New Year’s Resolutions!

So it’s getting to be that time again…new year’s resolutions time! I’ve never really been one to make hard and fast goals. I typically just make general goals…to eat better, not go out to dinner as much, take a break when I get stressed, you know…things of that nature. This year, I’m going a different route. I’m making a few of these lofty goals, but I’m also making a few hard, measurable ones. We’ll see how this works out… :) 

So here we go…welcome to kate’s 2012 resolutions list (cue the fireworks & laser light show) 

  1. Try one new group fitness class every month and attend at least one meeting of it each week for that month.
    I’ve tried most of the classes at my gym once but the ones I haven’t immediately liked, I’ve only gone that one time. Making a commitment to try each class for at least a month gives me a better view of it. One try could throw me off – could be a bad day, off day for the instructor, etc. If I hate it, then I’ll at least know I really gave it a shot. If I love it, well…there’s a new class to add to my regimen :)  

  2. Eat better.
    Again, this is one of those lofty ones. But it’s important to put out there. Less sugars and salts (I have more of a problem with the latter). More water. Clean and green, like Karena and Katrina always say. :)   
  3. Write more thank you cards.
    The written thank you is such a lost art. Someone sent me a thank you last year and I was floored. Simple, easy and downright nice. I really think someone needs to bring it back. 

  4. Text/talk/call my best friends at least a few times a week.
    Yes, sometimes we get busy and don’t get a chance. It’s not like our friendship really suffers but at the same time, they are important to me. I want to make the effort to catch up, even if just briefly. :)
    (and yes, this photo is from my superhero themed birthday party. and yes, we consider ourselves adults. and no, if you’re not in this photo, it doesn’t mean you’re getting out of this one…cough. cough. alli. etc. 
  5. Set aside at least 10 minutes to check in with my Tone It Up community every day. 
    My TIU trainers and the women on this team are such a huge part of my life, but with a demanding job, then a change in jobs, a new kitten, remodeling a house, etc. I’ve started to fall short with my checkins and support. These people have been there for me through the thick and thin since I’ve known them and it’s time I step back up to the plate and do more of the same for them. :)

  6. Make at least one recipe out of every cookbook I own. 
    I. Love. Cookbooks. Like, a lot. I love the recipes in them. I love the look of them. I love the food photography in them. I love them. You get it. So, as you can imagine, I have a good amount of them. I’ve never counted but I have at least 2 1/2 shelves worth from our last apartment. Anyway, some of them I just have…I’ve never actually made any of the recipes in them! So I figure, why not use them for what they’re actually for. Tom is going to love this one. 
  7. Read at least one book every month. 
    With both my job and Tom’s jobs being online focused, I’ve come to do way too much staring at a computer screen. I love books when I actually read them, I just need to force myself to do so. I’ll be starting with the awesomely adorable Simon Pegg’s Nerd Do Well. :)
  8. Save money.  
    Yea so I’ve never really been good at this one. But it’s time to man up and stop buying unnecessary cookbooks (see resolution #6 haha) to forget about how much money goes towards taxes and bills. Yes, maybe one absolutely a-MAH-zing cookbook here and there, but this year there will be a lot more “transfer to savings” going on.
     
     
  9. Run the Maryland Double.
    The Maryland Double consists of two half-marathons: the Frederick Half Marathon and the Baltimore Half Marathon. As many of you know, I’m new to running. I run pretty regularly now (although the winter has got me in a slump because I hate treadmills) and I think 2012 should be the year I run my first half marathon. But why stop there (aka my best friend Emma is doing it, so I was peer-pressured into it); if I’m doing one, why not do both! So let the training begin… 
     
  10. Blog more.  
    I enjoy doing this here blogging stuff. 

 

So there you have it. Funny. When I started out, I didn’t realize there would be 10 but I figure that’s as good a number as any. So here I come 2012…get ready. 

COOKIE DAY!!!

One of my favorite new holiday traditions has become Cookie Day! One day, a few weeks before the holidays, a group of us get together and spend about 12 hours (sometimes longer…) baking cookies! HOORAY! 

 

We make about 10 varieties then split each batch between us. It’s great because then we have a great bunch for party trays, office treats, secret home stash, etc. Plus, it gives us a fun day of gossiping and fun! I totally suggest getting together with your family or girlfriends for something like this. I’ve heard some people do cookie swaps, but I’ve found this is so much more fun (probably because I love to cook). Either way, it’s super fun. Try it out. 

This year, we made 11  types of cookies…

  • Butter Horns 
  • Apple Oatmeal Raisin Cookies 
  • Sugar Cookie Macaroon Sandwiches 
  • Cranberry Crumbles 
  • Taylor Swift Crumbles (aka “Cookie Crack” haha) 
  • Butter Cookies
  • Black Bottoms 
  • Snickerdoodles 
  • Bourbon Balls 
  • Pizzelles 
  • Grandma Prisco’s Cookies 

Check out the recipes below & enjoy:

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Butter Horns 

Ingredients:

Dough 

  • 1/2 lb butter (melted)
  • 2 1/2 C flour 
  • 3/4 C sour cream (approx 1/2 pt) 
  • 1 egg yolk 
  • 1/2 C flour (for rolling and shaping) 

Filling 

  • Cinnamon sugar mixture 
  • Preserves
  • Chopped nuts 

Directions: 

  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine all dough ingredients
  2. Divide into 3 even balls of dough and chill in the refrigerator for 4-6 hours
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  3. Preheat oven to 375˚ 
  4. On a clean surface sprinkle flour and roll out dough ball to approx 1/4” thickness
    NOTE: Be sure to flip and rotate dough constantly, adding a sprinkle of flour each time, so it doesn’t stick to your surface  
  5. Sprinkle cinnamon sugar over dough 
  6. With a clean, sharp knife cut horizontal lines across the flattened dough approx 3” apart
  7. Cut each horizontal strip diagonally into triangles (photo) 
  8. On each triangle place 1/4 t of filling – preserves/nuts/etc. 
  9. Roll each triangle, starting with a wide end
  10. On an un-greased cookie sheet, bake for 15 minutes 
    NOTE: It’s normal for some of the jelly to leak out and bubble on the pan 
  11. ENJOY!  

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Apple Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

 
Ingredients:

  •  1 1/2 C quick-cook oats 
  • 3/4 C flour 
  • 3/4 C whole wheat flour 
  • 1/2 C brown sugar 
  • 1 t baking powder
  • 1/4 t baking soda
  • 1/2 t salt 
  • 1 1/2 t cinnamon 
  • 3/4 C raisins
  • 1 C granny smith apples (finely chopped) 
  • 1 egg 
  • 1/2 C honey 
  • 1/2 C oil 
  • 1/3 C milk 

Directions: 

  1. Preheat oven to 375˚ 
  2. In a medium bowl, combine oats, flours, brown sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon 
  3. Stir in raisins and apples 
  4. In a large bowl, combine egg, honey, oil and milk
  5. Stir in dry ingredients and mix to form a smooth batter 
    NOTE: Batter will seem a bit more liquid than it should. If it’s too fluid, feel free to add more flour  
  6. On an un-greased cookie sheet drop rounded dough, approx 1 t in size and bake for 10-12 minutes 
  7. ENJOY! 

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Sugar Cookie Macaroon Sandwiches 

Ingredients

Dough

  • 1 package refrigerated read-to-bake sugar cookie dough (we use Pillsbury)  
  • 3 C sweetened flaked coconut 

Filling

  • 1 bittersweet chocolate baking bar (chopped) 
  • 2 T whipping cream 

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350˚
  2. Cut cookie dough squares into 4 equal pieces 
  3. Roll dough pieces in coconut, shape into balls 
  4. On an un-greased cookie sheet bake dough for 12-13 minutes or until edges are golden 
    NOTE: Coconut will get somewhat brown before dough is done, make sure dough is done before you take them out 
  5. In a small glass bowl, combine chocolate and whipping cream
  6. Microwave on high for 30 seconds 
  7. Spoon melted chocolate into a small zip lock plastic bag and snip a small hole in a corner of the bag
  8. Pipe 1/2-1 t chocolate onto center of cookie bottoms
    NOTE: Make sure you leave half of the cookies to be the tops! 
  9. Top with remaining cookies, pressing gently to adhere
  10. ENJOY! 

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Cranberry Crumbles 

Ingredients: 

  • 1 1/2 C flour 
  • 1/2 C whole wheat flour 
  • 1 C brown sugar 
  • 1 t baking powder 
  • 1/4 t baking soda 
  • 3/4 C shortening 
  • 1 egg 
  • 2 T cranberry OR orange juice 
  • 1 C dried cranberries 
  • 1/2 C slivered almonds 
  • 1/2 t cinnamon

Icing

  • 1 C powdered sugar 
  • 1/2 t orange peel (finely shredded) 
  • 3-4 t orange juice 

Directions: 

  1. Preheat oven to 350˚
  2. In a large bowl, stir flours, brown sugar, baking powder and baking soda
  3. Cut in shortening until mixture resembles fine crumbs 
  4. In another large bowl, combine egg and juice. Stir in flour mixture, cranberries, almonds and cinnamon
  5. On an un-greased cookie sheet, drop dough and bake for 12-14 minutes 
  6. Combine icing ingredients to a drizzling consistency 
  7. After cooling for 5-10 minutes, drizzle icing over tops

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Taylor Swift Crumbles
(AKA “Cookie Crack” – haha yes, people have called it that) 

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 C brown sugar 
  • 1 C butter 
  • 1 box saltine crackers 
  • 1 bag semi-sweet chocolate chips 

Directions: 

  1. Preheat oven to 450˚ 
  2. Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil 
  3. Align saltine crackers side-by-side in the cookie sheet 
  4. In a small pot, melt butter and brown sugar together over medium heat and bring to a boil
  5. Boil for 5-10 minutes until mixture begins to thicken 
  6. Pour mixture onto crackers evenly 
  7. Bake for 2-3 minutes or until bubbling 
    NOTE: Don’t let it burn! 
  8. Sprinkle chocolate chips evenly and let sit for 5 minutes 
  9. Take spatula and spread melted chips evenly to form a chocolate top coating 
  10. Place cookie sheet in refrigerator for several hours 
  11. When the mixture is hardened, break into small bite-sized pieces 
  12. ENJOY! 

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Butter Cookies 

 

Ingredients: 

  • 3 C flour 
  • 1/4 t salt 
  • 1 t baking powder 
  • 1 C butter (melted) 
  • 1 C sugar
  • 2 egg yolks 
  • 1 t vanilla 
  • 6 t low-fat milk 

Directions: 

  1. Preheat oven to 375˚ 
  2. In a large bowl, sift flour, salt and baking powder together 
  3. In a small bowl, mix butter and sugar 
  4. Add butter/sugar mixture to large bowl and add yolks, vanilla and milk 
  5. Use cookie press or shape dough into desired forms 
  6. Bake on an ungreased cookie sheet for 8-9 minutes 
  7. ENJOY!

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Black Bottoms 

Ingredients

Chocolate base 

  • 1 package semi-sweet chocolate chips 
  • 1 1/2 C flour 
  • 1 C sugar 
  • 1/4 C cocoa 
  • 1 t baking soda 
  • 1/2 t salt 
  • 1 C water 
  • 1/2 C oil 
  • 1 t vinegar 
  • 1 t vanilla 

Cream cheese filling

  • 1 pack cream cheese 
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 C sugar 
  • 1/8 t salt 

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350˚ 
  2. In a large bowl, mix flour with sugar, cocoa, baking soda and salt 
  3. Add remaining ingredients and beat for 2 minutes 
  4. For filling, combine all ingredients in medium bowls until well blended then stir in chocolate chips 
  5. Fill mini baking cups with paper liners 
  6. Fill each cup half with chocolate batter then top off with 1 t of cream cheese mixture 
  7. Bake for 15-25 minutes at 350˚

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Snickerdoodles 

Ingredients

  • 1 C shortening 
  • 1 1/2 C sugar 
  • 2 3/4 C flour
  • 2 t creme of tarter 
  • 1 t baking soda 
  • 1/2 t salt 
  • 2 T sugar 
  • 2 t cinnamon 

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375˚ 
  2. In a large bowl, stir together shortening, sugar, flour, creme of tarter, baking soda and salt  
  3. Mix sugar and cinnamon in small bowl 
  4. Roll dough into small balls and roll in sugar mixture 
  5. On an ungreased cookie sheet bake for 8-10 minutes 
  6. ENJOY! 

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Bourbon Balls 

Ingredients

  • 1 bag semisweet chocolate 
  • 60 vanilla wafers
  • 1 C pecans (chopped) 
  • 1 1/2 C sugar 
  • 1/2 bourbon 
  • 1/4 C light corn syrup 

Directions

  1. Melt chocolate 
  2. In a food processor, place vanilla wafers and process until the cookies are very ground 
  3. Add pecans and half the sugar and process several quick pulses to blend 
  4. In a large bowl combine cooled chocolate, wafer mixture, bourbon and corn syrup. Stir thoroughly
  5.  Roll dough into small, 1” balls and place on cookie sheet 
  6. Cool for 30 min – 1 hour, or until well chilled 
  7. In a large shallow bowl, place remaining sugar and roll balls in sugar until well coated 
  8. Place in a metal container with a tight fitting lid for at least 12 hours before serving 
  9. ENJOY!

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Pizzelles 

 

Ingredients

  • 3 eggs
  • 3/4 C sugar 
  • 1/2 C butter (melted) 
  • 1 T vanilla 
  • 1 3/4 C flour 
  • 2 t baking powder 

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl, beat eggs and sugar until thick 
  2. Stir in remaining ingredients and mix until smooth 
  3. Heat pizzelle iron and spray with cooking spray 
  4. Drop about 1 T of batter onto each circle 
    NOTE: You may need to experiment with how much batter to use depending on the size of your iron 
  5. Bake for 20-45 seconds or until steam is no longer coming out of the iron 
    NOTE: You may need to experiment with how long your bake  
  6. Cool completely before storing in an airtight container
  7. ENJOY!  

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Grandma Prisco’s Cookies 

Ingredients:

Dough

  • 6 eggs (3 whole, 3 yolks) 
  • 1 C sugar 
  • 1/2 orange juice 
  • 1/2 C margarine (melted) 
  • 7 t baking powder 
  • 4 C flour (separated 3C and 1C) 

Glaze

  • 5t orange juice 
  • 10 T sugar 

Toppings

  • Sprinkles
  • Coconut 
  • Whatever you want! 

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350˚
  2. Mix eggs, sugar, orange juice, margarine and baking soda
  3. Add 3C flour and mix 
  4. Add 1C flour or enough so dough isn’t sticky 
  5. Roll dough into a large ball and wrap in plastic 
  6. Refrigerate for 1 hour
    ——————————————————————————
  7. Roll dough into small balls 
  8. On an ungreased cookie sheet, bake for 10 minutes or until cookies are brown on the bottom 
  9. In a small pot on medium heat, melt sugar and orange juice to form liquid glaze
  10. Dip cooled cookies in glaze, let excess drip off, then dip in your choice of topping
  11. ENJOY!  

Baltimore’s new Harris Teeter store!

How excited am I for the new Harris Teeter in Baltimore? Exorbitantly

Tonight, the new two-story, 61,000 square-foot store had a preview “Taste of Teeter” event for the neighborhood. My fellow Tone It Up team member, Molly, and I are lucky enough to live within jogging distance and ran to the event – always trying to get in a little fitness! Of course, we weren’t thinking and showed up sweaty and gross to this event where I’m pretty sure ALL of Baltimore was in attendance. Gross. Sorry we’re not sorry. 

After arriving and meeting our other friend Sarah, we wiped off the sweat, walked in and…well…we were immediately overwhelmed. “I’m like a kid in a candy store”, “It’s just….so beautiful”, “I never want to leave”, “It’s like grocery store heaven”…were all heard multiple times. 

And how could you not say that when you walk in and see this amazing beautiful produce…

 

During the Taste of Teeter, the staff was placed around the store showcasing some of their products (e.g. tapenade, blueberry fro yo, etc.) and recipes created by their products (e.g. butternut squash fluff, turkey slaw, etc.). PLUS most of the things they had created had accompanying recipes you could take home. I’m a sucker for recipes. :) 

We explored the entire store and found some of our favorites including Chobani, KIND Bars, Puffins, and more! 

No seriously…we were excited :) 

So what else was cool? They have beautiful refrigerator doors. Yes, you heard me. I’m calling their refrigerator doors beautiful. It’s amazing how much something we take for granted can make such a difference. Go check them out and tell me you’d prefer something else. 

There’s also a 4-story parking garage. Anyone who lives in the city, especially in this neighborhood, has had at least one 45min+ battle with the holy terror some refer to as finding a parking spot. Because the shopping center is in such a small area, I was worried it was going to get packed and leak parking into the neighborhood. BUT then I found out they have this handy dandy parking garage. Nice job. 

The store opens tomorrow, December 7 at 8am. I wish I could go but I might hold off for a few days until I can avoid the new-store crowds. Regular hours will be 6am to 12midnight EVERY DAY. I love it. 

All in all, it’s pretty much my favorite new thing.  

Finding your season

I had some lazy time this weekend and I, in an attempt to stop watching so much tv, I pulled a book from my endless pile of books to read…The Fashion File.

I’ve flipped through this a few times but never really sat down to read it. Written mostly by Janie Bryant, Emmy-winning costume designer for Mad Men, it goes through her costuming process, icons and inspirations, top ten wardrobe pieces, and much more. Also, the illustrations are to die for. :)

In a chapter called “You as a leading Lady”, she goes into finding your seasonal palette. Seasonal palettes apparently actually originated through the teachings of color theorist and Bauhaus artist, Johannes Itten. Very interesting approach to design. I was an art double major in college and although I have the worst memory ever I remember enjoying that section of my art history class.

She goes further into skin tone, eye, and hair color contributing to defining your season. “The best way to determine your complexion’s undertones is to hold a sheet of white paper next to your face in a setting with natural light-and a mirror, of course.” I’m definitely going to try that. 

Meanwhile, Bryant also mentioned this website called www.colormebeautiful.com where you can find your seasonal palette. On this site, you can go to the special seasons section and through a couple hair color questions, they give you a season. I came up as Spring. Hooray!! My favorite season! :)

Not deeply educating information, but definitely interesting. It will definitely be in the back of my mind the next time I go shopping. Which, let’s face it, will be sooner than later…