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

Easy Scottish Shortbread Cookies

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


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?


  1. 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

  2. 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!)

  3. 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!

  4. Congratulations on taking first place!!

  5. 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. :)

  6. 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.

  7. 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!

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


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