Sunday, November 25, 2012


I made this cookies for my coworker's birthday and I loved them so much I made them again for Thanksgiving with Cole's family.  They are super soft and fluffy and are super cinnamon-y, just like a snickerdoodle should be!  I usually make snickerdoodles with box of yellow cake mix, but I decided to try out a new recipe this time and I was not disappointed. Just a note, this recipe makes about 18-20 cookies, so you'll need to double it if you're baking for more than a few people.


What you need:
For the cookies:
1/2 cup softened butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
1/2-1 T cinnamon

For rolling:
2 T sugar
3 tsp cinnamon

What you do:

Cream together the butter, sugar and brown sugar.  Add the egg and vanilla and beat until smooth.  Combine the dry ingredients and add them slowly into the wet ingredients.  Set the dough in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to an hour.  

Once the dough has cooled, preheat the oven to 300*.  Combine the cinnamon and sugar in a small bowl.  Roll the dough into balls a little larger than the size of a walnut (about 2 1/2 T).  Roll the dough balls in the cinnamon sugar mixture.  Bake for 12-13 minutes.  Don't overbake these, they will probably seem undercooked when you remove them from the oven but they will continue to set once you take them out.  If you overbake them they won't be soft and chewy.  And if a snickerdoodle isn't soft and chewy what's really the point in eating them?  That's my philosophy at least.

Christmastime is definitely baking time, at least at my house and these will definitely be making an appearance in my annual Christmas Cookies goody bag I give out every year.  Maybe I'll even leave a few out for Santa on Christmas Eve... if I don't eat them all first. 

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Blogger Book Swap

We take a break for our usually scheduled food post to discuss something equally as exciting: books!  I was catching up on some of my favorite blogs and I saw that Fran was working with Jessica to host an awesome book swap.  Well, I love to read and I love getting things in the mail so I knew this was a swap for me.  I signed up and was paired with Jo from Loving Life in the Fab Lane.  I checked out her blog and Good Reads account and realized that we have very similar tastes in books so I was really excited to see what she sent me, and I was not disappointed!

I absolutely LOVE the Harry Potter series, and I have been wanting to read The Casual Vacancy since it came out.  I actually don't know anyone who has read this so I have no idea what to expect, but I can't wait to spend a few hours this weekend reading this! 

Monday, November 5, 2012

Mini Mondays: A Mini Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is my absolute favorite holiday.  I could probably eat it once a month and never get tired of it.  My family's Thanksgiving is really special because my dad cooks the turkey on a charcoal grill so it doesn't taste like the typical oven roasted turkey (not that there's anything wrong with that).  The flavor that the turkey gets is so amazing, and it's always moist and delicious.  I have become very spoiled by my family's Thanksgiving.  So much so that the one and only year we ever had Thanksgiving at another family's house I was so disappointed and complained so much that the next weekend we had "real" Thanksgiving at our house.  Yes, I know... I'm spoiled.  I even had "Thanksgiving" dinner for my birthday this year.

Also, on our first date, Cole and I talked about Thanksgiving dinner for probably an hour.  The fact that  he asked me out after that is kind of a miracle, right?  I'm just glad I found someone who not only tolerates all of my weird quirks, but actually shares many of them with me.  I am one lucky girl.

So in honor of Thanksgiving, I decided to make a small version for this month's Mini Mondays.  This is something you could make any weekend of the year and get that little Thanksgiving fix.

Mini Thanksgiving

What you need:
Whole chicken
1 bag Pepperidge Farm Herb Seasoned Stuffing (I use the blue bag that has a mixture of white and wheat bread because that's what my mom always uses)
Chicken stock
1 bottle white zinfadel wine
1 yellow onion (diced)
5-6 cloves garlic finely chopped
5 stalks celery, cut into about 1/2 inch half circles
1 lb breakfast sausage
4 T butter
2 cans green beans
1 can cream of mushroom soup (I use reduced fat)
French's French Fried Onions
Vegetable oil
Poultry seasoning

What you do:

Heat 2 T of butter in a large sauce pan.  Saute the garlic, onion and celery until they are soft.  Mix with the stuffing in a large bowl.  Cook the sausage and mix that in with the stuffing as well.  Add in about 3/4 cup of the wine and mix that in.  Then, add in enough chicken stock to make the mixture moist.  You'll use some of this to stuff the chicken, and the rest will cook in the oven in a glass baking dish, covered, at 350* for 30 minutes.

Mmm stuffing.  Although, apparently this is dressing because this wasn't stuffed into the chicken.  Whatever, I call it stuffing anyway and all these southern people I'm surrounded by can look at me weird.  

Roast chicken
Clean the chicken (remove the gizzards, wash off the inside and outside of the chicken and pat it dry).  Rub with a couple tablespoons of vegetable oil.  Season with salt, pepper and poultry seasoning.  Stuff the cavity with the stuffing/dressing.  Add wine into a large baking dish (enough so that there's 2-3 inches of wine in the bottom of the dish).  Add poultry seasoning and thyme to the wine (about 3 T poultry seasoning and 1 T thyme).  Just make sure that the wine is completely covered with a layer of seasoning.  Place a roasting rack in the baking dish and put the chicken on top.  Cook for 1 1/2 to 2 hours at 350*.  Cook uncovered for a nice crispy skin.

As a note, the chicken will take longer to cook than a regular roast chicken because it's stuffed.

Take the drippings from the chicken (that are now mixed with the wine) and pour into a small saucepan.  Add about 1/2 cup chicken stock and cook over medium-high heat until it comes to a boil.  Mix 1 T cornstarch with about 1/2 cup milk and slowly whisk in to the gravy.  Continue to cook the gravy until it has thickened up.

Green Bean Casserole 

Mix the cream of mushroom soup and 3/4 cup milk in a baking dish.  Season with pepper.  Drain the green beans and mix with in with the soup, then stir in about 1/2 cup french fried onions.  Cook uncovered at 350* for 25 minutes, top with about 1/2 cup french fried onions and cook for another 5 minutes.

Mashed Potatoes

Peel and chop 4 medium sized potatoes.  Cover in water and cook over medium heat until the potatoes are soft.  Drain the potatoes and return to the pot.  Add 2 T butter and some milk and whip the potatoes with a handheld mixer.  Add a little amount of milk at first, then slowly add more until your potatoes are at the perfect fluffy consistency.  Season with a little bit of salt.

When I made this, as soon as I took the chicken out of the oven I put the stuffing and green bean casserole in.  The chicken needs to sit for at least 20 minutes before you cut into it anyway to let all the juices settle, otherwise you'll have a really dry chicken (and no one wants that).  I had the potatoes done (but not drained) and sitting on low heat so that I could quickly whip them up when the stuffing and green bean casserole had about 10 minutes left in the oven.  I also put the crescent rolls in the oven  when there was about 13 minutes left for the stuffing and casserole (because that's how long the rolls take to cook).

I will now be cooking my mini version of Thanksgiving dinner probably once a month.  My name is Jennifer, and I have a problem.  Do you think they have a Thanksgiving Addicts Anonymous support group?