January 6, 2010
Well, it’s January and you know what that means. It’s time for my annual “I’m going to completely change my lifestyle this year…I swear…for real this time.” Sigh. Honestly, I wasn’t really going to bother until Lori at RecipeGirl.com started her “Ten in 10″ Challenge. What I like about it is that it’s not about weightloss, it’s just about trying to become more healthy in whatever way you define that.
I like food. I like to eat food. I even like to take pictures of the food I eat because I just like it that much. So going on a diet doesn’t appeal to me. Maybe it’s something I can do for a few weeks but eventually I get, you know, hungry. So my goal for the next 10 weeks is not another diet, but just be healthier (more fruits/veg, whole grains, etc.) and more active. I did that this past summer/fall and lost about 15 lbs. But if you’ve been reading my blog since November you know I, uh, indulged a bit …
December 21, 2009
I may have gone a bit cookie crazy. Besides my Peppermint Fudge Pinwheels, I have two more cookie recipes to share. Well, it’s more like one recipe and one technique, but I’ll get to that.
I’ve never been able to find a sugar cookie that I actually like. I’ve tried about a million and they all just taste blah to me. But I think that’s just the kind of person I am. Brandon told me the other day that I have tendency to put too much flavoring in the things I bake and that may be true, but I just want something that tastes like…something. I hate blah food. Even something that has too much flavor is better than something that doesn’t have any. But I think this is just that age old debate of people who like vanilla ice cream and people who like chocolate. Of course I choose chocolate! The only time I’ll eat vanilla ice cream is if it’s covered in fudge or caramel.
Anyway, I’m not sure I even have a point other than to say that this desire for flavor translates into everything I cook and share on this blog. I make a lot of stuff that I don’t share here because it’s boring or basic. I always try to find recipes that are fun (at least to me). Which leads me to these totally adorable Christmas Tree Cookies. They are fun and easy to make and did I mention how adorable they are? But that’s not even the best part of them. The original recipe was for plain ol’ sugar cookies, but of course I modified them! The best part is that they taste just like cinnamon graham crackers, which are my absolute favorite. And my boyfriend, Mr. You-put-too-much flavoring, actually said that these were perfect! And he hates cinnamon, so if he likes these cookies, anyone will.
I bet these cookies would be fun to make if you have kids. You divide the dough into three rolls which you cover in green sugar, then after they’ve chilled for a while, you just sliced them up and bake. I think kids would definitely have fun assembling the little trees; I did and I’m almost 30 years old! These would be really festive and pretty for a party and they keep well in an air-tight container. As with all Betty Crocker cookies I’ve made (or maybe it’s just a personal preference?) I think these taste better the day after you bake them.
The other kind of cookies I made are technically called Stained Glass cookies, but I’m not sure that’s really accurate, especially after I modified them. I have seen recipes for stained glass cookies that actually have a little transparent window of sugar in them and these are not like those at all. These are just your basic sugar cookie recipe, but you divide up the dough and color parts of it with food coloring.
You are supposed to cut out shapes with cookie cutters in the uncolored dough and then cut up the colored doughs into little squares and arrange them on top of the uncolored cut-outs so that it looks like a stained glass window. But OH MY GOD, that is tedious. Seriously, I did about 3 cookies like that and I was done. It took forever and the colored dough kept getting too soft so I had to keep freezing it every 5 minutes. I was about ready to shoot someone and that is not the attitude you should have when making Christmas cookies! It’s supposed to be fun, not mind-numbing. So I pretty much just gave up on the whole “stained glass” thing and just cut out circles and whatever else I wanted. Then I took the colored doughs and cut them with cookie cutters and added more little details. It was much more fun when I could just do what I wanted to.
Despite all that work, the cookies that came out were pretty but they were blah. Just about the blandest sugar cookies I’ve ever tasted: they weren’t even that sweet! So I won’t be posting that recipe, but the technique is still interesting and fun (as long as you do what you want and don’t try to kill yourself being “perfect”), and it should work with your favorite sugar cookie recipe.
December 15, 2009
Christmas is my favorite time of year and one of the main reasons for that is all the baking I get to do. Even when I didn’t cook much, I’ve always liked to bake and cookies are just about my favorite thing to make. Plus this time of year is the only time besides my birthday and Thanksgiving that I let myself make/eat whatever I want and I don’t feel guilty about it. Diets are what January is for. (I’ve already signed up for Recipe Girl’s Ten in ’10 challenge!) So expect a bunch of sweet recipes around here for the next few weeks because I’m in the baking mood.
I’m obviously obsessed with black and white desserts, so I knew I had to make these as soon as I saw them. The original recipe isn’t very christmas-y, but that was easily remedied with the addition of some peppermint extract to the chocolate cookie dough AND to the fudge frosting in the middle. Don’t worry though, these cookies aren’t crazy peppermint-y. The vanilla part of the cookie balances out the peppermint …
November 23, 2009
By far, the most popular recipe on this site is my Black and White Chocolate Cheesecake Supreme. I actually made it for the first time for Thanksgiving last year and I decided it would be our new Thanksgiving tradition to have cheesecake instead of pie. I’ll take cheesecake over pie any day!
But this year, after discovering my love for all things pumpkin flavored, I decided I wanted to attempt a pumpkin cheesecake. But of course, I didn’t want to use any other recipes because Brandon and I both think that my Cheesecake Supreme recipe is the best cheesecake we’ve ever had (other commenters agree, I’ve had a bunch of people come back after they made it and tell me how much they loved it). I also really like the concept of the black and white chocolate version and wanted to do something like that instead of having just a plain pumpkin cheesecake. In the end, I took my black and white chocolate cheesecake recipe and substituted pumpkin and caramel for the white and dark chocolates, then I topped the whole …
November 20, 2009
I’ll always remember my first Thanksgiving with Brandon when we were living in our first apartment together at the ripe old age of 20 and I didn’t really know how to cook anything except brownies. The turkey was the thing I most afraid of. I had always thought that cooking a turkey was so complicated and was surprised to find that it…wasn’t. I had much more problems with my stuffing which I completely ruined when instead of using a real actual onion (I think the only vegetables I cooked with back then were potatoes and tomatoes) I put in 1/2 cup (!!) of onion powder. You haven’t tasted onion until you put a 1/2 cup onion powder in something. To this day I really can’t use onion powder in anything, I think I used up my life quota of it.
But anyway, I think anyone can make a turkey. As long as you keep an eye on it and baste it regularly, there isn’t much thought or work involved. And the end product is almost always impressive looking and something that you can feel proud of cooking. …
November 19, 2009
This whole blogging every day thing is hard. I don’t know how some of you do it. It’s hard for me to blog even once a week sometimes (though I’ve been trying to remedy that). Anyway, a work emergency left me unable to post yesterday and I still have lots to do today, so a slight change of plans: I’ll post all the rest of the side dishes today and the turkey tomorrow. Then next week I’ll post my favorite part of Thanksgiving (or any meal, really): Dessert!
So I already posted all my sweet potato side dishes but you can’t just eat sweet potatoes (well, I actually think I could, but I’m weird). All of today’s recipes (as well as the turkey) are courtesy of my mother. I found them all in her battered, food covered, recipe scrapbook where she dutifully taped in handwritten recipe cards or cutouts from magazines.
November 17, 2009
It’s Thanksgiving week on Back to the Cutting Board, which means you get not one recipe like usual, but a ton of yummy Thanksgiving recipes over the next 4 days! This was all brought by the people at SpringPad who invited me to participate in their Springsgiving Event. My mission, if I chose to accept it, was to come up with a Thanksgiving menu consisting of five dishes: appetizer, turkey dish, two sides and a dessert. I didn’t get too much advance notice, so I immediately sprung (ohh, bad pun) into action coming up with a pre-thanksgiving meal last week. The thing is, I couldn’t decide on just 5 things, so we actually wound up eating about 3 days of Thanksgiving last week trying out different recipes (I love being a food blogger). I ultimately did decide on the five things I wanted to submit to the contest, but I wound up enjoying pretty much all the dishes I picked, so I will be posting all of them here this week.
Now that that’s out of the way, lets get on with the recipes! I love sweet …