Holiday Shortbread

I know I said I was going to be super busy and probably not have time to post, but as it turns out I have some time. Yup. Plenty, actually. I'm sort of just playing the waiting game right now. I have a temporary apartment in NYC, someone taking my apartment in DC, boxes for packing (but I can't pack yet because most of my stuff is still in use), my aunt in Virginia is taking my extra furniture so I don't have to worry about that...so, yeah, there really isn't really much I can do right now. Except, finish out these last few days at work and say my goodbyes. I've been in DC for 3 years now, and for some odd reason leaving hasn't really made me sad. Maybe it hasn't hit me yet? Of course, I'll be saying bye to people I've become close with here, but I think I am just ready for a new adventure. I'm actually becoming a little worried that I'm one of those people that can't sit still for too long, which wouldn't surprise me much considering that in my 25 years of life I have moved more times than most. I'm about to live in my 8th state. Yes, that's right. Eighth. Obviously, there are plus sides like learning new things, meeting new people, etc. But moving sucks! The actual process, ugh. Way too much planning involved and way too many possible stress-filled moments. When I was little, it was much easier. I just worried about the meeting people part. The planning was my mom's part. Too bad we have to grow up though, because now I have to do it all. (She still helps. I'm not that independent yet. Thanks Mom!)

Luckily, with this move, Christmas falls smack-dab in the middle. So I have a few days for relaxing. And considering my parents moved to Massachusetts when I was in college, I have no friends around. So when I say "relaxing" I mean it. I will literally HAVE TO relax. Which will actually cause boredom. So then I have to find ways to entertain myself. Maybe this is where my love of cooking came into play. I made these a while ago for co-workers. They were a huge hit. I am in love with them, dearly. As I've mentioned before, I tend to lean to the salty side of things as opposed to the sweet. These little shortbread cookies that I found on 101 Cookbooks are amazing - salty, savory and sweet.

I think I'm going to make them for my family for Christmas. Kill two birds with one stone - boredom and baking bliss.

You could even use Christmas cookie cutters. A little more creative than my circles.

Pine Nut Rosemary ShortBread
from 101 Cookbooks

2 cups white whole-wheat flour (or unbleached all-purpose flour)
teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup (natural cane) sugar
zest of one lemon
2/3 cup pine nuts, toasted and loosely chopped
1 1/4 teaspoons fresh rosemary, finely chopped

1. Combine flour and salt in a small bowl and whisk to combine.

2. In a separate large bowl or stand mixer cream the butter until light and fluffy.

3. Add the sugar and lemon zest and mix again, then add the flour mixture, nuts, and rosemary and mix until the dough goes just past the crumbly stage, and begins to really clump together (you don't want to over mix, but under mixing will make the dough seem a bit dry, which can make it difficult to handle).

4. Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface. Knead the dough just once or twice to bring it together, then divide it into a ball and flatten into a disk 1 inch thick. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 15 minutes.

5. Preheat the oven to 350F degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper of a Silpat mat.

6. Roll the dough out to 1/4 inch thickness on a lightly floured surface. Cut into whatever shapes you desire, and place on the prepared baking sheet.

7. Bake for about 10 minutes, or until the cookies are beginning to brown on the bottom. The baking time will vary depending on the size of the cookies, taking less time for smaller cookies.

Also...if you're having a hard time with gift ideas this year, my friend, Nadina, provide me with this awesome link. Check it out.


The Big Apple

Remember when I told you I was kind of busy here? Well, I can officially tell you why now. After years and years of dreaming about the bright lights, skyscrapers and crowded streets, I am finally moving to New York City. To the middle of it all. To the heart of the Big Apple. Manhattan. And I have never been more excited in my life. And I'm not just going without a plan...I definitely have a plan. I don't think I have enough balls to move there without one. I'll be working here. Ya know, only the world's largest network of women bloggers. And, ya know, only the world’s largest conference for women in social media that may include guests like The Pioneer Woman on occasion. No biggie. What more could I ask for? Maybe like world peace, but let's not get carried away. Anyway, as you can imagine, my life just got a bit hectic. I don't sleep much and I spend most of my time worrying about moving and housing and leaving DC and housing and things I will need and money and housing. Did I mention housing? Yeah, should be a good time...finding an apartment and all...and being broke. But hey, sometimes you just have to take risks, eat Ramen noodles, and do what you want...right? Life would be boring otherwise. Good thing I like Ramen noodles. So you may not hear from me much for a while. Pretty sure I'll be busy...eating Ramen noodles.

See you in NYC!


Tomato and Pumpkin Mac and Cheese

I just saw a commercial that said Kohl's is opening at 3am on Friday morning. Is it going to be 2am next year? I feel like we've gone to an extreme. The media has really taken the Holidays and run with them...not exactly in the best way. What happened to Christmas trees, and stockings, and spending time with your family, and hot chocolate, and singing Christmas Carols, and watching Holiday movies? Now its just Buy Buy Buy... and Heaven forbid you aren't the FIRST ONE THERE! That would just be devastating. And I am standing my ground on the fact that you should not decorate until at least the day after Thanksgiving. It just doesn't seem right. One holiday at a time, people.

On that note, Thanksgiving comes first. Two days, actually. I am so ready. Not only do I absolutely love everything about Thanksgiving food, but I'm going to see my family. And on top of it all, I get to drive there. Yup, I am renting a car and heading to Pittsburgh, PA tomorrow afternoon. I haven't driven a car in a while, but I like to believe that it's like riding a bike - you never forget. I'm just hoping I don't get lost. Cross your fingers for me.

Today at work, we were talking about Thanksgiving food you can not live without. My list: Turkey (of course), mashed potatoes, stuffing, gravy, cranberry sauce, corn, and rolls. And wine. That's an important one. Those things are essential. If they aren't there, it just wouldn't seem right. I know my grandma will stick to the plan. She won't forget anything. She'll probably go above and beyond. I plan to eat my heart out. No one's counting calories that day.

Another item that tends to be essential for most - pumpkin. I love pumpkin, I do. But to be honest, my favorite pie is Banana pudding pie, not pumpkin. My brother, Andrew, would disagree.

This isn't exactly too Thanksgiving-ish, as most pasta dishes aren't, but this is a little something I made recently with pumpkin. It's just that time of season...squash is inevitable. I was feeling savory (and chilled), not sweet, so I threw together a Mac and Cheese. It's very similar to my Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese - both delicious and comforting. I obviously love Mac and Cheese.

Tomato and Pumpkin Mac and Cheese

1 box of Fusilli pasta
2 tablespoons EVOO
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup flour
2 cups Tomato soup
1 16 oz. can pumpkin
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon Hot Paprika powder
Panko Crumbs
salt and pepper

1. Prepare pasta

2. Make a roux using the EVOO, butter and flour.

3. Make sure to keep the heat low as to not burn the roux, and then add the tomato soup, pumpkin, cheese and spices (only half of the Paprika). Salt and Pepper to your liking.

4. Mix the pasta in with the sauce.

5. Put mixture in a greased baking dish. (I used EVOO to grease.)

6. Top dish with Panko Crumbs and rest of the Paprika.

7. Bake at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes.

8. Top with extra Cheese is you want and enjoy!

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!


Simple Cilantro Dressing

I've been busy lately. I'll tell you why later, but for now, I'll just share a simple salad dressing. Because sometimes you just want a salad - a simple, easy-to-throw-together salad when you don't have time to cook. And the most important part of salad - the dressing. So wouldn't it be great to have a dressing that you love just sitting around so you could just grab it, throw it on, and go. I just made dressing sound like a jacket. But, seriously, if you don't have good dressing, then your salad probably just sucks. Pardon my French.

This dressing requires that you love cilantro, like myself. I would put it on just about everything if I could, right there next to my hot sauce and ranch dressing. But, Cilantro is quite possibly the strangest herb ever (and the most popular around the globe). You're probably wondering why. Well, apparently there are like communities of people that call themselves "cilantro haters," like so. Even some scientists believe that there is some gene that causes people to describe the aroma of cilantro as "soapy." Read this. I can't think of another food that people have actually joined together to hate (because of it's taste). And to think about how much I love it, I can't imagine how someone could hate it so much. But then again, I love brussels sprouts too, but that's besides the point. There are actually websites strictly devoted to hating Cilantro. And, there are websites devoted to loving it, like this gem.

Well, too bad for the haters. Cilantro, of course considering it's green-ness, is really good for you. Full of antioxidants, obviously. But if eating Cilantro is like eating soap to you, I advise you just skip this post.

Sometimes I just combine Cilantro leaves with lettuce, but then you don't get that Cilantro taste in every bite. So, if you turn it into liquid form, you can rest assured you'll have a very Cilantro-y salad.

Simple Cilantro Dressing

1 bunch Cilantro
Lemon Juice
Olive Oil
Red Wine Vinegar
Salt and Pepper
Small amounts of Cold Water for thinning out

(This blender is my best friend. No joke.)

Blend all of those together, adjusting ingredients to your likings and making it as thick or thin as you want (you can add cold water to make it thinner), and you get this...

A bowl of Cilantro goodness. Toss a little on your choice of salad, and love every minute of it. And the glory of it...a little goes a long way.


Happy Anniversary/Birthday

Today is Chips and Cottage Cheese's Birthday. And I guess it's "our" 1 year anniversary.

Thanks to the few of you out there that read it!!

(I love these cards. The pictures are weird, but the cards make me laugh)

Happy Anniversary!


What's in your cupboard?

Not the world's greatest picture, but that's my cupboard. Beautiful, eh? I go to the grocery store way too much. My bank account hates me. I have things that normal 25 year old girls probably don't. I do blog about food though, so I guess that makes sense.

I think you can actually tell a lot about someone by what's in their cupboards and refrigerators. For starters, are they a boy or girl. I am clearly a girl. If a guy had all of this, and this does not include people like Bobby Flay or Jose Garcias, then I'd be super impressed. You can tell how healthy someone's lifestyle is. You can probably tell if they live in a city or not. If you're in a city, you probably don't have a ton of food because you're always eating out. (I am an exception. I also still eat out pretty often. More often than I should.) You can tell if they host people often - do they have a a lot of oils, flour, wines, fancy spices? Are they exotic and like to try new things, or are they comfortable with a chicken breast or burger? Are they a meat-eater or a vegetarian? If they don't eat meat, maybe they're very green and environmentally conscious? Maybe this is reading into it all too much, but interesting to think about nonetheless. So what's in your cupboard?

There are a few standards in here. Things that if not there, I get a little panicky. Some things you may have heard me mention. Examples: wheat flour, pasta, panko break crumbs, rice, quinoa, some type of carboard-tasting like cracker (lame, I know), chickpeas or black beans, oil, Srirracha, Oatmeal, all kinds of different nuts (almonds, walnuts, and sunflower seeds are all-the-time basics), honey, raisins or craisins, and usually Hidden Valley Ranch Dip packets. Oh, and I've had vanilla Jello in there for a while. And I believe there have been food colorings in there for a long time. That's a lot of stuff. Food blogging is a lot of work, and kinda pricey. but I love it. It's almost been 1 year since I started Chips and Cottage Cheese. Kinda crazy!

Happy Tuesday! Three more days.


Sometimes it's the simple things

Dots. Yes, Dots make me happy. Seasonal Dots make me even happier. I wonder if they have Christmas Dots.

And friends. And simple Halloween costumes.

And helpful tips. And simple blogs.

Smart Pretty and Awkward

And good quotes.

“Listen to the mustn’ts, child. Listen to the don’ts. Listen to the shouldn’ts, the impossibles, the won’ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me… Anything can happen, child. Anything can be” — Shel Silverstein

And good views.

And good books.

The Glass Castle

And Michigan Football in the Fall.

And classic movies.

When Harry Met Sally

And fashion blogs.

Camp Comfort

And of course, a good food blog.

One Perfect Bite