Holiday Work Cheer: Part 1

Stephen has had the honor of working for the United States Trustee over the past two semesters. The staff treated him with such respect and he had such a wonderful time working for the department. He learned a ton and will definitely remember his experience. I wanted Stephen to go out with a bang and say thank you to everyone. Also, holidays are a terrific excuse to bake. Stephen brought to work an assortment of holiday treats and the staff was quite pleased.

UST Holiday Menu

Annie’s Special Cookies (M&Ms, Pretzels, and Whopper Cookies)
Oatmeal Cookies with white cholcoate chips and dried cranberries
Homemade Peanut Butter Cups

Recipes

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Annie’s Special Cookies (M&Ms, Pretzels, and Whopper Cookies)

(adapted from myrecipes.com)

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • teaspoon salt
  • 2 cup chopped salted pretzel sticks
  • 1 cup milk chocolate M &Ms (I used the Christmas color ones to add a festive touch!)
  • 1/2 cup of whoppers (they grind up while being mixed)
  • Cooking spray or parchment paper

Directions:

  1. 1. Preheat oven to 350°. Beat butter and sugars at medium speed with a heavy-duty electric stand mixer until creamy. Add eggs and 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla, beating until blended.
  2. 2. Combine flour, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl; gradually add to butter mixture, beating just until blended. Beat M&Ms, pretzel sticks, and whoppers just until combined. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto parchment paper-lined baking sheets.
  3. 3. Bake at 350° for 10 to 14 minutes or until desired degree of doneness. Remove to wire racks, and cool completely (about 15 minutes).

Oatmeal Cookies with white chocolate chips and dried cranberries

(adapted from Smittenkitten)

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 2/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup (95 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • 1 1/2 cups rolled oats
  • 3/4 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°F.

In a large bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar, egg and vanilla until smooth. In a separate bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt together. Stir this into the butter/sugar mixture. Stir in the oats, cranberries, and chips.

The dough needs to be chilled before baking it. If you do not have a lot of time you can pop the dough into the freezer. If you are going to use the freezer, scoop the dough onto the baking sheets first.

The cookies should be two inches apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake them for 10 to 12 minutes taking them out when golden at the edges but still a little undercooked-looking on top. Let them sit on the hot baking sheet for five minutes before transferring them to a rack to cool.

Homemade Peanut Butter Cups

http://www.fifteenspatulas.com/homemade-peanut-butter-cups/

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I am not the best at presentation. Personally I have little patience and am not the best at taking my time to make things look great. In my world if it tastes great who cares if its not perfect. However, I do enjoy presentation… just isn’t my forte. I wanted Stephen to be able to easily transport the goods and excite the crowd with a bit of a presentation. I journeyed to Target (where I have spent TOO much of my time as of late) to try and find a tin to send the cookies in. Much to my dismay, the tins were tiny and $5.00! Talk about exploiting the Christmas spirit. They also had a disposable baskest but I wasn’t sure how large it was and for the price I didn’t want to risk it. After wandering the isles for some time I finally figured out a cute, cheap and easy solution… gift boxes! Target has holiday themed gift boxes for $2.50. I was able to buy two boxes and fit all of the goods with extra room.

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Vegetarian Holidays

I love the holidays! Let’s be real, I love the holidays because I LOVE cooking! The holidays are like the super bowl for me. This past week we had the in laws in town for Thanksgiving. Despite only having four people at our dinner table, I prepared enough food for 8 (or 10 :)).  I used pinterest to help me put my menu together and the results were a hit. I have compiled our menu here. Heck, I might make most of this again for Christmas. I believe vegetarians need to stick together and share all of the resources we can! *Most of these can be made vegan with Earth Balance.

Final Menu:

Main Course

Seitan Roulade with Chestnut Stuffing
Mushroom Gravy
Shiitake Mushroom and Greens Beans
Hazelnut infused butter with brussel sprouts
Rosemary and parmesan biscuits
Cranberry stuffing
Roasted butternut squash with rosemary and gargonzola
Mashed Potatoes
Cranberry Sauce

Dessert

Pumpkin Pie
Apple Pie Crumble
Chocolate Pie

*Please note there is Turkey in this picture. Also note, I wasn’t super excited.

Seitan Roulade

Unlike years past I wanted to make a hearty meat substitute for Stephen and I. Last year I spotted Vegan Yum Yum’s Seitan Roulade , however I was always a little nervous to actually make them. This year I mustered enough courage and prepared this delightful dish. I am quite pleased with the results. The roulade is hearty, warm, and delicious. We also had the recommended mushroom gravy on Vegan Yum Yum. So delicious!

Side Dishes

Biscuts:  http://www.skinnytaste.com/2011/11/easy-rosemary-garlic-parmesan-biscuits.html

Butternut Squash: http://www.kalynskitchen.com/2009/11/recipe-for-roasted-butternut-squash.html

Brussel Sprouts: http://cookandbemerry.com/brussels-sprouts-with-hazelnut-butter/

Green Beans: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Green-Beans-with-Shiitake-Mushrooms-105815

Cranberry sauce and Mashed Potatoes- pretty standard and classic …

Cranberry Stuffing- Whole Food 365 Organic

Desserts:

Apple Pie Crumble http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/apple-crumble-pie/detail.aspx

Pumpkin Pie http://www.myrecipes.com/special-diet/diabetic-recipes/diabetic-desserts-00420000001200/page6.html

Chocolate Pie= Stephen’s Mom’s secret recipe.

Bon Apetit