Hello, Hesperia, Happy Valentine's Day to everyone. I've been busy making sugar cookies. Out of three batches, I have none left! With the rain and cold I love to be in the kitchen baking. Gary loves the frosted cookies, so I decided to put a few recipes in the column.

Gary and I celebrated another anniversary in December, and that brings lots of memories of the years gone by. We've know each other a long time: We first met when he was 8 and I was 5. Gary played basketball with my neighbor Art. He thought I was a little pest then. Ten years later he thought differently, because he asked me out in high school. I was a freshman and he was a senior. But Dad said NO, absolutely not! I couldn't date until I was 16.

I didn't see Gary for a few years and then we started dating. Gary had a 125 Tahiti boat, and how I loved to water ski. He was excellent and I was mediocre. After dating for 16 months, Gary asked me to marry him. We were going to get married on water skis and put the ring on a small float in case he dropped the ring while skiing. Such a great idea but we changed our minds. Instead, we got married in Rialto on dry land.

To all of you out there, be sure and bake some cookies -- of course! Call, or send a card or just smile and say hi to someone. A very happy Valentine's Day and, remember, each day is a gift. Enjoy it and count your blessings.

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Cinnamon was once believed to increase passion and strength. It was so valued that all parts of the tropical tree were used, including its bark and seeds.
Cinnamon Covered Pecans 2 cups pecan halves
1 egg white
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Stir pecans into egg white until all sides are moist and sticky. Sprinkle sugar and cinnamon over nuts, and then stir until well coated. Spread evenly onto an un-greased cookie sheet and bake for 20 minutes. Cool and store in an airtight container at room temperature.

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My husband never forgets an anniversary - because I won't let him ... Sara Tanner
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Strawberry Delight 1 6-ounce package strawberry Jell-O
1 16-ounce package frozen strawberries
2 bananas
1 small angel food cake; broken into bite size pieces
1 large container Cool-Whip
2 1/2 cups boiling water

Mix Jell-O and water together. Add strawberries and put in refrigerator until partly set. Layer ingredients in salad bowl. Refrigerate until set. This has such a pretty pink color and is great for Valentine's Day.

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One word frees us of all the weight and pain of life; that word is love ... Sophocles
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Old Fashioned Sugar Cookies 3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter; softened
1 egg
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup sour cream

In bowl, cream together the butter, sugar, egg, vanilla and sour cream. Add baking soda and salt to half of the flour mixture; add to creamed mixture. Mix well and add rest of flour. Roll out dough to 1/4 inch thickness and use your favorite cookie cutters. Bake for 10 minutes in a 375 degree oven. Cool then frost with favorite frosting.

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Love really is the answer. We're here only to teach love. When we're doing that, our souls are singing and dancing ... Gerald Jampolsky, M.D.
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More Sugar Cookies 2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup shortening
3 eggs
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon lemon extract
6 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

In bowl, cream together sugar, shortening and eggs. Add milk, vanilla, and lemon extract; mix at low speed. Mix flour, salt, baking soda and baking powder together. Add to sugar mixture and blend well. Roll out dough to 1/8 to 1/4 inch thickness and cut into shapes. Bake in a 400 degree oven for 6 minutes. Do not over bake. Makes about 5 to 6 dozen cookies.

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Love is the greatest refreshment in life ... Picasso
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Cookie Frosting 3/4 cup butter; softened
3/4 cup shortening
4 2/3 cups powdered sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1/3 cup water

In large mixer bowl, combine butter, shortening and powdered sugar; beat until very creamy. Add lemon juice and vanilla; mix until well blended.

Add water and mix until very light. Frost cooled cookies and enjoy!

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My heart to you is given: Oh, do give yours to me; we'll lock them up together, and throw away the key ... Frederick Saunders, 1871
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Frosting for Cookies or Cake 1 8-ounce package cream cheese; softened
1/4 cube butter; softened
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 box (4 cups) powdered sugar

Mix cream cheese, butter, vanilla and 2 cups of powdered sugar. Add last 2 cups of powdered sugar and beat well. This is a wonderful recipe for cakes or sugar cookies.

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Love is something eternal - the aspect may change, but not the essence ... Vincent Van Gogh
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Afton Smith has lived in her lovely home on the Mesa in Hesperia since 1998. She retired after 32 years of teaching in the Mountain View District in El Monte. The beautiful part of living in the desert is the quiet and relaxing feeling that comes with the beautiful sunny mornings and quiet evenings along with the changing season.

While teaching, she could only see the seasons change by the trees outside the classroom because of the overcast skies. Now she can see the sun come up or go down from her home, along with picking the fruit from her trees when in season. What a wonderful change.

Cream Puffs 1 cup water
1/2 cup butter or margarine
1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 eggs

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Put 1 cup of water and 1/2 cup of butter or margarine in saucepan. While it comes to a boil, sift 1 cup flour with 1/2 teaspoon salt. When the water boils, add flour and salt all at once. Cook and vigorously stir, over low heat, until it leaves the sides of the pan and forms a soft ball of dough. Remove from heat.

Bake for 30 minutes; reduce heat to 350 degrees and continue to bake for 5 minutes. Test by removing one from pan - if it falls, a little, leave in oven for another 5 minutes.

Cool on cookie sheet. Dust with powdered sugar. Cut a gash on one side of each puff and fill with your favorite filling, such as, whipped cream, custard or ice cream. Makes 12 puffs.

From this recipe you can also make canapé puffs and fill with lightly seasoned chicken, turkey or seafood salad; finely chopped.