Thursday, December 31, 2009

America The Beautiful

I watched this documentary by Darryl Roberts about a week ago. I wasn't sure what to expect, but it was certainly eye-opening. The documentary follows a 12 year old girl, Gerrun. It depicts her rise to the top of the fashion world and sudden decline. After being unable to book any shows or jobs Gerrun struggles with her self-esteem, repeatedly saying, "I'm ugly." Roberts also shows his audience other harms of the materialistic beauty focused culture we live in. He interviews people who have been affected by eating disorders, sheds light on the harms of plastic surgery, and examines the dangerous toxins that are present in makeup. A truly eye-opening film that changed my perspectives on beauty. I would highly recommend it to women and men, young and old.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Peanut Butter Blossoms

Peanut Butter Blossoms are a classic cookie. Growing up I would have them at various church and school events, but they were never made in my own home. On Christmas Eve Eve I had a few hours to myself and tackled the classic cookie. The recipe calls for shortening, which scares me immensely, but I decided not to veer from the tried and true recipe I found in my mom's old Shady Grove Methodist Church cookbook. These cookies were so easy and so scrumptious. Give them a try, they won't disappoint!

1 3/4 c. flour
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. peanutbutter (smooth)
1/2 c. brown sugar, packed
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 c. shortening
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
1 pkg. Hershey Kisses

Beat egg in a bowl until light and fluffy. Add all other ingredients together except for Kisses and mix until you are able to clump the batter together into a dough. (it will be very dry). Shape into a teaspoon size ball. Do not flatten.

Bake at 375 degrees 10 to 12 minutes on cookie sheet. Remove from oven. Press Kiss down into the middle of the cookie immediately just until the edges start to crack. Let cool. Be sure to eat one hot! Yum!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Christmas Cranberry Cookies

Christmas break means cooking to me. I have been so busy with helping my mom get ready for the holidays, taking care of the puppy, and working on my own projects that I have had very little time to bake. Baking is my release; it gives me a chance to feel utterly in control and calm. "Add this to that and stir. Mix in these. Sift. Stir that in. Spoon onto cookie sheet. Bake until golden and firm." Baking is order and science. There is no guessing. I likethe certainty of baking and as an experienced baker I feel even more certain in my skills to actualize a recipe to perfection.

I finally found time to bake last Thursday, but was clueless as to what to make initially. I have so many recipes to try out that it is overwhelming. I narrowed it down to Triple Chocolate Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies for this baking adventure. They seemed like the logical choice for several reasons:
1. I had fresh cranberries already.
2. Cranberries and cinnamon are excellent warm, winter ingredients. (I firmly believe in making food that is appropriate for the season. Who wants peppermint bark in the summer?)
3. Old fashioned oats are so good for you! (trying to bake healthier's so hard!)

With all this in mind, I went for it. Many were skeptical of the chocolate-cranberry combination, but I had faith in them. Sure enough these cookies turned out amazing, better than I expected in fact! They were sweet, but not overly sweet, with a slight tart twang from the cranberry, and most importantly they were chewy yet firm on the edges (my favorite kind of cookie). These tart chocolately delights have become one of my favorite cookie recipes of all time. I used them in my Christmas packages. Wrapped up in a plastic bag and a sheet of tissue paper these cookies will travel great. So all you skeptics out there, try this recipe! It has a subtle, yet complex flavor, that hits several parts of the palette. Let me know what you think of them if you dare to try them out!

Get the recipe here:
Triple Chocolate Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Smells like....

It smells like another attempt at blogging in here. I have tried to blog off and on for a while since 2007. I was never able to keep up with it. Blogging takes a lot of effort. Will I be able to put enough effort into this to make it work? Only time shall tell...

My past blogs were about, well nothing. I don't know if it's entirely necessary to define the content of a blog. Perhaps I need structure to make it succeed, but I'm not knowledgeable enough about one specific thing to make a successful blog out of it. Therefore, I'll just stick to an open-ended blog that covers whatever I fancy.

Here it goes!