30 Nov

Chocolate Chocolate Cookies

Chocolate Chocolate Cookies

Today’s 12 Weeks of Christmas Cookies recipe comes from Christina Tosi of Momofuku Milk Bar. I’ve heard lots of good things about her recipes and how they’re really creative but work with the most blue-collar ingredients like her compost cookies, which I had been hoping to make, and crack pie.

I was really excited to bake these cookies but after having done it, to be honest, I don’t think I will make them again. They weren’t as amazing as I hoped. They were too big, too crisp, too chocolaty (if that’s even possible), and too salty.

Or maybe I will try making them again but change things up a bit like cutting back (way, way, waaaaay back) on the salt in the recipe and bake them for a little less time since mine came out crisp rather than chewy. I would also make them smaller; I’m not sure if that would affect their texture but their current size is unreasonably large and it only takes about a quarter of a cookie to be fully satisfied in the chocolate department.

One thing I did like about the cookies was the chocolate crumb. It’s a nice change in texture to have that extra toothsome crunch compared your standard chocolate chip cookie which has lacks that variance of texture. I’d like to try making chocolate chip cookies with this crumb instead of chocolate chips. The crumb recipe is a keeper.

Anyway, if you’re interested in trying them out for yourself, I won’t stop you. If you like a big, crisp, chocolatey cookie with a hefty salt content then these are for you.

Chocolate Chocolate Cookies

Chocolate-Chocolate Cookies

Makes 10 to 15 cookies
From Christina Tosi via Bon Appetit

Ingredients

1 cup butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup corn syrup
1 egg
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 ounces 55% chocolate, melted
1 1/4 cups flour
3/4 cup dark cocoa powder
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1-3/4 tsp kosher salt
1/2 recipe Chocolate Crumb (below)

Directions

Cream together butter, sugar, and corn syrup with a mixer on medium-high for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the egg, vanilla, and melted chocolate, and beat for 7 to 8 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.

Add the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix on low speed until the dough comes together, no longer than 1 minute (do not overmix).

Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula and add the chocolate crumbs and mix on low speed just until incorporated, about 30 seconds.

Using a 1/3-cup measuring cup, portion out the dough onto a parchment-lined sheet pan, 4” apart. Pat the tops of the cookie dough domes flat. Wrap the sheet pan in plastic and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or up to 1 week. Do not bake your cookies from room temperature–they will not bake properly.

Preheat the oven to 375F. Bake for 18 minutes. If after 18 minutes, the cookies still seem doughy in the center, give them another 1 minute in the oven, but not more.

Cool the cookies completely on the sheet pans before transferring to a plate or an airtight container for storage. At room temp, the cookies will keep fresh for 5 days; in the freezer, they will keep for 1 month.

Chocolate Crumb

Makes about 2 1/2 cups

Ingredients

2/3 cup flour
1 tsp cornstarch
1/2 cup sugar
2/3 cup dark cocoa powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
6 tablespoons butter, melted

Directions

Heat the oven to 300F.

Combine the flour, cornstarch, sugar, cocoa powder, and salt in a bowl. Add the butter and stir until the mixture starts to come together in small clusters.

Spread the clusters on a parchment-lined sheet pan and bake for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. The crumbs should still be slightly soft when taken out of the oven and they will crisp up as they cool. Let the crumbs cool completely before using in a recipe or eating. Stored in an airtight container, they will keep fresh for 1 week at room temperature or 1 month in the fridge or freezer.


This recipe is part of the 12 Weeks of Christmas Cookies.

12 weeks of christmas graphic

Prior Posts:

Week 9: Flaky Butter Tarts
Week 8:
Lime Curd Sablés
Week 7: Thomas Keller Chocolate Chip Cookies
Week 6: Macaroons
Week 5: Wildberry Dream Cookies
Week 4: Speculaas: Dutch Spice Cookies
Week 3: Poppy Seed Filling
Week 2: Cinnamon Bun Cookies
Week 1: Soft & Pillowy Coconut Frosted Cookies

30 Nov

Lifestyle History

Image by Durell Studio on Etsy

In today’s post on Weighty Matters, a blog I read daily from an Ottawa-based bariatric doctor, Dr. Freedhoff mentions the importance of doctors discussing your lifestyle history with you. The lifestyle history includes what you eat, how you eat, and in what ways you are physically active. He says:

“It would certainly help a physician to get a sense of how their patients are managing their two most important determinants of health, and provide a myriad of opportunities to try to help collaboratively trouble shoot common barriers to healthy lifestyles.”

I usually only see my doctor once a year and he always has a resident working with him who goes over my history and performs the physical. While the resident often asks if I exercise, the only question I ever get about my eating habits is whether or not I’m vegetarian, a question usually sparked by my low iron levels.

These are the minimum 10 lifestyle questions that Dr. Freedhoff recommends all physicians ask. I answered them too so I could get a feel of where my health is:

How many meals do you eat out (including cafeterias), order in or take out (including prepared supermarket counter foods) per week?

One.

Do you feel comfortable cooking?

Yes!

How many meals a week do you cook yourself by means of the actual transformation of raw ingredients?

About four dinners from scratch per week. The rest is usually leftovers or dinner at my dad’s house.

How many glasses of milk, juice, sugared soda and/or alcohol do you drink a day?

About 1 cup of soy or almond milk in my morning smoothie. As for booze, I have about 1 drink every 1 or 2 weeks.

What do you put in your coffee or tea, and how many do you drink a day?

I drink about 3 cups of plain tea a day and coffee with milk or cream about once a week.

What’s your typical pattern of daily eating (ie do you miss meals or snacks and what do you typically have for breakfast/snacks/etc.?)?

Breakfast is usually a smoothie or oatmeal with fruit.
Lunch is dinner leftovers from the previous day.
Dinner is usually homemade and involves beans, vegetables, and some grain.
I eat a lot of sugary snacks throughout the day, like candy or chocolate.

(If married and/or with children) How many meals a week do you eat together as a family?

4 or 5.

What was your favourite sport or activity as a kid and why aren’t you doing it today?

Basketball– it was the only sport I was decent at. Curling was my sport of choice in high school and university. I don’t do either of these anymore because I’m too busy weightlifting, kickboxing, and running.
I also loved yoga as a kid and I still do it today.

How many minutes of simple walking might you be able to add to your day without it being a hardship, and when would it be (ensuring goal here is Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely)?

I could realistically add 20 minutes of walking per day at lunch time (as long as it’s not snowing) or added to my daily walk with Bagigis.

(If a parent of still at home children) Are you living the life, food, fitness and health wise, that you want your child to be living, and if not, what do you think you might improve?

I’m not a parent but if I were I definitely wouldn’t let my kids eat as much sugar as I do.

I’m sure as a bariatric doctor, Freedhoff has more reason to explore a patient’s lifestyle history, but I think it would be helpful to both patients and doctors if these questions were asked. It obviously gives the doctor more insight into the patient’s health and it is a gentle reminder to the patients that their lifestyle is not as healthy as it can be and can be improved without taking drastic measures.

I might be at the opposite end of the patient spectrum though. Sometimes I need a reminder that I am healthy. And this reminder couldn’t have come at a better time since yesterday just happened to be one of those days when I was really struggling with body image and feeling good about myself. In answering these questions I felt more confident about how I’m living my life. I eat wholesome, home cooked meals and am very active. Despite my slight sugar addiction (which I’m really trying to control) I’d say I’m a pretty healthy chick.

27 Nov

Banana Raita with Toasted Coconut and Mint

This weekend was so loaded that I could hardly believe that it was Sunday when I woke up this morning. I was convinced it was Monday today.

I had one of those awesome weekends where I got to spend time with friends and family that I don’t see on a regular basis. I went up to Woodstock to visit my cousin and her husband who built a beautiful house up there recently. Also I was able to spend time with my sister and brother-in-law and my friend who goes to school in Minnesota who were all home for US thanksgiving.

Today I did a bit of shopping at the mall and after trying on about 8 different black turtlenecks at 4 different stores I finally found one that I liked (you wouldn’t think finding a basic turtleneck would be so difficult). I only have a few more things that I need for my winter wardrobe and I’ll be done with shopping until spring. Thankfully.

And in the kitchen, this recipe for Banana Raita sort of fell off the radar for a while (especially since I can’t eat too much dairy) but I made it again and remembered just how good it was.

I learned this recipe when I went with Matt, my sister, and my brother-in-law to an Indian cooking class in Chicago (you can read about it here). It was my favourite recipe that we made that night and definitely the easiest to make.

DSCF7399

Banana Raita with Toasted Coconut and Mint

Makes 1-1/2 cups

This recipe is savoury and refreshing. It makes a nice side for a spicy Indian dinner but I like it just as much for breakfast.

Ingredients

1/2 c shredded unsweetened coconut
3/4 c plain full fat yoghurt
1 Tbsp milk or soy milk
1/4 tsp sea salt
3 firm, ripe miniature bananas
2 Tbsp finely chopped fresh mint

Directions

Heat a small pan over high heat. Add the coconut and dry toast it in the pan until golden brown, tossing often to even the browning. 2-3 minutes.

In a medium bowl, combine the yoghurt, milk, and salt.

Peel the bananas, halve them lengthwise, and cut into 1/2” pieces. Add to the yoghurt along with the mint and coconut. Stir gently to combine. Serve cold.


Holiday Health Challenge Update:

This is the third week of my Holiday Health Challenge and I did really shitty. I had so much stuff going on this week, like the concert and travelling up to Woodstock to visit my cousin, that I hardly logged my meals, and I had to miss a few workouts. Not a great week.

1) Keep a food journal – B-

I missed a few days of journalling but I did eat quite a bit more protein this week and tried to plan my meals a little bit better on the days that I was able to journal my food.

2) Eliminate processed sugar – D

Again, I managed to go a couple of days without eating sweets

3) Floss my teeth every day – A-

I only missed a couple of days.

4) Start the day with lemon juice and water – A-

Every day but twice this week.

5) Run 150 miles – A-

I only ran 16 miles though I had planned to do 20. I’m at 78 miles since Nov 6 so I’m more than halfway there and on the right track.

6) Squat 155lbs for 5 reps – B

I missed one of my weightlifting workouts so I didn’t back squat today. On the plus side though, I did 115lb front squats!

7) Make my walks with Bagigis 5 minutes longer – B

I didn’t walk Bagigis as much as I normally do this week. Matt had to cover some of the walking duty because I was really busy this week. That said, she did get a few longer walks from me this week.

8 ) Take all my vitamins – A

I think I missed one day.

24 Nov

Marianas Trench/ Simple Plan Concert

Marianas Trench (12)

Last night I headed to Clutch Cargos in just outside of Detroit for the Simple Plan concert with Marianas Trench, The Cab, and Forever the Sickest Kids.

Truthfully, I was going to see Marianas Trench primarily and Simple Plan was just a bonus. Not that I’m not a Simple Plan fan. I am. And I have been for the past 10 years.

I’m a fan of most pop punk bands, to be honest. And punk bands. That’s something you may not know about me. I’m a punk/emo/screamo/alternative music fan. It’s major.

I miss the days when I used to spend hours listening to music and doing nothing else. Just lying there and listening. Really paying attention to the music and the meaning of the lyrics. Does anyone else do this? Now I just listen to music as background noise as I do something else…it’s just not the same.

Marianas Trench (13)
Marianas Trench @ Clutch Cargos

Anyway, back to the concert. I was a bit disappointed that Marianas Trench was the first band on the stage. I assumed that they would be the most popular of the openers and would go on right before the headliner, Simple Plan. We ended up missing their first song, Celebrity Status, which we could faintly hear from inside the club as we stood at the front door waiting to get in.

I was bummed and slightly surprised that they only played 5 songs, but at least they played my favourite—“All to Myself”. I guess they’re not quite as popular in the US as they are here where they’re playing huge venues, like the ACC.

Oh well, they sounded pretty good and I scored a sweet t-shirt to add to my band t-shirt collection.

DSCF7838

I figured since Marianas Trench only played 5 songs then Simple Plan better rock the goddamn house down in order for me to not feel totally cheated out of a concert (and potentially leading me to go up to London to see them play again in the winter).

They. Were. Awesome.

Simple Plan (11)
Simple Plan at Clutch Cargos

Simple Plan (17)
Simple Plan at Clutch Cargos

It was a really energetic show. Simple Plan played a lot of songs from their newest album but also played the classics like Addicted and I’m Just a Kid and got the whole audience jumping (me) and cheering (me) and crowd surfing (not me). They finished off the show with Perfect which made me smile.

Simple Plan (4)
Simple Plan at Clutch Cargos

The show really got me pumped up and I’ve been listening to Simple Plan music all day. I may or may not have even had a little living room dance party of one about a half hour ago.

All in all it was a good night but I still have yet to see Marianas Trench in concert when they are the main event.

Embarrassing Story of the Evening:

Simple Plan: “Who has seen us in concert before?”
Audience cheers wildly
Simple Plan: “Who here in the audience is seeing us for the first time?”
Audience cheers wildly
Simple Plan: “Who out there is Canadian?”
Audience is silent. I cheer wildly. Several people turn around and stare.

wah wah waaaaaah

I was definitely expecting more people to be cheering. Apparently not as many Canadians were there as I thought.


P.S. You can see all my concert pictures here

23 Nov

Flaky Walnut Butter Tarts

Butter Tarts (2)

My friend Tina makes the most fantastic rice pudding. It’s what she’s known for (at least, in my opinion). I love that she has her own signature dish.

I want to have a signature dish but I have recipe ADD and I’m off my meds so I can’t seem to make a dish more than once. I guess if I had to force myself to pick one it would be either hazelnut chocolate chip cookies or herbed focaccia because I have made each of these for the same groups of people at least twice (or maybe only twice. I can’t quite remember).

So Tina brought me some rice pudding on Friday (which she added raisins to, just pour moi because she knows how much I like them) when she came over to book our marathon trip to Disney World.

Right before she came I baked up some butter tarts because I didn’t have the ingredients to make anything else on my list of “must make desserts” and I wanted to offer something to snack on. Inevitably, I forgot to give her one.

A butter tart, in case you’re unfamiliar, is a bit like a British treacle tart or American pecan pie without the pecans. The crust is tender and chewy and the filling is gooey and rich. Sometimes the tarts have raisins or nuts added.

At first I thought these butter tarts were a big failure. Instead of the standard butter tart crust I decided to use the perfect pie crust recipe hoping for a lighter, flakier tart. When they came out of the oven a few of them fell apart as I tried to remove them from the muffin pan. Matt claimed they weren’t ‘real’ butter tarts because the crust wasn’t traditional. I was convinced that they were awful.

But when I tried one after they had cooled and settled overnight I thought it was great! Matt was right, they didn’t quite have the same chew as a traditional butter tart so if you’re looking for that traditional recipe then go somewhere else. But personally I really liked the lightness that the pie pastry brought to this version.

I liked them so much that I think I will use this recipe next time I make butter tarts (if my recipe ADD will allow for that). Who know, maybe my signature dish will be flaky walnut butter tarts?

Butter Tarts

Flaky Walnut Butter Tarts

Adapted from Canadian Living
makes 10-12 butter tarts

These butter tarts have a very gooey* filling and a light and flaky crust.

  • Pastry

1/2 recipe for perfect pie crust

  • Filling
  • 1/2 cup packed  brown sugar
    1/2 cup corn syrup
    1 egg
    2 tbsp butter, softened
    1 tsp vanilla
    1 tsp cider vinegar
    1 pinch salt
    1/4 cup chopped walnuts

Directions

Preheat the oven to 450F.

Whisk together all filling ingredients except walnuts.

On lightly floured surface, roll out pastry to 1/8-inch thick. Cut 12 circles using a 4” round cookie cutter. Fit the dough circles into muffin cups. Divide the walnuts among the crust. Spoon in filling on top of the walnuts until three-quarters full.

Bake in the bottom third of the preheated oven until filling is puffed and bubbly and pastry is golden, about 12 minutes. Let cool in the muffin pan for about 1 minute before transferring to a wire rack to cool (be sure to remove them from the muffin pan before they are completely cool so they don’t stick)

*Note: for a not-so-gooey version Canadian Living suggests increasing the amount of brown sugar to 3/4 cup and decreasing corn syrup to 1/4 cup.


This recipe is part of the 12 Weeks of Christmas Cookies.

12 weeks of christmas graphic

Prior Posts:

Week 8: Lime Curd Sablés
Week 7: Thomas Keller Chocolate Chip Cookies
Week 6: Macaroons
Week 5: Wildberry Dream Cookies
Week 4: Speculaas: Dutch Spice Cookies
Week 3: Poppy Seed Filling
Week 2: Cinnamon Bun Cookies
Week 1: Soft & Pillowy Coconut Frosted Cookies

21 Nov

Whisky Baked Beans

Whisky Baked Beans

A few weeks back I made a recipe for baked beans with kale that I found in the New York Times. I was really excited to make it because the idea of slow cooked beans with hearty greens and tomatoes covered in bread crumbs sounded phenomenal.

But, it wasn’t.

The dish didn’t live up to my expectations. I can’t say that I hated it, but I did pretend to like it a bit more than I actually did. Just so I wouldn’t feel as let down.

Luckily, I was able to redeemed myself with this amazing version of baked beans that came from Sarah at The Flying Onion. Actually the recipe was passed down from her memere so I knew it would be authentic and delicious.

But these weren’t quite memere’s version. I added 1/2 c. of whisky in place of some of the water for that little extra je ne sais quoi.

I loved them, Matt loved them, everyone was happy. This is a hearty comforting dish that makes a good meal all on its own or with a side of cornbread.

The recipe suggests baking 3-4 hours, but mine were ready in about 2 hours (my oven is notorious for cooking things quickly).

Whisky Baked Beans

Whisky Baked Beans

Adapted from The Flying Onion
Serves 4

The whisky adds a kick of flavour to this sweet and comforting traditional baked beans dish.

Ingredients

2 c. dried great northern beans
1 vidalia onion (or other sweet onion), diced
3 T. blackstrap molasses
2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp dijon mustard
1/2 c. ketchup
1 T. Worcestershire sauce
2 T. packed brown sugar
1/2 c. Canadian whisky
enough water to cover the beans

Directions

Soak beans overnight in cold water. The next day, simmer the beans in the soaking water until tender but still firm enough to hold their shape, approximately 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 325F.

Drain the beans and spread them in a 2 quart bean pot or 9"x13" casserole dish and top with onions.

In a saucepan, combine rest of ingredients. Bring mixture to a bowl and pour over beans. Pour in just enough water to cover the beans. Stir gently with rubber spatula and cover dish with lid or aluminum foil.

Bake for 2 hrs in preheated oven (or up to 4 hours depending on your oven), stirring at least every hour.

20 Nov

I’m going to Disney World!

So, this is happening:

WDWmarathon

On January 8th I’m going to be running my first ever real marathon! (Not counting my solo 26.2 this summer of course)

I first decided last March that I wanted to run this marathon but I wasn’t sure if it would actually happen in 2012. I’m so happy that it is!

The Walt Disney World marathon is so cool. It winds 26.2 miles through Disney World so runners can experience all 4 theme parks—Epcot, Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, and Hollywood Studios— by foot. The course is lined with entertainment and practically all the Disney characters who are even available for photo ops.

Truth be told, my priorities for the race are 1) surviving, 2) not getting injured, and 3) getting photos with the Disney characters. Finishing the race in a particular time isn’t really as important to me as just plain finishing.

The race is only 7 weeks away (wow, just writing that is making me nervous!) but luckily I’ve already been training for it since Labour Day with this training plan. I’ve just been waiting patiently until someone confirmed that they would travel to Florida with me, and half expecting not to end up going at all.

But on Friday night my girlfriend Tina and I booked our Florida vacation for the new year. I’m happy to go with her because it’s been over a year since we’ve travelled together and I love travelling with her. We’re planning on hitting up Disney World, Universal Studios, and of course running (Tina is planning on running the 5K race).

I’m excited. I’m ecstatic. I’m nervous as hell.

Isn’t a marathon at the beginning of January such an awesome way to kick off the year? My Holiday Health Challenge is taking on a whole new meaning, since I want to be in tip-top shape for the big run.


Holiday Health Challenge Update:

Two weeks into my Holiday Health Challenge and I think I fared well. I’m still having trouble with the whole “no sugar” business so I’m trying to focus on not eating desserts rather than specifically sugar. It’s still been hard. Very very hard.

1) Keep a food journal – A

Again I wrote down all my food intake for all but one day this week. While I’ve been writing down my food I haven’t been doing anything about the things that need improvement (like the too many grains and not getting enough protein that I’m eating). Maybe this week I will try to plan what I eat before I eat it.

2) Eliminate processed sugar – F

I didn’t eat sweets 2 days this week. An improvement from last week, I guess. Baby steps.

3) Floss my teeth every day – A+

Every. day. I use floss picks which are way better than cutting off the circulation to my fingertips with regular old floss.

4) Start the day with lemon juice and water – A

Every day but once this week.

5) Run 150 miles – A

Logged 27 miles this week as planned. I’m at 61 miles since Nov 6.

6) Squat 155lbs for 5 reps – A

Getting there. I did 2 reps at 155lbs. I’m not sure how my form was though because I don’t have a weightlifting partner. (I really need a partner).

7) Make my walks with Bagigis 5 minutes longer – A+

Done and done.

8 ) Take all my vitamins – A+

Done and Done.

18 Nov

Channelling the Inner Pastry Chef

Matt and I did something fun on our last date. After Korean food for dinner Matt asked what I wanted to do. I suggested baking cookies and watching Top Chef: Just Desserts.

Cinnamon Toast Crunch Bars

Matt, of course, had to take things a step further. We couldn’t just bake cookies, that would be too boring. Too “plain vanilla”, if you will. So instead we had a mission: go to the grocery store, separate, pick one ingredient each, and rendezvous back at the cash registers with said ingredient.

I spent about 10 minutes perusing the aisles and came up with a few options:
1) Cinnamon Toast Crunch
2) Pie Filling
3) Cream Cheese
4) Egg Nog

I settled on the Cinnamon Toast Crunch because I haven’t had it in ages (by the by: cinnamon toast crunch cereal tasted way better when I was 11) and Matt came back with a chili chocolate bar that he ended up swapping out for peanut butter.

So on the car ride back home we talked out our game plan:

“What about a peanut butter cookie with cinnamon toast crunch pieces?”
”Or, a cookie made from cinnamon toast crunch crumbs sandwiched with peanut butter?”
”Oooh! How about a sandwich cookie?”
”I just said that”
”Right. Okay, how about a cookie bar?”
”Yes! Okay. With peanut butter filling. . .”
”And a shortbread crust. Topped with cinnamon toast crunch.”

So that’s what we made. We pulverized about 2 cups of the cereal in the food processor and combined it with some a cup of flour, a touch of sugar, and enough butter to just hold it together to make the crust, which we baked until golden.

Cinnamon Toast Crunch Cookie Bars

Then came the filling which proved a bit trickier because I wasn’t getting the consistency I wanted. I boiled up heavy cream, sugar, butter, and peanut butter on the stove until it was really thick. I tested out the consistency by pouring a bit of the filling on a plate and putting it in the freezer to see if it would set when it cooled. Eventually, after adding some flour and boiling it down a little more, I got it where I wanted it to be.

We poured the filling over the cooled crust and topped with cinnamon toast crunch cereal and let it cool in the fridge while we watched Top Chef: Just Desserts online.

The resulting cookie bar came out a little bit too sweet for my taste buds (and I like sweet things). Also, it was a bit boring to look at: beige crust, beige filling, beige cereal topping.

So it didn’t end up being a winner, hence no real recipe, but it was fun to put together anyway. And half of them were gone after the boys came over to watch Sunday night football, so I guess they weren’t all bad!

17 Nov

Kickboxing Class #24

Boxing-Gloves_thumb_Cartoonizer_2

It’s been over a month since I’ve recapped a kickboxing class.

The classes have been going awesome and I have to say that kickboxing just might be my favourite activity of all time. More than curling even! (I used to be an avid, albeit unskilled, curler in high school and university)

I thoroughly enjoy all the classes, even when I’m getting my ass kicked. There are so many things that I like about the sport.
I like being able to release all my energy.
I like punching things and, even more, kicking things.
I like that I am learning something new and I like getting pointers from other people in the class.
I like improving and I love getting positive feedback when I do.

In Monday’s class I was getting a lot of positive feedback about how my form has improved quite a bit since I started and it made me feel pretty good about myself. It made me want to keep coming back to get even better.

I wanted to recap last night’s class because it was such a good cardio workout so I thought I would share.


Class #9

This class was heavy on cardio and endurance work.

We spent lots of time on the punching bag with a partner, alternating rounds of punching and holding the bag for the partner. I chose the most helpful person in the class because I knew he would give me lots of pointers while he held the bag for me. It’s like having my own personal trainer.

Move of the Day:

Hooks: We did about 8.5million power hooks in class and my partner gave me lots of hints for my atrocious form (I don’t do hooks often for a reason). I learned to wind up my body because the force comes from rotating the hips and shoulders. I also learned to keep my elbow close to my body and keep my arm loose until right before I release the punch, rather than tensing it up early. I’m not sure if my form was really any good, but at least I have the pointers in mind so I can practice them.

The Workout:

Warm-Up:

– Jogging around the gym, sprints

Cardio:

– Jumping Jacks

Punching Bag Drills:

– Cardio: 1 minute rounds of speed punching (+1min rest) x 5
– Power: 1 minute rounds of power hooks (+1min rest) x5

Light Sparring:

We partnered up to practice punch and roundhouse kick combos for three 3min rounds.

16 Nov

Lime Curd Sablés

I have been finding it easy to forget that daylight savings time is over. The sun goes down at 5:00 in these parts and it is pitch black by 6. I forgot about this last night when I headed out on a 9 mile run at 4:20pm. I realized at mile 4 that it was getting dark a hell of a lot faster than I was able to run which meant that I would end up running in the dark on an unlit road with no shoulder. Not exactly my smartest moment (But at least I was wearing blue! Normally I wear black, like some sort of runner in mourning).

On the plus side, my desire to get home before nightfall got my motor running and I was able to crank out 9 miles in 1:22, (ie. 9 minute miles). I was stoked with my time and, to be honest, not all that tired when I finally got home. In the dark.

Other things I’m proud of: no sweets eaten today! Perhaps because my sweet tooth was satisfied by the sweet and delicious baked beans I made for dinner? I’ll write more on them later.

And speaking of sweets, I didn’t even eat any of these bad boys. . .

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. . . because I actually made them a few weeks back.

These Lime Curd Sablés fall in the realm of “good” cookies, like the TK Chocolate Chip cookies of last week. The cookie itself was tasty: sweet, tart, and buttery. I found the lime curd to be slightly bitter, so I will probably cut back on the zest next time I make them, though when sandwiched between the cookies I didn’t taste much of that bitterness.

Also, I will double the recipe because it only made twelve cookies. Twelve! I mean, these aren’t simple drop cookies. It is hardly worth the effort of chilling, rolling, cutting, and filling required for just a dozen cookies that I can probably eat in one sitting.

When I piled the finished cookies onto a small salad plate, which they hardly even filled, I told Matt in despair, “this is all we have! we have to ration them!”, as if it were a zombie apocalypse and we were on our last supplies of food. Cookies are a big deal chez Menzies.

DSCF7585

Lime Sablés

Makes 12 sandwich cookies
From Une Garmine dans la Cuisine

For the Lime Curd

1/2 cup sugar
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons grated lime zest, plus 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (~3 limes)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

Combine sugar, eggs, lime zest, and juice in a saucepan, and set over medium-low heat. Cook, whisking constantly, until mixture begins to thicken and holds the mark of the whisk, 10 to 12 minutes.

Remove pan from heat, and whisk in butter, a piece at a time, until well combined. Strain mixture through a sieve into a glass bowl. Lay plastic directly on surface to prevent a skin from forming. Chill 3 hours or overnight to set the curd.

For the Cookie

1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1/3 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into pieces
1 1/2 teaspoons pure lime extract
Lime Curd

Place flour, confectioners’ sugar, granulated sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until well combined. Add butter, and pulse until coarse crumbs form. Add lime extract, and pulse just enough to mix.

Transfer the dough to a clean work surface, and flatten, forming a disk. Wrap the dough in plastic, and transfer to refrigerator; chill until very firm, at least 2 hours.

Heat the oven to 325F.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Roll out the dough to a 1/8-inch thickness on a lightly floured surface. Using a cookie cutter, cut the dough into circles. Place circles on the prepared baking sheet, spaced about 1 inch apart.

Bake until just golden, 15 to 17 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

To assemble the sandwiches, place 1 teaspoon key lime curd on the underside of half of the cooled squares. Top the curd with the remaining squares to form little sandwiches. Refrigerate until firm, about 20 minutes, and serve.


This recipe is part of the 12 Weeks of Christmas Cookies.

12 weeks of christmas graphic

Prior Posts:

Week 7: Thomas Keller Chocolate Chip Cookies
Week 6: Macaroons
Week 5: Wildberry Dream Cookies
Week 4: Speculaas: Dutch Spice Cookies
Week 3: Poppy Seed Filling
Week 2: Cinnamon Bun Cookies
Week 1: Soft & Pillowy Coconut Frosted Cookies