Friday, November 21, 2014

My gift to you

Thanksgiving ahead – giving thanks and handing out real gifts (i.e. I don’t get paid, and it’s all for you). Here are a few promotions I’d like to share for today.

Get a FREE Starbucks breakfast sandwich today and tomorrow!


Use code 2257.

Get 15% off at Heath Ceramics (beautiful ceramics and this is the only deal they ever offer).


Deal: Now through Sunday, November 23, use promo code ANNUALSALE to get 15% off all online orders*, plus free ground shipping within the US on orders of $125 or more. So sit back and relax—all you have to do is click.

And, yes, it is 50% off at Gap today if you use a Gap, Old Navy or Banana Republic card.


Unfortunately, these twins are not for sale, but also a very sweet deal (check them out on instagram by following Donald for the daily gift of joy of heart).


Happy Friday!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Chestnut Praline Latte

The time to the Thanksgiving week slowly trickles down, ….counts down. I bought my first bag of Starbucks Christmas blend the other day. It must be my favorite blend each year. I often buy several bags, and then they last until spring. Best coffee ever. I also saw that this year there is a chestnut praline latte, which sounds like something I definitely have to try out.


I make time again to bring my own salad to work.


Instead of living off gluten-free softbatch cookies all day.


The unanswered question of winter running tights.

I assume, everyone is cold today. Maine does not even make headlines because everyone expects it to be cold, and when it is cold in Atlanta, who cares about Maine?  – Honestly, it is not even that cold here yet), only barely 30F and no wind chill. The arctic invasion warms up until it gets here.

I am in preshopping mode. Pre-holiday/black Friday shopping mode. I check out the glove section and put on Northface XS womens gloves. “These would be nice! So warm and cozy.” An evil voice in my head says “What about when it is January and –30F. Will you be warm then?” I shiver and put them back. The same happens when I see a woman running like a gazelle over snow covered grounds in simple “winter warm” tights. “Hmmm…” does the evil voice say “does this company really know anything about ‘winter training in Maine’? or do these ‘winter pants’ only work for ‘winter in Arizona’ ?”.

Good point. --- In Maine, I probably have to wear at least 2 or 3 of these. On top of each other. Nevertheless, I am adamant about getting outside in the winter, for some hikes, snow shoeing or skiing, and warm clothes are the key ingredient to stay warm and make it fun. It is also more fun if they look good.

The question of flexible running tights for the deep cold is left unanswered at this point. I wonder what people actually wear when it is 20F below. Ski pants are great for cross country skiing but too heavy and stiff for running (more looking like a robot running). oh well. First world problems.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Softbatch cookies (gluten-free)

It is another week until Thanksgiving break. The weather is slowly warming up to winter (or snowing up?). It is much chillier now when hiking but still doable without snow shoes.

Today, I created another version of the candy corn cookies --- gluten-free. Replacing the all-purpose flour with King Arthur all-purpose GF flour and some quinoa flour worked out very well. Since they are for a friend, I just made half the batch with candy corn, and the other half with chocolate chips, cranberries and sliced almonds. Perfect hiking food, too….


Candy Corn Softbatch Cookies (Glutenfree)
  • 1/2 cup/1 stick unsalted butter, soften
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1.5 cups Glutenfree all-purpose flour (I use King Arthur flour)
  • 0.5 cup quinoa flour
  • 3 tablespoons instant vanilla pudding mix (or cornstarch)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • pinch salt, optional and to taste
  • 1 cup white chocolate chips
  • ca. 1 cup candy corn
  • Or instead of candy corn:
    • 1/2 cup milk chocolate chips
    • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
    • 1/3 cup sliced almonds
  1. Preheat oven to 350F, line a baking sheet with a silicon mat or parchment paper.
  2. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or large bowl and electric hand mixer), cream together the butter, sugars, egg, vanilla extract and milk on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix the flours, salt, baking soda and pudding mix.
  4. Put speed on low, and slowly added the flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix on low speed until just combined, about 1 minute; don't overmix.
  5. Add the white chocolate chips, and mix until just incorporated. (No candy corn yet! But if you make the other version, add all the remaining ingredients.)
  6. Using a small icecream scoop, (or any size of icecream scoop you like based on the size of the cookies you would like to make) form heaping 1 – 1 1/2 –tablespoon sized mounds.
  7. Press about 2-3 candy corn inside of the cookie dough ball (if using).
  8. Place mounds on baking sheet, ca. 8 cookies per cookie sheet, and bake for about 9 minutes. Do not overbake since the cookies will firm up as they cool. Baking longer than 10 minutes will make cookies spread too thin, the candy corn getting contact with the cookie sheet and starting to melt.
  9. Cool cookies on the baking sheet for about at least 5-10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to finish cooking. They will be sticky because of the slightly melted candy corn.