Sunday, December 26, 2010

We elves try to stick to the four main food groups: candy, candy canes, candy corns, and syrup. A Cookie adventure.

So its that time of year, where people do a lot of baking and people of the smarter variety even do studies examining the adverse affects of baking to the waistline during "that time of year."  Well "that time of year" is also a week were a workaholic has a break and is unaccustomed to this foreign concept of relaxation.  So, thus commences the 7 days of baking.

 Can you believe, I have made it through 24 years of existence without making the traditional Hershey Kiss thumb print cookie?

More astounding than that, can you believe that I made it through the entire bag of unwrapping Kisses, without eating a SINGLE ONE?

Dontcha wish yo batter was sweet like me? Dontcha? (Reality: in baking cookies, all batter looks the same to a great degree, so this is your time to memorize the batter, and insert in various colors and extraneous ingredients for batches to come.  Otherwise, this is just boring y'all.  This will be one of the few documented batter shots.)

Kissy cookies. Delicious. Confession: I don't know their name.  Kissy cookies work for me or mistletoes?  hugs and kisses? XOllents? Fred?

They say a moment on the lips, forever on the hips, but I think just looking at pictures of cookies has a non-caloric value unless you are eating cookies while reading this, or it inspires you to do so post read.

A tribute to Shawn Taylor.

Finger-lickin good.  Even if you get sick...but I didn't.

 And the cranberries fell from heaven into the biscotti, or a stork flew by and dropped off the package, or they were poured in by my dear friend Amy while a picture was shot. You decide.

Gluten free cranberry biscotti.  When I say biscotti, I want to say it in a scottish accent. Anyone else?

Me and spoons... I like spoons.  Spoons like to fall into the batter.  They mock me.

 My baking racks, they stack. Be jealous.

Candy cane cookies.  They are classics. 

But inevitably you end up with extra.  So you make a heart or some other warm and fuzzy shape.  Awwww de cookie of wooove. (If that was too mushy gushy, you have my permission to go throw up now and return. It will still be here when you get back.)

Buddy the Elf would love these.

And as the mint dark chocolate snowflakes baked, the chorus of Angels sang.  Also, parchment paper rocks my LIFE.

Baking plus art equals win. It also helps that it is cheesecake.

"And I past the whirly twirly gum drops."

Molasses crinkles.  My grandma's tradition even if you don't know my grandma, bite into one of these and you will.  She is the bomb diggity, just like these.  


Welcoming a lot of new friends to the family on my spice cabinet.  In my next house, I will only have a kitchen. I can sleep on the table.

Meet the newest member of the family.  My retro stand-up mixer.  I named her Francis.

Insert some excellent retro love song.  She's some kind of wonderful.

You mix that batter.  (Suddenly the deep voice takes over from that earlier love song). Oh ...yeah

 Back by popular demand: the pumpkin chocolate chip cookies.

 One of many cookie trays to venture out into the world, providing a demonstration of both love and love handles.

Brothers are talented at many things, including licking beaters.  My brother excels. Way to take one, or many more than one for the team.

Pecan nut-balls.  Laura: some are coming your way.  This is an old faithful.  My mom called them the Cadillacs.

Sugar cookies.  My canvas.

A delicious canvas.

And so: after 16 different batches of cookies, biscotti, cheesecake, and bark I now announce this sweet-fest complete.  For those of you who helped in the consumption of this project, my jeans thank you because they can continue to fit and be of use to me.  For those of you who did not, hang around me long enough you are bound to partake soon enough.  Until next time: peace, love and SUGAR!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

arms high and heart abandoned

If you are a follower of Grey's Anatomy, you might remember the dramatic scene where Meredith Grey challenges McDreamy with the ultimatum: "Pick me, choose me, LOVE ME."  Of course girls across the world are grabbing for the tissues in a weepy mess.  I am not the first, nor will I be the last to crave being chosen.  Chosen for the sports team out on recess and crossing your fingers that you are not last (if you are as athletically un-inclined as I am), recommended for the job, selected for a solo, identified as outstanding by a professor, pursued by a man.  Being chosen, marked for a special task, gives purpose a reason for existence (though our human view of purpose is quite limited).
As we wait to be selected out of the masses, inevitably the clock is bound to tick at least three times slower and we are sure to be spending that time creating a list of our fallacies that will result in being left to last or receiving a Dear John letter.  The type-A inside of me is always creating and recreating this list almost to an obsessive degree (ironically the I put un-listing as one of my items on my list of things to improve).  But I digress...
The little voice inside of us stamps its little feet and shouts, "PICK ME, CHOSE ME, LOVE ME."
Then my little voice stops.
I have been chosen. I am loved.
With a love not dictated by

It is love unmerited.

1 Corinthians 1:26-29 "Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things-- and the things that are not-- to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him."

It leaves me with nothing but awe. A simple gesture, hands raised in the air.  Thus I stand, with arms high and heart abandoned to the One who gave it ALL.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Pumpkin-palooza part 2

Previously on pumpkin fest (to be read like voice over on Glee): There was a successful batch of pumpkin chocolate chip muffins, a pumpkin soup that was equated to baby food, heavenly pumpkin fro yo, and the to be continued pumpkin cheesecake and pumpkin butter that were left to chill over night.  Oh the suspense.  Well, not to worry, the refrigerator did not sporadically begin heating instead of cooling, no one broke in and stole it in the middle of the night and both were a success.

See here:

So, it may have been a stretch to go daily... live and learn, but not to worry! I have been baking away all week.

So it was time for part two:

Lets begin with the red headed stepchild of the family, the winter squash.

Mushrooms, celery, onions.
Thanking God for the pre-cut onions to avoid the tears

Tribute to Rachel Ray: some EVOO. Despite her voice, she has got some kick butt ways about her cooking. Thats just a fact.

Add sage. Moment of silence to honor camp, and the fact that I could pick this up on the trail rather than have it in my beloved spice rack.  Think about an herb garden, then quickly remember I have a black thumb. Scratch the herb garden idea.

Salt N Pepper. Sing: what a meal, what a meal, what a mighty good meal in honor of the 90's. Then continue cooking.

Git R Done y'all!

Joke: What did the acorn squash say to the mushroom, celery, onion mix.  I'm stuffed!!! Hahaha. Or... ok, thats not really funny.  That joke was a tribute to my kiddos who are the kings of jokes that are not actually jokes.

Success. That was Y-U-M. Yum.

Time for pumpkin broccoli. Don't judge before you try.  THIS WAS MMMMMMarvelous. 

Ingredients: Pumpkin and broccoli (with some undocumented EVOO, pepper, salt, and Parmesan cheese baked into mmmmmmmm).

Success. But I began missing the butter.  It was just calling from the fridge.  Uuuuuse me, uuuuuse me (as I may or may not have bought 3 packs in anticipation of this pumpkin-y nonsense).
So butter? Here's your shinning moment.  The butter demands that you stay at this picture for 15 seconds.  I say you can just keep scrolling on down.  Butter is overrated.

Sugar is much more my thing.  Sugar: get your booty on in there.  Sugar= love.

Empathetically understanding that all these batters look the same.  So I added some goodies and left them picture-less.  To many divas already have been presented.  Of course it was the usual suspects of pumpkin pie spice, pumpkin puree, salt, baking powder, flour, vanilla.

Wet then dry. All successfully while using the SAME spoon.  I am improving. Yoohoo!

To prove this point, I didn't even include the title of the recipe.  If you are curious, it is pumpkin cookies.  I brought them into school the next day to share.  

Result?  Jeff downed 4 in three minutes and we had to send them down to first grade to stop eating them.  

My final recipe is a shout out to all my gluten-free homies.  First ever... Here we gooooo!   

Gluten free flour, you are truly a wonder.  Interesting smell, interesting lumpy consistency.  (Interesting being one of those p.c. kinda words used when not sure and trying to keep an open mind.  I use this word frequently.  You? ) How will you incorporate Mr. Flour? 

Not to shabby.  But lets Emerill it up and kick it up a notch... spiced almonds on top? POW!

Oh. yeah. baby!

Insert song of lament here.  This has concluded my pumpkin palooza.  Wa wa waaaaaaa.  It was certainly fun! And I enjoyed all things pumpkin to the fullest.  Stay tuned for other cooking blogs coming your way.  Its beginning to look a lot like Christmas... Cookies? I think that just might be the next one.   Amy, you can come on over to try those babies out!

Thanks for playing!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Pumpkin Challenge Day 1: Bring on the pumpkin!

Eggs, graham cracker crumbs, chipotle chilies, milk, squash, cornstarch, celery, wild rice, butter, sesame oil, dark brown sugar, garlic cloves, cream cheese, broccoli crowns, cranberries, golden delicious apples, granny smith apples, onions, craisins, pumpkin puree, vegetable broth, applesauce. BAKE ON!

 A week, devoted to purely pumkin.

Start your engines, folks!

Challenge 1: Pumpkin Tomato Soup
Butter. (I predict this will be a common theme in these recipes...)

Onions. Diced. Oh the tears!  I chopped all the onions at once to avoid a battle with the mascara later on.

Celery. Diced.  Yum. And then I remembered I recently acquired a mandolin.  Post chopping.  Its okay, I am a little old fashioned in my craft anyways.

Sweat it all into a beautiful trio.  Then add ginger.  Making me wonder...what ethnicity is this meal even? Question remains. Pour vegetable broth.  Note the spoon (later, we are gonna play a game called what changed in the picture).

Add stewed tomatoes then add ummm oh yeah PUMPKIN!

Game time!!! Try to find what has changed... I seem to struggle with spoons not falling into the masterpiece. Such is life.

End challenge number one.  Oh yeah, baby!  Some may wonder, so Kirsten, how did it it taste?  Well, I must admit, it was a bit of a let down for my first challenge.  If I were a wealthy baby and the baby foods I ate included pureed escargot and champagne in my bottle, I might have enjoyed this soup more, but I will go on!  There is a world of recipes to conquer and it is my duty.  So keep on keeping on. 

Challenge 2: Pumpkin Frozen Yogurt (dedicated to my favorite hipster, Krisi)

Greek yogurt? Yes please!

 Add milk to this creamy delight.

Pumpkin and dark brown sugar says fall like Christmas decorations at Target says September. It just works.

(Insert chorus of angels here) Pumpkin pie spice.  Enough said. 


And can we say delicious? De-li-cious.  Yes, yes we can. Definite repeat to come.

Challenge number 3: Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins (dedicated to my parents because they slipped the recipe in my mail, and I'm guessing that was a subtle hint)

Step by step photos out the window... so this picture is titled "mixfloursugarsaltbakingpowderpumpkinpureePUMPKINPIESPICEthenrealizeoopsnodocumentationdang photo".

Eggs. Two of them. Does not matter whether the chicken or egg came first. Does matter that they are cage free, organic, vegetarian fed.

Butter.  Dedicated to Saundie, Paula Dean, and all you butter-lovin fools of the world.

Chocolate chips.

 Confession: A handful never actually ever make it into the batter anytime a recipe calls for chocolate chips.

End result? Beautiful!

Challenge 4: Pumpkin Butter (My one recipe that is a butter and my only recipe thus far that does not include butter) That's irony my friends.  Take notes Alanis Morrisette, because your song is not actually ironic at all.

Pumpkin (surprise! or decide)

Simply apple? Simply delicious!

Spice it up with some pumpkin-pie-spice-of-all-yumminess and salt.

You packin? Ha! Yes, I really did just make a corny joke about how you have to have to pack brown sugar.  Don't judge.  Just love.

 Minced onions. (Screeching car sound) Onions? Huh. Ok...

Then let it chillax, all cool, all outside-a school like the Fresh Prince in the fridge. 

This my friends, will be continued.  So much suspense its bake-o-ri-fic! Will the apple butter successfully chill in the fridge without a meteor coming and smashing down the apartment?  What about that cheesecake she put in her Facebook status, is that a secret love child that never will make its appearance to the public?  Tune in tomorrow to find out. Thanks for playing!