12 Months of Pre-Planned Dates

I have been dying to share this!! Just dying! 12 months of pre-planned and pre-paid dates was my main Christmas gift to Kit in 2013. Our first date kinda flopped because there was some idiotic things I couldn’t control. However, we are back on schedule.

12datesimagepinI found this idea of 12 Pre-Planned Dates on Pinterest. There are tons of them all over the internet. The blogger I linked had some great tips but the blog was a touch sparse when it came to actual ideas. I believe that was on purpose. The original blogger didn’t want you to do an exact copy because she wanted her readers to get creative and make it their very own. I am will toats share all of mine, never fear. I do stand behind her in saying: Make this your own! Don’t just copy the dates, sit down and put some serious thought into things that the two of you would like to do together.

For example, some couples may hate to cook together, but that is a great togetherness time that my husband and I have. I also wanted to keep these 12 dates on a very serious low budget. I think all together I spent less than $50. Those are some legit dates if you ask me.

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What is this all about?

Come up with 12 date ideas. Write 12 letters, grab and label 12 envelopes and make sure to include anything needed to complete the date. Especially items like, printed off directions, brochures of destination, recipe cards, gift cards, or other specific things (like food coloring to go with a cookie recipe).

About a week before the new month open the envelope and pick a day to have your pre-planned date! So you would open the February date envelope sometime during the last week of January.

January

My plan for January was to get a $5 gift card for this local theatre that mostly does live performances. They promised to have several $2 movies they would show during January and the schedule of shows would be available–to include in my envelope–by mid December. Sadly, the show schedule didn’t come out until January and the shows are all scheduled for February.
To make matters worse the gift card to the theatre got lost in the mail somewhere. It might be in my PO box…silly mail. We hope to hold three dates in February, the Jan-date, Feb-date and something special for Valentine’s Date. March will feel uneventful after our crazy February ends.

February

I want each month to have its own blog post after we have the date, but since Kit has opened the February envelope I can summarize it here. 20140126_090222February’s envelope includes: A bandana, a small tub of Wilton’s rose pink coloring, a recipe for super pink chocolate chip cookies, and a letter with instructions. The instructions essentially say that our challenge is to make chocolate chip cookies will taking turns being blindfolded.
I suppose if you wanted to analyze what this does for the relationship it can be noted that this is a trust building exercise. The blindfolded person must depend on the unimpaired partner to help make measurements.
My mom has asked about 15 times already….So yes, if you’re wondering it will probably be a naked cooking date. We’re adults and we can be naked. Hahaha, it also may be more amusing this way.
One of the best parts, in addition to nudity, is that we will have awesome super bright pink cookies to nosh when we finish the date. Milk and cookies is what’s up!

March

This one is a surprise! You’ll have to wait a month!! But I promise to continually add to this list so you know what we’re up to throughout the year.

Happy Dating!

~Kat~

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Supper: Pot Pie & Eggnog Cookies

stove recipe  boxSeveral years ago, my mother in law gave to me and my husband a cute box of recipes belonging to Kit’s Aunt.
I have browsed through it but never took the time to pull out a recipe and collect up the ingredients. There are some from magazines and some from memories long ago. Getting into the season of epic cooking, I took another look through the recipe box and have decided to try and pull one or two recipes out a month and give them a whirl. I would love to do one each week, but knowing me, I will fail at it if I make promises.

open recipe boxIsn’t that recipe box just darling?

So, what have I chosen for my first tester recipe? Eggnog cookies. I never knew such a thing existed, but I’m excited to try it. The chicken pot pie is a recipe that I found online. Apparently, I never wrote down the recipe that I used for last year’s pies. I have a stellar crust recipe and I know the veggies and chicken are just keep throwing it in until you run out of room. However, broths and gravies always make me a little nervous. Seasoning and consistency mostly. The recipe I chose to follow is one I found through Pinterest and the source is Instructables. I love that website and had no idea they had Instructable recipes. I can’t vouch for the recipe as a whole, but if you use recipes as a guideline then it will be perfect for you too. Here is the link to the chicken pot pie Instructable recipe.
I plan on adding broccoli, carrots, onions, garlic, mushrooms, squash and whatever other veggie I can find to the pot pie. I plan on serving the pot pie with fresh spinach salad. A nice crunch to go with all that chickeny goodness.eggnog cookies recipe card

Apparently Eggnog Cookies are just a Google search away. How have I never heard of them before? I’m kinda pumped because from the recipe it looks as like an amped up, more flavorful version of sugar cookies.
I can tell ya right now, that I will be increasing the amount of cinnamon. Much like garlic, they don’t list enough on recipes.

Hubbster and I had the great debate trying to decide if we wanted to try Eggnog cookies or Oatmeal cake. Oatmeal cake looks dead easy so it will be on the menu sometime soon. This aunt loved her cakes and pies, that is most of the contents of the recipe box. There are some savory recipes, some sides and several pickle recipes that we will have to try next summer too.

Have you ever made eggnog cookies before?
Do you have a go-to recipe for pot pie or do you mix up the veggies each time?

Day 337: Treats for Tybs {Recipe revealed!!}

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Checking on the dog treats baking away in the oven. This is a great recipe that I’ve been using for my dogs for about a year now.

They are fairly simple and all the ingredients are doggie safe. [I’m not a vet or pet nutritionist].

Doggie Treats (makes ~2 dozen)
1 cup wheat flour
1/3 cup cornmeal
1 TBSP oil
1/4 cup low sodium chicken/beef broth
1 egg
1/8 cup low or fat free milk

1 egg, beaten for egg wash
Oil for cookie sheet

Method
Whisk together flour and cornmeal then add wet ingredients. Mix thoroughly.
Roll out into floured surface 1/4 inch thick and cut out shapes.
Grease cookie sheet and brush each cookie with egg wash.
Bake 350 for 20-30 minutes.
Allow to cool and freeze extra.

Day 296: Strawberry Nutella Cookies

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Here are the nutella cookies I mad eon Nutella Day.
Cup of flour, cup of nutella, an egg and a dash of water.
Drop on greased cookie sheet and bake for 10 minutes.

I made baby sandwiches out of mine using homemade strawberry jam. Kind of coma inducing but delicious nonetheless.

These cookies are kind of expensive but I have found off brand nutella in grocery stores. Saves a little cash.

World Nutella Day Celebrations!

Today I celebrated World Nutella Day. I heard about this fantastic blogger-made holiday from Nutella Day. Click that link if you want to find out how to get involved.

Since I only found out a couple of days ago, I am keeping my celebrations low key. Next year, I’m going all out!
My plans this year consisted of:
• Educating others about the holiday.
• Trying Nutella hot chocolate. •Making Nutella cookies (again).
• Creating a special Pin Board to share. (It’s still pretty slim).
And…• Sharing the ultra epic list of recipes I found.

If you are reading this blog, I have completed my first objective. I have also shared this with my friends and food/cooking group on Facebook, and tumblr.

This morning I made the hot chocolate using the recommended amounts found on pinterest. One cup of milk to two (or three) tablespoons of Nutella. Heat over medium, stiring. I have to say, it was fantastic. If you are the type of person who likes classic and unadultered cocoa then it may not be for you. It is very hazelnutty. Very creamy–I used whole milk.

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Here is the link to my Nutella Recipes Pin Board. There are many ## Listings, so expect a lot of overlap.
My favorite listing was the one I found on the Nutella Day website. They have them organized very well too.

I haven’t had time to make the cookies as of now but I plan on baking some as a dessert to go with supper tonight. I am excited to make a whole batch for Kit and I. The last batch we made were the ones we gave away for Christmas.

If you’re not a pinterest person then I will share the cookie recipe directly here:
Nutella thumbprint cookies
1 cup nutella
1 cup flour
1 egg
Blend well. Pro tip: If you are unable to blend add about 1 tsp of water at a time until all ingredients are mixed.

Drop cookies on greased cookie sheet. Bake 350°F for 6-8 minutes.
Pro-tip: Roll each cookie into a ball and mash a thumb into each. I baked my cookies closer to 10-12 minutes. Because they bake quickly and ovens are different keep a close eye on them. They are deep brown so you can’t watch for a golden brown color.

I plan on baking these tonight. While they are cooling, I will be smacking Kit’s hands away from the tray but I play on dabbing a little homemade strawberry jam into the center of each cookie. Raspberry would be perfect, but we don’t have any on the farm.

Day 264: Candy Cane Cookies {Recipe Revealed!!}

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Now you can see where I get my hamming-in-photos face.

My mom got inspired by my December Adventivities that she made her own list of activities. She did a lot of pay it forward types of adventivities. Which included volunteering at her church, ringing and singing for Salvation Army and getting a little nostalgic about cooking.

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How do you get nostalgic about baking? Mom hunted down the Betty Crocker Candy Cane Cookie recipe that her mother made one Christmas when she was a little girl.
Like many people from Mom’s generation her mother cooked for the family and didn’t want help in the kitchen. So, to be specific, my mother has fond memories watching and eating these cookies.

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We had a touch of trouble making the cute candy cane shapes because the dough is mostly butter and it got soft very quickly.
we made weird squiggles,  and round button shaped ones.

I forgot to copy the exact recipe my mom used that day but I found this one online and this seems pretty close. You may think these are a peppermint cookie but in fact they are a buttery vanilla and almond cookie. Super yummy.

I found the recipe on Cake Spy.
If you’re the type of person that hates following links then here ya go:

Candy Cane Cookies
-makes about 4 dozen –

Ingredients
1 cup butter 
1 cup sifted confectioners’ sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
Red food coloring

Procedure
Heat oven to 375 F. Mix butter, sugar, egg, and flavorings thoroughly. Measure flour by dipping method or by sifting; mix flour and salt; stir into the wet mixture.
Divide dough in half; blend red food coloring into one half.

Roll a 4-inch strip from each color. For smooth, even strips, roll them back and forth on a lightly floured board. Place strips side by side, press lightly together and twist like rope.
For best results, complete cookies one at a time–if all the dough of one color is shaped first, strips become too dry to twist.

Place on ungreased baking sheet. Curve top down to form the handle of the candy cane.

Note: If you want a variation, you can also place strips side by side and roll them into a spiral and affix small triangles of white dough on either end, to have the look of starlight mints like in the picture on the top of this post!

Bake about 9 minutes, until lightly browned. While still warm, remove from baking sheet with spatula; if desired, sprinkle with a mixture of sugar and/or crushed candy canes.

Day 259: Moooor Cookies!!

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This is simply an extension of the blog Coupling Cookies in which I shared the recipe of Nutella cookies. In the the interest of money I went the route of cute Christmas paper plates with plastic wrap on top. Functional.

I really wished I has some green or peppermint cookies to strewn in to add more Christmas color. In hindsight, some green peppermint hard candies throw in between the cookies would have been perfect.

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Some of the cookie dough had to be mixed by hand. I personally enjoy mixing most ingredients by hand. My all-time favorite to mix by hand may be the sugar, butter and apples for pie. Lovely grainy texture.

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Nutella and red velvet cookies were cooling. The nutella cookies are a deep brown but not quite as dark as this crappy pictures shows.

Did you make any sweet Xmas cookies this past season?