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Archive for the ‘Holiday’ Category

Christmas in a Shoebox

Do you remember cookiepalooza from last year? It didn’t land as well with the people I gave the cookies to as it has in years past. Too many of the people in my life now are gluten free, vegan, or on a diet. So this year, I made a bunch of Christmas cards. Hopefully folks will like them better. But what is Christmas without a slew of cookies? I wouldn’t know because I didn’t manage it. I still made a bunch of cookies and Brett and I ate most of them.

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Brett and I live in the cutest little shoebox of an apartment. It has crown molding, a fireplace, and an awesome layout. It is also teeny, tiny. We have been excited to move out since we moved in. The idea of cramming a full length tree into our apartment gave me pause. Instead, we got a teeny, tiny tree that sits very adorably on the mantle of our fireplace.

I was really excited to show you just how small our tiny and adorable our tree is by stacking sugar cookies taller than the tree. As it turns out, I couldn’t get the cookies to stack tall enough. Our tree is taller than a stack of sugar cookies. The tree grew! At least in my own estimation of it. Let us chalk that up to the magic of Christmas, yes?

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I like this sugar cookie recipe because it is very easy and it produces sugar cookies that are a bit chewy. I omitted the lemon because I wanted sugar cookies not lemon sugar cookies.

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Turkey Bowling

Kelly Williams Brown writes Adulting a blog about how to become an adult in 468 easy(ish).  Her advice is spot on, she never seems like she’s talking down to her readers and she lives in Oregon.  Needless to say, her blog is one of my absolute favorites. Step 248  suggests creating your own traditions.  As we head into the holiday season, creating my own traditions has been on my mind.

This year, I hosted my second annual Turkey Bowling Party.  Turkey bowling is the great art of taking a frozen turkey and chucking it a group of 2 liter bottles arranged like pins.  It is loud and seasonal and awesome.  I spend Thanksgiving with my parents (not the turkey bowling type) so I hosted a pre-Thanksgiving cocktail party.

And what to serve alongside a few rounds of Turkey Bowling?  Turkey meatballs, of course.  These Asian influenced Turkey Meatballs are perfect because they are flavorful, don’t need a drippy sauce, and serve as a lower carb potsticker substitute for the caveman in my life.  Also, they are super easy to make which is so important when I am running around like a turkey with its head cut off before a party.

Turkey Meatballs adapted from Catherine Newman

Ingredients:

1 pound ground turkey
1/8 of an onion, very finely chopped
1/2 cup very finely chopped cilantro
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/2 cup fine, dry bread
crumbs (unseasoned)
1 egg, lightly beaten

Nonstick spray

Heat the oven to 400 degrees.

Mix all of the ingredients thoroughly.

Roll into walnut sized balls.

Spray cookie sheet with non-stick spray.

Place meatballs on the cookie sheet with at least an inch between each.

Cook untill cooked through, about 10 minutes.

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Seriously. .  . look at these pictures.  I didn’t take these, Brett took these.  Darn good cookies, yes?

I really like these cookies.  They are nutty with a perfect chewy texture.  The recipe is here.  I didn’t do much to change it so I would recommend going directly to the source.  For as much as I liked the cookies, they struck Brett as good but not great

Having found myself  such an adorable man, I would like to keep him.  I’m told that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.  So, I am searching for the perfect almond dessert.  It should feature nuts and not be too sweet.  Any thoughts?

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Movie Night

Caramel Bacon Popcorn is awesome.  It is sweet and salty and proof that bacon does, in fact, make everything better.  I recommend this popcorn paired with Princess Bride or Spanglish.

Ingredients

1 bag microwaveable popcorn

1 and 1/2 Tbs butter

1 and 1/2 brown sugar

6 Tbs water

1/2 pound bacon

1. Cook bacon.  Mince into very small pieces(smaller than pictured).

2. Stir butter, sugar and water until sugar dissolves.

3. Bring to a boil.

4. Cover and cook for 3 minutes.

5.  Pop popcorn.

6. Uncover caramel mixture and cook without stirring to soft ball stage, 238.

7. Spread popcorn over cookie sheets to make a single layer sprinkle bacon throughout.

8.  Drizzle caramel mixture over popcorn.

9.  Allow popcorn to dry, 12 – 24 hours.

Adapted from “Candied Popcorn”  in the Joy of Cooking.

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Santa’s Favorite Cookies

Santa’s mostest favoritest cookies are Molasses Crinkles.  No, I do not have a direct line to Santa.  But I do have science.  Every year, my sister and I put out Molasses Crinkles for Santa and some carrots for his reindeer.  Every year, the Molasses Crinkles had bites taken out of them, the carrots were gone, and we got great presents.  See?  Science.  Santa likes Molasses Crinkles cookies bestest.

Very slighty adapted from Ina Garten.   The recipe that I used is below.  Follow the link for the original recipe.  I quadrupled the powdered ginger and omitted the cloves because I wanted ginger cookies.  I used less crystalized ginger because ginger comes in 4 oz packs rather than 6 oz packs at my local Whole Foods.  I used one egg and one egg yolk because I forgot to buy extra-large eggs.  See, Cookiepalooza 2011 was a well-organized affair.

Cookiepalooza 2011 Aftermath

Ingredients

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup unsulfured molasses
  • 1 large egg and 1 egg yolk
  • 4 ounces chopped crystallized ginger
  • Granulated sugar, for rolling the cookies

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 sheet pans with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, ginger, and salt and then combine the mixture with your hands. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the brown sugar, oil, and molasses on medium speed for 5 minutes. Turn the mixer to low speed, add the egg, and beat for 1 minute. Scrape the bowl with a rubber spatula and beat for 1 more minute. With the mixer still on low, slowly add the dry ingredients to the bowl and mix on medium speed for 2 minutes. Add the crystallized ginger and mix until combined.

Scoop the dough with 2 spoons or a small ice cream scoop. With your hands, roll each cookie into a 1 3/4-inch ball and then flatten them lightly with your fingers. Press both sides of each cookie in granulated sugar and place them on the sheet pans. Bake for exactly 13 minutes. The cookies will be crackled on the top and soft inside. Let the cookies cool on the sheets for 1 to 2 minutes, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

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Make Peppermint Bark.  Every Christmas season, when the crowds start to get to me, I make Peppermint Bark.  Its easy, its delicious, and it is a stress reliever.  I let my friends and family believe that the reason for the Peppermint Bark is to give as a gift.  The real reason, of course, is because I get to beat peppermint sticks with a wooden spoon.

Mid process on this year’s batch, Brett suggested that a food processor would be a more reasonable solution.  I thought about it. . . and promptly disregarded the suggestion.  If a use a food processor, I don’t get to beat things with wooden spoons, do I? 

12 Candy Canes

4 White Chocolate Bars

Wax Paper

Prepare1.  Crush candy canes using whichever method suits your mood.

2.  Melt white chocolate.  I have never had a problem putting white chocolate in the microwave for short intervals, stirring between each one.

3.  Spread melted chocolate along the wax paper to create a layer that is about 1/4 inch.

4.  Sprinkle the crushed peppermint evenly across the white chocolate.  I recommend putting down a layer of the most finely crushed peppermint covering down first and then sprinkling the larger pieces evenly across the white chocolate for a more even look and flavor.  I also recommend pressing the larger pieces into the chocolate so they won’t fall off when the chocolate hardens.

5.  Leave overnight to firm.

6.  Slice into pieces.

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Pine+Chocolate=Christmas

 

My house smells fabulous!  Brett very sweetly took me to buy my very own fresh-cut tree which I decorated with homemade chocolate ornaments. Every time I step into the living room, it smells like pine and chocolate; Christmas.  Even better, the ornaments are super easy to make.

How To

Supplies:

Candy Melts or White Chocolate

Candy Mold

Ornament hooks

To Do:

Melt the candy in the microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring between each interval.

Pour candy into the mold.  If using hollow molds, fill about half full.

Refrigerate the mold untill chill and then pop the candy out.  If the candy breaks coming out, it can be reattached with some melted candy or melted again.

If working with a hollow, two piece mold like I did, use more melted candy to fuse the two pieces together.  position the ornament hook between the two pieces.

Things I Learned

Candy melts and mold can be found at a craft store.

Test the first batch for weight on the tree.  My biggest ornaments are a bit too heavy for my tree.

A single piece mold is easier than a two piece mold (seriously? why don’t these things occur to me until I am half way done with a project.)

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