One of my favorite things about holiday baking is bringing out my cookie cutter collection.
When I moved into my loft with practically zero storage, I had to do some serious kitchen downsizing. Just about anything that was not multi-functional and/or used within the past 6 months got the boot. It was kind of sad for a food blogger, but simplifying still always feels so good. One of the few practical exceptions I made was for my massive cookie cutter collection. It takes up way too much space in my tiny pantry, and I admittedly mostly only use it at Christmastime. But whenever the occasion arises, it makes me so happy to go digging through the set on a scavenger hunt for that “perfect” cookie cutter.
Today’s posts are both celebrating a trip I had the privilege of making to Des Moines a few weeks ago for the Farmers Feed US 2012 Iowa CornQuest! Sponsored by the Iowa Corn Growers Association, the trip was a total blast. Loved getting to hang out with some absolutely wonderful blogging friends, learn all sorts of things about the Iowa corn, beef and pork industries and the amazing farmers who work hard to provide for us, and of course — loved getting to eat some seriously stellar food!
While we were treated to many delicious dishes on the trip, one of my favorite meals was actually a lunch that we were able to cook ourselves! That’s right. Brave Chef Terrie Kohl from the Country Club Market split the ten of us food bloggers into teams to prepare lunch for one another using her delicious recipes. And I was lucky to end up on Team Pork making this heavenly Maple Bacon-Wrapped Pork Tenderloin with Rosemary Cherry Sauce. I think the chef must have secretly known one of my biggest cooking aversions, because she promptly put me to work removing the silver skin from about 8 pork tenderloins. But I admit, it was all worth it when everyone sat down and took their first bites of this pork dish. It was absolutely amazing!
We finally turned on our heater today. After a gorgeous, mild fall — chilly weather has now arrived.
So to warm up today, decided to make a soup with all of these apples we still have around. I was in the mood for something easy and comforting, so ended up trying this easy recipe from Eating Well. It called for parsnips, but I was feeling lazy (and warm with the heat!) and didn’t want to make a chilly trip to the store. So ended up substituting in some yummy potatoes I had on hand.
As much as I love meals, I love to snack. It’s my weakness. My joy. My distraction from staring at a computer for hours on end in a cubicle.
If you would have asked what recipe I anticipated being one of my favorites from ’09, I’m pretty sure I never would have dreamed….peanuts!
But yes, it’s true. This recipe has quickly become a favorite. And has now been my most requested recipe of this Christmas season. These little guys are just irresistible!!!