Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Who's Overwhelmed by the Holidays?

I am I am! Aye dios mio there's so much to do and Christmas is a WEEK AWAY! How did that happen?! I'm breaking out in cold sweats just thinking about it. I hope you are all much more prepared than I! What was I thinking doing baked presents for everyone? In addition to my orders, I'm swamped!

I probably wont be back until after the holidays so I hope that everyone has a great Christmas or anything else you may celebrate and a very very happy New Year!!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Poached Pears!

A friend of mine introduced me to poached pears a few years ago. I don't know how I had never had them before, but now they are one of my favorite winter treats! Seriously so much goodness from puttin booze in a fruit. Well, you don't have to use alcohol, poaching just means gently cooking in boiling or simmering liquid. But I always have included booze. Because booze.

Here is a great recipe I like for poaching pears in a pomegranate sauce. The cinnamon and clove are perfect flavors for a holiday dessert!

Pomegranate Poached Pears


4 ripe, firm organic Bosc pears
1 & 1/2 cups pomegranate juice
1 cup sweet dessert wine (Muscatel or Riesling). I actually found a pomegranate wine that I use with this recipe and it's baller.
2 cinnamon sticks
1 vanilla bean
1 tablespoon whole cloves
Put everything but the pears in a large pot and get to simmering.

Now you have some options on what you want to do with the pears. Definitely peel them, but after that you can leave them whole, core them, or slice them up. Either way it's going to be yummy, but I like to keep them whole and just core them because presentation-wise it looks real fancy.

Place the pears in the liquid, on their sides, and cover the pot. Cook for about 20 minutes, or until tender. Make sure you turn the pears every little bit, so that the color is consistent all around.

Once the pears are tender, remove them from the liquid. You can then reduce the liquid, if you want to make a syrup to serve with the pears. I like to serve them with a small scoop of mint ice cream. I don't know why the flavors taste so good together to me. But do with them what you will! The pears are delicious and I'm sure you'll dig 'em!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Out of the Kitchen Tuesday #4

At home chalkboard menues! Have you seen them? I love them! It's a great way to put some fun and style into meal planning. If you live with someone, it's also a good way to keep track of whose night it is to cook. Both my boyfriend and brother are about to move in, so I think this is going to really help us figure out dinners. (Also, ack I'm about to live with two boys when I've been living alone for about four years! Adjustment time!)

I saw this menu from WhipperBerry on Pinterest and thought it was a great idea!

How adorable is that? I wanted to do something similar, but that matched the style of my home a little more. What I really wanted was a good white frame for my chalkboard. It took me a while to find the right thing, but I finally stumbled across what I had been looking for at Ikea! Huzzah Ikea!
And for only 10 bucks! Whatta deal! So I grabbed the frame, it even had that black backing like it was screaming to be a chalkboard. I already had some chalkboard spray paint that I had picked up at Michael's, so I was all set there. I took the black piece of cardboard out of the frame and spray painted it in my garage. 

Once two coats had dried, I put the whole thing back together with the chalkboard piece facing out. I wrote out my menu for the week then hung it up right outside my kitchen. It's so perfect! It's exactly what I had been picturing and I love it!

Super cheap and easy to make! Now I just have to make sure my boyfriend and brother stick to their meal schedules :P

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Christmas Cookie Roundup!

Heading into the holidays, I have been thinking about traditions. When I was little, my mom and I used to have a yearly tradition of baking several types of Christmas cookies and taking plates of them, wrapped in cellophane, to all of our neighbors.

This was one of my favorite parts of the holiday season because I got to help my mom bake what seemed to be thousands of cookies. My favorite to make were the candy cane butter cookies because I got to help roll out the dough into long snakes of red and white. But my favorite to EAT were the chocolate crinkles. So chewy and fudgy, omg so good. Those are still one of my favorite types of cookie, and I'm really getting in the mood to make some. Although, that's highly dangerous as I'm likely to eat the whole batch.

In my Christmas cookie recipe search, I found this Chocolate Crinkle recipe, and it's really great! I've made a couple of batches, and they're soooo good. Plus I added chocolate chips to make them even chocolatey-er.

I haven't carried out this cookie giving tradition in years, but this year I am inspired! Since moving out of my parents' house years ago, I really never have gotten to know my neighbors at any of the other places I've lived. I think that is kind of sad! After years of renting, last year, I finally bought my own home. I think maybe that means getting to know the people who live around me, yes? Even though I've been here for about a year and a half, I really only know ONE of my neighbors, and just barely. Why is it so hard for us to get to know one another? To remedy this, I'm thinking of putting together Christmas cookie plates for my neighbors this year.

I found this great list of Christmas cookies on Pinterest (my not-so-secret love), and these spiral cookies from Sprinkle Bakes look so good! I'm going to have to include them in the mix!
Photo from Sprinkle Bakes

What are some of your favorite Christmas cookies? Did any of you do the neighbor cookie tradition?