Life

Please, No More Cookies

Christmas is all done and that means so is all the food. Thank you! This over-sugared baker is looking forward to a new year that has no sprinkles, almond flavored icing or festive cookie cutters. To be honest, I am completely cookie’d out and I do not want to see another cookie until…well, maybe Ground Hog’s day. If I see on more cookie I am going to lose my mind. I swear, I’m still in a sugar-coma. How is it possible to eat so many of these little things? And to top it off, I was the recipient of two cookie gifts from neighbors. It was a lovely thought but everyone in my life knows I bake hundreds of cookies each December and this means I don’t need any cookies. My hips certainly don’t need anymore cookies. Seriously, I am done with cookies.

As I say goodbye to cookie baking I’d like to share a few photos I snapped as I baked my way through December.

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I wasn’t alone during my baking. I had my two little sous chefs watching me and apparently that was an exhausting job.

Susie had a little bed-head action going on when I tried to snap a picture of her sleeping.

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Billy had no action going on.

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There you have it, my life in December pretty much summed up. What does my post-Christmas cookie life look like? Treadmill, egg whites and salad. 🙂

I hope you had a wonderful holiday!

Debra

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Fashion, Fashion Collage

Fashion Collage – Casual December Saturday

Another week has flown by and when I got home last night from work there was a stack of boxes on our front step. My Christmas shopping had arrived. I’d spent last weekend online making purchases and they magically showed up last night already for me to wrap. Having most of my holiday shopping done means that I get to enjoy a lazy weekend. I’ll run my regular errands, I’ll exercise and I’ll work on some blog posts. I may get together with a couple of friends for lunch and for this week’s fashion collage I decided to pull together a look that will inspire me when I go into my closet to get dressed tomorrow morning.

This is the kind of look I’m extremely comfortable in and I love stud earrings. Stud earrings are my go-to earrings on a daily basis because they are so easy to wear and look great regardless of what I’m wearing. I’m dying to pull out my faux fur infinity scarf (yeah, that’s a mouthful) and toss it on with a simple cable sweater.

Casual December Saturday

What are your plans for the weekend? A little holiday baking? Shopping? Or, just hanging around the house?

Fashion

Fashion Collage – Trimming the Tree

There are 19 days to Christmas. 19 days! There’s so much to get done. Shopping. Wrapping. Menu planning. Decorating. Tree trimming. 19 days! Deep breaths. Deep breaths. It’s possible to get it all done without completely stressing out. Right? Maybe if I focus on something I truly love and that is trimming the tree. Whether it’s my tree or a friend’s tree, I love decorating a tree. When I’m doing my own tree I typically am wearing my pjs. Yeah, that’s right. PJs. After I finish decorating I make a cup of hot cocoa and curl up on the sofa with the pups to look at the tree. It’s a perfect afternoon.

Sometimes I’m lucky enough to be invited to a friends house for a tree trimming party. I choose not to wear my pjs to those events. 🙂 Instead, I look for something that is comfortable, causal and fun. Like festive earrings. Then I like to pair a simple sweater, cowl necks feel cozy and I find that they look good on me with a pair of skinny jeans. I typically shy away from decorative holiday sweaters but if I were to wear one I would wear it to trim the tree. My shoe choice is always flats. They’re easy to wear and easy to move around the tree in.

Trimming the Tree

What’s your tree trimming tradition? Is it a family event or do you ask friends to come over to help out? What outfit do you reach for when you’re decorating your tree?

Baking

Cookie Baking Secrets

There’s one thing I know and that is how to bake a cookie. Actually, at this time of the year I usually bake hundreds of cookies and over the years I’ve learned a thing or two. Today, in preparation of the cookie baking season, I’d like to share with you some of my tips.

#1
Chill It Baby
Chill cookie dough for rolled, shaped and dropped cookies. And because your cookie dough is probably large you’ll want to divide it into batches so that you’re always working with chilled dough. If you need to roll your dough for your recipe, be sure to divide into disks, roll, then chill.

#2
Soften Just Right
To cream butter perfectly for your recipe you need to begin with soften butter. Lightly press your index finger into the stick of butter. Your finger should just start to indent the surface. If that occurs, you’re good to go. If you’re butter is too soft it will cause the dough to spread, if it’s too firm it will hinder the creaming process.

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#3
Keep It Uniform
One of the best tools you’ll add to your kitchen will be a cookie scoop. These scoops make cookies perfectly portioned which will result in same size, evenly baked cookies every time.

#4
Timing Is Everything
Don’t forget to set your oven timer and it’s a good idea to set it a couple of minutes earlier than instructed on the recipe because each oven is different. Until you know the exact baking time for that cookie in your oven it doesn’t hurt to take this extra step.

#5
Cold Sheets
Use cold or room temperature cookie sheets for baking. Don’t put cookies on warm or hot sheets because if you do the cookie dough will spread and you won’t get the cookies you are hoping for.

#6
Just A Dusting
Use as little flour as possible when you are rolling out cookie dough. You don’t want a tough cookie.

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#7
Measure, Measure, Measure
Use dry measuring cups not liquid measuring cups when measuring out the dry ingredients for your cookie dough. Be sure to level off your flour with a straight edge utensil.

Simple, quick tips that will make cookie baking so easy. We all have tips in the kitchen and this time of the year we all can appreciate a little help, so what’s your best, favorite, go-to tip for baking?

Fashion Collage

Fashion Collage – Black Friday

Once upon a time, a curious woman decided to venture out on the Friday after Thanksgiving to experience an American tradition. The mall parking lot was full, the mall was packed with shoppers and she was underwhelmed by the sales the retailers offered. Needless to say, she returned home tired, frustrated and cured from ever attempting such a crazy thing ever again. I’ve learned over the years that’s there’s a much better way to spend Black Friday and this year I will not be one of the estimated 140 million shoppers out and about scoring deals. Rather, I’ll be staying home, making brunch, doing a workout followed by some chilling on the sofa (yes, the one day where I enjoy being a couch potato) to curl up with the pups, holiday movies and my stack of magazines to catch up on. Best. Day. Ever.

I found a few things that would definitely jumpstart a workout after the biggest food day of the year. I also think that by making exercise a part of the kickoff to the Christmas season as a way to set yourself up for fitness success through the new year.

A Fit Black Friday

 

How do you spend Black Friday? If you’re one of the Black Friday Shoppers, what’s your strategy to get through the mall without losing your sanity?

Pets, Photography

Look Who Crashed My First Fashion Shoot

I had this bright idea to take some photos for an upcoming post on coats. I selected one coat, got a scarf and set up my tripod. I experimented and quickly came to the conclusion that I am not photogenic and that I am far too critical of myself to be doing this. I mean, there was a long list of flaws I had even before I downloaded the photos. I’m not sure if the photo will ever appear on this blog or if I will make another attempt at selfies for posts. But, my little guy Billy doesn’t have any problem crashing my photo shoot and the little furball is extremely photogenic. He never takes a bad photo. Lucky dog!
 

A big yawn for a little guy.

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Settling in for a nap.

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This photo of me isn’t so bad. Maybe I’ll always shoot with Billy in my arms. 🙂

Me&Billy

 

So, how do you feel about pictures of yourself? Love them? Hate them? Will putting myself in front of the camera more often decrease the self-criticism?

 

 

Friday Five, Holidays

Friday Five – Thanksgiving Edition

Thanksgiving is less than a week away and there are so many things about the holiday I enjoy…no, make that love. Today I’ll share five of those things with you.

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1. Stuffing. Yes, that’s right. I love stuffing and I wait all year to make it and then feast on it. LOL. And it’s awesome the next day. Actually, I think I prefer it on Friday and that’s why there’s always extra made.

2. The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. The parade is a must-watch and has been since I was a kid. Growing up in New York City it was a part of our holiday but I never went to a parade, I just watched it at home (all warm and cozy), then one year while I was working at Macy’s Herald Square in the Cosmetics buying office I was a parade participant. That’s right, I was dancing turkey and Dixie Carter was the celebrity on the float I was assigned it.

3. Christmas carols. With Santa making his appearance at the end of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade Christmas music isn’t too far behind and on Friday I’m all ready for the tunes of the season.

4. Pumpkin pie. Hands down this pie is the centerpiece of my Thanksgiving baking. I usually bake an apple pie and a batch of pumpkin chocolate chips cookies to round out the desserts. (I’m getting seriously hungry right now).

5.The day after Thanksgiving. That’s right, I love that Friday and it’s not because it’s Black Friday (did that once just to have the experience and vowed never, ever to do that again) but because it’s such a peaceful day before the real craziness of December happens. I’ve found that Friday to be laid back and I usually don’t have plans so I can chill for most of the day, watch some holiday movies (thank you Hallmark Channel) and then warm up some leftovers and serve what’s left of the desserts. I love the day after Thanksgiving.

There’s my Friday Fives for Thanksgiving. What’s one or two (or five) things you love about the holiday? And how do you spend the Friday after Thanksgiving?

Happy Friday!

Uncategorized

Snow Day Baking Chic

On Friday we had our first snowfall in Connecticut. Even though it was just a trace of snow, it had me thinking of the snow days to come and how best to spend them. Hands down, the best way to spend a snow day is baking. Cardinals at the bird feeder, snow piling up outside and cookies hot out of the oven with mugs of tea. Those are the things that make for a perfect day.

There are a few things that are a necessity for baking and it’s always nice when those things can be both pretty and practical.

Baking on a snow day

Here was my view Friday morning.

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Do you enjoy baking on a snowy day? What’s your favorite thing to bake?