Another Cookie Decorating Activity

Last Tuesday, we had a cookie decorating night in the Open Door Shelter. I brought in some cookies which we left undecorated on Sunday (when we ran out of decorating ideas), and also some dough to cut and bake.

That was the third time I organized the cookie decorating in ODS, and it was the best time ever. The youth got so engaged – the staff decided not to pull them out for other activities. Everybody did phenomenally. Some kids were saying they are not good with arts, but I replied with my usual “this is not a test.” At some point, the staff joined us in the kitchen, and I asked – would you like to cut the cookies? And they did and also decorated some.

I am inserting several pictures with their work in progress and the finished cookies. I was amazed both by their creativity and delivery:) I told them they are invited to my house next Christmas to help me decorate 🙂

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Outrageous Double Chocolate Cookies

This is an official name of this recipe from Betty Crocker, and the recipe is indeed mind-blowing in terms of how much chocolate you need! Each time when I am preparing to make a double, I am surprised yet another time :).

Since we live in Grandfather Google times and can always ask him, I will spare you from yet another copy of the same recipe. Instead, I will post a couple of pictures my friend Lena made in process of the cookies creation.

The best thing about melted chocolate is that you can lick the pot 🙂
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Making My Christmas a Happy One

My Christmas is made of a million small things, which can be hardly called traditions – they are too tiny for the word. In any case, I am doing every year, for every Christmas, and which make me feel that the holidays are approaching. 

I buy my tree from the same farmers for something like 17 or 18 years. They know me, I know them. We ask each other, “how are you,” and we mean it:). We were chatting with the owner’s daughter-in-law about how busy we are and how Thanksgiving was late this year, and everything is so compressed… and she said: I know I won’t have time to do everything and I am trying to concentrate on important things. Tomorrow I need to drive to pick up my daughter from the airport, and this is important. I know I won’t have the Christmas tree put up on time, but that’s OK! I can’t even describe how it felt to hear from a person from the Christmas Tree farm such kind of complaint!

Today, I was shipping the first several boxes of cookies, the ones which will travel the longest distance. Because of the train delays, I ended up going to the post office not after work, but before. I was first in line, and a post office clerk was not yet exhausted by demanding customers. So we chatted a little bit. She told me that I only needed to fill in one form per package, not two, and that I can do it online. Then came the usual conversation: yes, I want the most expensive option, yes, I know how much it costs, I do it every year.      – -So — cookies?   

– Yes

One the third box she asked:

-So…these cookies… Did you buy them or did you make them?

-I make them! Every year. And no worries – I know how to pack them so that they won’t break!           

I do, indeed!           

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       

A Little Bit Crazy Baking Saturday Night

Baking was my priority last Saturday, along with twenty other priorities. There were several recipes I wanted to try, besides, my quarterly over cleaning was on my calendar, and I wanted to make sure I bake before that. Well, the latter one is just an excuse :).

First I baked the apple cider donut cake

Also, I baked two kinds of pumpkin muffins. One oil-free and another almost vegan 🙂

Dry Michigan cherries and walnuts added:)

How You Deal with Stress? You Bake!

I think many people can relate to this statement – baking is an excellent way to fight stress. Sometimes, when I am exceptionally stressed, and most often, this happens when I do not have time to do something important, I drop everything and bake. My Finnish friends are my never-ending resource of easy recipes. Remember, I said that I am afraid of complicated recipes with many ingredients? I have a couple of friends who provide me with those. 

I wanted to bake this pie in one of the two days earlier this week before I would head to Madison. And I was planning to bring a result with me. But I was so running out of time, that I didn’t. I felt it being a “non-closed issue.” I loved this recipe from the first sign because I do not consider plums, along with apples and pears, fruit. I put them into a dessert category right away.

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