The first time I spent Christmas in Athens, I fell in love with how much Greeks embrace Christmas. Despite the economic crisis, people were out and about, shopping, grabbing coffee, going out to dinner. The energy was unbelievable. It was a totally different experience visiting Athens in the winter months – the city was alive with people who are normally vacationing in August.
One of my most memorable discoveries during this trip was the Greek Christmas cookie. Every single bakery was stocked with them, restaurants would treat you to them for dessert. They were everywhere, and I didn’t mind it one bit. When baked, the cookie is actually quite dry, but it is then soaked in honey-based syrup & topped with walnuts. The end result is a perfectly baked macaroon with a crispy outside and a center soaked in honey. I’ve never had anything like it.
Every Sunday, I try to drive up to the burbs and spend the afternoon at my mom’s. Usually, she’s in the kitchen cooking away, and I’ll sit at the counter and vent about my week while treating myself (aka stuffing my face) to all of the amazing food within arm’s reach. This Sunday, I walked in and was invited by the delicious smell of these beautiful cookies.
My mom was sitting at the bar in the kitchen, jamming up these tasty little things. They’re incredibly easy to make…don’t let their beauty make you think otherwise. I’ve shared the cookie recipe with you before, when I posted these Christmas cookies last year. The only difference here is that you replace the frosting with jam, and make a cookie sandwich.
This weekend flew by! Though I wasn’t as productive as I would have liked, I’m thankful I got to spend quality time with friends & family. Every moment this weekend was enjoyed with people I love, and there isn’t a better way to celebrate a holiday…don’t ya agree?
I had “baking something new” on my to-do list, so it was natural to bake a 4th of July dessert. I came across these delish krispy treats with cheesecake topping and knew I’d hit the jackpot. I’m usually not impressed with themed desserts, but I thought this one was tasteful & subtle enough. They were so easy to make, yet looked so elaborate! The sweetness of the krispy treat was a match made in heaven with the tartness of the cheesecake.
Yesterday was Leo’s Saint’s Day. What is a “Saint’s Day” exactly? Great question (the things you learn when you date a Greek). Well, Saint’s Day, also known as “Name’s Day” is a celebratory event in the Greek Orthodox church. Every day of the year is dedicated in memory of a saint or martyr, and those who are named after that saint have a big celebration in his or her name day. Moral of the story is, it’s a big deal, and basically like another birthday. Why don’t we all do this?! Anyway, his one request was that I make him a peanut butter chocolate cake.
I’ve never made a tiered cake in my life, but thought I might as well give it a try. I was drooling at this recipe on isaynomato, so I went with it. Granted, my cake didn’t turn out nearly as pretty, but hey, it was my first time! I dialed down the extra toppings as the cake already seemed pretty rich as is. Overall, the cake was a hit…the peanut butter cream was out of this world.
Since I can remember, one Saturday in December was always dedicated to decorating my mom’s delicious butter cookies for Christmas. The last few years, this tradition sort of fell through the cracks as my brother and I have been either out of town or busy for the holidays. Being home for the holidays this year, I made sure to set aside time to make these delicious treats. Not only can I enjoy them with a nice cup of coffee Christmas morning, but making them brought back so many precious memories of holidays in my childhood.
As you can tell, they aren’t perfect (& my mom slightly burned one batch – fully blame her for that), but that’s the beauty of decorating your own cookies – right?
Hope you all have a wonderful holiday.
Yup, that’s right…ANOTHER pumpkin recipe. I just can’t get enough! My boyfriend’s mom had an amazing recipe for pumpkin squares, and with her recent move she lost it. I’ve been trying to dig up her recipe – it was a bit healthier than the norm (with no butter or eggs), so I knew that when I came across this recipe on Chocolate Covered Katie, I’d hit the jackpot. I must admit, for my first attempt at replicating the recipe, I’m quite proud of myself. It’s the perfect treat and I don’t have to feel guilty about eating it (it contains ground flaxseed after all). I’ve included the recipe below as I made some adjustments; I also changed up the cream cheese frosting recipe (used this cream cheese frosting recipe from Gina’s Skinny Recipes).
It’s that time of year when we all suddenly have an obsession with pumpkin (by the way, did you hear about the pumpkin shortage?!). Last weekend, I made a low-fat pumpkin bread recipe that’s been shared within my family the last few years. I don’t have to feel guilty about eating it, and it has a texture that is out of this world – nice, moist and a little more dense than your typical bread.
I’ve been on a chia seed binge lately, adding it to my yogurt, cereal, smoothies…so naturally when I tried this chia seed pudding I was immediately hooked. Chia seeds are apparently REALLY good for you. They’re grown in South America and were eaten by the Aztecs and Mayans way back in the day. In fact, “chia” translates to “strength” in Mayan – pretty cool, huh? They’re high in protein, fiber, omega-3s, and low in calories. Remember the chia pets from the 1990’s? They were grown from chia seeds! How funny – little did we know back then that’d we’d be spending $10 on a bag of the same seeds and eating them like candy. Anyway, let’s get to the real deal – this amazing chocolatey goodness that’s actually good for you. This pudding can be eaten for breakfast, as an afternoon snack, dessert…the options are endless.