Thursday, March 26, 2015

Treats, Rewards, and Celebration!

Do you get "movie cravings?" I do. Someone will reference one of my favorite movies, and I won't get it out of my head until I watch it. Lately, that movie/series is BBC's North & South based on Elizabeth Gaskell's novel.



I bought the DVD as a reward (Got it brand new at a super bargain on Ebay! Yay!), not exactly sure what the occasion would be. I've been saving it, thinking I'd watch it when I finished revisions on my second novel manuscript. Then I found out the first pages and synopsis of my second manuscript won first place in the inspirational category of the NTRWA Great Expectations Contest! Fun! Now I have a "real" reason to celebrate. :D



North & South is one film I'm very much looking forward to watching again. I've seen it twice, but it's been a few years. I'm also wanting to watch the Scarlet Pimpernel again--the one starring Anthony Andrews, of course. Someday I'll get around to reading that novel.

Another fun surprise:

Do you know what this is?
I found this gem at a Branson, MO flea market last week. I'd been searching for one for weeks, not wanting to pay full price ($25-30). You know by now I'm a bargain-hunter. :)

This beautiful piece winked at me from one of 25 or so crowded cubicles. The hearts. The subtle, tulip-like thistle. The round shape. I got SO excited! Y'all, I'd been PRAYING I'd find one of these for under $10 bucks. I know, maybe that's a silly prayer, but I can tell you God was listening!

I flipped the mold over, and the price sticker said $20. Bummer. No, wait! Red ink slashed the old price and a new one was written out to the side. $10. Well, all right. I was shooting for under ten, but I guessed a flat ten would work. Right before I left that booth, a big yellow sign flapped at me from one of the shelves, "All items in this booth 40% off."

Y'all, I liked to have slung a fit right there in that flea market cubicle. I got that shortbread mold for 6 measly bucks!!! Do you ever feel like God is just pampering you? (On an almost-totally-unrelated note, I had also been craving kettle corn for a couple weeks, and, on the way home from Branson, we stopped to see some old friends, who happened to give us several bags of HOMEMADE [with sea salt and coconut oil] kettle corn. Talk about spoiled slap rotten!)

I've only ever made shortbread in a flat, rectangle pan, then cut into "fingers" or strips, but I'm eager to try this pan. The design will be so beautiful! For your enjoyment, here is a recipe for the best shortbread I've ever tasted. I modified the recipe from www.eatwell101.com:

Easy Scottish Shortbread Cookies
Ingredients:

1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon of salted butter (125g or 4 1/2 oz.)
A bit more than 1 cup (110g) flour
1/3 cup (55g) cornstarch
5 tbsp (60g) soft brown sugar (plus a tablespoon to finalize)
1/2 teaspoon of salt

Instructions:

Contrary to many shortbread cookies recipes, we will use a cake pan to shape these sticks.

1. Whisk the sugar, salt and butter at room temperature until it gets a smooth and creamy texture, add the cornstarch and beat until absorbed.

2. Add the flour and knead by hand until you get a ball of dough. Don’t overdo it, because the best shortbread cookies offer a raw crumbly texture. By over-kneading, you can make the grain way too thin and tight.

3. Place a sheet of waxed paper in the bottom of a rectangular cake pan. Pack the dough into lined pan well with a glass and prick the dough with a fork, then cut sticks.

4. Bake for about 20 min at 300°f (150°c), the dough should be very lightly browned on the edges.

5. Remove the pan, sprinkle with extra brown sugar, let stand a few minutes. Cut cookies along the lines you made before baking. Us quick, fluttery motions to cut--these cookies are VERY light and crumbly, and shape can be destroyed with a heavy hand. Let cool and enjoy. These easy shortbread cookies will retain several days in a tin--if they last that long!


Tell me:

Have any of you used shortbread molds? Will I have to adjust the baking time for cooking in a stoneware mold vs. a metal pan?

What is your favorite homemade treat of the moment?

Is there an old movie you love and could watch over and over?

If you were shopping at a flea market today, what would you be hunting?

8 comments:

Chill N said...

Natalie! Congratulations on the First Place in the GE Contest!

I'm trying my best to ignore that shortbread recipe. We'll see how long I can hold out :-)

Nancy C

Natalie Monk said...

Hi, Nancy! Thanks! Great to see you here!!!

Oh, my word. I'm craving this recipe so much right now, I may have to make a batch. :) The stuff melts in your mouth and disappears quick around our house! (Oops! I guess I'm not helping you to hold out, huh? Lol!)

englishmysteriesblog said...

Lol...that is an awesome story about finding your shortbread mold! I can totally identify--yes, sometimes I do feel like God is pampering me. I always remember that He cares about the big and small things in our lives. :) I actually have a funny story regarding my shortbread mold. I will have to tell you about it sometime.

My favorite homemade treat would have to be scones and lemon curd. I am British at heart. :) And of course watching Pride and Prejudice while eating scones makes for the perfect day--the one with Coline Firth, of course.

P.S. I love that version of North and South!

englishmysteriesblog said...

Congratulations on taking first place!!

Natalie Monk said...

Englishmysteriesblog, thank you!

I can't wait to hear your shortbread mold story! :)

Ah, scones and lemon curd sounds delicious right now. :) Oh, yes, with P&P. My favorite scenes are when he's staring at her while she turns the pages for Georgiana and when she receives the news about Lydia and he holds her hand. *swoon* :)

Speaking of P&P and N&S, sometime I'm going to have to do a post about my favorite proposal rejections in period dramas. :)

Courtney Phillips said...

Can you believe I've never had shortbread? But I DO love a good deal! I've never seen North and South either. Goodness, I'm apparently missing out on a lot. (I have, however, seen the 6-hour P&P. Love it.)

God does pamper us, doesn't He? He's lovely that way.

Natalie Monk said...

Hi, Courtney! I've only had the homemade kind of shortbread the one time when I made it last. I'll DEFINITELY be making it again!

Fun shortbread trivia: Historically, shortbread was made only at Christmas, New Year's Day, and weddings, because the ingredients (mostly butter and sugar) were so expensive in those days. :)

I think you'd love North & South, Courtney! My favorite thing was watching the H/h's deep, quiet conflict turn into admiration! My only complaint would be a plot twist where it seemed lying was condoned. Personal pet peeve. Otherwise it's a great, drama-filled love story!

Anonymous said...

So proud of you, Natalie, for winning the contest. That makes twice now, doesn't it?