Good Riddance- Time of My Life

Today’s the last day of school. Normally I’d be pretty excited, yet somewhat melancholy…sad to see the kids go as we wave them goodbye as their busses drive away.

This year is different. I’m the one driving off. I’m leaving a place that has brought me great joy for many years. A place that helped me into the person I am today. A place with the best freaking staff a girl could ever dream of.

And I’m leaving it all to fulfill a dream. Teaching high school.

 

I’m pretty big into music. So sometimes it’s easier to describe how I feel by playing a song. So here is a song that’s been on my mind a lot this week:

 

I found this website the other day that explained how some songs meanings were misinterpreted, and Good Riddance is one of the top songs. It’s title alone should elude to what the song is about: Good Riddance. If you think about it in a condescending way, this song is telling you ‘hope you liked your time here jerk, cause now it’s over!’

However this is the number 1 prom song in America for teens to say goodbye to.

I can get behind both…but this song is helping me get through these last days. As if it is playing in the background as I do things for the last time at school.

But this song doesn’t express the gratitude I have for the amazing people who I worked with all these years.

I have one song, and one song only that I must dedicate to the people I have worked with the past 6 years. It will not be goodbye to most, but I wanted you all to know how much I appreciate you. And all the good times….because I never left work with out a smile on my face. So instead of ending on a sad note….I’m ending with a dance. Because that’s just how we all do things where I work!

 

 

 

15 Days of Christmas Cookies- Day 1

Last year I did this and it was quite a hit. So of course, I must deliver and bake 15 batches of cookies before the big day!!!! Some will be new, some will be old, but either way my Kitchenaid Mixer has been training all year for this event!!!! I will admit that I’ve already started…

This year is a little different though. I’ve made some lifestyle changes, and can honestly say I probably won’t be eating any of these cookies- although the biscotti gets me every time!!!! I know many of my followers are health conscious, so along with each cookie post, I will also add a health tip keep us all in check this holiday-eating season. I know that for people that struggle with weight and dieting despise this time of year…I’m one of them! However, there are so many GOOD choices we can make each day to at the very least MAINTAIN our weight during this time.

Today is the first real snow of the season. School’s closed, and I’m going to bake my little heart out. There is nothing I love more than sipping coffee with a biscotti and watching the snow from the couch. The tree is lit, the Yankee Candles are burning. You can’t get more Christmas than this…

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So to kick this countdown off, I’m going to start with the biscotti. This year I’m making my usual Pistachio Cranberry and a new one- Chocolate Malted Milk Biscotti. Last year I didn’t care for the gingerbread as much and I found it lingered in the house for a while. The new ones are definitely not sticking around!!!!!

Chocolate Malted Milk Biscotti

(as seen in Better Homes and Gardens 2012 Christmas Cookie Magazine)

1 3/4 C Flour

3/4 C unsweetened cocoa powder

1/4 C malted milk poweder

1 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

3 eggs

1/4 C butter, melted

1 C sugar

1 tsp. vanilla

1 C coarsely chopped malted milk balls

1/2 cup milk chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 325F. Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper.

2. In a large bowl stir together flour, cocoa powder, malted milk powder, baking soda and salt. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture; set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, melted butter, sugar and vanilla. Add the egg mixture to the dry ingredients. Stir until the dough starts to form a ball. Stir in malted milk balls and chocolate chips (dough will be crumbly). Knead the dough until it comes together.

3. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Divide in half and shape each half into a 10 inch log. Place the logs onto the parchment paper and flatten the logs so they are 2″ wide. The logs should be 3″ apart from each other.

4. Bake for 25 minted. Cool on cookie sheet on a wire rock for at least an hour.

5. Transfer flattened rolls to a cutting board and slice rolls diagonally about 1/2 inch thick. Place slices cut side down back onto parchment paper and bake for 8 minutes. Take out of oven, flip, and bake for another 8 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and cool. Biscotti will crisp as they cool.

Cranberry Pistachio Biscotti

( As seen in Christmas Cookies: 50 Recipes to Treasure for the Holiday Season by Lisa Zwirn)

3 cups flour

2 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. cinnamon

1/4 tsp. salt

8 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened

1 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup light brown sugar

2 large eggs

1 1/2 tsp. vanilla

1 tbsp. finely grated orange zest (from 1 orange)

1 1/4 cup shelled pistachios (do not chop)

1 cup dried cranberries ( I use Cherry Craisins)

1. preheat the oven to 350F. Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper

2. In a medium bowl whisk the flour, cinnamon, salt and baking powder together.

3. Using an electric mixer, beat the butter in a large bowl until creamy. Add the sugar and brown sugar and beat until fully blended. Beat in eggs, the vanilla and orange zest. On low speed, mix the flour mixture just until the dough starts to clump together. Mix in the pistachios and cranberries. Using your hands or rubber spatula, gather the dough into a ball and divide in half.

4. With lightly floured hands, form each half of dough in to a log that is 13″ by 2.5.” Make sure each log is 3 inches apart.

5. Bake for 30-35 minutes, rotating the sheet from front to back (I never do this! :P) halfway through baking, or until the loaves are golden and the top feels firm when gently pressed. Transfer the sheet to a cooling rack for 10 minutes. Reduce the temp of the oven to 325F.

6. Peel the loaves off the parchment and slice them diagonally on a cutting board. Be sure to use a SHARP serrated knife, as the loaves are crumbly. Slice the cookies 3/4 inch thick. Place them back on the cookie sheet, cut sides up. Put back into oven for 10 minutes. Flip cookies to other side and bake for another 10 minutes.

7. Take out and transfer to wire cooling rack. Cool for about 20 minutes. They keep for 2 weeks. If they get a little soft, you can perk them up in a 350F toaster oven for 5 minutes.

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***Healthy Tip

If you’re GOING to eat a cookie, or two, or three…be sure to take a brisk walk- around 30 minutes. Or maybe clean a room. You will burn off what you just ate.