Friday, December 10, 2010

The Great Mittening of Ann Arbor 2010

There's some mittening going on around town. These sweet felt cutouts are sprinkled around Ann Arbor in the hopes of catching your eye for the upcoming MittenMade Holiday Craft Show at Blue House featuring artists and crafters from this great Mitten State. Saturday, December 18, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Save the date for all your last-minute holiday shopping needs!

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Grandma's Coconut Icebox Cookies

These are the cookies I remember my grandma baking. I'm sure there were others, but these are the ones that stand out.  She was a world-class pie baker, but — sacrilege — I always preferred a good cookie over pie. These fit the bill perfectly and the recipe is incredibly easy. The hardest part may be finding canned coconut — and if you can't find it, no big deal. You can substitute the flaked, bagged kind. It has a bit less moisture content than canned, but will work fine. If you find the dough is just too dry to hold together, you can add just a small splash of coconut milk. 
Coconut Icebox Cookies
Makes about 30 cookies.

2 sticks unsalted butter
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups all purpose flour
1 4oz can of coconut, unsweetened
1 tsp vanilla
Generous pinch of salt
3/4 cup powdered sugar

Combine all the ingredients except powdered sugar and mix well. Divide dough in two equal parts. It will be quite crumbly and dry but as you press it together the butter will bind it together. Press and roll into two 2" diameter logs using wax paper as an aid in rolling. Wrap well in the waxed paper and refrigerate for at least one hour, or overnight. 
Preheat oven to 300ºF. Cut dough with a sharp knife into 1/4-inch slices and place on ungreased baking sheet. Bake for 25 minutes, or until edges are just starting to brown. Remove to cooling rack. Place powdered sugar in bowl. Coat cookies in sugar while still warm — the powdered sugar won't stick if the cookies are cool, so roll them in it when they are just cool enough to handle.
These cookies just keep getting better over the next couple of days, so they can be prepared in advance. (Though I just had one warm from the oven and it was scrumptious!)

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Detroit Urban Craft Fair 5

Whew! I'm still recovering from an amazing weekend at the Detroit Urban Craft Fair — what a fantastic experience with so many enthusiastic shoppers and such a supportive, warm environment. I got to see some of my favorite crafters and all-around awesome folks. Not to mention, the venue — the Fillmore Theater — was spectacular. I'm sad I didn't get a photo of the marquee with the DUCF in lights, but you can have a glimpse over on Bethany Louise's recap.
I remember coming to the DUCF at the Fillmore two years ago as a shopper. I had only been in Michigan for a few months and pretty much knew no one other than the boy. I borrowed his truck and drove into Detroit for my first time ever. There were snow flurries in the air and I incredibly was excited and thrilled to be attending a crafty event. 
I was immediately bowled over by the level and diversity of craft on display. I had no idea at the time that I would have the opportunity to be a part of this wonderful creative community. I came away so inspired that just two weeks later I opened an Etsy shop (yesterday was my two-year Etsy-versary!) and started to focus on drawing. I was still looking for a day job and quickly growing frustrated. I found some sense of peace and accomplishment in the drawing. I was also doing an awful lot of knitting and cooking and decided to share a little bit of all of this on this blog. 
So it was all the more exciting to drive up to the Fillmore this year as an active participant and to feel connected to  so many of the wonderful people who make, share and inspire me in so many ways. I feel so lucky to be here and to know all of you — thank you! And a big thank you to all of you lovely blog readers who give me support in more ways than you know!  
And last but not least — a special thank you to Amanda from the Dang Argyle for being my carpool buddy this weekend — you rock! 

I'll be back later in the week with a couple of tasty recipes: I'm thinking cookies and soup, yes?