Why have pumpkin spice when you have rosemary?

It’s been an a few months since I have wrote anything – but better late than never? A few weeks ago we got invited to a cookie swap at a friends house. Apparently, in my fragile mindset due to the holidays, I latched on the idea of baking the perfect cookie. I like to say I developed a new interest, others may say either obsessed, fixated or possibly even became addicted to perfecting the ultimate holiday cookie.

Thankfully I did. You are welcome.

Reader’s digest – I blended a bunch of recipes to create a rosemary butter cookie sandwich with cranberry filling, drizzled with white chocolate. It’s amazing and the recipe is below. Scroll to get to the goods.

Now I am not a big baker – or I should say wasn’t until recently. Baking to me was always a little too scienc-y. I find it hard to cut corners. Why bake at 300 for 25 minutes when I could do it at 450 for 10? That’s pretty much why I don’t use the oven beyond broil or warming things up.

After two weeks of knowing I wanted to create a master-cookie, I decided on using rosemary as my main ingredient.  Hours of googling later, I finalized with a butter cookie that I could sweeten up with a cranberry filling. The white chocolate was to deepen the sweet and saltiness of the butter cookie – and also, why not!?

While I know I don’t have have much holiday joy, as my sister inherited all those genes, but for some reason this cookie make me feel pretty cheerful. They even subtly display red and a dash of green. Thankfully it’s so subtly christmas-y that you can eat them all year. Which you will. #whole30 #healthy… Jk (not even close!).

Okay, enough typing, here it is.

NOTE: As of 12/18/2017, this is just the rough draft. I’ll be updating this as I do it once more this year.

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Rosemary Butter Cookies with Cranberry Filling and White Chocolate Drizzle – First Draft.

Ingredients: Makes around 40 sandwich cookies (cut in half for less).

– 2 Cup Unsalted Butter At Room Temperature
I did use 2 tablespoons of salted butter that I had melted 1 tablespoon of the fresh rosemary in for 10 minutes on low (not to cook, just release the oils) then let cool off.
– 1 Cup Sugar
– 2 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
– 1 Teaspoon Salt (I used fine ground himalayan sea salt)
– 3.5 Cups All-purpose Flour
– 4 Tablespoons Finely Chopped Fresh Rosemary (including the 1 tablespoon you let soak in butter).
– I used a small 2 inch circular cookie cutter

Cranberry Filling

–  two packages of dried organic cranberries
– 1.5 cups of sugar
– 2 cups of water
– Emulsifier to blend in the saucepan (or something to squish the cranberries).

White Chocolate Drizzle
– 1 cup White chocolate pieces
– 1 tablespoon ghee or butter

– Cook 2 tablespoons of salted butter on low with one tablespoon of the fresh rosemary to more of the rosemary oil. *optional*
– Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
– In a bowl, beat together the 2 cups of butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
– Add the vanilla and blend, and continue beating for 3 to 4 more minutes.
– Add the salt, chopped rosemary, and flour, and mix just until combined. I used a hand mixer until it was a bunch of small crumbly pieces, then mixed the rest with a wooden spoon to get it to clump as one.
– Take pieces of the dough and roll out with a 3/4 inch roller or to the thickness you like. use the cookie cutter. The thinner the better since you will be sandwiching them – however you don’t want to go to thin since you will be cutting out a circle in one part of the cookie.
– During this step, when you are rolling and cutting, use a ton of flour. Get it everywhere – on the board, on the rolling pin, on your hands, on the dog – seriously, without it your dough will stick because of all the butter. Keep flour-ing it all the time if you notice the dough getting oily.
– Place the cut cookies onto parchment covered baking sheets. On half of the cookies, take a small cap or circular object to dress down in the middle. You will carefully pop this out after they are out of the oven. They don’t expand too much, so you can put them relatively close together.
– Bake for about 25 minutes, or just until the cookies begin to brown on the bottom.
– Once the cookies are done – place on cookie rack to cool off. Repeat with other cookies until done.
–  For the pieces that have holes cut in the middle, gently pop those out once they are cooking. The best way is to put the cookie in your hand, then press down gently – you want pressure on all parts of the cookie so it doesn’t break. They are made of butter, so fragile and delicious.

For me, I filled two baking sheets with cookies, then prepped for another fill batch while the others with the oven. I just floured another cutting board and placed cut cookie dough shapes on them to wait to be transferred to the oven when the others were finished.  

For the Cranberry filling

– Combine all ingredients
– Bring to a boil then drop to medium/low to simmer
– After about 10 minutes simmering, use a emulsifier to blend together, then continue cooking on low
– After about 10 more minutes take off heat or until it is thicker. You are wanting the texture to be a thicker, like a jam.

*take time to watch your cranberry sauce to make sure it doesn’t get too thick. Easy to do while you are waiting for the cookies to bake.

For the White Chocolate
– Combine all ingredients on the lowest of low and watch it melt.

Assembling all the cookies

– Once everything is cooled, take one whole cookie and spread about 1/2 tablespoon-ish of cranberry sauce on the bottom. Sandwich that with a doughnut shape cookie. Place all cookies side by side in cookie sheets.
Take melted white chocolate (still on low) and put into a zip lock bag. Cut tiny, tiny, hole in the corner of the zip lock bag – Drizzle white chocolate through bag all over the cookies.
– Let white chocolate dry.
– Garnish with rosemary in the middle of the cookie where the jam part that is showing for a decorative look.
– Eat!

 

 

 

 

Whole 30: Take two.

Whole 30: Take two.

Burger, beer and food on a table in Asheville.
The norm: Eating out and beer. Typical social setting, especially in Asheville, North Carolina. Certainly not Whole30 Compliant.

A year and a half ago we decide to throw ourselves into the ultimate pit of self discovery, restraint, and our entire relationship with food; also known as the whole 30. This 30 day dietary and lifestyle change is meant to take everything you think you know about yourself and food – and stamp ‘BS’ on it, right next to the processed sugar that is found in everything that taste good. You cry. You fart. You feel good.

I repeat: I literally almost cried in the grocery store when we couldn’t find bacon that DID NOT have sugar in it. There.

So why not do that again?

Now of course everyone and their grandmother has an opinion on what the perfect diet is. What should or shouldn’t be consumed, how much, when and on what star cycle. They know it works because it worked for them – kind of. The reality is, one size does not fit all when it comes to diet – or really anything for that matter. Maybe we are really supposed to have a diet that is 2% sand. Do we really know?

The one thing we can all agree on, however, is that we eat a lot more processed food than we probably should. We all say moderation is key, but most of us will double dip that ranch dressing all night long. I see those carrots left on the snack display, too.

So, the whole 30 and how it – kind of – works for me.

Without getting into it too much, here is what you can eat: meat, veggies (no legumes), nuts, certain oils, and ice. It’s like the paleo diet’s extreme cousin that you can only be around for a little bit, before you start to get slightly crazy . Though, you always seem to remember the time you spent together more than the rest of your family.

A spinach quiche with a thin sweet potato crust, topped with an avacado and cholula.
A spinach quiche with a thin sweet potato crust, topped with an avacado and cholula.

For me, it’s a reality check. A slap in the face. If you have ever asked yourself when you decided to just ‘let go’ of your health, maybe it’s the next step you need.

I’m a yoyo-er. I fluctuate my weight and physical activity with the seasons. Maybe it’s the positioning of the stars or in my DNA. Whatever it is, it’s a part of my life for now. Prime example: I ran a marathon then completely stopped running. With that came back the weight and less physically active lifestyle.

So how does one get out of that cycle?

To be honest, I have no idea. Which is partially why I am writing this down. Like a diet, self-help as a whole probably isn’t a one size fits all either. I do know one thing. Little steps, failures, successes and crying over sugar-free bacon (or lack there of) will help reach your goals.

One gluten-free jumping jack at a time.

Whether it’s joining crossfit, eating the whole 30, or getting outside for Pokemon GO – I do not care. You. Do. You. Just get to a point where you feel good about yourself.

So here I am, doing my second whole 30 (day 16) and trying to figure out how push these healthy habits to the next step. Will this be the next challenge that changes me completely – absolutely not! Hopefully, however, I take one more healthy habit and apply to my life long-term.

For more information on whole 30, go here. I love hearing people’s whole 30 stories, so feel free to share!

 

 

 

 

From the beginning

To be honest, from the beginning is too long and most likely not that interesting.

Short Story: I lost my old blog when I transferred servers. My background is art and design, which has been mixed well with marketing, social development, and autism. Blend together and you get some weird but fascinating stuff.

Follow here on instagram for more day to day stuff, or here for more of my art and jewelry.

Cheers,