New Year's resolutions have never quite stuck with me. I have done them all- resolve to exercise more, lose weight, be more patient, so on and so forth. I even made resolutions when I was teaching- grade and return assignments faster, keep my classroom organized, blah, blah, blah.
And you know how long those resolutions lasted? About 4 days. I am probably not the sole deserter of the Resolution Revolution.
There is ONE resolution that I am proud that I have kept. Honest- like 75% of the time, which I think is pretty good statistically. A few years ago, I made the resolution to make my bed every day. I know, sounds a little childish, but I was totally guilty of not making the bed (one of those college habits that just kinda stuck around). And Mike certainly wasn't going to do it, considering his mom always made his bed when he was growing up. So one year, I just decided to do it. And I did it the next day. And the next. In fact, I made it yesterday too.
2013 has been a fantastic year for me and my family, and I hope that 2014 will be just a great. Since 2013 was a year was full of change, I am going to take another stab at this Resolution concept. But I am going to make them really vague, to increase my odds of success. I really don't like that guilty failure feeling.
MY VAGUE RESOLUTIONS FOR 2014
1. Stay more organized This could be as simple as placing dirty socks in the hamper and not beside it (Clough offspring take note). Maybe it's tackling the mail immediately, and not letting it sit on the counter. Maybe it's putting away cookie cutters and sketches so that they are more easily found when you're in a hurry. . . um. . . yeah. . . need to work on that one.
2. Waste not, want not. Repurposing items is so trendy now, which is great for the ol' bank account. An oversized computer cabinet repurposed as a linen closet? Did it! Using a cookie cutter for some other design? Did it! Creating cookies with all the cutters that I bought in 2013? <insert cricket chirp>
But look! I am already making strides! The winged heart for a cute pig-tailed girl. Haven't used that cutter before! Don't have a cookie order for her yet, but I am ready for when the occasion comes!
3. Use time wisely. I am really good at procrastinating. I fondly think about one of Ellen DeGeneres' stand-up routines when she said "Procrastinate now, don't put it off". I can totally relate. So I am going to *try* to make better use of time. Just the other day, I had a few extra minutes and some extra white icing. So I made some plain ovals for future paint-the-cookie sets.
And wouldn't you know it? I used them right away! I guess I'll have to make more now. I'll do it tomorrow, you know, when I have time. Maybe.
By the way, this completely awesome paint-the-cookie technique is from Montreal Confections. Click here to see her video!
This completes my Vague Resolutions for 2014. I'd love to hear about your resolutions, so drop me a comment!
Thank you for following and supporting me on this crazy journey.
Here's to a Sweet 2014!
I think there is just something magical about snowflakes, especially when they first begin to fall. Maybe it's because I am from coastal mid-Atlantic where we may be bombarded by snow one year, and see two flakes the next winter. But when the air has that crisp "snow" smell, and those big snowflakes make that distinct sound when they hit the ground. . . it's just magical to me.
Even our Christmas elves- Howie and Buddy- think there's something magical about snowflakes. I suppose they watched the weather and saw that we weren't getting any snow for Christmas here on Maryland's Eastern Shore, and wanted to make sure my boys had snow for Christmas Eve. So they made lots of paper snowflakes, all shapes and sizes, and hung them from the ceiling near the tree. And if your elf is technology savy, he or she can find the online instructions (and videos too!) on how to make those big 3D snowflakes. You know, just in case they needed something else to do, besides having a marshmallow snowball fight in the kitchen or drawing faces with toothpaste on the bathroom mirror. Stupid elves, I wish they had a maid elf that traveled with them. . .
That brings me to snowflake cookies. Just like the real thing or the paper version, they can be simple or complicated, and all are sweet as can be! And you can make them all winter long- not just for the December holidays.
"Oh, I want crabs for Christmas. Oh, only crabs will do. Oh, I want crabs for Christmas. My Christmas wish'll come true!". If you are from Maryland, you can thank me for getting this little Christmas diddy stuck in your head for the rest of the day. For those of you who are thinking "what on Earth?", here's the inside scoop: "Crabs for Christmas" is the holiday song written over 30 years ago by David DeBoy. In the song, a Maryland man is stuck in the Houston airport on Christmas Eve where he stumbles upon Santa. Desperately missing his Maryland home, he sits upon Santa's lap and wishes for something near and dear to many Marylanders' hearts- steamed Maryland Blue Crabs.
Since I had some leftover dough, and I had that song stuck in my head from hearing it on the radio, I thought it was the perfect time to make some special Maryland Christmassy cookies. Time to break out my crab cutters!
As I attempted to decide which cutter I would use for my Crabby Christmas cookies, I started to feel a little like Goldilocks.
Whoowee! That's a BIG crab. Too Big.
An itsy bitsy crab. Cute, but too small.
Just the right size! Score! Although the number of legs isn't anatomically accurate (the biologist in me was REALLY bothered by this), I made do with it. Mark my words: I WILL be ordering a specially made crab cutter by Plastics In Print- they make special order cookie cutters! Maybe I'll get a Maryland lighthouse too!
May these crabs bring memories of lazy summer days. . .
and bring sweetness to your holiday season.
And may you find something you love beneath your tree!
My crabby gift to you- My recipe for Maryland Crab Dip. Hope you like it!
Maryland Crab Dip
1 lb backfin crabmeat
2- 8oz cream cheese, softened
4 oz sour cream
1 tsp mayo
2 tsp mustard
1/2 tsp salt
1 TBL+ Old Bay Seasoning (it isn't Maryland crab dip without it!)
1 tsp worcestershire sauce
shredded cheddar cheese
Blend all ingredients EXCEPT the crab. I use a hand mixer- it's faster for me. Gently fold in the crab meat. Top with cheese. Bake in a 350F oven until warm throughout. Or be like me- I put my crab dip in one of those mini crock pots at the warm setting so that it can be enjoyed longer. Like nibbled on all day :) Just stir it often. Serve with baguette slices, or club crackers, or just eat it plain! Or even spoon it over grilled chicken for Chesapeake Chicken. Yummy!
Is there a holiday song that is applicable to your neck of the woods? Maybe there's a 'Have a Cheesy Christmas' song played in Wisconsin? Or maybe 'Rudolph the Rodeo Reindeer' in Texas? Tell me about it!
I am the only female in my house, besides the cat. Since I am surrounded by football equipment, Legos, excessive bodily noises, and a wide array of strategically ditched socks, I sometimes long for delicate and frilly kinds of things. Since my cat wouldn't be too happy in me dressing her up in floral frocks, and my husband forbids pink ruffles in our bedroom, I sometimes have to make cookies that are, well, girlie. Even Christmas trees.
I must say that this design was a complete accident. I was in a hurry and wanted a quick green Christmas tree and it just happened. And I liked it. So then I decided to do it again, and even adding in a little pink flair. Let me show you!
To make ruffles on cookies, you need two things: really stiff icing, and a rose petal tip.
I turned the tree upside down, and piped the bottom branches first. You don't have to pipe it upside down, but I find that the ruffles lay nicer when I do. Start with the largest tip (the 104) and hold it so that the fat side of the tip is closest to the cookie and the decorating bag is at a 45 degree angle. Using an even amount of pressure, wiggle the bag as you pipe across the cookie.
After the first row of ruffle, immediately pipe the second row and allow the ruffles to overlap. If the icing is stiff enough, they will keep their shape and not fall into one another. Unless that's the look you are going for.
Now switch to the next sized smaller tip, the 103. Layer several more rows. You can mix it up by not wiggling the bag as much as you pipe. Finish it up by switching to the smallest petal tip, and layering the final ruffles.
Drop on a few sugar pearls, and add the tree base (although this should probably be done first, but I forgot).
Super fast, super cute! Mix it up by alternating colors, even ombre shades (which is on my to-do list this week).
Best of all, my boys will even eat them. And they're ruffles. Pink ones at that!
I have an obsession with decorated gingerbread. Some (aka my kids) might even call it an unhealthy addiction. I love everything about it- the smell, the color, the taste, and of course, decorating it. This love affair has been going on for a LONG time. Here's the story of how we met.
I'm Amy. Wife, Mom, former science teacher- and now full time cookie baker on Maryland's Eastern Shore. Pull up a chair and we create! I'll bring the coffee- maybe Mike (The Cookie Widower) will make it for us.