A Preview of the Year Ahead

In an effort to try to organize myself and my life heading into the new year and heading back to work after a pretty relaxing and much-needed vacation, I’ve been thinking about my posts here and how I want to proceed in the coming year.  One is a bit of a quest, if you will, and the other is a goal.

Let’s begin with the quest.

In one of my holiday gifts posts, I suggested this book…

I can’t say enough about this book.  To date, I have baked five of the cookies in this baking masterpiece and I have not yet found one recipe that I don’t love or want to make my own.  To me, that’s one of the marks of a successful cook or baking book…you love the recipes so much that they inspire you to experiment with them and move beyond the recipe to create even more delicious alternatives.

So far, I’ve baked the Animal Cookies…

the Butter Balls (aka tea cakes, wedding cookies…a cookie that goes by many names…)

the Gingerbread Men (my first ever gingerbread men, for that matter)

the Cornmeal Cookies with Rosemary (The rosemary is only on the top of this slightly sweet cookie.  It’s a bit like shortbread with a bit of a cornmeal texture…a great afternoon treat with coffee or tea.)

and I’ve made the Blondies with Brown Butter, but for some ridiculous reason, I didn’t take a picture of these.  I did give them to friends and they were a huge hit.  Since I don’t have a picture to share, I’ll just have to make them again for all to see.  Darn.

It is my quest to bake my way through this book this year.  I have never found a book like this where every recipe has been a winner and now I’m a bit addicted!  The cookies in this book are classics, some with new twists, others with lists of suggestions for finding your own twist to make the cookie your own.  One of the features of this book that I love the most is the space provided for your own notes.  I always write in my cookbooks…the date I made a dish, the changes I made, who liked it and who didn’t, the reason/occasion I made it, etc.

The only problem with baking and blogging my way through this book is that I can’t and won’t publish the recipes here.  It wouldn’t be fair to the writer who put hours and months of time into putting together this collection.  I will, however, remind you, in each post, where you can purchase the book and I may even take a leap of faith and try my first ever giveaway with this book early in the new year.  Stay tuned!  If you’re looking for a quest of your own…say you want to try to become a better baker this year…this would be a great book to help you get there.  You could get your copy now, and bake your way through it with me this year!  At the end of each post about a cookie from this book, I’ll post what I’m baking next, so you can follow along!

Now for my goal.

Sometimes I get lazy.  I mean really lazy.  And tired.  If you don’t already know, in my life beyond blogging, I’m a high school English teacher who drives an hour in each direction to and from work.  I’m also someone who needs to exercise regularly to feel good and fit in my clothing.  I have a husband and three dogs who deserve my attention when I get home.  I cook, bake, and blog in my not-so-spare time.  I’m busy.  I don’t even have kids, and if I did, I’m not sure how I’d make it all work.

So, back to the lazy.  I happen to live in an area where it is very easy to run out and grab something quick to eat when I’m having an attack of the lazy.  This is, in fact, counter to everything I believe about food.  I know that the food we grab quickly – even if it’s from a sit-down establishment, isn’t the best food I can be eating.  I know this type of food has a negative impact on both my body and mood.  I know I can do better and I know I deserve better.  Therefore, my goal for the year is no eating in establishments other than my home UNLESS it is for a special occasion…dinner out with friends or family, a celebration, etc.  No going out for food because I’m “too tired to cook”.  I have a library full of cookbooks and those cookbooks are full of meals that can be prepared in less time than it takes to go and get the darn food that I’m buying to “save time”.

To keep myself on track, I thought I’d turn this into a weekly post.  I’ll plan meals, cook throughout the week, and write about the results.  This way, I’m also keeping a record.  I do really well when I keep logs, records, or journals.  It’s when I let myself off the hook and stop doing those things that I fall off the wagon.  I firmly believe that when we don’t actively reflect on our experiences, good or bad, we become disconnected.  When I become disconnected, I become apathetic, and that’s the worst place to be.

So there you have it, my quest and my goal for the new year.  Some may call them resolutions, and that would be a fair assessment as well, but resolutions are often like rules – made to be broken.  Quests and goals seem much more valiant, more lofty, and more inspiring.  Inspiring is one thing I wanted this blog to be from the beginning, so it seems fitting that I’d work to find words that fit that purpose.

If you have a quest or goal for the new year, please share!  Stay tuned for more posts and our first-ever Pink Peppermint giveaway!

Have a Safe and Happy New Year!

P.S.  If any of you already own or are going to go out and buy The Cookiepedia, I’ll back track and do the Blondies again before moving forward!


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