No Business Like Snow Business

I must say that out of all the seasons, winter is not my favorite (even though it is my birthday season). I don’t really mind the cold, but the harsh wind and potential dangerous driving conditions are what gets me. That, and the fact that the 12+ inches of snow we got last night is inhibiting my ability to go out for a run. In the kitchen, I use the “use what you have” mentality, and I think the same applies for the winter weather. So while I may not be able to get my usual exercise by running, I have alternative methods.

That’s right, snowshoeing. My parents have had snowshoes for as long as I can remember, and although I don’t look forward to the snow, when it comes, I always look forward to snowshoeing. Yes, you can go walking or hiking in the snow without snowshoes, just make sure that you wear gaiters and boots with a good tread. The great thing about snowshoeing is that if you can walk, you can snowshoe. They even make shorter snowshoes that are meant for running. My family likes to race.

Shoveling is another great way to get a little exercise in. It may seem like a chore, but if you have some company, or some great music on your iPod, it will go by quickly. Make sure that you lift with your legs, not your back, and you’ll feel the burn in your arms and legs. Another great arm workout? Baking. Put away the stand or hand mixer for the day and use some of your muscle power to whip up a recipe or two. My arms got a great workout mixing up Alice Medrich’s chocolate chip biscotti recipe. If you haven’t already, borrow her new book “Chewy, Gooey, Crispy, Crunchy Melt-in-Your-Mouth Cookies” from your local library, or go out and buy it. There are some really stellar recipes in there. After a day of snowshoeing or hiking in the cold, there is nothing more satisfying than a big cup of chai or coffee. I thought that biscotti would make for a perfect afternoon snack.

Preheat the oven to 300°. Combine 1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour, 1/2 tsp baking soda, and 1/4 tsp salt in a small bowl and whisk together.

In a medium bowl, whisk 2 eggs, 1/4 cup plus 2 T granulated sugar, 1/4 plus 2 T packed brown sugar,  and 1 tsp vanilla extract until well combined

Like so!

Add in the flour mixture, and then add 2/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips

and 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (or any other nut you like. Don’t like nuts? Add more chocolate! Don’t like chocolate! Try some dried fruit!). I found that the easiest way to incorporate the flour mixture and the nuts and chocolate was to use your hands. They are your best tools!

The dough will be very thick. Scrape the dough onto a greased baking sheet into 2 skinny strips 16-17 inches long and at least 3 inches apart.

Bake for 35 minutes, rotating the pan from front to back halfway through the baking time to ensure even baking. Let the biscotti cool for 15 minutes, leaving the oven on

Transfer the loaves to a cutting board, and use a serrated knife to slice the loaves into 1/2-inches slices. Stand the cookies up on the baking sheets at least 1/2 inch apart. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown.

Enjoy!

How do all of you deal with the inclement weather?  We’d love to hear from you at apostiveregard (at) gmail (dot) com

 

–Ariel

From Poland, With Love

My name is Ariel,  ::”Hi, Ariel!”:: and I am a sucker for international/seasonal/limited edition foods. I’m usually efficient when I go grocery shopping, and stick to the list that I’ve made. However… there are exceptions. I LOVE anything and everything that is a limited autumnal flavor (pumpkin, apple cider, etc.) and I’m always intrigued by international foods that I’ve never seen before. While at Stop & Shop yesterday, I deviated from my list when I saw something that had two of my favorite flavors.

Dark chocolate and gingerbread?! I’m sold. I also couldn’t resist their adorable heart shape! These Polish cookies came with either strawberry, plum, or apple filling. I really wanted to try the plum, but wasn’t feeling very adventurous, so I stuck with strawberry.

Another factor that encouraged me to purchase them was the nutritional stats. The serving size is 3 cookies (110 calories, 2 g fat, 1 g saturated fat). While I’m not a calorie counter, I try to eat a healthy diet. I know that each person’s idea of healthy is different, so here’s what I aim for.

I’ve been a pescatarian for a little over 6 years. I only eat fish on average about 3-4 times a month, so I like to experiment with alternative sources of protein. I try to incorporate black beans, chick peas, edamame, or tofu  into most of my meals. I’ve also started stirring whey protein into my oatmeal, yogurt, and smoothies in order to up my intake. There are very few fruits and vegetables that I don’t like, so I try to eat fresh produce as frequently as possible. I’m constantly on the go during the school year, so I try to eat things that will make me feel energized, not weighed down and lethargic. I should probably give this topic a whole post of its own, huh? (hint, hint)

Where was I? Oh yes, COOKIES!
As you can see, the filling is not the vibrant red that is depicted on the bag. It is, however, delicious. The dark chocolate was rich, but not overpowering. The gingerbread on the other hand was a little disappointing. I love all things ginger, and this was lacking in the spice department. It did have a great texture, so I would probably buy these in the plum version, just to see what they taste like.

What, if anything, are you guilty of impulse spending on?