Truth and Risks

I am not a risk taker. This is my truth. I have tried to be a risk-taker on a few occasions and they always landed on the side of “less than awesome” and more than once it was a god-awful experience.

That is not to say that I haven’t engaged in some terribly risky behavior. But there is a difference between doing something stupid and impetuous and taking a calculated risk. Stupid, I can do. Calculated is apparently not so much of my forté.

Of course, I was better at being calculated and risk-taking back in the days when I didn’t care if I walked the tightrope of life without a net. But now I’m not alone in this venture and I worry about how my actions will impact folks I love. Continue reading

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It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Cookies!

It appears the universe noticed my bah-hum-buggy self the other day after my post about there being no rum balls this year. And so I have to thank the universe for noticing my lack of holiday happiness and then providing so many opportunities for me to fix that issue of mine. First I got invited to a cookie exchange party this Saturday. Then I got invited to a virtual cookie exchange party. It’s almost as if the universe wants me to bake cookies, eat cookies, and buy new pants!

The things I do for the universe.

VirtualCookie Exchange Blog Hop (1)I was tagged by my dear friend and fellow writer, Kerry Schafer, to participate in a virtual cookie exchange. When I offered up a wee bit of a balk over the whole thing, she very gently reminded me that “everyone has a cookie recipe” which was precisely the kick in the pants I needed to find my holiday mojo. Because while I  may not have my cherished box of Christmas recipes, I do have the internet and after this virtual cookie exchange, I’ll have a whole passel of new recipes to try out.

For instance, Kerry shared with us her recipe for “Melting Moments” which sound like something I might do after a few of Mister Soandso’s fortified egg nogs. Seriously, the recipe sounds yummy and super easy. And I could convince myself that they are healthy based on the oatmeal, right?

I, myself, am sharing a recipe that may not be healthy in any way other than its potential to bring about world peace. These are my favorite morsels of joy to have with an afternoon cup of coffee. Pinky-swears, they are delicious. Dorie Greenspan’s recipe for World Peace Cookies is all over the internet, but as far as I’m concerned, a person can’t have too many links to deliciousness. And in case you are link-adverse, I’m posting it (with some minor adjustments) below.

World Peace Cookies

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour OR gluten free flour mix (I’ve had good luck with Bob’s Red Mill and Pamela’s)

1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 stick plus 3 tablespoons (11 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature

2/3 cup (packed) light brown sugar

1/4 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon fleur de sel or 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

5 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped into chips, or a generous 3/4 cup store-bought mini chocolate chips

 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line baking sheets with either silpat or parchment.

  1. Sift the flour, cocoa and baking soda together.
  2. Using a mixer, beat the butter on medium speed until soft and creamy. Add both sugars, the salt and vanilla extract and beat for 2 minutes more.
  3. Turn off the mixer. Pour in the dry ingredients, drape a kitchen towel over the stand mixer to protect yourself and your kitchen from flying flour and pulse the mixer at low speed about 5 times, a second or two each time. Take a peek — if there is still a lot of flour on the surface of the dough, pulse a couple of times more; if not, remove the towel. Continuing at low speed, mix for about 30 seconds more, just until the flour disappears into the dough — for the best texture, work the dough as little as possible once the flour is added, and don’t be concerned if the dough looks a little crumbly. Toss in the chocolate pieces and mix only to incorporate.
  4. Turn the dough out onto a work surface, gather it together and divide it in half. Working with one half at a time, shape the dough into logs that are 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Wrap the logs in plastic wrap and refrigerate them for at least 3 hours. (The dough can be refrigerated for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 2 months. If you’ve frozen the dough, you needn’t defrost it before baking — just slice the logs into cookies and bake the cookies 1 minute longer.)
  5. Using a sharp thin knife, slice the logs into rounds that are 1/2 inch thick. (The rounds are likely to crack as you’re cutting them — don’t be concerned, just squeeze the bits back onto each cookie.) Arrange the rounds on the baking sheets, leaving about 1 inch between them.
  6. Bake the cookies one sheet at a time for 12 minutes — they won’t look done, nor will they be firm, but that’s just the way they should be. Transfer the baking sheet to a cooling rack and let the cookies rest until they are only just warm, at which point you can serve them or let them reach room temperature.

Excerpted from Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan (Houghton Mifflin, 2006). Copyright 2006 by Dorie Greenspan.

Now, I realize that not everyone enjoys chocolate quite the way I do. (Gasp.) So just in case you aren’t inspired to bake cookies after Kerry or my recipes, I am tagging 4 other folks who will post their recipes next Tuesday (12/16). You’ll also notice that in Kerry’s post, she tagged 4 folks as well, as well as the originator of this gastric goodness, Linda Pointevin. All in all, there will be lots of cookies being shared so get your link-click on and then get baking. Because any day with cookies in it is a good day!

Okay, here’s my four dear cookie bakers. I promise you, you are in for a treat with these folks so check their blogs on December 16th for deliciousness!

Charlotte Rains Dixon

Kim McNally

Kate Adams Lydston

Sarah Hendrix

No Balls This Year

One of the wonderful things about my life is how many traditions I have with my family and friends. Creating traditions is what grounds me to the good stuff, ya know? And so, its a bit of a downer to admit how many traditions aren’t going to happen this year.

Amazing what a difference a year makes.

If you’ve been reading this blog (and thank you, by the way if you have!) you know that my family moved from our home of 10 years and are building a new one. There are lots of great reasons to do something like this but it also can cause issues and obstacles to occur. Continue reading

Let Them Eat Cake! Or Not.

I realized today that both myself and my dear friend Johanna Harness have children sharing a birthday. She’s asked me what kind of cake Biggest would be having to celebrate and that got me to thinking about all the birthday cakes I’ve made and eaten during my 45.5 years here.

The first birthday cake I remember being made for me was an angel food cake made by my grandmother. She’d put a new Barbie doll in the center and frosted the cake and doll to look like Barbie was wearing a pink dress. I don’t really like angel food cake and I wasn’t a Barbie doll playing kind of girl. But I was so appreciative of the fact that she’d made me a cake for my birthday. Four years old and already I’d learned one of life’s truths: dessert is sweeter when it tastes like love. Continue reading

Football and Cheese Product

This is not another blog post about the Super Bowl. I know, that title up there might beg to differ, but I’m here to tell you that I’m not going to write about yesterday’s Super Bowl.

Except for one little, tiny aspect of the game: the food that always seems to accompany our football inspired gatherings and other family holidays.

It is only because of things like football and holidays that I would ever consider eating something labeled as a pasteurized cheese product. Continue reading

Baking Bagels Because of Beavers

In my years as a baker, I have never made bagels. That’s changing today. And it’s all the fault of the beaver. Or perhaps I should say I am baking bagels today because the food industry of the US uses castoreum in many foods but allows the manufacturers to label castoreum as “natural ingredients.” And while we can’t argue that the anal scent glands of beavers are certainly “natural,” it isn’t something I particularly want to feed to my kids.

Continue reading

My Path To Recovery

Today I feel like hell. The kind of hell after a weekend of heavy drinking and debauchery. Know what I mean? How when you wake up you feel like you probably shouldn’t have done what you did?

It was a great weekend, don’t get me wrong. It just included some choices that now I have to deal with. Now some of you might be wondering what in tarnation I did over the weekend and is there a warrant out for my arrest or at least compromising photographs available on the internet. And my answer would be no, and yes. Continue reading