A Snowy Saturday and Another Cookie Recipe

Hi, everyone! I just realized I haven’t posted since before Christmas. I hope you all had a wonderful holiday. Mine was a relaxing day spent with family, and I could not have asked for anything better.

We really didn’t get too much snow for Christmas, but boy is Mother Nature making up for it now! We got a few inches a couple days ago, and I woke up to even more snow today! I didn’t feel like venturing out in the cold and snow to do anything, so I just had a lazy Saturday at home. I have a hard time allowing myself to just relax and be lazy, as I often feel guilty for being unproductive. But I must say it was nice to have a day filled with lounging around, reading, and baking banana bread. I was just glad I didn’t have to drive in the snow. For anyone out there who does have to drive in the snow, please be safe!

As much as I hate the cold, I must admit that the snow is really pretty!

As much as I hate the cold, I must admit that the snow is really pretty!

I also wanted to share another one of my Grandma’s Christmas cookie recipes that I made this year. However, I must warn in advance that these cookies take a lot of time! I had to devote practically an entire day to making these, but I must say that they are well worth the time and effort!

Butterhorn Cookies

1. Mix together like pie crust: 1 cup of softened margarine, 1/2 cup sugar, 4 cups flour, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt.

2. Using the microwave or stovetop, warm up one cup of milk. Dissolve 2 packages of dry yeast in the warm milk. Once dissolved, add 2 beaten eggs. Add milk mixture to flour mixture until all flour is absorbed. Cover with a damp cloth and chill for 4 hrs. or overnight.

3. After the dough chills for at least 4 hrs, mix together 1 cup sugar, 1 1/2 cups finely chopped nuts (I used walnuts), and 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon.

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4. Take the dough out of the fridge and divide into 5 or 6 equal parts. Take one part at a time (keep the rest in fridge) and roll out on floured board, making a circle about 1/4 in thick. Brush with melted butter and sprinkle with sugar/nut mixture.

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5. Cut dough into 8 equal parts (like a pie or pizza). Roll up each wedge, starting at the wider edge. Place on greased cookie sheet and let raise for about 20 min. Bake at 350 degrees for around 15 minutes.

6. Drizzle with glaze while still warm (1 cup powdered sugar: 2 or 3 tablespoons of milk).

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And there you have it! I know the recipe seems long, and they do take a long time, but they are really delicious and fun to make! I think my grandma was impressed as well 🙂

That’s all I have for now. Have a great weekend and stay warm!!!

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Italian Wedding Cookies

Hey, guys! As I mentioned in my last post, I’ve been baking up a storm ever since I got home. I wanted to share the recipe for one of the cookies I made. Ever since I was young, my grandma has made tons of Christmas cookies every year. She is an amazing cook, and her cookie trays always looked like they came straight from a magazine.

Unfortunately, my grandma isn’t feeling so well this year and she didn’t feel up to baking cookies. However, last week when I visited with her, she gave me the recipes for a few of her cookies, including the recipe for the Italian wedding cookies that I am going to share today. This cookie is a family favorite, and I am so glad I decided to make them this year (even if they didn’t turn out as pretty as my grandma’s always do).

Italian Wedding Cookies

Ingredients

  • 6 eggs
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup oil (I used canola)
  • 3 tablespoons baking powder
  • 1 bottle of lemon or anise flavoring (I used lemon)
  • 5 cups flour (or enough for soft dough)

Directions

1. Beat eggs well. Add sugar, oil, and flavoring and beat well.

2. In a separate bowl, mix flour and baking powder. Gradually add flour mixture to wet ingredients (about 1 cup at a time). Mix well. (Note: batter will be very sticky).

3. Put a little oil or Crisco on your hands and form dough into small balls (about the size of a walnut). Place on greased cookie sheet and bake at 350 for about 10-12 minutes, or until light brown (do not overcook or cookies will be dry).

4. Once cookies are cool, ice (see below for icing recipe).

Icing

Beat 1 cup powdered sugar with enough milk to make a smooth, thin (but not too drippy!) glaze.

Note: I found it easiest to dip the tops of the cookies into the icing, rather than spreading it with a knife. Also, you can tint the icing different colors (I did a light red, green, and white for mine).

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Well, there you have it! I hope you enjoy these cookies if you decide to make them! I must admit, they are quite delicious 😉

P.S. Look who came to visit my family’s yard today…one of Santa’s reindeer! 😉

Christmas is almost here!

Christmas is almost here!

Home for the Holidays

For the past week, I’ve been back home with my dad and sisters and it feels so good to be home. I’ve just been enjoying spending time with my family. I’ve also been able to spend time with my grandparents. On Monday I had a doctor’s appointment and afterwards, my sister and I spent the afternoon with my Nana (what we call my grandmother on my mom’s side). We had a nice lunch out at my favorite little Italian restaurant and spent the afternoon just chatting with her. I love my Nana and am so lucky to have her!

I got a calzone when we went out to eat, and it was MASSIVE! I had leftovers for lunch the next day :)

I got a calzone when we went out to eat, and it was MASSIVE! I had leftovers for lunch the next day 🙂

I’ve also been baking and cooking up a storm! All while listening to Christmas music, of course. I want to post at least a couple of the cookie recipes I’ve made!

Some of the sugar cookies my sisters and I made.

Some of the sugar cookies my sisters and I made.

Now that I’m back home, it’s starting to feel a little more like Christmas (the snow we got today helped a little bit too). But I still cannot believe it’s only three days away! Holy moly, where does time go? Last week when I came home, I helped my dad finish decorating the tree and the house.

Our Christmas tree

Our Christmas tree

I also helped set up our Christmas village that we put under the tree.

I also helped set up our Christmas village that we put under the tree.

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Well, that’s all for now! I hope everyone is getting into the Christmas spirit and enjoying spending time with family and friends. I’ll talk to you later!

 

 

When Healthy Eating Becomes an Unhealthy Obsession

Thank you so much for the feedback on my last post. I had a lot of fun participating in that survey. It was a fun way to share a little bit about myself. But today, I want to talk about something a little more serious. Up until now, I’ve been hesitant to post much about my struggles with  my eating disorder, but I really want to be honest and say that I have been struggling lately. I started this blog originally as a place where I could be open and honest about my struggles, but I’ve been kind of nervous about opening up on such a public space. But today, I want to talk about something that’s been on my mind for awhile now, and that is the topic of healthy eating.

my plate

My eating disorder started as an attempt to cut out some of the processed foods I enjoyed and to just eat healthier. Before I knew it, my innocent attempts spiraled out of control, and I had become very restrictive in the foods I was and was not “allowed” to eat. My eating disorder has created “rules” in regards to my eating:

1. You must always choose the whole grain versions of food…NO white breads, pastas, etc.

2. You can’t have a whole glass of juice …that would be too much sugar.

3. You must always have a vegetable at lunch and dinner.

4. You have to choose the healthiest option possible, regardless whether or not that’s what you feel like eating.

5. You cannot eat anything containing high fructose corn syrup or any other artificial or “bad” ingredients.

These are just a few of the many rules my eating disorder created for me. For awhile, I followed them without questioning. But then I started to realize how downright ridiculous these rules are. What was I afraid would happen if I broke one of these rules? I honestly could not think of an answer, other than I was afraid I wouldn’t be eating the “perfect” diet.

I am starting to realize that there is no such thing as the perfect diet. Despite my best efforts to be the healthiest eater possible, I am actually a very unhealthy eater. My relationship with food is not healthy and I am finally coming to terms with this. Eating nourishing and whole foods is undoubtedly important, and I think I will always genuinely enjoy eating these types of foods. However, there are also times when I want to eat something, but don’t because it doesn’t provide any nutritonal benefit. To me, one of the components of healthy eating is allowing yourself to have the foods you crave, even if they don’t provide any nutritional benefits. As long as you eat healthy the majority of the time, it all balances out in the end.

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Finally, life is too short to spend my days worrying over macronutrients and calories. Life is too short and precious, and I refuse to spend it obsessing over silly things. I was reminded of just how fragile life is when I turned on the TV yesterday afternoon and heard about the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. Words cannot even begin to express my sorrow for all those affected by this tragedy. I am dumbfounded that such terrible things happen in this world, but am praying for everyone involved.

prayer

Take good care, everyone.

Liebster Award

The other day, the beautiful Kendra over at veggiedancer nominated me for the Liebster Award (thanks, Kendra)!!! The Liebster Award is a survey that helps bloggers connect and get to know a little more about one another. Since I just finished my exams last week, and because I’m a new blogger, I thought this would be a good opportunity to share some information about myself. Here are the rules:

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1. Write 11 random facts about yourself.

2. Answer the 11 questions posed by the person who nominated you.

3. Create 11 new questions.

4. Nominate 11 bloggers and mention them in the post.

5. Thank the blogger who nominated you and tell the bloggers you nominated

Now that the rules are out of the way, let’s get started! Here are 11 random facts about me 🙂

1. I have a hard time staying awake when I watch movies, which is why I rarely watch them. For some reason, I have trouble keeping my attention focused for a whole 2-2.5 hour movie (I don’t have ADD, I swear!) Thirty minute TV shows, I can do, but movies? Nope. Unless the movie is really super interesting, I’ll probably be asleep a half hour into it.

2. I have two younger sisters and they are literally my best friends. Emily is 19 years old and graduated high school last year, and Allie is 17 and a Senior this year. We have always been close, even growing up. I feel so incredibly blessed to have two beautiful sisters who are not only my sisters, but my best friends.

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3. My first job ever (besides babysitting, which I did a lot of in high school) was working at a dental office the summer before my Senior year of high school. My mom’s friend has his own dental office, and they needed some extra help in the office for the summer, so I jumped at the chance! I did a bunch of random stuff, from answering the phone and seating patients, to filing and mailing stuff.  I also helped clean the rooms and disninfect the instruments after each patient. It was a really great first job!

4. I need to have some kind of fan or humidifier in my room at night in order to fall asleep. I cannot sleep if my bedroom is dead quiet and need some type of white noise. I remember when my friends used to sleep over, they thought this was so strange!

5. I love love love ice cream! I am honestly not a fan of a lot of other desserts (I don’t really like cake, and could live without pie). But when it comes to ice cream? I simply cannot pass it up. I really don’t have one favorite flavor, but I love butter pecan, black raspberry, and plain old vanilla. It’s even tastier when it’s in a waffle cone.

Ice cream

6. I acted in a few theater performances in middle school and high school, which surprises even me because I am very shy. My friend convinced me to try out for a performance our high school was putting on, so I did. I didn’t make the cut, but when another girl dropped out, they called me back in to fill her role. I honestly cannot remember the title of the play, but it was a spin on different Shakespeare stories (one of the English teachers wrote the play). I acted in another play after that, and also took a performing arts course in middle school. I had a great time, and I hope to be able to get back to a place someday where I am able to do things like that without social anxiety getting in the way!

7. I really like to clean. I don’t know why, but I just feel so much better and so accomplished after I’ve cleaned the entire house. The only chore I really dislike is cleaning the bathtub, but I do it anyway because I like clean bathrooms!

8. This may be childish, but I love to color! I don’t do it often, but sometimes when I am stressed out or bored, I break out the coloring books and crayons. Don’t judge me! It’s actually fun, and surprisingly therapeutic.

Crayons

9. I can’t stand to have my nail polish be chipped even a little bit. For this reason, I rarely paint my fingernails. Whenever I do, they usually start chipping within a few days, and then I just have to take it off.

10. I have anxiety over driving. I didn’t get my license until I was 19, and that was only because my mom begged and pleaded with me. I had practiced parallel parking for months and months, and had it pretty much perfected. Then when it came down to the test, I was so nervous, that I couldn’t pass the parking portion of the test. I finally passed my driver’s test on my fourth try. Driving still makes me nervous, and I usually only do it when I have to. But I as I drive more and get more experience, I hope that I will start to feel less nervous.

11. I am majoring in psychology because the subject just fascinates me. I still am not sure exactly what I want to do, which really bothers me because I am the type of person who likes to have everything planned out. I have thought of getting my Master’s of Education and being a high school guidance counselor. I’ve also thought of going into research or being a clinical psychologist. I hope I figure out what I want to do!

Ok, now I am going to answer the list of 11 questions posed by Kendra!

1. What is your favorite holiday tradition/activity/event? It’s hard to pick just one, but I would have to say baking Christmas cookies with my mom and sisters. I hope to post some of the cookie recipes we make!

2. How many times have you moved in your life? Hmmm, let’s see. I have only moved states once, but I’ve moved to a different house 6 times. That’s mostly because when my parents divorced, I moved out with my mom, who ended up renting a couple of different houses. My dad still lives in the house we moved to when I was in 1st grade.

3. Have you ever been overseas? If so, which countries have you visited? If not, what countries would you like to visit? I have never been out of the country, not even to Canada, but I would absolutely love to travel! I think the 1st place I would want to go would be Italy or Spain. Or maybe I’d just take a whole European tour 🙂

4. What are some of your favorite books? Ever since I was young, I’ve loved to read. I thank my mama for instilling this in me because she was always reading to my sisters and me when we were little. I have a lot of favorite books, but some of my favorites are Autobiography of a Face, The Glass Castle, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, The Help, Tuesdays with Morrie, The Invisible Man…I could go on and on!!!

5. What is your favorite restaurant? I would probably have to say this little Italian place in my hometown. Their pasta is the best!

6. If you could have any superpower, which one would it be and why? Is it weird that I’ve actually thought about this? My first instinct would be to say the ability to read minds, but I think that would just drive me nuts. And let’s face it; sometimes, you just don’t want to know what other people are thinking. I would love to have teleportation abilities, especially now that I am away from most of my family while I’m here going to college.

7. What is your favorite type of weather? I absolutely love rainy dreary days, the ones where the sky is gray all day. I know, I know, I’m kind of weird. But those types of days just feel so cozy to me. And the perfect temperature is in the low to mid- 70’s. I don’t like being cold!

8. What is the strangest thing you have ever eaten (or drunk)? I had to think awhile about this one because I am not very adventurous with food. When I was younger, sometimes I would eat Pringles dipped in ketchup for a snack (healthy, right?) I loved ketchup (and still do) and the combination of Pringles and ketchup kind of tasted like salty french fries to me.

9. What is your favorite school subject? I love all of my classes that I take for my psychology major, and I just find them so interesting! Surprisingly, I also really enjoyed the two semesters of Statistics and Research Methods classes that are required for my major.

10. Do you prefer to exercise indoors or outdoors? Definitely outdoors, as long as the weather is nice! I love walking, hiking, and biking, and find it so much more fun than exercising inside.

11. What is one of your favorite quotes? I have many, but here are a few favorites:

– “Keep your face always towards the sunshine and shadows will fall behind you.” Walt Whitman

– “When you reach the end of your rope, tie a knot in it and hang on.” Thomas Jefferson

-“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart.” Helen Keller

Those were awesome questions, Kendra! Now I get to ask 11 more questions for my nominees to answer! Here they are:

1. What’s the best piece of advice someone has ever given you?

2. What is your favorite dessert?

3. In your opinion, what’s the best way to spend a Sunday afternoon?

4. Name one quality you admire in other people.

5. What’s your biggest fear?

6. Do you have any hidden talents?

7. What is your favorite vacation spot?

8. Would you rather live in the calm countryside, or a hustling bustling city?

9. What is your favorite way to destress?

10. What was your first job (if you’ve had one)?

11. What is one lesson you learned the hard way?

Since I am a new blogger, I don’t have 11 people to nominate, but I will nominate some of the lovely ladies I have “met” thus far through blogging. If you don’t want to/don’t have time to do this, please don’t feel pressured! And if you see this and I did NOT nominate you, feel free to join in!

Miss Polkadot at Let’s Get Living

Sunnie at moderngirlnutrition

Allie at Allie’s Life

Paola at Sol de Luna

Mary Kate at Sweets and Sweat

Shannon at Healthiful Balance

Ok, well that was an epically long post! I had fun but I hope it didn’t bore you. Hope everyone is having a wonderful Tuesday!

3 Down, 1 To Go!!!

Is it really one week into December already?!? Time really is flying by! I can’t believe I haven’t posted since Thanksgiving. This week has been crazyyy, between studying for finals and finishing up papers and assignments. I had 2 papers to write, plus a mock clinical assessment interview to conduct for my Psychopathology class. We had to interview a fake “patient” (a volunteer grad student), then write up a diagnosis and treatment plan. I was nervous for the interview, but it ended up going well!I’ve had 3 of my finals so far this week (Statistics and Research Methods, Psychopathology, and History of Rock n’ Roll –> yeah, my school has some pretty neat classes!) and I just have my Women’s History final this afternoon and then I am DONE!!! I am kind of worried about my final today (history isn’t my best subject), but I am just going to do the best I can!

Now that I gave you a very detailed (and probably boring) summary of what I’ve been up to, here are a couple things I’ve been up to during study breaks!

My sister, mom, and I went to a little paint-your-own pottery place a couple weeks ago, and we just picked ours up! Here's the plate I painted!

My sister, mom, and I went to a little paint-your-own pottery place a couple weeks ago, and we just picked ours up! Here’s the plate I painted!

We also made some Christmas cookies the other night. I can't wait 'til I have more time to make cookies instead of studying!

We also made some Christmas cookies the other night. I can’t wait ’til I have more time to make cookies instead of studying!

I've also been taking Macy for walks when I need a break from the books.

I’ve also been taking Macy for walks when I need a break from the books.

And of course, I’ve been making time to eat some good food. Sometimes I struggle with eating when I feel like I am sitting around studying most of the day, but I am starting to realize that my brain needs fuel too! I can’t think straight if I am not eating well, and this is just something I’ve been reminding myself of constantly.

Baked salmon, brown rice, and steamed green beans with olive oil

Baked salmon, brown rice, and steamed green beans with olive oil

Rigatoni with mom's homemade sauce and meatballs on a bed of spinach

Rigatoni with mom’s homemade sauce and meatballs on a bed of spinach

Costco margherita pizza!

Costco margherita pizza!

My sister was super proud of this salad she made and wanted me to share it on the blog! It's spinach topped with grapes, sliced pear, pecans and crumbled feta!

My sister was super proud of this salad she made and wanted me to share it on the blog! It’s spinach topped with grapes, sliced pear, pecans and crumbled feta!

Ok, well that’s all for now! I’m going to get some last-minute studying in before my Women’s History final this afternoon! Good luck to all those who are finishing up their semesters at school. Have a great Friday!