Conquering New Territory

I busted through two previously intimidating hurtles of domesticity this week: I sewed zippers and I made refrigerator cookies.
This, and I drank many cups of tea – my shoulders are slightly tense.
My sewing machine started to act funky last week and so I brought it into a repair shop with a $4.50 coupon for lube and clean job. How could I be so naive at forty years of age? A phone call later I was informed that they would need the machine a week and that re-calibrating the timing (on my sewing machine!!) would cost $80.
Another week later, I was told that it would take another week, meaning that I won’t see my machine until the new year, because I am leaving to visit my parents in TWO DAYS.
Did I mention that ALL MY CHRISTMAS PRESENTS WERE GOING TO BE HANDMADE WITH MY SEWING MACHINE? Luckily a kind friend loaned me her machine (Thanks Sierra!) and so I have been sewing nonstop for three days.
I love the gifts I am making.
But I am reminded of why I quit my business (it was called Nursing Works! I was sewing nursing shirts and dresses, slings, and nursing pillows, back in the mid-nineties).
Repetition is deadly to my soul. Making the same thing over and over again numbs my mind and makes my body hurt.
Luckily, my gift projects have involved learning some new skills, which has kept me on my toes. Also, I am thrilled to be finally working my way through piles of fabric that I have had in my garage for at least ten years.
I sewed my first zipper! Using a zipper foot! (I thought a zipper foot would be a monstrous metal gadget that straddled the zipper, instead it is a very homely, plump number that simply allows you to sew over to one side.)
Hmm, but now that I have sewn four zippers with three more zippers to do, it’s not as exciting.
Ditto on the refrigerator cookies.
Mental note: I love both the Grandma’s Molasses and Spiced Almond Wafers I made.
Here is the recipe for the Spiced Almond Wafers (tweaked) from Martha Stewart Living. Yes, I get that magazine. Enjoy it too. These cookies are not too sweet and perfect with tea or coffee.
3 c flour (I used organic ww pastry flour)
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 sticks/ 1 c butter ( I used Earth Balance)
1 1/2 cups brown sugar (I used 1 cup)
2 lg eggs
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp ginger (I used more)
1/2 tsp nutmeg (I used more and grated it fresh)
1/4 tsp cloves
1/4 c sliced blanched almonds
(I added a dash of ground cardamom)
(In the future I would add a tsp of almond extract)
1. Line 2 mini- loaf pans with plastic wrap. This is to make rectangular logs to make square cookies. I just rolled the logs into round logs and wrapped them in wax paper.
2. Mix together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Beat the butter and sugar with a mixer for 4 minutes. Reduce speed to low. Add egg and spices. Beat in flour mixture in 3 additions. I did this last bit with a soup as the dough was quite stiff.
3. Press cookie dough into pans and cover tightly with saran wrap. Freeze for 1 1/2 hours or up to one month.
4. Preheat oven to 400 (whoops I did 350). Remove cookie dough from one of the pans. Cut into 1/8 inch slices with a sharp knife. My dough was not that frozen so the shape was more of an c-section of a squashed log=oval/almond shape, which was appropriate I thought. Keep any remaining dough frozen until ready to slice and bake.
5. Place slices 1 1/2 inches apart on a cookie sheet. The recipe says to use a nonstick baking mat, but I had no problem with my regular cookie sheets. Top with 2-3 almond slices. Freeze until firm, 5 min. Bake until dark golden brown, 10 minutes. Let cool briefly in pan and then on a wire rack.
6. Serve with tea. YUM.

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