don’t miss the big bright light show!

StoreThe Rochester catching fireflies was hoppin’ this past Monday evening when we celebrated the opening night of The Big Bright Light Show.

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There were loads of festivities offered throughout downtown… store discounts, holiday tunes, Mr. & Mrs. Claus, live reindeer, carriage rides, beautiful carolers and of course… the lights.

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Santa

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I have to tell you, a bit of holiday magic swirled in my heart as I was walking down the sidewalk that evening.  It is something to be seen… these pictures are just  a glimpse of the two blocks of store fronts covered in over a half million twinkling lights.

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If you’ve been looking for an excuse to come visit our Rochester location… THIS IS IT!  Starting Monday, Dec. 4 we’ll be open until 8 pm Monday – Friday so come on out… buy some cute holiday gifts and enjoy this spectacular light show. 

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merry miz mooz christmas

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Miz Mooz  is one of my favorite brands of shoes.  I always receive multiple compliments whenever I wear them; they’re stylish, yet comfortable and are great quality.

Whenever I’m in New York I always stop at Infinity Shoes to see the latest styles and pick up a pair or two.  Since we’re in the Christmas season I thought these red wedges and green boots would be fun to feature since their so festive.  So throw out your boring brown and black shoes this winter and sport these colorful soles when you attend your holiday parties.

mina lees makes us laugh

Mina_leeMeet Mina Lee.  She is a collage artist that specializes in mixing old family photos with her funny bone… and boy is she good at it. (just you wait and see…  you’ll be laughing by the end of this article)  Here’s a little bit about her…

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"It’s so rewarding to see someone pick up a greeting card or place a piece of original art on their wall and step back with a smile. Bringing joy and laughter to people is the real basis of my art.

As a young Mom raising three kids, I started doing original paintings and mixed media collages between Spaghettios and soccer games.

As my kids grew so did my commitment to bring a unique kind of art to people who would relish the idea of sharing it with a friend or putting a piece on their wall in just the right place.

The reason you can relate to my artwork and greeting card line is because I’ve been through a lot of the same experiences you have. Just like you, I’m trying to keep smiling and endeavoring to find the wonder through the every day. It’s our job to enjoy the journey!

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I know what it feels like to get older, be married, raise kids, have more bills than money at the end of the month, and try to make a difference in my time on the planet. I also know what it’s like to be a breast cancer survivor and all the lessons and triumphs that
bittersweet experience holds.

Life is very short. Let’s have some fun, laugh a lot, celebrate and most of all… let everyone you care about know that you love them. And don’t forget to be good to yourself along the way."

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Both of our stores carry a large variety of Mina’s cards.  Our online store also carries a few of her funny magnets.  If you don’t live near one of our locations, you can also purchase her giddy goods on her website.

christmas jewels

This recipe was submitted to our cookie contest by Ellen Wexler of Royal Oak and I’m happy to announce that she’s the winner of our contest! There were so many yummy recipes entered it was very hard to choose so I posted some of my other favorites as well.

This recipe is special to Ellen because these cookies look like Christmas, smell like Christmas and taste like Christmas and the people that she loves love them and look forward to them every year! 

1 cup room temp. butter

1 cup confectioner’s sugar

1 large egg

1 ½ tsp. vanilla extract

¼ tsp. almond extract

2 ¼  cups unbleached all purpose flour

½ tsp. salt

1 ½ cups candied cherries (red and/or green)

1 tbsp. flour

1 cup coarsely chopped pecans

red and/or green colored sugars

Beat butter with electric mixer at medium-high for one minute.  Add confectioner’s sugar on low until mixed in, then at medium-high for 2-3 minutes until fluffy.  Add egg and extracts and beat in well, another minute or two at medium-high speed.  Add salt to flour and mix together.  Add flour mixture slowly and until mixed in well, do not overbeat.

Cut candied cherries in half. Toss in small bowl with the 1 tablespoon of flour to coat them. Add cherries and pecans to dough and stir in by hand until evenly incorporated.

On waxed paper or plastic wrap, shape dough into three logs 1 to 1 ½ inches in diameter. Roll each log in colored sugar and wrap in plastic or waxed paper. You may chill in refrigerator but I prefer the freezer, 4 hours, overnight, or weeks ahead.

When ready to bake, heat oven to 350’ degrees. Slice logs into ¼” slices with sharp, think knife. Place on cookie sheet 1- 1 ½ inches apart.  Bake 12-14 minutes until just starting to tan at edges. Cool on racks.

These store in the freezer beautifully for weeks, baked or unbaked. They are wonderful last minute gifts or for guests as you can keep the rolls in the freezer and slice off how ever many you need. And they are so festive looking.  You can use green cherries and red sugar or the other way around if you cannot find both colors of everything.  They have a marvelous rich and buttery flavor and pretty much melt in your mouth. Enjoy and Merry Christmas!

Butterfinger-Oatmeal-Chocolate Cookies a la Berkley

This recipe was submitted for our cookie contest by Sara Hartman of Berkley.  This recipe is special to her because when her brother first moved to Chicago he got very sick, and she sent him a couple dozen on these delicious delights, and he loved them!  He is a Butterfinger addict, so that is why she added that extra pizzazz.

Yields 4 to 5 dozen

1 cup plus 1 tablespoon butter
1 cup granulated sugar (or for you health nuts, use evaporated cane sugar, trader joe’s has it)
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 cups quick-cooking oatmeal, uncooked (I use the flavored kind, like banana-walnut, or something different)
1/2 regular size butterfinger bar (6 ounces or so)
12 ounces chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups chopped nuts

Preheat to 350 degrees.  Cream butter and sugars.  Add eggs and mix well.  Stir in salt, baking powder, baking soda, vanilla, and flour.

In a blender or food processor, reduce oatmeal and butterfinger bar to a fine powder.

Add oatmeal mixture, and chocolate chips, and nuts to dough.

Form golf-ball-sized cookies and place about 2 inches apart on UNgreased cookie sheet.

Bake for 10-13 minutes until slightly brown at edges.  Do not overbake, they get hard fast.

Mrs. Villerot’s Sugar Cookies

This recipe was submitted to our cookie contest by Liz Cunningha of Rochester Hills.  This is an old family recipe for sugar cookies that they’ve made for the past 40 years.  This is why it’s special to her…

My mom got this recipe from her neighbor, Mrs. Villerot, back in the 50’s.  My parents were in their
first home in Royal Oak and were raising my 5 older siblings.  The Villerot family lived across the street and also had 5 kids.  My parents moved when baby #6 was due because they had outgrown their first home.  My mom still lives in her second home, in Royal Oak, where she raised her eight children.  Every Christmas we get out my dad’s old drafting board (which we’ve always used to roll the cookies out on), our favorite cookie cutters and make Mrs. Villerot’s sugar cookies!  Mrs. Villerot died several years ago but we see her son, John, who is the manager at the Hollywood grocery store in Royal Oak.

2/3 c. soft oleo
1 c. sugar
1 egg
1 t. nutmeg
1/2 t. vanilla
1/2 t. lemon
3-4 c. flour
1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
1/4 c. milk
1 t. baking soda

Cream together first six ingredients.
Add baking powder and salt to flour.
Add baking soda to the milk.
Alternately combine dry ingredients and milk with the butter mixture.
Roll, cut and bake!  350 degrees for 10-12 minutes.

holiday loaf cake

This recipe was submitted to our cookie contest by Winkie Covintree.  She got this recipe in college from a generous friend, and it’s always been devoured in no time!

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Grease the bottom of a 9×5 loaf pan

In a medium bowl combine:
1 3/4 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp ground cloves

Cream:
1/2 cup butter in a large bowl.

Gradually add:
1 cup sugar.
Cream well.

Blend in:
2 eggs

At low speed add dry ingredients alternately with:
3/4 cup pumpkin

Stir in:
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts or pecans

Turn into prepared pan and sprinkle with:
1/4 cup chopped nuts.

Bake for 65-75 minutes.

Drizzle with a glaze made by combining:
1/2 cup sifted powdered sugar
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp cinnamon
and 1-2 tbsp cream or half and half

Let cake stand at least 6 hours before slicing.

OK. I know it’s not a cookie. But it looks great on a cookie tray!

white chocolate raspberry cookies

This recipe was submitted to our cookie contest by Lisa Winarski of Rochester Hills.  They sound super scrumptious!

8 oz white baking bar

½ cup butter

1 cup sugar

1 tsp. baking soda

¼ tsp. salt

2 eggs

2 ¾ cups flour

½ cup seedless raspberry jam

3 oz white baking bar

½ tsp. shortening

Grease cookie sheet; set aside.  Chop 4 oz of the white baking bar; set aside. In small saucepan, melt 4 oz more of white baking bar over low heat while stirring constantly; cool.

In large bowl, beat butter with electric mixer on high.  Add sugar, baking soda and salt. Beat until combined.  Beat in eggs and melted white bar until combined. Beat in as much as the flour as you can with a mixer. Stir in remaining flour.  Stir in the 4 oz of chopped white baking bar.

Drop dough in rounded teaspoon about 2 inches apart on prepared cookie sheet.  Bake at 375’ for 7-9 minutes.

In saucepan heat raspberry jam on low to loosen up a bit. Spoon on top in middle of the cookie. Let set.

In saucepan, melt 3 oz of white baking bar with shortening on low stirring constantly.  Drizzle over cookies.

         

mixed chip cookies

This recipe was submitted for our cookie contest by Cathy Nash of Danielsville, Georgia.  This recipe is special to her for several reasons…

First, the recipe is quick and easy to make, and almost foolproof; which is always a bonus for the "cooking impaired."  (Even if the cookies are slightly overbaked, they still taste great!) 

Second, everyone who tries these cookies asks me for the recipe.

And third, these cookies always bring a smile to my face, not only for the taste, but because they have become a staple of so many of our family and church gatherings.   Even the smell of them baking in the oven invokes wonderful memories of crisp, fall "tailgating" picnics at many of my son’s football games.

1 cup canola oil

1/2 cup sugar

1 cup brown sugar

2 eggs

2 cups plus 4 tbs. flour

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. salt

1 cup nuts

1 package milk chocolate chips

approx. 1/2 cup white chocolate chips

Mix oil, sugar, brown sugar and eggs.  In separate bowl mix flour, baking soda, and salt; then add to the oil, sugar and egg mixture.  Stir in nuts and the milk chocolate chips.  Drop by teaspoonfuls onto an ungreased baking sheet.  Gently push 3 – 5 white chocolate chips into the tops of each unbaked cookie, avoiding direct contact with the baking sheet. (the white chips have a tendency to crystallize if touching the pan.)  Bake about 8 minutes at 375 degrees.  Cool slightly, remove from pan to wire rack to cool completely.

pecan cream cheese squares

This recipe was submitted for our cookie contest by Joy Menter who visits our Berkley location everyday!   … to drop off our mail and do some occasional shopping if time permits.

1 package (18 oz) yellow cake mix

3 eggs

½ cup softened butter

1 ½ cups chopped pecans

1 8oz package of softened cream cheese

3 2/3 cups confectioner sugar

In a mixing bowl combine cake mix, 1 egg and butter. Press into greased 13×9 baking pan. Press chopped pecans on batter making sure most are pressed in.

In a mixing bowl beat the cream cheese, sugar and remaining eggs until smooth.  Pour over pecan mixture.

Bake at 350’ for 45-55 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on wire rack; cut into squares. Store in refrigerator.  Makes 3 delicious dozen.

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