A Lazy Day in Rhode Island

We took a much-needed day of rest yesterday. This morning, we'll hitch up the wagons and head for Jersey City, New Jersey, on the other side of the river from New York City. It's going to be an action-packed few days, and so we decided to give ourselves a day to chill. I spent a good long time on Abigail in the morning. She's close to being finished now.

After I moved the hoop to the bottom of the piece, I stitched the toes of her boots so that I could move the hoop a little to the right and capture the remainder of what needs stitching. It should only be a day or two more, and I'll have her finished.

It rained all night the previous night, and it was still wet and cloudy when we got up yesterday morning. It seemed a good time to stock up on a few groceries...I don't want to be doing grocery shopping during our time in New York. Also, we've drunk up all the red wine we brought from home, and so we visited a wine and liquor store as well. Yes. Priorities, people. It's always interesting to compare and contrast laws about alcoholic beverages from state to state. In some states, it can all be had right in the aisles of the supermarket. In Oregon, beer and wine can be purchased, but not hard liquor. For that, one needs to pay a visit to the state liquor store. Here in Rhode Island, nothing was available in the grocery store. It was all sold at a separate location.

When we got home, I was itching to bake some cookies from a recipe I'd seen in the New York Times. After baking the Fluffy Pumpkin Pancakes the other day, I had about 2/3 of a can of pumpkin left, and so I had my eye on this cookie recipe. Also, I'm challenging myself to turn these recipes for desserts and other sweets into recipes for two, and this was a good one for the challenge. They turned out pretty darned good.

The original recipe made 24 cookies. First, I was going to try to cut the recipe into sixths, which would have made four cookies, but that made it unduly complicated. It made more sense to cut it into fourths for six cookies, and that's what I did. Here's the recipe I came up with:

Pumpkin Spice Cookies with Coffee Glaze for Two

Recipe By: Barbara Stanbro
adapted from Darcy Lenz
Serving Size: 2 (6 cookies) 

3 tablespoons unsalted butter -- softened
1 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon light brown sugar -- packed
1/4 teaspoon grated orange zest
1 egg white
1 1/2 tablespoons canned pumpkin puree
1/3 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons finely chopped pecans
1/2 teaspoon  pumpkin pie spice
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
pinch  salt

Coffee Glaze
1/3 cup confectioner's sugar -- sifted
1 tablespoon coffee liqueur
1 tablespoon heavy cream
1 teaspoon unsalted butter -- melted and cooled slightly

To make cookies, preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Beat the butter, sugars, and orange zest in a medium mixing bowl until fluffy. Beat in egg white at medium speed. Mix in pumpkin puree and vanilla until just combined.

Whisk together flour, pecans, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a small mixing bowl. Slowly mix flour mixture into the butter mixture until just combined.

Spoon dough by the heaping tablespoonful, 2 inches apart, onto prepared baking sheets. Bake at 375 degrees for 10-14 minutes, rotating pan halfway through cooking, or until set. Cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack.

To make the glaze, whisk together the confectioners' sugar, cream, coffee liqueur, and butter until smooth. Spoon glaze over cookies after they have cooled completely.

* * * * *

If I make these again, and I will, I'm going to consider a different way of dividing a single egg into fourths. For this first try, I used just the egg white, but it was more egg than I needed. The cookies were a little cake-like. Possibly, it was the extra egg that gave them that texture. One idea is to use egg substitute and measure out a portion. That isn't a great idea for the RV because I'll be stuck with a pint of egg substitute in the refrigerator. Another idea is to try dividing the egg white in half, if it's possible to measure and divide it. Eggs tend to want to hang together in one glob. Maybe if the white is beaten lightly with a fork it would be possible to accurately measure out half. Also, the cookies took 14 minutes to bake in the RV oven. It's possible their cake-like texture was the result of being under-baked, and so I'd like to get them a little more brown on top and bottom, and that might give them a more cookie-like crispy texture. I'm telling you this as much for my own future reference as anything. They were good just as they are, but I'm challenging myself to improve them if I can.

Also, I wanted to mention the glaze. I had half & half in the refrigerator, and so I used that instead of heavy cream in the glaze. It was a little runny, and I had to keep adding more confectioner's sugar to thicken it to a glaze consistency. It seemed as if half & half or milk could lighten them up a little (calorie-wise), but I think the heavy cream is a better choice.

Okay...now you know way more about the cookies than you probably wanted to, so I'll move along.

We were being lazy, and so we all took naps, including the kitties. After that, we got Smitty out for a walk. Actually, he got two walks yesterday. When I snapped this picture, he was asking to go back inside the trailer.

Mommmmmmm...I'm tired! I just want to go back inside and bite Sadie!

Also, we rode our bikes around the campground a little bit. It's been quite a while since I've ridden a bike...years, in fact...and so I felt a little out of control at first. Eventually, I felt more like my old self on a bike, but man...I could see that was going to make me saddle sore pretty quickly. Saddle sore, hand sore, neck sore, and knee sore. Getting older is not for wimps. We kept our ride short to avoid hurting anything permanently. When we got back to the trailer, I iced my knee, and it seems fine this morning.

Toward the end of the day, we took a walk on a trail right here in the campground. It's all overgrown with bushes and vines.

There were patches of sunshine in a few places, and so our shadow selves decided to get into the act.

We passed under this bush full of red berries of some kind.

When we got to the top of the hill, we could look out and see the water on the other side of the campground.

As we headed back down the other side of the hill, I was able to get a better shot of the concrete silo I mentioned in yesterday's post.

From there, we walked back to our campsite. Along the way, we noticed this large white sphere. The white structure to its left is the tower of a huge wind turbine. We believe the white sphere is probably an ocean mine left over from World War II.

Also, I've been quite taken with these tall grasses growing near the water's edge. The only other time we've seen anything like this it was growing along the Rio Grande River in Big Bend National Park in Texas. Without seeing my pictures from back then, I can't tell if they are the same, but they seem to be. It's surprising given the difference in climates between the two places.

I was fiddling with the settings on my camera. The tops were glinting in the sun, and so I tried to accomplish a low-key setting by turning the exposure compensation way down low.

They're kind of enchanting when the bright sun makes the heads glow.

Today, it's about 200 miles to our final destination. We've been taking the advice of a couple who write a blog called "Wheeling It." We've found a wealth of information on their blog about visiting New York City in an RV, and about getting around once we're there. If you click on that link I've given you and search the blog for New York City, you can see what we've been reading. It's been extremely helpful. Just finding an RV park was a huge load off our minds, but there is also excellent advice about using public transportation and finding our way around using Google Maps. I'm sure we'll get lost a time or two, but it gives us a good place to start. It's all a little scary and overwhelming, so wish us luck as we venture off into the big city.

10 comments from clever and witty friends:

Barbara said...

I just love reading about your adventures. A word of warning: do a tick check after walking in the woods here in the east. We don't want to send you home with Lyme disease.

WoolenSails said...

I am glad you enjoyed your stay and were able to relax for a bit, with all the traveling and sight seeing, I am sure you enjoyed some down time. The sea oats are every where, love the look of them. I saw your view from the new park, that is quite an impressive view.


claudia said...

Well, what can I say, but GOOD LUCK!
Those cookies look delicious.
Have fun in New York!!!

Goofin' Off Around the Block said...

Barbara, I love your stitching that you've been working on. It's quite adorable. I also have enjoyed reading about your travels. Hubby and I toss around the idea of traveling the states in an RV after we retire. It looks so relaxing.

piecefulwendy said...

I was amazed at how sore I got after bike riding when I hadn't ridden for a few years. Hope you don't experience too much "after burn". I'm looking forward to your NYC experiences and thinking of you much as you make the trek in!

BillieBee (billiemick) said...

Really cute block Barbara. I've enjoyed your vacation....smile.

Kate said...

Glad you got in a rest day and a bike ride. Hope the drive to NJ wasn't too bad. I can't imagine all the traffic there is in that part of the country.

quiltzyx said...

Tired Smitty looks so cute asking to back inside the RV! Give him & Sadie some pets from me today.

More lovely photos - and again, glad you took some down time. I don't think I would want to ride a bike in NYC. Walking was good when my sister & I were there, many years ago. Both the bus we took from the airport & the cab ride was a bit scary. We walked quite a bit in the City & also when we were in Boston & Cambridge.

Brown Family said...

THE red berries and leaves look similar to Red Tip bushes.Red tip photinia also produces tiny white flowers and inedible red berries during the spring. The only issue is that the berries are usually a spring event.

I have seen the grass, but not sure what it is. I found several online that looked similar, but was not sure!

I think Public transportation would be the best choice. Have fun in the City!

Cheryl's Teapots2Quilting said...

I gave up bike riding years ago. My wrists just can't handle the pressure on them. It would set off my tendonitis every time I rode at all. I finally gave my bike away.