Monday, December 26, 2011
Wow, I disappeared for quite awhile there. So sorry about that, I got sucked into the Christmas vortex, caught in a web of butter, sugar, and an all-stretchy-pants Christmas wardrobe and I forgot to post.
Well Jim, Cricket and I just spent our Christmas vacation with my new in-laws in Pennsylvania and I had a wonderful time. This was officially my first Christmas spent away from home (Kansas City), but on our wedding day my dad told me that now my home is wherever Jim is, and that proved true. Our vacation was busy and fun and relaxing.
You may think that since I've been on vacation I've taken a vacation from baking, and you'd be nearly correct. I have the last cookies of December to tell you about.
at 11:26 AM
Saturday, December 17, 2011
Sometimes I feel like I get into a little bit of a rut with my cookies. I feel like maybe because I have a few really easy crowd-pleasers that I can sit back and get comfortable.
But then I see pictures of something like these little babies and it all goes out the window. Because there's no way of making these "easy". Although they're really not incredibly difficult to pull off, they're just a little annoying and time consuming. I'm not saying don't make them. I'm saying save them for special occasions.
Like Christmas! That's right, sorry coworkers, your cookie days are over (for now). I've moved onto baking for the relatives and friends that we're going to see on our Christmas vacation. I thought it would be nice to kick the Christmas cookie experience off with a little something new and different.
The original recipe before modification was called "Rainbow Cookies". Now it's not that I don't think that's an accurate or creative name, but I'm not really crazy about the word rainbow. It makes me feel like a five year old. So I like to call them tri-color cookies. From what I understand, these cookies, much like the black and white cookies, are a New York thing. Also, rumor has it they're Italian as well (like the chocolate spice cookies and the ricotta cookies), or at least found at Italian bakeries.
at 5:28 PM
Thursday, December 15, 2011
So I talk a lot on here about how Jim won't eat peanut butter. Well, today I found out first-hand what happens when he does. It's not too pretty. I'll need to ease up on that one.
One of our friends (who is such an awesome baker I think she should be writing a blog) made us a bunch of Christmas treats, including some homemade chocolate candies filled with peanut butter and what tasted like chocolate brownies. Anyway, Jim ate one of the peanut butter ones unknowingly and proceeded to gag and gag and almost throw up until he doused himself with original flavor mouthwash. UGH. That stuff tastes like gasoline.
Anyway, now I know. I'll try to be a little nicer about that whole peanut butter thing.
One way I can do that I think is to make delicious peanut butter-less confections instead.
at 9:54 AM
Monday, December 12, 2011
Here are a few truths about life.
Most of the reason I bake is so I can get my hands on the batter.
Your hair is ALWAYS going to look best 2 minutes before you get in the shower.
Shampoo smells better than conditioner and there's nothing we can do about it.
Every year, girl scout cookies get harder and harder to track down.
I'm not joking about that last one. You don't want to know the things I would do to get my hands on a few boxes of tagalongs, samosas, and of course everyone's favorite, the thin mints. I have literally gone to the girl scouts' website to find a way to order them online. Can't be done. You literally have to track down an actual child scout, and once you get to the point at which you're honestly considering trying to do just that, you know you're a creepy weirdo.
But I can't get them out of my head. The thin mints. They call to me.
So, I made some. No biggie. They're really not quite the same... but they're a great substitute for when the craving hits and there are no scouts to be found.
at 1:33 PM
Sunday, December 11, 2011
I guess instead of the "gift ideas for classy ladies" post, I should have written a "gift ideas for gentlemen and scholars" post. I would have, if only shopping for the men in my life wasn't so bleeding hard.
I've watched so much Netflix recently that I've pretty well run out of American shows to watch...so I've been watching a lot of British series. I think I'm occasionally inserting Britishisms into my day to day speech now...thus the "bleeding". I have a tendency to do that. I certainly have embraced the "y'all" since living in Georgia. It's great. I know it sounds a little...Southern, but I'm into it.
Back to dude presents. What in the sweet world do you guys want? I, for one, would certainly love to know. The internet has no answers. I just see the same ridiculous nonsense year after year. How many grooming kits, pocket knives, and leather wallets can a man receive over the years? I'm betting...tons. And I'm not trying to sass-mouth anyone who has gifted those items. They are literally the only ideas we can muster sometimes.
at 10:24 PM
Friday, December 9, 2011
I'm getting incredibly excited for Christmas. Especially the break from work part. I can't wait to travel up north to a place that actually has a decent chance of having a white Christmas. Being from Kansas, we rarely had a white Christmas when I was growing up. In fact, I can only remember one. I was so excited I got up at about 6am and started shoveling the driveway, just for an excuse to be out in the snow.
But let's talk about cookies.
Okay so it is incredibly difficult to take a good picture of chocolate cookies. Especially these. They're just not incredibly photogenic to be honest.
They are, however, delicious despite their looks.
Who doesn't like chocolate, cherries, and walnuts?
No one that I know, that's for sure.
at 1:56 PM
Wednesday, December 7, 2011
That's right, gift ideas. I've gone borderline OCD with it, folks, prepare yourselves.
Specifically gift ideas for your wife/girlfriend/girl friend/mom/aunt/cousin/neighbor/coworker who is probably an extremely classy lady. A classy lady who just so happens to be pretty intensely obsessed with cooking and fashion. It would help if she was also a wannabe food-blogger. Because let's be honest. If you weren't in some way affiliated with a foodie lady, would you really be frequenting this blog?
First off, before I drop this craziness on you, some suggestions for your-lady-specific ideas that lovingly stray from the tried and true "interrogate her family and friends" method.
1) Check and see if she has an Amazon wish list. If you don't know about these, they're awesome and you can add stuff to your wish list from other websites that are not amazon. Crazy, huh? Anyway, check if she has one and if she doesn't, start pressuring her to make one (ideally in November sometime). It shouldn't be too difficult, it's really very fun.
2) Ask if she has a Pinterest account. Almost every posh lady I know does, and if she doesn't it's probably because she just doesn't know about it yet. Pinterest is uniquely hard to describe, but it's basically a giant wish list bulletin board where you can "pin" cool pictures of stuff you want to do/eat/be/wear/buy. It's really brilliant. Only bad part is, you have to have a twitter or facebook account to use it.
Enough chit chat and thinly veiled commands, let's get to it.
Monday, December 5, 2011
I read a story somewhere about a woman who, for her 38th birthday, completed 38 random acts of kindness to celebrate. She did things like taping change to a soda machine, handing out bottles of water to random joggers, and buying a gift card at the grocery store and turning around and handing it to the woman behind her in line.
I absolutely love that idea! It would certainly give me a more productive outlet for my energy than meticulously planning my next haircut/color (brownish auburn and side bangs?) and watching just an obscene amount of netflix. But I don't think I need to wait for my birthday to start doing things like that. And although the "type A" side of my brain starts twitching violently at the thought of starting something like this on a random day in December (that part of my brain would have preferred starting Dec. 1 and making it a neatly book-ended, month-long endeavor), I think I should start now. And I don't think I should count bringing in baked goods to work as an act of kindness.
Because now that Cookie Month is humming away at top speed (like some sort of delicious machine running on butter,sugar, eggs and Christmas cheer...), I do that almost every day. So much so that it's no longer even considered an act of kindness. And frankly I think some people are starting to dislike it a little...people who do things like "juice cleanse" or "paleo diet" or "low carb" types of situations. If any of you guys are reading this...that's awesome that you do that and I am probably just jealous of your discipline. Come to think of it, I should probably be doing some or all of those things...but who starts that now? This is literally the worst time of year to try something like that. That's what New Year's is for.
at 1:34 PM
Friday, December 2, 2011
When you start trying to really step up your baking for the sake of your blog, there can be some unanticipated side effects.
For instance, today my boss threatened to tinker with my schedule in such a way that I work the same shift as her from now on.
It may have been the cake.
One of my coworkers had a birthday a couple days ago, and didn't get a cake. Inexcusable, I know. So I made up for it today!
Here's another unrelated side effect you may not have anticipated:
If you forget your ID card at work...I will probably cover up your face with scotch tape and proceed to illustrate features that may include but are not limited to, a moustache, goatee, monocle, bow tie, and top hat.
And you should thank your lucky stars that that's all I did, because don't think for a second I didn't strongly consider creating a very elaborate scavenger hunt ending with you finding your ID card taped neatly beneath your desk.
at 6:34 PM
Thursday, December 1, 2011
It's here people. December. When did that happen?
What have I been doing, oh so festively? I've been trying to shed the weight that I amassed during Turkey Week 2011...I've been creating a baking schedule (stemming from my neurotic affinity for list-making) for the month of December (hint...cookies), and I've been coping with the fact that Jim and I are back to working totally opposite shifts and seeing each other very rarely.
But you know what that means? More time for cookies. Cookies are probably my favorite baked good. I hate to narrow it down to just one, but they are certainly up there. They are so versatile, there are so many varieties, they are smallish so you don't have to feel too guilty about eating a couple, and they make your house smell crazy good.
Speaking of crazy good smelling houses...these cookies. Way better than any candle.
I couldn't believe that I hadn't made oatmeal raisin cookies for the blog yet! I know, oatmeal sounds boring and raisins are for old people....but just give these a try. Literally the best oatmeal raisin cookie recipe I've ever tried. These come very highly recommended, they were the often-requested favorite of my coworkers in California. Did I mention that I have a serious problem with bringing in baked goods to work?
I do. It's a cheap ploy to get people to like me, I know. But it works. Big time.
at 1:02 PM