New Year

A while ago I managed to catch this really cute picture of Freyja while she was yawning. It looks like something else, but either way she’s as cute as a kitten.

This last year was a great one, I had some fantastic opportunities that I took advantage of. I have even enjoyed writing this blog, and I hope to continue with a strong start.

I have some plans and hopes for what to focus on as the year goes by:

  • Kitchen Equipment: We have some stuff in the kitchen that I use sometimes, but I don’t really take advantage of everything that we have. My mom even received some cool new toys for Christmas, so I might even talk about those!
  • Regional Foods: I went to a cool German restaurant over my Christmas break and had some really good German food that was better than any I had before anywhere else. I want to learn how to make it, and some other food that’s not American and normal to me. This includes mediterranean food, Indian food, real Spanish food, you get the picture.
  • Cookbooks: I was given a new cookbook for Christmas, and I think I might get another one for my birthday this month. I want to do some cooking and blogging out of those and the others that we have in our kitchen. I have these great books that I don’t use much because of the internet.
  • Traffic: I also want to get some more traffic to my blog. I would like to have some more followers, some more views, some more comments. That means I hope to share my blog on some larger sites and tell more people about it. You can defiantly help if you would like, sharing is caring.

Okay, so those are the things that I would like to work on this year. Also better photography, but that’s always going to be something to work on. I hope to make improvements in all of these areas, and recommendations and such are always very helpful.

I hope you have a safe, healthy, and happy New Year. I know that mine has already been great.

Advertisements

Christmas Cookies

MERRY CHRISTMAS! First of all, I hope you all are having a good day and that you are having a good time with your family. I know that tons of people have several different Christmas gatherings that they need to go to, and it makes this week absolutely crazy. Most of these are family things, but it still can get a bit hectic. just relax, and remember that you have to go back to school or work sooner or later and you should enjoy your time away from that.

Last week was the last week of school before break, and we ended up with a snow day on Thursday. I made some cut out cookies earlier in the week and so I used Thursday to decorate. On Friday, we did have school, the roads were apparently clear enough, and I took some goody bags to my AP Lang class (yeah, the class I blog for). I had too many to keep to myself, and I figured that no one would be mad about cookies. An observation about Friday, though, is that everybody brings something sweet, so some people take your cookies and shove them in their bag along with five other treats that they have already accumulated by third hour.

Anyway, here’s what I did. I used the same cut-out recipe that I posted about earlier. I’d share the recipe, but it’s in a book at home and I don’t have access to it right now and I cannot find it online. I used a little different royal icing recipe, and I let mix for a while longer than I did the first time… So it turned out different. Peppermint extract went in, too, so it’s a bit more Christmas-y._MG_6470

When you frost your cookies, you need a good work space, with a good place to wipe your hand on when you get messy. Also, have extra tips and toothpicks close at hand if something manages to clog._MG_6478_MG_6477

Also, when using royal icing, it’s a good idea to have warm water on hand, to thin it out if it thickens while sitting and waiting to be put on pretty cookies._MG_6476

I did the red icing before I took pictures, so that’s not pictured here. I use gel color normally, it’s easy to do, as long as you’re careful, and there are tons of colors that are already mixed, so you don’t have to goof around to get a purple and not have it look right. You can just buy what you want._MG_6471

Once your icing is colored, make sure your cookies are within reach and that they won’t mess up the other icing that you have already done._MG_6462_MG_6463_MG_6481_MG_6482

After a while of decorating, I stopped taking pictures and got down to business  Just go slow, be silly with your designs, and enjoy your decorating. And don’t forget to share.

Have a great holiday, and a safe New Year.

More Cookies

I made some more cookies yesterday. I know, it seems like I just made chocolate chip cookies, but I really needed to practice using cookie cutters (or rather getting roll-out dough to not stick to the counter). I also wanted to learn how to make royal icing, or at least try. Last Sunday I promised my Sunday School class cookies, so I had another excuse there, too.

Anyway, I made a batch of sugar cookies, using a recipe out of an old cookbook that we have, I think it’s a Better Homes and Gardens one. It’s a good recipe, it’s marked up a ton in the cookbook and it handles well even when having extra flour worked in while you roll it out to stab it with cookie cutters.

I learned the four thing the hard way, I guess you could say. I had several cookies stick to the counter really bad, so bad I scrapped them and just threw the dough back in the fridge to chill and floured the counter like crazy. Also, I baked the cookies on parchment paper, it made it supper easy to get them off (after having that run-in with the sticky counter I didn’t want any awkward cookies) and clean up the pans.

After the cookies cooled, I made some royal icing, following a random recipe that I found online that had meringue powder so that it was just powdered sugar, meringue powder, water, and vanilla extract. It was thick at first, but then we added a little more water and some food coloring and things loosened up and it was easier to work with. At one point, though, one of the colors was thinned too much, and the icing spilled off the edge of the cookie. Oh well. We learn new things every time that we do something.

The red turned out really light, so we had pink icing, we didn’t have a ton of coloring gel and I didn’t want to use the last of it up. Also, sprinkles are sometimes hard to control. Anyway, here, have some pictures from yesterday’s escapades.

_MG_6370 _MG_6365 _MG_6364

Stuff

Just over a week ago was Thanksgiving, and I haven’t written anything about it yet, so this will be my Thanksgiving post.

Normally my family goes to my grandparents’ house and the whole extended family eats there. My grandmother makes the turkey and the potatoes and everybody else brings a side dish to serve. Normally we end up taking something with cranberries, a homemade salsa or sauce. The whole experience isn’t terrible, the food is good, I love my family, but I get a bit stressed out in the big family situations.

I’m trying to say that we don’t regularly cook a full-out Thanksgiving dinner for the immediate family each year, and that’s why this year is special. My grandparents decided to go to Florida for the better part of November, and so they did not host our family holiday. My family (my mom, dad, brother, and cats) did our own thing, rather traditional, but different from what we are used to. We did our own turkey (with a brine), made rolls from scratch, made a cranberry sauces that had one orange in it, did some green beans, mashed potatoes that were next to perfect, an old fashioned pumpkin pie, and even our own stuffing.

Honestly the stuffing (not really stuffing, it’s dressing in this case because it never went inside the bird), was my favorite part of the of the day. It took a while to do, because there are several steps that you need to wait for and we also had some time constraints with the oven space (we need a double oven, or something). Anyway, it was so good and I’m glad that it was after so much time we had to spend cooking and smelling the thing.

We found a recipe out of one of the magazines that we got a while back. There were several ones that we were interested in trying, but we ended up with one that was classic Thanksgiving.

To make it, we got some take and bake bread from Target and baked it Tuesday night, then let it get a little stale then next day and a half. _MG_6242Then we toasted the little pieces. We had to let those little guys cool, then we covered it in butter and the seasonings, this was the point where it became really difficult  to not eat it (it was just too good).

IMG_6252Then we did the egg and vegetables right before it went back into the oven (it smelled so good when it was getting crispy).

_MG_6305

You can learn how to do it here!! You should learn how to do it.

This stuff was so yummy, my dad even talked about how we should do it again sometime and he’s picky about his dressing.

This stuffing was so traditional, it was just what we needed. It had the normal onion and celery and we cut that down a little and chopped it tiny so that you didn’t hit a different texture while you were eating.

We did a really traditionally flavored meal, the green beans and cranberry sauce weren’t from the ’50’s, but they weren’t far out either. But you get some extra pictures this post, ones of things I haven’t really focused on. I’m just pleased with the way everything turned out.

The required vegetable.

The required vegetable.

Our homemade rolls. So buttery.

Our homemade rolls. So buttery.

Tom, the turkey.

Tom, the turkey.

The whole thing

The whole thing

The pie

The pie