Monday, December 13, 2010

Snow!....ball cookies

So it's not really snowing here yet.  There was some dust on the ground this morning but it didn't last long.  But it got me thinking about snowball cookies.  I used to LOVE these cookies as a kid.  There was this weird Japanese/Chinese/American buffet style restaurant called Todai where you could get random Chinese food, sushi, and lots of other seafood.  But the thing that really stands out in my memories was the dessert bar.  They had a ton of mini cakes which were all okay but by the time I went to get my second serving of desserts, my entire plate would be filled with snowball cookies.  I would later fill my plate a third time (at least it was a small dessert plate and not a full dinner plate size!) with another heaping of snowball cookies that my mom would wrap up in napkins and stealthily sneak into her purse.  We would enjoy those snowball cookies for the rest of the day and next.  Mmmm. 

So anyways, I had an intense craving for snowball cookies and that's all I could think about at work.  MUST HAVE SNOWBALL COOKIES!  But I didn't want to just find some and buy them.  I wanted to make my own!  And so I did.

Here is my first batch of totally uneven and large unwieldy balls.  They still taste good!  But I always hated getting the sugar all over me as I bit into them so I wanted to make another smaller bite-sized batch.
Oy, look at the mess this makes!  All that powdered sugar everywhere!
Up close shot of the bumpy cookies. 
My lil pug was staring at me forlornly.  She was very upset with me because normally after work she spends the majority of the evening in my lap.  She could also sense that I was doing something with food and that made her even more upset because she wasn't getting any. 
So here is my second smaller sized batch.  Don't they look cute?  It's hard to make them round because you can't roll them, they crumble.  So it's a lot of squeezing and patting. 
Sugar time.  Lots and lots of sugar.  There's a half cup of sugar already inside those bad boys!
Powdering these cookies was fun and totally reminded me of that I Love Lucy episode where Lucy and Ethel are working in the candy factory and dipping those candies in the chocolate.  
They also kind of remind me of powdered cubby hole donuts.  Mmm I used to love those as a kid too.  Dang my mom let me eat all sorts of crap as a kid.
I moved closer to the oven and so did my lil pug.  Aw I didn't notice it at the time but look her little tail is uncurled because she's so sad!  So sad!
But these cookies demanded my attention! 
Ok, ok I'm almost done!  We can relax on my couch soon!  But then I'll have to get up again for a second powdering when they're fully cooled down.  Sorry!
And then it's tasting time!  Mmmmmm.  Todai!
So there are a ton of recipes for this online, all with slight nuances.  I used a mixture of them based on whatever ingredients I like best:

Snowball Cookies!
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup butter (lotsa butter!)
2 1/4 cups flour
1/2 cup of chopped walnuts

So simple!  So few ingredients!  Some people use pecans instead of walnuts and almond extract instead of vanilla.  But I like walnuts best and didn't want any contradictory nut flavor, so I stuck with vanilla.

Mix the sugar, softened/melted butter and vanilla together.  Add the salt and flour and mix well.  Add the walnuts in last.  I tried pounding the walnut chunks to get them smaller because the size of the walnut pieces affects your ability to make tight balls.  

After everything is mixed, take the batter and form small balls and place on an ungreased cookie sheet.  The first time I made 1-inch sized balls like everyone said, but I thought they were too big.  The second batch is probably more like 1/2-inch sized.  You can do whatever.  With this mixture I was able to make about 50 of these cookies on one cookie sheet.  These cookies don't spread when cooking so you can put them pretty closely together.  I had mine about 1/2 inch apart.  

Bake at 350 for 15-20 mins (I found them best at about 18 mins with my oven).  Take out and let cool a little.  When cookies are still warm roll them around in some powdered sugar and then place back on rack to cool.  When fully cooled roll the cookies in sugar again.  Lotsa lotsa sugar!  Sprinkle some on top while you're at it!  I've read that these can stay good in sealed containers for a few days but are also pretty good frozen.  I'm curious to see how they'll taste after they thaw.  

Enjoy!  And try to avoid looking at how messy your powdered kitchen is.  

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

New Clothes!....For My Pug. And Current Product Favorites

I got new clothes!!!  Uh not for me, but for my lil smug pug.  

First up is a pink pea coat.  I think this looks adorable but unfortunately it's a teensy bit too small and she doesn't seem to like it.  She wasn't able to get in proper #1 and #2 positions and so I ended up tearing it off like a madwoman as the freezing winds blew my hair and scarf into my face.  It felt very dramatic.

It also covers up her fat tail a bit.  I wish they had made it more of a chest band instead of a belly band.
I also got her a festive holiday sweater with hood.  I loved the idea of the hood with pom.  She resisted the hood at first.
But soon gave in.
Ugh this one is also a tad too small.  I just left the belly band open.

Love the pom!  And there's a pocket at the bottom of the sweater.  Why would a dog sweater need a pocket?!
And last is a pink cable knit sweater I got for her to wear indoors.  My bedroom gets pretty cold, even with the heat up, because I have ceiling to floor windows.  I also don't let Sunny on my bed so she has to sleep on the floor in her own bed and I think it's even colder there.  Sunny loved the pink sweater!  Well, she at least didn't fight it or seem bothered by it.  So we have a winner!  Unfortunately only pink was available in her size so I'll have to wait to get other colors.
So this isn't a totally pug posting, I'll do a brief note about some products although I won't include photos (that takes forever to do).  These are some products I'm currently loving lately:

Dior Crayon Eyeliner (Waterproof) - Loving this.  I've been using this as my standby black eyeliner pencil.  I use it to tightline my top lid before I go over it with a liquid liner and to get my waterline on the bottom.  This is the best eyeliner pencil I've found for this.  MUFE is pretty good too but Dior is slightly better for me.  

Dermalogica Age Smart Mult-Vitamin Thermafoliant - GREAT exfoliant!  I like using a manual scrub.  I've tried just using the enzyme/chemical exfoliators and those do nothing to my skin but make it pink sometimes.  I have exfoliation issues.  I'm convinced that my face and body requires more manual exfoliation than average because my skin just doesn't shed dead skin cells as well as it should.  Anyways, this warms up as you rub it into your skin and my skin looks amazing afterwards.  I think this has been improving my skin texture over time.  I use it about 2x a week.  I also have the daily microfoliant by Dermalogica which I also like but it's a little too gentle for me.  I need a harsher scrub every now and then.

Shu Uemura hard formula for brows - I never talk about brows stuff because I have found my HG and will never look for another brow product again.  I have no desire to because I can't imagine anything that would to p this.  This is probably my only truly HG product.  I have this in Seal Brown and Stone Gray.  I got the Stone Gray in desperation when the Seal Brown was sold out.  It's fine but Seal Brown is truly the perfect shade for me since I don't like my brows to look too dark.  This stuff is amazing.  It only deposits color when it reacts to the oils in the brow hairs so it's impossible to mess up.  Also, one pencil will last you FOREVER.  I've had the same pencil for a few years and I use it every day and I'm not even halfway through it.  Amazing.

Murad Skin Perfecting Primer (Dewy Finish) - My skin really agrees with Murad stuff.  And it really really loves this primer.  I bought my second bottle in one of my recent Sephora binges.  This claims to disguise imperfections while evening out and even improving your skin.  This is very very sheer and light.  I didn't think it was doing anything at first to be honest.  But I still used it on weekends when I didn't want to put on a full face of makeup but wanted something to even out my skin a bit.  And I started getting compliments on my skin all the time during the weekend.  Even if I had zits, the rest of my skin and its texture looked much better.  My sister even commented that my skin looked better with just and no foundation.  I don't know if I'm ready to go totally foundation-less to work just yet though.  I haven't tried the matte finish because I don't really like matte finishes in general.  Even though I constantly strive to make my skin not shiny, I still want it to look glowy.  There's a difference between an oil slick and a luminescent glow.

Benefit Creaseless Cream Eyeshadow - Love all of the ones I have.  But I definitely reach for Flatter Me and Get Figgy the most.  I was surprised at how much I liked Get Figgy.  These eye shadows are almost impossible to mess up.  For real. 

Peter Thomas Roth Uber Dry Sunscreen (SPF 30) - Great sunscreen.  I went for a long time without applying a regular sunscreen and instead relying on the miniscule SPF in my other face products and makeup.  In my defense, I rarely saw the sun.  I went from my apartment to subway (couple blocks), subway to work (cross the street) and then was in work until the wee hours long after the sun had set.  But now that I have a lil smug pug that I have to take out regularly, and as I become more haggard in my old age, I decided I needed to find a daily sunscreen.  I hate the feel of sunscreen though so I was intrigued by PTR's claim to have an uber dry sunscreen.  It may not be uber dry but it's the driest one I've found.  In the summertime I sometimes blot my skin with a tissue after applying and before putting on makeup but during the fall and winter, no worries.  I don't think it gives the white cast in photos, but I'm not positive.

And as far as things I'm not impressed with from my recent purchases:

Boscia Luminizing Black Mask - Feels weirdly tacky and didn't do anything for my skin.  I think I'll stick with my Kose White Mask.  

Nude Skincare Deep Cleansing Mask - Doesn't really do anything for me.  And when I got a couple zits on my chin it didn't do anything to dry it up.  I ended up having to use my DDF sulfur mask.  It's weird because I always think my DDF sulfur mask is doing nothing but when I switch to another mask I realize the subtle but important benefits of the DDF sulfur mask