Tag Archive for recipes

My Menu Planning has Gone Haywire

Menu planning has been a part of  my weekly “to-do’s” for a long, long time.  It makes the grocery shopping easier, fewer trips to the store, and if I have a good reserve of menu items in the pantry and freezer it makes it much easier on my brain to get the meals on the table day in and day out.

However, lately the menu planning structure has not been working all that well in my Domestic Engineering endeavors.  Do you get into cooking ruts? Can’t figure out what to make for dinner? Tired of going to the grocery store? How do you pull yourself out of it?

Our dinner time can be quirky at The Spindle Ranch. Sometimes I’m home by myself,  many times there are just two of us for dinner. If everyone’s home for dinner I’m cooking for 4. If a friend or family member stops by we can have 5 or 6.  Crazy menu planning right? Has your household dinner-time ever run like this?

Not knowing how many people to cook for on any given night can boggle the brain.  It makes for a wacky menu plan. Will I cook too much food, or too little food?  I have my arsenal of weekly “go to” recipes that can handle a crowd or just a few people. My second dilemma arises when I feel like I can’t think of anything new I’d like to try, or my recipe arsenal feels tired and boring. I really do not like to use going out to eat as part of my menu planning for the week. I would much rather be at home sitting around the dining room table having a great meal and good conversation.

My oldest daughter, Naomi totally amazes me with her menu planning.  Every weekend she is trying new recipes, and giving us her pictorial reviews on our family Facebook page. I really have to draw some inspiration from her, and just dive in and try new recipes.  If anyone needs me I will be perusing Pinterest, or maybe The Tasty Kitchen to seek out new recipes for my arsenal of goods.

If your menu planning’s been a little wacky lately can you let me know how you pull yourself up out of the rut?  How do you find that little spark that entices you to try to cook something new and / or different?  I’ll be here waiting to hear from everyone.


Lemon Poppy-Seed Cookies

1-IMG_0028Since we have a plethora of lemons around here, from our lemon/lime tree, I have been searching for new cookie recipes to try out on the cookie lovers at my house.  Last week I tried out this easy recipe for lemon poppy-seed cookies, from the Martha Stewart website.  I did add an additional cup of flour from the original recipe, as the dough was extremely sticky.  This was a trial run for this recipe, and they turned out ever so delicious.  I will definitely be adding these to my cookie recipe arsenal.


  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 3 ½ teaspoons freshly grated lemon zest (2 to 3 lemons)
  • 8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½cups sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon poppy seeds, plus more for sprinkling


1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Bring lemon juice to a simmer in a small saucepan medium heat; cook until reduced by half. Add 1 stick butter; stir until melted.


2.  In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.

3. Cream remaining stick butter and 1 cup sugar.  Mix in egg and lemon butter. Mix until pale, about 3 minutes.

4. Mix in vanilla and 2 teaspoons zest. Mix in flour mixture and poppy seeds.

5. In a small bowl, stir together remaining 1/2 cup sugar and 1½ teaspoons zest.


6. Roll spoonfuls of dough into 1½-inch balls or use your favorite cookie scoop; roll them in sugar mixture. Place 2 inches apart on baking sheets.


7. Press each with the flat end of a glass dipped in sugar mixture until ¼ inch thick. Sprinkle with extra poppy seeds.(This is optional)

8. Bake until just browned around bottom edges, 10 to 11 minutes. Transfer to wire racks; let cool completely. Makes about 30 cookies.  Store in an airtight container up to 1 week.


This cookie is like a little,  lemon shortbread.  It has definitely gotten better with age, and oddly enough we still have a few left in the cookie container.  Amazing!  This is a great recipe to make to send to long distance loved ones, or for your favorite Travel Guy to take with him on his next trip.  Come on over and pick some lemons from our tree and try out the recipe.  Next on my lemon cookie list will be good ‘ol Lemon Squares.  Happy baking everyone!

Are you Ready?


Presents wrapped, cookies all baked?  Are you ready for tonight and tomorrow?

I have been working on lots of crafts, and baking.  I really can’t share any of my crafting goodies with you all until after Christmas Day.  I don’t want to give away any secrets you know.

My favorite cookies to bake are always sugar cookies, and spritz.  Love the buttery deliciousness of both of these cookies.  The recipes that I use are from a Betty Crocker cookie book.

Nana Joan’s Sugar Cookie-

* This is a recipe that we cooked growing up.  Always a favorite at Christmas time.


  •  3/4 c. shortening (use part margarine or butter)
  • I highly recommend using only butter.  Butter makes everything better!
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2-1/2 c. flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  •  Mix shortening, sugar, eggs, and flavoring.  Beat until creamy.  
  • Add remaining ingredients and mix thoroughly.
  • Chill the dough for at least 4 hours.
  • For painting the cookies before baking use evaporated milk and food coloring.
  • Bake at 400 degrees on ungreased cookie sheets.
  • Baking time is 6-8 minutes

And the recipe for the Spritz cookie which require a cookie press go like this-

1-DSC01107Spritz Cookies


  • 1 C. butter or margarine, softened (I recommend butter only!)
  • 1/2 c. sugar
  • 2-1/4 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 tsp. almond extract or vanilla


  • Heat oven to 400.
  • Mix margarine and sugar in large bowl.
  • Stir in remaining ingredients.
  • Chill the dough for a few hours.
  • Place dough in cookie press, and form desired shapes.
  • Decorate with colored sugar or candies.
  • Bake on ungreased cookie sheets for 5-8 minutes until set but not brown.
  • Immediately remove from cookie sheet.
  • Makes 6-7 dozen cookies.
  • Freeze any extras if you have them.  These freeze well.
  • Great cookie to mail for the holidays.

Oh,  and this is what my sweet baby granddaughter was doing while her mother and I baked our little hearts out last week.


Wishing you and yours the Merriest of Christmas seasons.  I hope each and every one of you has a splendid time with your families near and far.

Aggression Cookies

This recipe makes the yummiest little oatmeal cookies.  I had forgotten how much I like them, and how fun they are to make.  I got this recipe from my Mom many moons ago, and I’m not sure what the original origin of the cookies is.  I’m sure my Mom can help me out with that information.  For my baking session today, I had my helper with me from Camp Grandma.  My grandson, Evan of course.  These cookies are made to be mixed by hand.  You mix by hand to get rid of your stress and take out all of your “aggressions” on the cookies!  Here we go with the recipe.



  • 1c. brown sugar
  • 2 sticks margarine, softened
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 2c. quick oatmeal
  • 1c. flour


That’s all of the ingredients, just a 5 item recipe.  This is my kind of cookie.  Now, measure and place all ingredients in a large bowl.  Get ready, get set, go and  mix up all of the ingredients with your hands.  Take out your aggressions, and stress, until formed into a big glob of dough, with all of the dry ingredients mixed in.

Spoon dough by teaspoonfuls or with your favorite cookie dough scoop onto a baking sheet.  Bake at 350 degrees on ungreased cookie sheets for 8-10 minutes. These cookies bake fairly quickly so watch them carefully while they are in the oven.  Cool and enjoy with a chilled glass of cold milk.  This recipe makes 2-3 dozen cookies.

This is a wonderful recipe for a beginning baker.  A great recipe to get your kids into the kitchen for the first time.  As you can see by the pictures Evan had lots of fun mixing and mushing the ingredients together.  And the bonus was when he was done mixing there was no spoon to lick off, just his hands.  Of course I had to take over getting the dough onto the cookie sheets to bake while Evan “cleaned” his hands off.   A wonderful afternoon of learning and making messes here in the kitchen at Camp Grandma.


Reader Appreciation Award


Meg over at Meg Travels has graciously nominated me for this lovely award.  Her blog is a travellers paradise.  It’s fun to read about her adventures and get lost in the pictures.  Get your cup of coffee and check out what Meg’s been up to lately.

The rules for this award:

Link the award back to the one who presented it to you.

List six nominations.

My blog nominations for this award are  (drum roll please……….)

Marie Wetmore– Life and career coaching

Shutterbug Sage– Such a great photography collection

thethingabout joan– Great stories of Momhood and life in general.

Pleasant Valley Sunday– Diane has a descriptive way with words that pull you right into her stories.

Creative Noshing– A plethora of wonderful recipes. 

The Suburban Cook-Wonderful recipes mingled with life’s happenings.


Thanks again Meg for the nomination.  It’s a treat to be recognized, and be able to recognize your fellow bloggers too.  Happy Monday everyone!  Hope everyone’s geared up for a great week.



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