The Christmas Cookie Exchange by Gail Ingis

The Christmas Cookie Exchange by Gail Ingis

Christmas is a time for giving. Christmas is about spending time with loved ones. Christmas is also about cookies! Christmas cookies that is.. The big Christmas Cooke Exchange happens every year in my family. And boy is it fun. My daughter-in-law and family used to bake dozens of thumbprint cookies and then give them away. These pictures are the end result.  Two dozen stayed in the house and all the tweedles ate them. Not me. I’m watching the waistline.

That was last Christmas. This Christmas our two grandsons, Ben and Stephen, have moved out of the Paul and Joanne Ingis household. Ben is married to Stephanie and living in New Hampshire. Ben is working as an engineer inventing stuff and Stephanie is a nurse at a local hospital making the patients happy and well. Stephen is away at college in Cedarville, Ohio. He’ll be home the weekend coming up. I’m hoping he’ll do the Christmas cookie big bake. Even if he does give  most of them away, there’ll always be a few for the family. As I’m writing this, thoughts of baking them are floating in my head. I was always the baker, then the boys took over. I know, my toe surgery will keep me off my feet, but do I have to stand to bake? I can sit, and delegate, right? I’m going to try tomorrow. If no one hollers at me.

Family favorite Thumbprint Cookies

Family favorite Thumbprint Cookies (Recipe below)

Nothing like a cookie to make life joyous, especially at Christmas time.img_5259

Cookie tray Thumbprint cookies & Meringue

Cookie tray Thumbprint cookies & Meringue cookies

Thumbprint Cookies: Gail Ingis’s recipe
½ pound butter (2 sticks) or 1 cup Crisco
2 egg yolks
½ cup brown sugar
2 cups flour
½ teaspoon salt
1teaspoon vanilla
1 bag of walnut meal (at Trader Joe’s) or ground walnuts
Mix ingredients (EXCEPT THE EGG WHITE)

Roll into approximately ½” balls then roll into the walnuts, place on cookie sheet. Bake in preheated oven at 375 degrees for 2 minutes, depress center with thumb, then finish baking approximately 12 minutes for larger cookie or 5-8 minutes for smaller cookie. If you like crispy, bake until edges are slightly browned. When cool, fill depressed center with the icing mixture: a combination of slightly warm water, vegetable food coloring and confectioners sugar to an almost pasty consistency. (Color for holidays if desired).

Enjoy! And Merry Christmas Cooking Eating!

Gail Ingis Claus is an author, artist/painter and interior designer. Her upcoming romance The Unforgettable Miss Baldwin will be released in the spring 2018. Her current historical romance, Indigo Sky can be purchased on amazon.

http://amzn.to/2j0LXLE

A Christmas Concert To Remember by Gail Ingis

A Christmas Concert To Remember by Gail Ingis

West Point Cadet Chapel

Chapel looking back to the Narthex

This past Sunday, December 3, Tom and I took the 90 minute drive up the Palisades, across the Bear Mountain Bridge, around the bending roads and up the hills, to the West Point Cadet Chapel in West Point, NY.

West Point is actually the name of the town, the home of the United States Military Academy where Handel’s Messiah was being performed. Our daughter-in-law, Joanne Ingis, was one of the voices in the visiting chorals. The voices echoed like angels in this beautiful chapel. A standing ovation followed the 90 minute concert. Well deserved, I must add.

Joanne, part of a New Jersey choral group, practiced numerous hours over many weeks for two performances: #1 Hawthorne Bible Church in New Jersey, #2 here at the Chapel. On December 19th, Joanne will sing with the choral group at Rockefeller center.and then the next evening, she will be singing Getty Irish Christmas in Carnegie Hall.

A few of the voices, Cadets joined the chorals and featured a female Cadet soloist.

A gracious Cadet who permitted this photo

This was not the first time I visited West Point. My son Rick’s friend got married in this Chapel, and oh my, it was beautiful. The services were followed by a reception at the Thayer Hotel in close proximity to the Academy.

That’s Joanne Ingis and her step-dad, Tom Claus (my hubby)

Son Paul Ingis & me (Gail)

Chapel night shot. It took on the orange moon color

For dinner, of course we headed over to the nearby, Thayer Hotel. Built in 1926, the lobby and dining areas charmed me with their antiquity. Not so much the furbishing, but rather the ambiance. I imagined former presidents, and great military leaders, walking the halls. The hotel has entertained many of the United States Military and other distinguished visitors. Oh, and by the way, the food was delicious, five star. Onion soup, the best yet, barbecued short ribs in gravy, with a medley of vegetables that included squash & zucchini.

 

West Point view from the Chapel

That’s the Hudson River. The views are spectacular

The five of us shared one amazing dessert – fresh apple-pear pie with Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. WOW!

This little blurb from the hotel talks about how delightful it would be to visit the town of West Point. You can stay at the hotel, or find the offerings through the visitor center. The area offers a grand gateway to Hudson Valley area attractions, historic sites and outdoor recreation. Tee off on the West Point Golf Course, hike through the Black Rock Forest or go horseback riding in Bear Mountain State Park. Visit one of the largest contemporary art museums in the world, or sample a local vintage at a Hudson Valley winery. During your visit  you can go from West Point tours to Hudson River cruises and shopping sprees.

While you are waiting for my new book coming in the spring of 2018, The Unforgettable Miss Baldwin, would you like some fun? Take the adventure in New York City, and over the prairies and hills across America, from the Catskills to Yosemite, with Leila and Rork in my book, Indigo Sky.

 
Reaching for your own star by Gail Ingis

Reaching for your own star by Gail Ingis

Brite Brilliance Acrylic/Canvas | 16×20″

As a kid, my creativity took the form of re-creating. I took clothes apart and remade them into something different. I turned my mother’s gown into a dress. Mom was horrified. I also took apart radios and clocks and put them back together. Dad was supportive. I sometimes needed his help. I also began drawing when I was a kid. I drew faces and comic book characters, like Wonder Woman. Everything around me was an inspiration – to create.

Music has always been a joy. I love to play piano and guitar. If only there was more time in a day to create new things, including all the ones in my dreams. Then there’s my professional life as an interior designer where I photographed the spaces I created. The interior design school I founded gave others a way to expand their horizons. Currently, my  passion is writing and painting. Painting landscapes has been a way of connecting to nature and to explore the beauty of a sky, a sunset, sunrise, a body of water, a wave. I see a painting in everything, even a building, a portrait of my grandchildren, and a snowy Christmas tree. Everyone loves the creativity Christmas offers. Just look around you, it’s all there for you to enjoy and participate in. There are so many ways of creating beauty. Many of us have past times that give us peace of mind and help us to reconnect to our inner lives. Some of us love to garden, others love to cook, but what we all have in common is a desire to create. Never let anyone tell you that you can’t do it. Reach for your star and you will find your own truth path.

I love vibrant colors. And if there is one common element in my work, it’s color. Outdoors, I look for the sun’s rays of pink and amber creeping across the meadow, catching the magic hour when lights are warm and reflected light is bouncing in the cool shadows. Sunrise and sunset sweep the rainbow colors across the skies. Atmospheric landscapes have a beauty that often goes unrealized. Rich purples, yellows and blues on a rainy, foggy day are subtle, but magnificent. God’s heaven on earth.

Portofino Charm Acrylic/Canvas 18×24″

Indoors, I have a myriad of subjects to paint. I have photos from my photography then and now. I record people, places and things that are inspirational. It is thrilling to watch a blank canvas evolve into work-of-art.

Next week, I’ll be taking part in a special art show where I’ll be featuring two of my paintings: Maine Boats and Coney Island Bumper Cars. If you want to see more of my work you can visit my website.

Maine Boats (formerly boat bunches)
Watercolor | 10×14″

Coney Island Bumper Cars
Pastel & Watercolor| 10×14

 

 

 

Gail Ingis Claus is an author, artist/painter and interior designer. Her upcoming romance The Unforgettable Miss Baldwin will be released in the spring 2018. Her current historical romance, Indigo Sky can be purchased on amazon.

http://amzn.to/2j0LXLE

Candlelight Christmas at Biltmore House by Gail Ingis

Candlelight Christmas at Biltmore House by Gail Ingis

Candlelight Christmas at Biltmore

Christmas at Biltmore House is unlike any other. When you are there it’s like you have traveled back in time to the Gilded Age. Tom and I visited Biltmore House a few years ago while I was researching my first book, Indigo Sky.  Biltmore House, was built by George Washington Vanderbilt II, the youngest son of William Henry Vanderbilt, near Asheville, North Carolina in 1889-1895. At 178,926 square feet, it is considered the largest privately owned home in the United States, It is still owned by Vanderbilt family.

Biltmore House has become famous for its celebration of Candlelight Christmas, which is celebrated  every evening throughout the holiday season, starting just before Thanksgiving, presented as though the Vanderbilt family are your hosts. Tom and I spent three nights at the Inn at Biltmore on the grounds of the estate and enjoyed tea in the afternoon, lunch at the Bistro, dinner in the dining room. Five star accommodations, five star food and five star grounds.

The Vanderbilt rail empire was created by Biltmore’s George Vanderbilt’s grandfather, Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt, who died in 1877. It was Commodore that bought out LeGrand Lockwood after Black Friday gold panic in July 1869 when Lockwood lost his empire. The same Lockwood who built the Lockwood Mansion (now the Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum) in Norwalk, Connecticut. The same Lockwood who commissioned Albert Bierstadt to paint “Domes of the Yosemite.”

Most of my readers know about my journey writing about the life of painter Albert Bierstadt. My visit to Biltmore Estate was inspired by my research while I was painting a copy of Domes of the Yosemite and henceforth, inspired a fictional historical romance novel.

If you ever get the chance to travel to Biltmore House, you will never forget it. It has become one of the most popular destinations for weddings and other special events and for Tom and me, it was a truly memorable and special Holiday visit.

Gail Ingis Claus is an author, artist/painter and interior designer. Her upcoming romance The Unforgettable Miss Baldwin will be released on Valentine’s Day. Her current historical romance, Indigo Sky can be purchased on amazon.

http://amzn.to/2j0LXLE

Pin It on Pinterest