Monthly Archives: December 2012

Winter Wonderland

It finally snowed! Last year, we had a trace amount of it. My snow shovel was never used. I think I wore my winter boots once, and never wore my down coat because it was never cold enough. Living in New England, that was downright SCARY. We’re used to wearing 18 layers at this time of year.

Winter at the Middlesex Fells Reservation

The city was silent when I got out of work last night. Very few people were out, and no one was on the road – I love how peaceful the city is during snow storms. Likewise, I love the country the morning after a storm.

Middlesex Fells Reservation snow

I don’t live in the country, but the Middlesex Fells Reservation is a little taste of New Hampshire right outside of Boston. It’s a place of peace and serenity – even with the sound of highway traffic in the background, I love hiking and biking though there.

Middlesex Fells Reservation snow

There’s only about five inches of snow on the ground, but it’s just enough. And it’s the kind that clings to everything, transforming the woods into a winter wonderland.

Middlesex Fells Reservation snow

Middlesex Fells Reservation snow

Not too many people were out. I pulled over in one section and discovered these animal tracks – there weren’t any human footprints around, so they’re from a deer, coyote, or something. Any animal track experts out there? I’m curious! 🙂

Middlesex Fells Reservation snowy landscape

It’s beautiful. Serene. Calm. Peaceful. Quiet. The only sounds were birds chirping, and the occasional branch snapping under the weight of the snow. This was much needed after weeks of holiday craziness. A fresh blanket of snow to start 2013. Renewal. Happy New Year!

Taking a moment…

It doesn’t feel right to move forward with new posts without acknowledging the events of last Friday in CT… Working in the news biz, we knew how bad it was before media outlets started reporting it… Later in the day, a close friend commented that she doesn’t know how I do it, putting news like that on the air without losing it. Honestly, I’m not sure. After years of being in a control room, you learn how to shut off most emotions and focus on doing the job at hand – there’s time to think, feel and reflect after your shift is done.

Tears came to my eyes several times throughout the weekend. As someone who lost classmates to brutal violence in elementary school, my heart goes out to the children in Newtown, CT… The fear, confusion, and uncertainty those children are experiencing is something no one should ever have to face. I’m sure many adults and children feel completely helpless, but all you can do is embrace and comfort each other, and have faith everything will someday be okay.

 

Ritz in a Box

With a bunch of important events coming up to photograph, I rented a lens from LensProToGo. While testing it out last night, a certain little someone decided to fall asleep in the box the lens was shipped in. So here’s your moment of cuteness for the day, which was taken right before Ritz’s eyes closed!

 

Cat in a box

The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap – Cranberry Chocolate Biscotti

 The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap 2012

I’m so excited to participate in The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap this year! It’s a great cause because we’re raising money for Cookies for Kids’ Cancer. Each participating blogger made a donation to the charity, and our donations are being matched by OXO, dollar for dollar, up to $100,000! My friend Julie of The Little Kitchen and Lindsey of Love and Olive Oil put a lot of work into this, and I wanted to support them as well. I also like cookies. A lot. Can’t resist ’em. I mean, who doesn’t love a good cookie?! C’mon!

Gluten-free biscotti

I haven’t tried baking gluten-free cookies yet, so I figured this was a great opportunity to give it a try. Biscotti seemed like a good choice because it would ship well, and it’s a great holiday cookie to dunk in coffee, hot chocolate, or milk. And although it takes some time to bake, it’s a very simple recipe. This recipe is slightly adapted from one on elanaspantry.com – hers calls for pecans and I decided to leave them out. It’s just a personal preference.

gluten-free biscotti

 Thanks to OXO for the adorable “Be a Good Cookie” spatula! They’re being sold to raise money for pediatric cancer research, as part of their partnership with Cookies for Kids’ Cancer. If you’re interested in purchasing one, you can find it here.

And thanks to Heather from A Sweet Simple Life, Desiree at Unconventional Kitchen, and Lesley Palmer from Healthy Meals to You for the cookies they sent me! Happy holidays!

 

The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap - Cranberry Chocolate Biscotti
Author: 
Recipe type: Cookie
Cuisine: Gluten-Free
Serves: 24 biscotti
 
Ingredients
  • ½ cup agave nectar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups blanched almond flour
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ cup dark chocolate chips
  • ½ cup dried cranberries
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine agave, eggs, and vanilla. Blend with a mixer until fluffy. (About 5 minutes.)
  3. In a separate bowl, stir together the almond flour, salt, and baking soda.
  4. Add dry ingredients to wet, stir until combined, then stir in chocolate and cranberries.
  5. On a parchment paper lined cookie sheet, transfer the mixture and form a log about 12 inches long and 3 inches wide.
  6. Bake at 325 degrees for 30 minutes
  7. Remove from oven and cool for 20 minutes
  8. Transfer the log to a cutting board and cut once lengthwise, then ½ inch slices widthwise.
  9. Place the biscotti back on the parchment lined cookie sheet, and bake for 15 minutes.
  10. Turn each slice over, and bake for another 15 minutes, until they are golden brown.
  11. Remove from oven and allow them to cool for about 20 minutes, until they turn crunchy

 

Bennett’s First Encounter With Santa Claus

Here’s your “AWWWWWWW” moment of the day:

Meeting Santa Claus for the First Time

Thanks to my friends, Colleen and Tim, for asking me to photograph their son’s first visit with Santa this weekend! Santa Claus managed to find a little bit of time in his busy schedule to make a special visit to the MacArthur household. The look on Bennett’s face when Santa walked into the room was precious – he wasn’t afraid, but was filled with wonder (and maybe some confusion!). Bennett turned 11 months old yesterday… It’s hard to believe this year is almost over, and this little guy is going to celebrate his first birthday soon!