Friday, January 30, 2015

#Dairyfree Chicken Burritos {#recipe}

A couple of posts ago I talked about our new found affinity with roast chicken.  Roast chicken, the easy no fuzz dinner that's economical as  - at least in this house - it yields at least two different meals, chicken pot pie, chicken enchiladas, chicken soup…and burritos.

I know that umpteend different ways to make burritos can easily be found on the web however most use lots of cheese.  The shredded cheese surely can easily be swapped out with vegan shreds but not everyone in this house - that would be Ron - is a fan so something different was needed.  So yes, here is yet another Chicken Burrito one that is dairyfree and as all burritos should be fuzz free, plus delicious as in no leftovers ;).  These have a jerk flavor as some delicious jerk hot sauce by Pirate Johnny's which  I recently received was added. Let me tell you so that the jerk hot sauce along with the cilantro give these burritos their fantastic flavor.  Yes, I know the pictures do not really show just how good they are..better pictures were just not in the cards.  

Dairyfree Chicken Burriots
  • 1 TB Canola Oil
  • 1 onion diced
  • Salt
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/2 tsp dried coriander
  • 1 Tbs  lightly dried Cilantro, or fresh minced
  • 2 C cooked chicken,  diced
  • 1 TB Pirate Johnny's Syrena Seduction jerk hot sauce
  • 1 can black beans, drained
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • 1-1/2 C dried brown rice cooked {I use Alton Brown's baked recipe}
  • 1 TB lightly dried Cilantro, or fresh minced
  • 4 -5 large flour tortillas, or about 10 small flour tortillas
  • 4 TB vegan sour "cream" 
  • 4 TB mild salsa - I used Salsa de Casa by Mekenita
  • 1 large avocado sliced {optional inside of burrito}
  1. Make brown rice according to directions
  2. Heat canola oil in a pan, when hot add onion together with salt and sauté until soft.
  3. Add garlic together with coriander, cilantro and sauté for another minute until fragrant.
  4. Add chicken mix it under all the onion then stir the hot sauce - to taste - under the mixture.  
  5. Cover and keep on very low heat on the stove until you are ready to assemble the burritos
  6. Preheat oven to 375F and prepare a baking sheet
  7. Gently warm up the black beans; season with a pinch of salt and pepper
  8. Mix 1 TB of cilantro under the cooked brown rice
  9. Assemble burritos - lay tortilla flat on your work surface and layer the ingredients into it by first placing a scoop of rice, followed by a scoop of chicken, a smaller scoop of beans, then add salsa. Top with sour cream, and  optional avocado.
  10. Fold bottom of tortilla over the filling, then fold the sides over.  Place seam down on the prepared baking sheet.
  11. Once all burritos have been assembled place in oven for about 5 minutes or a bit longer as needed.

Serve with rice additional hot sauce, salsa and avocado.

Disclaimer:  I have received products free of charge for recipe development - all opinions are my own.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Fun in Cannon Beach {#travel #oregon #kids #pdx}

When I was really little every Sunday my grandparents took me along to the Sonntagsausflug {Sunday outing} It always included pretty much the same components - explore a new place, get in a little walk, and (that was my favorite part) stop at a Cafe for Kuchen or ice cream.  I can still remember sitting around the table with Oma & Opa and the anticipation until the waitress finally brought the treats.   As I got a little older,  the health of my grandparents declined so our Sunday outings came to an end.  Neither of my parents were much into the Sonntagsausflug and I remember being envious of my friends that got to explore/experience different places almost every weekend.  Sometimes I did get lucky and was invited to join them.  Oh, yes I have very fond memories of the Sonntagsausflug…

So yes getting out as a family on the weekend on at least one day is super super important to me us; we may not always be lucky enough to find "safe" Kuchen or ice cream for all of us but we always find a fun treat.  You may remember that the girls have started taking cross-country skiing lessons at Teacup Nordic up at Mt. Hood.  Well, there is sad news and that is that there is no snow; it is so sad we want to get out but what can you do without snow.  Yes, there is still downhill skiing but it is just not for us.  So what can one  do - on a Sunday in Portland when the whether feels more like spring than winter and you want to leave town?  You head to the beach - okay there still would be many other things to do - and to the beach we went.

Cannon Beach is our favorite day trip destination - less than a two hour drive away, great beach for a long walk,  play in the sand, rest plus Bruce's Candy Kitchen...

Take a look - rejuvenation in a matter of minutes...

Alena and I napped, while Ron and MiaRose explored

There was the mandatory Shrimp/Crab Boat

Finally Bruce's Candy Kitchen where the girls get to select their own Salt Water Taffy and yes,  all but two flavors are "safe".  Yay.

Thank you for visiting :)

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Gingered Carrot Coconut Soup {#vegan #recipe} #ad

Yes,  we are still on our soup kick.  Okay truth be said we are never get over soup; it just changes with the seasons.  Grey chilly days call for a burst of color and one of my "happy" colors is orange.  The color orange makes me happy, immediately brings virtual rays of sunshine to me resulting in a much better mood.  Now orange soup for dinner does not sound that appealing to me, but carrots. Oh yeeesss,  I love carrots and not just for the color.  Carrots the perfect snack, perfect addition to any salad, and carrot soup.  What do you think?  It is quick, easy, quite economically sound, delicious and bright orange guaranteeing rays of virtual sunshine at the dinner table on a misty Portland evening.

This came together so easy and not having to grate my ginger thanks to  Ginger Stir-In Paste  by Gourmet Garden and already chopped lightly dried Cilantro - thank you Gourmet Garden  - made it even quicker.  Now are you ready?

Gingered Carrot Coconut Soup

  • 1 TB Olive Oil
  • 1 medium onion diced
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 TB grated ginger {Garden Gourmet Ginger Stir-In-Paste}
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • app. 4 carrots scraped clean, cut into chunks {about 4 C}
  • 1 small can coconut milk {5.46 oz/161 ml}
  • 4 C water
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • 1-2 TB fresh cilantro chopped {Garden Gourmet Lightly Dried Cilantro}
  1. Heat Olive Oil in a stock pot
  2. Add onion together with a pinch of salt and sauté until onion turns translucent
  3. Add ginger, garlic, coriander and sauté for another minute or so until fragrant
  4. Add carrots and sauté for another minute until they turn bright orange.  Be careful not to burn any of the vegetables
  5. Stir the coconut milk into the vegetables - let the cream melt all the way down and when melted
  6. Add 4 C of water and bring to a simmer.  Cover and simmer for about 20 minutes until carrots have softened
  7. Using an immersion blender - be careful not to burn yourself - blend the soup until the carrots are smooth.
  8. Add salt & pepper to taste; top with chopped cilantro.

Serve with some fresh bread for an easy and tasty dinner.

Disclaimer:  I have received products from Garden Gourmet for recipe development - all opinions are my own.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Black Eyed Pea #Soup with Sweet Potatoes & Carrots {#vegan #recipe}

We love soup in this house and the majority of us love beans/legumes.  Alena and I are absolute bean lovers, while Ron likes them a lot, and MiaRose - our beef lover - tolerates them.   So the other day, looking through the pantry wondering about what dinner will be I realized that there were still plenty of black eyed peas.  My first thought was black eyed peas and rice but being in a "soupy" mood - you know grey, rainy, coldish - I settled on soup.   Started the adventure by quick soaking the dried black eyed peas…and voila here it is

Now truth be said,  if you are not a fan of sweet potatoes this soup is not for you; yes, it will not work I think Ron can attest to that since he is not the biggest fan of sweet potatoes (which is absolutely puzzling to me).  Ron ate his bowl and nicely declined seconds; Alena and I may have both had two bowls - we loved the soup; MiaRose well, she picked out the sweet potatoes and carrots.  So two out of four loved this super easy plus budget friendly soup.

Black Eyed Pea Soup with Sweet Potatoes & Carrots

  • 1 TB Olive Oil
  • 1 onion diced
  • 2 carrots
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 med sweet potato peeled and diced,  (app 4 c) 
  • 1-3/4 C dried black eyed peas soaked, or 2 cans of black eyed peas
  • 6 C water  
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

  1. Heat olive oil in a stock pot and when hot add onion together with carrots and a pinch of salt
  2. Sauté until onion turns translucent and carrots are bright orange in color.
  3. Add diced sweet potato and sauté for another minute or so stirring under the other vegetables.
  4. Add drained black eyed peas and stir under the vegetables
  5. Add water and bring to quick boil.  Reduce heat to a simmer,  cover and cook until beans and vegetables are soft.  
  6. Add salt & pepper to taste

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Timberline Lodge - Mini-break on Mt. Hood {#travel with #kids #oregon #pdx}

Here it is only the beginning - okay almost - middle of January and we were ready for a mini-break; to be fair {to us albeit} we had not been away since November and let's just put it right out there the four of us love to get away and travel.  Yes,  this surely is not shocking news.  Sometimes one night away at a spot that is close, does not break the bank, has a lovely pool and ambiance is all that is needed and I am so excited that we found the perfect place. Less than 2 hours away from Portland - less than 1-1/2 hr actually from our house - in winter wonderland on Mt. Hood Timberline Lodge is the perfect spot that fits the bill.

Stay in one of the  "Chalet Rooms" {aka bunk bed rooms} with a shared bathroom and it becomes an economical getaway that these adults and kids love.  We stayed in a two bunk room and - of course - both ladies wanted to sleep in a top bunk.  Plus just a short walk down the hallway what do you find?  The most amazing - I do not say this lightly friends; really it is amazing - year round outdoor swimming pool.  It was snowing up on the mountain and we were swimming outside; really pure bliss and I am not exaggerating.  Not only does Timberline Lodge have an amazing pool but also a great Sauna.  Most probably do not know that I   we - as in Ron and me - are huge fans.  The pool and sauna are perfect for relaxation after a day on the slopes, or as we did sledding…

The restaurant at Timberline serves up delicious fare, with great ambiance and - you know this is the most important part for us - they are able to accommodate the girls dietary needs.  Our serve made sure that everything was "safe"  The girls even got dessert!  You may not know this however dessert is mostly impossible when eating out as most of the desserts are laden with {ga}lactose.  Same thing at Timberline however sorbet is served as a palate cleanser and thanks yo our awesome server the girls had a big scoop of sorbet for dessert.

The perfect place to hang out after dinner is by the fire place on one of the couches.  Fire crackling, snow outside…it is perfection.  MiaRose and Ron decided to read while Alena and I enjoyed several rounds of Eckolo before heading outside into the snowy night to enjoy absolute quiet and darkness.

After a good nights sleep it was time for some coffee {and tea} with a view of the great blue sky, and a snowy top of the mountain.  Lovely beyond words.  The restaurant serves breakfast a la carte, or also has a fantastic breakfast buffet; now I do not say this lightly because this girl does not like buffets.  Yes, they are usually not my thing but this one is fantastic.  Fresh fruit,  homemade granola, potatoes, make your own waffles…plus there is plenty for the girlies to eat well sort of.  The eggs on the buffet are not "safe" so the kitchen some just for the girlies, pancakes, sausages, and ham were "safe", just not the waffles. Admittedly MiaRose was disappointed that she could not eat a waffle, but she ended up making a couple of waffles for Ron :)

This was the perfect get away and yes,  I we could have stayed - quite easily - another night.

Disclaimer - NO compensation was received  for this post  :)

Friday, January 9, 2015

Chicken Pot Pie {#dairyfree #recipe}

It's been a chicken kind of week here at our house…What?!  Yes, let me tell you it was roasted chicken for dinner on Monday, chicken pot pie for Tuesday dinner, and Wednesday was chicken noodle soup.  Wham - yes, I did just say that…one chicken = three meals.  Love that!!! I do have to admit so that roasting a chicken is still fairly new to this house,  well okay not that new started roasting chickens a little over a year ago.  It never appealed to me and growing up in Germany chicken was not served that often.  True there were the very occasional visits to Wienerwald (who remembers that?) but Grill Hendl aka Rotisserie Chicken was never anything we got.  So, yes it took a while a long while for me to come around to chicken - over twenty years to be exact.  What was I thinking? What were we missing out on? Plus its super easy to make, economical - heck you can get at least three dinners out of one chicken and just so good.  Almost endless options and one of my favorites is Chicken Pot Pie; deliciously flaky crust meets creamy saucy filling…Now you know that pot pies mostly are laden with dairy and are not "safe" for the girlies or other dairy free people.  So for us it always has to be homemade and it is so delicious.  Ron and I love all of it, while Alena prefers the flaky crust, peas, as well as sauce, and Mia Rose is a crust and chicken kind of girl.  Now here it is my dairy free Chicken Pot Pie - it really so tasty even so the picture does not really reflect that ;)

Chicken Pot Pie

  • 1 C  + 2 Tbs flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 C Earth Balance or other "butter"
  • 5-6 TB cold water
  1. Combine flour with salt and "butter" until it crumbly
  2. Stir in water and bring it to ether quickly to a dough; do not knead the dough
  3. Place in kitchen wrap and let rest in fridge for at least 1 hour, or briefly place it in the freezer.  The cough can also be prepared the day before you are planning to make the dish. 
  • 2 Tb Olive Oil
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 1 medium carrot cleaned and chopped
  • 2 tsp poultry seasoning
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 C cooked chicken meat, chopped to bite size pieces
  • 1-1/2 Tb flour
  • 1/2 C white wine
  • 3/4 C plain almond milk 
  • 1 package of frozen peas slightly defrosted - 12 oz
  • Salt, pepper, lemon juice {1-2 tsp} to taste
  1. Heat olive oil in a pan and add onion together with carrots, poultry seasoning, and salt to pan. Sauté until onions soften and vegetables are fragrant.
  2. Add chicken to pan and stir it under the vegetables. 
  3. Sprinkle flour over the vegetable - chicken mixture and stir everything very well
  4. Add wine and mix it carefully under the mixture, stir carefully - from the bottom of the pan - to get rid of any lumps.  Bring to a simmer and let wine reduce for about 2-3 minutes until the sauce begins to thicken.
  5. Add "milk" and carefully mix it into the sauce.
  6. Add peas and let simmer on low for another 5 minutes.  Be sure that sauce does not get too thick - if it is too thick add more "milk".
  7. Add salt, pepper, and lemon juice to taste
  8.  Pour filling into a prepared 8x11" baking dish 
  9. Remove chilled dough from fridge or freezer.  Roll out and size it to be a little larger than your baking dish.  Carefully place on top of filling, then cut a few vents into the crust.
  10. Bake in preheated oven for about 40 minutes or until crust is golden.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Slow Cooker Black Eyed Peas {#dairyfree} & Cross Country Skiing at Teacup {#MtHood #Oregon}

Happy New Year, friends!  Does it still count?  Did you have a good start into the New Year?  We certainly did - all chill just the four of us having Raclette, sparkling apple juice for the ladies and other sparkling for the adult units,  an eating break of firecrackers with friends, more Raclette, plus dessert…So who it to midnight?  Well, ahm it is time yet once again to show my true colors friends.  I have not made it to midnight in ions.  Yes,  I kid you not…it just has not happened I fall asleep.  So again all of us were soundly asleep by 10:30pm and woke up in 2015.  But hey,  it was already 2015 in Europe and on the east coast so technically we made it :)

New Years Day was spent lazily around the house but on the third day of 2015 we finally moved.  Yes,  the girls started their Cross Country Ski Lessons at Teacup Nordic up on Mt. Hood with perfect snow and weather.  Yay -  finally a full winter skiing season is ahead of us; let's just say that the entire family is excited.  The girls love their class, and the adults get to spend time on skis outdoors as well.  Winters past I have always regretted not spending enough time in the snow, especially since it is so close…right?!  We can be up at Teacup in a little over an hour so yes,  we have to take advantage of it. Can you tell that I am excited about this?  And I am even more, as in much more excited, that both girls love to cross country ski including our not so excited hiker, MiaRose :) her favorite part is - can you guess it - is my least favorite part and that is going downhill on the trails…

Now what does any of this have to do with Black Eyed Peas aka Hopping John?  It is a New Year and usually we eat Hopping John on New Years Day but it did not happen this year.  So on Saturday in the morning before we headed up to Mt. Hood at 8 am I threw (almost) everything into the slow cooker anticipating a hot meal on our return from the mountain…let's say I was a little nervous but by the time we arrived back home dinner was almost ready plus the house smelled absolutely delicious.  Yay!!! - We put on the rice and ate within the hour...

Slow Cooker Black Eyed Peas
  • 2 C Black Eyed Peas, soaked over night
  • 5-6 C water 
  • 1  medium sized ham hock
  • 1 Tb Olive Oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, cleaned and chopped
  • 1 red pepper, chopped  
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 1 Bayleaf
  • Salt, pepper, optional -> cayenne, hot sauce to taste
  1. Place drained, soaked black eyed peas in your slow cooker
  2. Place ham hock on top of the black eyed peas - press down
  3. Heat up olive oil in a sauté pan and quickly sauté the vegetables together with paprika until onions turn translucent.
  4. Pour vegetables over the black eyed peas and mix under them
  5. Place bay leaf on top
  6. Pour water over the black eyed peas until they are completely covered {the ham hock will still stick out}
  7. Cover.  Cook on low heat for 6 hours and have fun
  8. Upon your return, remove ham hock from black eyed peas and add salt, pepper and/or optional flavors to taste.
  9. Serve on a bed of rice.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

What is it about…and my favorite appetizers {#Galactosemia #Newbornscreening #dairfree #recipes}

Lately I have been thinking quite a bit about my little blog, where it's headed, and well also its purpose. Let me back up a little - yeeeeeesss people please just let me do it ;) ~  this blog, albeit under its old name Galactosemia in PDX, has been in existence since 2008.  I started blogging - upon dissolution of Galactosemia Support Northwest -  to share our journey;  talk about what it is like to raise children with a rare metabolic disorder and dietary restrictions in a positive way; plus life in general.   At the time Alena was 4 years old and Mia Rose not quite 2 years old; you can say we have learned a lot along the way.

One of the biggest reasons why I want to share our story and life is to give hope to all those with babies newly diagnosed with Classic Galactosemia.  It will be okay - really, believe me.  At first one is not able to see the forest through all the trees but once one comes to grips with the disorder it will be okay.  Sure there are challenges along the road, but heck everyone faces those in one way or another.  Show me the parent that does not worry about their child.  Now why did I start all of this,  I need to take you back to the time when Alena was fighting for her life.  When we had no clue, no idea, had never heard of such a disorder as Classic Galactosemia.  I remember sitting at the computer the NICU at Emmanuel Hospital provided to the parents (remember this is 11 years ago) searching the internet, hoping to find pictures, and stories of parents raising children with Classic Galactosemia.  All I wanted to know is what is their life like and yes - selfishly - what do kids with this disorder look like, what do they do, what will life be like.  Really, we had no idea and the information we found only presented worst case scenario.  So I hope that my little blog can provide hope, give strength to those newly diagnosed, those affected by Classic Galactosemia, be positive, and happy.
In our journey I soon came to understand that our little family would not be what it is today without Newborn Screening and shared our story.  You can say that I am an advocate for newborn screening because - this is not just sappy talk - without it Alena would not have survived.  MiaRose is our second born, so we already knew that there is a 1:4 chance for her to also be affected.  So, yes my other purpose to raise awareness for newborn screening, share our story, those of others saved by newborn screening in hopes that you all will learn about this life saving test and share it. And yes, advocate that all countries - such as the UK - to include testing for Classic Galactosemia in their newborn screening; please read Jake & Owen's story

Now, rightfully so you may ask what on earth does any of this have to do with food?  I am here to read about fooooood….. Good question!  Those affected by Classic Galactosemia lack an enzyme to metabolize galactose (a long milk sugar) into glucose and as such is a toxin for the body.  The only treatment for this disorder is through diet = food.  In infancy babies canNOT be breastfed but need soy, or other galactosefree formula; thereafter it is through regular diet.  The diet has changed a lot over the years, but no worries I will not go into this here but since diet = food this is where the food piece comes in.  Yes,  I love to cook and it was a steep learning curve but here we are 11 years later and to me it is second nature.  So the other purpose is to share our recipes.  All are 100% (ga)lactose free, most are dairy free (not all since aged cheeses such as Emmenthal, Gruyere etc. are "safe"),  some vegetarian and some vegan.  So yes,  the majority of the blog is about food and I hope to share with you all delicious recipes in hopes that you like them as much as we do.
Okay - now I talked a lot so here are some of our favorite appetizers that you can still pull off for New Years Eve.  Thank you so much for reading.
Smoked Sockeye Salmon Salad
Pineapple Salsa
Pinenut stuffed dates
Fleischkuechle (Swabian Mini Meatballs}
Lemon Sorbet in Prosecco

Friday, December 26, 2014

Germerican Christmas as in Merry Christmas, Frohes Fest & Food Traditions...

This year we celebrated another Germerican Christmas;  German, our own, and some American traditions are combined and make our Germerican Christmas.  -  I am not a traditionalist,  but this time of year I turn into one.  Yes. it basically starts in with Laternenparade for St. Martin's Day,  the next thing is the advent's wreath,  on December 1st, both girls get a advent's calendar each and St. Nikolaus visits December 6th every year.  Then of course there are the movies we watch.  Elf, Grinch, Lampoon's Family Vacation, Peanut Christmas, Christmas Story, not to forget Love Actually must all be watched before Christmas, the Elf starts visiting, cookies are baked and the rest of the family insists on a tree.  It is not that I do not want a tree but putting it up in early December?  When I grew up my parents decorated the tree and it was not revealed until Christmas Eve when not only saw the tree for the very first time but also the presents.  It was magical…such anticipation; now we get a tree and decorate it together plus we each pick out a new ornament at Santaland each year…

Presents…well, yes there are presents and we hang stockings by our chimney for each person celebrating.  In Germany the Christkind visits and brings present on Christmas Eve; so yes, our girlies are quite spoiled as it just also happens to visit our house after dinner and leaves a few presents.  Santa of course visits at night and we do follow him along on the Norad tracker it's so much fun. Christmas Day is a lazy one, spent unwrapping, trying on, playing and/or reading presents plus it has to involve a long family walk up  Mt.Tabor

Food - yes, there is food; the first few years after Alena was born was quite a steep learning curve as to how to modify recipes, knowing "safe foods" etc.  In the meantime reading labels, knowing which foods are safe, how to modify is second nature and at home no big deal. So what do we eat on Christmas?  Keeping with  German tradition Christmas Eve dinner is simple and it's Fleischkäse (thank you for a great German butcher in Portland) and Potato Salad. For Christmas Day we used to make a goose, potato dumplings, red cabbage but since neither of the girls really like it we have switched it up.  This year was the second in a row that we had Rouladen with Spätzle {scroll all the way down for recipe} served with oven roasted carrots, and red cabbage.  I have to admit that this year I got a jar of Hengstenberg Apfel Rotkraut {red cabbage with apple} and just heated it up; I may just stick to that tradition.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Vanilla Cut-Out {Ausstecherle} & Linzer Cookies {#dairyfree #recipe} plus Winter break fun

Are you ready for the big day? One more day to go and yes,  there is still time for another cookie recipe to be shared and another cookie to be baked.  This is one is super easy plus the dough makes not only super delicious, fun cut-outs, but also - if you want - more Linzer Cookies.  Plus they are easy, and oh so much fun to make with kids.

Yesterday was the first official day of winter break here in PDX; and I can honestly say that we spent it very leisurely.  I am in a holiday mode as in relaxing mode so not in the mood for doing anything along the lines of the zoo, or OMSI.  More like a leisurely walk up Mt. Tabor but - surprise surprise - neither of the girlies felt like walking up Mt. Tabor, not even the playground was enticing.  Dang, and I thought it was such a fantastic idea.  Instead of my stellar idea we drove downtown, met Ron for lunch at Potbelly (the girls order their sandwich without cheese and it is "safe) and afterwards I took the girls to the Pittock Mansion.  Not sure what I was thinking as I still had hopes of taking a nice long walk and  the walk around the mansion was just not enough; however we peeked through windows to see the beautifully dressed rooms, and enjoyed the view.  Okay truth I enjoyed the truth and MiaRose kept saying "this is boring"….HA here you have the plain truth…she thought it was boring.  Yup - and I could not entice either of them to hike down one of the fantastic trails.  Our next stop - the Rose Garden playground; still fun for both girls and then I saw it.  Yes the trail leading up to the Rose Garden and formed my "evil" plan…The girls played for a while and when they were ready to leave showed them the trail.  Oh yes, it worked like a charm - Alena loves walking but MiaRose is not always a fan…but it worked.  Yup,  we took the trail to the Rose Garden and had fun even MiaRose….

Back home it was time to make our cookies to finish up the first day of winter break.  This is my Mom's recipe the only change is that instead of butter we are using vegan butter to make it dairy free.

Vanilla Sugar Cookie Dough
  • 1 stick Earth Balance (or other vegan margarine)
  • 1 C sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 vanilla bean scraped out (or 1 tsp vanilla extract)
  • 3 C flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  1. Cream together margarine, with eggs, sugar and vanilla until well combined
  2. In a separate bowl combine flour with baking powder
  3. Slowly add flour to the margarine until everything comes together into a dough
  4. Divide dough into two parts and wrap each into plastic wrap.  Place in the fridge for at least 1 hour.
To make the  cut-outs
  • Vanilla Sugar Cookie Dough 
  • 1 egg yolk plus 1 tsp of water mixed
  • sprinkles
  • your favorite cut-out shapes
*** prehet oven to 375 F - line baking sheet with parchment paper ***
  1. Roll out the dough
  2. Cut out cookies and place them on the prepared baking sheet
  3. Brush egg yolk over each cookie; decorate them with sprinkles
  4. Bake for 8-10 minutes

The Linzer Cookies almost as easy - the only added step is to fill them

Linzer  Vanilla Cookies

  • Vanilla Sugar Cookie Dough
  • 3 Tb your favorite jam - couple of drops of water
  • 1 Tb powered sugar for garnish

*** Preheat oven to 375 F - Line baking sheet with parchment paper ***

  1. Roll out half of the dough and using a Linzer cookie cutter - leaving out the insert - cut out the bottom rounds.  Place on a baking sheet and bake for about 8 - 10 minutes
  2. While the bottoms are baking cut out the tops by placing the cut-outs inside of the Linzer cookie cutter. Bake tops for about 8 - 10 minutes
  3. While the bottom and tops cool down, stir jam together with a drop or two of water.  
  4. When cookies are cooled down spread a layer of jam on the bottom cookie then place the top on it. 
  5. Once all cookies are assembled sprinkle with powdered sugar.



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