Share Our Strengh

12 Days of Sharing

I have to apologize for being MIA in my posting yesterday. It was a crazy day with IRP's winter recital, class holiday party, deadlines and then we ended it with a mommy-daughter night on the town to see The Nutcracker at Lincoln Center. I hope you stopped by and took a peek in the virtual cookie jar. Gaby, of What's Gaby Cooking, brought some very tempting peppermint bark smookies for the occasion. The cookie jar is now brimming with over 60 recipes from some amazing food bloggers. As for yesterday, I needed to make my dear, sweet daughter the priority. In some ways  the memories and traditions I'm trying to create for her are a way of easing the troubled ones I have from my own childhood. 

Remember the 17 million children that go hungry every day? The face of hunger comes in all different colors and economic backgrounds. After my dad suffered a work injury when I was younger, we went through some pretty tough times. I remember quite often visiting my aunt for dinner and leaving her house with a bag or two of groceries. Thankfully we never went hungry, and were lucky to have family that could help us out. But what if they hadn't been there to help out? Hunger knows no boundaries, and it doesn't discriminate. Falling on hard times, especially during this economic crisis, can happen to anyone.

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cocoa candied nuts

Before I give you one of the best and easiest recipes or a homemade gift this year, I'd like to introduce today's co-hosts. Imagine growing up eating your favorite foods, then one day realizing they're your foe? Rather than let the news get her down, Shauna went to work on recreating gluten-free versions. And if you have any doubts about gluten-free baked goods, take a look at Shauna's cinnamon rolls (even though she says they're still a work in progress). Now if I ever to Seattle, I'll get to see her and Alice on their home turf. Shauna will have some gluten-free rugelach later today, so be sure to visit her over at Gluten Free Girl and The Chef.

Speaking of awesome ladies, Gina brought some yummy egg-free white chocolate raspberry slices for the virtual cookie jar. Talk about kindred spirits. Her blog Change Becomes Change is all about the small steps that make a difference for the greater good.

Now about that quick and easy homemade gift. One of my favorites (and I think everyone else's too), are my cocoa candied nuts. You can use any variety nut you like really, but my favorite for this crunchy, sweet and salty coating are pecans and almonds. It is amazingly easy to make and they look beautiful packaged in clear cellophane bags with a festive ribbon.

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spiced apple cider + soft molasses cookies

Ten days left until Christmas, and there's still lots to be done. The kiddies and I decorated a gingerbread house yesterday. Boy will IRP be upset to come home and see the burglary that took place this morning. One gingerbread man was lost in the attack, and I must admit I was an accomplice after the fact. The poor thing had it's head bitten off, so eating the rest of him was all I could to end his suffering.

Today Rachael joins us from La Fuji Mama, and she brought soft molasses cookies for the virtual cookie jar. I want them…now. And look at how cute her little kitchen helper is too. I'm thrilled Rachael is today's co-host. We got to meet in person a few months ago at an event in NYC, and boy does she radiate warmth and love.

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raspberry walnut rugelach + Jaden’s toffee cookies

One of my favorite Christmas traditions is watching Miracle on 34th Street (or 44th Street as my 6-year old says) while wrapping gifts. I've been doing it this way for years and can't even remember how my silly tradition started. I have a video tape (yes, I've officially dated myself!) from 1980-something complete with we'd now call "retro" commercials.

Before I get to wrapping gifts, though, we had some lovely Hanukkah family celebrations this weekend. I discovered one of the best latkes recipes ever and plan on making more tonight. I also decided to try my hand at rugelach. The Mr. can remember eating his grandmother's warm from the oven. Since his mom doesn't know her mother's recipe, I consulted a few cookbooks for inspiration. One thing that really surprised me is the lack of sugar in the dough—it's just cream cheese, butter and flour (I added a touch of salt which none of the others call for). With that good news, if you make these with sugar-free jam, it seems they'd be a diabetic-friendly treat for my aunt and uncle.

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single serve whipped cream

What a cold, icy, rainy Sunday morning here in Brooklyn, NY. I plan on drinking lots of hot cocoa today and the only way to top homemade hot cocoa in my book is with with billowy spoons of freshmade whipped cream. I discovered a way to make "single serving" whipped cream the other night using this handy little frother I got at IKEA a year ago (see picture #2 below). It runs on two "AA" batteries and cost 99 cents. Making whipped cream doesn't get any easier than this. Just pour some heavy cream in a cup, add a bit of confectioner's sugar if you want it sweetened, then immerse the hand frother and use a stirring motion. In about a minute you'll have fresh whipped cream to top hot cocoa, desserts or sundaes.

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homemade cinnamon buns

Hard to believe today is December 12th—only 13 days until Christmas. Today I’m hoping to make either rugelach or sufganiyot for a friend’s Hanukkah party. If you have a recipe you love for either, please post a link in the comments! Kate Wheeler from Savour Fare is manning the holiday baking kitchen today as our 12 Days of Sharing co-host. Later on today she’ll have a recipe for Pfeffernusse, so be sure to stop by.


Kate’s Pfeffernusse

One of my favorite weekend  brunch goodies to make are homemade cinnamon buns. I’ve had a major addiction to the taste of cinnamon buns since highschool, and have find memories of getting them with my best friend from highschool. While I was pregnant, I discovered that the shop had long closed and set to work on creating a recipe of my own.

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chocolate orange spice cake

I’ve got a very special event today that called for a new recipe. I was going to wait until after the fact to tell you all about it but I figure since you’ve all been so supportive  and making donations to the 12 Days of Sharing campaign, it’s time to give back with a truly special recipe. I’ll be serving it to François Payard and Barbara Fairchild and trying not to get too caught up in the potential hysteria it can induce. Yes, I’d love to win the grand prize—a trip to Vegas Uncorked, but what I really want is to turn out a dessert I believe in. If it tickles the judges fancy, then that’ll be the icing on the cake. It’s already passed the taste test with the Mr. and the kiddies, and really they’re the ones I pour my heart and soul into cooking for everyday. They are the ones that really matter here.

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peanut butter blossoms + polvorones

Today’s co-host is a new twitter-friend Diana from A Little Bit of Spain in Iowa. She’s serving up some fresh baked Polvorones, a traditional Spanish Christmas cookie for the 12 Days of Sharing cookie jar. Diana also talks about the devastating affects malnutrition has on children. So, skip your Starbucks fix for the day and put your hard earned bucks where they can make a difference. Donate now


Diana’s polvorone’s look like an edible winter wonderland.

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12 days of sharing

designed by Jen Schall

Six years ago my life changed forever. My daughter was born, and while it was very unplanned and has been a balancing act of career, motherhood and my own identity, I’ve had amazing help along the way. A month before her first Christmas, I looked down into her chocolate brown eyes and realized that she’d be spoiled beyond belief with the generosity and love of my family come Christmas Day. When the Mr. came home that night, I suggested in lieu of buying gifts for each other we visit the post office and get some letters to make the wishes of those less fortunate come true. That year we “adopted” a class from Sunset Park, Brooklyn. Reading their letters, asking for items my own children now take for granted like stickers, coloring books and a teddy bear, brought me to tears. We have continued this tradition of bringing a bit of joy to families in need ever since.

So, I’m very excited to announce a project I’ve been working on with Share Our Strength as part of their Share Your Season campaign. What if your cherished recipe could help feed another family this holiday season? Well, it can. Starting next Monday, December 7th through December 18th, In Jennie’s Kitchen is hosting the 12 Days of Sharing—a virtual cookie swap. 

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