Saturday, October 17, 2009

Silver Bella

I am headed to a fancy schmancy art retreat called Silver Bella in mid November. You can click on the crown logo on the side of our blog for all the glorious details. I am really looking forward to the five workshops I got into from rock star crafting instructors – Kaari Meng, Pam Garrison, Charlotte Lyons, Rebecca Sowers and Teresa McFayden. As part of the pre-fun preparations, you could sign up for all sorts of swaps. I signed up for three of them, and just survived getting my second one completed. It sounded so deceptively simple – trading favorite holiday dessert recipes. But it evolved into making 32 pieces of altered art.

Since it is about receiving and not giving (sometimes), it was all worth it! At Silver Bella, I’ll receive a completed recipe book with 16 family favorites, all decorated to the nines.
Here’s a picture of my completed heap of stuff.

A little close up snippet of a page.

And since all of you can’t join us in Omaha, here are my two recipes. -- Beth


I found this recipe in our local Seattle Times newspaper a few years back. It has been the one cookie I make sure to bake every Christmas, no matter how hectic the holiday season is. It’s like a great oatmeal raisin cookie made even greater with the addition of gumdrops!


1 cup butter, softened

¾ cup brown sugar

¾ cup granulated sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 tablespoons buttermilk

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 ½ cups flour

2 cups oatmeal (rolled oats)

1 pound spiced gumdrops, cut into ¼ inch pieces.

(My Safeway has 13 oz bags, so I use 2 bags.)

½ cup chopped walnuts

½ cup raisins

1. In a mixer, cream together butter and sugars until fluffy. Then add eggs, vanilla and buttermilk; mix until smooth. Sift together dry ingredients and blend in. Mix in oatmeal, gumdrops, walnuts and raisins. Chill, covered, 2 hours.

2. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Drop dough by tablespoonfuls onto a greased baking sheet. Bake about 10 to 12 minutes, or until golden.

Cool on a rack.

Makes six dozen cookies.


I wish I could say this was a family heirloom recipe, but it’s not. My mom could sew up a storm, but the same couldn’t be said for her cooking. My grandmas did meat and potatoes food. Now my friend Nancy is another story – you beg for the recipe every time she makes something! She discovered this delicious combination on It is now one of our family’s favorite desserts.


Bread Pudding:

2 cups half and half

1 15-ounce can pure pumpkin

1 cup (packed) plus 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar

2 large eggs

1 ½ teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract

10 cups ½-inch cubes egg bread (about 10 ounces) – croissants are highly recommended!

½ + cup golden raisins

Caramel Sauce:

1 ¼ cups (packed) dark brown sugar

½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter

½ cup whipping cream

For bread pudding:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Whisk half and half, pumpkin, dark brown sugar, eggs, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon and vanilla extract in large bowl to blend. Fold in bread cubes. Stir in golden raisins. Transfer mixture to 11x7-inch glass baking dish. Let stand 15 minutes. Bake pumpkin bread pudding until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 40 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare caramel sauce:

Whisk brown sugar and butter in heavy medium saucepan over medium heat until butter melts. Whisk in cream and stir until sugar dissolves and sauce is smooth, about 3 minutes.

Serve warm with caramel sauce. Makes 6 – 8 servings.

1 comment:

Carole said...

Gosh I envy you having a class with Kaari Meng. I miss retreats! I know you'll have a fantastic time.