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Topic Archive: Daily Life on The Blog

Update: My New Year’s Resolution

Posted by Steve on March 09 at 11:23 am

Hands holding a screenBack in January, the Lima Team declared our resolutions for 2009. Like every year, mine was filled with good intentions: to find something creative, handy, or fun to focus on in my off time. After two months and a lot of television, I finally did something about it, and I thought I’d share the results. The “HGTV Queen” (what I affectionately call Shannon, my girlfriend) wanted to make a 3-panel room divider, so I strapped on my funny looking safety glasses and we got to work.

Cutting the woodAfter a quick sketch and some measurements, we bought the lumber (6-foot pine boards) and began planning the three frames. The 45-degree cuts went fairly well after I ruined the first couple pieces (note to self: check after the first cut next time). We fastened the frames with wood glue, then used screws to reinforce the joints.

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Ann Arbor Fairy Doors

Posted by Ali on March 05 at 12:17 pm
At The Ark

At The Ark

At Lima Beads we love being in downtown Ann Arbor, MI. We love the quirks and artsiness — the things that make us different.  Apparently, so do our neighbors, the friendly neighborhood fairies. No I’m not crazy, the stress of Lima Beads hasn’t done me in, but rather brought back a bit of that childhood creativity and the ability to see…beyond :)

Ann Arbor hasn’t lost its imagination, having welcomed with open eyes and storefronts our resident fairies – The Urban Fairies.

At Sweetwaters

At Sweetwaters

Throughout Ann Arbor’s downtown, children and adults alike can spot miniature doors. These doors are built into the front of buildings, the sides of bookshelves, and even business entry doors. Even Google, upon moving into downtown Ann Arbor last year, installed a fairy door at their office.  A local “non-certified fairyologist”, Jonathan B. Wright and his children first “discovered” a fairy door in their west side home in 1993.  Since the fairies (and local children) liked it so much, the word spread and fairies began taking up residence at local shops and businesses all over downtown.

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10 Random Facts

Posted by Kevin on February 23 at 11:31 pm

If you participate in any of the internet social networks, you’ve no doubt see everyone makings lists of random facts about themselves lately . The fun thing about these random facts is that these are usually things about yourself that your co-workers and friends wouldn’t even know. In my case, I had forgotten about most of these things until I actually started to think of random facts about myself. We thought this was fun, so below, you’ll find 10 random things about all of the Lima Team Leaders. Add your 10 random facts in the comments!

Kevin

  1. My first job was “Kevin’s Lawn Service” when I was 10.
  2. In the 7th grade, I trained all summer for a US/Canada swim meet and then broke my arm on the monkey bars the week before the meet.
  3. I love Karate Kid and Back to The Future. A lot.
  4. I tried to break up with Ali in high school and she wouldn’t let me. Thank God. I was such an idiot.
  5. My favorite sport to play is hockey, but I don’t skate very well.
  6. When I was 9 I lost my wallet with $2 in it. I was devastated for weeks.
  7. On my very first day as a lifeguard when I was 15, I almost drowned saving someone.
  8. I know all there is to know about both grandfather and cuckoo clocks.
  9. When I was little, I built an alarm for my closet out of string, wire, tape, a Sony walkman, tin foil, and some old speakers.
  10. I had to write an interview paper in college, but I didn’t have time to interview someone, so I made up a fictional person. I got an A.

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Valentine’s Day – Love It or Not?

Posted by Kevin on February 13 at 09:35 pm

Ali and I had our first date on February 3, 1996. We were in high school together, I was a senior, she was a junior. We had a nice date, said goodnight and I went home. The next school week passed without my calling her and we rarely crossed paths in school during the day. The following weekend passed, still I didn’t call her. It’s already been discussed many times that this was STUPID on my part, so trust me, I know what you’re thinking…

Bead Mine!By the time February 13 arrived, I finally realized how dumb I was and redeemed myself by asking her out for Valentine’s Day. She said yes and well, the rest is history. I found out later that in the time between our first date and my eventual call, she told all her friends I was a big jerk and that she’d never go out with me again even if I did call. She must be all talk because it only took her about 3 seconds to say yes to a second date :)

Ever since this first Valentine’s day redemption date, we’ve always celebrated the day. I’ve always liked Valentine’s day. I remember in elementary school, for the first 2 weeks of February, the students ran a “post office” to deliver valentines between the classes. I wasn’t exactly a ladies man in elementary school, so I never got many valentines, but my mom always came up to school and sent me one through the post office to make sure I had at least one to open.

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Why I Love the Bus

Posted by Matt on February 09 at 10:57 am
The Bus Stop

The Bus Stop

When I first started at Lima Beads, I would drive about 45 minutes to work, then park at the closest parking ramp. It was only about a 15-mile drive, but with rush hour traffic, it would end up being about an hour from when I got into my car to when I sat down at my desk. Not only was I wasting two hours every day trying to get to and from work, it was costing me about $10 a day for gas and parking. 

I bet a good majority of you are shaking your heads right now. Either you’re shaking it side to side in disbelief or up and down in a “I can totally relate” kind of way. Chances are, most of you can relate to my situation in some way.

I wouldn’t say that I’m a penny pincher, but most of my co-workers would agree that I don’t like to spend my money on silly things like six-dollar mochas or twelve-dollar lunches. So, when I was spending close to eight dollars a day to park my car, I knew I had to figure out some other way to get downtown.

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Favorite Vacation Spots?

Posted by Kevin on February 02 at 04:03 pm

I need a vacation. Not just a weekend getaway — a no cell phone, no laptop, no worries, walking on the beach, napping in a hammock, sipping a less-than-manly tropical cocktail kind of vacation.

On the ferris wheel, Navy Pier, Chicago, 2004.

On the ferris wheel, Navy Pier, Chicago, 2004.

5 years ago this June, Ali and I were married. Our wedding was in northern Michigan in a town called Sutton’s Bay. We only had time for a short 4 day honeymoon in nearby Chicago. On the way from our wedding to Chicago, we came through Ann Arbor to stop by our apartment and pack up the few Lima Beads orders that had come in over the previous 2 days. We drove them to Chicago with us and mailed them from a downtown post office. This was our last real vacation and we feel like we still need to go on a proper honeymoon.

We haven’t taken a vacation since then. It’s been 5 long years filled with hard work, home remodeling, and having a baby. All of those things are wonderful and we’re very thankful for them, but now we’re ready for a nice vacation! I don’t even know where to begin. Lima Beads is still a pretty small company, so we can’t be away for too long, but I think we could manage 10-12 days. Living in Michigan, we would love to go somewhere tropical during the winter months. During the summer months, we’d like to visit a place where we can be surrounded by nature and hike, camp, and bike.

What are you favorite vacation spots? Any suggestions for us? Photos to share?

We haven’t made any solid plans yet, but we need to do something in the next year or I think we just might go a bit crazy.

Interview with the Lima Guy

Posted by Steve on January 16 at 02:00 pm

Interview with LimaMeet the man behind the mittens in our exclusive interview with the Lima Guy on The Fresh Daily. I sat down with Lima between photo shoots for a candid chat–check out the transcript below, and ask your questions in the comments!

Steve: Thanks for joining me today.

Lima: No problem, I was in the area.

Steve: The world wants to know… what have you been up to lately?

Lima: Have you seen our ad schedule this Winter? Yeesh, it’s been photo shoot after photo shoot. Have you seen me on the home page? We’ve got a lot lined up for the new year!

July 2005

July 2005

Steve: Yes, yes we do… can you tell me a little more about your early career with Lima Beads?

Lima: I started in July ’05 for the fall promotion that year. As you can see in the picture, I sure had a lot of fun playing in those leaves!

Steve: OK, tough question: gemstone beads, or freshwater pearls?

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The Grind Begins

Posted by Kevin on January 07 at 03:15 pm

Christmas is over. New year’s eve and new year’s day are over. Now, it’s just cold and snowy for the next 8-10 weeks and glimpses of the sun will be few and far between. In Michigan, we call this period the grind. I must admit, I occasionally have a hard time keeping a positive attitude during the grind. As Ali can tell you, every year I start talking about how we need to move to northern California where my sister lives or to Florida where her sister lives.

For those of you that live in colder areas, the midwest in particular — what do you do this time of year? Does anyone else experience the annual desire to seek a warmer climate? I’ve messed around with various winter sports, but nothing too serious. I’ve always thought that if I were to ski or snowboard on a regular basis, I might enjoy the winter more. I used to love playing pond hockey, sledding, or having snowball fights when I was younger, but I haven’t done those things on a regular basis for quite some time.

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New Year’s Resolutions

Posted by Ali on January 03 at 01:18 pm

The beginning of 2009 already feels different than the beginning of years past. I feel more hopeful and more curious about the future than ever before. This is sure to be a year full of surprises.

For the Lima team, new year’s resolutions never seem to hold. Frankly, they’re kind of a joke. We’re determined to make this year different. We’ve decided to come up with realistic resolutions for ourselves.. things that we actually have a chance of maintaining.

Ali

ali-thumbNormally, my new year’s resolution is something like: “go out to eat less and use that YMCA membership more often” — but, every year these things fail. This year, I’m going to try doing those things as part of my normal life and not necessarily a resolution and see if they last longer. My actual resolution this year is going to be focusing on my family and my creative aspirations, so I hope to:

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She Loves the Necklace!

Posted by Matt on December 30 at 02:14 pm

As promised, I’m updating you all on Deidra’s Christmas present. As you probably guessed, she loves it!

Pretty Excited!

Pretty Excited!

To be honest, I think she knew that I was making her a necklace, but she had no idea what it was going to look like. She really likes the design and the stones used, but she loves the amount of time and thought that went into making it even more. In fact, she cried a little when I showed her all of my recent posts. I think she was truly amazed at how involved you were in the whole process. So, thank you so much for helping me make this a special Christmas gift for my wife!

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We’re Still Here…

Posted by Kevin on December 29 at 05:40 pm

Hi Everyone!

I just wanted to write a quick post to let you know that The Lima Team is still alive and kicking.

We’re all taking it easy and trying to enjoy what’s left of the holiday season. I hope everyone has been able to find some relaxation and enjoy time with family or friends. We’re gearing up for what we expect to be a crazy January. We have so many awesome beads sitting in crates at the back of our office just waiting to be put on the web site. There are so many cool things — January is going to be very exciting.

There won’t be a weekly email or Lunch Specials this week. Also, don’t forget, The Lima Gift Giveaway ends at the end of this year (Dec 31). Get your free beads while you can!

We’ll be back in the office on a regular basis starting Monday January 5th with more fun stuff than ever.

Have a safe and wonderful New Year!

Kevin

Cookie Recipe Results!

Posted by riki on December 22 at 05:20 pm

Wow, what a great idea it was nice to have an assortment of holiday cookie recipes to make! I have to admit that baking all of them was really fun. Smelling the molasses and ginger in Bonnie’s Ginger Snaps among the scent of freshly grated lemon zest and ground almonds in the Lemon Almond Shortbread was a treat for my senses! The holidays really are a great time to experiment with new recipes because even if a not-so-tasty batch comes out, you can still throw it in the holiday cookie tin for relatives! Haha, just kidding.

I had never made no-bake cookies before, and I’m pretty sure they’re now my go-to recipe for when I need something sweet with items I have on hand at all times. No-bakes seem like they’d be fantastic for the summer months too, when turning on the oven can be a too-warm death sentence for apartments with no air conditioning! I hate to say it, but I’ve never been the festive cookie-maker. I mean, I’ve been known to get out my Hello Kitty shaped cookie cutters for the basic sugar cookie recipes and decorate them with red and green royal icing, but I’ve never had the chance to make an actual assortment.

ginger-snapsThe Winner: Ginger Snaps from Bonnie R

It was a close one, but these Ginger Snaps ended up being the winner of the first-ever Lima Beads Taste Test! I think everyone’s favorite thing about this cookie is the texture. When you first lay your hands on one of these tasty morsels, you’d think that they’re going to be brittle and crunchy. While there’s a bit of a crunch to them, they’re mostly chewy. Along with the texture of these cookies, the flavor and aroma is nothing short of spectacular. It’s the spicy, sweet goodness that you long for in a holiday cookie.

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My First 6 Months at Lima

Posted by rachel on December 21 at 03:27 pm

Well, it’s been almost six months since I started working at Lima Beads.  I was pretty overwhelmed in the beginning; there was so much information to absorb, that I was certain I would never make sense of it all.  

First of all, there are all of the stones. Thousands of them! Some are quite easy to recognize and have very logical names, as you all know. Others, well let’s just say I may have had a few nightmares involving gemstones in the beginning. Soon enough though, I began to remember them. I had no idea that I could learn so many stones, so quickly.  

Then there are the stock locations. I have nearly memorized the exact stock location for every product at Lima Beads. Someone might say “Hey, where is the Lemon Quartz again?” and I can immediately reply “5-K.”  

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What We Woke Up To This Morning

Posted by Kevin on December 19 at 10:31 am

Winter has technically been here for awhile, but it didn’t really feel like it… Until this morning that is. We woke up to the snowstorm that you’ve probably been hearing about on the news for the past couple of days. As promised by weather forecasters nationwide, it hit.

For those of you in warmer areas, this may be hard to believe, but we’re actually happy about it! It means a white Christmas, which is one of the few joys of Michigan winters. For those of us that don’t ski, snowboard, or own a snowmobile, a white Christmas is very important to keeping a positive attitude during the winter months :)

Here are some photos taken this morning from our office window:

2 plow trucks, a guy blowing snow, and a Starbucks. All winter essentials.

2 plow trucks, a guy blowing snow, and a Starbucks. All winter essentials.

 

There is snow much snow, this person decided to cross country ski to work.

There is so much snow, this person decided to cross country ski to work.

 

If you were in the path of this, show us your photos. To upload them, use the comment box below!

The Necklace is Finished!

Posted by Matt on December 17 at 11:17 am

Front - click to zoom

Sorry it’s taken me so long to give you all an update on the status of Deidra’s necklace. As you could imagine, things get pretty crazy around here around the holidays.

If you’re not familiar with the situation, let me get you up to speed. For Christmas this year, instead of buying each other gifts, my wife and I have decided to make them ourselves. You see, we’re newlyweds making an effort to save some money for a new house.

Up until a couple of days ago, I hadn’t really touched the bead board since picking out the beads for the necklace and laying them out. Oftentimes, when I’m designing a graphic or new page layout for the website, I’ll think my product is really top-notch after I finish it. But after a couple of days, I’ll go back to it and think to myself: “What was I thinking?” I’m sure you all can relate when you’re designing jewelry.

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Vote for Your Favorite Cookie Recipe!

Posted by Ali on December 16 at 02:11 pm

On Thursday, we asked everyone to submit their favorite cookie recipe. We received 16 awesome recipes — they are all listed below. You can read the full recipes right below the survey to decide which ones are your favorite.

Now it’s time to vote for the recipes you think sound the best. Choose your 3 favorites below. We’ll tally all the votes on Friday and Riki (the baking genius of the Lima team) will bake the top 5 recipes. She’s going to bring them in on Monday (12/22) and the entire Lima team is going to do a taste test.

We’ll announce the winners on Monday afternoon!

Thanks to everyone that submitted a recipe, these all look so delicious. I’m sure we’ll be making them all at some point :)

Yummy Crunchy Cookies!

  • 1 cup plain flour
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup dessicated coconut
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 250 grams butter
  • 2 cups rolled oats

oven temp. 180 C. for 30 minutes

Mix flour, sugar, coconut and baking powder.

Melt butter and mix honey through.

Spoon butter mixture through flour mixture.

Have a tray with baking paper ready

Mix in rolled oats

Make small balls of mixture and put on baking paper and put in oven.

WAIT TILL THEY HAVE COOLED ENOUGH 

They are gooey when warm but satisfyingly crunchy when cooled! 

Now be warned!I have to bake them when the husband is out and then hide them. I have to defend them with my life! Generally before I have time to share them with friends they have vanished.

Oh and keep checking them in oven as one of my ovens needs the 30 minutes but the other only needs 25 minutes…

Ginger’s Chocolate Almond Butter Balls

This recipe is from Pillsbury’s Best Butter Cookie Cookbook, Volume II (20cents) circa 1950’s

  • Melt 4 squares Bakers semi sweet chocolate
  • Cream 3/4 cup butter and
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • Melted chocolate
  • Add 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Stir in 1/2 cup blanched almonds, chopped

Shape into 1 inch balls.

Roll in sugar

Bake

These cookies do not spread. Can place close together.

Bake at 350 for 12 to 15 minutes

Makes 3 ½ dozen cookies

Thumbprint Cookies

recipe from Betty Crocker

  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup shortening
  • 1/4 cup butter or margarine, softened
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 egg, separated
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped walnuts
  • Raspberry jelly

1. Heat oven to 350ºF.

2. Mix brown sugar, shortening, butter, vanilla and egg yolk in medium bowl. Stir in flour and salt until dough holds together.

3. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Beat egg white slightly. Dip each ball into egg white. Roll in nuts. Place about 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Press thumb deeply in center of each.

4. Bake about 10 minutes or until light brown. Immediately remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely, about 30 minutes. Fill thumbprints with jelly. 

My mom makes these for me every year for Christmas. All my friends and family know that under no circumstances will I share, lol.

Speculaas

Recipe from House on the Hill website(with my slight modifications)

  • 3/4 cup softened butter, preferably unsalted
  • 2 cups brown sugar (spooned, not packed)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup ground almonds
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon each of salt, cloves, ginger, cardamon, and nutmeg
  • 2 teaspoons cocoa
  • grated rind of one orange
  • 3 cups flour
  • 4-6 tablespoons milk
  • shaved or sliced almonds for undersides and milk for tops

Cream butter and brown sugar together; add egg, almonds, then salt and flavor ingredients, and finally work in flour. Add 4-6 tablespoons milk to make a stiff dough. Refrigerate 30-60 minutes. Roll, print and cut out as in general directions, or if you have Speculaas molds – prepare by spraying with non-stick spray or oiling and wiping off excess (done once for the whole batch).

Flour molds (for every use), knocking out excess. Press dough into mold, then cut excess dough off flush with back of mold with a wire or knife. Unmold carefully onto greased or parchment-lined baking sheet which is sprinkled with the shaved almonds. Brush with milk. No drying is needed before baking.

Bake at 350 degress for 10-12 minutes. Yield 30-90 cookies depending on size.

I made these for the first time last weekend and they were amazing. I took them to an event and everyone was thrilled with them! I’ve attached a photo that I took after they were done. It was really fun using the mold…challenging, but fun.

Turkey Balls

“A buzz in every bite”

  • 1 C powdered sugar
  • 2 Tbs. unsweetened cocoa
  • 1/4 C Wild Turkey
  • 2 Tbs. light corn syrup
  • 2 1/2 C crushed vanilla wafers
  • 1 C chopped pecans

Mix in a large bowl and roll in 1″ balls. Roll the balls in more powdered sugar and voila! No baking!

Ann Giza Knapp’s Kolachys

  • 1 8-oz package Philadelphia Cream Cheese
  • 1/2 lb Butter
  • 2 cups Flour
  • 3 Egg Yolks
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • Jam (Strawberry, Raspberry, Blueberry or Apricot work well)

Combine the cream cheese and butter with the egg yolks. Mix in the flour to form a dough. You can cut them together with a biscuit cutter or pulse in a food processor. Chill overnight.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Roll out dough to 1/4 inch thickness and cut into squares. Alternatively, you can make 1-inch diameter balls and flatten them. Place on cookie tray. Make an indentation in each cookie. Place a dollop of jam in the indentation.

Bake for 35 minutes or until cookie is light golden (about the color of amber).

The recipe for these cookies came from Poland with my maternal grandmother. In fact the original says to cut the flour into the butter/cream cheese. However, I modernized it to use a food processor. 

They are a family favorite. In fact, my brother says that it’s not Christmas until my package of Kolachys arrives in the mail.

Elf Keepers

(Santa’s elves work tirelessly for just one of these yummy bars!)

  • 1 (14 oz.) package caramels
  • 2/3 cup evaporated milk, divided
  • 1 (18 oz.) caramel cake mix (Duncan Hines is best)
  • ¾ cup butter, melted
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • ¾ tsp cinnamon
  • 1 ½ cups walnut halves or pieces

Cook caramels and 1/3 cup evaporated milk over low heat until caramels melt, stirring often. Remove from heat and set aside.

Combine remaining 1/3 of evaporated milk, cake mix, melted butter, vanilla and cinnamon. Stir just until blended. Spread half of dough into lightly greased 9” square pan. (Remaining dough will stiffen as it sits.) Bake at 350 degrees for 10 min. Cool in pan on a wire rack for 5 min.

Pour caramel mixture over brownie layer in pan. Sprinkle with walnuts.

Divide remaining half of dough into 6 portions. Shape each portion into a 4” circle. Place circles over walnuts in pan, overlapping slightly. (Dough will spread during baking.) 

Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. Cool completely in pan on a wire rack. Cover and chill thoroughly before cutting. Makes 15 brownies.

Exquisite Chocolate Mint Sticks

  • 2 oz. unsweetened chocolate
  • ½ cup butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ¼ tsp peppermint extract
  • ½ cup flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8” or 9” square pan. In double boiler, combine chocolate and butter. Heat over hot but not boiling water until melted and smooth, stirring occasionally. In a medium bowl, beat together eggs, sugar, melted chocolate mixture and peppermint extract. Add flour and salt, beating until blended. Stir in walnuts. Spread in greased pan. Bake 25 – 30 minutes or until set. Do not overbake. Cool in pan. Prepare Mint Frosting (recipe follows). Spread top of cooled brownies with frosting. Refrigerate until frosting is firm. Prepare Chocolate Glaze (recipe follows). Drizzle over frosting – tilt pan until glaze covers surface. Refrigerate 10 minutes, then cut into 2”x 1” sticks. Store in refrigerator. Makes about 32 cookies.

Mint Frosting

  • 3 Tbsp. butter, room temp.
  • 1 ½ cups powdered sugar
  • 1 ½ to 2 Tbsp. milk or cream
  • 1 ¼ tsp peppermint extract
  • 2 – 3 drops green food coloring

In medium bowl, beat together butter, powdered sugar, milk and extract until smooth and fluffy. stir in food coloring.

Chocolate Glaze

  • 2 oz. unsweetened chocolate
  • 2 Tbsp. butter

In top of a double boiler, combine chocolate and butter. Heat until melted and smooth, stirring occasionally.

Cream Cheese Dainties

  • 350* Yield 4 dozen
  • 1/2 cup margarine
  • 1 3OZ cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla flavoring
  • 1 tsp almond flavoring
  • 1 cup self rising flour
  • 1 1/2 cup crushed rice
  • cereal (rice crispies)
  • Red & green candied
  • cherries

Cream margarine, cheese

cheese & sugar well. Add flavorings, mix well.

Add flour, small amount at5 a time.

Chill 1-2 hours.

Shape into 1 inch diameter balls, roll in

crushed cereal. Place on

ungreased cookie sheet.

Press a cherry down into center of cookie.

Bake at 350* for 12-15 minutes.

Cool completely.

These are favorites with my family during Christmas holidays. My grandson likes to help, especially rolling the dough into balls & ’smashing’ the cherries into the ball!!

No-Bake Fudgy Cookies (formerly Thompson Cookies)

  • 2 Cups sugar
  • 1/4 lb margarine (do not substitute with butter spreads)
  • 1/3 Cup cocoa
  • 1/2 Cup milk
  • 1/2 Cup peanut butter
  • 4 cups wheaties or other breakfast cereal OR
  • 3 cups, if oats (not instant oatmeal)
  • 1 tsp vanilla

To prepare the setting pan, place wax paper on top of open newspaper to the size of approximately 20” long. A different option is to place the wax paper on a couple of cookie sheets, but when the newspaper is used, there is nothing to clean.

Put first four ingredients in a 3 qt. sauce pan. While stirring constantly, on medium low heat, mix the ingredients and melt the margarine. Raise the heat to medium high and bring to boil. Lower the heat to medium; Boil for 1 to 4 minutes, without stirring, until it reaches pre-softball stage, described as follows: When 1 tsp of mix is placed in a cup of cold water, then lifted with your fingers, the mix will form a heavy strand but not yet a soft ball.

Remove from heat and add the peanut butter and vanilla. After mixed, add the cereal. (I always use oats.) Mix thoroughly. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto wax paper in the shape of cookies. Allow to set. Store in air tight container.

These scrumptious cookies have a long history in our family. I changed the name because the original name, Thompson, was not descriptive of the creamy, fudgy texture of these cookies. It all began when we were rambunctious, loud teenagers and Nancy Thompson’s mother would make these cookies to quiet us down. It worked because we would quietly nibble them while watching The Monkees or Get Smart. Could not talk with those luscious cookies in our mouths. 

Cut to 50 thousand or so years later… Today as an adult with adult children of my own, over the years and for many events, I had often made them. Sadly, four years ago, our 19 year old son passed on to a better world and I have not baked anything or celebrated any holiday since that time. This year something changed. I started feeling more fortunate and thankful for the family and love that I do have and felt like baking again. What did I make? You guessed it. Both my husband and adult son are most happy that I chose these cookies… I cannot keep them in the house very long, but I found they last longer if I hide some for myself or if I doubled the recipe, another day longer could pass before hearing, “Can we have Thompson cookies for dinner tonight?” We all love them! These are truly a special comfort food.

But, why are they disappearing so fast?

Ginger Snaps (from the Ginger people)

My husband says that these are addictive. The pieces of candied ginger add an extra spicy hot taste. I like the heat of the ginger so I use more than the original recipe.

  • 3/4 butter
  • 1 c Sugar
  • 1/4 c dark molasses (can increase to 1/2c)
  • 1 egg
  • 2 c flour
  • 1/2 tea ground cloves
  • 1 1/2 tea ground ginger (you can use 1/2 tea if you prefer)
  • 1 tea ground cinnamon
  • 2 tea baking soda
  • 1/2 tea salt
  • 3 1/2 oz crystallized ginger chips (minced)

Cream butter and sugar; add egg continue mixing; mix dry ingredients together and add to wet; mix well together and then add ginger chips.

Refrigerate dough for 1 hour then put rounded teaspoons of dough on pan and bake.

(If you have a Splat mat it will prevent the bottoms from burning.)

Bake @ 375 8-10 minutes makes 3 dozen These are best after cooling and getting crunchier. Dough also freezes well.

Monster Cookies

  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 3/4 tsp. vanilla
  • 3/4 tablespoon light Karo syrup
  • 2 tablespoons baking soda
  • 1 stick margarine
  • 12 oz. crunchy peanut butter
  • 4 and 1/2 cups quick oats
  • 4 oz. chocolate chips
  • 4 oz. plain m & m’s

Mix first 7 ingredients together then add peanut butter,oats,choc. chips and m&m’s.

Bake @ 350,bake til gooey about 8 to 10 mins.

I baked these cookies for my husband’s football team he coaches and they lasted about 4 seconds. Enjoy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Lemon Almond Shortbread

These are my favorite cookies. They are good with cold milk, hot coffee or even red wine. Also, because the cookie logs can be frozen, you can keep one in the freezer for cookie emergencies!

  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup almonds
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick (1/4 lb) unsalted butter
  • 3/8 cup granulated sugar

1. Grind almonds, lemon peel and 1/4 cup flour (I use a blender) until nuts are finely ground.

2. Beat butter and sugar until fluffy. Add nut mixture, then stir in remaining flour, cornstarch and salt.

3. Form into two 1 to 1 1/2 inch diameter logs, wrap in waxed paper or clingwrap and refrigerate until firm enough to slice, about 2 hours. (You can also freeze at this point. If well-wrapped, the frozen logs will keep about a year.)

4. Preheat oven to 350 F. Cut chilled or frozen log into 1/3 inch slices, place on ungreased cookie sheet and bake approximately 20 minutes.

Gluten-free version:

Replace the flour with 3/4 cup rice flour plus 4 tablespoons potato flour.

Pistachio-Rosewater Cookies

From the book Veganomicon by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero

Total Time 35 minutes

Yield 32 cookies

Introduction

Pretty as a picture, these delectable disks are studded with jadelike pistachio nuts and are delicately scented with rosewater. Lime juice and zest add a little citrus kick. A perfect end to your Persian feast, or even just some Middle Eastern takeout.

Ingredients

  • 1¼ cups sugar
  • ½ cup canola oil
  • 3 Tbsp. rice or soy milk
  • 1 Tbsp. rosewater
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
  • 1 tsp. finely grated lime zest
  • ¼ cup cornstarch
  • 1¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. ground cardamom
  • ½ cup shelled pistachios, coarsely chopped

Steps

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease two cookie sheets with vegan shortening or margarine.

2. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the sugar, oil, rice or soy milk, rosewater, vanilla, lime juice, and zest. Add the cornstarch and whisk until dissolved. Add the flour, baking powder, salt, and cardamom. Mix well.

3. Roll the dough into balls about 2 teaspoons in size (a bit smaller than a walnut) and dip the tops into the chopped pistachios. Press down with two fingers; the dough will flatten a bit and the pistachios will collect on the bottom.

4. Place the cookies, nut side up, about 2 inches apart on the baking sheets. You should be able to fit 16 on a standard baking sheet. Bake for 13 minutes; they will be soft but will firm up as they cool.

5. Remove from the oven and let cool on the cookie sheets for about 5 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack and cool completely before serving.

Notes

You can replace the pistachios with almonds. The easiest way to chop them is by pulsing them in a food processor several times.

This content is from the book Veganomicon by Isa Chandra

Chewy and Crispy Chocolate Chip Cookies.

How do I do this you ask? Butter and lots of it.  

I used to be crazy for Martha Stewart when I was in college, once I graduated and entered the real world I realized that there wasn’t enough time in the day to be as perfect as Martha.

This recipe however is delicious and relatively easy, but make sure the eat these cookies within a few days, they will start to lose their chewiness.

This recipe will make approx. 30 4″ cookies

I prefer to use organic free range ingredients wherever/whenever possible and I typically use sea salt rather than standard table salt. It’s up to you whether you feel comfortable crossing Martha Stewart 

Also depending on the time of year a few dashes of All Spice makes the cookies extra special.

  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons table salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3 cups packed light-brown sugar
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips (I recommend Godiva chips)

Preheat Oven to 375°

Combine flour, salt & baking soda in bowl and set aside.

Beat butter in a electric mixer until smooth. Add sugars and beat until well mixed and fluffy.

Beat in the eggs and vanilla until well mixed, but don’t over do it. Add in the flour mixture from earlier until well mixed.

Now you can add the chips – mmm! (you might want to buy an extra bag of chips because if you’re anything like me I get a handful and the cookies get a handful)

Place golf ball size lumps of dough on a non stick cookie sheet about 3 or more inches apart. Once the cookies start to bake they really spread out.

Bake for 8 minutes, rotate your cookie sheet after 4 minutes.

Your cookies should come out golden brown and super thin with a chewy center and crunchy edge.

Oreo Truffles or Carolina Snowballs

  • 1 pkg. Oreo cookies, finely ground (you can use double stuff, regular, or peanut butter)
  • 1 – 8 oz. pkg. softened cream cheese
  • 1 pkg. White or Milk Chocolate baking Chips

Microwave the Cream Cheese for 15-20 seconds until soft. Blend crushed Oreos and Cream Cheese together well with fork. Place in fridge for one hour.

Roll into bite sized balls then dip into melted chocolate and cool on wax paper.

If you’d like, decorate with colored sugar or drizzle with left over chocolate.

The center of these truffles looks almost exactly like mud, hence the name: Carolina Snowballs.

Cookie Recipes. Whose is Best?

Posted by Kevin on December 11 at 01:52 pm

Everyone on the Lima Beads team loves cookies. It’s that kind of love that leads to long discussions, just about cookies. I’d have to say that my favorite is the no-bake cookie. I don’t know why, I know it’s probably the easiest cookie to make, I’ve just always loved them. I don’t think we’re the only ones that think more about cookies this time of year. The smell of baking Christmas cookies is filling the house and eating too many cookies is suddenly more acceptable than at any other time of year! Do you have a favorite Christmas cookie?

Chocolate Mint Cookie mmmmm......

Chocolate Mint Cookie mmmmm......

The coffee shop across the street sells a chocolate cookie dipped in mint. I took a picture with my phone and showed our resident super baker, Riki. She said that she had actually tried that very cookie from the coffee shop and that it wasn’t very good. She claimed that she could bake a much tastier version of this cookie, but I’m still waiting for her to prove it to me…

Our love of cookies gave us an idea. What if we could get everyone’s favorite cookie recipes together and choose 5 to make? This would not only lead to a lot of fun with our customers, but also give us an opportunity to eat cookies. We all liked this idea immediately.

If your favorite cookie recipe is a Christmas cookie, that’s awesome, but it doesn’t have to be a Christmas cookie. It could be a chocolate chip cookie, an oatmeal raisin cookie, or some delicious kind of cookie that we’ve never even heard of!

Here’s what we want to do:

Include your favorite cookie recipe in the comments below. On Monday (12/15) we’ll put up a survey that will allow everyone to vote for the recipes they think sound the best. Based on those results, Riki will bake the top 5 cookies and the Lima team will do a blind taste test to see which cookie is the winner! With your recipe, be sure to include:

  • A name for your recipe (for the voting)
  • The recipe
  • optional: Any photos of the completed cookies you may have
  • optional: Any supporting information about how tasty these cookies are — how everyone demands that you make them every single year!
  • You can submit multiple recipes, just make sure they’re in separate comments.
Be as specific as possible, because Riki will be baking the cookies from these instructions. We’ll be including some of our own recipes. You can probably guess what mine will be — not that you need a recipe to make them :)

Let The Decorating Begin

Posted by Ali on December 07 at 07:30 pm

For those of you celebrating Christmas this year – we’re getting down to crunch time.

The Christmas season has officially begun at our house. Boxes of decorations have been brought up from the basement and my dining table is full of ornaments just waiting to be hung on the tree.  I organize my ornaments much like my beads, by style — old world ornaments, hand blown glass ornaments, icicles, balls, colors, wood, glitter, handmade, etc…

Kevin and I got our Christmas tree yesterday. We went to this little place out in the country and picked out the biggest tree we could find that would actually fit into our house. It’s only about 7 feet tall because we had to leave room for my big sparkly silver star at the top. We always bring it in and let it sit for one night so the branches can fall down to their natural positions.  Tonight, we’ll put all of the lights on and then hang the ornaments. The intoxicating smell of pine has already made its way through our house and I LOVE IT! How do you feel about this – real tree or artificial tree? If I didn’t love the smell so much, I might get an artificial tree, the needles are a mess!

As I unpack my boxes I have come to the conclusion that I might have too many decorations and not enough surfaces or places to hang everything. I am going to have to get creative. I blame this on after-Christmas clearance sales. I’m pretty indiscriminate when it comes to where I will shop so long as the merchandise is cool and the prices are cooler.  I’ve gotten rolls of Martha Stewart wrapping paper for .50 per roll at Kmart, candles and mercury glass from Pottery Barn for 75% off, beautiful blown glass ornaments from the Weed Lady (a local florist) . . . I could go on and on.  Deals will be great this year I’m sure, but where do I stop? Everyone is going to keep coming up with new great holiday sparkle to tempt me and if it’s a super good price, I absolutely have to buy it – right?

This is definitely my favorite time of year.  The textures, sparkle, scents of pine and spices, and awesome contrast of colors are just some of the things that I like about this season. It’s a magical time of year for kids and adults alike, but sometimes it also seems to be the most stressful time of year. I find myself worrying about having the house ready to entertain guests, what gifts to buy, making it to all of the holiday parties, and these days – even the economy. I need to get creative with our gift giving to save some money this year. When it comes to my female friends and family, I usually give the gift of jewelry — they love it and I get to do something I enjoy. Although I usually end up rushing to put all of the pieces together in the 2 days before Christmas, I still find it relaxing! Is anyone else a procrastinator with holiday jewelry?

Here’s hoping we can all remain calm this year…

Good luck!

-Ali

PS – Let’s see some photos of your decorations!

My Vegetarian Thanksgiving

Posted by rachel on November 24 at 02:44 pm

As I mentioned, I grew up in the “thumb” of Michigan. A town of approximately 2,000 people and probably ten times that amount in livestock. It’s definitely a Midwest “meat and potatoes” kind of community. Needless to say, there are not too many vegetarians! So, when I go home for holidays, I usually have to do a little grocery shopping before I leave. There is a tiny grocery store with a very limited selection. No Tofurkys, that’s for sure!

My family is definitely in the “meat and potatoes” category. They balk at the idea of a meal with out meat! “But, what are you going to eat?” is an expression I hear all too often and when I am cooking anything too “exotic” for their tastes, there is a lot of curiosity, but not much willingness to experiment. I have learned to ignore it, mostly because I love my family dearly and feel no need to argue over it! So, I have decided it would be much easier to just cook a vegetarian Thanksgiving feast to enjoy before I even went home. By the time Thursday rolls around, I’ll be so sick of eating my own leftovers, I’ll just be ready for Grandma’s pumpkin pie! Most of the recipes we used are available online, so follow the links to see them :)

Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie

Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie

Okay, so the “turkey” was obviously not homemade, but Quorn makes AMAZING faux meat! As for the rest of the meal, we knew we were in for a little work. The butternut squash lasagne, which is by far the best thing I have ever eaten, took forever to make. Riki was busy getting the chocolate bourbon pecan pie together as I chopped and peeled and chopped and peeled Butternut Squash until I thought my hands might fall off (3 pounds of squash chopped into 1/2 inch pieces…) The filling for the pecan pie smelled so good I could have just eaten it all in liquid form. It was definitely not long before the kitchen looked and smelled like Thanksgiving! A mouth-watering disaster! Riki was also busy sauteing the vegetables and herbs for the Chestnut Stuffing, while I finished chopping the ingredients for the lasagna.

This entry continues: Read the rest…

I’ve Made Some Design Decisions

Posted by Matt on November 19 at 04:44 pm
Our First Christmas

Our First Christmas

First, I’d like to thank everyone who commented on last week’s “Matt Needs Help Beading” post. They were all great ideas and useful hints, but I couldn’t decide on just one of the Fresh Picks that were suggested. Therefore, I created a new Fresh Pick based on the stones, colors and textures that I liked from your Picks.

Since CAS was nice enough to create a Fresh Pick for the occasion, I decided “Merry Christmas Newlyweds” would be a good place to start. As you can see, I chose a similar color scheme and even some of the same stones. You’ll find Plum and Orchid Freshwater Pearls as well as Smoky Quartz in both of the Picks.

This entry continues: Read the rest…


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