Pretty Christmas cookies: Chocolate Candy Cane Pinwheels

Roughly 95% of the time I make cookies, I go for chocolate chip. They’re sure to please, I pretty much have the recipe memorized and I just drop scoops of dough onto a cookie sheet before—ta-da!—gooey chocolatey deliciousness. But for a Christmas cookie exchange party, I wanted to up my cookie game a bit. So I got all inspired and created these tasty, festive and pretty Christmas cookies: chocolate candy cane pinwheels!

Chocolate candy cane pinwheels are PRETTY Christmas cookies—and so festive! Ten Thousand Hour MamaVersion 2These chocolate candy cane pinwheels are festive, pretty Christmas cookies—perfect for a cookie exchange party! Ten Thousand Hour Mama

Dark chocolate, sugar cookie dough and candy cane chunks come together in something that tastes just right at the holidays.  Read more

When doing good goes wrong

Thanks to my post-election doldrums and the holiday season, my family has been trying to do a lot more good deeds lately. Unfortunately, sometimes doing good goes wrong.

Take, for example, the time a few weeks ago when Peeper and I baked cookies to bring to our town’s firefighters, along with a handmade card. But just as we arrived, they left with sirens blazing, so I ate the cookies. Later we tried again. No one answered at the fire house. So I ate the cookies. I decided to try once more: I bought a dozen cookies from the grocery store and took the kids to the fire house. Still no one there. So—you guessed it—I stress ate four gingersnaps on the drive home.

We live in a quiet little town outside Portland—not exactly arson central. So either these fire fighters are avoiding me and my baked goods or they’re posing for some sexy fire fighter calendar.

I’m hoping for the latter.

But seriously, all these attempts to do a little good are compromising my resolve to eat better.

Sometimes doing good goes wrong, especially when you give back with kids. Don't give up; try again! Ten Thousand Hour Mama Read more

Sugar Cookie Paint: The no-frosting way to decorate cookies

Sugar cookies no frosting decorationsA few times a year when I was growing up, my mom would break out the cookie cutters and we’d decorate sugar cookies.

It always seemed like a big event. We’d sort through the mountain of semi-misshapen airplanes, giraffes, gingerbread men and stars, picking out the ones for my mom to use. (There was never any question whether we’d select the Mystery Cookie Cutter, which looked kind of like California and kind of like a stretched-out stocking, of course.) She would lay out the raw dough on cookie sheets, and we kids would go at ’em.

Fluorescent sprinkles, those silver balls that I’m pretty sure were supposed to be inedible, and red hots—which everyone liked to use but no one except my older sister liked to actually eat—were all fair game.

We’d sweep up silver balls and wipe up sprinkles for weeks to come, but the mess was always worth the fun. (Isn’t it always?) Read more

Super-protein quinoa enchiladas and coconut-pumpkin-chocolate chip cookies

When you have a baby, all your attention hones in on feeding the newest member of your family. Moms keep track of feeding times and lengths, visit the lactation clinic, figure out latches or bottle flows, and worry if Baby is getting enough to eat.

Brand-new moms spend a lot less time working on feeding themselves, and that’s no good: Parents have enough on their plates without being hangry on top of everything.

So when two friends had babies a few weeks ago, I took the first opportunity to bring them each a meal. Since I’m not terrific at feeding myself, either, I chose recipes that would feed all three of our families!

These precocious baby buddies are already perfecting their secret handshake.
These precocious baby buddies are already perfecting their secret handshake.

When flipping through my Pinterest boards, I looked for functional foods. I decided on this super-protein-packed quinoa enchilada slow-cooker dish because research shows protein is crucial in repairing damaged tissues—something especially important for mothers who had c-sections.

I also made these coconut-pumpkin-chocolate chip cookies. Yes, it’s important for dinner to meet all your nutritional needs, but in those early weeks of raising a newborn, sometimes a bite of something sweet can get you through that moment when your munchkin poops all over you the second you’re showered and wearing clean clothes for the first time in a week. I added a salad, threw in some tortilla chips and called it a meal. Read more