Nothing inspires me to bake more than a rainy Sunday. I love being cooped up inside with the sound of rain tapping on the windows and the smell of baked goods in the air! It's so relaxing and home-y. And in the winter I feel it just adds a layer of comfort and warmth.
I'm all about any type of cookie. You just can't go wrong. But shortbread cookies hold a super special place in my heart. They're basically crunchy yet melt-in-your-mouth butter and I just love that. I use the same base recipe for my shortbread cookies every time but depending on my mood they either stay plain or get flavored. Being that it is winter and citrus fruit is at its prime, the mood struck for me to flavor them with the sweetness of blood orange.
With it being holiday party season, chances are you have have been asked to bring something to a party you've been invited to. Buying something totally pre-made just doesn't seem special enough, yet making something from scratch just seems so time consuming - especially for this time of year when you have gifts to buy and wrap and work to finish up before the actual holiday. The solution? Meet in the middle and bring something semi-homemade!
I originally had planned on making puff pastry for this recipe from scratch. But then I started thinking about the day ahead of me - I had Christmas cards to make, presents to finish crocheting, grocery shopping to do...and not enough time to do all of it! Buying pre-made, frozen puff pastry sheets makes a world of difference in time management! With just a few other ingredients you'll be ready to make THE holiday appetizer people can't stop raving about.
It's always a bittersweet experience to know you are sharing a meal with a friend that you know will be the last for a long while. My good friend Tim is moving all the way to Texas and he requested that I bake for him one last time - how could I say no?! So we looked through ALL of my cookbooks and recipes (yes, I mean all) and he chose a dozen or so recipes he was attracted to. After going through all of them I landed on this sour cream & lemon pudding pie - plenty of sweet to offset the bitterness of saying goodbye!
Everyone at the farewell dinner loved it. To quote our friend Dave upon his first bite, "The feeling I feel right now is overwhelming, like congratulatory. Like when a friend has a baby." Thanks, Dave.
One of the best ways to show appreciation to someone (in my opinion) is to bake for them. Over this last weekend I found myself and friends in Boston for a work event and a coworker was nice enough to let us stay at his home. This was absolutely not necessary on his part, so it only felt right to thank him and his wife with an autumnal baked good (because duh, it's mid-October)!
Cakey. Spicy. Tangy. Chocolatey. I knew exactly what to make - pumpkin cookies with chocolate chips, toasted pecans, and dried cranberries adapted from the Tate's Bake Shop "Baking For Friends" cookbook (aka my personal baking bible).
Entry #1 - Woohoo!
Upon deciding to do this, it was difficult coming up with what should start it off. I mean...the options are endless! Then I figured, "first time blogger, why not first time tart making?"
Now to explain why making a tart popped into my head. Quite simple, really. The night before I had a few coworkers over for a delicious dinner that involved using some rather large pots I seldom touch. Inside one of those large pots I discovered a tart pan! My immediate reaction was to wonder why hadn't I known about this pan's existence in my apartment until now and then very quickly became an exclamation of, "I gotta make a tart now! Duh."
Ali is a Brooklyn based blogger and Certified Health Coach with the Institute of Integrative Nutrition, providing you with recipes to inspire you to cook more at home! She is a firm believer in knowing that eating healthy can be made easy and inexpensive if you simply know how to cook and understands that for the average person there needs to be balance between "healthy" and "unhealthy". Whether you are looking for easy weeknight recipes, delicious snacks, or want to try something new, Ali's recipes are easy to follow at all skill levels! For more info about Ali and her offerings, check out the About page.