Christmas Cookies

gingerbread cookies

It’s been a couple years since I’ve been able to bake Christmas treats. Last year our kitchen was being gutted and rebuilt during the end of November and most of December, and the year before our ancient oven was on the fritz. I am really looking forward to renewing my holiday baking tradition.

Here’s a roundup of cookies that I’ve enjoyed in past years!

Roasted Corn and Tomato Salad with Quinoa

roasted corn tomato quinoa salad

I know I posted a quinoa salad recently, but I made this one for a family get-together this past weekend and it was delicious.

Food highlights of the week:

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Pesto Pizza with Shaved Asparagus

pesto pizza with asparagus

Two weeks of vacation was wonderful, but perhaps too long. The pup was definitely ready to come home. She seemed to have a great time at the beach, but each time we dropped her back off at the “inn” it was harder and harder to get her out of the car.

Here’s what I’ve been making since I’ve been back:

The pizza was definitely a winner. Homemade pizza dough topped with fresh, flavorful pesto, mozzarella cheese, shaved asparagus, and halved cherry tomatoes seasoned with olive oil, salt, and pepper. I’m thinking we need to make homemade pizza a weekly occurrence!

Quinoa Taco Salad

quinoa taco salad

Over the weekend was my mother-in-law’s birthday. She had sent me a link to a cake recipe a while ago, saying “I’d like to place an order for this cake for my next birthday!” So of course I made it. Who am I to deny her birthday wish? Especially since I love making cakes! Remember that time I made my own wedding cake and transported it 400 miles to Maine? No? That’s probably because I barely wrote about it here. I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately, because our 1 year anniversary is coming up in less than 2 weeks. We’ll be back in Maine in 5 days!

What does all this have to do with quinoa salad? Nothing, but that’s the recipe I have today. If you’d like that birthday cake recipe (and you would, trust me, unless you’re lactose intolerant, in which case just a glimpse of that cake might trigger stomach pains) that’s here. If you’d like that wedding cake recipe, you’re out of luck at the moment, although I’m thinking about posting it for our anniversary.

Quinoa taco salad. Gluten free. Dairy free. It just may be the polar opposite of a rich chocolate cake with whipped cream frosting and a chocolate glaze.

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Edamame Salad

edamame corn salad

For our Father’s Day celebration I offered to bring this salad because it’s simple to make and a crowd pleaser, but when the store only had unshelled edamame, the simple factor went out the window. Instead of going to another store, I stood over the sink and shelled 3 bags of edamame. The payoff was that the beans tasted fresher after being frozen in their shells. At least, that’s what I’m telling myself.

This salad is best after a couple hours in the fridge. At first, the onions and mustard may seem a bit pungent, but they mellow nicely.

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Chicken Nuggets

chicken nuggets

This recipe caught my eye because it promised to taste just like Chick-fil-a nuggets. I made them for a family party and they were such a hit that my brother asked me to make them for my niece’s birthday party along with these pretzel bites. I still need a bit more practice with the pretzels, especially now that I’ve been delegated to make them for Oktoberfest.

The nuggets are great though, especially with the honey mustard dressing. This recipe makes enough for a small crowd, but if you don’t have a small crowd leftovers can be frozen for up to a month.

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Molasses Sugar Cookies

Made with half whole wheat flour and coconut oil

Made with half whole wheat flour and coconut oil

Updated – originally posted November 26, 2008

This is an old family favorite. The recipe came from my grandmother and she used to make these cookies all the time. Whenever we went to visit she would have a tin of them waiting for us. They’re similar to gingersnaps, but they’re soft and chewy. Perfect for the holidays. Or any time of year, really!

For a long time we thought that using shortening was essential to get the right spread and chewiness. Once, my mother accidentally used butter and they just weren’t the same. I don’t like to buy hydrogenated vegetable oil so I’ve been trying to come up with an alternative. It finally dawned on me to try coconut oil, so I did and it worked beautifully!

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Lemon Zested Shortcake

lemon zested shortcake

This shortcake has a hint of lemon, which pairs perfectly with sweetened strawberries and whipped cream. It’s even snack-worthy on its own!

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Marinated Grilled Chicken Legs

Grilled Chicken

Matt has decided that he wants to hone his grilling skills this summer, which couldn’t make me happier! He’s been out of practice ever since I kind of took over the meal preparation when I moved in, 4 years ago. Not that I ever discouraged him from manning the grill. In fact, standing over a fire is the last thing I want to do on a hot summer day.

He picked out this recipe over the weekend and I helped him adapt it according to the ingredients we had available. It’s nice to have a cooking partner!

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Rhubarb Cake

rhubarb cake slice

Updated – originally posted May 1st, 2010

There are so many reasons to love spring and right up there with short-sleeves, sandals, sprouting seeds, and tulips, there’s rhubarb cake. Light, fluffy, studded with tart pockets of softened rhubarb, and dusted with cinnamon sugar, it’s one of my family’s favorites. This year I was able to make it with rhubarb from my own garden.

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