Red, White, and Blue Shortbread Cookies

Anyone from the Chicagoland area remember the Ray Raynor Show? It was a delightful show for children way back when, And it had valuable lessons.

My favorite memories are of his cooking a Thanksgiving turkey and when he showed craft projects for the kids. What made it so special? And hilarious? He always managed to mess up in some way. He would start off with a golden brown turkey or a pretty Mother’s Day craft. And whether it was trying to stuff the turkey upside down or adding too much glue to the craft project and ending up with a gooey mess, he entertained and gave good messages.

One might think at first glance “what is the lesson in that?”

He allowed children to be children. To let them know that it’s okay if something doesn’t come out just “perfect”. He got down to their level. It seemed to me to be a show for adults as well as the children.

What does that have to do with Red, White, and Blue Shortbread Cookies? Well, I thought of the Ray Raynor show several times while making the cookies. I just kept running into snags. They were delicious but the recipe didn’t exactly cooperate. Partly my fault.

It called for an 8×8 square glass pan. I didn’t have one so I increased the recipe by half again and put it in an 8×11 glass pan. The only real problem with that actually is the rounded corners. The cookies weren’t exactly squared off.

I was short 1/4C sugar so I added some Equal. That was no big deal.

They baked well. It took a little longer, of course, because of the change in pans and quantity of the dough, but that was okay too.

Then it came to the dipping the cookies in the chocolate and adding the sprinkles. It’s possible I bought the wrong chocolate, although none of the chocolate was listed as dipping chocolate. At any rate, I had a mess, I had chocolate dripping everywhere and so when I needed to add the sprinkles before the chocolate hardened, I ended up with sprinkles everywhere as well.

I had to chuckle and thought of Ray Raynor. Thank you Ray.

I have added a link to the original cookie recipe that I found on Pinterest. I do hope you will give them a try and learn from my mistakes. And if they don’t end up “perfect” give a smile and a nod to the Ray Raynor Show.

Have a great week!
Doris

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Faux Finishing 101

Glaze

Good morning! Today I thought I would chat about water base glazes that are used for faux finishing. Maybe you have been wanting to try your hand at it, maybe you would like to understand what your professional faux painter is talking about, or maybe you are just interested in the process. Whatever your reasons are, I hope that you will find this interesting and helpful.

I specified water base glazes because there are some decorative artists still out there that prefer to work in oils. Water based paints and mediums have come a long way, therefore I prefer working with them over oil based paint. There are several different brands of glazes, the two that I prefer are:

Dutch Boy Dimensions Technique Glaze (available at Menards)
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and

Faux Effects Aqua Creme (available at most fine paint stores)
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So what is the difference? Cost and dry time. The Dutch Boy Technique Glaze is about $30.00 a gallon and the dry time is a little longer than for paint, thus giving you a little time to move and work the paint. I use it mostly for Old World Washes. BTW, the Technique Glaze is really the only Dutch Boy product that I use. The Faux Effects Aqua Creme gives about an extra hour to move paint which is quite a benefit when creating specific finishes. I use it mostly for Colorwashes and when glazing furniture. However, you pay for the extended dry time. Aqua Creme runs about $28.00 a quart. A little does go a long way though.

There is another difference. The Dutch Boy product has a bit of a sheen to it when it dries. The Faux Effects does not, it dries fairly flat. That doesn’t matter really when you are working on something that will end up varnished.

Below are a few sample boards that I have created for a client and will be delivering tomorrow. The first one is an Old World Wash…
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it has what we call “movement” to it.

The other is a colorwash done with Aqua Creme…
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It has a more even feel to the overall look.

I am also making a sample to paint their kitchen island. What I have found best is to get a piece of moulding (this one I got from Home Depot, where they sell it by the foot), and paint it as I would the piece to be finished. On this one you may be able to see how I used different strengths of glaze over it, in order to create the right look for their kitchen. I prefer to use the Aqua Creme glaze on furniture myself. I like to be able to work the glaze a little longer in order to have the correct amount staying in the grooves and corners.
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So, I hope this has been informative and maybe even inspiring. If you have any questions or concerns about a current or future project I would be happy to answer them. And, who knows, maybe you will want to try your hand at a new project during these winter months.

I hope that your day is filled with sunshine!

Sweets For The Sweet!

Good morning all!

Now that the Superbowl is over and the Seahawks have won,(big time!), and everyone has celebrated their favorite team, we are on to the next fun event of February. No, sorry, Groundhog Day was yesterday as well. I am talking about Valentines Day. The first thing I think of when I hear Valentine’s Day is not flowers it is Chocolate. Those who know me know that I am not really a lover of sweets. But, on occasion, it can be a good thing. And chocolate can usually take care of that. I came across this recipe that I haven’t made in a long time so I thought I would bake up a batch to take to Charlie, my grandson that lives here. They are not only really chocolatie and delicious, but as you can see, they look great too! The recipe is as follows:
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Rich Dark Kisses Tiger Cookies

1 1/2 C. granulated sugar
1/2 C. vegetable oil
1/2 C. Cocoa
3 eggs
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 3/4 C. all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
About 48 Hershey’s Rich Dark Kisses, unwrapped
Powdered sugar

1.Combine granulated sugar and oil in a large bowl; add cocoa, beating until well blended. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Stir together flour, baking powder, and salt; gradually add to cocoa mixture, beating well.

2. Cover; refrigerate until dough is firm enough to handle, at least 6 hours.

3. Heat oven to 350 degrees. grease cookie sheet. Shape dough into 1-inch balls (dough will still be sticky); roll in powdered sugar to coat. Place about 2 inches apart on prepared cookie sheet. Bake 11-13 minutes or until almost no indention remains when touched lightly and tops are cracked. Immediately press Kiss into the center os each cookie. Cool slightly. Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack and cool completely.

As you may be able to tell, this is really a variation of the peanut butter milk chocolate Kiss recipe. But I think it stands on its own quite well, don’t you?

One of the things that I really like about this recipe is that the only thing I had to go out and buy was the Kisses!

I am going to be working on sample boards for a client for the next few days so I thought I would go over some faux finish techniques. Sound good? Anything in particular that you have questions about?

Hope you all have a great week!

Italian Soup

Good Morning World!

I have a soup recipe for you today but I would like to give the story behind it. Now, I have to tell you that I have many really great clients and have done some interesting and fun projects for them. The one that comes to mind every time I make this soup I can’t help but think of the client and the project that went with it. And it always makes me smile.

I was hired by a client to paint a sports themed mural in their son’s room. It included a locker with a shirt hanging in it and some other things like a baseball bat and some sports shoes to name a few. It took me three days to complete. On the second day, midmorning, I was painting away upstairs when I began to smell a wonderfully fragrant recipe being made down in the kitchen. This doesn’t usually happen with me. I had to go out to my jeep to get something and when I came back in I noticed a woman at the stove. She said hello and we chatted for a minute about what I was doing. Then I couldn’t resist, I asked her what she was making. She said that she was the Grandma visiting and she was making their favorite Italian soup. She showed me what it looked like, I complimented her on it and when back to my painting. A short time later she came up and said, “Here is the recipe if you would like it.” I love to cook so I was thrilled. At the end of that day I said good bye and thanked her once again for the recipe. Anxious to make the soup I picked up the ingredients on my way home and made it that night. It was so easy I soon was sitting down to a fresh bowl of soup for my supper.

And so I would like to pass on my good fortune of receiving this delicious soup. I hope that you enjoy it as much as I do.

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Italian Soup

Mild or medium Italian sausage (if using links at least 4 or about 1 lb)
1 onion, coarsely chopped
2 tsp minced garlic from a jar, (I like garlic, therefore, I use more)
1 small green pepper, chopped
1 can beef broth
1 can Rotel tomatoes with green chiles
1 can red kidney beans, rinsed
1 can cannellini beans, rinsed

Brown the sausage (if links, remove from casing) breaking it up into small pieces. Add onion and garlic and cook until tender.
Add remaining ingredients and simmer for 30-45 minutes. Serve with your favorite bread.

Enjoy!

BTW, my daughter and son-in-law are vegetarians and I often think of ways to change recipes into meatless dishes. I think if you remove the sausage, switch the broth to a vegetable one, maybe increase the vegetables by 50%, and add Italian seasoning this would be delicious that way too.

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