Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Snow Day

With another snowy day comes another opportunity to get in the kitchen and bake. Fall and winter are really the only times I feel a pull toward baking. While I do enjoy cooking for the most part, I don't really get into the baking swing until the weather demands it. Cookies, cobblers/crisps, muffins, apple cider doughnuts --- these don't generally make an appearance until days like today.

So, I thought it was the perfect time to make the sugar cookie recipe that appears at the end of this book we've been reading quite frequently:
It's such a cute story: all about a girl and her animal friends speculating what the moon is made of: cat thinks it's milk, butterfly thinks it's sugar, mouse thinks it is made of billowy clouds of flour. And if you add all the ideas together in a bowl (which they do at the end of the story), the end result is a warm sugar cookie.

So, while I added each ingredient, we thought back on the story and I asked Roo, "Now who thought the moon was made of a pat of butter?" etc. as I went along. She remembered every single one (not that I would have known the difference, unless I really gave it some thought -- my memory seems to be disappearing faster than these sugar cookies have today!). I love it when a story can be tied into an activity like this one. It's a great chance for my girl to flex her skills of comprehension and recollection. Plus, it's just fun to turn a story into a real life experience. Especially an edible experience!

Here are the "moon" sugar cookies which we turned into Halloween cookies. The shapes are somewhat ambiguous, so I'll tell you what we have: a cat, pumpkin, ghost, and bat.
The icing turned out a subtle orange, which I prefer as opposed to that garish neon-orange frosting you see on some store-bought goodies this time of year.
Sadly, it's after baking cookies like these, that I realize we don't have cookie decorations on hand. Thus explaining the Christmas tree and red/white sprinkles on the center cookie. The others have a dusting of unsweetened cocoa powder which gives them a nice flavor since the cookie itself and the powdered sugar icing are sooo sweet. My daughter didn't even question the use of Christmas cookie sprinkles, she was just happy to decorate them (and eat one, of course!).

To balance out the sugar, I served a carrot and apple salad for lunch alongside some cashews and almonds. Then I made this yummy pasta salad for a light dinner:

It's very heavy on the veggies (here I used cucumber, carrot, tomato, green bell pepper, and roasted red bell peppers from a jar), which is one of the only ways we can get the amount we should in a day. I like to think of the pasta noodles as more of a "condiment," rather than the main ingredient in a salad like this.

As I usually do, I had some way overcooked, grilled chicken. I had sprinkled some chicken breasts with Montreal steak seasoning and left them to cook in a skillet. Then I went off to play with the kids, fold laundry, sort through some winter gear, etc. In other words, I totally forgot about the chicken and it was dry, dry, dry. Which, I have to say, normally I prefer dry chicken because then I know it's fully cooked. My family jokes because I am the only person they know who complains when chicken or turkey is too moist!

So, I've found that the perfect use for overcooked chicken is a pasta salad. The Italian dressing manages to seep into even the driest cuts of meat and make it moist again. Of course it's best when you have a few hours to let it chill and the flavors meld together. Not exactly a warming or comforting dinner for such a cold day, but I think the cookies fill that void nicely.


  1. Ahhh, I do love a good snow day. I think it forces us to slow down and enjoy our family as well instead of the running around and go hither and thither to. I almost broke my rule Christmas music rule yesterday because the weather was just too perfect, but I held firm!
    Your cookies are cute and sounds like you two had fun making them! After our recent trip and eating out for three meals a day, all those veggies in your pasta salad make me drool!

  2. We know not of any Christmas music rules around here! If it is snowing or even looking like it might possibly snow, we're cranking out the Christmas tunes (although not Jan.-April, as I can't listen to Christmas music right after the actual Christmas holiday).

    Yes, isn't it neat how our bodies crave the healthy and basic food we all need? I just couldn't stop adding veggies to my pasta salad and it was soooo delish!