Thursday, October 20, 2016

Happy Seventh Anniversary, I’m Turning 60! by Margaret Ullrich

The past seven years have been full of changes - some good, some bad - and they just flew!!
Happy Birthday to I’m Turning 60…!!

I really want to thank you for visiting, whether you dropped in on a daily, weekly or occasional basis during the past seven years!

I’m Turning 60… continues to be more popular than 
I’m Turning 60… - with 957 posts - has had an amazing 440,005 visitors since July, 2010, when Blogger started keeping track of both blogs.

That's more visitors than its ‘elder sibling’.
The Winnipeg blog has had 2,660 posts and a little over 337,000 visitors.
Quite the growth for this little blog!
Thank you for visiting and telling your friends!

Okay… enough with the numbers.
Let’s get back to the recipes which deserve the credit for all these visits!

I recently took a look at how this blog’s posts have been doing.
Here are the current all time top ten posts:

During the past month these have been the top posts:

Do try the recipes on these lists.
They’re not popular recipes because people don’t like them!

I'm also pleased to see that people have been reading the twice monthly posts about information about the moon and planets.
Yes, they are also the posts that usually have recipes, along with a few fun facts about the alcoholic drinks.

Back to the 440,005 visitors...
Last year the United States had 150,165 visitors, Canada had 32,368, Malta had 18,336, and Australia had 15,389 visitors and they were the top four countries!
Thank you for visiting!
If you’re curious about the other countries, here are the stats from 2015.

I'm always amazed at learning where you live, and I was very surprised to see how the number of visitors from Russia had grown.
I expected many visitors from the United States, Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom, since many Maltese immigrated to over, especially after World War II.
The surge in Russian visitors surprised me.
Now the top ten countries and their visitors are:

United States…………. 210,049
Canada………….…………. 41,609
Russia………………………. 26,113 
Malta……………..……..…. 24,589
Australia…………………… 24,292
United Kingdom………. 14,549
Ukraine.………....….…….  9,029
Romania………….……..…. 2,695

During the years there have also been visitors from Turkey, Italy, Finland, Poland, Spain, the Netherlands, Macedonia, Mexico, Afghanistan, Thailand, Slovakia, Ireland, Denmark, Bangladesh, Sweden, Israel, Moldova, Malaysia, Singapore, Kuwait, Greece, Kenya, Vietnam, Czech Republic, Brazil, Bermuda, Namibia, Cyprus, India, Philippines, Japan, South Korea, Norway, New Zealand, Madagascar and China.
It is a small world after all!!

Since I don’t post on a daily basis, why not become a subscriber?
By submitting your email address you won’t miss a post.
And you won't miss anything interesting happening in the night sky.
It’s easy and free to sign up!

I'd also like comments.  Really.  
It's easy to do.  Just click on Comments and write. 
Or message me on Facebook. 
Tell me what you want to know about. 
Would you like more holiday recipes, or more easy, cheap, quick meals or…?

Thanks again for visiting!
Hope to see you again real soon!

Monday, October 17, 2016

Safeway Almond Thimble Cookies and The Orionid Meteor Showers, by Margaret Ullrich

I hope you enjoyed making Safeway's recipe for Chocolate Date Nut Squares.
I had found it on the back of the 1 Kg bags of walnuts, which I used to be able to find at Safeway. 

Safeway was great as a source of supplies for home bakers.
Sobey’s… not so much.
They seem to focus on deli style take out and snack items. Since they bought Safeway shoppers have been finding bags of chips and canned and bottled drinks in every corner of the store.
Really, why are there sodas in the dairy and produce sections?
Who has a cola with cheese, or a root beer with a cabbage?

I so miss my old Safeway.
Another item I regularly bought there was their 1 Kg bags of almonds. 
Yes, it was another staple that Sobeys, in its infinite wisdom, decided to discontinue. 
The bag of almonds came with its own recipe - Almond Thimble Cookies. 
On the bag it said This is a fun cookie to make and eat with your children!

Sobeys doesn’t carry the large bags of nuts anymore.
Guess there isn’t room for bags of nuts because the soda and potato chips take up so much space now.

Thimble Cookies are also called Bird’s Nest Cookies and Thumbprint Cookies, and they are fun to make with the kiddies.


The instructions said to place the chopped nuts in a small bowl. 
I found placing the nuts in an 8 inch square pan worked better since I could do more cookie balls at one time.

About the 3/4 Cup jam or jelly… an assortment makes a pretty platter, and it’s a great way to use up leftovers. If you only have one type of jam, make like Julia Child: 
Don’t apologize and don’t explain.

I also tried using chopped walnuts combined with sweetened dried coconut and it worked. You can also make Thimble Cookies with just chopped walnuts.
If using coconut, make sure the oven rack is in the middle of the oven and watch the cookies closely at the end of cooking to prevent the coconut from burning.

Once cooled, the cookies can be store in an airtight container.

I found the cookies are better if they are filled just before serving.
If you're going to be busy, fill them whenever you can.
Family and friends should be grateful that you went to all the trouble to make them fresh homemade cookies.

Once a package of almonds is open, refrigerate or freeze nuts to retain freshness.

If you’re curious, 1 Kg of whole almonds equals approximately 8 1/2 Cups.

Toasting nuts intensifies their flavour. To toast the nuts, place them on a rimmed baking sheet and bake at 350º F for 8 to 12 minutes, stirring once. Watch carefully, as they can burn quickly.

If you want another almond cookie recipe, you could also bake a batch of 

Anna Sultana’s Almond Cookies

Anna Sultana's Kwarezimal - Almond Biscotti, Maltese Style

It’s also easy to go through almonds during the holidays!

                        Almond Thimble Cookies

Makes about 3 to 4 dozen cookies, depending on size

Place the 2 oven racks in the centre of the oven.
Lightly grease 2 cookie sheets   

Finely chop
1 3/4 Cups whole almonds
Place in an 8 inch pan.

Sift together
2 1/4 Cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt

Separate 2 large eggs, placing the whites in a small bowl, and the yolks in a cup. 
(The yolks will be added later to the dough.)
Add to the 2 egg whites in the bowl
2 Tablespoons water
Beat together.

In a large mixer bowl cream
1 Cup butter
1/2 Cup brown sugar, firmly packed
Beat until light and fluffy.
2 reserved large egg yolks
1 teaspoon almond extract
Beat until well blended.
Stir in the flour mixture until well blended.

Preheat oven to 375º F        

Using a teaspoon, form 3 cm (1 inch) balls of dough.
Roll each ball in egg whites mixture and then in the chopped nuts and place them on a greased cookie sheet.
Using a thimble or your finger carefully make a deep indentation in the centre of each cookie. Be sure not to go too deeply.

Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown.
Remove from oven and, while the cookies are still warm, reshape the indentations.
Remove the cookies to a rack to cool.

Have on hand
3/4 Cup jam or jelly
Fill centres with jam or jelly

About the sky this week, thanks to the folks at The Farmers' Almanac

October 21-22 — The Orionid Meteor Showers. These showers originate from debris from the most famous and well-known of all comets, Halley’s Comet. These meteors radiate from a point near the club of the constellation Orion. Best seen looking to the south, between 2 and 4 a.m., in any time zone. The bright waning gibbous Moon may impede viewing ability so be sure you are someplace dark, free of light pollution.

October 22— Last Quarter Moon, 3:14 p.m. One-half of the Moon is illuminated by direct sunlight while the illuminated part is decreasing, on its way to the New Moon (invisible) phase.

October 28— Set your alarms to see the faint, thin waning crescent Moon paired up with Jupiter. Look to the east 1 hour before sunrise.

October 30— New Moon, 1:38 p.m. At this stage, the Moon is not illuminated by direct sunlight and is completely invisible to the naked eye.

October 31 – The nearly-invisible waxing crescent Moon will again be at apogee, meaning its farthest point from Earth during the lunar month.  An easy way to remember: (A)pogee = (A)way.