Sugar ‘n Spice Walnuts

These nuts are delicious and you should make two batches: One to eat yourself, and one to give to the person you love most in the world.

My Grandmas' Recipes

This is NOT my grandma’s recipe. I’m claiming it as my own. I clipped it from some magazine about a hundred years ago and taped it onto an index card because that’s what we used to do before there were computers and smartphones and Evernote.

It’s been a few years since I made these, because I recall them as being kind of messy and tedious, but I also remember them being DELICIOUS. So, I dug out the card again last week:

Capture The original recipe card. 

If you know me or you’ve read any of my other posts, you know I don’t usually take recipes as gospel. I’m always tweaking and modifying ingredients and techniques to suit my preferences. So here’s the scoop on these sugar ‘n spice walnuts.

First: You can see I added a note that almonds or pecans also work well. They do. Pecans especially. My last batch…

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Grandma Sara’s Butter Brickle

Bumping this back to the top – here’s a recipe you’ll want to try – makes a great gift during the holidays!

My Grandmas' Recipes

Here’s one you’ll want to add to your holiday cooking list, and I’m telling you right now, plan on making a double batch because it goes fast. This is Grandma Sara’s butter brickle, or English toffee. She made it every year at Christmastime, and a batch of this, placed in a special piece of pottery, was the coveted gift in our family gift exchange for years!  I learned to make this many years ago, but even though I follow her recipe closely, I still say hers tasted better.


2/3 c. sliced almonds, crushed, divided into 2 parts
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 bag (12 oz.) semi-sweet chocolate chips (milk chocolate is okay too, because really, when does milk chocolate not work, anyway?)

Prepare pan: Line a cookie sheet that has sides (jelly roll pan) with foil, then butter the…

View original post 215 more words

Come hear Handel’s “Messiah”

IT’S TIME AGAIN FOR shameless self-promotion. Well, it isn’t exactly self-promotion: I am part of a much larger group, the National Philharmonic Chorale, and we are presenting Handel’s Messiah on December 16 and 17, 2017.

Together with the National Philharmonic, and four fabulous soloists, we do the whole thing, start to finish. (Well, most of it. There are always a few parts that we leave out.)


To buy tickets, go here. Kids ages 7-17 are FREE! – but you do need to reserve a seat for them.

How about a little Messiah backgrounder? Here’s an excerpt from Wikipedia:

Messiah is an English-language oratorio composed in 1741 by George Frideric Handel, with a scriptural text compiled by Charles Jennens from the King James Bible, and from the version of the Psalms included with the Book of Common Prayer. It was first performed in Dublin on 13 April 1742 and received its London premiere nearly a year later. After an initially modest public reception, the oratorio gained in popularity, eventually becoming one of the best-known and most frequently performed choral works in Western music.

And here’s some good history from Smithsonian Magazine:

Handel’s Messiah was originally an Easter offering. It burst onto the stage of Musick Hall in Dublin on April 13, 1742. The audience swelled to a record 700, as ladies had heeded pleas by management to wear dresses “without Hoops” in order to make “Room for more company.”

An Easter offering! From the same article:

“There is so much fine Easter music—Bach’s St. Matthew Passion, most especially—and so little great sacral music written for Christmas,” says Cummings. “But the whole first part of Messiah is about the birth of Christ.”

When I was at Dickinson College, we presented Messiah as a sing-along. (For fun, I just Googled, and found an archive photo from December 1986 that I am probably in! – though I don’t recall posing and can’t find my face.) It was big fun – we filled the recital hall each December with college and community voices and had a blast singing together.

Our performance with the National Philharmonic is not a sing-along – for you. But you can listen and appreciate this amazing work, performed by musicians from the DC-area community, just in time to get yourself into the Christmas spirit.

In case you can’t join us for this performance, here’s the Hallelujah Chorus, performed by the Royal Choral Society.

Send me a message if you need more information!