Merry Christmas in July! Recently I got into the early holiday spirit by joining my fellow podcaster Brian at the ‘Christmas Past Podcast’ in his Christmas in July Cookie Swap. … Continue reading Christmas in July Cookie Swap
Last year was my first time doing a cookie swap put on by Veronica’s Cornucopia and I had such a good time I decided to do it again this year. I focused on 3 variations on a shortbread because I thought they would ship well and then threw in some chocolate covered marshmallows for some fun and color.
- 2 sticks Butter, Softened
- 1/2 cup Sugar
- 2 whole Egg Yolks, Stirred
- 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- Zest Of 1 Lemon
- Zest Of 1 Orange
- Juice Of 1 Lemon
- 2 cups All-purpose Flour, Sifted Twice
- Candied Green And Red Cherries (sold Around The Holidays)
Cream butter and sugar until fluffy.
Add egg yolks, vanilla, orange peel, lemon peel, and lemon juice, and mix until combined. Use rubber spatula to scrape bowl, then mix again.
Add sifted flour and mix until combined. Place dough in a ziploc bag and refrigerate for at least one hour, or until firm.
When ready to make the cookies, preheat oven to 300 degrees. Cut candied cherries in half.
Roll dough into small balls and set on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or a baking mat. Gently press the cherry halves, cut side down, into each ball.
Bake for 20 minutes, removing from oven before they start to brown. Cool on a wire rack.
- 2 sticks Salted Butter, Slightly Softened
- 1 cup Powdered (Confectioners) Sugar
- 1 whole Egg
- 2 teaspoons Vanilla
- 2-1/2 cups Flour
- 1/2 cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
- 1 teaspoon Salt
- 4 ounces, weight (4 Squares) Almond Bark Or White Baking Chocolate (almond Bark Works Best And Is Cheaper)
- Large Handful Of Red Or Green Peppermints
Cream softened butter with powdered sugar. Add egg and vanilla and mix to combine. Add dry ingredients and mix together until dough comes together. Place plastic wrap on surface of dough and refrigerate for 2 hours.
In the meantime, unwrap candies and place them in a plastic bag. Beat with a mallet until finely crushed, leaving larger chunks if desired.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Roll cookie dough in walnut-sized pieces and place on a cookie sheet. Gently press balls flat with a plain, smooth surface. Bake for 7 to 9 minutes, being careful not to burn. Cookies will remain the same general size and shape after they bake. Remove from oven and place cookies on a cooling rack. Allow them to cool completely.
Place crushed candies in bowl. Melt almond bark in the microwave. Dip cooled cookies into almond bark, coating half the cookie. Immediately sprinkle crushed peppermints over both sides of the almond bark. Gently set on parchment paper or other nonstick surface and allow to cool before serving.
- Regular Marshmallows
- 1 package Almond Bark (white Or Chocolate) Or Meltable Candy Wafers
- Sprinkles, Chopped Nuts, Chopped Pretzels, Chopped Candy, Etc.
- Equipment: Lolipop Sticks (sold In Craft Stores)
Melt the chocolate or white (or both) almond bark in a double boiler.
One by one, dip the very tip of the lollipop stick into the melted chocolate, then stick that end of the stick into the marshmallow until it’s not quite all the way through. Repeat with the rest of the marshmallows, standing them up as you go.
Next, roll the marshmallow in the chocolate to coat it, then tap the stick gently on the side of the double boiler to get rid of the excess. Using your fingers, sprinkle the topping of your choice all over the chocolate. Set them stick side up on a piece of waxed paper OR stick them into that crazy florist stuff that makes flowers stand up.
Have fun with the toppings and make no two marshmallow pops the same!
- 1 cup Brown Sugar
- 1 cup Margarine
- 1 whole Egg
- 2 cups Flour
- 1/2 teaspoon Salt
- 1 teaspoon Vanilla
- 6 ounces, weight ( To 8 Ounces) Chocolate Chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Mix together brown sugar and margarine. Add egg and mix together. Add flour, salt, and vanilla, and mix together well.
Spread dough onto cookie sheet to a thickness of 1/4 to 1/2-inch.
Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until slightly brown. At this point, pull out of the oven and sprinkle chocolate chips evenly over the top. Return to oven for 1 minute. Remove and spread melted chips over the top. Cut into squares.
So I hope you all have fun making some of these cookies! They are very yummy! Merry Christmas!
I am a tired blogger this evening! Tired and covered with flour. This year I am participating in the Postcard Project Cookie Swap. It is organized by Veronica’s Cornucopia and the idea is to “not only to spread joy and cheer through the sharing of cookies, but to support the US Postal Service”. Last year they had 1667 cookies shipped which is pretty impressive. There is also a matching program for the swap where each cookie sent gets a $1 donated to Cookies for Cancer to help fund pediatric cancer research. So it’s a win-win no matter how you look at it.
I got assigned three women to swap with from Washington, Massachusetts, New Mexico. I’m excited to send off the cookies on Monday and receive one’s from whomever is assigned to me. It’s very nice of Veronica to organize everything and assign the matches. It seems like it would be a herculean task. Thanks, Veronica!
I will be sending out 3 different kinds of cookies- lemon butter, outrageous brownies and eggnog logs.
Lemon Butter Cookies- These turned out so good!
Frosted Lemon Butter Cookies
Heat oven to 325 degrees Makes 2 ½ dozen
1 cup butter
½ cup powdered sugar
2/3 cup corn starch
1 cup flour
Cream butter and sugar. Add cornstarch and flour.
Drop by teaspoons onto cookie sheet.
Cook for 15 minutes.
Cool and then spread with frosting.
Grated rind of 1 lemon
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
2 ½-3 cup powdered sugar
Eggnog Logs- These didn’t turn out perfect but I still think they are yummy
1 pound plus 12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
6 ounces unsweetened chocolate
6 extra-large eggs
3 tablespoons instant coffee granules
2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups sugar
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups chopped walnuts
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Butter and flour a 12 x 18 x 1-inch baking sheet.
Melt together the butter, 1 pound of chocolate chips, and the unsweetened chocolate in a medium bowl over simmering water. Allow to cool slightly. In a large bowl, stir (do not beat) together the eggs, coffee granules, vanilla, and sugar. Stir the warm chocolate mixture into the egg mixture and allow to cool to room temperature.
In a medium bowl, sift together 1 cup of flour, the baking powder, and salt. Add to the cooled chocolate mixture. Toss the walnuts and 12 ounces of chocolate chips in a medium bowl with 1/4 cup of flour, then add them to the chocolate batter. Pour into the baking sheet.
Bake for 20 minutes, then rap the baking sheet against the oven shelf to force the air to escape from between the pan and the brownie dough. Bake for about 15 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.
Today was a really fun day. For years I have been less than satisfied with the photography on my blog and that is quite shameful for a Wagner as everyone in my family is a good photographer. My Brother, Dad and Grandpa have all spent time as professional photographers and they each have different styles but are very talented. My brother is perhaps the most successful and has done a lot of skateboard and other sports photography. Recently he did a shoot in Iceland for Nike as part of the Nike Poler shoes.
So, like I said photography is pretty intense in my family and I never felt I was very good at it. Usually I hoped that the content would be good enough to outweigh the crappy photos. Clearly if I’ve grown in readership for nearly 6 years there is some truth to that but recently I got the opportunity to do a guest blog for my friend over at The Little Ferraro Kitchen which will be posted on Nov 13th!!
I knew if I was going to guest post on her site that my photos needed to match up with the quality on her blog, so I bought a nice camera and my Dad instructed me as he did the amazing food photography for the post (seriously you guys will be blown away).
I’m super excited and working with my Dad made me want to keep learning and trying to get better. Yes, my photos may never be as good as his but I can improve and learn more. So, I asked my friend Kristi Linton if she would give me a lesson today and she agreed. Fortunately I had received 2 subscription boxes that were good test subjects for me to practice on. We went over backdrops, lighting, using mirrors and flashlights, tripods and even took some photos on the floor next to the kitchen glass door and I think they turned out pretty well.
These items are from:
Cheryl’s cookies- Great prices and delicious cookies. They have a quarterly subscription cookie service and individual orders. This tin I got on discount as an end of Halloween sale http://www.cheryls.com/
Bklyn organics- $15 box you can order through their etsy shop . Included personal note and only one month required. http://www.etsy.com/shop/BklynOrganics
Flicker box- This is a fun candle box. I liked all the scents. Not too overpowering. $25 a month. http://myflickerbox.sqsp.com/
I am excited to keep learning and getting better.
First I will start out this post by letting you all know that I have recovered from my night of no sleep on Sunday. I slept for 10 hours last night and hopefully broke the 2 am trend I’ve been allowing myself to get into. Thank you for all your thoughts and concern my way. Its a scary experience getting no sleep. Your mind starts to spin and you feel almost like the insane people you see in the movies- unglued. It’s very weird.
So I have some exciting news for all of you faithful readers. I am going to get the chance to guest blog for my friend Samantha Ferraro on her food blog http://littleferrarokitchen.com/ I am going to be doing a more professional version of my post from last year Thanksgiving for One and I’m really excited! I have gotten a new camera (something I’ve wanted to do for some time) and am going to work with my Dad to take some great food photos and give tips for cooking for 1. I figure if I can show people how to cook thanksgiving for 1 they can extrapolate the skills and cook any meal for 1.
On that note, are there any of you that might be interested in guest posting on my blog in November? I am going to be doing nanowrimo and will be be posting but probably not as frequently as I have been doing in the last few months (I’ve been on a role lately!).
Speaking of Nanowrio I am really excited for my next book. I’ll give you the basic summary. It is a Christmas chick lit book about 2 women, life long, friends- one a stay at home army Mom and the other a single career woman- who love but envy each other’s lives. One day they wish to Santa that they could live the other person’s life and through his magic he makes them switch places, freaky friday style. Hilarity ensues. Think Hallmark movies with maybe a touch more edge. I’m going to have Santa as the narrator and he is a bit sarcastic and funny. What do you think? Would you read that?
RANTING AND RAVING
So, I was kind of sad today. I found out that they are only going to have current members on my old singles ward facebook page so I won’t find out about activities any more. My last tenuous tie cut…I only have one friend there anyway. Most of my other friends from the ward are on missions or going on missions (which is awesome!). Anyway, its silly thing because I hardly went to any activities but I guess it just said to me ‘that part of your life is over. Move on’. That made me cry.
I know life isn’t fair but it’s not fair. I shouldn’t be allowed to live my faith one way for 14 years and then bam its all pulled out from under me in a week. Do you know how shocking that is? I’ve always been more comfortable in the majority than minority and in the family ward I’m a definite minority.
I feel like I’ve tried hard but I haven’t made any friends in the family ward. Everyone is too busy and you don’t get a chance to meet anyone because there aren’t any activities, or hardly any. I miss FHE. I miss firesides and activities. I need to go to institute in Lehi for the midsingles but I haven’t had great luck with the midsingles functions. It’s so different every time you go that you can’t really get to know anyone.
Yes, I’m complaining but this is my blog and I can do that from time to time. It just made me sad that’s all. I’ll get over it.
A RING AND OTHER SHOPPING
On happy news I have all of my Christmas shopping done except for my roommate! Crazy right. I got some cute stuff. I kept stumbling on stuff I think they will really love and I didn’t spend a ton of money.
Also, I got a ring from my box of happies last month that I liked but the band was cheap so I had the local jeweler make me a new band. I just love it so much!
Also, if you haven’t checked out the Poler website do. They have outerwear, Nike shoes and tons of cool hats for winter. Would be great for Christmas gifts. Check out yours truly:
I got a new sign from the great etsy shop The Sign Post. Love them both. They were a great company to work with because I had originally spelled TS Eliot’s name with two Ts and they caught it and corrected it. I think they are pretty great.
Another great find is called The Protein Bakery. I saw them on the food network and they are treats made with protein that I actually like! They also contain mostly wheat free flours (not technically gluten free because the facilities process wheat but wheat free flours). I was so impressed and I normally hate that kind of thing. My gag reflex is super strong at protein additives but these are yummy
I also got to try these cookies from Cheryls bakery and they were delicious. They have a service on their website where you can send a cookie-gram. I think that is super cute and seriously one of the best baked goods I’ve tried.
I have also had a great time trying out more boxes in the last month. Check out some of my youtube videos for favorites:
Yes you read right. Brownies. Have I flown off the diabetes band wagon? No sir!
The last two days I have not felt well and been a bit depressed. Actually I don’t know if depressed is the right word- exhausted is more accurate. Exhausted in every sense of the word. I feel wrung out emotionally, spiritually and physically.
Today for some reason I feel a lot better. I don’t know if it is seeing my sister or having voice lessons or what but I just feel a little more energy than the last 2 days.
I am particularly happy about a new recipe I tried for BROWNIES!!! You won’t believe this recipe actually works. It has NO FLOUR and NO SUGAR!! How can that be? I was skeptical but it is delicious. The chips have a tiny bit of sugar but you can use chips with cane juice, agave or other sweeteners.
Chocolate Chip Brownies
1 (16) ounce jar salted almond butter, smooth roasted
1 ¼ cups agave nectar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
½ cup cacao powder
½ teaspoon celtic sea salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup dark chocolate chips 73% cacao
- In a large bowl, blend almond butter until smooth with a hand blender
- Blend in eggs, then blend in agave and vanilla
- Blend in cacao, salt and baking soda, then fold in chocolate chips
- Grease a 9 x 13 pyrex baking dish
- Pour batter into dish
- Bake at 325° for 35-40 minutes
I wish I could take credit for this recipe. It is from an amazing blog called Elena’s Pantry written by Elena Amsterdam. Ostensibly she is a gluten free author but her recipes also are low glycemic and use natural sweeteners. She’s even introduced me to new sweeteners/flours such as yacon powder and spelt flour.
These brownies are AMAZING!!!!!
I feel I have been blessed to not care much about food but after two bad days I must admit these brownies made me happy and smile. One thing about being a medical freak show is it makes you appreciate the little things. 🙂
Try out these brownies and other recipes from Elena’s Pantry and let me know what you think. I have been blown away. (Unfortunately these are not cheap but you can’t have everything!)
Yes, you read right- this post is about cookies. But, how you might ask, does a girl who is eating low GI and no sugar eat cookies? Oh, it’s an exciting day my internet friends, and I’m not dreaming! Its a reality! I’m eating cookies as I write this blog. Yum!
Up until now my success with agave/low gi baking has been mixed at best. In fact, cooking in general has been difficult. None of the cookbooks I’ve tried have been any good and the several options on amazon seem poorly reviewed (the library amazingly doesn’t seem to have any cookbooks on the subject?).
Frustrated, I decided to try some recipes online that are featured on blogs, and so far they have been much more successful (wouldn’t you think it is the reverse?). These cookies were my first baking recipe I got from a blog, and believe it or not they are made with whole wheat flour, peanut butter, agave, and few other ingredients.
The only sugar comes in the dark chocolate chips. (I also used all natural peanut butter with no added sugars). Don’t they look yummy? There is also no butter or oils! It almost seems too good to be true, but they are delicious! I’m so excited!
I’m already thinking about ways I could jazz up the recipe. Next time, I will make them smaller so they aren’t quite as heavy and adding oats would be good.
I was just telling my sister that it made me sad I might not have the experience of making goodies with my children. Now, if I ever have any, its nice to know there are cookies I can make and eat with them! It seems like a little thing but it actually means a lot. I’ve given up so much in the last few months and it is nice to know of one less thing I have to sacrifice to the low GI alter…Hurray!
No-Sugar Peanut Butter Chocolate-Chip Cookies:
– 1 cup natural style nut butter. I use unsalted peanut but you could use salted if you like better (you can also use almond)
– put 2 tablespoons of water in a 2/3 cup measure. Add agave syrup to fill the 2/3 measure (I prefer dark, but light works too)
– 1 generous tsp vanilla
– 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour (For wheat-free, sub barley flower, or oat. For gluten-free sub quinoa flour.)
– 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
– 1/2 tsp salt
– About 3/4 cup grain sweetened chocolate chips – or dark chocolate chips if you can’t find grain sweetened
Oven to 350 degrees, parchment paper on two cookie sheets (or butter them, or use nothing at all). Mix wet ingredients in mixer, add dry ingredients, beat until combined. Stir in chocolate chips. Make balls with heaping Tbsp of dough, then squish with a wet fork to get the traditional pattern. I use all the dough to make 12 cookies. I bake Exactly 10 minutes if I want them chewy. (These are easy to overcook due to their color – so watch closely, and take out when they are just barely browning on top. Maybe start with 8 mins and check the underside of one cookie, just to be safe. For barley, oat or quinoa, you might want to bake longer.)
So lately I’ve been very stressed out. I’ve been working long hours trying to find tenants for our rentals (which are found!) and my other responsibilities. The exercising has also been great but combined with the high work hours I feel wrung out- completely tired. I just can’t seem to figure out how to exercise without it completely draining me of all energy for the day. It can be very frustrating. I went to the doctor yesterday and got some medicine that should help my hormone levels be more balanced. I am very hopeful that this will help me to feel better. Its hard to explain but I feel like there is something off in my body and hopefully my doctor and I are down the road to fixing the problem. Have you ever felt that way about your body? What do you all do to keep your energy up? How do you know when to push yourself with exercise and when your body truly needs a break? What can I do to speed up my weight loss when I’m already dead to the world? I’m still trying to figure all this out!
Anyway, I’ve been overwhelmed lately and have a long time taken to declare the winner for the recipe contest. The three best I tried were as follows:
Take a medium sized bowl-full amount of winter veggies (wow that
sounds like it makes no sense…but it will, I promise haha), such as
brussel sprouts (my fave), yams, and potatoes UNCOOKED and chop the
potatoes until they’re about the size of the brussel sprouts.
Toss in enough olive oil to coat and one package of powdered onion soup mix
Put the entire mixture on a baking sheet in one layer
And then bake for 20ish minutes on maybe 375, take it out, flip
everyone over, and bake for another 15 or 20 minutes. Until the onion
pieces look like they’re caramelizing 🙂
Mushroom and cheese stuffed chicken
3 tsp ex virgin olive oil
2garlic cloves minced
1/2 lb shittake mushrooms finely chopped
3/4 tsp herbs de province
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2 oz reduced fat goat cheese softened ( I use fat free or reduced fat
mozzarella because the first time I made it I couldn’t find goat cheese
and the mozzarella worked great.)
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 shallot chopped( I do green onions)
3/4 c chicken broth
6 T oj
1 tsp cornstarch
2 tsp cold water
To make filling heat 2 tsp oil add garlic cook 30 sec add mushrooms herbs
salt pepper cook about 5-6 min. Transfer to a bowl add cheese. Stir cool.
Cut pocket in side of chicken. Divide filling and stuff inside each
chicken. Add remaining oil to pan salt and pepper. Cook 8 min ea side.
For sauce/ gravy
Add shallot to same pan and cook 30 sec. Add broth and oj. Bring to boil.
Reduce heat and simmer 3 min. Meanwhile dissolve cornstarch in cold water
in a small bowl. Stir cornstarch mixture into the skillet. Cook stirring
constantly until it bubbles and thickens about 1 min. Pour over chicken.
(The only thing I would cut out would be the orange juice. I also added an onion to the stuffing)
1 spice cake mix
1 30 ounce can pumpkin
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/2 c pecans or walnuts
1/2 c chocolate chips
Mix all together. Drop tablespoons on greased cookie sheets. Bake at 350 for 13 minutes.
(Since discovering these cookies it turns out that everyone else seems to have heard of them. I can’t believe that after dieting for over 20 years nobody thought to tell me about these amazing cookies. In the future dear friends tell me of such things!)
All these recipes are simple and delicious but the one that excited me the most is the cookie recipe. It was exactly the type of recipe I was hoping to get- a healthy version of something I crave. All of the sudden cookies are possible and this make me happy! So Amber wins the prize! Thanks to the submissions and please keep sending me your healthy recipes and perhaps I will do other contests.