Phew, 2015 was quite the year! 2015 started with fireworks in Cairns, Australia and ended in Saint Paul, Minnesota. I quit my job, started a new job, bought my first car, and moved (again). I started this blog, went backpacking in Kauai, made the decision to go vegan, and competed in my first bike race (ever). I got to see the Redwoods, the Great Barrier Reef, and the St. Louis Arch all in the same year. I’m thankful for my health, my friends and family, and having a career that lets be do all these things.
This is my first post back in a while. With all the traveling and family time over the holidays, it was nice to take a break and relax. I spent my Christmas in Green Bay and will be heading back next weekend for the Packers//Vikings game so there’s been a decent amount of time in the car over the last few weeks (for me, that is). I didn’t take a lot of food photos, but did try some new recipes with my family. My grandma made stuffed portobello mushrooms for Christmas Eve dinner which I am definitely gonna have to recreate at home. I also drove my little sister back to the cities so that she can spend the week with her cousins. We shamelessly rocked out to Justin Biebs and the new Adele album in the car for most of the 4 1/2 hours. Like I said, shamelessly.
Let’s face it, the holidays are hard. There are Christmas potlucks with an abundance of food, cookie tins galore, and treats for every sweet tooth. On top of all that temptation, we’re busy. We’re busy wrapping presents, addressing holiday cards, putting up decorations, and traveling to see family and friends. To help aid you in your holiday travels, I’ve put together a list of some of my favorite on-the-go snacks to bring along in the car, plane, train, etc. so that you can avoid eating airline pretzels and peanuts for lunch. So – here’s a few of my favorite travel snacks and where you can find them.
I have been dreaming about these cookies all week. While I packed a lot of cookies up in holiday tins, I left a veeeeeery small amount for myself to munch on. I would say I did a pretty good job with saving my waistline, until I took them out of the container to shoot photos and starting eating them for breakfast, oops. On that note, you can totally eat cookies for breakfast during the holidays. I would have to say that although I typically do not really like chocolate all that much, these cookies were definitely my favorite from the Christmas cookie extravaganza that happened last weekend. The chocolate chunks bring an extra texture and even more chocolate to the table when you sink your teeth into these bad boys.
Chocolate + chocolate chunks + layer of powdered sugar = undeniable deliciousness.
If you’re still wondering what to have for Christmas morning, then you need to keep reading. These rolls are soft, not too sweet, and a classic holiday flavor that’s not peppermint or gingerbread. Yes, I still love peppermint and gingerbread but that sounds pretty nasty for a sweet roll, am I right? Plus, you can make these all year round and not have to explain to people why you are baking gingerbread in July. I love, love, love sweet rolls but can’t stand to have a whole pan in my house. With just me. Because then I eat them, and nobody needs a whole pan of sweet rolls no matter how good they are. So I’ve been playing around with what to make for Christmas morning and finally decided on egg nog french toast bake. BUT, I decided to whip these bad boys up for a 2 year old’s birthday party which I am attending tomorrow afternoon. No, these rolls are not for the 2 year old, they are for everybody else.
I have always had a really hard time with dough. I tried many times in college, and failed miserably each time. After a while, I decided that sleeping was better than wasting my time and flour, so I stuck to things that didn’t have to rise. Last Mother’s Day however, I promised my boyfriend’s family sticky pecan rolls because those are his mom’s favorite and the pressure was on. I have this way of over promising and sometimes under delivering when I try new recipes for the first time. I like to look at a few, tweak here and there to my pleasing, and then pray that they work out. THANKFULLY, these ones turned out pretty good and I thought, “Hey, maybe this dough thing’s not too bad”.
Christmas is around the corner, and it’s raining here in Minnesota. I guess I shouldn’t be complaining that I can ride my road bike outside in December but what about this whole winter wonderland thing? I want snow, and hot chocolate, and Christmas lights with mittens. I haven’t even been wearing mittens, people!
Anyways, Christmas Cookie Extravaganza was a success! 5 cups of butter, 4 cups of powdered sugar, 2 chocolate bars, and 6 hours later, I finally had enough cookies to send to my friends. Hope it was worth it people, because the shipping cost me $160. Good thing I didn’t buy you guys REAL gifts. I hope the rest of you enjoyed my holiday cookie guide and it helped you to make a stupid amount of cookies in one afternoon, too!
Christmas is riiiiight around the corner, and while this maple peanut butter recipe has nothing to do with Christmas, I’m sharing it anyways. Why? Because everyone loves peanut butter and you still have to eat some normal things in a pool of holiday potlucks, parties, drinks, and all the sweets you could ever hope to graze on in one room. I work at a food company, so you can only imagine what our dessert table looks like. I’ll revisit the peanut butter topic later.
Anyways, I’m also sharing my holiday cookie guide. You’re probably wondering what that means. If you’re anything like me, that means you have one weekend to do all of your holiday baking. I spent most of yesterday decorating sugar cookie cut outs so that leaves me with one day to bake all my cookies, try to get a yoga class in, pick up my prescription from the pharmacy, and do laundry. Challenge accepted.
Okay, so I will confess that these are not CHRISTMAS themed cookies but they are certainly the same KIND of cookie that you’ll want to make this holiday season. The reason I don’t have any photos just yet is because I’m planning on having a little cookie decorating shin dig but wanted to make sure you guys had this recipe in time to have your own little cookie party before the holidays.
As my holiday obsession continues, I’ve moved to all things ginger and peppermint. Not much going on around here other than the sniffles and these ginger cookies. Of course, I managed to get sick right before my vacation to New Orleans. Just my luck, huh? We are going to New Orleans for Dan’s dad’s birthday this weekend and I managed to get a head cold on Monday. But enough complaining, how about these cookies!
It’s squash season people, and while many of us associate this with our sturdiest kitchen knife jammed into the butternut on our counter like sword in the stone, you gotta love a soft roasted acorn with coconut oil and brown sugar that melts in your mouth. I scored a nice deal on squash at the farmer’s market and got a little carried away so I did my best to stuff it into everything, including this spicy soy-rizo and acorn squash chili. I whipped up a batch of this chili last week and froze it before the Thanksgiving holiday and super glad I did. I got home last night after traveling and spending the last few days with my parents and had zeroooo motivation to cook. Thanks to microwaves, I had dinner in all of 5 minutes. If you are starting from scratch, you can make this hearty chili in only 45 minutes.