Sugar Cookies with a Lemon Glaze

Like all great recipes, this one comes from my grandmother.  Being the slovak that she is, if she could use lard for everything, she would.  Unfortunately for her, here in America, her doctor says no and the pescetarian in me thinks that is just gross.  But as far as I’m concerned, the real secret to fluffy sugar cookies is crisco.

Simple Sugar Cookies
2 3/4 C Flour
1 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 tsp Baking Powder
1 C Shortening
1 1/2 C Sugar (I subbed Splenda this time around)
1 Egg
1 tsp Vanilla

As with all cookies, combine dry ingredients and then mix in the shortening, egg and vanilla.

Bake at 375 degrees for about 10 minutes.  In my opinion, these cookies should be a tiny bit golden brown on the edges and never over-baked.

Lemon Glaze (simplest thing in the world and it sounds really fancy)
1 C Powdered Sugar
1/4 tsp Lemon Zest
1 TBSP Lemon Juice
2 Drops Yellow Food Color (optional)

Just whisk this up in literally 30 seconds.  I added yellow food coloring just to make the cookies a little prettier but it’s definitely not necessary.  I usually take the lazy-man’s approach and wait until the cookies cool and then dip them directly in the glaze.   This is the least messy option.

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Evernote is my new favorite thing

I’ve been using Evernote for a few months and have found it moderately helpful for keeping my life in order.  With the addition of both the Nook and Kindle tablets into our lives over the holidays, the program has become invaluable for the home chef.

I have a notebook dedicated to my recipes that I can search through my topic (dinner, dessert, etc) or by ingredient (chocolate) to find what I need.  Even better, I can view these recipes on my phone so I have a grocery list at the store on my way home from work.  And possibly my favorite use it while I’m cooking, I set up my nook in the kitchen to play pandora and read the recipe instructions.

Evernote seems to be one of those programs that actually becomes more useful as you add more viewing devices so I’ve also added it to my boyfriend’s devices so he can feed himself when I’m away and I can update his grocery list in real time.

Although I’m sure there are much fancier (read: more expensive) options out there, this works really well for the casual cooking couple.

(The above post is not sponsored and solely based on my own opinions and experiences.)

For my puppy loving friends…

I got really into making a ton of gifts this year for no reason other than I had a lot of vacation time and I’m not good at vacation.  As a dog-lover and frequent pet sitter, I have been hearing about homemade dog treats and figured it couldn’t be all that difficult.  And it turns out I was right.

I used a recipe that I found on acozykitchen.com which was really simple.

1/2 cup of peanut butter (I used the creamy kind)

1/4 cup honey

1 tablespoon of virgin coconut oil (or olive oil)

1 cup chicken broth

1 cup rolled oats

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 cup all-purpose flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Whisk together peanut butter, honey, oil and chicken broth. In a separate bowl, combine flours and oatmeal. Mix dry ingredients into wet ingredients. Place dough on flour dusted surface. Roll or press dough out to about 1/4” inch thick. Use a small bone cookie cutter to cut out cookies. My cookie cutter was a 5-inch bone-shaped , but for small dogs you may want to use a small cookie cutter (around 2″). Roll out leftover scraps and cut out as many as possible. Put cut out cookies on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for 14-16 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack.

Caramel Chex

Gluttony over the holiday season is a family tradition.  So this year, to do my part, I made a big batch of this Caramel Chex mix which was an instant hit.  It’s one of my new favorite gift recipes because the compliments to prep time ratio is totally in your favor.  I made the entire thing in the microwave in 25 minutes.  Gotta love it.

Here’s what you need:
6 cups rice chex
6 cups corn chex
1 bag Brach’s caramels
4 TBSP butter
4 TBSP milk
1 cup chocolate chips

Here’s how to make it happen:
In a glass (microwave safe) bowl mix unwrapped caramels, milk and butter.  Microwave on high for about 4 minutes – stirring well after each minute to avoid burning – until the caramels are completely melted.  Add in the cereal and stir until coated.  Microwave the cereal mixture on high for 4 to 5 more minutes – again, stirring well after each minute to avoid burns – or until the mixture begins to brown and smells all nutty and delicious.  Spread onto a wax-paper covered baking sheet to cool.

In a smaller glass (microwave safe) bowl pour chocolate chips for melting.  (Helpful Hint: I also add a bit of shortening to make the chocolate smoother and better for drizzling.) Microwave on high – stirring after each minute to avoid burning – until the chocolate is completely melted.  Drizzle over the cooling cereal mix.

Let stand for 30 minutes, or until cooled.  Break into small pieces and store in an air-tight container for up to a week.

Caramel Chex

Rocky Road Cookie Bar #Fail

Attempted to make these salted caramel rocky road bars (sounds awesome right?!) for a Christmas party this weekend.  I can’t even tell if they’re good because they are GLUED to the bottom of the pan.  And even though I know I can’t get them out to eat them I have avoided throwing them away because I don’t know how I’m going to get them out to clean the pan!!!

Finger Limes

Well according to the LA Times I’m late to the party on this Finger Lime trend.  As a lover of bubble tea, grapefruit and caviar I was so excited to read about this.

Now I just have to figure out where I can get some.

http://articles.latimes.com/2009/dec/23/food/la-fow-marketwatch18-2009dec23

 

I’m dying to try this recipe..

Holiday Detox: Crispy Skinned Halibut with Spinach and Tomato Sauce

by Michelle Zippelli

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 – 1/2 lb of Halibut (with or without skin)
  • Large can diced tomatoes
  • A few handfuls of spinach
  • Handful of chopped basil
  • One lemon (for zest and juice)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 onion, coarsely chopped
  • Canola oil
  • Salt & pepper

Directions:
1 – Prep: turn on the broiler on high, pat the halibut skin so its dry, sprinkle some lemon juice over the fish
2 – In a saucepan, heat some canola oil on medium high heat. When hot add in garlic and onions and saute for a few minutes until onions are translucent
3 – Add tomatoes and lemon zest and some salt and pepper into pot and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Simmer the sauce until the fish is ready
4 – Heat canola oil in a sauté pan — highest heat
5 – When the canola oil begins to smoke, add the fish (skin side down) — then immediately transfer the sauté pan into the oven (even plastic handles are fine, because time in the oven is so short). If the pan doesn’t fit in the oven – just leave the oven door open, the broiler will do its thing regardless. The halibut will only take 3-6 minutes to cook, depending on the thickness of the fish, so keep an eye on it. Remove the fish from the oven when it is fork tender and sprinkle with some more lemon juice
6 – Add the spinach, basil and the remaining lemon juice to the sauce. This way the spinach doesn’t wilt too much before serving. Also add more salt and pepper if needed.
7 – Serve the fish on a heaping spoonful of the sauce

The whole process shouldn’t take longer than 30 minutes!