cranberry pistachio icebox cookies

cranberry icebox cookies, originally uploaded by iamchanelle.

oooooooh! these cookies are AMAZING. and deliciously crumbly and messy. and so buttery and crisp. and perfect.

seriously.  i have gotten up from the computer three times now to sneak some.  oooh, make that four times now.  shhhh, don’t tell.

i made a batch exactly as the recipe directed, with fresh orange peel, pistachios and sweet tart dried cranberries….and then also decided to make a cinnamon cranberry version, sans pistachios and orange peel.  just in case someone wasn’t fond of nuts. [cue me sending a glare in the general direction of the huzband]
cranberry pistachio icebox cookies
i try to please.

this recipe is rather simple to assemble, but requires a little foresight, as you need to chill the dough for a couple hours prior to baking [i chilled mine overnight].  after the dough chills, there is an egg wash and sugar dipping step, for which i recommend a shallow baking dish.  makes cleanup muuuuch easier.
cranberry pistachio icebox cookies
cranberry pistachio icebox cookies

i don’t know if i sliced mine a bit too thin, but they are rather crumbly.  my first bite nearly exploded across the entire kitchen.
cranberry pistachio icebox cookies

oh, but all that crisp buttery goodness is sooo delicious.  truly.
cranberry pistachio icebox cookies

i would not recommend shipping these to Aunt Esmerelda all the way back in Idaho, but they would be super sweet to gently plate on Christmas morning with coffee -and i am sure Santa would appreciate some left out the night before. just sayin’.


i hope your Christmas Eve preparations are going well.
i sure do love you all dearly.



triple layer chocolate cake with peanut butter frosting and bittersweet chocolate peanut butter ganache. that is all.

from this recipe.
seriously, peoples, this cake is DANGEROUSLY GOOD. like, buy a whole new wardrobe three sizes larger in preparation kind of good.

just sayin’.

here’s what i did:
i baked two of the three layers the night before, because i only have two cake pans, it was late and i was tired.  i poured the remaining batter into a small container and refrigerated it until the next morning.  it baked up just fine, how about that?  i may start making cake batters a couple days before just for kicks and giggles from now on.  just kidding.   sort of.

instead of semisweet chocolate, i used bittersweet for the glaze topping.  i also **may** have overheated the glaze a little bit much because i was still in my pajamas fifteen minutes before guests were to arrive and my bed wasn’t made either and i still had some dishes to do and salad to make and yes i was trying to do all those things at once which is why i **may** have neglected the chocolate over the double boiler and why it thickened up **quite** a bit.  soooo, it turned into ganache. which was still really good.

and i did get dressed in time, in case you were wondering.   i don’t **think** my clothes were on backwards or inside out.

also, i just chopped up some peanuts and sprinkled them over top for the final touch.

it was a big hit, let me tell you.

worth every bit of effort.  except for the hours i’m going to need to put in at the gym to work it off.  i’m trying not to think about that part, and just enjoy my second piece.  in my pajamas.


once upon a lunch

once upon a lunch, originally uploaded by iamchanelle.

Once upon a [lunch]time, in a kingdom far far away from some people, and not so far away from others, there lived a girl who was very, very, incredibly, unbelievably hungry. It was nearing twelve noon and she had not yet eaten a morsel of food that day. Famished and weak, she crawled into her kitchen, only to find not much more than a morsel of bread in her pantry. Looking further, she discovered an onion, and a handful of small sweet peppers. Grabbing a few sprigs of fresh thyme, a pat of butter and three eggs, she set to work. Fueled by the promise of nourishment, she thinly sliced the onions and peppers and caramelized them in butter until deep brown and soft.

In a small bowl, she whisked the eggs with a little cream, salt and pepper and cooked them over medium heat in a small skillet as she would an omelet. The aromas filling her kitchen were almost too delicious to bear, but she knew in mere moments her hunger would be satiated. She spread two slices of bread with the last remnants of butter and toasted them until golden. In the final moments of broiling the bread, she flipped one slice over and placed thin pieces of smoked gouda cheese upon it.
At long last, everything was ready to come together. Removing the bread from the oven, she spooned the caramelized onions and peppers on one slice, slid the omelet over the onions, sprinkled with thyme leaves, and placed the last bread slice on the very top.
She then placed the beautiful sandwich on a pretty white plate, made a salad of mixed greens and dressed it with olive oil and balsamic vinegar with just a little sprinkling of fleur de sel.
She then searched her kingdom high and low for the perfect backdrop for which she could stage her lunch for all to behold. Taking a few moments to adjust white balance and ISO levels, she photographed her masterpiece over and over again until she took the perfect shot, though she was nearly dead from hunger.

Once satisfied with the finer art of presenting delicious morsels, she TURNED INTO A TERRIBLE OGRE and DEVOURED THE ENTIRE THING.

And she lived happily ever after.

reduce, reuse, recycleflake

reduce, reuse, recycleflake, originally uploaded by iamchanelle.

my daughter and i cut snowflakes out of an old Crate and Barrel catalogue yesterday. 🙂

using our three r’s.

later today, we will all be making some delicious cinnamon vanilla caramel corn to give away to neighbors and teachers and *munch munch*….er, others!  it’s all about giving!  yeah, that’s it.

hope you are finding much fun in your holiday preparations.


my very first roasted chicken

my very first roast chicken, originally uploaded by iamchanelle.

I did it! I did it!!!

I roasted a chicken for the very first time ever…and now I want to roast a chicken every day, haha!  It was sooooo good.  If you have never done it before, please trust me when I tell you that if I managed to do it, ANYBODY should do it.  I have put it off for a very long time because….I was afraid.
Raw chicken really grosses me out, actually, and cooking it makes me nervous (a side of salmonella, anyone?).
But this was so easy to prepare, REALLY tasty and quite gratifying, if I may say so. I felt all old fashioned and homey making it…Look at me! I roasted a chicken! Next thing you know I will be wearing high heels when I vacuum and baking apple pies every day.


I actually wore my chucks and blasted Led Zeppelin while I made dinner. So there, take that Mrs. Suzy Homemaker. I can rock the chicken just as good as you. If not gooder.

So, if you want to know what I did, here’s the down low:

I put on my chucks.
Set the CD player to “Dazed and Confused”.
Realized the cruel Irony and changed it to “Bring it on Home”.
I brined* the chicken for two hours, rinsed, patted completely dry and coated it generously with olive oil inside and out.

Then I washed my hands for a half hour, because, eeeeew.

Then I stuffed it with fresh rosemary and whole unpeeled garlic cloves and covered it with freshly cracked black pepper and a sea salt blend with orange and fennel (given to me by a sweet friend.).

Then I washed my hands for another half hour, because EEEEEW.

I set it (untrussed) on top of several cut potatoes and fresh garlic cloves in a stoneware pan & baked at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for an hour.  I tested the inner temperature with my handy digital thermometer, and once it reached the 160 degrees F mark, I took it out of the oven and set it on a plate, covered it with foil and let it rest about 15 minutes before carving.

And then I felt incredibly, deliciously proud of myself.

Follow the steps I did and you will be pretty pleased with yourself, too.

Don’t forget the Zeppelin.


p.s. – Many many thanks to Adam, THE Awesome Amateur Gourmet, for his helpful video, which I consulted before I began, and from which I was inspired to include the potatoes and garlic.

and many, many thanks to my mother in law for generously sharing one of her chickens with us!  😉

*to brine your bird:
Boil one cup water with 3/4 cup kosher salt and 3/4 cup sugar (I prefer brown sugar for a richer flavour).
Once the sugar and salt are mostly dissolved, add the solution to one gallon cold water in a sealable container large enough for your bird. Mix well and add SEVERAL cracks of fresh black pepper, and any herbs you might like.
Clean out the bird, removing any extra inner parts (blech) and submerge into the brine. Use a plate to weight the bird down if necessary. If your chicken is larger in size, you may need to double the brine solution.
For a 3-4 pound bird, soak in the brine for 2-4 hours.
When time is up, remove from brine and RINSE REALLY REALLY WELL. Pat extremely dry and you are ready to roast!  And wash your hands.  Again.  Some more.