We’re here! And by here, I mean at my mom’s in Rockford, Illinois. They definitely got the snow we were supposed to get in Chicago.. it’s so beautiful here when it snows, especially the snow covered trees. We took a while to get here this afternoon- we worked out, ate lunch, and packed, which took the bulk of our time- there is just so much to get crammed in our SUV. Now that we’re finally here, the first thought on my mind was finding something to make and spiced nuts were on my brain. This recipe was one of the first ones I came across and the combination of sugar and spice seemed to call out my name. To be honest, I couldn’t really taste the cayenne pepper (and I used more than a generous pinch!) but they are seriously addictive, and kind of dangerous to have lying around!
Up next, I decided to try my hand at crinkle cookies. I love the way these looked in pictures and they seriously made them look all the more tasty. The recipe I used was from Williams-Sonoma and can be found here: http://www.williams-sonoma.com/recipe/chocolate-crinkle-cookies.html
I used Hershey’s dark chocolate cocoa which made the cookies extra fudgy and chocolatey, almost like a brownie cookie. The only thing I would do differently next time is making sure the cookies have an extra coating of powdered sugar as most of the powdered sugar in my cookies seemed to dissolve right into the cookie, making the crinkle effect not as apparent.
My third baking experience was making these Oatmeal m&m cookies. They turned out perfect, a lovely combination of chew from the oats and crunch from the mini m&m’s. I accidentally poured in a bit too much vanilla extract, and now I know the potency from doing so-oops! The cookies may have turned out a bit too strong on the vanilla front, but tasty nonetheless!
My last and final cookie were these Red Velvet cheesecake cookies. Minus the waiting refrigeration and freezer step, these were pretty easy to make. I also couldn’t roll the cheesecake filling into balls, more like blobs on a plate, but once I put them in the freezer for an hour, I broke them up and rolled them into teaspoon sized balls.
Aside from all the baking, we’ve managed to finish our Christmas shopping, go to the grocery store to stock up on Christmas dinner supplies and booze, AND we managed to take Gabe to see Santa Clause!! Thank GOD he did not fuss; he actually did really well, giving the bearded man a half smile.
We had a lovely Christmas this year, even though Gabe didn’t really know what the fuss was all about. Santa sure brought him a ton of gifts this year, but in true
most baby Gabe fashion, he was only interested in one, maybe two, of the 10 or more gifts that he received.
Our Christmas meal this year consisted of roast duck, beef tenderloin, Annie’s mac n cheese, chive and parmesan mashed potatoes and saffron rice, mostly prepared by T (minus the mac n cheese, that I made).
I think this year, I was the most spoiled by
the hubs Santa. I received these cookbooks, among other amazing gifts, such as a Cuisinart 12 piece cookware set, frozen yogurt ice cream maker, food scale, pyrex mixing bowls, and Ghiradelli chocolates/syrups. You know you’re a grown up when clothes and jewelery no longer excite you (as much) like cookware and cookbooks can!
As if we didn’t have enough cookies lying around the house, I made these chocolate chip and chunk cookies last night. T swears I’m trying to made him fat…I swear this is not my intention! These cookies definitely lived up to the soft, thick and chewy hype. My first batch didn’t spread as much, so I made sure to press down my second batch to get them slightly thinner. You know these cookies are good when I’m sneaking one for breakfast before my morning workout!
Speaking of workout, I’ve been doing really well keeping up a routine, even during the holidays. T and I managed to a temporary gym membership for the 2 weeks we’re staying with my mom. The gym isn’t the greatest gym but it has all the basics- weights, treadmills, and machines. it’s also a bonus that it isn’t nearly as crowded as the gym we belong to back home. Now that my workout is complete (ran 6 miles), lunch eaten, it’s time to go dig into some more cookbooks!