Thursday, November 24, 2011

Whoop it up for Thanksgiving!

There are a whole lot of ways to celebrate Thanksgiving, but traditionally the feast includes pumpkin pie or pecan pie -- or both -- for dessert.

This year I made Gingerbread Whoopie Pies: delectable cream cheese filling sandwiched between whole-wheat gingerbread yumminess.

To make your own, go to the fabulous King Arthur Flour blog. Note that my own pies don't look exactly like the photo on the blog. No big deal, they were delicious anyway!

And whatever you serve at your table, give thanks!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Treat yourself at the Big Timber Christmas bazaar

Many people look forward to the annual Big Timber Woman's Club Christmas Bazaar, the first holiday event of the area. Vendors expect to sell a lot of their products, the Woman's Club raises money for their philanthropic activities, and customers have many wonderful items to look at and buy.

The bazaar is so big that it fills both the Big Timber civic center and the American Legion. The season's first snow began falling today, but that didn't stop the shoppers.

This year there were several fundraisers going on. The Friends of the Carnegie Library in Big Timber offered a cart of book selections, along with an abundant table covered with handmade cookies and candies.

The First Congregational Church also had a table with tempting homemade goodies.

The Big Timber chapter of an organization called PEO was raising money to provide scholarships to help women of all ages get the education they need. Their lovely slogan is: "Women helping women reach for the stars." Along with a pile o' yummy homemade foods for sale, they were raffling off a dollhouse made by a member's father. I hope they raised a lot of money from that raffle because the house was amazing. I just wanted to stand there drooling over the detail.

And no event in Big Timber seems complete without the Sons of Norway selling lefse and Norwegian cookies. I've said this before, but I really think they should change their name to Daughters of Norway because I've only ever met the hardworking women.

Nor does any event seem complete without a few regular vendors, among them one of my favorites, Jolie. She usually has her handmade lollies for sale, but unfortunately she didn't have enough time to make them this year. So the choices on her table were lefse, cookies, and caramel corn. Good choices, of course, but we want your lollies, too, Jolie!

Another vendor I look for each year at this bazaar is Liz with her Windy Wheat Bakery inventory. I was especially looking forward to the Buckeyes, but Liz said they hadn't been selling well, so she skipped that this year. Buckeyes were new to me the first time I tasted them, but then they became a top hit in my book. Who can resist peanut butter and chocolate? Next time you see Liz (the rest of the year she's making great-tasting lattes at the Crazy Bean in Big Timber), tell her we want our Buckeyes!

Another ever-present and much welcome vendor anywhere there's a food event is Tumblewood Teas. Riza has some clever new products that would make nice gifts.

Her new line of tea accoutrements includes wooden-edged tea strainers and honey stirrers, all made of cherry wood. I really like the honey stirrers, which are a small size (most are too big for the little taste I usually want) and have holes in them the shape of the comb. "Bee-friendly," Riza calls them.

She also now offers honey sticks, which will be sold in a high school fundraiser later in the year.

There were a few new products, including truffles by 70-year-old Norie, who makes them by hand in Belgrade. You can also find Norie's Candies at her new shop near Albertsons, 7001 Jackrabbit Lane, Suite D, Belgrade. Norie has been making these candies all her life, but successfully went commercial 4 years ago.

Jill Gibbs of Billings was kind enough to remember that dogs like treats, too. You can buy her Jillcookies online via Facebook:

And last here in the list, but not at all least, was a fun find: Dalonda's Western Country Gift Baskets. Her table was a feast for the eyes, with baskets bursting with all sorts of delightful treats. Many items could be bought separately, of course, and I zeroed in on the red velvet cake pops and brownie bites. From what I've been reading on the Internet, cake pops are quite popular now (with special thanks to Bakerella), but I'd never tasted them. Verdict: red velvet cake pop is yum!

Another item was Dalonda's homemade dip mixes and beverage mixes, including one for bacon cocoa. Dalonda explained this mix has bacon powder in it. I haven't tasted it yet, so I'll have to give a report in a later blog.

Well, there was a whole lot more to eat and look at. You're just going to have to come and check it out yourself next year -- the first weekend of November, 9 am to 5 pm.