Friday, April 2, 2021

On Sabbatical!

I’m on sabbatical, re-editing a novel (This is a terrific book!). 

Modesty is not my strong suit. I have no idea when I’ll return. Lucky you!



© Nicole Parton, 2021

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Glory Bowl

When Canadian chef Shelley Adams invented this recipe some 20 years ago, she probably had no idea what a runaway sensation it would be! Named after a back-country North American ski bowl, this delicious combination of ultra-nutritious foods is the single best salad/main dish I’ve ever had. No one pays me to say stuff like this … I’m completely sincere. You’ll find nutritional yeast flakes in the bulk foods section of your local health food store, or online. 

Glory Bowl: 

To Prepare the Salad:

2 tbsp. (3o mL) canola oil

2 c. (500 mL) cubed extra-firm tofu

8 c. (2 L) hot brown rice (If you need to, See How to Cook Brown Rice

2 c. (500 mL) grated carrots, peeled, raw

2 c. (500 mL) grated beets, peeled, raw

2 c. packed baby spinach leaves, washed, stemmed, uncooked

2 c. slivered almonds, toasted

Ready to serve: Glory Bowl

In large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat; sauté tofu, stirring frequently until brown and crispy, about 10 min. Drain on paper towel. Divide rice among 8 bowls; drizzle each with 1 tbsp. (15 mL) dressing. Top each bowl with tofu, carrots, beets, spinach and almonds, drizzling each serving with an additional 3 tbsp. (45 mL) dressing.

To Prepare the Dressing:

1/2 c. (125 c.) nutritional yeast flakes

1/3 c. tamari or soy sauce

1/3 c. apple cider vinegar

1/3 c. water

2 tbsp. (30 mL) tahini

2 medium-sized cloves garlic, peeled and crushed

1-1/2 c. (375 mL) canola oil

In blender, purée together nutritional yeast flakes, tamari (or soy sauce), vinegar, water, tahini and garlic. With motor running, add oil in slow, steady stream. Blend until smooth. Serves 8 grown-ups 02 12 intelligent, nutritionally aware children.


(Tip: You can make this excellent dressing in advance. Covered and refrigerated, it keeps  up to a week.)

Saturday, March 27, 2021

Another! Lasagna Recipe from Cookbook Star Margo Oliver

Librarian extraordinaire Nathan has been researching, again! And what he’s found will interest lasagna lovers everywhere. Although I’ve been busy in my kitchen, I’ve also been busy with a large project that’s eating up the hours, weeks, and months. 

With a brain the size of a pea pod, I can’t blog and chew gum at the same time. 

Nathan to the rescue with yet another Margo Oliver lasagna recipe a blog reader requested. Says Nathan: “Always happy to do digging for things like this. We don’t get as many fun reference inquiries as we used to anymore …”

So remember your local library and librarians as an excellent source for those old recipes you’re seeking. This oldie but goodie dates to 1967:

Sunday, March 21, 2021

Margo Oliver’s Lasagna

 What day izzit? What month? What year?

I’ve been on a working sabbatical from this blog for a couple of months and (considering I’ve been very, very bad and have taken several sabbaticals from the sabbatical), it looks like I’ll be a while longer. Patience, Grasshopper!

I’ve also been naughty and done a little scribbling on my second blog, but am about to take a break from that, too:

A reader recently left a comment asking if I could find “Margo Oliver’s Lasagna” recipe. I searched my cookbooks: Nothing. I looked online: Plenty of mentions, but I didn’t want to create (or give an existing) password to unfamiliar sites. I canvassed friends: No luck.

Being the easily distracted kind, I phoned my local library, leaving a pretty big ask on voice mail. Please find me Margo Oliver’s Lasagna recipe: Can’t find it online; can’t go to the library because of COVID; and oh, by the way, don’t have a library card. So give me 40 lashes with a wet lasagna noodle, already! 

Three days later, a Librarian-From-Heaven named Nathan sent me an email. Not only had he found one Oliver lasagna recipe, but three. This was terrific news. Margo Oliver was Canada’s Betty Crocker - famous. (As well as being the easily distracted kind, I’m the more-or-less illiterate kind, and am never quite sure the URLs I post will actually link to sites. Why my own does, I have no idea. So if you can, try this link to read about the late Oliver’s life, career, and many excellent cookbooks:

To sum up: When Darling Nathan delivered in spades, I said a quiet prayer for librarians everywhere, and thought I’d print these recipes for my anonymous reader. I sure as H-E-Double Hockey Sticks hope s/he sees this reply because I’ve taken a sabbatical from my blogging sabbatical to reprint these recipes.

As well as being the easily distracted kind, and the more-or-less illiterate kind, I’m the time-stretched kind, so am sending you the screen shots Dear Heart Nathan sent me. Don’t kvetch ... You know perfectly well how to use a magnifying glass. Because these recipes are Margo Oliver’s, you can bet your patootie they’ll be good.

Back to my sabbatical!

xox Nicole

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Christmas Bread Pudding

Be it ever so humble, there’s no place like home … Stay at home. Maybe not forever, but for now. Stay calm, stay safe, and celebrate the season, even if it’s dinner for one, this year. The simplicity of this little recipe strikes me as appropriate during this global pandemic.

Christmas Bread Pudding:

2 c. (500 mL) milk

1/4 c. (60 mL) butter or margarine

1/3 c. (70 mL) granulated sugar

2 eggs

3 c. (750 mL) soft white bread crumbs (no crusts)

1/2 c. raisins, plumped, drained, and lightly blotted dry

1 tsp. (5 mL) powdered cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 deg. F. In a microwave oven or medium saucepan over medium heat, scald milk. Add butter or margarine, stirring until melted. In large mixing bowl, beat sugar and eggs well. Add small amount of egg mixture to hot milk, whisking together. Pour hot milk into egg mixture, stirring constantly. Set aside.

Sprinkle bread crumbs into lightly greased 1-1/2 qt. (1.5 L) casserole. Add raisins, sprinkling with cinnamon. Pour egg mixture over crumbs. To large baking dish or roasting pan, add 1 in. (2.5 cm) hot water. Set casserole into dish. Bake 45 min., or until knife inserted near edge of pudding comes out clean. Serve warm with Brown Sugar Sauce or (if it’s in your budget) Old-Fashioned Brandy Butter. Serves 6.

Brown-Sugar Sauce

Economical, this sweet sauce is just the thing to serve over Christmas Bread Pudding.

Brown-Sugar Sauce:

1/3 c. (70 mL) brown sugar

1 tbsp. (15 mL) cornstarch

1/2 c. (125 mL) water

1 tbsp. (15 mL) butter or margarine

1/4 tsp. (1.2 mL) vanilla extract

In small saucepan, combine sugar and cornstarch. Mix well, removing any lumps. Slowly stir in water. In medium saucepan, stirring constantly, cook over medium heat until sauce becomes clear, thickens, and starts to boil. Remove from heat, stirring in butter or margarine and vanilla. Serve warm. Makes 2/3 c. (140 mL).

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Old-Fashioned Brandy Butter

This scrumptious spoon-on topping will elevate a simple, unfrosted pound cake or bread pudding into an elegant Christmas dessert. If you have a little holly, put it on the side of the plate as a bit of festive décor. Make this sauce a day ahead, allowing the flavors to mellow. Be sure to offer an alternate, non-alcoholic sauce for non-imbibers.

PS: Magnificent with Christmas Bread Pudding!

Old-Fashioned Brandy Butter:

½ c. (125 mL) soft butter (no substitutions)

1 c. (250 mL) sifted icing sugar (“confectioners” sugar or “powdered” sugar)

3 tbsp. (45 mL) brandy

1 tsp. (5 mL) finely grated fresh orange zest

1 tsp. (5 mL) finely grated fresh lemon zest

1 tsp. (5 mL) fresh lemon juice

Pinch ground nutmeg

Using electric mixer, cream butter and sugar until very light and fluffy. Beat in brandy, 1 tbsp. at a time. Beat in remaining ingredients, one at a time. Cover and refrigerate 24 hr., allowing flavors to blend. Makes 1-½ c. (375 mL)

Thursday, December 17, 2020

Basic Waffles

Hankering for summer fruit, whipped cream, and Belgian waffles, we bought a waffle maker last year. After having it languish in the kitchen cupboard for months, we dusted it off and put it to work a couple of days ago. 

The result? Perfect waffles, every time. What we bought was a flip-style waffle maker - turn it over as soon as your pour in the batter. Our waffle maker is similar to the kind often found in motels that dangle a free breakfast as an inducement for you to stay. 

In our minds, the only thing that sets our waffle maker apart from the sturdier, larger, heavy-duty makers in those motels is that home waffle makers lack an audible alarm. 

Instead, a little light turns off when the waffle’s done, but who wants to hang around waiting for it? And so we set the kitchen timer for 4 min., which worked well. Waffle makers with audible timers are available at roughly five times the price we paid: Thanks, but no thanks.  

Whether you use one of these fancy flip-over makers or the smaller traditional type, waffles are a delicious breakfast or brunch. The leftovers freeze beautifully, so leggo your Eggo to save yourself some money, in the long run.  

The amount of batter you use depends on the make and model of your waffle maker. Our large, flip-over type uses approximately 1/3 c. (80 mL) for each waffle. Smaller waffle makers use less batter. Because there are so many makes and models, I can’t provide a fixed figure, but  you’re far better to under-fill, rather than over-fill, them. Although the flip-over type has captured my interest and my heart, but using any type of waffle maker is fun.

Very important: The interiors of the standard, no-flip models require a good spray-grease between waffles (and especially for the first waffle in the batch). Newer waffle makers such as ours have a non-stick surface and need no greasing.

I’ve rewritten the recipe below from the (confusing, poorly written!) one that came with our waffle maker. Fill the pockets with fruit or whipped cream if you want, but in the the Time Zone and at the Latitude where we live, we use only butter and maple syrup during these cold months.  

Basic Waffles:

2 c. (500 mL) all purpose flour 

1 tsp. (5 mL) baking soda

2 tbsp. (30 mL) sugar 

1/4 tsp. (1.5 mL) salt

2 eggs, separated

2 c. (500 mL) milk

1 tsp. (5 mL) vanilla extract

1/3 cup (80 mL) melted butter or margarine, at room temperature 

Into large bowl, sift combined flour, baking soda, sugar, and salt. Make an indent (a “well”) in dry ingredients; set aside. In medium bowl, using electric mixer, beat together egg yolks, milk, vanilla, and melted butter or margarine. Pour liquid ingredients into “well” all at once. Combine just until mixed; over-mixing will toughen waffles. Batter will be slightly lumpy. 

Using clean blades of electric mixer, beat egg whites into stiff peaks; fold into waffle mixture just until combined. 

Preheat waffle maker. When indictor light turns off and waffle maker reaches desired heat, spoon 1/3 c. (80 mL) batter into center of waffle maker. Immediately close lid, flipping to distribute batter evenly or following “how to use” instructions in waffle maker’s manual. 

Using a large waffle maker such as ours, this easy recipe produces five delicious waffles. However, that’s highly variable. I’ve seen waffle makers shaped liked a heart, a leaf,  and other fripperies. A smaller waffle maker will, of course, produce fewer waffles … But what does it matter? Every waffle will be gone in no time flat.

Sunday, December 13, 2020

Cranberry-Orange Tea Bread

Having neither shame nor pride, I’m well beyond the point of making (and keeping) holiday resolutions to eat less, drink less, spend less, work less, or dislike Trump less, but I shall try. Not the Trump part, but the “spend less” part and  “work less” parts. 

(1) So this is the part where I promote slow cookers. I have two - one, big as a Buick; the other, the size of a toaster oven. I never use either. Sad, but true. Each languishes at the back of the kitchen cupboard, rarely used or thought about. Mea culpa, Dollinks! 

(2) So this is the part where I promise to repent, which is as close to a holiday resolution as I’m ever going to get. Har-rumph! 

(3) So this is also the 

part where I introduce:

Cranberry-Orange Tea Bread, telling you how effortless (true) and delicious (also true) it is, and that you will need to yank out your own slow cooker out of the attic or the basement or from whichever dark, dank place you’ve stashed it. You already know the benefits of slow cookers; I’m not going to preach. 

(4) So this is the part where I give you the recipe and urge you to make it pronto, just as I’ve done. This is also the part where I admit that “working less” = less time in the kitchen = more time using my slow cooker (or “crock pot,” as these handy gadgets were once known).

This recipe requires a slow cooker

Cranberry-Orange Tea Bread:

To Prepare the Tea Bread:

3 c. (750 mL) all-purpose flour

1-1/3 (320 mL) granulated sugar

1 tbsp. (15 mL) baking powder

1/4 tsp. (1.25 mL) baking soda

1/4 tsp. (1.25 mL) salt

Finely grated peel of 1 large orange

1 c. (250 mL) dried cranberries 

2 c. (500 mL) milk 

1 large egg

1/4 c. (60 mL) canola oil

Spray-grease 4 qt. (4 L) slow cooker. Cover and preheat on “low” setting. In large mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add dried cranberries and fresh orange peel, combining all thoroughly. Make a “well ” in center of dry ingredients and set aside. 

In separate bowl, whisk together milk, egg, and oil. Hand-stirring with spoon or spatula, add combined liquids to dry ingredients all at once, just until moistened. 

Pour batter into slow cooker. Cover and turn slow cooker to “high” setting for 2-1/4 hr. Loaf is done when thin skewer poked into center comes out dry.  

When loaf is done, remove slow cooker insert from metal casing, cooling loaf inside insert 20-to-30 min. As loaf begins to cool, loosen sides of loaf from insert by running blunt knife around  edges, being sure knife penetrates to bottom of insert and loaf. Repeat as loaf cools further, this time gently lifting loaf from bottom of insert as you work around the edges. Turn loaf onto wire rack, removing insert to cool more fully. 

(5) So this is the part where we eat it. It’s wonderful! Makes 15-to-20 tall slices - double that, if you cut them in half.

To Prepare the Icing Sugar Glaze (optional): 

Standing round and tall, this particularly showy bread deserves special treatment. Drizzle the top and edges with about 1/2 c. (125 mL) sifted icing sugar combined with just enough light cream and a few drops of pure orange extract to produce a runny white glaze. Using a funnel, let the glaze run over the top and sides of the bread. Let glaze set at least 30 min. before cutting and transferring to serving plate. 

Note: This tea cake freezes wonderfully. Cut into slices, separating with waxed paper.

Further Note: You’re a tea bread fan? Among of the best of the best is Yukon Orange Bread.  Check it out!

Saturday, December 12, 2020

Christmas Morning Potato Pancakes

Ron’s what I call a “natural” cook - someone who throws together a little of this and a little of that, almost always with outstanding results. Ron test-drove these pancakes the other day. Wherever you live, try this for your holiday breakfast - or at any time of year! This quantity serves 2.

Christmas Morning Potato Pancakes:

1 large, raw russet potato

Salt and pepper, to taste

1 egg, well beaten

2-to-3 tbsp. (30-to-45 mL) flour

2 tsp. (10 mL) canola oil

Sour cream or Greek-style yogurt, as garnish

Applesauce, as garnish

Wash, peel, and grate potato. Rinse shredded potato in sieve and place in cold water 3-to-5 min. Drain, rinsing again with fresh water and draining once more. Blot dry with paper toweling. Transfer potatoes to bowl. Salt and pepper to taste, stirring in beaten egg and adding just enough flour to hold mixture together. 

Set electric griddle to 350 deg. F. (or medium-high heat on stove top). Heat oil on griddle: Use a generous quantity of oil, rather than spray-grease, to crisp-up surface of pancakes. Spoon and flatten potato mixture onto hot oil. Fry 5 min. on each side to cook potatoes through. Increase heat to 400 deg. F. (or slightly raise heat on stove-top) to crisp each side of pancakes. Makes 6 small pancakes. Serve with sour cream, applesauce, and (optionally) sausages (see Note).

Note: I learn from watching Ron cook! He fried the sausages in a skillet covered with a silicone spatter-guard. Rather than remove the spatter-guard and mess the stove to turn the sausages, he held the spatter-guard in place and simply shook the pan. Neat trick! 

One grated potato makes enough for two meals.

Rinse and drain as recipe directs, washing away starch.

Blotted dry, potatoes are ready for the bowl - at last!

Add salt, pepper, and an egg to shredded potato.

Combine ingredients with just enough flour to bind.

Spoon onto hot, well-oiled griddle.

Cook each side at medium-high heat.

Then raise heat, frying until crispy.

Serve with sour cream, applesauce, or both.

Thursday, December 10, 2020

Denny Boyd’s Christmas Eve Pea Soup

Once again, thinking ahead to the holidays, I’m reprinting this all-time reader favorite. As one of the most popular recipes ever to appear on this blog, it’s superb!

Its background? Years ago, I briefly shared an office with Vancouver Sun columnist Denny Boyd. The late, great Denny begged for release, claiming that I yakked on the phone and talked to my plants much of the day. It didn’t matter that I had no plants, but Denny and I high-fived it when his mewling resulted in a private office for each of us. When Denny moved into his new digs, he left behind this wonderful recipe for pea soup, which I’ve made often. 

I change the ingredients each time I make Denny’s soup. The recipe is now such a departure from the original that I can almost call it my own. Regardless, as an homage to an old friend, I’ll always call this great soup recipe his.

Denny Boyd’s Christmas Eve Pea Soup:

3 c. (375 mL) dried yellow or green split peas 

8 c. (2 L) water 

2 smoked pork hocks or 1 large ham bone (see Note)

10 whole peppercorns, cracked

¼ c. (60 mL) coarsely chopped onion

2 (500 mL) chopped celery, including some leaves

1 c. (250 mL) diced ham, visible fat removed and/or meat from pork hock

1 c. (259 mL) peeled and diced garlic-flavored sausage such as Polish kielbasa (a 7-oz. or 200 g piece is just about right (see Yet Another Note) 

2 medium carrots, peeled and finely diced 

1 c. (250 nL) whole milk

One 10 oz. (284 mL) can condensed beef bouillon soup

2 tsp. (10 mL) seasoning salt

Rinse split peas well. Soak 1 hr. in cold, fresh water. Bring to a boil in same water. Reduce heat, adding pork hocks or ham bone and peppercorns. Simmer 1 hr. Add onion and celery. Simmer 1 hr. further. Remove hocks or ham bone, dicing meat. Discard bone and set aside. 

Purée soup using hand or conventional blender or food processor. Add diced meat from bone, additional ham with fat removed, sausage, carrots, milk, and bouillon. Simmer 20 min. Season shortly before serving. Yields 8-to-10 generous servings.

Note: I normally substitute a ham bone (which is cheap) for pork hocks (which are expensive). In my opinion, the slight difference in the taste doesn’t justify the added expense of using smoked hocks. 

Yet Another Note: Although I did, there’s no need to remove the casing from this sausage! It’s edible. 

Measure out split peas.

Rinse well.

Cut bone from ham - or use smoked hocks.

Free at last!

Bring peas, water, pepper and hocks or bone to a boil.

After an hour's simmering, add onion and celery. 

Simmer a further hour and purée.

Remove meat from bone. Dice additional ham. Add to soup.

Peel casing from sausage. Dice sausage; add to soup.

Season and serve: Good tidings of comfort and joy!

Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Glorified Butter Tarts

March 14, 2021 Follow-up: My butter-tart-loving brother has pointed out that my large tart pans are actually 4 in. (10 cm) rather than the 2-¾ in. (7 cm) to which this recipe refers. The bigger tarts still emerge from the oven divinely after the 28 min. (give or take) this recipe recommends. So n’yah, n’yah! All the more butter tarts for me - and for you, if you have these slightly larger pans. The slightly larger pans are also great for mini-quiches ... Their removable bottoms make all the difference in prying the pastry from the pan, unbroken - Nicole

Perhaps it’s my quirky sense of humor, but whenever I think about why this recipe caught my eye, I always smile. Clipping it from The Brandon Sun in Autumn, 1967, I was drawn to it by a headline: Butter Tarts a Dream Come True

A dream come true??? I love butter tarts and make them every Christmas, but suspect the headline’s author had a deeper relationship with butter tarts than I do. All these years later, I’m still smiling. 

I’m glad the headline grabbed my attention. Although I have many butter tart recipes, this one is head and shoulders above the rest. The filling is beautifully gooey and not overly sweet, and the simple, no-roll pastry is hugely appealing. I’ve certainly used purchased, frozen shells to make butter tarts, but the pastry for this recipe is so quick and easy to make that it’s … it’s … a dream come true! 

Glorified Butter Tarts:

To Prepare the Pastry:

4 oz. (125 g) cream cheese, softened

½ c. (125 mL) butter, softened (no substitutes)

1-¼ c. (310 mL) all-purpose flour

Using electric mixer, thoroughly blend cream cheese and butter. Add flour slowly, continuing to mix into soft pastry dough. Roll dough into 1-in. (2.54 mL) balls for 2-in. (5 cm) tart pans. Roll into 1-½-in. (3.8 cm) balls for 2-¾ in. (7 cm) tart pans (My large tart pans have a detachable bottom for fail-safe pastry removal. If you don’t own these or at the very least, non-stick tart pans, they’re well worth buying). Press ball of pastry into each individual tart form, using fingers to ensure pastry evenly meets top edges of pan. Cover and set aside in fridge or freezer.

To Prepare the Filling:

1 large egg

1 tbsp. (15 mL) butter, softened

3/4 c. (185 mL) light brown sugar

1/4 tsp. (1.2 mL) salt

1 tsp. (5 mL) vanilla

1/2 c. (125 mL) pecans or walnuts, toasted and finely chopped 

Preheat oven to 325 deg, F. Using electric mixer, beat together all filling ingredients except pecans. Stir in pecans, spooning filling evenly into pastry-lined pans. This will seem like too little filling, but it will puff up as it bakes. Bake small tarts about 22 min. and medium tarts about 28 min. Cool tarts on wire rack before removing from pans. This recipe makes about 8 large tarts or about 15 small tarts. 

Pans with detachable bottoms make tarts easy to remove.

Roll pastry into ball. Flatten between palms.

Press into tart pan, allowing edges to overhang.

Slice away overhanging pastry. 

Cover and set aside while preparing filling.

Add and beat all filling ingredients except nuts.

Chop toasted pecans fine.

Stir into batter.

Spoon in buttery filling. Bake.

Cool on wire rack. These freeze well for up to two weeks. 

Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Gingerbread Men with Attitude

The holidays are coming! The holidays are coming! I pinched this recipe - with permission - from a bakery that used to make it each Christmas for the customers of a major department store. The original recipe makes a vast number of Gingerbread Men. Because I felt reasonably sure you wouldn’t want to make 20 or 30 dozen, I’ve cut down the proportions. 

The Attitude part of this recipe? I’ve made these cookies a little more “gingery” by adding some freshly grated ginger, some candied ginger, and some crystalized ginger. Although these cookies are rolled very thinly, they emerge from the oven soft and puffy. With only minimal decoration, they look very festive!

P.S: When my daughters made this recipe, unexpected things happened! 

Gingerbread Men with Attitude:

To Prepare Cookies:

½ c. vegetable shortening (use part butter)

¾ c. loosely packed brown sugar

3-½ c. all-purpose flour

1 tbsp. cinnamon

½ tsp. powdered ginger

1 tsp. peeled and finely grated fresh ginger (optional)

1 tsp. finely chopped candied ginger (optional)

2 tbsp. finely chopped crystalized ginger (optional)

2 tsp. baking soda

2 tsp. salt (do not omit or reduce)

2 tbsp. water

2 medium eggs or 1-½ large eggs (beat 2 eggs and divide)

¾ c. cooking molasses

½ tsp. lemon extract

Cream shortening, butter, and brown sugar together until fluffy and sugar granules are fully dissolved, about 5 min. Add flour, cinnamon, and four gingers, beating until fully mixed. In a separate bowl, combine baking soda, salt, water, eggs, molasses, and lemon extract, whisking together well. Pour liquid ingredients into dry ingredients, mixing by hand to a smooth, stiff dough (I literally mix dough “by hand,” using both hands to squeeze and mix it. This dough is too stiff for most electric mixers, and mixing it with a spoon is difficult). Wrap and refrigerate in small batches for several hours or overnight. Working with small batches, some of kneaded dough will always be very cold. 

Knead lightly to smooth one small batch of chilled dough. If dough feels too soft, knead in a little flour to stiffen - the more flour, the harder the cookie. Roll out to ¼-inch thickness using floured rolling pin on floured work surface. Cut into gingerbread shapes. Bake 10 min. on parchment-covered baking sheet, just until set. Transfer cookies to cooling racks.

To Decorate Cookies:

I make large and small Gingerbread Men, and buy both large and small brightly colored Smarties or M&M candies as buttons and eyes. I use multi-colored decorating sprinkles as “mittens” and “boots.” I keep them in place with this frosting.

Decorator’s Frosting:

1 egg white

½ tsp. cream of tartar

¼ tsp. white vanilla

1-½ c. icing sugar (powdered or confectioner’s sugar)

Beat egg white and cream of tartar until stiff peaks form. Gradually add icing sugar, beating until very stiff. Transfer frosting to piping bag, using small, fine nozzle to make frosting dots for eyes, larger dots for buttons, and a cute little smile. Press Smarties into frosting dots before icing hardens and sets. Brush a very light coating of icing on Gingerbread Men’s hands and feet. Dip into sprinkles. Return Gingerbread Men to racks so frosting can set extra-hard.

Note: You’ll find another version of Decorator’s Frosting in the Index.

To make cookies, combine brown sugar, shortening, 

butter, flour, spice, four gingers.

Combine liquid ingredients separately.

Add liquids to dry ingredients.

Mix with clean hands. Chill dough overnight.

Flour work surface and rolling pin; 

prepare to cut cookies.

Bake; cool on racks.

To make frosting, beat egg white and sugar stiff.

Pipe frosting buttons and eyes.

Add candy-coated chocolates.

I named my first gingerbread man Quasimodo.

The day we made our Gingerbread Men with Attitude, Ron and I each gained a pound. We call this Tooth or Consequences.