Tuesday, December 13, 2011

These Cookies are My Jam

This is just a quick post to brag that I have made THE BEST COOKIES EVER. I know I made this claim once before, but this tops it.

Following Thanksgiving I had a stash of leftover hazelnuts -- which, by the way, are really expensive -- and in an effort to put them to use, I checked out this new site Gojee.com. It's not the first site to offer recipe search based on available ingredients, but it is certainly the prettiest I've seen. All the photos are huge and beautiful and made me instantly very hungry.

My search led me swiftly to this recipe for Hazelnut Rosemary Jam Cookies. And, since I had leftover rosemary in the house too, I didn't even have to get out of my pajamas to go to the store for ingredients. For the jam I used two of my mom's homemade preserves, which I always have stockpiled -- raspberry rhubarb and pear. The cookies were super easy to make and turned out perfectly. Seriously, just look at my snapshot above and compare it to Gojee. Pretty good, right? The rosemary gave them a really unique and dare I say fancy flavor. I may even whip up another batch of these to impress my in-laws at Christmas this year.

While I'm bragging, I might as well show off my pumpkin pie that I made for Thanksgiving. Joy of Cooking pie + Bobby Flay's graham cracker crust and some homemade maple whipped cream. So good!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Seagull Living: Week 4

My coupon-clipping, Groupon-buying, leftovers-scarfing journey through November continued. While the Thanksgiving feast ultimately blew our tight budget, we still picked up a lot of deals and freebies along the way. Here's the final round up:

Nov. 22: I took the rest of this holiday week off and spent much of it sleeping in and catching up on projects at home. By staying in my pajamas all day and not leaving the house, I managed to not spend much money.

Nov. 23: We recently started renting a storage unit for our business and received a coupon for a free pizza at Il Porto with the new rental. Cashed that in tonight. Il Porto is a hidden gem on the far north end of Washington Ave across from the Navy Yards. Try the "Navy Yard" pizza with pesto, sopresatta and mozzarella, or the veal scaloppine.

Nov. 24: Thanksgiving! Mr Homewrecker made a beautiful turkey and all the requisite sides. I made a cauliflower, pear and hazelnut dish I saw in New York Magazine, plus clementine cranberry sauce and my first ever pumpkin pie. Yeah, the fixins cost a bit, but it's freaking Thanksgiving, and besides, we're going to live off the leftovers for the next week.

Nov. 25: Saw the delightful new Muppets Movie with a Groupon for $9 admission for two + free popcorn at Alpine Cinema in Bay Ridge. We have rarely gone down to Bay Ridge, and it seemed like "real" Brooklyn to me. Not Cosby show, hipster, stuff-white-people-like Brooklyn where we live. Also instead of Black Friday, we effectively did "buy nothing day" by using this deal and living off turkey leftovers.

Nov. 26: Small Business Saturday. American Express was offering this awesome deal where you register your card with their website and spend $25 or more at any small business that accepts AmEx, and BOOM you get $25 credit on your account. We had a wonderful brunch at Bogato Latin Bistro in Park Slope. Plus, Bogata has deals on Facebook and Foursquare where you get a free side of papas criollas on your first check-in. Scored that too. After brunch we went to Staples and got a Black Friday deal on a paper shredder. Originally $80 -- $20 after the mail-in rebate.

Nov. 27: I'm way into Scoutmob deals now. Tried a cute little Mexican place in Park Slope called El Jalapeno and got 50% off our meal.

Nov. 28-30: Coasted into December eating nothing but those Thanksgiving leftovers.

How did we do? Well, we blew our ambitious $600 food budget big time, but that included a Thanksgiving feast, and still we only spent our usual $800 a month and scored lots of little extras like free coffees and treats. Hardly enough to save our budget, but enough to make each day a little more enjoyable.