Monday, December 12, 2011

Still alive and catchin' up

Hello friends!

Yes, I kinda did drop off the face of the earth,( or well it felt like it) but I'm back!  It's been a crazy last few weeks! I whirl winded for our black friday/cyber monday sale, then tied up loose ends until mom arrived, hung out with mom for a fantastic 6 days, was sick for the last 3-4 and here we are.  I guess that would sum everything up, but I'm not known for my short blogs or lack of pictures, am I?!  So what did this look like with images??....

Well mom came in town and we took her to some of our favorite places. I didn't take nearly as many pictures as I would have liked to, but we were literally running around town for 6 days straight and then off she went on the morning of the 7th back home to KC. 

So before you laugh and notice that most pictures involve food, our family loves to eat ;)  I took mom to my favorite Thai food cart, Run Chicken Run for some pad thai.

In this same pod of carts there is this amazing cart(pictured) that is the solar powered Vegetarian cart, Off the Griddle . Mom got a yummy drink from there and to my surprise my darling husband got a veggie burger! He's normally a carnivore so I was shocked that he was feeling like  something vegetarian.


We took mom to Voodoo doughnuts, as you know it's a "must see" when you are in Portland! I didn't take more pictures since I already have tons from my first trip there in my facebook album. I did click this one of a painting they had inside. I love it! I love the style and that the Voo Doo guy is making the doughnuts get inside the box.
We took mom to Saturday Market since they were having their "Festival of the Last Minute".  This is where the vendors are open every day(instead of just saturday and sunday) all the way up to Christmas for people to purchase their last minute gifts.  

I was excited to have located the "Portland Oregon" sign at the Saturday Market. You always see it as you are crossing one of the city's bridges, but I didn't realize it was right here. It's a little hard to see from the angle, but the deer has a red nose for Christmas! I thought it was pretty darn clever!

As you may remember Ricky and I are gluten-intolerant so there is no just walking up to bakeries and scanning the case for a tasty treat, but we were in luck when we stopped at a bakery Ricky used to pass while living in SE Portland.

Here we had some sort of GF chocolate and passion fruit treat. It was incredible!

We also got a GF chocolate coconut macaroon :D

Mom got some sort of pastry with Marion Berries, for which this area is known.  Marion berries are kinda like long black berries that are more tart just incase you have not heard of them. I didn't until I moved here ;)

One evening after mom was pooped from our entire day of trekking around town, we met our friend Nick and some other friends to celebrate the December birthdays this month. Here you can see Nick with his flight of sour ales, which are f*ing amazing! I do wish they didn't have gluten in them! They are some sour beers blended with all sorts of amazing things. The first one was a ginger lime. I forget what the rest were, but they were really fantastic! 

This is part 2, but since I am too lazy to make multiple blogs, this portion is called "BETTER BEAD MAKER THAN BAKER"....

One of the things that was really important for me to do with mom while she was in town was to bake Christmas cookies. My mom is a baker and bakes all sorts of amazing tasty treats. So when she visited I got some GF stuff for us to bake. 


The first recipe we made were my version of GF peanut butter blossoms. These are pretty much peanut butter cookies with hershey kisses pressed into the top after baking. 
My little tweak in the recipe was using the GF recipe with crunchy peanut butter, not smooth and using dark chocolate covered peanut butter cups instead of Hershey kisses since they are crappy chocolate and the Trader Joe's PB cups are f*ing amazing! 

....Mistake #1. When it calls for creamy peanut butter there is a reason. Just because you like chunky better(which I do) doesn't mean it's a good substitute. There is a reason Betty Crocker was known for baking....The nuts make the cookie not stick together as well.
Mistake #2, just because Hershey kisses are nasty and Trader Joe PB cups are better doesn't mean they make a compatible substitute! The cups got super soft when the chocolate and creamy peanut butter inside melted. As you can see they slid off the cookies making an ugly mess.
After this first instance mom and I were laughing hysterically saying we were going to open an Etsy shop called "Ugly Cookies" our tag line would be.. "Guaranteed to look HANDMADE"! LOL. 

Although these cookies looked awful, they were AMAZING!

This disaster continued onto the next cookie we made, another Ricky family cookie, Kolacky(Co-lot-chee), a Polish cookie. Ricky's nana made these so I thought they would be a nice addition to our baking since I had a recipe for them in the Gluten Free Bible

For some reason I don't have a picture of them :( Anyways, Mistake #1 was not having a rolling pin! I had to roll the cookies out using my misto olive oil sprayer bottle since it was cylindrical. The dough, eventhough chilled in the fridge stuck to the damn thing and it was a PAIN IN THE ASS to roll out! After awhile I just mashed in my hands until it was relatively thin and cut out the squares with a pizza cutter. lol.

Again with the not so perfectness, but they were delicious!!

Here is a pic of mom balling up the Buckeyes. 
 

While our family traditions didn't include making Buckeyes, Ricky's family always did. This is an Ohio state thing as buck eyes are some nuts or seeds? that fall from some local trees. The "cookies" are made to resemble them. They are a chocolate and peanut butter treat.

Here are the buckeyes cooking after being dipped in chocolate.So what may look like a success was a DISASTER. What you didn't see was that the shitty $7 mixer I got from Walmart DIED while trying to mix up the buckeyes. The beaters overlapped too much and would stop spinning and just make noise. This rendered them useless and luckily this was the LAST thing that had to be mixed.  If only my kitchen aid would have fit in mom's luggage!

This cookie is supposed to be an easy recipe, but as you have read, it wasn't. Unfortunately I did botch the ingredients as well. In the chaos of the mixer dying I added an extra cup of powdered sugar so they cookies tasted like YUCK and we threw ALL of them away :(

So on to the final cookie. This one was the most special one because it was a tradition for my dad. My Aunt Rosie used to make Rum Balls for my dad for Christmas every year. I remember the smell of Rum wafting from the cookie container as dad excitedly opened the metal tin. A few years back she stopped making them and I remember how disappointed my dad was. This year I contacted my Auntie Annie to ask her if she could get the recipe from Aunt Rosie. Luckily she did and my aunt was very excited that I was carrying on the tradition for my dad :D

Now since all of these ingredients are blended up in a blender and then rolled in the powdered sugar and cocoa you would think I couldn't have messed it up, right? Well... I kinda mixed everything together instead of leaving the powdered sugar and cocoa out to roll the balls into after forming. Luckily for me, they were still just as dad remembered them!


Well I hope you made it through my LONG blog update and I hope you are keeping all of those Christmas tradions and family get-together's going where ever you celebrate this year!

xoxo Genea

4 comments:

Libby Leuchtman said...

Thanks for the update Genea! Glad you had a good time with your Mom. I am going to a Christmas cookie exchange this weekend so now I know what not to make and what to make. Love the Buckeyes!

Genea said...

Sure thing! lol. I just got behind with hanging out with mom and being sick. It's amazing how far a few days puts you behind. Me too! I sure am missing them a lot these days!

Lol, well you know what doesn't work ;)

They are really delicious if you make them correctly! Give them a try!
xo G

Pretty Things said...

I've never found anything GF that tasted good to me. :-(

Genea said...

Really Lori? The Kolacky's and Peanut butter cookies in the cook book I listed were fantastic!

We also like Udi's for breads, granola and pizza crusts. They make a phenomenal gf pasta by this company(I forget the name at the moment), but it's like $3.69 a bag for these corkscrew shaped pasta.

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