Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Pizzelles, beautiful pizzelles...

In the interest of continuing to try new things, I am posting a recipe to link up to Mandy's recipe box. Not that trying a recipe is a new thing for me, but posting about it and linking up to another blog is.

These are the prettiest cookies ever. Pizzelles have always been one of my favorite cookies. My son loves them too and calls them "snowflake cookies". My parents have made them every year for Christmas and bought me a pizzelle maker years ago that I love! My dad's pizzelle recipe is perfect...just the right amount of anise. I love anise flavor in my pizzelles but not too much. They are so light and airy that I'm convinced they are only about 10 calories each. I'm not going to look up the actual nutritional information though and burst my bubble!

My dad tried a new recipe and new technique this year. Colored pizzelles. They are simply gorgeous. Based on his recommendation, I used 1/2 vanilla and 1/2 anise as this recipe didn't have any anise (it's a different batter because it needs to be thicker to roll it in the non-pareils). Also, my dad said colored sugar just burns. The multi-colored ones are with the non-pareils and the red and green ones are with sprinkles (they make more "dots" of color versus the lines the non-pareils make).

By the way, on the Woman in White front I am on page 420 out of 602. Making progress. It really is a good suspense novel and I recommend it to anyone looking to read a 600 page book!

On to the recipe for these beauties!

Pizzelle Colorate

Colored Pizzelle
Makes about 4 1/2 dozen
3 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/8 teaspoon salt

12 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 1/4 cups sugar

5 extra-large eggs, at room temperature

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

3  cups multi-colored nonpareils
In a medium bowl sift the flour, baking powder, and salt.
In another bowl, beat the butter and sugar together with an electric mixer. Beat in the eggs one at a time until well blended. Add the vanilla extract. On low speed, blend in the flour mixture a little at a time until well blended. The dough will be soft.
Cover the bowl and chill the dough for at least two hours.
(Note you can make the dough in a food processor, combining the butter and sugar first, then eggs and vanilla and lastly the flour mixture).
Heat a pizzelle maker according to manufacturers directions. If it is non-stick, spray it with a baking spray or lightly brush with vegetable oil.
Pour the nonpareils into a shallow dish.
Using two teaspoons scoop up a spoonful of the dough and using the spoon as a guide, roll the dough in the nonpareils coating it well. Place the dough in the center of the form; if you have a two-form maker, or four-form maker, roll the balls first before putting them on the form.
Close the lid and latch it for a count to 30. Lift the lid and remove the pizzelle with the edge of a fork and place them on cooling racks in single layers to cool completely. For darker colored pizzelle hold for a longer count.
Continue making pizzelle until all the dough is used.
The pizzelle should be thin and have a crisp texture. When completely cool, wrap them in groups of six in plastic wrap and place in airtight containers. Pizzelle can be made ahead and frozen for up to three months.
Linking up here:


Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Tackling a WIWW post!

This is not on my list but, like I've said before, my list is inspiring me to try other things also! I've been taking quick pictures of myself after I've gotten dressed for the day (with my iphone and in a mirror...not the best quality!).

Lindsey, at The Pleated Poppy, started these What I Wore Wednesday (WIWW) posts as a way to keep herself accountable for getting out of yoga pants and t-shirts and trying to look presentable each day. Last year I got in a rut of wearing the same handful of clothes and hardly ever wearing jewelry. My closet and my jewelry box are full of nice things that should really be used. So I've been attempting to do that lately! And taking pictures (which feels kind of funny!). And now I am really stepping out of my comfort zone by posting the pictures and linking them to The Pleated Poppy.

This was just Saturday or Sunday at home, I think. The details: jeans and sweater: don't remember. Shirt: Ann Taylor, gift from hubby. Necklace: Kohl's.

 This was worn to lunch and shopping with a friend. Dress from Marshall's (short sleeve summer one that I added a cardigan to to make it for winter). Cardy from my mother-in-law. Necklace from Kohl's. Belt I've had forever. Black tights from Kohl's. And my favorite black riding boots that you can't see from Victoria's Secret (Colin Stuart) I bought about 3 years ago.
 This was to run errands I think. New brown skinny cords that I love from The Gap. Sweater from Kohl's. Aqua blue cami from Sam's Club. Hair flower headband from CVS. Necklace from my freshman year of high school! Seriously! I got it for the homecoming dance and never got rid of it, which I'm glad because I've worn it a lot this year!
 This picture was taken under horrible lighting by my 8-year-old daughter! This was for a Christmas party at one of my husband's co-workers. Dress, tights and blingy necklace that I love from Kohl's (I just can't resist it when they send you those 30% off coupons!). And my favorite black boots that you can kind of see in this picture!
 Don't look at the man behind the curtain! Or the woman with the hair-drying turban on her head! Seriously...post shower. Around the house on the weekend. Sweater: gift from Lands' End from my mother, shirt from The Gap, jeans I've had forever from Kohl's (they're so comfortable that I gravitate to them even though they're not my most flattering pair!). Necklace from Etsy. It's a cool red tree with a little bird beneath it.
 Christmas errands all over the place. Shirt from Lauren Conrad's line for Kohl's. Same Gap skinnies. Earrings from Target.
 More errands. I swear...there were a lot more actual events this week but it's all blurring in my mind as "errands" so far! But I can tell this wasn't an actual event because I don't have makeup on. I think this was a took-a-shower-later-in-the-day-and-put-this-on-before-the-bus-stop type of thing. Sweater: gift from my MIL. Grey shirt from Old Navy. Turquoise necklace from Kohl's. And same comfy jeans.
 Now this was today so I remember...after a marathon session at the gym, a shower, some phone calls to make, etc this was my "wrapping presents for a gazillion hours" outift and then going to a radio station tour with N's cub scout troop.  Kohl's white sweater, Old Navy black shirt, forget where jeans, necklace from a local boutique.

I don't bother taking a picture of my gym clothes, which I am in every morning, because they are...well...gym clothes. And those pictures would get boring!

Linked to The Pleated Poppy.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

A belly full of mung beans!

Knocked another off the list with mung beans! #17...Eat an ethnic food I've never had before.

I was joined by my good friend Suzanne, who's always up to join me in a new adventure, especially if eating is involved (but try to get her to commit to trying out the gym 2 days a week to get her used to it starting in January and forget it!).

At any rate, we went to quaint little downtown Bethlehem and ate at a restaurant called Alando Kenyan Cuisine. It is operated by Emily, from Kenya. Alando was her grandmother and the food was all based on her grandmother's recipes. She is currently leasing space at the back of The Wired Cafe and has the tables and walls decorated with African art.

We started with African Peanut Soup which had little pieces of sweet potatoes in it. It was very rich and creamy...a cup was too much for either of us, but quite good. Suzanne ordered beef samosas with lime wedges and those were so great! The best thing of all. I ordered Green Gram Grains which was mung beans with a curry and coconut sauce, served with a side of Chapati (flat bread infused with cardamom...yummy!). We also had Bhajia which were thinly sliced potatoes fried with a cilantro butter batter of some sort. Good, but not fantastic. Too fried. My stomach doesn't like really fried food (but strangely, can handle fast food french fries just fine!).

On The Woman in White Front, I am on page 250 or so. 250. Out of 602. 250 out of 602. And did I mention that the font is really, really tiny? And did I mention the book was written in 1860? I am, however, really enjoying it. It's a really good mystery and, apart from being the first mystery book written, was also the first book to be written from all the characters' points of view. It really is a good book. It's just long. Did I mention it has 602 pages? And did I mention that the font is really, really tiny?

The idea of the list has made me more open to try new things...things that aren't even on my list. Little things like taking a shower at the Y, which doesn't sound intimidating but I've never done it. I decided one day to pack up my gym bag with soap, a towel, clothes, and makeup and just do it. And it wasn't that bad. And it saved me time by not having to go home first before I ran my errands. And it cost me $15. I took C's straightener with me because it's smaller and I was only straightening my bangs. I distinctly remember putting it back in my gym bag but then I can't vouch for it's whereabouts. And it's yet to be seen again. So now I owe her a new straightener. And my gym shower cost me $15!

And bigger things like agreeing to sign up for a Lazyman's Triathalon with my crazy British friend Jayne. It started the day after Thanksgiving and goes until Christmas Eve and involves completing 100 bike miles, 25 run miles and 2 swim miles (or in lieu of swimming, 8 hours of aerobics classes). Now while a month to complete those things isn't really that crazy, it's just that the particular month to complete them is always crazy! It will force me to do more exercise this month than I probably would have otherwise. And perhaps, help to negate some of the calories from holiday cookies that I've already started baking (though I have gotten smarter and given away or frozen some so they're not all there waiting for me to eat them. And I do have 3 other willing cookie eaters in the house...though the kids don't eat as much as they should!!).

And silly things like taking pictures of myself after I've gotten dressed for the day to use for a What I Wore Wednesday post (known in the blog world by the bloggers I follow as WIWW). WIWW was started by Lindsey at The Pleated Poppy as a way to encourage people to step it up with their outfit choices. Last year I found myself wearing the same old jeans and sweaters and no jewelery. I have a lot of clothes and jewelery and decided that I should "use what I have" and step it up a bit. I feel better when I think I look good. It's a way of keeping yourself accountable to not get stuck in a clothes rut (if you care about clothes that is. If you don't then this would seem like a silly exercise.). And I'm amazed at how many different outfits I can come up with when I put a little thought into it. I have not reworn outfits (aside from jeans and cords) since I've been doing this which has been since the fall.

So the list is on its way and it's showing its effect on me in other ways also by making me more receptive to all types of new experiences!