Sunday, December 20, 2009

Last Minute Christmas Cookies

I decided to make my Christmas baking as simple as possible this year. Aside from purchasing a chocolate bundt cake and tossing some festive Christmas sprinkles on it (which really looks quite pretty), I purchased a pre-made sugar cookie mix. I followed the package instructions to make cut out cookies (reduced the butter, added a tablespoon of flour) and baked until barely golden. Ok, actually, I burned the first batch to dark brown crisp, but whatever.

I even used a pre-made frosting and added some food coloring and sprinkles. Ya, I cheated, ok? Sue me. Christmas time is hectic and who has time to do everything from scratch?

Bada bing, bada boom, Christmas! Enjoy.

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Thursday, November 19, 2009

Cream Waffer Cookies

For this coming holiday season, I wanted to make cookies. But what kind? I have recipe after recipe for holiday cookies and they all look good. I asked some friends to make the decision for me by sending me their favorite holiday cookie recipes. Here is the first.

Cream Wafers (originally published in the Betty Crocker Cookbook)

This recipe was sent to me by Jennifer Smith-Righter of Wearable By Design.

Cream Wafers

1c soft butter
1/3 c whipping cream
2 c sifted flour

Cream butter, cream, flour. Chill dough.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Roll dough on floured surface to 1/4" thick. Cut with 1 1/2" round cookie cutter (I used a 2" snowflake shaped cutter). Transfer to wax paper covered with granulated sugar (any color). Coat both sides and set on an ungreased cookie sheet. The original recipe says to prick the unbaked cookies with a fork to let steam escape. (Truthfully, I skipped the fork on the second batch of cookies because I didn't like how they looked after they were baked.) Bake until set, but not browned. Transfer to cool.

Blend 1/4 c soft butter, 3/4 c confectioner's sugar, and 1 tsp vanilla. Tint with red or green food coloring if desired. Spread on one wafer and top with another wafer, creating a cookie sandwich. Enjoy!

These turned out delicious, if not completely picture perfect for me. I have been enjoying these with my coffee in the morning. They are light and buttery and have been a perfect kick off to my holiday cooking. Thanks Jenn!

Please take time to not only make these terrific cookies, but check out my feature on Jenn and her jewelry at my blog The Little Brown Bird, as well as Jenn's incredibly beautiful shop at Wearable By Design.
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Monday, June 22, 2009

Handmade Glass Wine Stoppers by Combustion Glassworks

These are so cool, I just had to share them. They are wine bottle stoppers from Combustion Glassworks out of Sonoma, California.

These wonderful winestoppers are hand made by artist Tara Chabot, a self-described "Louisiana transplant who brings a little bit of funk to the world of glass."

Along with Tara's wine stoppers, you can set the mood with her hand made glass votive holders.

Tara has many other wonderful glass items available like dishes and plates, jewelry, even the occasional sushi set! She offers shipping to the US and Canada and currently is offering 25% to 50% off select items. All of these are one of a kind, so you better hurry to get your hands on one!

Please check out her shop, Combustion Glassworks .

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Natalie MacLean's Drinks Matcher

Natalie MacLean's Drinks Matcher

Check out the newest addition to All Up in My Kitchen. A nifty lil' widget that takes the guess work out of pairing great wines with any food. You can find this in the side bar on the right. Try it out and see what pairings you come up with!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Weekend Cocktails: Pink Fizz

This is a no-brainer for the Memorial Day long weekend. And it couldn't be more simple to prepare. Take an icecream scoop of raspberry sorbet, slightly softened, and blop it into a glass. Then pour pink "champagne" over the top of it. Its fun to watch the sorbet foam up in the bubbles, and with the sorbet slightly softened, it melts into a creamy, dreamy froth. MMMMMMMM!
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Tuesday, May 5, 2009


A healthy breakfast today, of two boiled eggs with dried dill, ground sea salt, and a ground peppercorn blend, served along side a cup of sliced fresh strawberries.
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Thursday, February 5, 2009

Creamy Leek Soup with Poblano Essence

Every so often, I surprise my self with some concoction that I've just made that I just have to write it down. This one was so good (in fact, so good I ate it all before I took pictures) that I just had to share it. When I make it again, I will add pictures here. But for now, close your eyes and imagine a light, yet creamy broth, bright green leeks, carrots...the aroma wafting up from the steaming bowl...

Hey! **tap, tap, tap** Open your eyes now or you'll miss the recipe!

So anyway, in the dead of winter, here in northern Illinois, I created a soup that is light and still warms away the chill. A soup with a sweet, buttery taste, made without butter. A heartier version could include a little heavy cream and garnish with some crispy bacon, mmm. But since it's February, and most of us are trying to get rid of the holiday weight, the lighter version is perfect. I hope you try this one.

Creamy Leek Soup with Poblano Essence
(The poblano pepper is only used for flavor in this recipe. It will be removed before serving.)

1 large leek- cut into large chunks and rinsed
1/2 large carrot- thinly shaved into 3 inch strips
1/2 tsp roasted garlic- minced
1-15 ounce can of light coconut milk
1 tbsp sugar-free/salt-free dried herb blend (such as Mrs. Dash's Original Blend)
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1 tbsp sherry
1/2 large poblano pepper- cut length-wise and seeded
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
ground sea salt and ground peppercorn blend- to taste

Heat the oil in a medium sauce pan. Add the leeks and carrots and saute until tender but still bright in color. Add the roasted garlic, herb blend, ginger, sea salt, and peppercorn blend. Give a good stir to incorporate. Add the coconut milk and poblano pepper (do not chop the pepper!) and increase the heat slightly. Bring to a boil then quickly reduce the heat and let simmer, tasting often (no double-dipping!) until the desired "heat" from the pepper is achieved. Remove the pepper and discard. Serve immediately. Wipe mouth, rub tummy, pat yourself on the back!

mmm, good.