Happy New Year, dear friends! I haven’t blogged since mid-November. This has been the longest time that I’ve ignored this space and I feel terrible about it. I’ll spare you the excuses and justifications (it’s all work’s fault!!!!) and just say, I’ve missed you. Have you missed me? I hope so. If not, maybe just keep that to yourself 😉
I can’t believe January is gone and we’re already into February. The Husband’s been trying to get me to think more positively because I’m such a Negative Nancy (I need only to point you to my last blog post to remind you of that fact). At the end of December, he challenged me to write down 10 things that I’m proud of accomplishing in 2014 and 10 things that I want to accomplish in 2015.
10 things that I’m proud of accomplishing is a tough one, but here we go:
1) I actually started going to the gym! I was so sick and tired of feeling physically sick and tired that I bought a year membership at a community centre near my house. I was going fairly regularly in December up until Christmas when the holiday festivities started. Work was beyond crazy in the beginning half of January so I fell off the workout wagon for a few weeks. I’m happy to report that I’m back in the gym, although not as often as I’d like, but baby steps, right?
2) I raised over $2000 for the BC SPCA last year by baking cupcakes for National Cupcake Day and walking with Abby in the Paws for a Cause Walk.
3) I attended the Food & Wine Conference in Florida and got to meet all of my wonderful Sunday Supper friends in person for the first time.
4) I attended the Food Bloggers of Canada conference and connected with a lot of Canadian bloggers, many of whom live in Vancouver. We’re organizing regular local blogger meet-ups which I think is awesome because who wouldn’t want to spend time with people who are obsessed with food and therefore spend countless hours photographing and writing about it? No one, that’s who!
5) I pumped air into my tires for the first time after being a car-owner for 7 years. Sure, I was forced to after the air pressure light on my dashboard started blinking in a terrifying manner. I had to google “how to pump air into my tires” before driving to the gas station, where I had to borrow a tire gauge thingy from the clerk and it took me almost half a goddamn hour in the dark and the rain but the point is that I did it, like a fucking boss. I may or may not have fist pumped after the deed was done.
All right, so that’s five items. Did the Husband really say ten? I’m sure he meant five.
Ten things that I want to accomplish in 2015 is an easier list to compile:
1) I want to work out regularly and effectively. Doing a slow walk on the treadmill for ten minutes before I give up and drive home is NOT a real workout (so I’ve been told).
2) Eat healthier.
3) Blog at least once a week. Fergawdssake, that’s something I can handle, right?!
4) Go to Paris. I’ve never been to Europe and the fact that almost every single person I know goes there on an annual basis fills me with a jealousy that burns with the heat of a thousand suns. The Husband and I are planning a trip in September and I can’t freaking wait!
5) Take a pastry course.
6) Spend more time with friends and family.
7) Do more training with Abby. I’m planning on buying an agility course for her this summer and setting it up in our backyard. It’d be amazing if she could run up little ramps and through little hoops.
8) Read more.
9) Not complain as much. This will be a tough one for me because I complain about EVERYTHING.
10) Think positively. Meditate. Anything to change my negative mindset.
Check with me in a year and let’s see how many of these I’ve accomplished. In the meantime, I’m happy that this is my first post of 2015 because I’m joining some of my favourite bloggers for Cookie of the Month. It’s the brainchild of the fabulous Jen of Jen’s Favorite Cookies and this month’s theme is chocolate.
I made chocolate orange ginger cookies. This is a flavour combination that I’ve been obsessing over and I’m happy to report it’s just as delicious in my mouth as it was in my head.
Chocolate Orange Ginger Cookies (adapted from The Meaning of Pie)
Makes 2 dozen large cookies
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp ground cloves
14 ounces dark chocolate, melted
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 stick unsalted butter, room temp
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
zest of 2 oranges
1 1/2 cup candied ginger, chopped
1 cup white chocolate chips
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
In a large bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger and cloves.
Melt the chocolate either in the microwave or on the stove over a double boiler. If you use the microwave, heat it in thirty second increments until the chocolate has fully melted. Stir it every now and then. Be careful because chocolate can easily burn if you microwave it for too long.
In the bowl of your stand mixer or a large bowl with a hand held mixer, cream the butter. Add the sugars and mix until just combined. Add the vanilla and zest and mix. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing between each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
Add the melted chocolate and mix together. Add the dry ingredients slowly, mixing until just combined. Add the candied ginger and chocolate chips. The batter at this point will be very soft. Put it in the fridge for at least an hour.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Scoop the dough onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silpat. I used an ice cream scoop which yields pretty big cookies. Bake for 12 minutes (if you want your cookies crunchier, bake for 14 minutes). Do not over bake if you want soft and fudgy cookies. Let the cookies rest on the baking sheet for ten minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.
One confession – these cookies are a bit sweet. I reduced the sugar from the original recipe but because of all the add-ins (the candied ginger and the chocolate chips) the cookies turned out a bit sweeter than I would have liked. The next time I make these, I’m going to reduce the sugar more. Flavour-wise, these are fantastic. Even the Husband likes them and he’s not a fan of chocolate at all.
Make sure you check out these other delicious Cookie of the Month offerings:
Chocolate Lava Cookies from Jen’s Favorite Cookies
Triple Chocolate Cookie Bars from Crumb: A Food Blog
Flourless Dark Chocolate Cookies from The Cooking Actress
Caramel Chocolate Chip Cashew Butter Cookies from Magnolia Days
Chocolate Orange Ginger Cookies from Gotta Get Baked
Chocolate Chip Compost Cookies (gluten-free) from Heartbeet Kitchen
Fudgy Kahlua Brownie Cookies from Bake or Break