she cooks, he eats: First Cookie Swap Party

she cooks, he eats first cookie swap party

UPDATE: Voting ends Sunday, January 1, 2012.  

First and foremost, I want to give a great BIG hug and thank you to Claudia, Erin, Trish, Latoya, Suzanne and Leah for joining in on my very first cookie swap party!!! It wouldn’t of been possible without you beautiful girls!! THANK YOU!

I’m so happy that I was able to put together this cookie swap party. It was so wonderful learning and being able to read the stories behind the cookies. I hope you guys enjoy reading this post as much as I enjoyed doing this cookie swap party! And be sure to keep scrolling down because there’s a poll at the end that needs your votes!

Kat’s Shortbread Cookies:

These are the cookies that I chose to bake for my cookie swap party! Growing up, my family never had any holiday traditions since my mom didn’t really know how to bake (but she loves hoarding baking equipment!) and no one in my family had an undying love for sweets like I did. My more recent holiday traditions (hello Festivus tree!), are made with my boyfriend. My boyfriend is pretty unadventurous when it comes to trying new cookies, he’s a sugar and chocolate chip kinda guy, so when he mentioned that he also liked shortbread cookies, I had to make!

Here’s what my boyfriend had to say about these shortbread cookies, “shortbread cookies satisfy any sweets craving that one may have. The cookies are soft, cakey, and icing topped…a definite guilty pleasure like devil’s food cake. You know it’s bad, but you got to have it.” Well said because these cookies are just butter and sugar! 

classic shortbread, frosted shortbread, and blackberry thumbprint shortbread cookies

BAKER’S NOTE: When making the dough, you’ll realize that it’s very fine and crumbly. Don’t worry, just use your hands to help form the dough completely. The warmth from your hands melts the butter, making the dough easier to form. This is a basic shortbread recipe, so feel free to add whatever kind of jam and frosting you like! Makes approximately 2 dozen cookies.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2+ cup powdered sugar
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • blackberry preserves, vanilla frosting, sprinkles (optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350º.
  2. In a large bowl, with an electric hand mixer, mix the butter and sugar until just combined. Add in the the vanilla extract.
  3. Gradually add the flour a little bit at a time. Using the electric hand mixer, mix until the dough starts to form. It will look very crumbly so use hands to combine the dough.
  4. For jam thumbprint cookies, roll the dough into a ball and push your thumb into the center. Fill a spoonful of jam into the center.
  5. For classic shortbread cookies, roll the dough into a ball and flatten with the bottom of a glass cup.
  6. Bake the cookies for about 20 minutes and the edges and bottom are slightly golden. Transfer to a wire rack and cool.
  7. For frosted shortbread cookies, let the cookies cool completely. Then frost with the frosting using a butter knife, and top with sprinkles!

Claudia’s Molasses & Spice Cookies (for recipe and step-to-step guide, check it out on her blog here):

Claudia is one of my favorite makeup and beauty gurus on the web! If you haven’t already, check out her blog iliketotalkalot. I was extremely thrilled when she told me she was going to partake in my first cookie swap party!

Here’s what Claudia has to say about her delicious chewy cookies, “I decided on a sugar cookie with frosting and shape them all like makeup until I realized….whoops. This is for the holidays, so think Santa, think snow, ornaments…whatever.  I finally decided on the easiest and prettiest ones I found, Molasses and Spice Cookies.  You may have seen them called molasses cookies, ginger cookies–I’m not 100% sure this is the same as gingerbread but they are goooOOOOD!” Thank you Claudia! ps. I’m looking forward to those fun makeup-shaped cookies next time! :)

molasses & chewy cookies

BAKER’S NOTE: The cookies need to be chilled for at least 3 hours or overnight. Mixing these cookies can be a bit tricky, so use hands to knead the dough until there are no more dry spots. Keeping them in an airtight container will keep them chewy and crispy for up to 3 days or until they’ve all disappeared! Serving size: approximately 30 cookies.

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup shortening
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • red and green colored sugar

Directions:

  1. Melt the shortening in a pan on the stove, and cool.
  2. Add sugar, egg, and molasses, beat well.
  3. In a separate bowl, stir dry ingredients together and add to the pan. Mix well and chill at least 3 hours or overnight.
  4. Form the dough into walnut-sized balls and then roll them in colored sugar.
  5. Place on a greased cookie sheet about two inches apart.
  6. Bake at 375° F (190°C) for about 8-10 minutes.
  7. Store in an airtight container to keep from getting overly crisp.

Erin’s Whole Wheat Chocolate Mint Christmas Cookies:

What I love about these cookies is that you can actually see specks of red and green, making them very cute and festive but not too over the top! 

Here’s what Erin has to say about her homemade holiday cookies, “What I really love about these cookies is their versatility! You can make these with regular chocolate chips or candies like M&M’s…my husband’s favorite are white chocolate! I like to use white chocolate mint for Christmas time for something extra special! And hey, they’re whole wheat…guilt free and delicious!” I couldn’t agree more with Erin! 

whole wheat chocolate mint christmas cookies

Continue reading

Bacon Wrapped Pork Loin

kat:

Are you indecisive about what to make that massive holiday feast you’re planning? Or are you just bored and tired of the same old turkey and ham combo? Check out my good friend Barb’s amazing bacon wrapped pork tenderloin recipe for a delicious alternative!!! :)

Originally posted on Life in the Foothills:

My dear friend Kat had a photo on her blog of a bacon wrapped pork loin. And my friend Conor did a wonderful salmon dinner with potatoes and spinach. I decided to do the bacon wrapped pork loin as I could not get a good piece of salmon, but I adapted Conor’s potatoes. Please take a look at both of their blogs as they both have lots of good info! Both links are to the right: Kat is She Cooks, and Conor is One Man’s Meat…

Ingredients
2 pork loins
Roasted garlic
Dijon mustard
Rosemary
Apple Smoked Bacon
Olive oil, extra virgin
Toothpicks
Russet Potatoes

First, start with the garlic. Take a head, slice the top off

Garlic before baking

and roast in the oven for about an hour at 350. Take out the pork loin and let it warm up to room temperature. Remove garlic…

View original 325 more words

last Christmas I gave you my heart, but the very day you gave it away. this year to save me from tears, i’ll give it to someone special.

photo tumblr.com

Can you believe that there’s only two full weeks left till the end of the year?! Time has just gone by a little too fast this year. But I made so many wonderful memories and moments along the year that I’m going to cherish for a lifetime.

Here are some of my favorite moments from the week…

Favorite night:

sushi for date night! oh yum!! the crispy tuna is my fave :)

Favorite find:

hot pink KitchenAid spotted at Williams-Sonoma!

Favorite wings (recipe here):

baked parmesan garlic chicken wings

Continue reading

she cooks, he eats holiday gift guide: white elephant

One of my favorite types of holiday parties to throw is a White Elephant party. This type of party is extremely funbecause it’s our modern day version of a fun gag gift exchange.

A white elephant party starts off like this…

  • Each participant brings one wrapped gift (set a moderate price range of $10-$15).
  • Next, each person draws a number from a bowl. The number that you get dictates the order in which you pick out your gift.
  • Whoever picked number one goes first. He/she gets to pick any present from the pile and unwraps it.
  • Then the number two person has the option to either open a wrapped gift or “steal” a previously opened gift (in this case, number one’s gift). If a person has their gift stolen, then he/she has the option to choose a wrapped gift or steal an unwrapped gift. When a wrapped gift is opened, the turn ends.
  • When everyone has gone, the participant that drew the first number, has the option to go again and choose from all the opened gifts (ie. steal). When all gifts have been unwrapped, the game ends.
  • You also have the choice to swap gifts with another player!

Sounds like a fun party game, right? The best part about a white elephant party is that you never know what kind of silly gift you’re going to end up with!

Here are some great gag gifts for your next white elephant party…

Emergency Clown Nose ($5, purchase here):

emergency clown nose || i can only imagine who'll end up this gift? class clown anyone? || photo uncommongoods.com

Like & Dislike Stamps ($16, purchase here):

like & dislike stamps || finally a dislike button! || photo fredflare.com

The Hungover Cookbook ($11, purchase here):

the hungover cookbook || perfect lol! || photo fredflare.com

Continue reading