Cookie Exchange and Christmas Lunch

December 17th, 2016

May no gift be too small to give, nor too simple to receive, which is wrapped in thoughtfulness, and tied with love.   L.O. Baird

Undoubtedly you are scrambling around preparing for the holidays. Enjoy the process! Today is a stay at home day. This morning at 5:30am the warmest part of the day had already passed. The temperature was dropping.   Tonight the temperature may drop to -30F. With the wind blowing it seems much colder. Along with the forecast came the admonition not to leave the house unless absolutely necessary. It’s been years since I gave myself one of those stay-at-home vacation days. To me staying in my p.j.’s is part of the self-imposed holiday.  About noon I decided to abandon my robe and pajamas. So much for the holiday I was giving myself!



This week I have enjoyed two special gatherings in our home. I plan to enjoy a relaxed holiday---maybe a SPUR OF THE MOMENT brunch? 

It really pleased me that so many of you came bearing Christmas cookies and recipes for our 25th annual Cookie Exchange. More than ever, it was  obvious how much we all enjoy the annual event.  For most of the participants the routine is obvious. I was told that the QIC Cookie Exchange is top notch.  Always new recipes to try and a bit of entertainment. This year I set up the Bunkhouse so that our guest author Rachel could give a Power Point presentation on her new book. The seating capacity was 20. We had a double showing.

Rachel Phillips-author and presenter

Perhaps you would like to purchase the book, Legendary Locals of Bozeman from the Gallatin History Museum. You can drop in at 317 W. Main or call to order at 406-522-8122.  Asking author Rachel to autograph your copy would add a special touch. You may have the book signed and shipped if you would like.

One of the reason I love the Cookie Exchange is that it provides an incentive to get our home decorated for the season. What better time to invite my sewing/book club for a Christmas luncheon?  

It seems impossible that the retail part of Quilting in the Country has been closed for one year. The day of closing was a sad challenge for me but it was brightened by a special customer, Christine, who arrived with a meat and cheese tray, a beautiful Christmas Cactus and an invitation to join her Book Club which included a morning of sewing, lunch and time to review the book that had been chosen by the group. I had never been asked to join a book club—except the one we had at QIC reviewing quilting books. Christine’s invitation was a wonderful gift. I was concerned about the loneliness of closing the shop and this monthly gathering was something special to look forward to. During the year we gathered. You have no idea how much I appreciated the inspiration and friendship the other women provided.

Our group is small. For the holiday lunch there were two guests—one gal’s sister from the East and a close friend of another Club member. To honor the season we chose to review a cookbook in our collection. There was some question of whether cookbooks could be a source of inspiration? They were! 

I chose The Frugal Gourmet Celebrates Christmas by Jeff Smith.  Bill had given me a copy in 1991. It is illustrated by beautiful wood blocks colored red.  I found an interesting recipe which provided holiday history. Quoting from a recipe in the book, “All of the ingredients in this recipe would have been common in a kitchen in Bethlehem. During your Advent preparation, you might wish to cook this in order to let you family know a bit about foods in the ancient world. It really is very good.”  Thinking ahead I realized that the Lentils and Rice with Onions and Sesame Oil Soup would be perfect to deliver to a friend on Tuesday before Christmas.  So far we have taken our friend and her family ten different Tuesday soup selections. Bill usually drops off the soup in the friend’s kitchen and picks up the container from the previous week and sometimes gets a short health update on her cancer updates.


I had suggested to the sewing/ book club gals we bring a potluck dish. Each person reported to me what they would like to contribute and I filled in. I decided to start the luncheon with a soup course and I chose a selection from my Soup’s On at Quilting in the Country Book.

Cream of Artichoke Soup

½ C. chopped green onion

2 carrots, peeled and sliced

2 ribs celery, chopped

½ C. butter, divided

1 bay leaf

½ teas. Thyme

½ teas. Oregano

1/8 teas. Cayenne pepper

4 C. chicken broth

1 can, 4 oz., sliced mushrooms, drained

1 can, 14 oz., artichoke hearts, drained and sliced

3 T. all-purpose flour

1 C. heavy cream

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

In large saucepan over medium heat, sauté onion, carrots, and celery in ¼ C. butter.  Add bay leaf, thyme, oregano, cayenne, broth, mushrooms, and artichokes.  Simmer 15-20 minutes.  In small skillet, melt remaining butter over low heat.  Stir in flour and cook, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens.  Stir into artichoke mixture.  Slowly add cream.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Cook 3-5 minutes, or until slightly thickened and heated through.  Serves 4-6.


I loved serving the soup in Christmas Cups and Saucers inherited from my Grandmother.  They were perfect accessories to our Spode Christmas Tree china.

My friend Lucy, provided the perfect cracker recipe to accompany the soup.

Cheese Wafers

2 C. sharp cheddar cheese, grated

5 T. butter

1 C. flour

Dash of Cayenne

Combine ingredients using an electric mixer.  Roll into small balls and press with a fork.  Bake at 400F. For 10+ minutes.


Our second course was a frosty salad with pineapple, cranberries and nuts, a chicken salad and croissants.  Next, homemade ravioli from a recipe from Christine’s Italian grandmother. In this case the recipe was derived by the family as grandma made the family favorite. And the dessert was a pie was from a very special cookbook compiled in the Big Timber, MT community. Trish, whose grandmother, would be 140 at this time, was featured in the book. My friend Barb made this neat video from pictures she took of the day. Follow this link to watch.

I will never forget the friendship offered to me on that still memorable closing day, December 2015.

Here is a toast to those new friends:  

“The kindest hearts expect no reward and deserve it all the more.

You give so much of yourself in the kindness you show and the lives you touch.

That’s why you deserve a heartfelt “thank you” and a wish that all the goodness you share comes back to you.”


Don't forget this gorgeous book for yourself and others this Christmas. Men and women alike will appreciate this "engaging coast-to-coast tour in honor of our quilt history." And don't forget, our barn and barn quilt is featured! Order by following this link. Local customers, please just reply to this email or call (587-8213) to avoid shipping.


Thanks for your interest in purchasing what I’m clearing from my collection of books. I’ve found a few more. And remember, there is always just one copy of these books so don't delay your order! Purchase any of these or other books on our on-line catalog and I will send you a complimentary copy of my Daily Dessert Book. There is still time to get them in the mail for Christmas gifts.

Weekend Basket Quilts by Marti Michell. 

American School of Needlework. Book Four of the “Quilting for People Who Don’t Have Time to Quilt” Series.

Quilt-As-You-Sew Basket Quilts. I don’t know if you like the Quilt as you Sew Technique but I certainly do. And I love the Basket motif. I think this book features some of the very best basket patterns. An interesting sidelight—Author Marti and I were students at Iowa State University at the same time in the ‘60’s. We were both very active in campus 4-H chapter. Marti was the Iowa State Girl’s 4-H President and her boyfriend, Dick, was the ISU Boy’s 4-H President. Now her husband, Dick has been Marti’s business partner for many decades. You’ll love this book!  

Order by following this link. Local customers, please just reply to this email or call (587-8213) to avoid shipping.



Quick-Method Quilts Galore

A Leisure Arts Publication. Originally priced at $19.95. HURRY ONLY ONE COPY!

Oh, my gosh! As a I leaf through the book I am impressed at the great quilts featured. Many quick ways to make the classics and some really charming original designs too.

When we first saw flannel at Quilt Market in the mid ‘90’s it was remarkable. I figured that it was introduced because the traditional full line fabric stores were failing and there was a need to promote the use of flannel for patchwork. The charming quilt featured in this book was our first attempt at kitting a book and flannel. It was a huge success! Over the years it was fun to see the quilts pop up at our QIC Outdoor Quilt Show. The Adirondack Collection from this book is still a great design. Hurry you won’t want to miss this book.  

Order by following this link. Local customers, please just reply to this email or call (587-8213) to avoid shipping.







The Crazy Quilt Handbook by Judith Montano 

Two copies of this one—one new condition, one used.

Here’s your chance to have the first complete crazy quilting book from the class act of Judith Montano. I remember her presentation at Market. For Judith they had reserved a huge ballroom! The classic Victorian look is easy to achieve with her tips on techniques, design, and contemporary applications. Detailed instruction on stitches and a wide variety of decorative details.  Fun! 

Order by following this link. Local customers, please just reply to this email or call (587-8213) to avoid shipping.



Want to direct your holiday guests to a very special presentation at the Museum of the Rockies? Or treat yourself. It’s great even if you’ve seen this original production in the past. The redo on the planetarium is remarkable. Unfortunately we sometimes forget to take advantage of our local places and things to do.

SEASON OF LIGHT---back for the holiday season!

Closing December 31. Monday – Friday 11am & 3pm.  Saturday-Sunday 2 & 4pm.

See the all-new look. Learn about the many holiday customs that make the winter more festive. Yule logs, Christmas trees, the Hanukkah Menorah, luminaries, Santa Claus—were taken from different cultures to fill the dark months of the year with more light.