Thursday, December 18, 2014

Listing a List of Lists #9

Food I'm Loving:

Bfast stuff: I'm trying to eat healthier and while I'm not sure I could choke a salad down at 7a, if I ever did I hope it would look a little something like this.  If I'm being real though, I'd much rather eat nachos for bfast in the form of this recipe.  More likely though, I would cook something like this.

Healthy(-ish?) twice baked potatoes - yum.

Crinkle cookies - def. gotta try.

Whole roasted cauliflower w/ beer cheese sauce, very intriguing. 

Never met a fry I didn't like - I could be friends w/ these apple fries.

I bet even my carnivore would find this caesar salad pretty awesome.

Made these cookies for a bake sale at Kuen's school holiday concert - they're so festive and happily, they vanished in no time.  Love the thought of this interesting flavor combo: apricot/butterscotch?  

Butter cake bites?  Wow.

Baked falafel burgers - I love falafel!  

Making this cheesy broccoli rice for dinner this week.  What's not to love?

Honey candied anything would be awesome, but I think I want to try with almonds.

BEFORE: Butter dots make me happy. 

After: It got an apricot jam shellacking after I took this pic.
I've made this apple tart so many times and I still love it.  Auntie Ina is the best.  You can very easily use store bought (gasp!) puff pastry for the crust instead of making from scratch, both ways are great.

Interesting to Me:

How cute?!  Free cookie swap templates.

How to make baking powder out of baking soda - who knew??

This dog makes me want to fly KLM just so I can leave something behind on the airplane.

Kuen's holiday concert was this past weekend and she got to wear what she calls her 'wedding dress' - a dress she wore at her uncle's wedding last year.  I can't believe it still fits but I'm glad she got another wear out of it because it's such a pretty little thing.  How is my boo almost 3?

I'm reading this book by Arianna Huffington and I love it.  So so zen.

For all you SATC fans, this had me totally dying.

Also, speaking of Auntie Ina: this Buzzfeed about the Barefoot Contessa was killing it.

Gabe was sick w/ the flu last week which really sucked.  This video about men getting sick is for real, though.

Awkward moments only Asians will understand.  Truth.  "Where are you really from?"

Just for Fun:

Amazingly, I celebrated my 500th Barre3 class last week!  This was a really big personal milestone that got me thinking about several things.  First, everyone (especially with kids) knows the precious nature of time.  We are always short on it and it's constantly getting away from us.  I'm pulled in a million different directions and if OCD wasn't naturally occurring in my DNA, it is now.  As if the deluge of never-ending laundry, playtime, reading, cooking, vacuuming, bday parties, bake sales, etc., weren't enough, I have to somehow squeeze in time for myself so I don't turn into an absolute crazy person which, gratefully, I've been able to do.

If these last several years have taught me anything, it's that life is wonderful, fragile and needs to be lived..proactively.  I try to make time for what I think is important and leave the rest.  I have a little person that's looking up to me everyday so - whether I want the spotlight or not, I'm in it - and leading by example is a must.  Taking care of myself hopefully shows Kuen that she needs to take care of herself too.

It's been a struggle to quiet all the criticism in my own head and just accept that I'm a flawed person doing the best I can - just like everyone else.  I have to constantly compete with all the other responsibilities to get a well deserved chunk of time to myself.  

It helps greatly that I have someone as supportive as I do to share in the responsibility.  Gabe is on morning duty with Kuen.  I'm talking: wake-up, cook breakfast, brush teeth (NOT easy with a toddler), get dresses (also NOT easy with a toddler), 2 crazy dogs, drive on freaking I-405 south during A.M. rush hour with said toddler, drop off at school.  And that's all before he goes to work.  Understanding that many many people do this daily (props to all those single parents), I don't take for granted that I get to leave (albeit at 5:40a) to go to the gym then straight to work so I can get out early to beat traffic and get home to cook dinner.  That's our trade - I get to go to the gym early, he gets out of cooking..ever.  He graciously takes care of Kuen.  He's great at it - the man is patient and I couldn't ask for a better father to my child, I have so much gratitude.  He allows me an hour to myself in the morning.  I couldn't have reached that 500 w/o him.  Thanks so much, hon.  xoxo  

Daddy/Daughter time.

All the single ladies - choose wisely.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Raspberry Almond Thumbprint Cookies

For my favorite cousin, Cindy!

I don't know about you but I am heavy into holiday baking season.  Yes, it's only the 7th of December but my sheet pans have gotten a serious workout these last few weeks.  I've also started a new extreme sport: baking w/ a toddler.  Apparently, I have serious thrill seeking issues.

Baking w/ an almost three year old (how did that even happen?!) is like baking w/ say, the Tasmanian Devil.  Did anyone else have those really obnoxious t-shirts growing up?


Moving along.  These cookies take a bit of preparation and some delayed gratification is involved, which, let's face it - is not necessarily a toddler's strong suit.  Either way, the payoff for these amazing cookies is totally worth it.  Give yourself a few hours (at least) before you need these, they require some time to chill out in the fridge before baking.

We're headed down to Florida in February and I cannot wait to get in the kitchen with these girls and bake some more of these awesome cookies.

No, I don't actually have a picture of the cookies.
That would make entirely too much sense and take entirely too much foresight.

What are you baking for the holidays?

Raspberry Almond Thumbprint Cookies

Adapted from this recipe (I don't think they need the glaze and I like my technique better so you're not killing yourself working w/ hard, cold dough which is more difficult to form)

makes about 30 cookies

1 c. unsalted butter, softened (2 sticks)
1/2 c. granulated sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract (or vanilla bean paste)
1/2 tsp. almond extract
1/2 tsp. salt
2 c. plus 2 tbsp. AP flour (sifted)
1/2 c. raspberry jam

Begin by creaming the butter and sugar until light a fluffy.  Add in extracts and salt, blend until combined.  Add in flour in 1/2 cup additions until combined but be careful not to over-mix or else you end up with tough dough.

Using a 1 oz. cookie scoop (or a rounded tablespoon), scoop out portions of dough and roll in to balls, place on a cookie sheet lined with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper.  Press thumb lightly to flatten the balls and create an indentation in the dough for the jam later.  There will be cracking which doesn't bother me but if you'd rather have perfectly uniform cookies, the dough can easily be smoothed back.  I like the wrinkles/cracks - gives them character :) This is the best part about having kids help - it's hilarious and adorable to see little tiny thumb prints (sometimes 2 or 3) in these cookies.

Chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours and up to overnight.

When the dough is completely chilled and you're ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Take the dough out and make sure each cookie has about 2" of clearance from other cookies, either baking in a few batches or on separate baking sheets.  These will spread slightly but less so after chilling.  A silicone mat (as opposed to parchment paper) will also help keep these from spreading too much.

You can spoon 1/2 teaspoonfuls into each imprint.  I like using a piping bag or just a plastic sandwich bag to keep them clean.  Put the jam in the bag, snip a small corner off and pipe the jam into each indentation.  Bake for 12-15 minutes - make sure your oven temperature is right, you don't want these to brown.

Keeps in an airtight container in the fridge for a week but I bet anything they won't last that long.