Sunday, December 09, 2007

SUGAR, a package, and some regular food

Even though I worked nine hours yesterday at the store, I've been trying to stay on top of my holiday baking prep this weekend. Biscotti Friday night, brittle on Saturday, and two more doughs for the freezer today. Photos:

The second batch of brittle:
Yes . . . the second batch. Why? Because I ruined the first batch, and no, I did not burn it. I followed the recipe instructions, instead of trusting my gut and using my candy thermometer. I learned a valuable lesson -- go with my gut! The first batch was cloudy, greyish, and not really crispy at all. Argh. Anyhow, after throwing out that batch, I pulled out the candy thermometer and started again -- and the second batch turned out wonderfully, as you can see. The catch? I didn't have enough sunflower seeds for the second batch, so I used peanuts. Alas. The curry powder still makes for a unique treat, though!

Sweet and Salty Peanut Chocolate Chunk Cookies:
I love doing this with drop cookies -- scooping them all out onto parchment, freezing the entire batch in little dough balls, and then transferring them to a ziploc once nice and frozen. They take only a couple of minutes to thaw once placed on cookie sheets, and I can choose how many cookies to bake at a time! This time I'll bake off the whole batch, (next weekend,) but in the past, it's been nice to be able to bake just a couple of cookies at a time! (This was especially handy when I used to have a toaster oven -- freshly baked cookies in the middle of the summer! Yum.)

What's that?
Could that be Grandma's Christmas Cookie dough, off to the freezer? Yep. I decided to make half a batch of cut-out cookies this year after all, partially because the brittle didn't yield as much as I was expecting, and partially because, well, I just like these cookies. I figured if I did a half batch all of one "shape," (I'm thinking stars,) frosting and sprinkling will go that much more quickly.

I got a package in the mail yesterday:
My friend Anna and her husband sent me oranges and grapefruit! The oranges are delicious, and I haven't had a chance to get into a grapefruit yet. My immune system will be extra-strong, thanks to all of the vitamin C I'm going to get! Thanks, Anna and Langdon!!

And, of course, packages are fun, even if you're a cat.
(I suppose, technically, Oliver is perishable and should be protected from freezing, too!)

I have been making regular food lately, too.

Baked beans:
This is a simple slow cooker recipe that I haven't tweaked to my liking just yet, but it was quite good the first time 'round. Thanks for the recipe, Courtney!

Agean Eggplant and Lentils:
Awhile back, Vegetarian Times ran an article featuring recipes easily made in a Dutch oven. I loved the concept -- chuck a bunch of stuff in a pot, put the lid on, stick it in the oven, and forget about it for a while. Magically, dinner is ready! This was an excellent recipe, and my first try using capers. (I haven't cared much for them in the past.) I scooped this into a wholegrain pita for lunch yesterday. Tasty delicious!

Cumin-Curried Hummus:
I think Dan could eat his weight in hummus if he tried. A new recipe to try this week!

Have a tasty (and healthy) week -- I'll be busy finishing holiday baking, and will post next weekend, showcasing the results!


LizNoVeggieGirl said...

so glad to read that your second batch of brittle turned out deliciously! and those Sweet & Salty Peanut Chocolate Chunk Cookies look terrific as well!

how nice of your friend to send you those grapefruits and oranges!! yum!! enjoy 'em!!

mmm, the hummus, eggplant & lentils dish, and baked beans look scrumptious - yay for "regular food" haha.

Oliver is too adorable :0)

bazu said...

Everything looks wonderful! How cool to get a gift of citrus in the mail... us northerners are seriously lacking in that department.

I especially love seeing your holiday baking progress, I'm getting started on that later this week.

Veggie said...

My cats love boxes, especially NEW ones. When I forget to take my canvas bags to the grocery store I come home with boxes for my cats to play in, for a few days anyway then I recycle them.

Cute pic!