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Holiday Treats & Update

Posted Dec 17 2011 12:12pm

Wow, long posting break, Rachel.  I was going to write on thursday, but once I got home for the night I pretty much collapsed on my bed.

In other news, I went to my first ever blogger meet up dinner on thursday! The evening was organized by Katie , who was in town for the week.  I also got to meet Jillian , Katie , Ashley , and Sara .  Check out Katie’s post for a full recap.

Now classes are over, and I’m in full on end-of-year mode.  Which means lots of studying and packing, while trying to keep stress levels at a minimum.  One thing that certainly helps? Workouts.  It’s pretty much too cold for me to run outside, I don’t own super warm running clothes.  So I’ve been doing 3-5 miles or short interval workouts on the treadmill for cardio, some quick strength training circuits, and some bodyrockTV as well.  More than ever, I find I need to shorten my workouts so as not to take time away from other things that need to get done.  But, I want to be in tip-top shape for my ski trip next week!

I think I’ve done the last of my college treat-making.  I had some flours and sugar and other baking supplies to use up, so I made some holiday treats for some of my friends.  This is the first year I’ve even been away of some of the holiday foodie traditions, and it’s fantastic.  Being Jewish, I’ve never done cookie swaps or 12 days of christmas treats, or anything.  But I love the holiday season, the warm feeling that comes with hot chocolate on a cold day, and all the other festive, spirit-lifting shenanigans.

So I tried my hand at a bit of holiday treat-making & baking. First up: Peppermint Bark!

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But, this is not your average peppermint bark.  Since I’m not going out and buying any new food (other than produce), I did not want to pay for candy cane or peppermint candy pieces.

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Instead, I used toasted almonds. Best idea ever!  Almonds > extra sugar any day.  A great way to use up my chocolate chips! I used:

  • 1.5 cups semi-sweet chips (TJ’s of course)
  • 1 cup white chocolate baking chips <–melts better than plain old white chocolate
  • 1/4 t peppermint extract, added to the white chocolate
  • ~1 cup toasted, slivered almonds

Next up: Molasses/applesauce cookies!

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As I don’t have the time to create my own recipes at the moment, I used this one that I spotted online.  The only change I made was using grape seed oil, and sucanat instead of brown sugar – it work perfectly! The consistency was spot on, they were soft and chewy, with a spicy, warming flavor.

The best of them all: Mexican Hot Chocolate Snickerdoodles!

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I actually died and went to cookie heaven with these.  Again, not my recipe, this one came from one of the geniuses of vegan cooking, Isa Chandra Moskowitz.  This recipe really makes me want to buy her cookie cookbook – Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar. Again, the only change I made was using ground sucanat instead of regular sugar, but if anything it gave the cookies an even richer flavor!  When you first bite into one of these you taste cinnamon-sugar-y chocolate.  Wait a second… it’s spicy?! I love it.

Seriously, make this recipe, you won’t regret it. I’ll have to make these at home some time I think my family (mom especially) would love them! ;-)

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Here’s the total damage – I brought these for the members of my choir, for our little end of year mini reception.  Everyone loved them, including people who don’t like chocolate!  And nobody believed they were vegan, of course.

Now it’s back to hit the books and get a head start on packing and cleaning, super jealous of everyone who is already done with finals!  You probably won’t hear from me until the next WIAW – but until then, I hope everyone is enjoying lots of holiday cheer (and treats).

Do you make treats or bake for the holidays?

What’s your famous recipe / favorite thing to make?

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