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Saturday, December 14, 2019

Cinnamon-Chai Butter Cookies

 Disclosure: I received spices to sample from Book Blends.  All opinions are my own.




Today’s post has a dual purpose.  Fantastic cookies and a great gift idea!

Let’s talk spices first.

Book Blends (and Song and TV Blends) are unique spice blends inspired by popular books, songs, and TV series!  This was right up this librarian’s alley, especially since I’ve read many (and know of the rest) of the books referenced in these spices!

I also loved the TV Blends (though I seen fewer shows and mostly just heard of them) and I adored the oldie song choices – all of which I love!



I was able to choose a couple spices to sample, but I absolutely could not narrow it down, so I chose my samplers and ordered a 12-pack to give as gifts so I could have all of my favorites (well, have them in my house at least, I won’t sample the gifts! Haha!)

For today’s recipe, I decided to combine Of Spice and Men (cinnamon) and Chai a Little Tenderness (chai blend) and breathe a little new life into  a Christmas favorite: butter cookies!

I was first introduced to butter cookies the first time I visited Hub’s family over Christmas.  His grandma was making butter cookies and they were completely new to me!  I decided to try my hand at them the next year, with the addition of rosemary and sea salt (and they were sooo good!!) 

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Lebkuchenherzen (German Cookies)



Woah, did time ever get away from me!  That’s December for you, isn’t it?

You guys – I have so many fantastic recipes to share with you!  I started off with good intentions!  Then there was crazy weather Thanksgiving weekend, so we hunkered down and decorated for Christmas.

Then we were just getting back in the swing of things and Hubs came down with not-the-flu.  Not-the-flu is identical to influenza (high fever, body aches, sleeping all day, etc) but with a negative flu test.  Poor guy, he was super sick (feeling much better now, thankfully), but I was thrown into a super busy week, being both parents, cooking, cleaning, carting the kids everywhere, and obsessively bleaching the house to keep anyone else from getting the crud (and we’re all blessedly healthy, thank you Jesus!)  Needless to say, I was exhausted at the end of each day and had no brain power left for blogging.

So here we are at this month’s installment of the Eat the World recipe challenge hosted by Evelyn at CuturEatz.  Usually, a country is assigned each month and we choose a recipe from that country to stretch our culinary skills.  But this time, (like Halloween once before), it was flipped and participants were tasked with creating a Christmas recipe from their country of choice.

I almost went with Norwegian Lefse, since I just taught myself how to make that (look for a recipe sometime in the future), but decided I wanted to make something that represented my family history instead.

I’ve highlighted Ukraine a couple of times on the blog, because though I am about 75% German ancestry, the baking grandma is “German from Russia” (most likely modern-day Ukraine, due to similarities between grandma’s Easter Bread recipe and Easter breads around Europe).

I grew up with recipes that would definitely qualify as “American”.  Baking grandma reminisces that her parents (and their friends) spoke German, but never taught my grandma or her sisters.  My great-grandparents wanted their daughters to be American, so the language and (presumably) many traditions were not passed down.

However, as a nod to my German heritage, I decided to make the Christmas classic: gingerbread!  I’ve read many historical-fiction novels that mention Lebkuchen, likening it to gingerbread.

So I began my research, and as often is the case, there are a million variants to lebkuchen.  Here’s what I learned…

Lebkuchen is a big deal in many parts of Germany and recipes are often closely guarded secrets.

While I’ve always thought of gingerbread as a Christmas cookie, in Germany, Lebkuchen is a “special occasion” cookie (holidays) because of the extensive number of spices some recipes include.

Friday, November 29, 2019

Nan-e Barbari (Persian Flatbread)


Let’s chat book clubs again!  This bi-monthly Cook the Books Club pick is The Temporary Bride, hosted by Claudia from Honey on Rock.

The Temporary Bride is a memoir by Jennifer Klinec. 



Warning!  Spoilers ahead!!!!

The book briefly touches on Klinec’s childhood in Canada, a bit more on her early adulthood in London, and finally a culinary trip to Iran.

I’m not gonna lie, I’m still not completely clear why Klinec chose to go to Iran when she needed a break from her totally awesome (yet exhausting) job teaching cooking classes (very successfully) out of her home, after leaving her other successful corporate career.

Monday, November 25, 2019

Mini Pumpkin Pies



You know, sometimes you just don’t need a whole pie.  I mean, my family would totally eat a whole pie, but 3 of us (Dude doesn’t participate in pie eating) probably don’t need to eat a whole pie.

Or maybe you, like me, need to bring a baked item to a turkey bingo bake sale (Spud totally won me a turkey – woot!) and want to bring pie.  But who buys a whole pie at a bake sale 2 weeks before thanksgiving?

I’ve always wanted to make mini pumpkin pies, so here we are.

I had originally intended to make 4 or 5-inch pies (I have a couple ceramic pie plate I use for that) but since I was making these more a bake sale, I needed foil pans.

I could get, like, a gross of them on Amazon (2 days later than I needed them, because I found out about the bake sale 18 hours before the sale) and nothing locally.

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Breakfast Cookies



A few weeks ago, I shared some amazing pumpkin muffins that are really more like pumpkin cupcakes, but I would totally serve them for Thanksgiving breakfast anyway, because Thanksgiving is an eat-a-thon anyway, so why not start off with a dessert-like breakfast?

But if you want to make more responsible choices before tucking in to turkey, I also have a tasty (and healthy!) breakfast cookie to share today!

And even though there’s pumpkin here, they’d be amazing year-round.

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Pecan Pie Mini Cheesecake


It’s Fantastical Food Fight time, hosted by Sarah at a Fantastical Sharing of Recipes.

As often is the case, the challenge really stretched me this month.  The theme was Pecan Pie.

Would you believe that I’ve never really had Pecan Pie?  It’s on the table every thanksgiving (my mom makes one), but it looks so unappetizing, I’ve just never taken more than a bite – especially since there’s also always homemade pumpkin (my favorite) and apple pies!

Monday, November 18, 2019

Gluten Free Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies



So, it’s almost Thanksgiving, but the radio and the store and literally everywhere are all skipping right over Thanksgiving and going straight to Christmas.  But not here!  Nope, I’m still fully in pumpkin mode and it’s going to get read this week!

A couple weeks ago, I was asked to bring pumpkin cookies to an event.  Since we knew there were also going to be some gluten-free families in attendance, I wanted to make a gluten-free option as well.

The oats and spices in this version are reminiscent of oatmeal raisin cookies, but with a distinctively fall flavor.

These cookies are sure to please everyone – whether they typically follow a gluten-free diet or not!

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