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The sugar cookie.  Yes, you are probably tempted to move way from this site right now, but wait!  I have a compelling argument about the sugar cookie.  Hear me out.

My memory of the sugar cookie is of hard tasteless cookies with weird tasting icing.  Yes, they have always looked beautiful, but when it came to the taste, they were sub-par.  If you do a cookie exchange or are at a dinner party with a cookie tray, I can bet that the decorated sugar cookies are last to go.  People have just eaten too many bad ones.

A few years back, me and Mr. F made a ton of these here cookies and they blew our minds!  We thought, well, they could be fun with all the decorating and stuff.  We tweaked them by rolling out the dough thicker than usual and cooking them shorter than usual.  The end product was a moist, sweet buttery “this is a sugar cookie?” moment.  We brought them to all our dinner parties in fancy tins and we basically had to push them on people, but once they tried them, they reached for another and another.

This year, we made over 100 to hand out to the skaters we coach.  Now, they are Dutch kids and have never really had the traditional Canadian Christmas sugar cookie, so they had no prejudices.  They thought they were “heel lekker!” (ie. very tasty!) 

Come on people, try these out again.  Decorating them is so fun and with the tweaks, eating them is satisfyingly great, too. Your friends will shy away because of bad memories, but is important to be relentless and push them to try one.  Don’t be afraid slip them onto peoples’ plates.  It is all in the name of Christmas spirit. They will thank you for it later.  Bring back the sugar cookie!!

Sugar Cookies – adapted from Piece of Cake @ www.pieceofcakeblog.blogspot.com

2.25 cups all-purpose flour

0.5 tsp baking powder

0.25 tsp salt

0.5 cup butter at room temp

1 cup sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 eggs

In a mixing bowl/standmixer bowl (paddle attachment) or food processor cream the butter.  Add in the vanilla extract and 1 egg at a time.  Mix until combined.  next, add in the dry ingredients until the batter is smooth.  It will be soft.  Turn the batter out onto a piece of plastic wrap, form it into a disk and put int he fridge for at least 1 hour.  This step is actually important here.  I normally want to skip stuff like this, butthe dough will be completely unmanageable until the butter is cold again. 

After the painful cooling off period, pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees fareheit.  Take out half of the dough and rool out on a floured surface.  Make sure there is enough flour since this dough will stick as soon as it starts to warm up.  This is where you want to be careful not to roll it out too thin.  Keep it about 1/3 to 1/2 an inch thick.  Use floured cookie cutter to cut out the shapes and lay flat on a cookie pan lined with parchment paper.  Make sure they are not touching, but you can put them quite close together since they do not spread too much.  Pop them in the oven for about 8-10 minutes or until the edges are slightly turning golden.  Do NOT overcook!!  The combination of too thin and overcooked is the dreaded sugar cookie.  Stear clear of this and you will love these.

Super Simple Glaze – me

This glaze is totally done by feel.  You will see what I mean when you try it.  I won’t give you specific measurements because it is best to test out how thick or thin you want it.

Icing/ powdered sugar (about 1 cup)

milk (2-4 tsp)

a few drops of food colouring

Let the cookies completely cool.  Put the icing sugar into a flat wide mouthed bowl so you can fit the cookies in to dip.  Add the milk one tsp at a time.  Make sure you fully incorporate the milk everytime because it will surprise you how the liquid will desolve the sugar.  If you are adding foor colouring, you may have to add a bit more sugar because the food colouring will add liquid.  You want the glaze to be think enough to coat the cookie but not so thick that you have to spread it on with a fork and not so thin that it all oozes off. 

Take a cookie in your fingers.  Face the right side down and dip int othe glaze.  place on parchement paper or a cooling rack to let some of the glaze seep off and cool.  Decorate with sprinkles immediately so that it will stick.  If you want to draw stuff on, it’s best to wait until the glaze dries for that step.

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So, this baby of ours might come out looking like a plump little tomato.  Remember Violet in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory?  Not only is it one of the best movies of all time (the original, people!), but Violet eats a piece of chewing gum that tastes like blueberry pie and she starts turning into a blueberry.  Her Dad, in the tongue and cheek comedy typical to the lines in the movie, yells, “Voilet, you are turning violet, Violet!”  Here’s the clip.  Similar to Violet, I’m afraid that if our ultrasound was in colour, that our baby would be bright red.  The culprit: tomatoes.

Since the beginning of the pregnancy I have had to avoid some foods because of their smell or look or you know – it is really indescribable.  Aanyways, one thing that I could eat the whole time was tomatoes.  I would eat tomato soup, tomatoes straight up, tomatoes with pasta, tomato sauce and even tomatoes on toast.  The preference for tomatoes has continued and running out of ideas, I remembered this sauce.  Oh Lord, thank you for reminding me of this sauce!

It is very unassuming.  Just one onion, one can of tomatoes and some butter.  The path to the finished product is also easy: throw everything in a pot and simmer.  The ending is glorious!  Truly the tastiest sauce I have ever had.  It, of course, has been talked about all over the food blogosphere, but I am bringing to this site because I love you, my friends, and it could not go unnoticed.

I know the foodie in you is probably already thinking about adding some basil or some cream or some parmesan, but please promise me that you will try it plain first?  The acidity of the tomatoes is dulled by the richness of the butter and the onion gives it a deeper tone.  And by the way, this is a vegetarian dish, sans meat, for all you out there that are trying one meatless night a week. Also, this is way way cheaper than buying the canned sauce and I think way way more tastier.  Give it a try!

Super Tomato Sauce – Marcela Hazan Essentials of Italian Cooking

This will make enough sauce for 4 mains unless you are like me and Mr.F and it will feed you both firsts and seconds.

One big can of tomatoes (800g) or two smaller cans

5 tbsp (70g) butter

1 medium sized onion, peeled and cut in half

salt to taste

about 1 pound pasta

Put all ingredients in a sauce pan and bring up to a boil.  Lower the heat and simmer with the lid off for 45 minutes.  Remove the onion and discard ( Sidebar: once I told Mr. F that I could eat an uncooked onion like an apple.  He’s into eating contests, so I had to declare something that I could beat him in.  That is how much i  like onions, so we eat the onion.)  Serve over pasta and enjoy!  remember to try it straight up first and then feel free to add all those lovely ingredients you want, but maybe you won’t want to….

I will accept thanks before I even start this post.  Why?  Because this is one of the easiest recipes ever!  So fast, so good, so little ingredients.  It is really mind-boggling how good the flavour is.  I must admit, the colours on the plate have something to want, but just roast or steam a bright veg to plate with it and voila, it is redeemed.

So, one of my friends is abstaining from meat and dairy.  I instantly wanted to help.  Recipes started flooding my brain and I kept saying, “no……no……no…..'”  Does everything I make have cheese?  Oh geez.  Then I started remembering a few good ones.  This is one of those good ones.  No milk – only coconut milk.  No meat – only white fish.  Ok, yes, fish is meat, but it is fish.  Isn’t that like a pescatarian or something.  I am not all up on the different types of vegetarians out there, but I think some still eat fish, right?

Anyways, speaking of vegetarianism, a while back, ahem in my first trimester, I could not stand the smell of cooking meat.  I have since been cured of that terrible superpower of smelling, but the idea of eating less meat has lingered.  Was it back in grade school or more recently when I first was intrigued by the whole idea?  I say intrigued because I never even ever considered doing it.  How could an athlete not eat easily found protein?  Yes, I know some manage, but that was my excuse anyways.  Now come to think of it, my new excuse is the baby.  Hmmm, funny how that goes.  Well, I guess I was and still am intrigued because of the ecological footprint idea.  Eat closer to the bottom of the food chain.  Give your gut a cleansing.  Leave the poor animals alone?

 

We recently visited my brother-in-law up in Sweden.  It was amazing and cold and snowy and I heard other Canadians speak English.  It nearly brought tears to my eyes.  Mr. F’s bro is doing a masters in Leadership and Sustainability.  All about how to make our daily lives, businesses, basically the world more sustainable.  He is surrounded by amazingly creative folks and when they all disperse back to their homelands I think they will make a real difference.  My point in all this is – could eating less meat centered diets make a difference too?  So, I challenge you and myself to eating at least one meatless dinner per week.  I’ll help, don’t worry.  Ready, set, go! 

5 Minute Coconut Fish – Ricardo by Ricardo Larrivee

Because there is fish in this meal and I am pumping not eating meat, I checked out the sustainability factor of white fish and found that basa and tilapia are okayed.  Turns out that both of those would be just great in this dinner.   I served this with roasted brussel sprouts (cut off the end and slice in half.  sprinkle with oil and s+p and spread out on a pan in the oven at 350 degrees celcius until they can easily be pierced with a fork).

1-1.5 lbs (675g) of basa or tilapia fillets, cut into cubes

14 oz (398ml) can of coconut milk (I’ve used both light and regular and both work fine)

2 tbsp (30ml) chopped fresh ginger

0.25 tsp (1.25ml) ground coriander

grated zest and juice of 1 lime

salt and pepper

Start by putting some rice on to boil.  Brown rice adds a nutty flavour or jasmine rice is nice and fragrant with this dish.

 In a large skillet or straight sided pan, combine all the ingredients except the lime juice.  Let it come to a boil, reduce heat and then cover and simmer for 5 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper and add the lime juice.

Serve over that rice you prepared along side a nice brightly coloured veg of your choice.  Now wasn’t that easy?!   

Foodlova

I'm an ex-Olympian and I have a serious passion for food. I guess you could call me a food lova! What about you?

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