It’s Not Christmas Without…

Mom’s oatmeal cookies. They are the only cookies that are an absolute must in our house.

I know, I know, mom. Couldn’t leave you out of the flashback pics though.

Admittedly, this week has gotten away from us a little. We haven’t had many home cooked meals and we’ve put our cooking around the world on hold for a few days. Rather we’ve been finishing up our holiday to do list – okay, we started and have almost finished up our holiday to do list. Fortunately I’m taking a day off work today and plan to finish everything up, because for the next three days it’s all about playing with the kids.

Now the one thing we made sure to have time for this week was mom’s oatmeal cookies. These little gems grace our holiday dessert table every year. I don’t know where the recipe originally came from, I just know it’s hands-down my favorite cookie. It’s sweet with a hint of vanilla and practically melts in your mouth. I don’t think it’s Mike’s favorite cookie, but he does ask that I only make them one time a year because he just can’t control himself around them. And the kids…well, they would eat these for every meal of the day if we let them. Continue reading

Going Nuts

Sometimes I wonder if I’m going nuts anyway. It’s been one of those weeks. Work is beyond stressful at the moment, which I’m not used to at this time of year (nor do I really like it). We’ve got holiday parties to attend, the kids’ classroom parties to get ready for, Mike’s wrapping up his semester of teaching (finals to grade!), we have birthdays to celebrate and we’re planning to host Christmas at our house. And speaking of Christmas we haven’t even started shopping yet. Yikes!

So what’s a crazed, stressed out girl to do? Make a dessert – an Uzbek dessert! Miss A and I came across a recipe called Shakarli Bodom (sugar-coated almonds) and instantly knew it was for us. It’s got nuts and it’s loaded with sugar. Continue reading

Spicin’ Things Up

We hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving and a great weekend. We’ve been busy eating leftovers, decorating for the holidays and even squeezing in a trip to the circus. We’ll get back to our stateside cooking adventures and Portugal later this week, but first we thought we’d share this awesome recipe for using up some leftover cranberry sauce and pumpkin puree.

Before we get to our recipe for this Spiced Cobbler, however, we wanted to quickly mention that our Pumpkin & Couscous Rocket Salad was featured over at FoodPornDaily this weekend. It was a wonderful surprise to discover today. I about fell off the couch when I found out. So now that we’re feeling all spicy…

We began our cobbler by chopping six pears. We peeled them this time. 

Then we gathered the leftover cranberry sauce (We recommend using homemade, but the canned variety will work.), the fresh cranberries, brown sugar and a bit of pumpkin pie spice. Continue reading

Iced Apple Stack

We’re busy getting ready for Thanksgiving weekend around here. Fortunately we don’t have too much cooking to do as the big day’s festivities will be at my aunt’s house, but we do have a lot of things going on this weekend. So we’ll keep this short and sweet. We made this dessert a few weeks back for a friend’s fondue party. It’s a kind of apple pastry which we’re calling our Iced Apple Stack. It makes use of the Ice Syrup we ordered over the summer. Again, if you don’t have ice syrup, maple syrup will work just fine.

We started the recipe by boiling some water and sugar. 

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Sweethearts and Sweet Tarts

This past Sunday morning Mike and I were fortunate enough to wake up on our own accord as Nana and Papa had graciously taken the kids on an over-nighter. While I do miss their happy little faces and morning hugs, every now and then it’s pure bliss to wake up to your own internal alarm clock. Mike and I even slept past seven a.m.!

After lying in bed for a while we got up, ate breakfast at a leisurely pace, watched some news, did some reading, made some coffee and then decided to bake together before the kids got home. We put on some classic rock and got down to making our next Portuguese recipe, Pasteis de Nata, or custard tarts.

We started by whisking together a few egg yolks, corn starch, sugar and half & half in a saucepan over medium heat. Many of the recipes called for using either all milk (skim, whole, 2 percent), or a combination of heavy cream and milk. I know some of the professional chefs out there are cringing, but we went for the fat-free half & half just to be a little healthier.  Continue reading

Quest for the Best Banana Bread Gets Bewitched

We have recently seen some banana bread recipes floating about with pumpkin added to the mix. Now while that sounds totally interesting and very Halloween-y, we’re keeping our banana breads on this quest simple and pure.

Our eighth banana bread recipe on this quest came to us from Sally at Bewitching Kitchen. Now for those of you that don’t know Sally, she is an amazing cook and a bread baker extraordinaire. So you can bet we were excited to try this recipe.

Miss A was again at the ready for another banana bread baking adventure. She did a great job mashing the bananas and mixing them together with the buttermilk. 

Continue reading