Saturday, July 19, 2008

Plans for tonight - Meet the Ladies

Yep, tonight's the night!

The Team H.O.P.E. and Simply the Breast
ladies will be at the
wal-mart at
Baseline and Country Club (Arizona Avenue) in Mesa
selling stuff.

We will also be signing autographs with our
Pink Sharpie Markers.

We will be there from 6 PM to 10 PM.

We have t-shirts.

We have Pink Neck® coolers.

We have soap.

We have jewelry.

We hope to see y'all (yep - each and every one of you!)

Friday, July 18, 2008

Another misunderstanding - but has free recipe at end!

Good Morning! Okay, maybe I was a wee bit mean to Kristine and Jeannie yesterday. We all make mistakes. As smart and conscientious and aware as I am, I still manage to get something wrong on rare occasions.

Case in point: I got an email the other day from Miss Jeannie saying that Cookie Lee is definitely coming to our Christmas in July Tea. I was so excited. I wondered what type of cookies these would be. I allowed my imagination to frolic happily for a moment:

Yes I like cookies.

One might even say I love cookies.

In fact here's a picture of me enjoying a chocolate chip cookie.

So I was rhapsodizing to Kristine about what type of cookies we might expect when she broke the news. Apparently Cookie Lee sells jewelry.

So why aren't they called Jewelry Lee? Well I guess the founder of the company is named Cookie Lee, or so they claim. I actually have a friend named Kookie and she dosen't sell anything - but she makes a killer Frogs Eye Salad. Remind me later and I will get the recipe for you!

But back to Cookie Lee. They make some very nice pieces. Like this one:

granted, they aren't edible - but they are pretty. And you don't have to use your little slide rule to figure out how many bites you can take and still have enough WW points left over for dinner!

And they don't go bad - which means if you bought a bracelet at our event you could mail it to your sister-in-law back east for Christmas.

Yep - the more I think about it the more I realize Cookie Lee Jewelry is a good thing. But I still have Cookies on the brain so I will share a super easy recipe that makes the best butter cookies I have ever made.

You can use a heart shaped cutter (maybe buy one from PamperedChef while you are at our Christmas in July Tea) and just cut the pointy end off to make these adorable shapes.

Butt-er Cookie Dough

2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (12 1/2 ounces)

3/4 cup superfine sugar* (5 1/2 ounces)

1/4 teaspoon table salt

16 tablespoons unsalted butter ( 2 sticks)

cut into sixteen 1/2-inch pieces, at cool room temperature (about 65 degrees)

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 tablespoons cream cheese , at room temperature


1 tablespoon cream cheese , at room temperature

3 tablespoons milk

1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar (6 ounces)

1. FOR THE COOKIES: In bowl of standing mixer fitted with flat beater, mix flour, sugar, and salt on low speed until combined, about 5 seconds. With mixer running on low, add butter 1 piece at a time; continue to mix until mixture looks crumbly and slightly wet, about 1 minute longer. Add vanilla and cream cheese and mix on low until dough just begins to form large clumps, about 30 seconds.

2. Remove bowl from mixer; knead dough by hand in bowl for 2 to 3 turns to form large cohesive mass. Turn out dough onto countertop; divide in half, pat into two 4-inch disks, wrap each in plastic, and refrigerate until they begin to firm up, 20 to 30 minutes. (Can be refrigerated up to 3 days or frozen up to 2 weeks; defrost in refrigerator before using.)

3. Adjust oven rack to middle position; heat oven to 375 degrees. Roll out 1 dough disk to even 1/8-inch thickness between 2 large sheets parchment paper; slide rolled dough on parchment onto baking sheet and chill until firm, about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, repeat with second disk.

4. Working with first portion of rolled dough, cut into desired shapes using cookie cutter(s) and place shapes on parchment-lined baking sheet, spacing them about 1 1/2 inches apart. Bake until light golden brown, about 10 minutes, rotating baking sheet halfway through baking time. Repeat with second portion of rolled dough. (Dough scraps can be patted together, chilled, and re-rolled once.) Cool cookies on wire rack to room temperature.

5. FOR THE GLAZE: Whisk cream cheese and 2 tablespoons milk in medium bowl until combined and no lumps remain. Whisk in confectioners’ sugar until smooth, adding remaining milk as needed until glaze is thin enough to spread easily. Drizzle or spread scant teaspoon glaze with back of spoon onto each cooled cookie, as desired.

If you cannot find superfine sugar, you can obtain a close approximation by processing regular granulated sugar in a food processor for about 20 seconds. If desired, the cookies can be finished with sprinkles or other decorations immediately after glazing.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Tea, but no crumpets.

As you hopefully already know - one of the wonderful companies donating food to our Christmas in July Tea is Fairytale brownies. Here at Team H.O.P.E. we are all enamored of Fairytale brownies. What's not to love?

Belgium chocolate! Arizona based company! Kosher! Real Butter! Strong commitment to community. (Their favorite charity is a group called Kaboom!) These folks are wonderful! And so are their brownies. They even make a sugar free version.

We also have food being provided by Miss Toni - who is a bit of a legend in the tea party circles of the valley. (We don't have a link to her website here because she doesn't have a site. All her business is done by referral and word-of-mouth. You'll have to come to our event to meet her!)

So many people have wondered why we don't just prepare the food ourselves. A legitimate question I suppose. . . . If you're Martha Stewart!

Seriously, most of us can do a pretty decent brownie from scratch but we have kids and we don't have commercial kitchens, so getting such a generous donation from the Fairy Tale people is best for all concerned.

Also, and I probably shouldn't mention this, some of us have a better grasp on the whole concept of 'tea' food than others.

When we started planning this event we had a planning meeting. (I don't care what our husbands' say - it is important to have planning meetings at places with happy hour specials - it improves our exposure!)

Anyway - we were planning the menu and dividing tasks. I knew we couldn't trust Kristine with beverages - she thought Lemonade came in powdered form, so we asked her to make scones. She said, "Aren't scones the things you hang on the wall and put candles in?" So we put Kristine in charge of napkins. (See the pink Christmas post below to find out how that went!)

Jeannie needed a food assignment that her three sons, her husband, and her dog wouldn't try to get into.

So we put her in charge of cucumber sandwiches.

Now you know why we are having food brought in!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The things we won't do for the cause

Yeah, not much we won't do.

Short post today because we are busy beavers!

I'll tell you about our latest gig later - it involves football and driving across the entire valley, not exactly my favorite things. But I guess every day can't be a tie dye day.

Since I don't have much to report I should at least tell you a story:

Two elderly sisters donated $5 to a charity and, to their surprise, won tickets to a football game. Since they had never seen a live football game before, Ann thought the free tickets would provide an excellent opportunity for doing so.

"I think so, too," said Bonnie. "Let's go!"

They soon found themselves high in a noisy stadium overlooking a large, grassy expanse. They watched the kickoff and the seemingly endless back-and-forth struggles that comprised the scoreless first half.

They enjoyed the band music and cheerleader performance that followed. Then came the second half. When the teams lined up for the second-half kickoff, Ann nudged her sister.

"I guess we can go home now, Bonnie," she said. "This is where we came in."

Have A Wonderful Day!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Dreaming of a Pink Christmas

Short disclaimer here: I am probably the oldest of the Team H.O.P.E. and Simply the Breast crew. Well, there are members that were born years earlier than me, but they are hip and cool in a way I can only imagine. I don't realize how old I truly am until I find myself tsk-tsking and tut-tutting some new development. As I was last Saturday.

Once again we need music and imagery from the 70's. Think about the perennial favorite, "A Charlie Brown Christmas". Remember when Charlie Brown and Linus went off to fetch a tree. One of the little girls suggested they find a pink tree. Allow us traditionalists a moment to shudder.

I am most certainly NOT dreaming of a pink Christmas. Yes, I know - when we first posted info about our Christmas in July Tea we did have a picture at the bottom of the post of a pink tree. That is because we are raising money for the 3-day walk for breast cancer and by law we are required to saturate our lives with pink! But in reality if I had that pink Christmas tree in my house I would have nightmares! Christmas trees are green! Duh! (and snow is white - I'm not sure who thought up the idea of selling fake snow in pale green and pale pink - that's just wrong!)

So even though we have some pink Christmas ornaments for sale we are not doing a whole pink Christmas thing. We know that red and green are true Christmas colors.

So last Saturday I was at our local Hobby Lobby buying clear ornaments and you know what I saw? Rows and rows of black Christmas ornaments and garland and decorations. I was shocked. I was appalled.

I've gotten used to black bridesmaids dresses - even though I wouldn't go there. I understand why teens wear black cocktail dresses to the prom (I don't like it; prom dresses should be pastel colored clouds of youthful innocence just bordering on grown up elegance, but I understand it) But black christmas stuff is just too too much! Here is what one of the websites selling black holiday gear had to say on the subject:

Sleek and stylish, the Glossy Black Ball Ornament offers you an excellent way to update your Christmas tree decorations. With its shiny black surface and round shape, it’s a simple yet sophisticated approach to a classic holiday ornament. Add it your Christmas tree for a more contemporary look.

Oh please. Why does Christmas have to be contemporary? If you have a sleek and stylish tree you are going to be hesitant to hang the green and red glitter ornaments your kids made in kindergarten and that is just too sad for words.

So when you come to our Christmas in July Tea please do not expect a sleek and sophisticated display. Some of our consultants will have contemporary items for sale but, with the exception of the pink ornaments we have to have, we are showing our christmas spirit in christmas colors!

Okay - I've just been informed that our christmas napkins are pink and red. What is the world coming to? Tsk Tsk!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Living and Loving

Once again I wish we had music here! Y'all remember the song, Southern Lovin, from the early 70's? Great Song! Recorded by both Jim Ed Brown and the late great Mr. Hank Thompson. The song was written by Chris Wood, James Capaldi and Steve Winwood. Let's just take a moment and all sing along. Loudly!

I've been loved in Cincinnati Evansville and St Paul
All the gals were pretty and I ain't tryin' to find no fault
There's a gal in the Windy City I can't forget about

But if you want to love like you ain't had love
go south south south

Southern lovin take that southern lovin every time

There's a sweet thing in Augusta got the softest lips of all
When she kisses on you you just climb right up the wall
And there's a nurse I know in Memphis got love for a middle name

If she ever gets her hands on you it's
shame shame shame
Southern lovin take that southern lovin every time

Now everybody's heard about that southern hospitality
But that ain't why the sunny south has got a hold on me
There's a teacher down in Dallas I ain't seen in quite sometime
Just to think about her burns a hole right through my mind
And there's a gal in Bogalusa just can't love enough

I'll tell you about her with just three words she's
tough tough tough

Southern lovin take that southern lovin every time

So you may be wondering why we are singing 'Southern Loving' here at Team H.O.P.E. HQ? Because I hear that we have a Southern Loving Home Consultant coming to our Christmas in July Tea. I'm not sure what a Southern Loving Consultant sells but I bet it will be fun!

- Wait! Hold on! Stop the presses!

Seems I had that just a wee bit wrong. We have a 'Southern Living at Home' consultant. That's different.

Y'all know the Southern Living people right? They publish cookbooks, including the worlds most beautiful Christmas Cookbooks. No offense Martha Stewart - you do nice things, but the Southern Living people wrote the book on elegant and sumptuous entertaining!

Yes, I know that book is a few years old. We'll be referring back to the book in a few days on a completely unrelated topic.

Now Southern Living does great books - but they also have an entire line of Home Products. Home decor, organizing stuff, serving pieces, garden items - pretty much everything you need to make your home look exactly the way you always imagined.

So when you come to our Christmas in July Tea be sure to look for Miss Jennifer. Just don't tell her about the whole song mix-up. Thanks!