Yesterday would have been Woo-Woo’s 99th birthday so earlier this week I baked a batch of Ranger Cookies. As I’ve said before, her recipes are always my favorites and this one is no exception. For any family gathering or holiday, she’d bake dozens of cookies (usually ranger cookies and sugar cookies) the day or two before and store them in big cookie tins so there was always something sweet on hand to offer guests and grandchildren!
Ranger cookies were always some of my favorites because they’re both salty and sweet. And bonus: the dough is delicious!
WooWoo’s Ranger Cookies
Preheat oven to 375°
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1 cup quick oats
1 cup Total cereal (then crush)
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut
Mix the first 5 ingredients–butter, sugar, brown sugar, egg, and vanilla.
Stir in remaining ingredients.
Drop by the rounded teaspoon, 2 inches apart, on an ungreased cookie sheet.
Bake for 12 minutes at 375°
Makes at least couple dozen cookies.
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I have long held this theory that people who don’t feel like their life is fabulous enough are just listening to the wrong playlist. With that in mind, please accept this little musical gift from us to you!
But first: The best thing you’ll see all day…
What’s been playing around our house lately…
The Made + Remade crew (& Peter from the Scripps video team) plotting out the awesome. Clockwise from Peter: Michele, Emily, Ellen, and Kelly
Do you remember a few months ago when the Made + Remade crew headed to Asheville? Well, we can finally share the videos we were creating! My series was all about DIY cleaning recipes for everything from homemade dishwasher pellets to nifty ways to remove stains from your carpet.
Above, you’ll find a link to the DIY Cleaning Recipes playlist. You can also click here to watch Ellen’s “Essential Knots to Know” videos or click here to see Emily’s videos on “How to Fold Anything.”
Please take a sec to watch a video or two on YouTube and comment to let us know what you think!
For more great DIY projects, check out the Made + Remade blog on diynetwork.com
Last night, we threw a little dinner party for a few friends–fried chicken, classic summer-in-the-South fare straight from the garden, cocktails, espresso. Sparkling conversation with good food is the perfect way to spend a Wednesday, don’t you think?
Then, after everyone had gone, we took a little time to clean up the joint. Sure our tummies were full and our heads were a little light, but if there’s one thing that can absolutely ruin a perfect dinner party, it’s the morning after!
So we loaded the dishwasher, changed the tablecloth, and neatly stacked the freshly washed china to dry.
This morning, we came down to a tidy dining room and then steeped our coffee beside all those clean dishes.
I think half the battle of having a peaceful home (& mind) is discovering little things like this that set you up for success.
How cute is this guy? I was trying to take a picture of my afternoon view (staring at the porch ceiling above the pages of my book), and this pic was just too cute not to snap. But for the actual post…
This time of year (or really any time the thermometer reads over 60°F) the front porch is my very favorite room in the house. We spend hours out there–reading, chatting, listening to the radio. I’ll give you a peek at the rest of the porch another day, but right now I want to talk about the ceiling.
If you call up your house painter and ask for “haint” blue, you’ll find that most of them keep a standard shade on hand. Driving through Southern towns, this light blue adorns the porch ceilings of the smallest of shacks to the largest of mansions. And, like many pieces of Southern folklore, haint blue ceilings have become such a tradition that most people have forgotten where it started. The tradition originated with the Gullah people–descendants of slaves spread from South Carolina to Louisiana.
haint: a spirit lost in the physical world yet to pass over to the next realm
You can think of a haint as a spirit that you really don’t want to mess with. This isn’t a friendly spirit that will guide you in life, it’s one that will haunt your dreams. The one catch? Haints can’t cross water. So the idea was that if the ceiling of the porch was painted this blue, a shade that is light and slightly aqua, the haint will be tricked into thinking that it’s water and move on to another home.
While I don’t really believe in the superstition, I’m a sucker for a Southern tradition with a good story! What about you? Is your porch ceiling blue?
Yesterday morning, I got up early to bake two fudge pies–one with nuts and one without. It was my dad’s 65th birthday, and fudge pie is a family favorite for any birthday, celebration, or Thursday afternoon. It’s one of those recipes (like Loverboy’s Specialty Cake and chocolate chip cookies) whose ingredients are always kept in stock for impromptu celebrations because it is rich and creamy.
Do you have a red plate for celebrations? This may need to get it’s own post later.
The pie is super simple to make but, as my mother and I discussed last night, it my take a couple tries in your oven to get the consistency just right. I’ve found that the trick is to let the outer half of the pie set but leave just a little jiggle in the middle. Then, let it “set” for at least an hour after baking.
Preheat oven to 325°
1 stick butter
1 cup sugar
1/4 c. flour
1/4 c. cocoa
1 tsp. vanilla
Add some chopped pecans if you like.
1.) Beat eggs with melted butter.
2.) Fold into dry ingredients and add nuts, if using.
3.) Pour into unbaked, 8in. pie crust.
4.) Bake at 325° for 30-35 minutes. (See note above about getting this just right.)
“Well, we’ve drained one bottle of prosecco.”
“I love Saturdays.”
Homegrown tomatoes are a luxury like no other in the South. During these summer months, porch ledges are lined with tomatoes that need just a little more time in the sun to reach edible perfection. When I was little, there was an anthem that was sung during these holy days…
My dad once referenced this in one of his sermons at which point my mother stood up and led the congregation in the chorus. (#southern #smalltown)
I also insisted on starting all my presentations with that song when we designed HGTV Gardens a couple years ago. I choose to think it endeared me to our NYC colleagues who were unfamiliar with this season second only to Christmas.
This year, I’m happy to report that we’re growing 7 heirloom varieties in our garden.
And they’re inspiring more than their fair share of art projects. (More on that at a later date.)
I take mine most often on homemade toast with a little salt and pepper. But thanks to the magic of Twitter, I’ve found that how you take your tomatoes most often seems to reflect the region you hail from. So what about you?
How do you take your tomatoes?
When one spends her days in Cubicle Land, lunch has to be a strategic affair–especially this time of year when I’d rather be weeding the garden than staring at a computer. So to compensate, I try to make my lunch as “homegrown” as possible. Last weekend, I whipped up this cucumber dill dip with ingredients straight from our garden. Mix that with a homegrown tomato and a couple slices of fresh-baked bread, and you’ve got yourself a feast!
This is a lot like Greek tzatziki dip, but by leaving out the garlic, I’m sure not to offend my co-workers. I love it on avocado and tomato sandwiches, but it’s equally fab with fish or just as a tangy chip dip.
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
1 handful of fresh dill
1 medium cucumber
Put 1 cup plain Greek yogurt into a bowl or small jar.
Chop your handful of fresh dill. Mine came out to be about 2 Tblsps, but it should really just be to your taste.
Add your lemon juice to the mix.
Cut the skin off your cucumber. Then, grate the flesh of the cucumber down to the seeds. Discard the seeds. It will look something like this…
Finally, mix everything together. You can store the dip in the fridge for a couple weeks.
It is always magical to spend an evening discovering something new about this city of ours. Last night was one of those evenings.
Food by Chef Brian Balest, owner of Northshore Brasserie, our favorite local eatery.
Drinks by Roy Milner, a partner in Blackberry Farm Brewery.
Chef Balest used one pig to create many of the dishes like this head cheese. We decided halfway through the meal to name the pig Cecil.
“The idea is simple: gather a small group of people from across a variety of social groups and enjoy a gourmet meal prepared by a local chef in a clandestine location.”
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