Or blend and return to pot.)

Stage 2:

  • 1 cup very finely minced celery
  • 1 cup minced onion
  • scant 1/4 teaspoon celery seed
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons butter

Saute onion in butter until translucent. Add celery and celery seed, and saute until tender. Add to soup in pot.

Stage 3:

  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup (or more) sour cream OR heavy whipping cream
  • White pepper

Whisk into soup about 10 minutes before serving.

Heat soup gently–don’t cook it at this point. Serve as soon as it is hot. Crusty bread goes well with this!

Soup recipe adapted from Mollie Katzen’s The Moosewood Cookbook.

In true Scottish American and Native American style, may you use every part of the buffalo–um, turkey!

Happy Thanksgiving!