Christmas 2017

Merry Christmas! I hope everyone had a blessed day yesterday. It was s a beautiful white Christmas here in Michigan, we couldn't have asked for better. It truly felt like the story book Christmas. While I unfortunately had to work all day at the hospital yesterday, I am thankful that I am working at the hospital, and not admitted to the hospital myself. With Christmas music playing in the workroom, and the snow falling gently outside, it really wasn't too bad! I made the rest of the team breakfast for Christmas morning. Broccoli cheddar quiche, and coffee break muffins. Lara brought in a baked oatmeal and we all enjoyed a festive and delicious breakfast before getting to work!

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Thankfully, I was able to do a lot of baking and cooking for the holidays this year. First, Lara and I made Christmas cookies to give away to friends and co-workers. We decided on a trio of delicate snowflake Linzer cookies, thick and fruity stollen bars, and our yearly extra chewy molasses cookies (<-- these things are amazing! They may not look super exciting, but they are the best molasses cookies I have ever had!). We bagged those up a few weeks ago to get into the holiday spirit.

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Next, the annual decorated sugar cookies. We decided on cute little owls, snowy Christmas trees, and simple holiday words. They turned out super cute! Lara did most of the actual decorating as usual, and of course did a wonderful job! These were snacked on all weekend long by family, friends and coworkers. 

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We celebrated Christmas with the whole extended family in Holland on the water this year on the 23rd. It was a great turn out. Most of the family could make it from all areas of the country! We had a wonderful time eating and talking and just enjoying the day all together. 

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Grandpa and grandma got into the Christmas spirit! Looking good!

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And finally - Christmas day, at the hospital. Merry Christmas from the whole family medicine team!

If I had to work the holiday, at least it was with this great group of people!

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Christmas Cookies 2016

Although they were a little late this year, I made sure to decorate my yearly batch of Christmas cookies. I whipped these together with my sister, and we went with a couple simple designs that would be simple to create; some cute little snowmen, and some festive gloves. I wanted to do mittens, but we didn't have a mitten cookie cutter, just a glove, so that's the route we went. Decorating Christmas cookies has become one of my favorite Christmas traditions so I was glad that we were able to find the time to do it again this year!

 
 

I had a great time the rest of my Christmas; going to the IMAX with my whole family to see Star Wars on the
big screen was tons of fun. 

 
 

And our family Christmas party is one of my favorite times of the year. We've made it a tradition to have homemade pizza for our get together. It's fun, casual and delicious. We've done personal pizzas in the past, but this year I just made two big pizzas that we all shared. They turned out delicious!

 

Try out this delicious homemade French onion dip from How Sweet Eats

 
 
 

Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year to everyone out there! I hope your Christmas season was as wonderful as mine!

Nurse Cookies

I have a good friend who works in a local urgent care as a PA. A week or two ago she mentioned that it was going to be National Nurses Day coming up (it was actually last Friday, May6) and she wanted to bring a bunch of homemade goodies into the urgent care as a thank you to all the nurses she works with. She was hoping that Lara and I could help her out with some decorated sugar cookies, the type we usually make at Christmas. Of course we both jumped on board right away and last week the three of us got together to do some decorating. 

After browsing Pinterest, we settle on three design ideas, EKG hearts, bandages, and nurses caps. All three designs were very simple to make and turned out great! The perfect way to say Thank You to all those nurses out there who work incredible hard to give their patients the best care possible. So although this is a few days late; Happy Nurses Day!!

These cookies were a team effort. I made the cookies the day before we were planning on decorating and Lara made the royal icing that night and frosted the cookies with the base layer so they would have time to dry. The next day we headed over to our friends house and completed the decorating. So while there were a few different steps involved, the whole process was pretty easy and didn't take very long at all!

 
 

Vanilla-Almond Sugar Cookies
from Bake at 350
Ingredients

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour 
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder 
  • 1 cup sugar 
  • 2 sticks butter, cold 
  • 1 egg 
  • 3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract 

Directions
Combine the flour and baking powder, set aside. Cream the sugar and butter. Add the egg and extracts and mix. Gradually add the flour mixture and beat just until combined, scraping down the bowl, especially the bottom.

The dough will be crumbly, so knead it together with your hands as you scoop it out of the bowl for rolling 

Roll onto a floured surface and cut into shapes. Place on parchment lined baking sheets and freeze for 5 minutes. Bake chilled cookies for 10-12 minutes at 350. Let sit a few minutes on the sheet, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely. 


Royal Icing
from Sweetopia
Ingredients

  • 6 oz (3/4 cup) warm water 
  • 5 tablespoons meringue powder 
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar 
  • 1 kilogram (2.25 pounds) powdered sugar 

*** Note: if your meringue powder has no vanilla flavor in it, you may add a teaspoon of clear vanilla to this recipe

Directions
Pour the warm water and meringue powder into the bowl of an electric mixer. Mix it with a whisk by hand until it is frothy and thickened, about 30 seconds.

Add the cream of tartar and mix for 30 seconds more.

Pour in all of the powdered sugar at once. Using the paddle attachment, mix slowly, on the LOWEST speed, for a full 10 minutes. Icing will get thick and creamy.

Cover the bowl with a dampened towel to prevent crusting and drying.

Tint with food colorings and thin the icing with small amounts of warm water to reach the desired consistency.

Christmas Cookies - 2015

Almost a week later, but here it is, the last of my Christmas cookie posts, and probably the most anticipated! Every year my sister Lara pulls out the meringue powder and whips up a batch of sugar cookies beautifully decorated with royal icing. This year was no exception. And even though she had to whip these together pretty quickly this year, they still turned out just as gorgeous as ever. Enjoy!

Check out previous year's decorated Christmas cookies for ideas and recipes

2011

2012

2013

Christmas Cookies 2014

Merry Christmas! Once again this year Lara and I had way too much fun in the kitchen baking Christmas cookies and lots of other goodies to share with friends and family members. It has been a blast, and I am sad that it is now over for another year. But that's okay, I can always look back on my photos and remember the good times. I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas, however you celebrate, and a blessed New Year!

The traditional rolled sugar cookies made their yearly appearance, decorated solely by Lara, I can't claim to have had anything to do with those. Gingerbread men are my favorite so they also joined the fun. I also made some mini almond pound cakes for another option this year using a pan my sister-in-law gave me a little while back. I am pleased with how it all turned out.

I brought a tray of cookies to my families Christmas party, and then made bags of cookies for friends, as well as boxes to hand out to the neighbors. Both Lara and I had so much fun with the whole process as we do every year. Now off to celebrate Christmas!

Christmas Cookies, 2013 Edition

Merry Christmas everyone! I had to put up a quick Christmas post today to share the annual Delectably Mine Christmas cookies. Once again my sister gets almost all the credit. She was the baker and artist in charge of all the sugar cookies, baking and decorating. I was in charge of baking the gingerbread men, but I asked Lara to do a little quick decorating for me once they were done baking since she's had a lot more practice than me and could whip them out quickly. All in all I think they once again turned out great. I hope you all have a wonderful day!

When Lara showed me the idea for reindeer Christmas cookies we both decided that they were happening this year. They were just too cute to pass up. In case you didn't notice, I certainly didn't, you don't need a special cookie cutter for the reindeer, all you need is a gingerbread man cutter that you flip upside down. Once it's decorated you can't tell the difference! You can find a great tutorial for these cookies at  Sweet Sugar Belle. She has such amazing ideas, this was definitely another winner!

Vanilla Almond Sugar Cookies and 

Royal Icing

Recipes can be found 

here

Gingerbread Cookies

From 

King Arthur Flour

Ingredients

3/4 cup unsalted butter

3/4 cup brown sugar, packed

3/4 cup molasses

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons cinnamon

2 teaspoons ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon allspice or cloves

1 large egg

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

3 1/2 cups flour

Directions

In a saucepan set over low heat, or in the microwave, melt butter, then stir in the brown sugar, molasses, salt, and spices. Transfer the mixture to a medium-sized mixing bowl, let it cool to lukewarm, and beat in the egg. Whisk the baking powder and soda into the flour, and then stir these dry ingredients into the molasses mixture. Divide the dough in half, and wrap well. Refrigerate for 1 hour or longer.

Preheat your oven to 350°F. Get out several baking sheets and line with parchment. Once the dough has chilled, take one piece of dough out of the refrigerator, and flour a clean work surface, and the dough. Roll it out as thin or thick as you like; for slightly less crisp cookies, roll it out more thickly. I like mine gingerbread nice and soft, so I rolled them quite thick.

Cut out shapes with a cookie cutter. Transfer the cookies to cookie sheets. Bake the cookies just until they're slightly brown around the edges 8 to 12 minutes, or until they feel firm. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheets for several minutes, or until they're set. Transfer them to a rack to cool completely. Repeat with the remaining dough.

Once cool, decorate the cookies with Royal Icing or whatever frosting you prefer. 

Christmas Cookies 2012

Tis the season for decorating Christmas cookies! I'll admit, I had very little to do with these cookies. My sister Lara has become the cookie decorator. I am just around for moral support, suggestions, and a little help here and there, otherwise it is all her. Every year she gets a little better, and a little fancier with the cookies. This year she got some ideas out of a magazine I got in the mail, and then adapted them to work for her. I think she did a fantastic job, they turned out so beautifully! Our kitchen was taken over by cookie decorating for a few days, but that's okay, I think it was worth it.

Lara used the same recipes that we have both been using for the last couple of years, both for the cookies and for the royal icing. We love them both, and haven't had any problems with either. You can find the recipes

here

.

The whole platter full

 Poinsettias!

Good job Lara, they look great! Check out this post for the recipes!

Christmas Cookies 2011

I absolutely love the Christmas season! It is basically over now so I'm a little sad. The Christmas music has for the most part stopped, and I saw three trees on the side of the road last night ready for the garbage pickup. Posting these pictures is therefore making me happy, remembering the fun and excitement I felt last week when I was preparing for the parties ahead.

Christmas cookies have become a fun tradition in my house, every year my sister and I try something different. Each year the cookies get a little better as we learn more about how best to decorate them. This year is the second year we've tried royal icing for our Christmas cookies. It isn't the most flavorful icing, but it produces the best looking cookies in my opinion. I love the smooth shiny finish the cookies get, and I love how the icing hardens up completely so you don't have to worry about wrecking your labor intensive decorations.

Lara and I made two batches of cookies this year. For one of the batches we invited our cousin Bailey over to help decorate. We had a lot of fun trying all sorts of different designs. Some turned out really cool, and some not so much, but that's part of the fun. The second batch was all Lara. She spent a long time looking at different cookie designs all over the web and finally decided on two she wanted to try. I had nothing to do with this batch, it was all her. I just took the pictures. I love how they turned out, I think she did a fantastic job! It was a lot of fun, I can't wait until next year to do it all over again!

The dough, ready for rolling

New trick this year, roll the dough out between

two sheets of plastic wrap, it worked beautifully, 

no sticking and no need to use extra flour, making the 

cookie dense and tough

All rolled out and ready to cut

Circles and diamonds for this batch

Put the cut out dough on cookie sheets and refrigerate 

for 5-10 minutes to firm them up 

(so they don't spread as much during baking)

Cookies and icing all ready to go

Some of the creations

Swirls!

We did them all!

Lara's batch, first the trees

Then the bells

Piping a border

Aren't they cute?

Now for the trees

Ready for filling

Adding the dots while the green is still wet

Time to dry

The finished bells!

Add a gold garland and the trees are finished too

I liked the trees the best!

All done for another year :( 

Check out  Christmas Cookies 2012 for more great ideas

Vanilla Almond Sugar Cookies
From: Bake at 350
Ingredients

  • 3 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 sticks salted butter, cold
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract

Directions
Combine the flour and baking powder, set aside. Cream the sugar and butter. Add the egg and extracts and mix. Gradually add the flour mixture and beat just until combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl. The dough will be crumbly, so knead it together with your hands as you scoop it out of the bowl for rolling

Roll out between two pieces of plastic wrap and cut into shapes. Place on parchment lined baking sheets. Put the unbaked cookies in the fridge or freezer for 5-10 minutes. Bake for 10-12 minutes at 350 degrees. Let sit a few minutes on the sheet, then transfer to a cooling rack.

Royal Icing
From sweetopia
Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 kilogram (2.25 lbs.) powdered icing sugar 

*** Note; if your meringue powder has no vanilla flavour (vanillin powder) in it, add a teaspoon of clear vanilla to this recipe

Directions
In mixer bowl, pour in the warm water and the meringue powder. Mix it with a whisk by hand until it is frothy and thickened…about 30 seconds. Add the cream of tartar and mix for 30 seconds more.

Pour in all the icing sugar at once and place the bowl on the mixer. Using the paddle attachment on the lowest speed, mix slowly for a full 10 minutes. Icing will get thick and creamy.

Cover the bowl with a dampened tea-towel to prevent crusting and drying.

Tint with food colourings or thin the icing with small amounts of warm water to reach the desired consistency.