Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas Cookies

Mr. J and I undertook a time-honored tradition the night before last.  We made Christmas cookies!  And behold, the beauty of our work:

Truly, I am in awe of our skills:

Here are all the goodies:

Ok, seriously, they might not be THAT beautiful (oops), but they taste PERFECTLY delicious.  It took us quite a bit of time to figure out how to actually roll out the dough, cut out the cookies, get them OFF the counter and onto the cookie sheet without the whole thing turning into a nasty mess.  I am truly proud of us!! 

The key is to keep the dough cold, cold, cold.  Flour the heck out of your work surface and the rolling pin and work quickly.  We rolled out the dough straight on our countertops--that seemed to work best.  We first tried a Silpat nonstick (HA!) mat and it was a disaster, FYI.  The other tip we learned was that you have to cut the cookie, pick it up and put it on the sheet right away.  If you cut a bunch of cookies out and try to remove the cookies when you're finished--DISASTER!  I think the dough warms up too much or something--the result is messy, sticky cookies on the countertop.  Ugh. 

Anyway, without further ado, the recipe:

Sugar Cookies
Cream together 1 cup sugar, 1/2 cup butter, 2 eggs and 2 teaspoons of vanilla.
Add 2 cups of flour, 1 teaspoon salt, 4 teaspoons baking powder.
Wrap and chill for AT LEAST 2 hours.
Bake at 375 for 6-8 minutes

Mix powdered sugar, milk and a small dab of butter together to desired consistency, add food coloring!

Happy Decorating!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Smells Delicious

The smell of the Christmas season is one of the most delicious. It's a combination of Christmas trees, hot chocolate, vanilla, gingerbread, cookies, frosting, candy canes, oranges, spices....yum. A quick and easy way to bring this scent into your home is to throw a few spices into a pot, add some water and simmer away on the stove.

My recipe of choice for this simmering spice blend:

A few pieces of orange rind
A few pieces of lemon rind
3-4 cinnamon sticks
2-3 bay leaves
A handful of cloves
A dash of vanilla

Add a few cups of water to the mix and you're on your way.  Remember to watch the pot--the water evaporates off very quickly. And don't worry if you don't have all of the ingredients in your cupboard--just get as close as possible, and it will smell delicious!

'Tis the season!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Merry Christmas

So it will be no surprise to you all that I have been pretty lax about the old blog lately.  It will also not surprise you that one of my New Year's resolutions will be to bring back the blog.  Maybe a few changes will be in store.  Ever since we've moved, lots of things have changed at Casa J, so I want to be sure that my blog reflects my new priorities.  Two students (that's right...I'm one now, too! Told ya things have changed) = no funds for home decor.  Sad face.  But, not to despair.  Outside of my focus on interior design, I also want to focus on what makes a home a home...the people in it, the things we love to do, and, of course.... the food.  Yum.  So, that being said, have a very Merry Christmas, and stay tuned for more from me in 2011!
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