I love eating cookies. I love baking cookies. Most of all I love giving cookies! Whenever I need a gift for someone, I go to Food52. This is how I discovered the CookieBox™. What better gift this holiday than making your own cookie kit in a CookieBox™?!
I discovered this box a few months ago when I needed just the right gift for Strudel’s birthday. She had just finished telling me that before we went to the International Food Blogger Conference in Sacramento, she had made a batch of cookies for her partner to enjoy while she was away for the weekend. As I browsed Food52 I found CookieBox™ and as a result I knew she needed one for her cookie storage.
You might ask, a box just for cookies? I ask, why not?! This isn’t just any old box, it’s a handcrafted pine box made in the US. Not only is there the CookieBox™, there’s the PieBox™ and CakeBox™ too. The leather straps come from right here in Denver! Even better, last month, I entered a giveaway contest on Instagram @piebox and won! Now Strudel has a CookieBox™ and a PieBox™ for all her baking adventures!
With the passing of Thanksgiving, I view this time as when we ease up (though not give up!) on squash so that we can focus more on the peppermint and chocolate. As it’s also gift-giving time (and since I’ll use any excuse to try out a new recipe) I’ve just made these fantastic, refreshingly minty peppermint marshmallows as a holiday gift. Marshmallows alone don’t do anyone much good, so I also whipped up some homemade hot chocolate mix and ka-pow! We’ve got ourselves a thoughtful, easy, and tasty holiday gift.
Please note: making your own marshmallows is pretty fun, even if a little sticky. They taste better than the store-bought variety, plus gives you the added advantage making something that looks fancy without spending the billions of dollars that store-bought artisanal marshmallows usually cost. Adding in flavors – such a peppermint – is a great way to personalize the treats for the season.
Also, I don’t mean to gloss over the hot chocolate mix: it’s a brilliant combination of unsweetened chocolate bar with cocoa powder and sugar (and a few other easy ingredients). It’s a snap to make, and is a wonderful, decadent, chocolaty treat that’s perfect for the season.
I grew up hating gravy. When I met green chili, it was life changing. Seriously. Let me explain. As I went to others houses for thanksgiving in college and later adulthood I realized I had a somewhat unique gravy experience growing up compared to my peers.
My mom, being from the south, always made giblet gravy. It was my job in helping with holiday mealtime prep to pick the meat from the turkey neck. As a kid, gravy was quite possibly the grossest thing I had ever eaten (next to liver that my mom tried to pass off as swiss steak)!
Fast forward to adulthood where living in Colorado, my discovery of an amazing alternative to gravy to slather all over my mashed potatoes and everything else as well, Green Chili.
Every family has it’s own Thanksgiving customs, and one of my family’s traditions comes straight from another family – NPR commentator Susan Stamberg. Every year, Susan tells the story of her mother-in-law’s cranberry relish, and every year, it’s on our Thanksgiving table.
My dad – experimenter of unusual recipes and maker of the relish (and all things Thanksgiving) – started making the relish probably about 30 years ago. Even Susan S. acknowledges it’s a bizarre mix of ingredients. However, the unusual ingredients (and that it’s frozen!) result in a spicy, tangy, sweet, and deeply flavored side dish that holds it own amid the other flavors at the table. Certainly, regular cranberry sauce always has it’s place at our Thanksgiving table (my brother Eric might riot if it didn’t), but this cranberry relish is my favorite.
(FYI I’m very sure that my love of horseradish is partly why I love this cranberry relish so very much)
If you have been reading this blog for a while you know that I love to turn things into cookies. These pecan pie filling cookies might be my best conversion yet and my first pie to cookie conversion. They have the flavor of pecan pie but the soft warm texture of a cake. They go great with a steaming hot cup of coffee.
Wanna try some of my other cookie conversions?
Curious how I even begin to convert recipes? It has a lot to do with my favorite kitchen book by Harold McGee. Being a scientist, I like to understand how each ingredient plays a role in the final product and this book helped me tremendously. It also helped me when I first tinkered with the Science of Cookies.
Halloween is obviously over, but we are NOT done with pumpkins! Clearly, we still have pies ahead of us at Thanksgiving and I firmly believe that we should continue to honor the hearty squash by utilizing it to its fullest potential between now and the end of the season. Combining savory pumpkin with kale, rice, cheese and baking it whole makes a delicious – and dramatic-to-serve-to-guests – fall dish.
As we previously discussed, making Pumpkin Stuffed with Everything Good is an annual event in my house. Dorie Greenspan’s fantastic recipe is very much a include-what-you-like sort of recipe, so I thought I’d post about our go-to method – filled with risotto-like creamy rice, tender kale, onion, and cheese, it’s a delicious and filling way to round out any meal (or, in my case, serve as a vegetarian main dish).
To wrap up squash month on the blog here’s another great baked good using pumpkin! Just like the pumpkin chai bread, these pumpkin blondies are a great way to deliver authentic pumpkin flavor during this pumpkin-y time of year. I felt I had to do something with this squash when a friend gave me 4 of her 50 pie beauties from her garden! Pie pumpkins are so easy to work with because I like to just bake them whole to use for recipes like these pumpkin blondies!
How many ways can you use pumpkin?
With so much fresh pumpkin I also peeled and sliced a fresh one up using half for fried slices in ghee (chips!) and the other slices to make a gratin!
It’s obviously the season of pumpkin, and Streusel and I would be remiss if we didn’t spend some time here on the blog acknowledging the gourd and all it’s greatness. As a pumpkin-enjoyer (vs. pumpkin lover), I set out to make this Pumpkin Chai Bread as a treat that is all about fall flavors, but isn’t a wildly over indulgent (the rest of the holiday season is coming, after all, so there is plenty of time for that!)
Because of my like (but not passionate love) of pumpkin, I’m thoughtful about my pumpkin intake (though serving Dorie Greenspan’s Pumpkin Stuff with Everything Good is an annual event in my house). As a result of these boundaries, I’ve determine that drinking Pumpkin Spice Lattes or, you know, eating pumpkin-flavored breakfast cereals is not a place that my finite pumpkin enjoyment should not be used up on (side note: these scones and these biscuits fall in to the “totally worth it!” category).
Enter this Pumpkin Chai bread: it combines chai flavor that I love with hearty pumpkin in an easy-to-transfer-to-your-mouth bread form.
As an avid follower of The Real Food Dieticians, they recently introduced me to butternut squash noodles from The Veggie Noodle Co. Both the beets and butternut squash noodles were available at my neighborhood Sprouts. I couldn’t resist trying the butternut squash noodles in a stir-fry since I prefer veggie noodles or cauliflower rice to pasta or rice.
Admittedly owning a hand-held spiralizer can be a real chore when spiralizing sweet potatoes or butternut squash! These ready-made noodles make it easy to add color, flavor and nutrients into almost any recipe.
Happy fall, y’all! We’re plunging in to the season with a month of all things squash-ish. As you could tell from the many many many posts, we had an excellent time at IFBC. But, now we’re back home – away from the sponsored lunches and plethora of snack foods – and ready for some healthy eating.
For this month, we’re focusing on squash – I expect it to be a savory month of autumnal treats. My very favorite thing about this blog is sharing it with my pal Streusel, in part because I love being surprised by what she makes each month – especially when she gets creative with bacon (just because I don’t eat the stuff doesn’t mean I don’t like to be a voyuer…). This month is no exception – we both love squash and I’m excited to find new ways to incorporate it in to my dinners.