World Peace Cookies

I’m rather dilettante about cooking lately – it really seems to be touch and go for me, as we’ve been fighting what seems to be a season of sickness. Just as soon as I start to feel well, my little guy gets sick again. Then he gets better, and my husband gets sick. Then I get sick. A never ending cycle that makes me look forward to spring with a desire so great that I’m willing to completely skip through until the end of April when I can fling my windows open wide, scrub, sweep, and scour my home with a vengeance never before displayed during a spring cleaning.

A bit dramatic, no?

Well…truth be told, I love winter. Just not this year, with the blindingly long cold spell we’ve had here in Wisconsin, the constant sickness, and honestly, a touch of cabin fever. To say that I want to skip the rest of winter and go straight to our mud season is a good indicator of the fact that we’re just DONE with winter in our house. Even my birthday passed without much fanfare – I made two cakes for my birthday celebrations with family, but they were the same cake. And they were good. Summery, coconutty, and good. If you want to check out the recipe I used, go here. The only change I made was that instead of the nuts and lemon zest, I added the same measure of coconut to the batter, and topped my cake with coconut. It was DIVINE. And sorry, no pictures. I really honestly meant to take one. But, with a cake with that kind of a nutrition count, it didn’t last long in our house…. 😉 But the summery taste of the coconut only exacerbated my cabin fever! UGH!

As far as the World Peace Cookies, I’ll have to come add a picture later. The first batch is baking right now, and I’m fairly confident they’ll turn out great. Or, at least what was left to bake…sable batter is my FAVORITE kind of batter to eat raw. No eggs to worry over! My only change was that I used regular ol’ table salt. I know Dorie…I really need fleur de sel. But I live in BFE, and barring ordering from the kind folks at King Arthur Flour (which would also involve PLANNING AHEAD), you just can’t find that stuff here. I’m lucky that my local grocer sells kosher salt. Half the time, if I ask for an exotic ingredient, I get a befuddled look and I just think to myself, “Yep…they think I’m insane again. Great.”

I PROMISE I won’t eat too many cookies tonight before I take a picture. I think World Peace Cookies, along with a nice glass of red wine and some snugglin’ with the hubby is in order. After all, the temperature is supposed to be -15….a girl has to stay warm somehow! 😉

Tuesdays with Dorie and why I didn’t make the Berry Cake this week…

My birthday is tomorrow (the 21st), so I feel that it is my right as the Birthday girl to make a cake I actually want to eat! 😉 Berries are WAAAAAY out of season here in Wisconsin, and I really do not want to use frozen berries. So I’ll make something else and offer up a photo if I remember to take one before I gobble everything up. 😉

I do need to let ya’ll know a few things about the last two recipes we’ve made here for Tuesdays with Dorie…

The pear tart was RIDICULOUSLY good. All that butter, well…it made the darn thing so divine it didn’t last more than 2 days here. I used canned cinnamon pears (I thought I grabbed the regular ones, but I wasn’t wearing my glasses at the time), and sliced almonds instead of blanched (because I live in a small town and the grocery store closes early). It was DELIGHTFUL! I can’t wait to make this with fresh berries this summer. My only complaint is that I hate my tart pan.

The cornbread, on the other hand, was not a hit with my husband. He’s a cornbread connisseur, if you will. He was horrified at the thought of “..adding all that craziness to the cornbread! What’s wrong with the regular recipe you use!?” Sorry honey…I HAD to try it. I liked them. I think they’d be tasty with a nice hot pot of chili. But instead, they turned into stuffing here – plumped up chicken breasts slathered with some barbeque sauce, topped with pepperjack cheese and bacon. Yum! Sorry Dorie, but my picky husband won out – back to King Arthur Flour’s recipe I go!

I finally got a new digital camera too. And if I could remember to take a picture before I eat everything, and also figure out the darn thing, I’ll be in business! 🙂

I’m such a slacker….

Many many apologies to those of you who come here from TWD and the other blogs I frequent looking for my Tuesdays with Dorie baking adventures, the recipe I used to make my pear bundt cake, and other ramblings from Andrea.

Kind of quiet here, huh? If you knew me in real life, you’d know something was up.

Shortly after our visit with friends a few weekends ago, I got a cold. That’s no fun, right? Well, I’m also still nursing my 15 month old son. So it REALLY was no fun, I couldn’t even take a Sudafed for my sinuses that were ready to explode. And then, to make things even MORE fun, my son got sick. While my husband was 7+ hours away, playing the mighty hunter in the Northwoods of Wisconsin during Opening Gun Season.

Yep. I was on my own. Sick, with a sick child, and no time. No sleep either – apparently, my son shares his mother’s love of having a stuffy nose. My once affable, charming, lovable little man turned into this creature that I can only begin to describe as being whiny enough, annoying enough, and pathetic enough that I seriously contemplated dropping him off at Grandma’s for the day. And never going back to get him. 😉 Gosh…I felt so bad for the poor little guy.

And to make things even more exciting? Since I wasn’t getting any sleep (taking care of myself is what my husband called it), I got even sicker.

How sick you ask?

I got a nice, whopping case of walking pnuemonia. I finally was able to get to urgent care, get some antibiotics, a round of prednisone that I think I will be taking until I’m 30 (I’m 3 years away from that yet!), and cough syrup with codiene in it. I can breathe a little easier, finally, and I can also sleep at night.

Being this sick, well, I wasn’t really keen on baking much of anything. I DID make the Arborio Rice pudding, to which my Japanese-Scottish husband looked right at me and said, “I never understood why white people INSIST on making rice into PUDDING! What is wrong with you all?” I just sat and smacked my lips, enjoying the fact that I didn’t have to SHARE! *does a happy jig* I’m going to try the chocolate version next – the vanilla version was out of this world. It actually took my Mom’s breath away…she loves rice pudding that much. DIVINE!

Either way, I’m back, I have 25 pounds of flour in my freezer downstairs waiting to be used! I have a paper due tomorrow night by midnight, and another due on Monday, plus an internship interview on Friday afternoon. Then we’re heading out of town for my Mother in Law’s retirement party for Friday night…busy weekend, but I’ll be back, baking, enjoying my boys, listening to Christmas music, and NOT hacking my lungs out.

Baking disasters and such

So this past week for Tuesdays with Dorie, I was supposed to make a Kugelhopf. My guess was, I was supposed to make it look like the pretty round cake in the cookbook. I’d love to tell you that it rose beautifully, tasted delightful, and had my husband who doesn’t quite understand why I like to cook and bake so much (um, we need to eat. The food does not make itself) rave about it and have multiple pieces. I’d LOVE to be able to say all that, but…

Yeah, not so much. Kugelhopf is possibly now the one recipe I NEVER EVER want to make again. I don’t know if my first problem was that I don’t have a Turk’s Turban pan, or what. It was just a horrid experience all around. And not to mention, I literally wasted near 5 pounds of flour in 3 separate attempts to get the booger to rise properly. I think the “slapping it down” part was what ruined this experience for me. Never, ever again. Even my grandpa, who was a baker for 50 years, was shocked I was attempting this.

So, I really did try to get a beautiful picture for this past Tuesday for Tuesdays with Dorie. But it just didn’t work.

Other than that, life is good. We’re having friends over today for soup, homemade bread, salad, and pear crisp/tart. Haven’t decided yet what I’m going to make for dessert. I’ll post a recipe and pics later for those that might be interested.

Rugelach, in still life

See the cinnamon? Mmm...

See the cinnamon? Mmm...

Tuesdays With Dorie

HI all –

I’ve missed the last two weeks; as a grad student, there are times that school gets a bit busy. Add to that my family commitments, and the fact that I babysit twins two days a week as well, and well…life gets hairy, to say the least.  I had every intention of making the chocolate cupcakes this week, but the husband got called away on business, and I didn’t have the time this week to bake as my 14 month old is into EVERYTHING.

I’ll be back in the game this week, and with a camera that has a battery!!

Coupon Fraud Alert!

Recently, I went to my local Supercenter Walmart to buy a few groceries that would’ve been cheap after price matching and coupons…

The cashier informed me that she couldn’t accept my internet printed coupons as they (the store) were not accepting any IPs anymore. Irritated, I told her to just put everything back then – I stated Walmart’s corporate policy, but she said that she didn’t have to accept them, and that I was wrong.

I called Walmart’s Bentonville office today to clarify after reading their policy at

The gentleman I spoke with reiterated their coupon policy (yes, they DO take IPs. This is NOT up to management discretion.), and also informed me of something rather interesting which makes me REALLY ANGRY.

Apparently, a “company” named VyraLmt or Vyralmkt is creating fraudulent internet printables. The gentleman I spoke with said that an easy way to verify if an IP is fraudulent or not is to check the address – if it is 1 Fawcett Dr, Del Rio, TX, 78840 – you’ve got yourself a fraud! Don’t use it! Please, do not use it.

He said that a good rule of thumb is the amount of the coupon – if it is for, example, $5 off ONE candybar that is normally $.50, obviously, it is a forgery. If a coupon amount is too good to be true, then it probably is. He also mentioned that there are plenty of legitimate printable coupons and coupons from newspaper inserts with this address listed as well – that we just need to be wary of the dollar amount off. Again, if it is too good to be true, it most likely is.

If you’re reading this, please help spread the word about this – those of us who depend on coupons to help purchase groceries for their family don’t want to suffer ramifications such as no more coupons allowed if others are going to be dishonest.Be HONEST in your coupon dealings.

*shakes head and tsks tsks at those individuals*

Lenox Almond Biscotti

So, this week’s recipe for Tuesdays With Dorie is Lenox Almond Biscotti.

Biscotti, you say? This Sicilian was game!

My first thought was, “Lenox? Is that some kind of a fancy pants New York flavoring? Hmm…maybe I should read the recipe.” So I did. I came to two conclusions: first, all they were are almond biscotti. No more, right? Nope. Wrong. Second conclusion: weird! They have CORNMEAL in them. No self-respecting Italian, Italian-American, or Sicilian-American would add cornmeal, right? I have my own recipes, and they work very well, thankyouverymuch Dorie.

But I made them anyway. This is the first time in two years I’ve gone to the store just to buy ingredients I didn’t have, as opposed to just substituting.

And it was WORTH it. So worth it. The cornmeal adds a fun crunch to the crunchy cookie. The almonds are delightful, and they’re not too sweet, which is good. Many “biscotti” I’ve had just, well, aren’t biscotti. They’re pathetically sweet impersonations of the classic cookie.

A few words of note: use REAL almond extract. Or any real extract, for that matter. It makes all the difference in these cookies. I’ve used imitation before, and it doesn’t do a cookie like this justice.

I’d show you pictures, but the battery on the camera died, and really, I didn’t feel like driving a half hour to the nearest Best Buy for a battery. I wanted to enjoy my cookies.

They’re found in Baking: From My Home to Yours, pages 141-143, if you’re interested. 🙂

Tuesdays With Dorie

So I joined a cooking blog entitled “Tuesdays With Dorie”. A rather punny name on the Mitch Albom book, but these ladies are hardcore. Hardcore bakers/chefs that is! I certainly feel at home discussing my troubles with yeasted dough that is just too slack, caramel that, well, doesn’t caramelize, and just cooking up recipes I might not think to try. This is the Caramel Peanut Topped Brownie Cake from pages 245 and 246 of the cookbook, Baking: From My Home to Yours, by Dorie Greenspan.
And that’s DH’s hand holding his slice of the cake, whilst taking a picture of it with the webcam. (I promise better pictures in the future, our digital camera is in desperate need of a battery.)
Caramelly goodness....

Caramelly goodness....

“Remember the ladies….”

In all of the political hubub, theological fighting, and blog-smackdowns that have taken place lately amongst the Christian realm and the patriocentrists…I have found a quote that by one of their beloved Colonial examples of womanhood, Abigail Adams. In a letter to her husband, she famously wrote, “…I long to hear that you have declared an independency – and by the way in the new Code of Laws which I suppose it will be necessary for you to make I desire you would remember the ladies, and be more generous and favorable to them than your ancestors. Do not put such unlimited power into the hands of the husbands. Remember that ALL MEN (emphasis mine) would be tyrants if they could. If particular care and attention is not paid to the ladies we are determined to foment a rebellion, and will not hold ourselves bound by any laws in which we have no voice or representation”.

That was found in Founding Mothers, by Cokie Roberts. I HIGHLY recommend this book…it is an interesting and an historical view of the good women who supported the Founding Fathers, and kept our country running whilst the men were off fighting wars and charming the French (*ahem, Mr. Franklin).