Happy New Year!!

Happy New Year everyone! Like I mentioned yesterday, I almost can’t believe that it’s already 2014! This year seems to have passed by faster than usual. Wasn’t it just August??

I thought I’d take today to share some holiday gifts I received this year. First off, I’d like to thank Kablee at Kablee’s Kitchen! I commented on her post about the Food Blogger Cookie Swap because I was super-sad about missing the deadline this year. (It may actually be my one 2013 regret…)

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Kablee sent me cookies when I participated in the Cookie Swap last year, and her cookies looked great again this year! Well, when I got back to work last week, there was a package of cookies waiting for me from Kablee! Her Butterbeer Cookies totally made my day, and her thoughtfulness made my week! Thanks Kablee! 🙂

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This year, I also got a lot of really great cookbooks that I’m excited to share. (FYI, this is not an endorsement, and I’m not getting paid for posting this. I just like sharing!) First off, I got a new canning book to add to my library! I’m really excited about this book because the author structured the book by season. So I can start planning my Spring canning adventures!

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My mom also got me a really awesome new cupcake cookbook! As a librarian, cupcakes fall into the section she manages and purchases, so she always has an eye out for new cookbooks. This book was not even on my radar, which is what makes it even more amazing! The authors organize the cookbooks as a series of love letters, including one to bacon and one to the Golden Girls. I’m super-excited to try out some of these recipes in the New Year!

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The boyfriend and I picked up a bacon cookbook as a gift to ourselves. We’re not Paleo, but we’re really into eating local and sustainable foods and using the whole animal. With a new high-end butcher shop in the neighborhood, we’re really excited to try out some new recipes!

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The biggest and most-pink of all the cookbooks is “Patisserie: Mastering the Fundamentals of French Pastry”. I’m really happy to add this to my library, especially because of the step-by-step instructions. I looked through the cookbook over the weekend, and I think I’m going to tackle macaroons first!

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In addition to cookbooks, I also got some great new cooking tools, including different sized cookie scoops. I also got a new Thermapen, which wasn’t even on my Christmas list! I was bragging to the boyfriend on Christmas Eve about just how awesome the Thermapen is, so I was almost giddy when I opened one up from my dad and stepmom! Now I need to figure out what to make first! One of the other really cute cooking gifts from this year was this set of nesting measuring cups from the boyfriend’s mom! These are really adorable and will probably live on my counter year-round!

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What new cookbooks and cooking tools did you add to your kitchen? What are you most excited to make in the New Year? Please share in the comments below! Thanks for reading, and happy new year! May 2014 be the best year yet! 😀

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Cookie-Swap Roundup!

This month, I participated in the 2nd Annual Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap. The Swap was organized by two really awesome food bloggers from Love and Olive Oil and The Little Kitchen and raised over $4,400 for Cookies for Kids’ Cancer. The premise of the swap was to sign up, send a dozen homemade cookies to three other food bloggers, and receive three boxes of cookies from another set of awesome food bloggers. All of us who participated in the Swap posted our recipes last week, and I’m sure I’m not the only one who followed their Twitter feed to see what yummy recipes everyone was posting!

After I posted my recipe for Chocolate-Covered Cherry Cookies last week, I thought it would be nice to dedicate a post to the bloggers that I sent cookies to and those that I received cookies from. First up, the cookies I received were awesome! I shared a few with the boyfriend and some friends because I really didn’t need to eat three dozen cookies on my own… I think the best part of the swap was unwrapping the cookie packages I received to find out what little treat was waiting for me inside each box!

The first cookies I received were Caramel Stuffed Apple Cider Cookies from Erin cooks! Seriously, these cookies were awesome! Caramel and apple cider is one of my fave combos (as evidenced in my Apple Cider Cake recipe), and these cookies were fab. Erin sent two different variations: the first contained one large caramel candy stuffed in the center and the second contained small caramel bits mixed in. Both were really good, though I personally preferred the variation with the caramel bits. Thanks, Erin!

The second batch of cookies I received were from Val at eyechow. Her Coconut Butterscotch-Chip Cookies were really good! I love butterscotch and coconut but never really thought to combine them. Also, she baked some of her cookies in muffin tins, which was an awesome idea, especially if you don’t have [enough] cookie sheets! Thanks, Val!

The third package I received never made it home to the boyfriend… Kablee from Kablee’s Kitchen sent me some really fun Shortbread cookies, in four different varieties! It was really fun to taste her Shortbread Four Ways, and I wish I’d gotten to share them with the boyfriend… But I forgot to bring them home from work, so I slowly snacked on them for a few days. Reading her blog was really fun, especially cause she’s a fellow engineer! Thanks, Kablee!

I hope the bloggers that I sent cookies to enjoyed their surprises as much as I did! For a quick shout-out, here’s who I sent cookies to:

Go check out their blogs and recipes for more cookie recipes!

Fellow food bloggers: If you missed out on the Cookie Swap this year, go check out their website to sign up for notifications about next year’s swap!

Happy Birthday to Me! :)

Yep, today is my birthday. I will officially be 27 at 10:39 PM EST tonight. (OMG, I can’t believe I’m 27 today!) I’ll be celebrating my birthday tonight with the boyfriend in a small celebration, in between prepping for tomorrow’s Thanksgiving feast! 😀

Today, I also received my first match from the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap! And I immediately ate two cookies because it’s my birthday. They were really yummy, and I’m trying really hard to resist eating any more cookies before lunch… Hopefully I’ll be making and sending my cookie matches out this weekend! 🙂

I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving here in the states! I’ll be embracing the holiday by hosting a Thanksgiving dinner for my friends here in DC, making way too much food and dessert. (One of the best parts of living in the states as a Canadian is getting to celebrate two Thanksgivings!)

~ Emily 🙂

The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap 2012

One of the food blogs that I follow (Love and Olive Oil) announced the launch of the 2nd Annual Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap yesterday. Of course, I signed right up!

The Cookie Swap involves food bloggers from all around the world, exchanging homemade cookies and recipes. Every blogger who signs up sends a dozen cookies to three other bloggers who signed up for the Swap. Then, the recipes are posted on each blog, and everyone wins! Give cookies, get cookies, share recipes! The Swap is even paired with Cookies for Kids’ Cancer in order to raise money for funding new therapies used in the fight against pediatric cancer! (Each blogger donates $4 to Cookies for Kids’ Cancer, and the donations are  being matched dollar-for-dollar by OXO!)

I am really excited to participate in this year’s cookie swap!! What should I bake up and send?? Is anyone else signing up??