Saturday, March 28, 2009

Jam Thumbprint Cookies

Rollum loves these bad boys, so this recipe is my attempt at re-creating them. I bought some almond meal at Trader Joe's last week, so I did a google search for "almond meal thumbprint" and this recipe was first on the list, courtesy of a cute little food blog called pinch my salt. I pretty much followed her recipe (which was actually based on another thumbprint cookie recipe), but see below for the changes I made (to flours & extracts). There's as many jam-filled cookie recipes as there are stars in the sky, but this one turned out pretty darn well - really easy, not a lot of ingredients (i had everything on hand except for raspberry jam), and delicious. They're not really the sort of cookies you want to eat right out of the oven & were a lot better the next day.

Jam Thumbprints

1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1/3 cup lightly packed brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup almond meal (trader joe's is way cheaper than bob's red mill)
1/2 cup (or so...) of whatever jam suits your fancy. (i combined about 1/4 cup apricot preserves & 1/4 cup raspberry jam)

1. Using a mixer, cream together butter, sugar, vanilla and almond extract until light and fluffy.
2. Whisk together flours and almond meal, then add to butter mixture and blend well.
3. Shape dough into a log, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
4. Preheat oven to 350.
5. Lightly butter cookie sheet(s) and line with parchment paper. Roll about a teaspoon of dough into a ball & place on cookie sheet. Make an indendation with your thumb in the center of the ball.
6. Bake for 15 minutes or until lightly brown. Cool on wire rack.
7. Fill cookies with jam and enjoy!

Friday, March 20, 2009

gocco baby shower invites

my sister carrie is hosting a baby shower in a few weeks, and i had the opportunity to design and create the invites using my gocco. the mom-to-be likes baby elephants, so i doodled the little dude on the invite. i played around with fonts and was going to use the "boring joined" font for the whole thing (it's the font i used for their names), but it looked better to split it up with the helvetica. the picture doesn't really show the colors too well - i used 4X6 single-panel cards in light blue, light green and a few in white (just in case...) with the dark blue/navy gocco ink. i blurred out pertinent info in case carrie has any stalker-ish ex-boyfriends that happen to visit my blog (ha ha).

Thursday, March 19, 2009

to veg or not to veg

i am debating going vegetarian. i've been a proud meat eater all my life. i love hot dogs and my dad's meatloaf, meatballs, and beef stew. but a few weeks ago, i ate a greasy cheeseburger at rotiers and haven't touched red meat since. i know those burgers are supposed to be greasy - that's what makes them good - but i just felt pretty horrible after i ate it. the past few weeks, i've had a bit of chicken and some turkey sandwiches from subway, but i (think i) could happily leave those behind with no problem. (i'd miss bacon more than i would chicken). so now i'm grappling with the decision: go full-on with vegetarianism, or don't label myself as anything, and if i want an occasional turkey-bacon-avocado sandwich, i'll have one?

kind of related: i'm involved in a "biggest loser" competition at work. it began the first of the year, with official weigh-ins once a month, and i've lost about 10 lbs. For the first time ever, i feel like i'm approaching weight loss in a healthy manner. i've never had an eating disorder or anything, but i've tried the south beach diet several times and it ends up doing more harm than good. i realize i'm not willing to choose to have the will power necessary for maintaining such a strict diet:
do phase one --> lose 6 lbs in a week --> follow diet for a few weeks --> stop diet --> gain it back + some.
now it's different. i've been consistently (well, 90% of the time...) using, entering the foods i eat and the exercise i do/calories i burn. it makes me think twice before eating an oreo every time i pass by the package on the coffee table. BUT, i've also allowed myself to indulge in pizza & sweets, as long as i stay within my calories for the day. it makes me look at the big picture - if i know i'm going out for mexican food for dinner, i'll eat salads and other healthy food that day. or i'll walk on the treadmill for an extra 30 minutes. i've become more aware about just how bad most (restaurant and package) food is, with all the high fructose corn syrup and hydrogenated oils.

last thing i want to do is become preachy though. but i can tell the habits i'm picking up now are the right ones. and the weight loss (as slow as it has been) that has resulted is only an added bonus. i didn't enter the contest at work to win a lot of money (there's monthly $ to be had, as well as the overall grand prize in june). if so, i'd have been on the south beach bus weeks ago, depriving myself of bread and pasta and sorbet. no fun. i'm actually enjoying exercising. now that the weather is nice, i've been taking daily 2 mile walks around my neighborhood. went back to yoga tonight for the first time in weeks (schedule conflicts and that regrettable ingrown toenail kept me from going for awhile).

i'll try to update the blog with my progress over the next couple months. until then, i may post some recipes and stuff...

Thursday, March 12, 2009

almond joy

almonds and almond-related products rule. lately, i've been enjoying:

  • almond milk with my cereal (corn flakes + muesli)
  • trader joe's spicy & tangy almonds (flavored with tabasco sauce and lemon juice. it's weird that i like these so much, because i don't really like the flavor of tabasco. go figure. but these nuts are good.)

i haven't tried almond butter, but i'm sure i'd like it. i'd also like to get some almond flour and try baking with it.

hooray for almonds!