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Cookie Observations

29 Dec

I’ve been at the same job for almost four years. One of the perks of working in my office is that there are break rooms filled with snacks. The thing that I have been watching over the years is what gets eaten first. With each Peapod delivery – 100% of the time – the fresh fruit goes first and the pop tarts go last.

I’ve developed this hypothesis, given the option people will naturally gravitate toward healthy food choices. I accidentally ran an experiment over the Christmas weekend with some cookies.

For Christmas Eve I made these ‘Moon Cookies.’ I got the recipe from my mom, she’s been making these since we were kids. They’re my brother’s favorite so I try to make a batch for either Christmas or New Year’s Day. I brought these with me to my aunt’s house and at dessert time almost everyone ate one, a couple of people declined and my brother ate two.

Moon cookies

Moon cookies

Ingredients:
2 cups all-purpose flour
½ tsp salt
1 cup butter
5 TBS sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups chopped pecans
Powdered sugar

Step 1
Preheat oven to 350ºF. In a mixing bowl sift flour and salt.
Step 2
In a separate bowl cream butter until light and fluffy. Then work in sugar and vanilla and mix well.
Step 3
Work in flour until combined then add chopped nuts. Roll the dough into small logs and shape into crescents about 2” each and place onto a baking pan.
Step 4
Bake for 10-15 minutes or until cookies start to brown. Cool on the baking sheet for about 5 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack for cooling. Arrange on a platter and dust with powdered sugar.

For Christmas Day I baked ‘Citrus-Kissed Honey Buttons.’ A recipe I found in the December issue of Eating Well Magazine, page 82. The recipe is from Teresa Ralston who was a finalist in their cookie contest. Take note that they’re lower in calories and fat and smaller than the ‘Moon Cookies.’ When I brought them over to my mom’s house she tried one right away and then had my aunt and brother try them before dinner. For my mom, that’s unheard of. There were close to forty cookies and not a single one was left over after dessert time.

Citrus-kissed honey buttons, prebaking

Citrus-kissed honey buttons, prebaking

Citrus-kissed honey buttons

Citrus-kissed honey buttons

Ingredients:
1 ¾ cup all-purpose flour
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp cream of tartar
¼ tsp salt
1 cup granulated sugar
4 TBS unsalted, softened butter
1 large egg
1 TBS honey
1 tsp finely grated orange zest
1 tsp finely grated lemon zest
1 tsp lemon extract

Step 1
Whisk flour, baking soda, cream of tartar and salt in a small bowl.
Step 2
Beat sugar and butter in a mixing bowl with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until lightly fluffy. Add egg, honey, lemon zest, orange zest and lemon extract and beat until blended. Gradually add the flour mixture, beating on low-speed just until combined. Cover and refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes or overnight.
Step 3
Preheat oven to 375ºF. Line 2 large baking sheet with parchment paper or nonstick baking mats.
Step 4
Roll the dough into 36 balls (about 2 level tsps each) with your hands. Place 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets.
Step 5
Bake, one batch at a time, until puffed and beginning to crack, 6-8 minutes. Cool on the baking sheet for two minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Maybe it’s time run some real experiments… stay tuned.

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Think for Yourself

5 Oct

Today I would like to share with you an article that was written in “Marie Claire” titled “The Hunger Diaries: How Health Writers Can Be Putting You at Risk.” Please do take a moment to read the article, my post may not make much sense unless you do.

About a year ago a coworker introduced me to the Carrots ‘n Cake site. I liked the message, the photos and the recipe ideas for me to try at home. As someone who is always on the lookout for healthy recipes and motivation, I found a very inspiring community. I now visit a handful of blogs daily.

There are only a couple of blogs that I actually read and mostly I look at the photos, I happen to think that kale and oats are sexy. 🙂 Anyway, this article was so strange for me to read, it was as though I had gone off to the Twilight Zone. I read the blogs, I attended the Healthy Living Summit and my experience was not the one that was described in this article. The author writes, “At the Chicago Summit, fruit and fat-free yogurt vanished from the catered breakfast buffet; mini croissants and mini muffins languished. ‘We told them not to serve that stuff,’ said Boyle [one of the event organizers] of the carbs.” It actually doesn’t make sense to me why she would call out a comment like this considering that this was a conference for people who want to live healthy lifestyles. Last time I checked butter croissants and muffins that have a shelf life of who-knows-how-long aren’t exactly ‘healthy’ and it has nothing to do with carbs. I did not talk to a single person about cutting carbs the entire day.

I beg the question, why knock down a community of health focused young women? Is there really something so bad that’s happening because a group of women want to eat well, exercise and be fit? This day in age it’s so hard to find people who support each other and celebrate each others’ differences. This community does it so well, that it disappoints me  that a mainstream magazine would publish an article like this especially without leaving its readers without any alternatives.

I digress. I am not actually out to pick apart this article, I would like to promote a dialogue because this article does have me look at things a little differently.

Do any of you remember that Charles Barkley Nike ad from the 90’s, where he says “I am not a role model. I am not paid to be a role model. Parents should be role models…” This is Charles Barkley’s slogan, and he sticks to it. Call him a jerk, call him selfish, call him a genius, call him whatever you want. I see his message as one of responsibility. Do not look to others to blame for your problems, take care of your business in your family and in your community. Teach your kids what’s right and lead by example. Don’t blame other’s for your problems, act true to yourself.

I think this message applies here as well, don’t blame these bloggers for people who have not yet made a commitment to living healthy or don’t know how to think for themselves and take things to extremes. These blogs are not for everyone, and for those who it’s not for have a choice not to read them. Teach yourself to be your own role model, no one needs to look up to any body, be your own hero. That’s what these women are doing.

What do you think? Should these bloggers be responsible for those that want to imitate them, for those that are not responsible for their well-being, for those that are not well? What’s your take on the infamous Charles Barkley slogan, “I am not a role model,” do you think it applies in this case?

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