December 7, 2010
These cookies have been on my mind for a while. You see, 10 months out of the year I make a pretty concerted effort to eat healthy. Obviously I splurge sometimes, many posts on this blog can attest to that, but for the most part I try to limit the really high fat/calorie foods to only a few times a month. But then Thanksgiving comes around and I go absolutely nuts. Did you know that the mashed potatoes I made had butter, half and half AND cream cheese. Yeah. And I didn’t feel even slightly guilty for eating them. Because they were damn good. There’s just something about the period from Thanksgiving until New Year when I just don’t care. I want to eat all my favorite foods no matter how unhealthy they are and the guilt I usually have isn’t there anymore.
So when everyone was talking about cookies last week on twitter it made me realize how much I’ve been wanting to make these. I made them a couple of years ago and every time I go through my recipe binder I think about making them again. Finally, with Cookie Week and my guilt on vacation, it was the perfect time.
I decided to play with the original recipe a bit, but it still has the same components: shortbread, chocolate, peppermint. I honestly can’t stand most of those bland sugar cookies that everyone seems to make this time of year, I’d much rather have delicious, buttery, shortbread. Each shortbread cookie has a layer of peppermint infused chocolate spread on the bottom. Then I lightly brushed a peppermint glaze on top that soaks into the shortbread and I sprinkled on some colored sugar. If you want to go extra peppermint crazy, you can stick two cookies together with a layer of peppermint filling in between!
If you think that sounds like too much peppermint, don’t worry because I used very small amounts of peppermint extract. Plus the buttery shortbread works well with the peppermint and doesn’t let it overpower the whole cookie. And you can always reduce the amounts to your own tastes. Or maybe even try another flavoring: I think orange extract would work really well.
These cookies are so good and highly addictive! I made them on Friday and Brandon and I had finished them off by Sunday. If you have lots of cookie lovers in your house, I would recommend doubling the recipe because they will go fast.
December 1, 2010
Well, I don’t know about you, but I am absolutely swimming in leftovers after Thanksgiving. Every year I say I will halve all the recipes, but I never do! This year we wound up having a surprise guest when Brandon’s brother called a few days before Thanksgiving asking if he could join us, so it was good that I had planned to make so much. But even with one extra person eating, my fridge is still stuffed with food almost a week later. I decided I needed to get rid of the turkey since that was taking up the most space and this soup was the first thing that came to mind.
This recipe is sort of a combination between a creamy soup and a–I guess I’d call it–brothy soup. It has the stock/broth base with evaporated milk added in which gives it a bit of creaminess, but it never really gets very thick. The rice is what gives the soup more body. I don’t normally even like wild rice, but combined with all the vegetables and turkey, it’s very good in this soup.
November 19, 2010
I tend to stay away from making cakes a lot just because I am not so great with the portion control. But I had been thinking about making a cranberry upside down cake for a while so when I saw it in muffin form I knew I had to try this recipe immediately.
Do you like cranberry sauce? If you do, you’ll love these muffins. For the longest time, I absolutely refused to eat cranberry sauce with whole cranberries. I’d only eat the jellied kind that come out of the can…in the shape of a can. I still have that kind at my Thanksgiving, mostly out of tradition, but I make real cranberry sauce, too, and these muffins make me love it even more.
This is a really easy and fast recipe to make and I think the muffins come out so pretty! If you wanted to be a perfectionist, you could cut off the bottoms so they’d sit straight, but it didn’t bother me.
November 16, 2010
In my attempt to eat less processed food during the day, I have been making a lot of muffins lately. They fit my criteria for easy food and as I mentioned in my last post, I love any kind of bread. The problem is they can get pretty unhealthy, so all the muffins I’ve been eating have been whole wheat, low-fat, filled with things like oats and applesauce and bananas. All of those muffins have been good, but when I was thinking about what kind of muffins I wanted to make this week, I was not in the mood for “healthy”. In fact, I had some very specific cravings: I wanted something similar to my favorite gingerbread muffins. I also knew I wanted to use the cranberries that I recently bought. And finally, I was craving chocolate because, well, it was a day of the week. (What can I say, I guess I’m a stereotypical female.)
November 11, 2010
I love bread. It’s probably my favorite food. When we order pizza, I take off the greasy cheese and just eat the crust. My favorite restaurants are the ones that bring you a basket of bread. Low-carb diets? I couldn’t make it more than a couple days. I have a pretty major sweet tooth, but if I was ever forced to choose between bread or sugar, well, this blog would have a whole lot less desserts on it. (But let’s really hope that “Sophie’s Choice” never comes to fruition, okay?) What I find really strange is that despite my love of bread, I have never had bread pudding before. I don’t know how that happened, but I have been meaning to rectify it for a while.
I had a loaf of raisin bread sitting around and getting stale so I finally decided this was the day! And when I found a recipe for bread pudding that also had pumpkin (which regular readers know I am obsessed with right now) it was a no-brainer. That was the recipe I had to make.
November 3, 2010
Now that Halloween is over and there’s no more candy to tempt me, it’s time to start eating better. I’ve recently decided to make an effort to eat less processed food. (Do homemade twix bars count?) I pretty much have the healthy dinner thing down, so most of the processed food I eat was coming during the day because it was simpler to grab of bowl of sugary cereal or a handful of overly salty crackers from box rather than take the time to make real food.
But I had certain criteria when looking for things to eat during the day:
- Easy to make (either the day of or ahead of time)
- Eaten at room temperature or easy to reheat
- Easy to snack on (e.g. can be eaten at my computer without being too messy)
Common denominator? EASY. I put a lot of effort into making a good dinner so I don’t want to have to worry about the rest of the day. This recipe, I’m happy to say, fits all three criteria. It only takes 10 minutes to whip up (and in a single bowl at that) and 25 minutes …
October 27, 2010
Well, I tried. I told myself I was going to stay away from desserts for a while. But….TWIX BARS. I really tried, but come on. TWIX BARS!!! Plus, with Halloween coming up I actually had a good excuse to make them. It’s not me, it’s Halloween. Halloween made me do it. Really, it couldn’t be helped. (In my head this is a perfectly logical argument.)
Whatever the excuse, I am so glad I made these because they are fantastic. Brandon, cynical person that he is, would like you to know that they are not exactly like a Twix because the ratio of cookie to caramel to chocolate is off, but BLAH BLAH BLAH (I am sticking out my tongue right now). No they aren’t exactly the same, but they have the same essence. That’s all I ask for in a homemade version of something, I don’t need an exact molecular copy. In fact, I love that there’s more caramel and a thicker cookie because I like those parts the best (and even if you don’t you can control how thick you …