Category Archives: Baking

Pre-Thanksgiving Weekend

My weekend before Turkey Day was actually filled with many of the same things as Thanksgiving Weekend:  football, family, and a 20 pound turkey!

Saturday we met my mom, stepdad, aunt, uncle, and two cousins at the Harvard – Yale game (aka “The Game”).  My uncle graduated from Harvard 25 years ago, so it was a homecoming for him (he now lives in Michigan, so he doesn’t make it to Cambridge too often).  It was a pretty exciting game.  And Harvard Stadium is really neat looking.  It seats about 25,000+ people, and is entirely reinforced concrete (thus we brought blankets for our bums).

The Harvard Side and the Yale Side.

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My 12 year old cousin, Elizabeth, confessed that she didn’t know much about football.  But she knew that when the left/Crimson side cheered it was good, and when the right/Blue side cheered, it was bad.  SMART GIRL!

Speaking of football, check out my “Football Themed Weddings” blog entry on WedLoft.  Gee, I wonder where I got that idea!

Sunday we hosted “Practice Thanksgiving”, which is a tradition started at Purdue, continued through grad school at Virginia Tech, and now is in Boston.  Basically we invite our friends over for a potluck Thanksgiving.  We provide the house, the turkey, and some dessert, and everyone else provides the rest.  This year we had 24 people.  Yup, 24 people!  We had to borrow some chairs, a table, and use four paper plates.  I bought a 20 pound turkey.  Luckily, my friend had a $20 coupon for a “free turkey”, and (even luckier) the turkey was only $12.  Guess who has two thumbs and was paid $8 to buy a turkey?  THIS GIRL!!

Of course, when inviting people over, the house must be cleaned, and then set up for an enormous amount of guests:

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One table of 10, one table of six, and one table of eight!  Do the math!  April was very curious as to what was going on (and why her favorite chair was suddenly in the closet):

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We even (finally) put up one of our engagement pictures to show off display in the foyer

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Here are some group shots:

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And we can’t forget the food (I never got a picture of the turkey, just the carcass)

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Now I have to brag about the ice cream cake on the left.  I made it!  Our favorite restaurant (Not Your Average Joes) put some of their recipes online, including the dessert “Peanut Butter Thing”, which is made of ice cream with oreos, caramel, and peanut butter chocolate chip cookie dough.  You can find the recipe here.  The cake was a hit.  As you can see, I had to snap this picture before it was demolished.

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It was a great night (although the Colts lost to the Patriots, leaving some mixed emotion in the living room).  April was wiped!

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Do you have any special Thanksgiving Traditions?

Let there be cupcakes!

I realized that two of my foods today were cupcake-like (okay, one of them was actually a cupcake!)

Woke up at 6am for training.  I swear, my body knows that I HAVE to wake up early and sleep is elusive.  Oh well, I think I did okay.  And my stats for the training session were great:  49 minutes, 415 calories, 207 max HR, 150 avg HR.  The high heart rate is probably due in part to this move:

TURKISH GET UP!! (source)   I did it with only a 6 pound weight and 10X each side, HOLY COW IS IT HARD!

After the session, I fueled up with two mini-quiches (IN CUPCAKE FOILS!)

At work we were having a bake sale to benefit the breast cancer 3-D, so here was my dessert after lunch:

HOW DELICIOUS DOES IT LOOK!?!  It tasted even better!

Did you hear about the giant snow storm that was supposed to hit the east coast? The kids were getting out of school early.  Work went on “snow policy”.  My mom called at lunch to inform me that her flight to California tomorrow (to see my brother off to his deployment for seven months!), was CANCELED.  She was freaking out (obviously), and asked my advice about how to get the airline to listen to her.  I have had my share of canceled flights (too many tears at the airport).   I told her to go to the airport and make them listen to her reason for traveling.  Luckily, it got worked out.  Now she’s flying out of Boston Friday morning (meaning we have two houseguests tomorrow night).

Anyway, how much snow?  When I left work at 9pm (11 hours today, woohoo!), we had a dusting.  That was about it.  Glad they canceled all of those flights!?!  SO FRUSTRATING!

And on a total different note, guess what came from Amazon today?

YAY! SLOW COOKER RECIPES!  Can’t wait to try some of these out.

Well, the house is clean (our bathroom was gross), and finishing up Ugly Betty.

Maybe I should eat more foods in cupcake shapes . . . what is one of your favorite baked goods?

Cookie Swap!

For those who don’t know me, I’m the baker of the family.  My favorite item to bake is chocolate chip cookies.  I have two books dedicated solely to chocolate chip cookies.

When we decided to do a cookie swap, I went to my books.  I decided to make chocolate chip cookies with Rice Krispies (since we have a full box of them).

Recipe:

1 c. butter (as I always say, I use 1/2 c. butter, 1/2 c. crisco for fluffy cookies)

3/4 c. each granulated sugar and brown sugar.

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla

1 tsp each soda and salt

1 3/4 c. flour

2 c. Rice Krispies

1 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips (I used 2 cups, because WHY NOT!)

Bake at 350 for about 10 minutes.  Yields about 3 dozen cookies.

Here’s a picture of the my cookies all wrapped up for the swap!

There were 9 total people, and I ended up with a pretty nice haul

Gingerbread cookies, sugar, meringue cookies with chocolate chip, peanut butter chocolate chip, peanut butter, graham cracker/butterscotch/chocolate/peanut butter chip deliciousness, peanut butter brookies (brownie cookies), chocolate chocolate cookies

This was my afternoon snack:

I decided to do a pictorial story of my food for the day:

Breakfast (well pictures except for breakfast) was banana and pb spoon

Lunch:  West African Vegetable Soup and BBQ Pork Roast (FYI: don’t put BBQ sauce in Rubbermaid dish in the microwave for 2 minutes on high, it melts the plastic and burns a  hole in your container!  Luckily the food still tasted okay)

Since I’d had a few cookies today (maybe a few more than pictured), I went with a light supper of tuna+capers and broccoli+oil+parmesan+redpepper

Went for a nice workout of one of my PT routines (511 calories, 167 max, 140 avg, 55 minutes)  Then had FESTIVE vanilla pudding

Pretty healthy day (okay probably a few extra cookies) and do you like my new header?  I played with paint today!  =)

Holiday Goodies

Yup, it’s that time of year again.  So before I dive into the not-so-healthy treats, let’s review the good foods and activities of the day:

  • Training session, 54 minutes, 490 calories, 148 avg HR (woo!) 183 max HR (bigger woo!)
  • Sushi for supper.  I had also bought some veggie soup, but was stuffed after the sushi, so that’s all

Mmm, brown rice california rolls.  Yes, it’s from the grocery store, but hey, it’s still pretty tasty!

Also, I’ve seen nut butters on other blogs, so figured, what the hell.  I bought some organic cashew butter.

I had to try a bite (“cashew butter spoon”?).  Luckily I only tried a bit.  It’s very rich, and obviously not the overly sweet JIF peanut butter that I’m used too.  I plan to try it some time in an oatmeal.

ONTO THE IMPORTANT STUFF!! BAKING TREATS!!  I’m the cookie maker in the family.  So my contribution to Thanksgiving (since everything else is taken care of by my aunts/uncles/mother/grandmother/stepdad, I get to make cookies.  I’ve been experimenting with cookies every year.  This year, I am making the Neiman Marcus $250 Cookies and the Oreo Truffle Balls.

For the Neiman Marcus cookies, I make a half batch, do not include nuts, do not blend the oats (since I don’t have a food processor), and usually don’t include the grated chocolate bar (but I did this time).  Also, I forgot to check that I had oats, and didn’t, but I did have Quaker 1 minute quick oats, so I used them instead.  Still turned out great!  Here’s the picture of the cookie dough (after making about 3 dozen):

While I was making the cookies, I also was dipping the truffle balls in chocolate.  Here is my improvised double boiler:

I also forgot to get toothpicks for dipping so I used my “pickers” from my seafood tool kit!  Finally, the finished products!  (Snowflake sprinkles!)

Also, I had extra melted chocolate, so I made stripes on the cookies!

By the way, the family secret to fluffy chocolate chip cookies is: CRISCO!  We use half butter and half Crisco for the butter in the recipe.  Makes nice fluffy cookie!

I hope the family enjoys my treats!

We’re leaving for the beach at 10am tomorrow morning (that way we will hit NYC around 2pm not 4pm).  Maybe we could make it to Bethany around dinner time!

I love Thanksgiving!  I plan on bringing the laptop, so I can update a bit.  Have a great T-Day!

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