Sunday, December 21, 2008

Snowy Sunday before Christmas

I have been blogging up a snow storm recently! I don't know if it's in anticipation of being M.I.A. during Christmas or if my new year's resolution is coming early! Never the less have I got a doozy of a post for you!

When I woke up this morning the snow was still falling. Erin and i had plans to finish up Christmas shopping but due to the weather i suggested a day of baking and wrapping. She jumped on santa's sleigh and away we went.

Now i know that i spent all last Sunday baking, and that would be plenty for a sane person, but I really had a few recipes that I wanted to try AND it was a perfect day to make some chili. We also had to work on some homemade gifts for friends so why not make it a productive day.

My baking to do list consisted of: Cocoa Fudge Cookies, Rice Krispie Treats, Angel Delights, Low Fat Cranberry Macaroons, Holiday Coffee and of course Chili! I know it seems like alot but two of the cookie recipes don't even have to cook, one of them I have made previously and the other was really low fat...i couldn't pass them up! After a quick trip to the store for supplies (and spirits) I assembled my supplies and began baking.

I started with the Cocoa Fudge Cookies which I had made last year with great success! This is a recipe from Cooking light and these cookies are delicious. They turned out great again this year! They have a chewiness of brownies and definitely have a nice coco flavor. YUM!

While these were cooking I moved on to make Angel Delights the Grand Prize cookie this year in Eating Well's annual cookie contest! I remember when I got the magazine thinking how easy these looked to make. It started off great but when it came to rolling the balls it was extremely difficult to get them to stay together. I tried using spray butter on my hands but it was a struggle the entire time!! When i got ready to blog i looked up the recipe again on the website and saw that most others had the exact same problem! (that's always reassuring) The editors noted that you have to cook the dates and butter for 8-15 minutes (this was not noted in the magazine version)to really make a paste consistency. When i did it i probably only cooked my mix for 3 mins?! Needless to say I made it through the "balling" and put these in the fridge! These suckers only have 52 calories a pieces and are a great little sweet...but boy were they alot of work.

WARNING: Things went a bit down hill next...I had stumbled across a recipe for Low-Fat Cranberry Macaroons and they looked simple, low fat and yummy. MUST TRY. I began by beating the egg whites and I even made sure to call my expert baking mom to see what "Soft Peaks" meant so I didn't jump steps too quickly. Sadly I don't know what went wrong. I will let the picture speak for itself. After the first batch came out a bit runny I thought to add more rice krispies to soak up the extra liquid....not so much. I salvaged a few of the cookies but mainly by just forming them together in a ball.

Not to lose heart I quickly moved onto the Low Fat Rice Krispie treats! I never knew that these were so low in fat/calories either. These were a no brainer and came out perfectly. I let them set in the fridge for a few hours and then cut a couple of holiday shapes out and left the rest squares. I had every intention of giving them some holiday decor, but to be honest I was ready to have a bit of a baking break. Leave it to snap, crackle and pop to restore my faith in my baking :).

I realized about this time that erin and i hadn't really eaten all day long. time to start that chili! I originally made a Weight Watchers recipe but since then it has kinda morphed into my own creation:

  • 1 onion diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • handful of baby carrots diced
  • 1/2 pound ground turkey
  • 1 1/2 cups of stock (i used homemade turkey stock from Thanksgiving)
  • 1 cup of tomato sauce
  • butternut squash cubed (i bought a bag of frozen)
  • 1/2 container of diced mushrooms
  • 1/2 bag of frozen corn
  • 1 Tbls. of Paprika
  • 1 tsp of Cumin
  • 1 1/2 tsp of red pepper
  • 2 medium tomatoes
  • can of beans (your choice, i like the canalli) and a pepper of your choice
  • salt and pepper to tasteCombine the onions, garlic and carrots until soft. Then add in the meat and brown for about 5 mins. Then add everything else except the beans and pepper and bring to a boil. Put on simmer for about 30-45 mins and then add the beans and pepper and cook for about 15-20 more. The longer it sits the better the flavors develop.

As the chili was finishing up I finished my last task. Holiday Coffee. This is a coffee that my mom throws together every year and the rule is that you can't drink any until you see the first snowfall of the year. What a great day to make this one huh? I wanted to give this to a few teachers that erin works with that are currently doing Weight Watchers. I was able to substitute enough ingredients that it made the drink fat free! Although I can't tell you the recipe (it's my mom's secret and I do want Christmas gifts from her this year :) I will tell you that it combines: hot coco, coffee, non dairy creamer, instant coffee, cinnamon and nutmeg!

I must say after a long day of baking I am ALL BAKED OUT. just in time to travel home for the holidays!