Thursday, November 29, 2012

Thumbprint Checker Cookies

Thumbprint checkers. The result of combining two of my favorite cookies. Get out your magnifying glass, and munch on these while solving your next mysterious crime!

Checker Cookies:
2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup butter (Earth Balance)

1 tsp pure vanilla powder*
2 tbsp cocoa powder

Preheat oven to 375. Combine the flour, sugar and butter into a dough. Divide in half, and mix vanilla with the one half, and cocoa with the other. Make two logs out of each dough (about 1" thick each), then combine the four to make one bigger checkered log. Press it lightly to shape. Wrap and place in the fridge to firm up. Slice the dough (1/2" thick slices), place on parchment lined cookie sheet. If adding jam, make a light impression in the center. (If your hands are as big as mine, better not to use your thumb for these!) Fill with a small amount of raspberry (or other) jam. Bake until the edges just start to turn darker, about 10 min.

*I use organic pure vanilla powder (I have a jar that my mom brought me from back home). It is lovely, but I have no idea where to get more of it here in the US. If anyone knows where to get this, please let me know! For these cookies, using the vanilla from one whole vanilla bean would work too, or if using a powder that is mixed with sugar, use a little more of it. It is best not to use liquid vanilla extracts as it will make the dough too soft.

Monday, November 12, 2012

In the Park

After the two recent storms, the park by us is still scattered with twigs and branches (only small ones around here). The kids decided to use them to make a giant bird nest today. I love the ideas they come up with!

We got our first snow last week, two slushy inches. By the time the wind gusts died down enough to go out it was all gone. But it was enough to get us looking forward to Christmas. We are celebrating with Dave's family in just a couple of weeks, as we won't be able to see them in December, so it is time to start preparing. We did a little shopping over the weekend, and baked a bunch of cookies. I will post some Swedish cookie recipes here soon! 

Monday, November 5, 2012

Sports, Sports, and More Sports!

This weekend was the last of the season for the kids soccer league. We have had practices every Saturday and three games every Sunday for the past couple of months. It's been fun, but it's getting to be too cold out. And it's good to have our weekends free again. Saturday night, Gaya's team was invited to play during halftime at the Brown vs. Yale soccer game. We nearly froze our bottoms off, but the kids were all so excited! 

Friday, November 2, 2012

Sandy Relief

Our little state was hit pretty hard by the storm. We are a bit inland, and our town had minimal damage, but so many people are still feeling it. The weather is getting cold here in the Northeast. Lets help the Red Cross provide shelter and food to those that need it the most. Are you in?

Damage at Matunuck Beach Road
More photos of the mess in RI at

If you live near the affected areas you may be able to help in more direct ways. There is a lot of clean-up to be done. FEMA has a list of volunteer organizations that operate in these states.

Thursday, November 1, 2012


First Halloween in our new neighborhood.
Halloween is a big deal in our family. I think it's safe to say that it is Dave's favorite day of the year. Our recent family movie nights have featured films like Frankenstein, Nosferatu, Signs and the Birds. The girls' reading logs look just the same, add a little Poe and other goodies. (Our kids had no problems watching these movies, but Finding Nemo was too much for them...)

Last night we went out trick-or-treating with neighbors, and then had a few people over at our place. First time! The kids figured that since they were in a new place nobody would know if they used last year's costumes, and I loved them a little more. Now, if I can only get the girls to wear Star Wars or skeleton costumes when they are fifteen...
Rasi was "a pirate with a sword!" as he explained to everyone.
Dave's aim was to make the poor little kids cry.
Sad ghost. ...or something like that.
I love handing out candy to the trick-or treaters. But as for the teenagers who come with a pillowcase for their candy, without even wearing a costume (yes this happens)... I have a strategy that fits perfect with my passive-aggressive personality. Raisins! We found several of the little packets scattered in our front yard this morning. :)
Our pumpkins.
Front yard
The kids helped me make dirt cups for the party: tofu chocolate mousse topped with cookie crumbs and vegan sour worms

Check out the cute pumpkin tea light holders that Dave made!