Cookie Swap

When I came across the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap, I wondered if I was a qualified participant. I’m great at following recipes but definitely can’t create them out of thin air.

Thankfully there wasn’t a requirement to make your own recipe, so I turned to another trusted blog that has more than delivered on the recipes I’ve tried.

Enter: Since I finally was able to hunt down Cinnamon Chips in Fairbanks, I was on a real mission to find cookies to use them in. Thankfully TP&TP came to the rescue. I chose not only for the easy ingredient list but also for the epic name, Cinnadoodles 🙂

Check our their recipe and I might also suggest making their Pumpkin Chocolate Cookie Bars. Yum on both counts.

Loved the cinnamon chips, the cinnamon-sugar coating and they were a hit. I gotta say though unlike most cookies I actually liked them better when they were room temp… Not fresh out of the oven 🙂

Hopefully the people I sent my cookies to enjoyed them also! Here were my recipients:

Life of Blyss

Jaima’s Journey

Mere Words of Love

I received two batches so far. One batch from the lovely Diana, she made vegan ginger snaps. They were seriously addictive! I’m not sure what the recipe is but I’m hoping she’ll throw it up on her blog. As a non-vegan she had me singing a different tune!

The other batch I received was from JuJu and she sent me PB cookies with a twist. A Cooking Lite recipe that she changed up by subbing out all the butter for extra virgin coconut oil. They were slightly tropical but still had the peanut butter undertone!

Crossing my fingers that the third batch will make it all the way up here! Thanks again to my cookie bakers and I hope everybody enjoyed the Cinnadoodles!

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Catch Up

I have been MIA for a very very long time. I don’t have much of an excuse really. It’s just sometimes I’m a bit bored with North Pole and then I get antsy, and then I try to run around doing as many things as possible… and one of those things was not the blog. Lame right?

Well since its been a heck of a hiatus let me catch you up as quickly as humanly possible!

I’ve taught a Halloween and Thanksgiving themed spin classes. The playlists included songs like “Ghostbusters” and “Fat Bottomed Girls”. I also wore ladybug wings. But only for Halloween… In retrospect I should have made an Indian headband or a Pilgrim hat… but that just leaves room for improvement next year!

We have officially moved into the darkest month of the year. Currently the sun rises at 10:11am and sets at 3:04pm. Sooo a snippet of sun is kinda all ya get. If you think daylight savings is tough, well I wouldn’t recommend living here!This picture is as 4:07pm last week. Pretty? Yes. Bizarre that is been dark for an hour already? YES.

This cute, curly, love bug went back to his parents. Our friends returned safely from their deployment and so Beemer went back to his real home. I spent that evening fully dressed, winter coat still on, crying in bed. I love dogs. And I really love Beemer. But since they live the closest to us in this Alaskan adventure, I have a visitation rights, and will definitely use them.

We hosted Thanksgiving for the second year in a row. Last year we had 12 adults and two babies. This year we had 17 adults and 3 kids under 3. Whew.

I made two turkeys. Yup. One was 20lbs and the other was about 14lbs. Because apparently a 34lb turkey would not be able to stand up right. I didn’t really think about that until I called the butchers at three different grocery stores and they all but laughed at my gigantor turkey idea. ooops 🙂

Recommendations: I have used Pioneer Woman’s Turkey Brine on three different birds now. It is simple and easy and pretty much guarantees you’ll have a juicy feast. I grab a 3-5 gallon buckets, put a brining bag in it, load in my turkey and poor that beautiful brine in the bag. I like my bucket method because it really submerges the bird. Mine soaked for right around 24 hrs, then I rinse/let my turkey sit in cool water for about 15mins. Patted it dry and then went with Alton Brown’s method for roasting and Real Simple’s recipe.

The Boswell Black Friday excitement went to a new Dyson. My loving husband was helping vacuum on Turkey day and the vacuum broke. So with the glory of $170 off we ordered the Animal Dyson and got free shipping via Amazon. Why did we get the Animal you ask? Well it will be good for sucking up pet hair….

After the Thanksgiving madness, I made my cookies to send out for the Great Blogger Cook Exchange. I sent them out last week and I believe they have now made their merry little way to my matches. I’m anxiously awaiting my cookies!

And finally we arrive right back to the present. Trevor and I constructed our gingerbread house (fruit roll-up roof tiles) and our house has some Christmas cheer 🙂 Tonight I’m going to watch my favorite holiday movie…And hopefully make a bunch of Christmas cookies!

Winter has Arrived

Its true. It’s here. Today was a balmy 7 degrees out.

Walking Beemer, I decided necessitated long underwear. So not only did I have the opportunity to drag my sorry but around my neighborhood in chilly temps, but I also got to feel extremely sexy doing it. Lucky girl.

Sadly I had to pull in the reigns on how much I could bundle up, because I have, ohh about 50 more degrees of freezing coming my way. Last year this is what I wore when it was -40.

I hope all you Lower 48’s are enjoying your weather. And please excuse me when I offer zero sympathy for your “really cold” days. When you have to plug in your car to keep it from freezing, we can talk 🙂

So while the snow has arrived, and the cold temperatures are only beginning their reign of terror, I warmed up my house by baking and busting out my crock pot.

If you’re interested in some yummy cookies, here’s what I did:

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies by How Sweet It Is

Pumpkin Snickerdoodles by Recipe Girl

(these cookies may or may not make excellent ice cream sandwich cookies. And I may or may not recommend getting the festive Pumpkin ice cream that is currently available!)

But besides stuffing my face with cookies, as I said, I also busted out my crock pot. On the lazy days that the sun isn’t shining (there are many!), and its just to chilly to get the blood moving in my body, the slow cooker will be bearing the weight of dinner entrees.

I decided to figure out an easy Chicken and Dumpling-esque soup. From searching around a little bit I formulated a plan and this is how it went:

Slow Cooker Chicken and Dumpling Soup

4 Boneless Skinless chicken breast, cut into bite size pieces
1 Can of Cream of Chicken Soup
1 Medium Onion, diced
1 Can of Whole Kernel Yellow Corn, drained
2 Tbs Butter
2 Packages of Refigerator biscuits, torn into 1 inch pieces
Chopped Green Onions for garnishing

1. Place the chicken, butter, soup, corn and onion in a slow cooker, and then add enough water to cover.
2. Cover, and cook for 5 to 6 hours on High. 30 minutes before serving, place the torn biscuit dough in the slow cooker. Cook until the dough is no longer raw in the center. Serve with green onions on top!

This is not a traditional dumpling, obviously since we cut a corner on the whole “homemade” front… but for the lazy days that entitle a slow cooker recipe, I wasn’t the least bit upset about it 🙂

Hope you all have a great weekend! Make some cookies, or enjoy your warm weather… or both if you’re lucky!

Kung POW!

Last night’s dinner was a major success. It was delicious, simple, and there was little to no mess involved. That alone qualifies this recipe to be laminated and used frequently.

I don’t usually make Asian food. I like to order my Thai food and save my house the airing out process. I cook a pretty standard but caucasian stir fry occasionally.. but really I haven’t done much cuisine from that side of the world.

Last night was a test.

Enter Grilled Chicken with Kung Pao Sauce from Shape Magazine. They were touting the recipe with claims like “Good-Bye Takeout” and its only 173 calories per serving… Wait whhhaattt? 173 calories? mmmm I’m interested..

Serves 6 peeps

6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, rinsed and patted dry
1/4c plus 2T low-sodium soy sauce
1T black or red rice vinegar (I used red wine vinegar)
1T plus 1t water, divided
1/3t sugar
1/4c oyster sauce
1/8t sesame oil
1/2t cornstarch
1/4c unsalted peanuts, chopped
1 scallion, slivered

Grill the chicken over medium heat for about 7 mins on side 1, and 3 mins on side 2. Make sure that baby is cooked through but don’t over do it, you still want moist (eww) chicken 🙂

In a medium saucepan, mix soy sauce, vinegar, 1.5T water, sugar, oyster sauce, and oil. Bring to a boil over medium heat.

In a small bowl mix together the cornstarch and remaining water. Add this to the bubbling sauce pan and simmer for about a minute, or until thickened. Remove from heat and seat aside.

Once you chicken is all done you can brush the sauce on top and top with peanuts and green onion. I obviously made brown rice too!

Super delicious and very flavorful. I know that the oyster sauce and sesame oil aren’t pantry staples but the recipe was good enough for me to say they are worth buying. I’ll definitely be making this again so I think the few bucks to add them to my cabinet is just peachy 🙂

Trevor liked it too…

Clean plate club over here 🙂

Goin’ Bananaz

Some people are not banana people. I witnessed this many times when I worked at a smoothie and frozen yogurt shop. It was like they had a panic attack just thinking about banana coming near their drink.

” You can take banana out of that right???”

“No ma’am the banana is now fused into the blender, the cup, and your soul. I’m afraid there is no way for me to take the banana out.”

::staring at me with a look of sheer terror::

“Yes, of course I can take the banana out you monkey”

I am a banana person. I like banana bread, strawberry banana smoothies, banana splits, banana pancakes… and I like saying the word banana.

Everybody now… BANANA. Come on its fun!!

So growing up when I smelled banana bread or anything banana of the sort I knew I was going to be happy…

If you don’t agree please immediately get some banana bread, heat it up slightly and put some butta (Paula Dean accent) on it. You will soon want to make out with the loaf of banana bread. You’re welcome.

This is the banana crack of all banana treats. Be prepared, it is sweet, banana-y, and friggen delicious.

Banana Bars

1/2 cup margarine/butter
1 1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 cups flour
1 t. soda
1 t. salt
1 t. vanilla
3/4 cup sour cream
3 ripe bananas (mashed)

You can use half Splenda/sugar if you desire…

Mix wet ingredients first. Combine dry ingredients and then mix into wet ingredients.

Use jelly roll pan, greased and floured. Make sure to shake off any excess flour. Bake at 350-375, 30 minutes

Frost with brown butter frosting
2 T. butter melted
1 t. vanilla adding
1 T. milk
Add powdered sugar to the consistency of “spreadability”
Shake of salt

I hope you make them and enjoy them. And if you are not a banana person, I’m sorry but you cannot take the bananas out of this recipe. That would just be bananas.

FYI: I used the word BANANA 26 times in this post. It’s seriously is a fun word.

Reality Check

Winter is coming.

Its August.

But in Alaska it’s fall. That’s right.. Leaves be a changin

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I know that the rest of the country is currently blazing in crazy heat or hunkering down preparing for a hurricane… But up here we’re sitting in the 60s and beginning to feel that crisp air that comes with fall.

So guess what I did? I caved. I busted out the fall/winter work horse…

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Yup I did it. I brought out the big guns and used my crock pot. And I even went a step further…

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I made white chicken chili.

Boy do I feel weird about making chili in August… But it was yummy and hit the spot on a rainy, cold “autumn” day.

Give it a try if you’re in the same weather boat as me…. Or save the recipe for when the rest of the country catches up with our lower temps 🙂

1c fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1c chopped onion (1med onion)
2T all-purpose flour
2t chili powder (I used 3)
1t ground cumin (I used 2)
1/2t salt
1/2t hot sauce (I used almost 2-3t, spiced it up!)
1/8t black pepper
1lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts
3(19oz) cans cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1(15.5oz) can whole-kernel corn, drained
1(4.5oz) can chopped green chiles, drained
2 garlic cloves, minced

Sour cream, cheddar cheese, green onions, and tortilla chips for garnishes if you like.

Combine the ingredients in your slow cooker. Cover and cook on HIGH for 1 hour. Then reduce to LOW for 4 hours.

Then add your toppings and dig in.

Makes 6 bowls clocking in at a lovely 232 calories, with a fab 22.3G of protein!

Enjoy!!

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Berry Delicious

Little known fact: Alaska has wild berries growing ALL over. Up and down the streets, in fields, backyards, everywhere! So what’s a girl to do while she takes the dog for a walk but to pick some of these juicy, tart, sweet things?

Careful though… you might find some friends are hanging out by the berries too…

I don’t know what these ones are exactly. They look raspberry like, but not quite…

See the difference? It doesn’t have the raspberry cave, and the cluster is a bit different.

But I definitely knew what these were…

Blueberries!!! YAYYYY!!! Blueberries and I are BFF.

So I ended up with a pretty good size container of mixed wild berries.

Now in my family we have an obsession with this pie. It has turned into an enigma.We have it for birthdays, for celebrations, for nights when you need to use tons of berries. It’s just plain lick your fingers delicious. It’s supposed to be made with Huckleberries, but unless you have a hook up to WA then these suckers are HARD to find. So substitutions are ok and welcome!

Huckleberry Heaven Pie:

Heat until thick, stirring often:
• 2 cups of berries (use a mix of whatever is available – raspberries, strawberries,
blueberries, blackberries; or use frozen berries)
• ½ cup sugar ( I used 1/4c sugar, 1/4c Splenda)
• 1 Tbsp. cornstarch

Remove from burner and cool.

In separate bowl, beat until smooth and creamy:
• 8 oz. cream cheese
• ½ cup sugar ( I used 1/4c sugar, 1/4c Splenda)

Combine with 1 cup whipped cream (can whip your own, or use Cool Whip – (not fat free)).

Spoon into a graham cracker crust.

Top with cooled berry mixture.

My mouth is watering… I need one of these pies.. now

Now go get you some berries!!