White Baked Goods for Specific Ethnicity Gatherings

20141211_164020 - Copy

Italian Wedding Cookies, Russian Tea Cakes, Mexican Wedding Cakes, Swedish Tea Cakes, what do you call the little white snowballish cookies that come around each December? Addictive, that’s what.

57987763

I know that it’s January and we are all mid-cleanse, mid-Whole30, mid-detox, mid-misery, but I promised my sweet friend Mandi that I’d post about these babies and a promise is a promise. Plus, come February, you just might want to make these little drug balls for your Valentine. The recipe is, as always, at the bottom of this post, but I have SO much to talk about first! We haven’t chatted since October. Yeesh. A lot has happened in the past two and a half months. Man, where to start? Well, I got a haircut, like a SUPER bad haircut back in October. I asked for a long bob, something like this:

3c0d76b0e61a7f504335c3a4a1fe3d0e

After 90 minutes, I looked WAY more like this: 1586815645_cf6cb0ee13

The stylist spent an insane amount of time curling my hair under, while my seat was turned away from the mirror. I came home, cried and whipped out my trusty scissors and made the best of the worst. Ridiculous selfie #1:

me

Then, in November, after 37 years on earth, I’ve decided on the tattoo I’d get IF I chose to get a tattoo. But, sho nuff, someone else got it first.   

3559bc5faf15075228023f63e934fab4

So, I may go with my second choice, once my next 37 year font search is over. 

c2442af7e42d09d5a1293059c44d2d8a (1)

Along came December and I fell back in love. Please don’t tell my husband. He actually doesn’t even know I have a blog, so this may wreak a lot of havoc. I’m not permitted to use our home computer. So really, keep quiet.             

I remembered Mr. Darcy 

be5d165e32b5b209cf0204c4c8630f78

And Colin Firth in Love Actually, another favorite holiday movie. 

Love-Actually-Colin-Firth

And I listened over and over to Ed Sheeran’s “Thinking Out Loud”, I’d love to post the video, but it’s so, so Dancing With the Stars cheesy. So, here’s some lyrics instead!

 efe01c85b9e23272c1ca1f5ae01e997c

9cfaa9b6d8a331e9d22c0740742b4a2f

I also did an insane amount of yoga in front of my christmas tree, which did NOTHING to balance out the calories I inhaled. Sweaty yoga selfie? Check! (Ridiculous selfie #2)yoga

Now we are all caught up. Doesn’t it feel good to be up to date with current events? Oh yeah and here’s the recipe for cookies…

 

Italian Wedding Cookies
Yields 80
Little balls of addiction, rolled in powdered sugar.
Write a review
Print
Prep Time
45 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
1 hr 20 min
Prep Time
45 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
1 hr 20 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter
  2. 3/4 cup confectioners' sugar
  3. 3/4 teaspoon salt
  4. 1 1/2 cups finely ground almonds
  5. 4 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  6. 3 cups sifted all-purpose flour
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F
  2. Cream butter or margarine in a bowl, gradually add confectioners' sugar and salt.
  3. Beat until light and fluffy.
  4. Add almonds and vanilla.
  5. Blend in flour gradually and mix well.
  6. Shape into balls (or crescents) using about 1 teaspoon for each cookie.
  7. Place on ungreased cookie sheets, and bake for 15-20 min.
  8. Do not brown. Cool slightly, then roll in the extra confectioners' sugar.
Notes
  1. If you aren't eating all of these immediately, keep in fridge or freezer and re-roll in sugar!
Adapted from Allrecipes.com
Adapted from Allrecipes.com
Food it Forward http://fooditforward.com/

Banana Nut Smoothie

I did something weird. Like, really weird. I made milk out of cashews. Doesn’t that sound like the most unnecessary thing you have ever heard of?

I needed cashew milk to replicate recipes from the new juice spot in town, called Nekter. No utters are involved, no straining either! The hardest part is waiting for the cashews to soak ahead of time, which makes them easier to digest. Apparently unsoaked cashews will give you webbed feet and a slight limp. *Previous statement is not scientifically proven

banananutsmoothie

You can find a recipe worth trying and modifying at Foodilistic. I can’t take a photo yummy enough to give this smoothie all the props it deserves. Dates, nutmeg, cashew milk, bananas…it’s so creamy and perfect for fall.

BUT, I have to stop.

It’s like, really, really not cool to say things like “give props” anymore. It’s right down there at the bottom of the list with, “All that and a bag of chips.” I’ve actually Googled terms such as, “latest slang”, “latest sayings” and researched Urban Dictionary to try to keep up with the language of the cool kids. Alas, I have fallen way, way behind.

The internet tells me I am middle-aged and white. Being 37, I take offense to the middle-aged idea, as that is a good 7 years off, dang it! I can’t exactly argue with the idea of being out of touch though. Yeah, I love to reference movies like Napolean Dynamite and Nacho Libre. Yeah, they are outdated. I can’t help it, I still love them!


 

As for the white girl thing? I don’t think I entirely look the part. In fact, people never really know what ethnicity I am!

A couple months ago, a cranky neighbor was extra pleasant to me, asking me why I moved back. Nope,  we’ve never moved, I told him. He responded in shock, he thought I was his friend who lived her before. I look just like her and talk like her too. Wasn’t I Persian he asked?

(I’m not)

  • When my hair is dark and curly, people speak Spanish to me.
  • When I wore eyeliner, more people speak Spanish.
  • Someone at a restaurant once mentioned I look like I don’t speak English.
  • I don’t stick out in the Jewish crowd, I blend just fine. (With good reason)
  • I once thought I found “my people” at Jy’s cousin’s wedding. Dark eyes and highlighted hair?! That’s me! Alas, I am not Armenian.
  • People find my blog by the search term, “Japanese eye surgery”. No joke.
  • I’ve been asked if I am I Portuguese? No, but my husband is part, does that count?
  • There was the year in the late 90′s when I had black hair and heard more than one person whisper “Doesn’t she….Monica Lewinsky?”

Here is what I actually am:

  1. Russian
  2. German
  3. Polish
  4. Mexican
  5. Spanish
  6. Native American
  7. Something else my mom can’t remember
  8. Something else that we don’t know. Family secrets, shh!

So, yes, plenty of European white-girl stuff, but also a good dose of the Latin stuff and a bit of mystery.

This is from a couple years back, but looking at this picture, what ethnicity would you say I am? Other than tired from staying up all night with a young baby?

cousins2

Me and my cousin April, who totally missed her calling as a catalog model.

Back to my white girl status. There has been a video going around about being a “basic” girl and plenty of memes about being a pumpkin-spice loving white girl. Those totally apply. However, When I say I am a white girl, I mean that I have little to no understanding of pop culture outside of what is highlighted on The Today Show.

For example, I am still Googling the concept of milkshakes bringing boys to the yard. Without the explanations of the internet, I’d still think this is how I get boys to come running:

Hey  boys! I've made shakes and smoothies! Come over here! Come out to the yard!

Hey boys! I’ve made shakes and smoothies! Come over here! Come out to the yard!

I’m on Instagram and follow all kinds of accounts. The other day, this popped up on my IG feed:

bye-felicia-whos-felicia-exactly-bye

Plenty of comments laid out their virtual laughs and I scrolled on. BUT THEN, I saw another.

c6415543c0a09e9cae18fd8485750eef

Ok internet, one point for you. I guess I am white. Who is Felicia? Is she on a reality show? Is she in a Tyler Perry movie?

“Bye Felicia” originated from the movie “Friday” where a crackhead named Felicia used to come and ask Craig (one of the main characters) for random things like if she can borrow his car or use his iron – just random stuff. One day she asked him for some money and he says “Bye Felicia” and when she refuses he says it again with gusto. Ever since then, people have been using it as a way to get rid of people in a funny way when someone does or says something outrageous. - Reddit

Which brings me to the next example,

 
Malia has been playing this song in yoga for a long time and I always figured the words were, “Come get it baby,” just a little slurred. Nope, it’s bae. I think by now everyone knows about bae. But it just bothers me on so many levels. WHY the E at the end? Why not bay or ba? It’s obviously an abbreviation of baby, right? Maybe not. If you are another logophile (word lover, it’s not an illegal act), then you might just love reading more about the controversy over the origin of the term bae at Visual Thesaurus. All the rest of the normal people out there, skip the link and read on about my lacking cultural awareness.

Once upon a time I lived in San Francisco, a couple blocks from the Castro District. I also lived on Treasure Island, half way over the Bay Bridge, between San Francisco and Oakland. I never truly fit in while living in San Francisco, my valley-girl roots just couldn’t be hidden. After a couple years though, I was a little bit city and more in touch with other cultures.

But now, now I live where everything is landscaped. The grocery stores aren’t just clean, they are stocked with over priced boutique items. I live where the CEO’s travel home to after a long day at work. Hence, we are probably one of the poorest family in our surrounding zip codes. But, (yeah, I started a sentence with but), the schools are the best, the parks are amazing, the community is like no other.

What’s the point of all this? I just wanted to really express my new found self-awareness. I am not cool. But no one has called me Felicia, either! So yes, ladies, blend up those pumpkin smoothies, drink down those pumpkin lattes, be basic all you want. I stand in solidarity with you. Let’s be outdated and basic together!
 

 

Cooking Once a Month. Loving the other 29 days.

I tried really hard to take a picture of a lady in some gross sweat pants at the grocery store. They weren’t dirty or shredded, but they had wording on the butt which read, “FYI, I might not be wearing underwear.” It was only on the right booty cheek, which happened to be the same side her sweater was hiked up on. She obviously really, really wanted to have her message read. 

This was so confusing. What did she want me to gather from her information? Was it a warning to not sit where she has sat? Was it an invitation for conversation about society and undergarments? Does she need some money for underwear?

I followed her and snapped a dozen photos, all of which were blurry. Not sure if you really needed to see her pants, it was more of a need to have proof that these pants exist. 

Are you ready for the worst part? It was in a really, really bad font. 

download

Would you like a giant shortcut to dinner? You have two options. One, get really, really rich and hire someone to take care of your meals. Two, sign up for OnceAMonthMeals.com.

It will cost you $10 a month for a basic membership and $16 for premium. You will more than make that up with grocery savings, immediately. There are different monthly menus to choose from and once chosen, the site will compile a few lists for you:

1. A complete shopping list
2. A prep chart
3. Recipe cards
4. Cooking day instructions
5. Labels
6. A thawing sheet, with information for each recipe

The idea of Once A Month Meals is to plan meals, shop for them in one day and spend one day cooking, then freezing all of the meals. That day is not the most relaxing, but it is well worth it.

Onceamonthmeals

It would have made sense for me to take a photo of our freezer last month, when it was full of meals! I’m getting ready for round two of cooking for the month. Because I bought a premium membership, I can swap meals from the suggested menu and choose one of the other 3000+ meals on the site.

As of right now (October 2014), the menus offered are:

  • Traditional
  • Whole Foods (As in healthy, unprocessed foods)
  • Gluten Free, Dairy Free
  • Diet
  • Paleo
  • Kid’s Mini Menu
  • Vegetarian
  • Baby Food

The menus are seasonal and plenty of bonus menus seem to keep popping up, like the pumpkin menu!

Not only is it pretty awesome to have a homemade dinner every night of the week, it’s amazing how much money batch cooking saves. My other, other favorite part? There is usually only one crock pot meal per menu. 

Here is a sampling of what I cooked last month of my mega-cooking day -

Breakfasts:

  • GF Apple Pie Oatmeal Muffins
  • Homemade Cinnamon Rolls
  • Pumpkin Muffins

Lunches:

  • Taco Bowls
  • Lemon Orzo Soup
  • Quinoa Mexican Bowl

Dinners:

  • Perfect Roasted Chicken
  • Autumn Sausage Casserole
  • Crockpot Mongolian Beef
  • Honey Sesame Chicken
  • Mushroom White Wine Chicken

Doesn’t sound bad, does it? Regain your sanity. Stop cooking seven nights a week, that just plain sucks! 

swappable-300x250-logo

 

Biscuits On A Weeknight

What do you think of when I mention the idea of baking biscuits? 

Do you think of the urban legend, “Biscuit Bullet”, where a lady thinks she’s been shot in the head, but it is really the can of biscuits that popped open in her grocery bags and exploded? 

 

Do you think of June Cleaver, Martha Stewart, Betty Crocker or some other middle-aged white woman with a clean apron?
martha

Do you think of Sir Mixx A Lot and his masterpiece, “Buttermilk Biscuits.”

Y’all ready to get busy? (huh huh!)
Now, buttermilk biscuits here we go
Zip the flour roll the dough
Clap your hands and stomp your feet
Move your butt to the funky beat (huh huh)

Buttermilk biscuits (x 3)
(Lord have mercy Mix-A-Lot’s our here rappin’ about biscuits now)

Freak from L.A. to the Carolinas
Dip them suckers in Aunt Jemima
Don’t make a difference what food you make
Use buttermilk biscuits to clean your plate
You eat ‘em in the morn’, you eat ‘em at night
Kentucky Fried Chicken makes the suckers just right
I am eat ‘em with jelly at my favorite deli
Wrapped and sealed by a freak named Shelley (huh huh)

Buttermilk biscuits (x 3)

 If this has all been too much for you and a little break is what you desire. I’d like to offer up a quick video from a master biscuit baker. Ladies and gentlemen, the best of…Mrs. Paula Deen.


 So, what makes these biscuits so wonderful? There is no need for a rolling pin, biscuit cutter or even kneading. You use two bowls, one for dry ingredients and one to whip egg whites. The egg white beating is the hardest part of this recipe and it is only so if you don’t have a mixer. As long as you keep any yolk remnants out of your egg whites, whipping the whites on high for about 2 minutes should change the liquid from foam to a puffy, white substance. Gently folding the eggs is the secret to allowing the biscuits to bake up light and airy. 

Try these, they are awesome. Once again, you can totally believe me. Not like those other freaks who swear the peas porridge in a pot, nine days old is the best way to eat it, sickos. 

peas

weeknight biscuits

 

Weeknight Biscuits
Write a review
Print
Ingredients
  1. 2 c sifted all purpose flour
  2. 1 tsp salt
  3. 3 Tbsp granulated sugar
  4. 4 tsp baking powder
  5. 1/4 c soft butter
  6. 3 large eggs, separated
  7. 1 c whole milk
Instructions
  1. Sift dry ingredients 3 times.
  2. Cut butter into flour mixture.
  3. Beat egg yolks thoroughly and add milk and beat again.
  4. Stir egg yolk mixture into dry mixture gently.
  5. Beat egg Whites until stiff. Fold into batter and blend gently.
  6. Pour into buttered or sprayed muffin tins.
  7. Bake at 400 for 30 minutes.
  8. Check after 15 minutes and turn oven down to 375.
  9. Test with wooden toothpick for doneness.
Food it Forward http://fooditforward.com/

Apple Cake

I’ve told you about Lisa’s awesome apple cake in the past. Yet, I don’t see you making it, so I’m coming back at you with it. This time though, I’m changing something. I’m wondering if you aren’t making apple cake because you haven’t met Lisa in person.  

Maybe you are thinking, “I knew a girl named Lisa in high school and she was the worst. She was the Regina George of our school.”

Or, for you ladies (and gents) of the 80′s, “She was the Heather Chandler of our school.”

Or, for the readers of the 70′s, “She was the Carrie of our school.”

Friends from the 60′s, “She was the Yoko Ono of our school.”

For those who were in high school before the 60′s, “She was the Mary, Queen of Scots of our school.”

So even though I swear that Lisa is super fantastic and makes really, really good food, I’m going to rename Lisa’s Apple Cake to……

Apple Cake. 

Now, I know what you are thinking. 

How does a wordsmith of that caliber NOT have a job working for Hallmark?” Your guess is as good as mine. My first guess is, I’ve never applied for a job at Hallmark. 

You can use red or green apples in this recipe. Even the crappy ones that return home in your kid’s lunch! This isn’t your typical heavy, oil-laden cake. It’s light, airy and just sweet enough. Let me know if you try it. 

Or, I’ll keep writing about it. a la The Shining.

jack

light apple cake

Apple Cake
Serves 12
Write a review
Print
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr 15 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr 15 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 1/2 c. sugar
  2. 4 eggs
  3. 1 1/2 c. flour
  4. 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  5. 1/4 cup pineapple or orange juice
  6. 4-5 large apples, peeled, cored and chopped (large pieces)
  7. For the top - cinnamon, sugar, butter
Instructions
  1. Whisk eggs and sugar, add juice, then dry ingredients and stir until combined. Stir in chopped apples. Pour into greased 13 x 9 pan. Sprinkle top with cinnamon and sugar, and place dabs of butter on top (as much or as little as you want). You can also sprinkle top with chopped walnuts. Bake at 350 for 1 hour.
Food it Forward http://fooditforward.com/