Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Almond Cookies



Our trip to the New England states this Fall seems forever ago.

Forrrrr-evah!

While we were in Vermont, we went to Dartmouth College and King Arthur Flour Company.

I'm not really sure which I liked better . . .

but if my boy cherub decided to go to Dartmouth,

I would NOT be disappointed!

Those two amazing institutions are just minutes away from each other.

M.I.N.U.T.E.S!

As we were shopping, a sweet sales clerk recommended the almond cookies they had just replenished.

She said they were her favorite, ever!

We bought our one package to take with us.

We were sad.

We wished we had bought more packages.

Because we loved them!

One reason we love them is that it's something different.

Don't get me wrong,

I love chocolate chip cookies.

And peanut butter cookies.

And oatmeal cookies too.

But this one . . . .it's different and I like different!

If you're an almond lover, then give this a try.

They're wonderful!

Almond Cookies
(very slightly adapted from King Arthur Flour)

10 ounces almond paste*
1 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
2 large egg whites, lightly beaten
1/8-1/4 tsp.  bitter almond oil (or almond extract)*
Confectioners' sugar or glazing sugar, for topping

Preheat the oven to 325°F. 

With a mixer or stand mixer, blend the almond paste, sugar, and salt until the mixture becomes uniformly crumbly.

Add the egg whites gradually, while mixing, to make a smooth paste.

Stir in the flavorings.
  
Scoop the dough by heaping tablespoons onto cookie sheets lined with a silpat or parchment paper. 

 Sprinkle the cookies heavily with confectioners' sugar, then use three fingers to press an indentation into the center of each cookie. 

 Bake the cookies for 20 to 25 minutes, until they're brown around the edges. Remove them from the oven, and let them cool completely on the pan.

*Almond paste from King Arthur can be purchased in a 10 ounce can.  The almond paste I purchase is in an 8 ounce can . . . so I buy 2 cans and use 10 ounces; saving the unused portion.  But actually, while I haven't tried it, you would probably be OK with just using 8 ounces.

*Almond can be very strong -- I would add the flavoring cautiously, as you can't take anything out if it's too much for your preference.



Thursday, December 11, 2014

Plum Chicken


Oh my word!

How do the days between Thanksgiving and Christmas seem like a never-ending roller coaster that's out of control?

Serious!

I need to get in control of this!

During these holiday weeks, if my family gets dinner, we're lucky.

I'm not talking balance.

Or even including a vegetable!

I'm talking, if there's something that resembles a meal, there's  no complaining!

We don't go and grab when it's hectic.

It's still easier and far cheaper for me to fix something at home.

The other night, I made this for me and the cherubs because the Mr. wasn't at home.

It was so good that I made it again, two nights later!

It is so forgiving!

Since being gluten free, there are some things we miss.

Chinese food is one of them!

This filled the void!

Plum Chicken

Chicken breasts, cubed
salt
pepper
garlic powder
corn starch
2-3 egg whites, whisked
oil
plum jelly
sriracha sauce

For the 4 of us, I used 3 chicken breasts.

Take the cubed chicken breasts and season with a bit of salt, pepper, and garlic powder.

Place whisked egg whites in a shallow bowl.  Number of egg whites depends on how large the eggs are!

Place 1/4 cup of corn starch in a shallow bowl or plate.

Dip the chicken cubes in the egg wash, then toss in the corn starch.

Place on a plate.

Heat oil in the bottom of a skillet.  You'll want more oil than if sauteing, but I didn't deep fry the nuggets.  I wasn't up for that . . . the Mr. wasn't home to clean up after me!

While not over crowding the pan, place a portion of the nuggets in the hot pan. Cook thoroughly, turning the chicken to brown on all sides.

Remove from the pan and keep warm on a plate.

Mix the plum jelly with a wee bit of sriracha sauce.  I used about 4 heaping table spoons of jelly with about 1 tsp. of sriracha sauce.  My girl cherub can't do much heat.

Place the cooked nuggets in a bowl and pour the sauce over the nuggets, tossing until coated.

Serve with cooked rice;  . . . and that's only if you have time!


Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Hot Spiced Cider for One



It's cold outside,

and I'm a little chilly.

I have a headache,

and I have no voice.

It's the holiday season . . .

My Mr. had me meet him outside of Costco.

He bought me 2 gallons of apple juice.

T.W.O. whole gallons!

That's a lot of apple juice!

He thought it would be great for my throat.

What can I say -- I have a thoughtful man!

I can tell you what would actually be good for my throat . . .

about 3 days of nothing to do,

locked up in my house!

THAT would bring healing, I think!

But since that isn't going to happen,

I think I'll do something with my two gallons of apple juice,

to help soothe me very sore throat.

I made a cup of hot spiced cider for one!

Single Serve Hot Spiced Cider

1 cup apple juice
4 whole cloves
2 allspice berries
1/8 tsp. ground cinnamon OR 1 cinnamon stick*
1 tsp. brown sugar
a WEE little, entsy, tensy bit of orange flavoring

In a microwave safe mug, add the juice, spices, and sugar.  Heat for 2 minutes.

Remove from microwave, stirring in the WEE little, entsy, tensy bit of orange flavoring.  Stir thoroughly . . .especially if you used the ground cinnamon rather than the cinnamon stick!  That cinnamon is difficult to dissolve!

Let the spices steep as the cider cools to a tolerable temperature for your tongue!  Remove the cloves, allspice berries, and stick cinnamon, if used, before enjoying!  Otherwise, it's a bit bothersome!



*A cinnamon stick would be much better . . . the ground cinnamon doesn't really dissolve that well.  It eventually settles on the bottom of the cup.  

**These amounts were based on my personal preference . . .you adjust as it suites your fancy!