I am not the best cook in the world. In fact, I don't really like to cook much. I will cook dinner and I enjoy green bean casserole, but I get just what I would call, average excitement about cooking. However, when it comes to baking, I love this time of year!
In the last few years, my mom has taught me how to bake snowball cookies. These are pretty simple to make and are VERY good. I have learned my lessons on a few things, like the margarine REALLY needs to be soft when you make these! I baked two batches today and am taking them out to her house tomorrow. I also make a lot of these right before Christmas and give them in cute containers for Christmas presents for family, the boys' teachers, bus drivers, friends and staff. Many people tell me they look forward to my cookies each year, and that makes me feel good!
I also enjoy making homemade pralines. My mother has been making them since I was a baby and my brother told his wife, "someone better learn to make these before mom dies." Now this was a few years ago and we all got a good laugh, because my mom really isn't that old and was no where close to dying. My sister, sister-in-law and I all decided we should learn how to make them, after my mom said they were a real challenge! Well, she was right! First we had to find the right POT for use to use to make them in. She has a pot that is probably as old as I am that she uses. It has to be a very heavy duty thick pot that can withstand the heat of the stove and boiling sugar. My mom gave me a tutorial at the house about four years ago and the hardest part, is each time you make them, it is a little different. It is all about the feel of the pralines in the pot and getting them the right temperature. There is no real way to tell when you are ready to add pecans and then plop them on wax paper. I have to say, that I LOVE the challenge of making them and I have gotten decent at it. I usually have several good batches, and sometimes a batch that takes forever to harden. Hopefully, I will get it down in the next 10-20 years! I also give these to family as part of their Christmas present. My dad just LOVES these as do everyone else
The other thing I enjoy baking are sugar cookies. My sister got the recipe from her mother-in-law. They are pretty easy to make and the recipe makes a LOT of cookies. I would say between five and six dozen! We usually use cookie cutters to cut out cool Christmas shapes and then icing them. We add sprinkles at the very end! Elijah just loves helping cut out the cookies and later icing them. He really loves the SPRINKLES! I usually make a huge batch of these and take them to school to use with my students. I bring all of the things we need to icing with and I use it as a language activity. The kids learn and they get to eat! They also keep very well if you keep them sealed up in a tin and so you can eat on them for a good week or so. The cookie itself is not very sweet, but the icing adds just enough "sweet" to the flavor of the cookie!
I use my cooking stone to make all of the cookies and I think that also makes for a better cookie! I get a lot of satisfaction from making the cookies and then from seeing people enjoy them! I feel like it something that I am good at and that makes me happy.
THE SHADDOX BOYS
Jacob and Elijah Shaddox are brothers. They live with their mom, Mary, who is the writer of this blog. Jacob is 19 and is now four inches taller than his mom! He also has ADHD and gorgeous red hair. He is a freshman at a technical college studying computer maintenance. Elijah is 15! He is in 9th grade and he is not in ROTC at his high school. He also had red hair, but it is lighter and not as thick as his brother's hair. He is hearing impaired(auditory neuropathy) and wears two cochlear implants. He also has tourette syndrome, ADHD, OCD and anxiety! Mary just started her 25th year as a teacher of the deaf. She is also in her last semester of graduate school to be a diagnostician! She will graduate in December of 2015!