What Happened to 2018?

Oh, hey, guys! So, turns out 2018 is practically OVER. When did this happen? I seriously feel like I blinked at the Thanksgiving dinner table and suddenly December is more than half-finished.

Ever happen to anyone else?

I’m staying on top of the borderline panic that builds with each day I *don’t* notice ripping off the calendar by burying my head farther into the sand and pretending life isn’t speeding right on past. And by sand, I mean my book–the one I simultaneously feel so incredibly proud of and also want to douse in kerosene and light on fire (metaphorically, of course. While I have plenty of hard-copy drafts, the heart of it lives in my laptop and have you SEEN what computers cost these days??). Most days, I’m so excited about this story that is a living, breathing thing taking over my soul that I want to start posting excerpts and side stories on my blog so I can get more people loving it too.

Before you start saying “yes, please!” (Mom–looking at you), I’ve got to admit I’m nowhere near ready. I thought I had a really great, polished draft to give to a technical-writer-friend to look over for the mechanical stuff (and to tell me if the story is in fact good) and not halfway through sending her chapters, I’ve already changed so much. And that’s both exciting and disheartening, because I want so badly for it to be out of me already, but I also want it to be perfect–or as perfect as it can ever be.

Damn, there I go ranting about my book again. I just wanted to pop in and say, ‘hey, I survived NaNoWriMo and it was awful.’ I guess I’ll save that for another post. For now I’m going to go pretend I’m *not* stress-sweating over the fact that Christmas is next week (um, how??). If I don’t get another post out before the New Year (at this rate, I’ll be happy to get myself to the New Year), have a glorious Christmas, a magnificent Candlenights, an enjoyable Festivus, and a fantastic New Year. (PS SORRY I MISSED CHANUKAH, I HOPE IT WAS WONDERFUL–we did get most of the candles lit but I’m pretty sure the grinch stole a couple nights in the middle. That’s the only explanation for this lost time.)

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Fantasy Football is Here

Let me start this out with full disclosure: I rarely watch live tv. I am one of those millennials happily killing the old-school entertainment industry with my streaming apps and my DVR. But last night was the Bachelorette season finale and I’m not NOT gonna watch that live, amiright??

For this reason, I was tooling around on my phone (you know, millennial-style) with one eye drifting to commercials every so often when I saw it. 

It was a Duracell commercial about your mouse dying during your fantasy football draft so you autodraft a kicker in the seventh round (which is bad, okay) and I kept laughing as it kept going on about how his life was ruined. It made me happy we’re doing a live draft this year so there’s no way that can happen to me (and then panicky thinking about how that means my phone needs to be charged and my WiFi on point and my friends to not be d-bags because I live a little too far away for a Friday night in person draft so I’ll be calling in…I digress).

Suddenly I got this feeling like I’d seen it before. Whether or not it’s a repeat commercial, I had the same feeling I get when I see the “they DO exist” M&Ms commercial every Christmas. Like now the season is officially here, roll out the rest of the commercials. 

I know that within a week, the onslaught of commercials will get so painfully old, but for now, I am pumped for Fantasy Football season and thankful to Duracell for the fun reminder. 

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Our wee little Chrismukkah corner…pending a *real* tree

And by that I mean baking season. Fireplaces curling smoke from chimneys. A hint of snow seasoning the air. Christmas trees glowing from living room windows. Festive music in every store, pumping up shoppers while slowly destroying the poor workers’ souls.

It’s CHRISTMAS TIME!

My husband said the most awful thing I’ve ever heard yesterday: “You know Christmas is just one day, right?”

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After demanding he get out of my life, I told him in no uncertain terms do I get to have a Christmas SEASON (and really, it’s limited to the confines of post-Thanksgiving to 12/25 so it’s not even technically a full season, so there), and I mean he gets 8 whole freaking days for Hanukkah, so he can just shut his mouth and let me do my Christmas thing.

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We just spent a week-plus in California with my in-laws for Thanksgiving, and I had many adventures I’ll be sure to write about in the coming weeks, but right now, I want to talk about cookies. My sister-in-law and I discussed a baking cookies before, during, and after Thanksgiving, but the timing wasn’t right (there were SO MANY DESSERTS already). When we got home, amidst setting up the tree and singing Christmas songs off-key, it felt like a cookie kind of day. The sky was that snowy-gray, the apartment was toasty-warm, and my fantasy football team was holding steady against a team I was sure I’d lose to.

All that was missing was a flurry of Earl Grey Lavender Cookies.

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The original recipe I used is here. I went a little wild and halved the recipe, making a small batch of my standard Earl Grey Lavender Cookies (using Adagio teas Earl Grey Lavender loose leaf tea — seriously my favorite tea ever) and experimented with the other half to create a Cocoa-Coffee Shortbread.

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*This is the result of three chopped kisses…wayyy too much

Because this recipe yields like two dozen cookies, I wasn’t trying to risk all that goodness on an experiment. Plus it’s super easy to halve, especially if you just got an amazing set of measuring spoons that range from 1/8 tsp to 2 tbs from Crate & Barrel for your birthday (husband win). For the Cocoa-Coffee batch, I subbed just under a tablespoon of Peet’s coffee and one finely chopped dark chocolate Hershey’s kiss (man am I product-placing like a champ right now or what?) in place of the tablespoon of tea leaves. These cookies came out a shade overcooked — they’d probably be best coming out of the oven right at 12 minutes. The tea cookies I had to leave for another 3 minutes or so.

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In case you need a little extra calories (wink), a swipe of Nutella across the top of the still-warm coffee cookies is heavenly. Come on, it’s the holidays. Calories don’t count at Christmas! And as we’ve already established, Christmas is all month long!

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Base Recipe – Tea Shortbread Cookies

  • 2 cups Flour
  • 2 tbs Tea Leaves
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 3/4 cup Confectioners Sugar
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1 cup Butter
  1. Sift/whisk together the flour, tea leaves, and salt, until the leaves are spotted throughout.
  2. In stand mixer with paddle attachment, cream flour mixture with confectioners sugar, vanilla, and butter.
  3. Put dough on a piece of plastic wrap and roll into a log, twisting both ends to seal closed. Place in fridge for about 30 minutes.
  4. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  5. Cut dough in 1/4-inch sections and arrange on silpat or parchment-lined baking sheet ~2 inches apart (they do spread a little).
  6. Bake 12 minutes or until the edges are just turning golden.
  7. Let cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to wire rack to cool completely.

Experiment with the add-ins! My best so far has been the Earl Grey Lavender, but I’ve tried other herbs, too. The coffee is pretty tasty. Thyme was…less enthusiastically received.

I’d love to hear what you try!