alice curtsey

Apricot-Orange Short bread Bars & Grape Balls

HAH!

I asked my sister for some recipes @ TG then again at Christmas. I'd given up on her actually remembering/getting around to it.

As it turns out she hadn't forgotten, she was just running a bit slow.

SO not diet food, but figured I'd share since both the apricot bars & the grape balls are fantastic. The grape balls are a healthier alternative to many of side dishes I've seen at pot luck type events though. She doesn't say it, but for the grape balls the giant seedless red grapes seem to work best IMO. She made them with smaller ones a second time and they weren't as good. The grape to cheese ratio was a little much (on the cheese side).

apricot-orange shortbread bars

ingredients
1 c apricot preserves
3 T orange liqueur


1 c unsalted butter, room temp
3/4 c sugar
1 tsp almond ex
2 c ap flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 c packed almond paste, crumbled
1/2 c sliced almonds, divided

prep
preheat oven to 325 degrees.
butter 9x9x2in metal baking pan;line bottom and sides of pan with parchment paper, extending over sides. Butter parchment.
mix preserves and orange liqueur in small bowl, set aside.

using mixer, beat 1 c butter and sugar in large bowl until well blended.
beat in almond extract.
add flour and salt, beat just until blended.
transfer 1 c of dough to another small bowl, add crumbled almond paste and mix with fingertips until small clumps form.
mix in 1/4 c sliced almonds, set aside for topping.

press remaining dough evenly onto bottom of prepared pan.
spread preserves mixture evenly over.
using fingertips, coarsely crumble topping over preserves, then sprinkle 1/4 c almonds over.
press topping lightly into preserves.

bake shortbread until top and crust edges are golden brown, about 1 hour.
cool completely in pan on rack.
using parchment paper as aid, lift shortbread from pan.
cut into 4 equal strips, then cut each strip crosswise into 8 bars.
store in single layer in airtight container at room temp up to 4days.


grape balls

you can adjust this as you like it. its not an exact recipe or anything. sometimes i just use what i have on hand. fyi, it is messy and time consuming, but always a crowd pleaser!

i like using red grapes. whatever is sweet n juicy :)
wash and dry them
in large bowl mix 1 block cream cheese, goat cheese, and another cheese of your choice(if you want), i change it up all the time (blue, shredded cheddars, Havarti, fetta, etc). mix in some salt and pepper
in a food processor, blend about 1.5-2 c nuts/seeds or herbs together. i really like using walnuts or almonds, but use what you have. adding a little parsley for color is nice too.

put nuts on a plate or cookie sheet.
with clean hands take one grape, and a put a little cheese mix all around grape so it covers most of it.
roll cheesy grape in nuts
place on platter.... on to the next :) or eat and enjoy!!!
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alice curtsey

diet change, weekend & stuff

This weekend I used two Groupons. One for a sushi / bomber bar, which was fantastic, and one very hole in the wall fry bread place, which was also fantastic...(I'm so glad the fry bread place isn't closer to where I live). I still need to get my butt in gear and use the dinner @ a mansion that my sister got for me for Xmas. It expires in Feb, so I need to figure out what days it serves and figure to if I have anything even remotely appropriate to wear and make reservations.

So as I mentioned in a previous post I have started eating better and less.

I always know I have gone way overboard for a little too long when I change what I'm eating and think I'm starving all the time, even though I'm clearly eating plenty.

Good news is I think what I'm doing is completely sustainable... it's just going to take a week or two to adjust.

I need to get on the scale at some point too.

This time I didn't dive to the scale first, I just switched out my diet. I want to be more focused on just sticking with the new eating habits than concerned about the scale.

I started the diet change this Monday. It's Wed and I'm overall doing pretty well.

We also got a Groupon for Bearazona from Erin for Christmas. And then I saw this commercial of a couple staring out at the ocean peacefully on a cruse ship, and then flash backs to a previous vacation where they are screaming and animals are attacking their vehicle. Bearazona, I recently found out, is a driving tour of the Arizona wilderness type thing. I seriously just couldn't stop laughing since when I got it I pointed out I didn't really want bears standing on my car... and as it turns out it WAS a driving tour. Should be fun though once we get around to going.
alice curtsey

cookies

So this year I have made more cookies than I think in the last 5 years combined.

3 batches for TG. 2 batches last week. 2 more batches made for work + more cookies to be made for Xmas.

So my normal cookie recipe is:

3 sticks of butter
3/4 c white sugar
3/4 c light brown sugar packed
3 c flower (all purpose or white)
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
1 heaping TBSP Nutella
2 eggs
1 C dried cherries
10 oz bag of white chocolate chips


Preheat oven to 350. Mix softened butter with sugars when smooth add in eggs, salt, baking soda & Nutella. Once mixed well add in flour 1 cup at a time and mix well. Add Cherries & Chocolate chips and mix. I use a small cookie (otherwise known as a melon ball scoop) scoop to ensure my cookies are evenly distributed and a reasonable size. I cook my cookies for about 10 min. They are super popular.

I was also looking for an oatmeal cookie recipe, because I love oatmeal cookies, but have never made a batch I truly like.

Well I finally found a recipe I like: http://smittenkitchen.com/blog/2009/02/thick-chewy-oatmeal-raisin-cookies/ I 86 the walnuts and switched out the raisins for dried cherries (this was done because I didn't have raisins on hand and was just looking for a semi plausible alternative). IMO the cherries made the cookies better. :D
alice curtsey

Status

So I haven't been posting like I should.. heck for the most part I haven't even been able to keep up with shutter_cats... and who doesn't like cute cat pics?!

Why haven't I been online you ask? Well I've been online, but seriously WORK. The holiday season = madness for me. This year seems to be more crazy than others.

Also as far as the medically supervised diet... yeah it's on hold until after the holidays.

I swear I started it and every VIP from any part of the world decided to show up and take ppl to dinner. One week I had 3 lunches, 4 dinners, and 2 events to attend... I haven't been taken out to lunch/dinner for work since my boss was here in freaking May. So that's a lot of food. And when free food is offered and you are "invited" to go to dinner with a VIP type person it's voluntary in the the voluntold kind of way. In the last couple of weeks I have been served Pizza, Pasta, Nachos, Cake, Cupcakes, Cookies, taken to 3 steakhouses (where I didn't order steak and learned that when properly prepared escargot isn't nearly as bad as the might has well been dirty shoe leather I've consumed in the past).. oh yes and Buffalo Wild Wings. I'm begging off a dinner party tonight because it isn't one of the things that's truly required, and I'm busy.

This weekend will be INSANE. It ends up being an entire 24 hours worth of driving after everything is said and done. I wasn't actually planning on going to Vegas for xmas. That was decided two weeks ago. Heck I only got my sis, mom, step dad, dad's, & stepmom's xmas list last week! Seriously ppl need to start giving me advanced warning. Sheesh! I figured they could honestly just do without me, and Dad had already claimed the day... why they can't just be adults and agree to do ONE holiday together is so far beyond me. Mom already said she would be fine with that.. and I'd really prefer it. Dad however always finds a reason that can't happen. AND HE was the person who had infidelity problems, not mom. I don't actually like doing 12 holidays. After awhile I guess I get a little bah-humbug. There's Mom's, Dad's then the family three, then the other ppl we're supposed to stop by, etc. Jer's family is totally bent out of shape we couldn't visit them, etc. We offered to let them visit us, but they don't like traveling.

Also over 50% of my department (worldwide) is going on holiday. So there are only a few of us to deal with everything for the next two weeks. It should be 'fun'. I feel bad for the guy who's on call this week. He gets to be on call not only for the weekend, but also for Monday & Tuesday when everyone is off. We'll muddle through though. We always do. :)

I'll be glad when the holidays are over and things can return to some semblance of normal.

The good news about the holidays though is that I get to see my family... including the ones I like. LOL. I may not like the 6 hr drive, but I do like seeing my mom & sister. :)
alice curtsey

Bishop in a Santa Suit



So I got a Santa suit for my cats. I put it on Bishop last night just because... he wasn't even offended... he didn't even care about being forced to wear a Santa hat... there is something seriously wrong with this cat! And yet it's awesome!

I plan on getting some better pics before xmas.

Hope this makes someone smile though :D