Monthly Archives: December 2013

Snowy Nights and Red Wine

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I’m finally starting to get in the holiday spirit.  I think it’s all the snow.

Normally, I’m not the biggest fan of snow or of the winter in general. Winter means cold. It means gloomy days with no sun. It means lonely, cold nights. It mean yet another Christmas with no significant other. Also, as far as snow goes, I’m a city girl – snow is not pretty in the city. It is dirty. It gets in the way. It turns into this weird, grey sludge that you can’t even call snow.

However, tonight I gave snow a pass. It’s early enough in the winter that there are no big piles of grey sludge. I have new tires on my car, so the 3 mile drive home wasn’t scary. As I was driving down a street lined with trees and large, old houses covered in twinkle lights with the snow falling all around me, I realized that I wasn’t depressed. I wasn’t gloomy or angry that it was cold and snowing, I was happy.

Of course, my happiness was probably more about having the next two days off work than the pretty snow, but still.

I even bundled up when I got home and took the dog for a log walk through the falling snow. Stella always loves the snow – even when it is dirty. Watching her running around in the snow like a little kid just made me even happier.

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But what made me happiest is the red wine, pizza, and the second season of Scandal waiting for me when I got back in from the cold. As I was brushing off my bright yellow snow boots, I even thought for a second that perhaps – if I had to stay single for the rest of my life – it might not be so bad.

Don’t worry, it was just for a second. Soon enough things will be back to normal and I’ll be crying during Dick’s Sporting Good’s commercials, eating fried chicken, not changing out of my pajamas and wondering why in the world no one wants me.

But tonight, I am enjoying the snow falling outside my window (especially since I don’t have to drive in it to work tomorrow), drinking a glass of wine, only eating two pieces of pizza, and trying to figure out how the villain from Ghost somehow turned into a handsome president.

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Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal Cookies

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I’m trying to get in the holiday spirit, but I’m having a tough time.

I am wearing an ugly Christmas sweater, but that’s the only bit of festivity happening in my apartment right now. My Christmas tree and other decorations are still in storage, my holiday cookie list is sitting untouched on my coffee table, I haven’t bought a single present yet, and it looks like no one is going to be getting a Christmas card from me yet again this year.

I do feel a little bit like Santa Claus though. As in I feel really fat.  My belly is definitely shaking like a bowl full of jelly. I have gained at least 1 million pounds* in the last couple weeks, so I could certainly use a team of reindeer to pull me around in a fancy sleigh (covered and heated of course).

Writing this blog post is step one in Operation Do Something Today. I’ve been especially lazy this week, and although all I want to do today (ok, everyday) is sit on my couch, I know I will feel better with a clean house, a Christmas tree in the corner, and cookies in the oven.

Speaking of cookies, I made these Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal Cookies for Friendsgiving this year, and I’m really excited about them. They started out last year as my attempt at making an “apple pie” cookie.  Then, I decided that with the oatmeal, they were really more like an apple crisp cookie, but now I’ve decided that it’s silly to compare them to any other kind of dessert. They are just a really good apple oatmeal cookie.

These cookies do take a little bit more preparation than most drop cookies, but it’s definitely worth it. You’ll need to brown the butter, chop and toast the walnuts, and of course peel and slice the apple.

Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal Cookies

Ingredients
2 sticks unsalted butter (you will be melting them, so they can be cold)
1 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. white sugar
2 eggs
1 t. vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour
1 t. salt
1 1/2 t. baking soda
1 t. cinnamon
1 c. toasted chopped walnuts
1 large granny smith apple, peeled and chopped
3 c. old fashioned oats

Preparation
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

Brown butter in a sauce pan. The brown butter really enhances the flavor of these cookies. Use a heavy bottomed sauce pan or skillet with a light colored bottom. Melt the butter on medium heat. The butter will start to foam and then it will start to turn an amber color.  The fatty bits will start to separate and go to the bottom of the pan. As the butter browns, these will brown too. Watch it carefully at this point, because it can go from brown to burnt pretty fast. Once the butter is a nice honey brown color, remove it from the heat and let it cool in a glass bowl.

While that is cooling, you can work on the apple and nuts. Turn the oven up to 425 degrees F.  Rinse, peel and chop 1 medium to large Granny Smith apple. Granny Smith apples are tart, so if you use a sweet apple, you’re going to have a much sweeter cookie. Place the walnuts on a cookie sheet and put on the top rack of the oven for about 5-10 minutes until nice an toasty. Let the nuts cool, chop them up and set aside. Make sure to turn the oven back down to 350 degrees.

In the bowl of your stand mixer (or you can use a hand mixer), combine the brown butter and white and brown sugars.  Mix on high for 3 minutes. Add eggs and vanilla and beat for 3 more minutes.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking soda, nutmeg, and cinnamon.

Use a wooden spoon to fold the flour mixture into the wet ingredients.  Stir in walnuts and apples. Stir in oatmeal.

Drop rounded tablespoons of dough on to prepared cookie sheets and bake for 10-12 minutes. Let rest on the baking sheet for 5 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool the rest of the way.

Store in an air tight container – they’ll stay good for about 4 days.

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*  more or less, depending on if you count the bag of combos I am currently snacking on…

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