Gimme Shelter

I love you December! The whole month feels like a big love fest and it kicked off in the very best way this year! Stonyfield invited its bloggers to participate in its Pay it Forward campaign to sp…

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Gimme Shelter

I love you December! The whole month feels like a big love fest and it kicked off in the very best way this year! Stonyfield invited its bloggers to participate in its Pay it Forward campaign to spread joy and goodwill during the holidays. I only had to look as far as my amazing circle of friends for my joy project inspiration.

I’m incredibly inspired by the friends who open up their giant hearts and homes for people and animals. People who ask nothing and give everything for the sake of another living being ❤ But there seemed to be lots of organizations helping people in need at the holidays so my thoughts turned instead to animals. My friend Lee has been especially tireless in her volunteering and work to re-home  and re-trian animals in crisis. She’s proof  that all it takes is one passionate person’s advocacy to make a positive difference  in their lives.

Offers of home made treats were enthusiastically welcomed by local animal shelters so I rolled up my sleeves and got baking! But why stop there? One of my besties who just happens to be a maker of gorgeous hand crafted pet collars, toys and pillows crittergear.com wanted to spread the joy, too. And so the Shelter Santas set off for the Manchester Animal Shelter manchesteranimalshelter.org to deliver joy. The shelter’s manager was awesome! She took time to show us the facility,  explain what a no kill shelter is and let us visit with the cats and dogs. I’ll just say that I have a whole new respect for catnip and its effect on cats lol.. It was great to be us! I’ll close by saying thank you friends for being amazing-love you all ❤ Thanks Stonyfield for helping us do this kindness ❤ and please please PLEASE open your big heart and adopt your next pet  from one of these worthy organizations ❤

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Dog Treats

Makes about 50

Heat oven to 400 degrees

1 cup King Arthur White Wheat flour
1/3 cup wheat germ
1/4 cup brewer’s yeast
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons rendered bacon fat
1/2 cup Stonyfield Organic plain yogurt 

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Combine dry ingredients until mixed.  Mix in bacon fat and yogurt until well combined. Turn out to floured surface and roll until 1/2 ” thick. Cut out with dog biscuit shaped biscuit cutter and place on baking sheet.  I LOVE the new Silpat sheet I got and use it in place of greasing baking sheets. Nothing sticks to it! Bake for approx 10 minutes based on the size of your treats. Cool completely  before packaging.

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Cat Treats

Makes about 50

Heat oven to 350 degrees

1 8 oz can of tuna fish
1 cup fresh raw spinach 
1 cup quick cook oats
1/4 cup of Stonyfield Farm Plain yogurt 
1 1/2 Tablespoons of catnip
1/4 cup King Arthur White Wheat flour 

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Combine all ingredients in a food processor until completely mixed.  I got a set of these new self leveling Levoon measuring spoons and I’m obsessed! Just squeeze and they level off the ingredients for a perfect measurement every time.Drop the dough on a floured surface and roll out to a thickness of approx 1/2″. Cut in small shapes (I used a plastic water bottle cap) and place on a baking sheet. Bake for approx 10 minutes and cool completely before packaging.

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Baking Therapy

It doesn’t ever feel like Christmas until I start baking cookies. When the baking starts, so does my peace and happiness. The kitchen is always a sanctuary, always a place I feel good and strong no matter what the day brings. My wherewithal for everything starts with the oven.

Every cookie recipe is an homage to someone I love. They are made with love and redolent with memories and smiles as I roll, cut and cook. There’s the peanut butter cookie recipe from Grammy, yellow with age and a note of encouragement in her beautiful careful handwriting. There’s the Polish Cream Cheese cookies that made an appearance when I only had apricots in the pantry and needed a dessert. Mum fell in love with them and I make them every year for her. They’re the hardest because she’s not here to have them with us anymore. But I can still see her face biting into one and it makes me smile.  Hazlenut shortbreads in the shape of a moon are for my brother. Pretty sure my Grandfather would have liked them,too. Strawberry filled thumbprints are for Dad. The ruby red filling from strawberries I picked and made into jam the previous Summer make these extra special and extra personal. A lot of work and perfect for the hardest working man I’ve ever known.

Lastly, there’s the cookie I make for me. Or should I say the dough I make for me because a lot of it ends up in my mouth before it ever sees a baking sheet : ) Butter cookies that are soft and slightly chewy with frosting are my absolute faves. I was super excited when Stonyfield partnered with King Arthur for a holiday post because I love their organic all purpose flour. These cookies are organic perfection and worth the time to make from scratch. Maybe someone you love will inspire a cookie ❤ Happy Baking!

 

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Frosted Butter Cookies

2 Cups of softened unsalted organic butter

1 1/2 Cups organic sugar

4 egg yolks

2 teaspoons of best quality vanilla

4 1/2 Cups of King Arthur organic all purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream together butter & sugar. Add egg yolks and vanilla. Sift flour and salt together and beat into butter mixture until well mixed. Roll out cookies and cut with festive cookie cutters. Bake on ungreased cookie sheets for about 10 minutes taking care that they don’t brown. Cool cookies completely before icing.

 

 

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Icing

6 Cups sifted confectioners sugar

1/4 Cup + 1 Tablespoon of Stonyfield Vanilla low fat yogurt

1/4 Cup of honey

1 teaspoon vanilla extract (use a good one!)

Blend all ingredients until smooth. Spread on the surface of a completely cooled cookie. Sprinkle with colored sugar and  holiday sprinkles quickly before icing dries. Let the decorated cookies dry completely before stacking.  I really like the subtle tanginess of the yogurt in this recipe. Enjoy ❤

 

 

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