Thursday, November 15, 2012

Russian Tea Cakes, Italian Wedding Cookies, Mexican Wedding Cookies, etc. etc.

I don't know how many names these lusious cookies have.  I do know, however, that my Grandmother gave my mother the recipe for them and they have been a family favorite for many years; especially at Christmas.  They are super simple to make. Here is my recipe:

1 cup butter
  1. Beat butter and 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar until light and fluffy.
  2. Add remaining ingredients, mix well.
  3. Roll dough into 1 inch balls and bake for 10-12 minutes in a preheated 400 degree F (175 degrees C) oven. You want the cookies to be set, but not browned.
  4. Once baked, roll while still hot in confectioners' sugar until coated. Let cool. Lightly dust with more confectioners' sugar.
Today's post is not really about Russian Tea cakes.  It is about Lemon Russian Tea Cakes.  Can you imagine????  I never heard of them, so out came the thinking cap, and here's what I came up with: 
1 cup + 1 Tablespoon butter
  1. Beat butter and 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar until light and fluffy.
  2. Add remaining ingredients, mix well.
  3. Roll dough into 1 inch balls and flatten with the bottom of a glass.  They should resemble the size and thickness of an Orea cookie.  Bake for 10-12 minutes in a preheated 400 degree F (175 degrees C) oven. You want the cookies to be set, but not browned.
  4. Once baked, roll while still hot in confectioners' sugar until coated. Let cool. Lightly dust with more confectioners' sugar.

Either recipe makes approimately 30 cookies.  You can put them very close together on the cookie sheet because they don't rise or spread out.  Soooooo yummy!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

If Horses Had Feathers and Pigs Could Fly has just broken all sales records ever!  We, at Thistlewood Publishing are ecstatic!

If you want autographed books by Christmas, get your orders in early!  www.thistlewoodpublishing.com

Monday, October 8, 2012

Monday, October 8, 2012

Interview with Children’s Author Gail Westover

Book Give-Away Oct 8 - 15: To win a children’s book, If Horses Had Feathers and Pigs Could Fly or Mrs. Mouse's Garden Party in Giggleswick Village, leave a comment about this interview with your e-mail. For an additional entry, post this contest. Choose which book you would like. U.S. and Canada.

Gail Westover has a little secret. Today the secret will be revealed. Gail is author Tika Newman. For the past seven years, she’s hidden under this name. You see, Gail is an online Backgammon Tourney Director for GammonSite. She’s been hosting tourneys for almost nine years. Everyone knows her as Tika, so writing under that name seemed the logical thing to do. Gail is also the owner and operator of Thistlewood Publishing, since its conception in 2008. She is the author of The Eyes of Innocence series and a historical novel called For the Love of Anne.

Welcome back to my blog, Gail. You are the author of the popular series The Eyes of Innocence, which is about a girl growing up with psychic abilities and the power to heal. I read it and was very impressed with the story. You have now turned to children’s books. Please tell us about your books.

Thank you so much, Linda. I’m happy to be invited back. As grandmother to two large, and five little ones, they’ve reminded me of some things that we tend to forget as we grow older and adult things get in the way. One is to laugh with joy and wild abandon. I’ve also relearned to notice the small things, like a butterfly flitting across my yard and landing on one of my flowers. I appreciate the squeal of laughter as the kids go barreling down a slide or jump into the lake. Basically, they’ve taught me not only how to love them with every fiber of my being, but also to enjoy my life again. Yes, I still work seven days a week, but it’s more fun now.

Mrs. Mouse’s Garden Party in Giggleswick Village is the first book of the Giggleswick Village series. The book teaches children that it’s ok to be themselves and to make the best out of a plan that goes wrong. Each book will teach life’s early lessons. The next book will be about bullying.

If Horses Had Feathers and Pigs Could Fly sounds silly, and that’s a good thing, because the entire book is silly. Kids laugh as they learn to use their imagination, when they read about the horse that has wings, the duck that flies upside down, and the little boy who is on the ground squinting his eyes at them. It’s a wonderful “feel good book” and is perfect for bedtime because it leaves them with happy thoughts that will encourage pleasant dreams.

Compared to novels, I assume Children’s stories are simple. Is this true?

If you write only novels, you would think that statement is correct, but it is not. The stories may be short, but we have at least eighteen months in the first Giggleswick Village book.

What kind of research did you have to do?

As of yet, I have not had a whole lot of research, but that will change with the bullying book. I did search online for a silly name. Giggleswick Village is a real place in North Yorkshire, England. The minute I saw the name, I knew it was perfect. The illustrations were hand drawn by a very talented woman in New Zealand. Coordinating and designing the characters took a very long time because the characters in this first book will probably be in every Giggleswick book to come. We had to keep merchandising in mind, as well as coloring books, puzzles, and some other things. The other difficult thing was that the mouse is modeled after my real life best friend, who really is a nurse, loves the color pink, is incredibly polite, kind to everyone, etc. The animal characters? They’re all my grandchildren.

Thanks to these two children’s books, Thistlewood Publishing had its best month ever. I couldn’t be more pleased.

Congratulations! That’s wonderful. And I really love the name Giggleswick. By the way, I love it when authors add real life situations to their stories. Do you ever put real experiences in your books?

I haven’t done it yet in the children’s books, but in The Eyes of Innocence series, yes. The deer in the woods, the snapping turtle, and some other things were true life experiences.

Thank you, Gail, for this fun interview. Your books sound fascinating. To learn more about these books, visit http://www.thistlewoodpublishing.com. However, if you want Gail’s autograph, you must order your book from her website.

Monday, September 10, 2012


        I'm sorry to say that after twelve years of faithful service, my stove that came with the lake house has gone to that great junk pile in the sky.  I wanted to say a few words, but Bob refused.  Sheesh.  Not very nice.  Anyway, we got a great new self-cleaning stove at Lowe's.  Bob negotiated a good deal, as it was in the scratch and dent aisle.  Either we're going blind or there isn't a mark on it. 

        I think I overdid because the boys were coming for the weekend.  I made a Hershey chocolate cake with cream cheese icing.  I frosted it like a giant moon cookie, half dark and half white.  I made a loaf of white bread for sandwiches, a loaf of raisin cinnamon swirl bread with cream cheese icing, a big pan of cinnamon raisin rolls, and a large bowl of pasta salad.

        Later on, we were in the kitchen and I heard loud buzzing, cracking and snapping.  I turned around and one burner on the stove was throwing sparks as if someone was welding.  Sparks were going in all different directions.  It looked as if someone lit a firecracker on top of my stove!  Needless to say, I nearly ran Bob over.  Poor Tyler spilled every bit of food out of his dish, because he had been eating when it happened.  Weird though.  I don't know how he did it, because the dish is weighted on the bottom and doesn't tip.  Anyway, all the food was in a pile in front of his dish.  Joey was nowhere to be found.   Bob said it was like every wife and dog for himself because we ran so fast.  He had been standing in front of the refrigerator when I pushed him out of my way.  HA HA.  I was saying "Don't stop!  Don't stop!"  He told me later he'd never moved in the first place.  That's where he was the entire time.  I thought he ran too.
                                                (CLICK ON PHOTO TO ENLARGE)
        So, no stove?  This was dinner.  The European peasant bread is one of our faves.  See that cheese?  Somebody with a lot of talent or too much time on their hands did that.  Really, it only took a few minutes and it was fun.  Lattice cheese on a chef's salad.  Who'd a thunk it?

Wednesday, September 5, 2012


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Tuesday, August 28, 2012


I'd post a picture, but too tired to get up at the moment.  Today was a "spend every moment in the kitchen, or (*sigh) doing dishes" day.  I've done 2 1/2 batches of dishes so far, and even Bob did 1.  Still a lot to go.  I made chicken soup for Bud (a friend who is ill), 3 loaves of cinnamon raisin swirl bread, chicken and biscuits, and cinnamon rolls (Yes, made them again).  I'll be sharing with Joanne, Alice and Jerry, too.  We had the chicken and biscuits for dinner.  I'll keep some of the cinnamon rolls and 1 loaf of the bread, the rest will be going to our friends.  I use my favorite white bread recipe for the rolls and cinnamon swirl bread.  I wish you could  have a sniff of my kitchen.  Just don't look!  hehe

OK, I couldn't help myself.  I took pictures of the food.  HA HA, the only messy thing you can see is a paper plate under the bread to catch the excess icing.  I wish these pictures were scratch and sniff.

OMG, I want to make mararoni salad now. 

Poll:  Do you think I'm insane?
Yes ___              No ____           Probably ____

Friday, August 24, 2012



A few weeks ago, in broad daylight, a black bear ran in front of our car.  When you live in the country, you're apt to see almost anything. While driving home from a meeting at River Read Books in Binghamton, we pulled onto the dirt road that leads to our lake. At the end of a driveway, Bob pointed out a sign that reads, "FREE ROOSTERS." Almost immediately, he said, "Look, there goes one now." It was running helter skelter across someone's yard, and of course we laughed.

We wondered why someone would have an excess of roosters. Bob's guess is that they bought chicks that were supposed to be hens. I'm thinking they decided to try their luck at raising their own baby chicks from eggs that their hens laid. Hmm, it might be dangerous to visit these people. Maybe these roosters are guard attack roosters. Or maybe there is a cock fight at any given moment, and the family has been amassing unsavory fans and gamblers.

What's your guess?