And More Cookies!

Usually, I take a lot of pictures when Lena and I are baking and decorating cookies, but this time, we were way too busy. Last year, before the vaccine, I baked all the cookies by myself, and it was great that this year was different!

If not for Lena. I won’t have gingerbread cookies

We baked 910 cookies total! As of now, I shipped 14 boxes and gifted six, and I still have plenty of cookies 🙂

New Job And Holiday Season

Today is one week since I started with EDB. People are still reacting to my LinkedIn posts and a job update, and the number of views of the job post is already over 4,000. I am shadowing another consultant working with a client. I see that my skills are needed, and at the same time, I am learning new tools and techniques.

And at the same time, I am still downloading and installing missing software, attending training, and learning how things are done.

The help desk is indeed helpful, but in many cases, it isn’t easy to find out what I should install, who can give me access, whether there is any documentation, etc. Most customer engagements are very short, and we need to work really intensely to deliver results in five business days.

Boris is teaching at night again:). I am putting the final touches on the house Christmas decorations – some decorations have found their places, and some will be donated or discarded. And I told Boris I wouldn’t have time to cook as I did last time, but I actually do :).
And also, it is bitterly cold outside but cozy at home.

Continue reading “New Job And Holiday Season”

A Slightly Dramatic Cookies Decoration

On Monday, we were decorating Christmas cookies in the ODS. It was a very dramatic story. First, since I was coming from home rather than the office, I was somewhat late (I can never calculate the time correctly). What was worse – when I transferred to the Blue line, I saw that I had to wait for 14 minutes until the next train. Unfortunately, the train got delayed even more and then more, and I ended up coming 50 minutes later than I planned.
The next thing I learned was that the oven was broken. It turned out that it was not broken entirely, it’s just that the door was not staying closed, so I had to watch it all the time. I had some baked cookies with me, which I baked at home, so we could start decorating them right away.
The cookies in the oven didn’t turn out very well either. That oven does not bake evenly even on its best days, so even when you use a small baking sheet, the further side is burned, and the from is undercooked, but with the broken door, it was even worse. I destroyed almost the entire first batch!
Then, one of the girls who really wanted to decorate was not there (I knew she had a class, so the fact that I came later left no chances. Many people were not interested and/or wanted to eat undecorated cookies right away 🙂

We ended up making some really nice ones, but I was so frustrated that I didn’t even take pictures! Oh well, next time!

The Start Of The Season

I never started Christmas preparations that early. I hate doing Christmas stuff before Thanksgiving. However, this year, with the global crisis of everything, I had no choice but to start early.

I’ve already bought all the baking supplies and ordered all packaging materials. Christmas cards, holiday stamps, and holiday address labels arrived, and all charitable gifts are purchased and either already arrived or will arrive in the next couple of days.

Today, I packed two charitable gifts, baked the first 133 cookies, and wrote and prepared for mailing the first five international Christmas cards.

Now, I am officially in season!

Christmas Reminder

I wanted to write “the final” Christmas reminder but decided against it :). In any case, I am starting everything earlier this year, because the speed with which the mail is moving is unpredictable.

Not a “final”, but just a reminder of what I’ve posted ten days ago.

Please let me know if you want a Christmas card and/or Christmas cookies from me.No need to reciprocate :).

I’ve got my new Christmas cards and stamps:

And the cookie tins are out:

Recent Baking

I baked a lot during the last several weeks.

One thing which I recently mastered (and I could not believe it was so fast and easy) was a berry cake from one of my Finnish friends. I always loved the cheese-based topping on most of the Finnish pies, and now I know how to make it 🙂

The recipe is here.

Also, at the very end of October, at one-before-last farmer’s market, I spotted rhubarb, which was a miracle. the vendor explained that while they were planting the last greens in the greenhouse, they thought – why not? So I bought a lot, and made a rhubarb-strawberry pie, as I baked several times in early summer.

Also, I made tiramisu several times, because now I know that it’s not really time-consuming, and always turns out great.

Finally, I tried one more recipe: this chocolate pudding. Once again, it was amazingly simple and heavenly delicious.

Now, for the next month, I am going switch entirely to Christmas cookies!

Christmas Cards And Christmas Cookies!

This year, I am starting my Christmas campaign earlier, because the shipping speed is going to be unpredictable.

Like every year, like every Christmas – let me know if you want a Christmas card from me and/or Christmas cookies! If you are in Chicago – please come and help me to bake, and most importantly – decorate! Everything will start soon!!!


Last week, I made tiramisu for the first time in my life, thanks to Jamie Lin and her recipe. Same as with quiche, I thought of tiramisu as something “humans can’t do,” and the only reason I tried this one was s promise of a “lighter version.” It turned out to be lighter in many ways, including the calorie count and the complexity/easiness of making it.

Since it was literally my first time, there were many things I didn’t know about tiramisu, but now that I made it once, I know how to plan and what to buy, and how to fit the making into my schedule. 

The most amazing thing was the straining of the greek yogurt. It was hard to believe that you can thicken it more than it already is, and when I dumped it into the cheesecloth, it didn’t look like it would release any extra water.

I was shocked to find a half-bowl of liquid in the morning! I almost spilled it because I didn’t expect it to be so full!