Monday, December 15, 2008

predicting weather through cookies

Last week, Zeal read the weather report in earnest. The weekend forecast was snow, snow, and more snow. I quote, "we will be more surprised if there isn't snow, than if there is." So when the weekend came and went with only a small dusting that left as quickly as it came, he was, shall we say, disappointed.

So, what do you do when there is no white, fluffy stuff falling outside? Make it in the kitchen, of course.

Snowball Cookies (aka Russian Tea Cakes)
makes: about 3 dozen (depending on the size of your cookies)

1 c. softened butter
1/2 c. powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 1/4 c. flour
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 c. nuts, finely chopped

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Mix butter, sugar, & vanilla. Add flour, salt, and nuts. Mix thoroughly.
Roll into 1-inch balls. Bake on an ungreased cookie sheet for 10 minutes. While still warm, roll in powdered sugar. Once cooled, roll in sugar again. Oh, so yummy!

Do I get points for this artery-clogging, completely non-nutritional treat being all organic?
Maybe not.
But it does work to bring on the real stuff.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Holidays are Delicious

Looking for a bit of holiday inspiration? The Savvy Source has created a holiday guide covering all things holiday, including this little piece by me...

Holidays are Delicious: The Creative Family Kitchen During the Holiday Season

Holiday magic often begins in the kitchen. Creating traditions is yet another way to build creativity, and the holiday season is a particularly wondrous time to begin a new tradition or rediscover an old one. So as you step into your kitchen this month, involve your children, explore together, and have fun!

Click here to read the rest of this article and to check out the rest of the Savvy Holiday Guide.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

our little soup factory

In preparation for baby (who should be gracing us anytime now) we spent the day making these various soups, putting them all in freezer bags, and all ready and waiting to be plopped into our crock pot for those days when we will likely be up to our ears in diapers and out of food.

In our stash and now helping to fill our freezer are these various soups:

-Tuscan White Bean & Escarole Soup
-Two-Mushroom Barley Soup
-Moroccan Lentil and Chickpea Soup
-Pesto Potato Soup
-Winter Squash and Sweet Potato Soup
-Black Bean Soup

All of these soup recipes came from the wonderful Fresh From the Vegetarian Slow Cooker (200 Recipes for Healthy and Hearty One-Pot Meals that are Ready When You Are) by Robin Robertson. I borrowed this book from a friend and have thoroughly enjoyed picking through it. So far, so great! There are many more things than just soups included in this little gem, such as breakfasts, grains, pastas, desserts and bread. Good thing winter brings out the slow cooker in me. :)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

...and what to do with the leftover gingerbread?

And after making that traditional little house, we used the leftover gingerbread to make a few little men to nibble on. We popped them in the freezer and have been pulling out one a day (or every other) to decorate.

For easy decorating, add a tablespoon of icing to the corner of a ziploc bag. Make sure the bag is closed tightly and cut a very tiny hole in the corner. Instant kid-friendly (an inexpensive) pastry bag!

Monday, December 8, 2008

He goes traditional on me...

For the third year in a row, we have made our own gingerbread house from scratch. We've also done the kit kind in the past, but it is always much better when we make our own.

In years past, the houses were wild and exciting and I had high hopes for the creative magic I have come to expect from this boy, and what does he do but go traditional on me. :) Four straight walls, a slanted roof, one front door and 4 paned windows. Who knew?

Still, it was great fun to see his confidence in the process grow and watch him pretty much do the whole thing from cutting the pieces to putting it together to decorating all by himself. aaah, the sweet ginger-y taste of independence.

This year, we used this recipe and I highly recommend it for a sweet, but not too sweet, and not so gingery taste that the kids just loved.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Mama's Nuts

What happens when said child is working intently on a science fair project and pregnant mama gets a hankerin' for the pecans waiting patiently for her in the kitchen...

Mama's Cinnamon Nuts (You must, must, must try these!)

1 cup sugar (maple or cane)
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
2 1/2 cups pecans or walnuts (NOT chopped)
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/8 tsp. cream of tartar
1/4 c. boiling water

Mix sugar, cinnamon, cream of tartar and boiling water and boil (to 246 degrees, if you have a candy thermometer, or until mixture forms a "ball" if you drop a bit of it in cold water). Add nuts and remove from heat. Add vanilla and stir until mixture sugars on the nuts. Quickly turn on a flat surface and separate the nuts.

You will not regret giving these EASY little treats a try! I promise. But beware, they don't last long!
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