It's the most wonderful time of the year!

And by 'most wonderful time of the year', I of course mean...

Christmas Cookie Baking Season!!

What other time of the year do you have liberty to bake with wild abandon, spending days mixing and rolling and baking and decorating and, of course...

Eating cookies? :-D

I started off this year's baking with something not really baked, but truly wonderful...

Pistachio-Cranberry Chocolate Bark!

Take a bunch of pistachios, basically as many as you feel like shelling, and try to rub most of the extra paper/husk stuff off them. Melt one large gold-wrapped Lindt dark chocolate bar, and one lindt milk-chocolate bar together in the microwave (in a bowl, preferably), going 30 seconds at a time and stirring after each interval, so as not to burn the chocolate. To the chocolate, add the pistachios and a small bag of craisins. Spread the mixture on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Chill in the fridge until set, and then break it up into bite sized pieces (the size of which will depend on the size of your mouth, of course!). Store in the fridge, in an air-tight container.

Next were candy-cane cookies, taken from a magazine I happened to have bought. The original recipe called for the red stripe to be cinnamon, with, well, cinnamon, and broken up red-hots. I changed that to peppermint, using peppermint extract and crushed candy canes. My wonderful DH did the honours of the twisting and baking, as I was out spending time with TundraMunkie, who is totally awesome!

Finally, so far, thumbprint cookies!

There is something intensely charming about thumbprint cookies. I guess that start with their simplicity - so few ingredients. It takes hardly any time to turn out a batch... Next, I guess, is how much fun it is to roll them, and dredge them. And then, of course, making the thumbprints... It has to be your thumb... I've tried other fingers, and it just isn't the same!

My mom has made similar cookies for Christmas, but they're called 'Swedish tea rings'... I'm assuming because they call for icing in the thumbprint, and not jam. My personal favorite is raspberry jam...

Coming up next, shortbread. I looked all over town for a cookie press, and apparently I'm not the only one who had that idea, as they were all sold out. I guess I was just the SLOWEST one with that idea!

I'm going to try a rectangular pan, making shortbread fingers...

Here's to hoping they turn out!


Laying down the law.

This isn't a post about weight loss.

This is a post about something MUCH more serious...

Wrapping paper.

This time of year, wrapping paper is everywhere. On my table, in bags, in scraps on the floor, wrapped around gifts... And there are a few things that drive me a little crazy.

I'm not aiming this at anyone in particular *ahem*, but I'm laying down a few ground rules. If these rules are not followed, much nagging will ensue, and it will be ALL YOUR FAULT! *grump grump grump*

Rule #1 -

Use a knife to cut the wrapping paper, not scissors! Cutting wrapping paper with scissors leave it all jagged and sad looking... Noone wants to see that on their present OR on the roll!! Fold the wrapping paper to the length you want it, and then use a sharp knife to cut along the fold. It's quicker, neater, and DOESN'T MAKE ME CRAZY!


Rule #2 -

Don't cut chunks out of the wrapping paper, leaving the rest of that section still attached. Cut off the entire width of the paper, and then fold the detached piece, and cut that down to size, using the technique explained in rule #1. Any remainders can be rolled around the roll of wrapping paper. Really, this is just being courteous: what if the next person needs the entire width of the wrapping paper to go around their present, and you've cut (with scissors, of course) a chunk of paper 1/3 of the width? Then I, erm, that person would have to cut all THAT off first, before they could even start on their gift! Tsk tsk!

Rule #3 -

Yes, I know that paper flapping in the wind is annoying, but please, DON'T tape the roll shut! You've just wasted a bunch of paper, because as soon as you take the tape off, the top layer of paper is coming with it. If you need to, find a ribbon and tie around the roll, or an elastic band...

See? Only 3 (three) very SIMPLE, very intuitive rules. This isn't rocket science, folks! (And you know who you are!) I'm not such a bad person!




Whoa! I got an award!!!


These are the rules:

- Each Superior Scribbler must in turn pass the award on to five most deserving bloggers.

-Each Superior Scribbler must line to the author and the name of the blog from whom s/he has received the award.

-Each Superior Scribbler must display on his/her blog, and like to the Scholastic Scribe, which explains the award.

-Each blogger who wins the Superior Scribbler award must visit this post and add his/her name to the Mr. linky list. That way, they'll be able to keep up to date on everyone who receives this prestigious honour.

- Each Superior Scribbler must post these rules on his/her blog.

Firstly, I got this award from Sadie, who is such a wonderful, strong, fantastic, funny, cute woman. It's a huge honour to get an award from her!!

And, in no particular order, my five awardees!!

1) Annika, or TundraMunkie, who lives even FURTHER north than me! She is hilarious, although maybe that's caused by living in the North? (heehee) PLUS She was an Olympic torch bearer, which is the COOLEST thing ever!

(I need NEED to find a better way to EMPHASIZE things than by CAPITALIZING them!)

2) Syl, who has probably received this award dozens of times so far! Her blog is so inspiring to read, and she is SO upbeat! Plus, she's probably my most frequent commenter, which I adore. :D

3) Amy, who looks AMAZING! (see what I mean about the capitalization?! Any suggestions?!) You should check out her before picture, and the pictures of her now. Holy Hottie, Batman!!

4) CDBlueberry, who is a fellow member of the 200+ board. Other than just the whole 'stalking each other across the country' thing, I also feel like she knows what I've had to go through, fighting with the extra 2 of me that I've had to carry around. She's doing amazingly well, but I know that when you get this big, every day can be a big struggle. (Check her out, peeps!)

And finally, since I'm only supposed to pick 5...

5) Sephgirl, who is SUCH an inspiration!! She has worked SO hard, and you can really see the results!!


Post #200!!

There is nothing quite as nice as when your fingers smell of pungeant garlic, and the piney resin of rosemary... It's such a comforting, homey smell.

It's strange to think that a lot of people think that being on a 'diet' means being deprived. Certainly, there are a lot of things that get cut out of one's lifestyle choices, but somehow, I just can't bring myself to feel 'deprived' when I'm eating homemade pasta with roasted veggies and asiago cheese. It's delicious, and filling, and makes you feel healthy and happy.

Food can be such a force for good, when you develop a healthy working relationship... It can nourish your body and your spirit and your relationships. It can bring people closer together, and create a space of peace and tranquility in the middle of hectic lives.

I started this blog because I love food, and I love cooking. Now, 100 lbs later, I still love food, and I still love cooking. Tonight's supper reminded me of that, once again.

(Oh, and by the way... I got the iPod on tuesday, and it was worth the wait!!)


Dear Chris - Happy 4 years!

Dear Chris:

Is it 4 years already? It's so hard to believe that we're still so young, and yet we've been together for such a large percentage of our lives so far... And you know what?

I wouldn't have it any other way.

It is my honour to be your wife... To share in your joys and your frustrations. To be there when you have triumphs, and to lift you back up when the outside world disappoints.

Marriage hasn't always been easy so far - You've gone through so much with me. You've been my pillar and my comforter through some very deep depression, and you continued to be my wonderful husband when the only way I could feel relief was to eat my way out of the dark hole in my mind. You've stood with me when I couldn't keep up my end of the deal, to be your support... When I couldn't show you how much I loved you, or how hard I was trying to get better...

And here we are, at the 4 year mark. I'm a recovering Binge eater, my depression is under control, and I'm getting healthier every day... And I know, because you make sure I know, how thrilled you are that I'm bringing my life so far forward. I couldn't do this without you...

All I want in this world is to fall asleep next to you every night, and wake up next to you every morning, and rest my head on your shoulder while we watch movies, and laugh in the kitchen as we get covered in flour from baking, and grumble with you about stressful work days, and drive around the Country with you, and go for coffee with you, and listen to you talk...

I'm so, so lucky to be your wife. I know that God was smiling the day he introduced us (Through Amy... Mysterious ways, eh?). I know I wasn't what you were expecting, or even anything you'd ever thought of, but I'm so glad you decided to let yourself see where this went, because I know that I'm now able to better be the wife you deserve.

I love you, Chris, and I always will.

Thank you so much for choosing me.