Well here we are again. I’m well on my way of being considerate daily of my goals and resolutions for this year. They’re pretty simple, and personal. But they all contribute to being a happier, smarter, more inspired, healthier, creative person. Last year was difficult for many reasons, and it seems like a consensus out there that we’re all thankful for a blank slate. But I grew exponentially in 2014, especially professionally. I won’t forget this. But I’m ready to make life round – fill all the spaces and moments with experiences. Burst at the seams….not in a stressful way. Relaxation is a part of the plan. But take advantage of every opportunity. Do more. See more. Be bigger.
A few simple things will help me feel this fullness. Move, Dance, Reach. I don’t expect to transform into the athletic dancer I was 10 years ago, but I don’t have to. There’s a middle ground and I think it will make me very happy. Going to dance class my favorite non-workout workout. Stretch every night. Plan for yoga. Run down streets you’ve never been down on warm days. Leap, reach, turn, twist. Remind your body that it knows how to be more than scrunched up in front of a computer or asleep. Seek creativity, find my own. Cook more, visit museums, write, find new blogs to explore, get back on pinterest, find a new coffee shop, learn what makes them special, make breakfast on the weekends, draw, read a novel, read about business, connect other creative people, choreograph, make pasta from scratch. This is not for work; it’s for myself. But I can’t wait to see how all of this will impact my creativity at work too. See the world. It’s time to go exploring. I’m taking a break from vacations doing nothing and ready to start moving and seeing things. Weekend trips to NYC and Charleston, a birthday trip to Paris, a little West Coast exploring, the beach and the mountains and the city and foreign countries. Time to just go. Undoubtedly this will help with resolution number two. It’s decided then. Now where should I go? Who’s coming with?
I spent several hours this weekend making these truffle cookies. Saturday night making the dough balls while watching Bridget Jones’s Diary, Sunday morning dancing in my kitchen listening to Christmas music. Maybe I’m a bit slow getting back to baking which is why it took me so long, but I didn’t mind. It felt calming and creative to work with my hands again. Others noticed and asked me “What’s the occasion?” “Who are you making these for?” “Oh, you’re giving these away as gifts?”
Nope. Just baking. Or non-baking really with this recipe. It’s been a long time since I’ve heard questions like those. I used to bake cakes just to see how many layers I could stack. Or because I was craving fudge frosting. That has certainly been rare recently.
I knew in my own time I would get back to this place. It’s funny, this recipe was actually posted on my blog two years ago but I never made them. They were a fabulous guest post by a blogger friend. I was sad to realize she no longer posts and has left twitter…even sadder that I didn’t notice.
But it’s the end of December so it’s time to celebrate. So cheers to finding a piece of you that you felt like you’ve forgotten. Cheers to all the bloggers, the creators, who have inspired me for over five years. Cheers to the holidays and celebrating all things sweet and joyful. Cheers to making cookie dough covered in chocolate and dusted in gold.
Cookie Dough Truffles
- 1 cup butter or margarine, room temperature
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/3 cup milk
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 2 1/4 cups flour
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. baking soda
- 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips for dough
- 2 cups any chocolate for melting (I used a combo of milk and dark)
- In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or a large bowl with an electric mixer) cream together butter and sugars on low speed until fluffy. Add in milk and vanilla extract. Slowly incorporate flour, salt, and baking soda until fully combined. Add in chocolate chips.
- Cover dough and refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour. Once dough is firm, form 1″ balls and place on a wax/parchment paper lined baking sheet. (I used a 1″ ice cream scooper at this step so all the truffles would be close in size. A tablespoon would work fine too). Place in the freezer until firm, about 30 minutes.
- In a glass or microwave safe bowl, melt any dipping chocolate (or extra chocolate chips) according to package directions.
- Using a spoon, dip frozen dough balls into chocolate and roll until fully covered. Place dipped truffles on a lined baking sheet to cool.
- Sprinkle with toppings like nuts, colored sprinkles, shredded coconut, crumbled oreo
I’ve always been a pasta girl. My favorite meal growing up was rigatoni in red sauce. With a glass of milk. Sometimes my mom added chicken to the rigatoni, creating “chicken and pasta” and my most requested dinner dish ever. Mom’s pasta masterpiece.
Wanting to recreate it recently, I asked her about how it was made and she just laughed. No recipe. Sauce out of a jar of course. But the good kind. Never Prego. Maybe she baked the chicken? And then just added it to the pot of pasta and sauce? As few dishes to wash later as possible. Possibly every time she made it, it was a little different, she said. But I didn’t notice. Cause I loved rigatoni and red sauce. Today I love that it seemed so effortless to her. I’m sure it wasn’t. My mom the most dedicated and hard working woman…she taught me what hustle is all about. And how to love it too. She didn’t always have time or energy to make dinner (nor should she), but when she did, and it happened to be one of my favorite meals, I know she loved the work.
I’m pretty skilled in the 10-minute Sunday Pasta. Just need butter, cheese, parm, and angel hair which only takes 3 minutes to cook. I’ve been breaking this out a lot recently, in between thai/deli/pizza/burger takeout orders…to remind myself that I am a real person who eats real food when I’m not at work. (At least work feeds me good, real food, right?)
Well this Sunday I had time. To grocery shop. To let my sauce simmer. To chop an onion. To drink a great glass a wine and dance around to LFO while cooking. To taste as I was cooking. To actually eat with someone else. To do all the dishes. Ok, I didn’t make the grilled caesar salad to go along with it or sit at a real table to eat. But just like mom, I can’t do it all, but I can absolutely squeeze in time for my favorite meal, and a little feel-good, during a crazy week.
Since we never figured out the whole chicken part of “chicken and pasta” I added a mild Italian sausage instead. I probably wouldn’t have liked this when I was five. But I’m way into it at 27.
Sunday Pasta: Rigatoni With Sausage Ragu
In a dutch oven, sauté onion and garlic until onion softens. Add grated carrot. Open the casings of the sausage – I used mild Italian pork sausage – and satué until brown. Add herbs like rosemary and thyme + salt and pepper. When sausage is browned, add several cans of whole peel tomatoes to the pot. You could cook this all afternoon or just 30 minutes until the tomatoes have broken down. Add a splash of red wine and heavy cream. Toss with cooked rigatoni and grate fresh parm on top.
This one’s for the tomatoes. The ones that are so ripe right now they can be popped in your mouth whole or bit into like an apple. Even though I’ve already bought two new pairs of boots and a couple new sweaters, these tomatoes make me realize I want to slow summer down. Don’t forget to go to the market this Sunday. What haven’t I made yet? How can I savor these longer? The taste of late sunsets, feeling carefree, getting your hands dirty, everyday celebration.
This is an easy one….
Summer Tomato & Burrata Fettuccine
In a large pan, sauté tomatoes in olive oil and garlic until blistered. Make fettuccine. Toss the fettuccine and some pasta water with the tomatoes. Add ribbons of fresh basil. Top with burrata. Stir together. Serve with rosé and savor.