C is for COOKIE

I am at the midpoint of my holiday cookie baking.  I have a lot of fun each year making sugar cookies that I decorate with royal icing. In past years I have made snowmen, reindeer, and Jack Skellington cookies to name a few.

I am always on the lookout for new cutters to add to my collection. I take a few things into consideration when buying new cutters that you may find helpful. I usually ask myself the following questions:

1. What is the cutter made from –  plastic or metal (and what kind of metal)? 

Plastic cutters keep their shape well, but may crack or chip. Some plastic cutters can stain if the cookie dough contains food coloring. Check plastic cutters to make sure they are BPA free and dish washer safe for your health and convenience.

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Shop #SmallBizSat for the Food Lover in Your Life

Happy “Black Friday”!

Don’t forget – tomorrow is “Small Business Saturday“!

SBS

I always love to shop “small”. I find that small businesses are often local “Rock Star Brands“.  Whenever I travel, I always try to visit the “Mom and Pop” shops in order to get a better feel of the city or town. When I am home, I find it more interesting, more authentic somehow, to try to shop and eat local.

I have compiled this short list of small(er) businesses to check out this #SmallBizSat if you are a food lover or if you have a “foodie” on your holiday shopping list.  There are many wonderful shops but these places have left an impression on me this year (or in past years).

Several shops have websites, but if you are able, try to visit the shops.  I think you will love the special attention and customer service you receive.  Continue reading

Apple Pie – My Oh My!

I love pie and this is a wonderful time of year for apple pie, as the fruit is abundant and in season.

This recipe includes just a few ingredients and doesn’t take too long to put together. Prep time is about 20 minutes or less. The pie will bake for 50 – 60 minutes depending on your oven (convection ovens will bake more quickly).

I confess upfront, however, that I am not much of a pie pastry maker. I can make my own pie shells and tops, but I often cheat and use store-bought. I have tried many brands and types and I really like the combination I describe below. Since I lack the skills of a proper French pastry chef, I think this combination tastes about the same as my homemade version.

(A note on brands, I am not paid or given perks to use, feature or write about any products shown.)

I encourage you to find what works for you!  Use what you like or have on hand or find at your local market!! If your grandma or aunt has an awesome pastry recipe, try it – use it and pass it along!   Continue reading

CRAN-tastic

I love all things CRANBERRY.

There are so many ready to serve / ready to eat cranberry treats at all the markets at this time of year- it is November after all. There are even MORE great things to do with cranberries in my own kitchen.

A few nights ago I was curled up with my newest issue of The Food Network Magazine (November 2011 Issue) and flipped through to Michael Chiarello’s recipe for “Cranberry Vodka Tonics”.  I have wanted to try making my own spirit infusions all summer so I jumped at the chance to get the one week infusion process started on Saturday. Continue reading