handwritten letters

handwritten-letters-tx

The last few weeks, I have been having an age crisis.

My niece just turned eighteen, the very same one I taught in Nursery at church. The very same one who, when she was a year old, I remember pushing her in a shopping cart, when she rubbed her sweet little hand over mine. Her skin was so impossibly soft, that the moment left an indelible impression on me.

Next, my son will be turning twelve on Friday. How in the world did that happen? Add greater significance to that, my youngest child just turned six, which means he only has twelve years until he’s eighteen. And though I know one never stops being a parent, this month marks the technical mid-point of raising my children.

Then of course, yesterday was Valentine’s Day. And I was feeling very thirty-six, and very single.

how to make candy buttons

candy-buttons-tx

I always loved those old fashioned candy buttons—remember the ones with the brightly colored blobs stuck to strips of white paper? I loved them even when they tore the paper and I got a mouth full of it.

Back when I only had my son, and had a lot more time to be creative, I used to make iced sugar cookies. Since they took an entire day to complete, they were a pure labor of love. But it was satisfying when I flooded the royal icing just right, and ended up with a cookie with a perfectly smooth, silky surface.

I don’t know why I never made the connection, but I finally discovered that the same royal icing I used to flood my cookies was the same thing they used to make candy buttons. Naturally, I had to give them a try.

Last week, when I was done making sugar cookies for my cookbook, I had some extra royal icing in two squeeze bottles: one pink, and one lavender. They were the perfect colors to try out some candy buttons, and the perfect colors for Valentine’s Day.

candy-buttons-1

sausage and kale soup

sausage-kale-soup-tx

My good friend Erin Summerill, likes to drag me to the Olive Garden, or the OG, as she calls it. She seems to have a never ending supply of coupons to that place. Though I prefer other restaurants in town, like Pizzeria 712, I do like their soup with the sausage and kale, which they call “Zuppa Toscana.” Erin often makes it at home. I thought it was about time for another copycat recipe, don’t you?

If you haven’t guessed by now, the cookbook has me completely swamped. If I’m not up to my chin in flour and powdered sugar, I am either working on the manuscript for the book, or procrastinating with episodes of Downton Abbey. So to keep myself from only eating cookies and cake that I’m testing, I have started making soup at the beginning of the week, and then serving myself a bowl or two of it everyday.

Last week, I remembered Erin’s homemade version of the sausage and kale soup at the Olive Garden, and I made it myself.