Friday, December 31, 2010

Goodbye, Twenty-Ten

It's not even 7 and I've been up for more than an hour.  Somehow the cup of joe I poured is already lukewarm.  Amazing how that happens so quickly.  I have a travel mug that says, "I'm a mom--I'll be drinking this cold," which is simply reality in my life.  Anyway, I've accomplished little this morning, but more than most days by this time.  I have:
*Fed my kids (thanks to Justin putting packages of Instant Oatmeal in small bowls w/spoons last night.)
*Made a pot of coffee (we're staying with friends; I usually only get to make 1 cup @ a time--I get A WHOLE POT!!!)
*Contacts are in.  Pigtails are re-done.
*Checked e-mail and read an article on sleep.

Now, I sit here thinking 2 things:

1.  I've been a slacker blogger, but hey!  Between Thanksgiving, the stomach flu, and Christmas, who has time to write blogs?  And seriously, who has time to read them, (right?!)
2.  What did we do in 2010? 

My top 10 (in no particular order):
Bugs slept through the night & turned 1 in April. 
Bee took her first dance class and we made new friends though that.
Vacationed in Mexico with our friends.  Kids stayed with grandparents!
Bugs uses words instead of screaming all the time.
We live close enough to the UofO that we get to go to a lot of athletic events as a family.  The Duck mascot is truly like a superhero in our home.
Ran my first 5k and 4-miler.
Found my favorite date spot in Eugene:  The Vintage.
Justin continues to love his job/ministry; he also led worship at 2 retreats that we all were able to attend.
I continue to teach group exercise classes at the YMCA and Oakway Fitness. 
We planted our first semi-successful garden.

I'm so thankful for my family and friends.  Looking forward to meeting 2011 with my oldest and dearest friend, Rebekah and her husband Hans.  Cafe Lucky Noodle, here I come!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Molasses Spiced Cookies

 So good that Santa might get some this year!

Last year my mom brought me a molasses cookie that her pastor's wife, KeriAnn had made.  It was delicious.  I love a soft molasses cookie and this one is simply perfect.  I asked her for the recipe and she kindly gave it to me.  It was from the New Best Recipe Cookbook, and judging from these cookies, the book may be aptly named.

Anyway, if you have any Christmas festivities left and you want to share something delightful with your family and friends, make these cookies!  The directions sound hard because they are so specific.  But please, you know how to make cookies, right?  Go for it!

And thank you to KA for sharing these DELICIOUS cookies.  You are my hero.

(Hint:  Do NOT eat anything before making these cookies.  Just save up all your calories for consuming these babies.  BTW, don't even try the dough.  Yack!)

Molasses Spiced Cookies
The New Best Recipe Cookbook--Cooks Illustrated

-2 1/4 C (11 1/4 oz) lower-protein unbleached flour, such as Gold Medal or Pillsbury. (I used plain old flour.  Also, they say it's better to weigh, but I didn't.)
-1 t.. baking soda
-1 1/2 t. ground cinnamon
-1 1/2 t ground ginger
-1/2 t. ground cloves
-1/4 t. ground allspice
-1/4 t. finely ground black pepper
-1/4 t. salt
-12 Tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, soft but cool.
-1/3 Cup packed dark brown sugar
-1/3 Cup granulated sugar, plus 1/2 C. for rolling
-1 Large egg yolk
-1 t. vanilla extract
-1/2 Cup light or dark molasses

Wisk flour, baking soda, spices, petter and salt in a medium bowl until thoroughly combined; set aside.

Either by hand or electric mixer, beat the butter with teh brown sugar and the 1/3 cup granulated sugar at med-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Reduce the speed to medium-low and add the yolk and vanilla; increase the speed to medium and beat until incorporated, about 20 seconds. Reduce the speed to medium-low and add the molasses; beat until fully incorporated, about 20 seconds, scrapping the bottom and sides of the bowl once with a rubber spatula. Reduce the speed to the lowest setting, add the flour mixture and beat until just incorporated, about 30 seconds, scraping the bowl once. Give the dough a final stir by hand to ensure that no pockets of flour remain at the bottom. The dough will be soft.

Place the 1/2 C granulated sugar for rolling in a shallow bowl.  Fill a medium bowl halfway with cold tap water. Dip your hands into the water and shake off the excess (this will prevent the dough from sticking to your hands and ensure that the sugar sticks to the dough). Using a tablespoon measure, scoop a heaping tablespoon of dough and roll in between your moistened palms into a ball; drop the ball into the sugar and repeat.

Bake until cookies are browned and still puffy, edges have begun to set, and the centers are still soft. (the cookies will look raw between teh cracks and seem undone), about 10 minutes at 375 degrees.