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The Cookie Size Infographic

The Cookie Size Infographic

I have learned a lot about baking at my catering job with Annette Marcus Catering. I thought I was a good baker. At least, people told me I was a good baker! However once I began baking larger quantities that would be served to groups instead of simply just delved out to friends, there was more techinique involved. Read on for a cookie baking tip. 

Specifically with cookie size. I usually just make my dough and plop it onto a cookie sheet, paying no attention to size or shape. No wonder sometimes I’d be quickly pulling a burnt batch from the oven and other times I’d be twiddling my thumbs as I bumped the timer up- I didn’t realize how recipes call for cookie dough to be shaped in a specific size because that is how time and temperature is determined.

So now I’ve learned – and I created this cookie size infographic to share the knowledge. This is just one valuable cookie baking tip I’ve learned!

Maybe try baking up some of these: Chistmas Cookies Three Ways.

 

cookie size infographic

Vegan Pumpkin Raisin Walnut Bread

Vegan Pumpkin Raisin Walnut Bread

I am alive. Don’t worry!

I know I’ve been on a hiatus for a month, but I promise I’m back! I have been doing a lot of cooking and baking, so there’s been no shortage of recipes. I’ve been keeping up with my orange goals and getting a healthy dose of beta-carotene every day. In fact, I even thought of an awesome title for a food blog, if I ever decide to change away from current “branding.” (I mean, lets face it- I sound like a furniture salesperson, not a food blogger.)

Get ready for this— Orange is the new SNACK! Just like the TV series, ahh such a great pun! (COPYRIGHTED…by me)

Bad jokes aside, here’s a little update on what I’ve been doing the past month, followed by another orange recipe for…

Vegan Pumpkin Raisin Walnut Bread. :)

pumpkin raisin bread

A Month in the Life of Lampnsofa

  • I started 2 new jobs! Okay, actually 3… but I can’t reveal what the third one will be until I actually start it, mid-November, because for me nothing ever actually seems real until it happens.
  • My main job is working as a Marketing and Communications Director for Sauers Consulting and Our Town Magazine. I really love working on the magazine side of things. As Managing Editor I’ve been spending quite a bit of time revamping our website and creating a structured editorial plan. You can read it online monthly here! 
Our latest issue!

Our latest issue!

  • My other job is working as an assistant cook for Annette Marcus Catering. Annette is so talented, she’s been catering for more than 40 years! I love that I come in and put on an apron for work. I’ve gotten to use my creativity to put my own personal spin on some of Annette’s recipes.
One of my creations... coconut snowballs (recipe to come!)

One of my creations… coconut snowballs (recipe to come!)

My first attempt at rolling phyllo dough!

My first attempt at rolling phyllo dough!

A day's work... brownies and cookies for all!

A day’s work… brownies and cookies for all!

  • While catering, my clumsy self SLICED MY FINGER and I had to get 7 stitches! I’ll spare you the gross picture (which I took with my eyes closed because it made me feel nauseous), but basically I sliced a 3 cm section of my right index fingerprint. I am not one to handle blood, so when it happened all I saw was a piece of skin hanging off my finger. I ran my finger under water (bad idea) which felt like someone was burning my fingertip, and after seeing a trail of blood wash down the drain I grabbed some paper towels and booked it to the nearest chair. I always panic when I hurt myself. I thought I cut off my finger, but I was too scared and queasy to look. Luckily right at that moment Annette came home, at which point I needed to lay in a chair and recline because I was getting spotty vision. My back was now drenched with sweat and I was white as a sheet. Annette was brave enough to check my finger and she calmly said, “I think you should go to the Emergency walk-in.” At Wellstreet Urgent Care, I had to soak my finger in an alcohol solution for ten minutes before the doctor gave me two numbing shots to nerve block my whole finger. I walked out with a giant green finger immobilizer on my right index finger! Even though I’m left-handed I never realized how much I used my right hand. It made cooking for the next few days a much slower process. Now the finger is healed, although the skin is still red, and I could fool a forensics team because I have no fingerprint…do they ever “grow” back?
too bad I couldn't have a "green thumb"

too bad I couldn’t have a “green thumb”

  • When Halloween came around, I organized  a costumed scavenger hunt at Highland Runners. Everyone “raced” around the Virginia-Highland neighborhood for an hour and collected raffle tickets at local businesses: Trader Joe’s, a frozen yogurt place, Mellow Mushroom, a local coffee shop, etc. Even though I organized the event, I was not lucky enough to win a raffle prize :(   Still, we had a great turnout!

A great Scavenger Hunt!

  • I busted out my chicken costume for the Phidippides Halloween run hoping the homemade costume would help me win the contest. All contestants had to compete in a “dance-off”… have you ever seen a bunch of runners try to dance?? Its quite the site. I attempted to do “the worm” which helped me make it the top ten, but unfortunately the girl who dressed as “my own date” (part man-part woman) took the prize. It was a pretty creative costume though!

yup, that’s me in the front… chicken costume!

 

Exiting the “dance floor” after attempting the “worm”

 

  • My personal computer crashed on my third day of work. I have a Mac, I thought that didn’t happen! So that’s another excuse for not posting… I just got all my files restored this weekend. However, a handful of Documents are mysteriously gone forever. Any computer people, your expertise is needed!
  • I visited my old Alma Mater- Florida State University for an EPIC win again Miami! I stayed with my old roommate Sarah, and our idea of “pre-gaming” the morning of the game was to make Apple Carrot Ginger Juice with her Breville juicer, then walk to Whole Foods. You can tell we’re really the crazy types.

apple carrot juice

 

so we DID do some real “pregaming”… with hard pumpkin cider from Ace!

  • I went to my fair share of wine tastings in the past month (…okay 2) and found some new favorites. I have the Wine Secretary app for my Galaxy, so now I can keep track with a photo and description of the different wines. I should add that my idea of describing a wine is “sweet, not really dry.” I could be a sommelier. Sexual Chocolate is one of the most flavorful I’ve had, gotta love those blends!

My roommate Emily and I with Desilva (purple hat) and frequent wine-taster Bob at Whole Food’s First Thursday tasting. That was Desilva’s last tasting! He’s moving on :(

at Watershed's wine tasting, with one of my Best Friend's Memo (in white)

at Watershed’s wine tasting, with one of my Best Friend’s Memo (in white)

  • I spent three hours in Sam’s Club waiting for my tire to get repaired, because even though I have “free tires for life” (which comes in handy with how many curbs I run over) I wasn’t a member. I am now proud to say I became a member and will never have to worry about running out of paper products again. To reward myself I bought a 3 pound container of grapes and a 4 pound bag of fresh cranberries. Going crazy!

So its been an interesting month, full of disasters and triumphs! And now after you’ve seen that I wasn’t hoarding recipes for myself, here is my latest vegan bread recipe.

pumpkin raisin bread

 

This recipe is adapted from Healthy Happy Blog... I just added a strudel topping and raisins!

Vegan Pumpkin Raisin Bread

dry:
1 cup oat flour (simply use rolled oats and blend them to a fine powder in a food processor)
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp salt
1 heaping Tbsp baking powder
spices: 3/4 tsp cinnamon + 1/4 tsp ginger+ 1/8 tsp nutmeg + 1/8 tsp allspice

wet:
1 cup almond milk (room temperature, or slightly warm)
3 tsp ground flax seeds (or substitute with chia seeds)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups canned unsweetened pumpkin puree
1/3 cup coconut oil, melted (organic)
3/4 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/4 tsp fresh orange zest
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup chopped pecans

topping:
1/2 cup chopped pecans, tossed with 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 2 tablespoons of maple syrup

* Wet Mix: You want to warm your liquid ingredients so they combine smoothly. If there is a chilled ingredient the coconut oil will solidify making the mixture clumpy. The easy solution is the warm up anything that is chilled, like the almond milk.

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 415 degrees.

2. Make your oat flour by grinding whole rolled oats in a food processor or blender until a fine powder texture is reached.

3. Combine all the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.

4. Combine all wet ingredients in a bender and process for a few minutes on lowest setting. This will help activate the flax seeds as an “egg replacer.”

5. Fold the wet mixture into the dry mixture until a thick, wet batter is formed.

6. Grease your loaf pan very well using coconut oil or coconut oil spray. Pour batter into pan.

7. Make strudel, but don’t add it right away. Add after you reduce heat (20 minutes).

7. Bake at 415 degrees for 20 minutes. Then reduce heat to 395 and bake for an additional 25 minutes. About 40-50 minutes total should be about right. You can check to see if you bread is done by using the toothpick test.

8. Cool for a good 30 minutes before removing from pan. You may be able to slice while the loaf is still warm, however slice carefully since the bread will be delicate. You will notice that the dense pumpkin texture will firm up as it cools and the oats continue to absorb the moisture of the cooling bread.

Sweet Potatoes… Again.

I smell like oranges, cinnamon, clorox, sugar and sweat. 

That sorta sums up my day. This was the first day in who knows how long (okay, two Saturdays ago) that I actually had nothing to do all day! So naturally I woke up at 8:15.

Today was a difficult day for decisions. Even though I had this outline of what I wanted to do: make gifts for friends, bake for friends, clean the house, pack, and go to my Tuesday night run group it took me forever to actually start.

I spent the entire morning at a few different stores, (notably Tuesday Morning) where I just couldn’t decide what I wanted to buy or why I was even there. At noon I finally got home to begin baking.

I don’t want to overwhelm you with recipes so I’ll stick with one for today… but here’s what I ended up baking today:

Peppermint Puppy Chow

Sweet Potato Pecan Butter

Orange Cranberry Coffee Loaves

More Sweet Potatoes just because

Hazelnut Fudge

Sweet Potato Pie (recipe below)

Air Fresheners and Face Scrub (okay not really baking)

Is it obvious that I actually am ADDICTED to sweet potatoes? 

Surprisingly I got everything done! All the baking, the deep clean that the kitchen needed, my gifts are done AND I got to go to my group run.

Highland Runners is an awesome group. We did a nice 5 mile loop, everyone stayed together and there was pizza and beer after! Why wouldn’t you want to train in a group? I see some really good friendships coming out of this! I am really gonna miss the group runs for the next few weeks while I’m home. I worry I may not even train…

I had to leave the socialization early to finish my sweet potato pie. I made a pecan crust because I just hate how soggy refrigerated crusts get. This pie is going to be the highlight of my friend’s ornament exchange party tomorrow night… or at least I hope so!  I’ll take a nice picture of the slice tomorrow for you!

sweet potato pie

SWEET POTATO PIE with PECAN CRUST 

Ingredients

CRUST

3 cups raw pecans
6 tbsp. light brown sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. kosher salt
6 tbsp. butter, cubed

1. Preheat oven to 350° with rack in the middle position. Pulse pecans, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt in food processor until coarsely chopped. Add butter and pulse until mixture is finely ground and holds together like damp sand. Press most of the pecan mixture into deep dish 9″ pie plate, reserving 1/4 cup remaining crumb mixture for topping. Bake 8-10 minutes until lightly colored and fragrant. Set aside until ready to fill.

PIE

  • 2 cups sweet potato, roasted, scooped and mashed
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 maple syrup (or golden syrup)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest (optional)
  • crumbled pecans (to top)
  1. Mix the sweet potatoes, eggs, sugars, vanilla, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and bourbon in a large bowl and pour it into the pie crust.
  2. Place the pecans on top of the sweet potato filling.
  3. Bake in a preheated 375F oven until the pastry id golden brown and the pecan layer is set, about 40-60 minutes.

Flavors of Fall: FOOD OBSESSION

I have a problem.

I. AM. OBSESSED. WITH. FOOD.

Maybe I didn’t tell you?

Let me just tell you what I’ve done today… and it’s only 1pm.

This is only a few of the creations I’ve made this morning

1. Yesterday I made Vanilla Yogurt, but I let it culture overnight… so this morning I had to strain it to get it nice and thiiiick like Greek Yogurt.

2. I needed granola to go with my yogurt, so in the spirit of fall I made Apple Pie Granola and Pumpkin Spice Granola.

3. I went on a bike ride, but needed some quick energy and ran out of Peanut Butter. Using half a container of Planter’s Honey Roasted Peanuts and half a container of Cinnamon Almonds I made Peanut Almond Butter, and added raisins. I smeared this on banapples (baby bananas that taste like apples).

4. I decided I wanted real apples but hated all the effort (hah) of cutting up an apple, so I sliced a ton up and soaked them in a lemon water bath for 10 mins. Then drained them to have Crunchpak apples ready to eat whenever without browning.

5. Since the big knife was out, I cut up our cantaloupe.

6. I decided my apples were too plain so I made a pumpkin fruit dip, using my Greek yogurt and pumpkin.

7. I had been dreaming of the cereal milk you get after you finish eating Cinnamon Toast Crunch, so I made Cinnamon Toast Crunch ice cream and plan to top it with my  homemade applesauce.

…I took a break til dinner.

8. For dinner I cut up a whole pie pumpkin and baked it in the oven. Then used it to make Pumpkin Mac n Cheese.

So I think I went a little overboard…. Don’t worry, I’ll be posting all the recipes within the next few weeks! They’re starting to pile up on me!

This doesn’t take into account all the baking I’ll be doing in the next few days as I cater the desserts for my Grandma’s funeral.

 

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