Maple Leaf Cookies with Caramel Drizzle

I made this leaf cookie cutter last year and never got around to using it. So I went for it and made maple leaf sugar cookies for our United Way Bake Sale at work. Normally I only make sugar cookies for Christmas time and frost them with buttercream. I think I changed my mind though, they can be all the time cookies. These cuties drizzles with salted caramel were divine!
Maple Leaf Sugar Cookies:
2/3 cup butter; room temp
¾ cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
1 egg
4 tsp milk
2 cups flour
1 ½ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
1   cream butter and sugar together
2   then is in vanilla and milk. Beat until fluffy
3   add in dry ingredients and beat until creamy
4   divide dough in half and wrap each in plastic wrap. Let set in fridge for about an hour, up to overnight
5   preheat oven to 375 degrees F. generously flour work surface and roll out on of the balls of dough to about 1/8” thick
6   dip cookie cutters in flour and cut out the shapes, place each on a greased baking sheet
7   gather remaining dough into a ball, roll out again, cut shapes, repeat until all dough is gone. Then repeat with the other ball of dough.
8   As the cookie sheets fill up bake each for 8-10 minutes, edges should not get brown
salted caramel topping:
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup heavy cream
generous pinch of sea salt
½ tsp vanilla bean paste
1   in a saucepan add 1/2 cup + 2 tbs sugar and the water, heat over medium heat until it
boils, stir occassionally
2   then with a pastry brush, or paper towel, wet down the sides of the saucepan so that
sugar doesn't crystalize on it
3   Stop stirring and let it sit until it turns dark amber, you can gently swirl it a few times
4   then remove from heat and stir in the cream, it will bubble
5   then stir in the sea salt and vanilla, let cool
6   drizzle or pour the caramel over the cookies



Joshua messaged me the other day saying he's getting us tickets to an acoustic show that night. I love when that happens, we just have a free night and one of us comes up with something fun to go do together randomly. I pulled up my end by grabbing sushi on the way home, which we ate at our favorite brewery nearby and then walked over to the show. Trampled by Turtles front man was playing and it was the perfect weeknight show.

Then the next weekend Jamestown Revival was playing, currently my favorite band. Joshua snagged tickets and we headed to the u-district. Since we used to live there it was fun to go back and reminisce. We ate at our favorite thai place, drank $4 margaritas at Flowers and headed to the Neptune. It was shocking that Jamestown Revival wasn't the headliner because they were spectacular! Sound better in person, I love the awkward dance moves & giant hats, only makes us want to be cowboys even more. So many people there had cowboy hats, I may have to get one of those on Joshua. The headliner was okay so we mostly people watched and chatted, then we bused back home in the rain.  


Parents Dinner Party

My dad called before we came home and said that he didn't like that I kept posting food he couldn't have, so he asked me if I'd make them dinner when I was home. Of course dinner parties make my soul happy so I said Yes!

Carrot & Fennel Soup with Black Olive Oil w/ arugula salad
   -recipe below
Parmesan & Black Pepper Focaccia Bread
   -this recipe
Balsamic Glazed Ribs
   -this recipe
Chocolate tart with Scorched Meringue
   -this tart with this topping

I dressed up the dining room, pulled out the good dishes and decorated the chandelier. We had a lovely evening and I invited my friend Katy over so we ended with a few games of euchre.

Carrot & Fennel Soup with Black Olive Oil
from here
2 tbs olive oil
1 yellow onion; diced
1 potato; peeled & diced
1 fennel bulb; diced
6 carrots; peeled & diced
4 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup heavy cream
S&P to taste
4 tbs olive oil
12 black olives
1   heat olive oil in a pot and sauté onion, potato, fennel, and carrots until soft
2   add the stock and simmer for 20 minutes
3   add in desired salt and pepper
4   puree soup in a food processor until smooth
5   place back in pot and stir in cream
6   in a food processor blend olive oil and black olives
7   pour soup in bowls and drizzle with black olive oil


Flohio - Ohio

After Florida we road tripped it back to Cincinnati for a quick sleep and then drove to Indiana. We spent the night there with our friends and their new baby & toddler. We hung out at a cute industrial brewery and played games and it was fabulous.
The next night we had plans to go biking with my sister & brother-in-law but the rain nixed that. Instead we had dinner at Taft's ale house and passed around sips of beer tastings. Rounded out the night with the 4 of us trying to remember how to play rummy, I think we made up most of the rules.
Josh was the best man for his friend's wedding so he was pretty excited to get to do the bachelor party. They cut a chunk out of a giant tree and played this game that was introduced to us called hammershlagen. It involves nails, hammers, beer & the winner gets a shot of a German apple liquor. It does not involve wild swinging and no one was hurt, I promise it's pretty mellow.

We grabbed chick-fil-a and strolled around Winton Woods in the sunshine with Josh's mom. Charley Harper's art seems to be getting more popular, but I like to be obnoxious and point out he's from Cincinnati.

We spent a night out with some college friends eating good food and playing at a barcade where all the games are free. Free! We also had a few rounds of Smash Brothers and Mario Kart.

Then it was wedding time. We had a great time, a lot of our friends were there & my sister. We danced, judged the DJ's music choices, put them up on chairs, and ended the night in a circle screaming Journey while the groom air guitared to the bride. We also pit stopped at Waffle House on the way home in which the staff was all dressed up and for the first time that night I remembered it was also Halloween.

I miss it every time we leave but love that the next time is only a few months away!


Flohio Trip - Florida

We've never really done a beach vacation. So I was hesitant about the Destin, Florida wedding we flew to. As soon as we landed though and the air was warm I was a convert. We shared a hotel room with my whole family that opened up to a pool and hot tub area. The beach was walking distance and the hotel had multiple pool areas, one included a grotto swim up bar. I haven't gotten to spend that much uninterrupted time with my family in years. We didn't argue because no one else had anything to do or anywhere to go. We jumped in the ocean waves, played beach volleyball, and ate tacos. It really felt like bliss to be with all of them just having fun.

photo by madre
And then it got even better because the family friends we've been camping buddies with for years were also there! I loved being able to share that part of my life and those people with Joshua too. Of course he thought they were all awesome as well. For the first time since we'd been together we were all 21 so to celebrate Brian's wedding we all went out one night. I loved getting to see these people in their own adult lives, it makes me miss them even more though. They all turned out so awesome!

photo by madre

photo by madre
photo by madre
the oldies of the group

The wedding was fun and outside and warm. The bar was free and they had fabulous food. Therefore, we had a great time and danced whenever the dj wasn't playing jock jams or shout. After the wedding we grabbed whoever still had energy and shared nachos, drank a margarita, and shot pool before we all parted. Missed those who couldn't make it but I loved sharing this time with these people.

& they had endless glowsticks so that's always awesome!

Up next road trip back to Cincy!


Baked Potato with Balsamic Glazed Brussel Sprouts

I forgot how good a baked potato is! Joshua decided this meal should become a staple which I don't mind because it's so darn simple.
Baked Potato with Balsamic Glazed Brussel Sprouts:
2 russet potatoes
4 oz pancetta
12 brussels sprouts; halved
3 tbs balsamic glaze
preheat oven to 400
1   pierce potatoes with fork tines and bake potato for 20 minutes
2   place brussels sprouts and pancetta on baking sheet, drizzle with balsamic glaze, add a little salt and pepper, place in oven with potato for 40 minutes
3   occasionally stir the brussels sprouts and flip the potatoes
4   remove both from oven, cut potatoes in half and mash with the back of a fork,
5   top each smashed potato with the Brussels sprout mixture and drizzle on a little extra balsamic glaze