Last week I was in a real quandry as to what to get for the last couple on my list.  I found a solution!  I’ve found an eco-friendly cleaning compalny and they have gift certificates available-online! 

Yay!  I am truly done and I didn’t even spend too much money.  Who would have thought? 

I haven’t actually tried them yet so I don’t feel comfortable suggesting their name but will when I’ve seen what they can do.

The husband is feeling under the weather this week so food is going to need to be quick but also comforting.  I also have to save some time for baking.  We are doing a cookie exchange at work and I am needing to make a lot (12 dozen).  I LOVE cookie exchanges-one big shot of baking and you are totally finished for the holiday season. 

The downside though is that I think that I’ll likely be baking at around midnight one night.

I did find a terrific recipe for Espresso Bean Shortbread that should really do the trick for me.  It makes a large batch so other than forming and baking they should be pretty painless to do. 

http://www.marthastewart.com/recipe/espresso-bean-shortbread

Makes about 4 dozen

1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
1 tablespoon instant espresso powder
2 tablespoons finely ground espresso beans
3 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon salt

Directions
1.Line two baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.

2.In a small bowl, stir espresso powder into 2 teaspoons hot water until coffee has dissolved. Add coffee mixture and ground espresso beans to butter mixture; beat to combine.

3.In a medium bowl, whisk together flour and salt. Add to butter mixture, and beat on medium low speed until well combined, about 4 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until well chilled, at least 2 hours or overnight.

4.Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Shape heaping tablespoons of dough into ovals. Arrange ovals about 1 1/2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets. Using a wooden skewer dipped in flour, make an indentation in dough lengthwise to achieve the look of a coffee bean. Freeze or refrigerate until firm, about 20 minutes.

5.Bake, rotating sheets halfway through, until cookies are just beginning to brown, 16 to 18 minutes. Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool completely. Store up to 1 week in airtight containers at room temperature.

Also on the menu for this week is a lovely soup  (Parsnip, Apple and Brie) that I found the recipe for in Foodland Ontario’s calendar.  One of the culinary teachers at our school sourced enough of these calendars for his students and our staff as a lead-up to his terra madre event.  LOVELY reminder to eat in season and locally.

I’ve already made one batch of this soup and another is likely to need to be done before Stephen gets over his cold.

http://www.foodland.gov.on.ca/english/vegetables/parsnips/recipes/parsnip-app-brie.html

Ingredients:

•1 tbsp (15 mL) butter
•1 Ontario Onion, chopped

•4 cups (1 L) peeled and chopped Ontario Parsnips

•2 Ontario Apples, peeled and quartered

•4 cups (1 L) sodium-reduced chicken or vegetable broth

•4 oz (125 g) Ontario Brie Cheese, cubed

•Salt and pepper

•Ontario Red Apple, diced (optional)

Preparation:

In a large saucepan, melt butter over medium-high heat. Stir in onion; cook, stirring for 2 minutes or until starting to soften. Add parsnips, apples and broth; bring to boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 15 minutes or until tender. In a blender or food processor, in batches, purée soup until smooth; return to saucepan. Stir in cheese; heat over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, just until cheese melts. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve garnished with diced apple, if desired.

Cooking Tip: If soup thickens upon standing, add more broth and reheat gently.

We’ll round out the week with some leftover split pea soup from the freezer, upside-down pizza and maybe some salmon marinated in miso with some ovenmade sweet potato fries.

I also promise to post some of the many pictures that I have been taking yet have been too lazy to upload.

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