whole-wheat double chocolate mint cookie dough for gifting on www.simplebites.net

Whole-wheat double chocolate mint cookies (food processor)

Last weekend we hung lights on the house, wrapped our twig tree in twinkly lights, and put on a big pot of spiced hot apple cider to welcome a dozen friends for my annual cookie swap.

It’s the event that kicks of the holidays every year, held early enough in December to give us ample time for baking before the Christmas parties and other calendar duties take over our days and nights. The snowstorm held off for us and an afternoon flew by, sweetened by over one thousand home baked cookies. [Read more...]

zucchini apple muffins-2574 blog

Zucchini Apple Mini Muffins

This year has been the first year that I have been able to grow a really successful garden. I’ve tried many summers before, but the disappointingly meager results didn’t ever seem to justify all the time and effort spent on the garden.

This summer, I finally met with some garden success. My monster of a zucchini plant alone makes all the weeding and watering feel like time well spent. We are pulling one or two good sized zucchinis off the plant almost every single day. It is incredible!

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Berry focaccia with goat cheese on www.simplebites.net

Strawberry, Blackberry, and Goat Cheese Focaccia

Strawberry season down here in Texas wrapped up long ago, and while we try to eat as locally as possible, our family can’t resist grabbing boxes and boxes of organic berries at the grocery store.

My son can eat a whole box himself if left to his own devices, but I always try to hold some back in order to create a recipe.

Berry Focaccia with goat cheese on www.simplebites.net

Despite the heat, lately I’ve been feeling the need to bake bread, and I wanted to try a version with sweet fruit. Right now we’re still getting local blackberries (also called dewberries), and they really pack a punch in flavor, especially when paired with other berries. I decided to go ahead and make a focaccia, or as my son called it, “fruit pizza”.

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Honey whole-wheat chocolate chunk cookies on simplebites.net #cookies #chocolate

Honey Whole Wheat Chocolate Chunk Cookies and (not) getting organized

Sometimes an action as simple as baking cookies can make you feel as though you are getting ahead, or at the very least, catching up. That was my experience this week as I faced a daunting to-do list.

I won’t name all my impending tasks at hand, but I will note that the potatoes and carrots are not yet planted in the raised beds. The weeds are starting to pop up and as I have vowed to maintain order in the garden this year, this makes me nervous.

Indoors, the laundry is washed but not folded. A suitcase is lying open with a pair of heels in it – an attempt to pack in advance for my trip to Las Vegas next week, but I’ll undoubtedly end up tossing items in willy-nilly hours before my flight. Oh, and I wanted to make up some meals for the family for when I am gone, and schedule a few posts in advance so I can leave my laptop at home.

But how does one get ahead when life’s daily upkeep threatens to escalate out of control? I haven’t quite figured that one out yet. I prioritize, then prioritize again. I make lists, and star the mega-important items.

I said to Danny recently that I feel like I am failing at the little things – or maybe he kindly pointed it out. I can’t remember. The feeling was mutual, anyway.

Does anyone else ever feel this way? The major undertakings he and I team up on: children are fed, bathed and bedded, email is answered (mostly), the chickens are tended, the fridge is stocked and meals are prepared, and the car had a tune-up recently.

This corner of the internet, and the opportunities it brings, keeps me busy. It’s not quite a 9-5 gig, but it is a big chunk of my day, my weeks. Most days and weeks, I’m the master of my own domain (no pun intended) but those ‘little things’ are getting away on me.
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Coconut Cinnamon Tres Leches Cake with Mango on simplebites.net

Coconut Cinnamon Tres Leches Cake with Mexican Vanilla Whipped Cream

A stout bottle of pure vanilla extract and a dozen, foot-long sticks of cinnamon were among the treasures I carted back to my kitchen from our recent adventures in Mexico. Yes, I also imported the requisite tequila, a pottery piece or two, and a selection of colorful table linens, but I was most excited about the aromatics.

I’ve been eager to pair the vanilla and the cinnamon together in an authentic, merit-worthy dessert – and that pot of rice pudding I scorched a while back doesn’t count. Although it hardly fits into the ‘whole foods’ recipe bracket that I usually aim for, today’s coconut tres leches cake was just what I was looking for and most deserving of my precious Mexican ingredients.

Coconut Cinnamon Tres Leches Cake with Mango on simplebites.net

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