Friday, December 28, 2012

Christmas Cookie recap

Like most women during Christmastime, Mom and I went on a Christmas cookie making spree. Three days were filled with Christmas music, aprons, flour, and delicious cookie creations. We usually make one or two family favorites and test out one or two new recipes. Here are the cookies from this year for your drooling pleasure:

Figure 1. The cookie plate. On Christmas morning, we make a big plate of cookies and set it on the counter for all to consume. Obviously, since cookie calories don't count on Christmas day, this means I ate a solid 10 cookies and had to refill this plate several times.

Figure 2. Butter pecan turtle cookies, AKA turtles. I made these last year for the Cookie Swap so you can find the recipe here.

Figure 3. Turtles after cutting. These are my brother's favorite cookie - a homemade crust, pecans, caramel, and melted chocolate chips. Mmmmm...

Figure 4. Salted nut bars. These were Mom's 'new cookie' pick for the year and they are delicious. Is it wrong that I mentally think of them as a protein source because of the nuts and consider them okay to eat in the afternoon? Just like a granola bar, right? Riiiight?

Figure 5. Salted dark chocolate truffle cookies. These were my 'new cookie' pick for the year and I couldn't have picked anything better. These little wonders are a cross between a cookie and a decadent truffle and I.can't.get.enough.

Figure 6. Almond crescent cookies, a Christmas family cookie tradition. One of my favorites.

Figure 7. Ginger cakes in preparation (family recipe).

Figure 8. Ginger cakes after icing. These cakey treats make your entire kitchen smell like Christmas and remind my Mom of her Mom and remind me of my Mom. Nothing can beat a cookie that holds so many memories...

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas Eve recap

This year, we are celebrating Christmas a day late. Which means our Christmas Eve tradition of breakfast for dinner happened last night. This tradition does double duty - not only does it make for a delicious dinner, but the leftovers are perfect for Christmas morning!

Figure 1. Mushroom-cheddar frittata. This was both Mom and I's first frittata experience and it came out better than we expected! This beauty contained mushrooms, roasted red potatoes, sharp cheddar, and broccoli.

Figure 2. A view inside for good measure.

Figure 3. Sour cream coffee cake with cinnamon oat streusel. This is a keeper, for sure. The sour cream batter with almond extract made this extra special. And it has oats on top, so it's healthy, right?

Figure 4. Before baking. Check out that streusel!

Figure 5. My plate: frittata, coffee cake, and a simple spinach salad. A perfect Christmas Eve.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Appetizer Night recap

Every year, a few days before Christmas, we have 'Christmas Appetizer Night' - a night where we cook too much food and eat too much cheese. It is perfect and delicious. Here is what we made this year:

The spread.

 Southwestern sweet potato bites made by my Sister-in-Law.

Bbq cups (a family recipe) made by Mom.

Creamy Brussels sprout shallot dip made by me (the entire family loved this!). We served this with raw veggies and blue corn tortilla chips.

Baked avocado salsa made by Mom.

Pizza pockets with homemade pizza dough made by my lovely Sister-in-Law. Some had cheese, some had sundried tomatoes, some had broccoli. 

Bang bang shrimp from Bonefish Grill. Yeah, these aren't homemade, but they are absolutely delicious and no appetizer night is complete without them.

Mint chocolate candy cane cake made by me. A delicious and festive end to one of my favorite nights of the year.

Happy My Less Serious Holidays!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

gummy bears and brussels sprouts

You guuuuuuys.....

I am teaching my first class on January 8th and the pressure of course prep combined with the pressure of the holidays means my blog is on the back burner. I plan to pop in intermittently with beautiful food and witty tidbits from my daily life, but please be patient as my posts may be lighter than usual until the holidays are over.

You are all stressed too, right?

Here is what I'm up to:

Practicing building a Gummy Bear Launcher for my class project (yes, I teach Masters students...)

My family may kick and scream in protest of Brussels, but I am SO making this for Christmas appetizer night. You can't stop me. I want to swim in this. Bathe in this. I may be secretly hoping I get to eat it all myself....

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

what i ate wednesday: issue 62

 Figure 1. Breakfast: a bowl of Kellogg's All Bran, Arrowhead Mills puffed wheat, and Fiber One Flakes, cinnamon, and almond + cow's milk.

Figure 2. Post-run snack: Ezekiel Sprouted Grains toast with peanut butter.

Figure 3. Lunch: a smoothie with cocoa powder, banana, yogurt, peanut butter, and protein powder.

Figure 4. Dinner, courtesy of the boyfriend: broccoli, tomatoes, and mushrooms stir fried in coconut oil with scrambled egg alongside quinoa and almonds. This is the best thing, you guys. The boyfriend got on my Pinterest account, saw this pin from Healthy Tipping Point, and recreated it for me. It was delicious (coconut oil makes ALL the difference) and the perfect surprise after a long day. +10 boyfriend points.

Figure 5. Dessert: a Gala apple sprinkled with cocoa powder.

And that concludes another What I Ate Wednesday (featuring what I ate Tuesday, December 18).

Tuesday, December 18, 2012


One time I forgot to look at Pinterest for four entire days. Madness, I know. And, when I finally did there were so many Pin-worthy Pins I could barely contain myself. Here are some of my favorite finds...

Figure 1. Food Porn Board: I don't know where this came from or who made it, but I don't care. I'd rip it out of their hands and lick the hell out of this whisk any day, any time.

Figure 2. Pour Me One Board: Candy Cane Vodka from Tracy @Shutterbean. Let's face it. You NEED vodka at your holiday party. You just do.

Figure 3. Must Make and then Eat Board: Quinoa Veggie "Fried Rice". But, let's face it - you could pour Sriracha on a flip flop and it would be delicious. (Yes, I just totally said that Guy Fieri style - please don't tell anyone...).

Figure 4. Must Buy and then Wear Board: No, I don't only Pin food. I also obsessively stalk Kendi of Kendi Everyday on Pinterest and Pin amazing fashion. Pattern mixing is a must.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

the great food blogger cookie swap 2012: soft molasses cookies

The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap 2012Getting Christmas cookies in the mail is enough to make any day bright. Swap cookies with food bloggers from across the country? Yes, please.

Unlike last year, this year's cookie swap required me to specify my newly discovered food intolerance: soy. Not only were my cookie swap matches soy-free - but they were also nut-free, gluten-free, and refined sugar-free. Whaaaat?

I diligently did my research, hit the health food store for specialty ingredients, and embarked on what felt more like a science experiment than baking. Being new to the specialty baking scene, I doubted that any cookies I made meeting these requirements would be tasty. Boy, was I wrong. These soft molasses cookies from The Whole Life Nutrition Kitchen were so delicious you would never know they met all these requirements. Even my dad approved these tasty treats.

Soft Molasses Cookies (from the Whole Life Nutrition Kitchen)

2 cups sorghum flour
½ cup tapioca flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
1 ½ teaspoons xanthan gum
½ teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground ginger
¾ cup organic palm shortening
1 cup Sucanat, coconut sugar, or brown sugar
½ cup blackstrap molasses (this is key)
¼ cup unsweetened applesauce
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 tablespoons ground flax seeds

To start, make sure all of your ingredients are at room temperature; especially your applesauce.

In a medium-sized mixing bowl, stir together the sorghum flour, tapioca flour, baking soda, xanthan gum, sea salt, cinnamon, and ginger. 

In a separate mixing bowl, beat the palm shortening, sugar, and molasses together with an electric mixer. Add the applesauce, vanilla, and ground flax seeds; beat for another 60 seconds.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet and beat together. Continue to beat for another minute or until the ingredients are well-combined and the dough thickens.

Cover bowl with a plate and chill dough in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a large cookie sheet.

Remove bowl from refrigerator and form dough into little balls with the palms of your hands. Place each ball on the greased cookie sheet spaced out by about 2 inches.

Bake for approximately 12 to 15 minutes. Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool.

And what did I get in return? Absolutely delicious Maple Meringues from Sara @The Little Bite and drool-worthy  Double Chocolate Cranberry Noel Cookies from Sara @Pidge's Pantry. Thanks ladies!

what i ate wednesday: issue 61

The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap 2012

My post for The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap 2012 will be posted later today, but in the meantime - I couldn't resist fitting in my weekly WIAW post. Enjoy.

 Figure 1. Breakfast: a bowl of Kellogg's All Bran, Arrowhead Mills puffed wheat, cocoa powder, a sliced banana, and almond + cow milk. Cocoa powder in cereal is amazing.

Figure 2. Mid-morning snack: Ezekiel Sprouted Grains toast with peanut butter.

Figure 3. Lunch (out to eat): a huge spinach salad with blue cheese, walnuts, green apples, and turkey bacon. A slice of house-made whole wheat bread on the side.

Figure 4. Afternoon snack: an apple, yo.

Figure 5. Dinner: leftover broccoli-spinach soup, Ezekiel Sprouted Grain toast with avocado and kosher salt, and leftover sweet potato-apple mash topped with slivered almonds and a drizzle of honey.

Figure 6. Dessert: a soy- and gluten-free double chocolate cranberry cookie from Sara @ Pidge's Pantry I received for the cookie swap. These.are.amazing.

And that concludes another What I Ate Wednesday (featuring what I ate Tuesday, December 11).