Bugs -- but not in a gross way

You know how when some people are expecting a child they don't want to know the gender of the baby until it comes? And sometimes they don't even pick out a name until they see the baby? They love the excitement and adventure of not knowing. I am not that person. I NEED to know. I have to plan things. Like...you know...THINGS.

So, I'm going to have a baby in about 8 weeks. And after 4 (Yes, FOUR) ultrasounds, the doctor still couldn't tell me the gender. This is a long and complicated story that involves many interpreters and green linoleum and dry toast ( I told you it was complicated) and ends in me getting a new doctor that told me in 2.5 seconds the gender of my next child.

We are going to have another little lady around our house!

And it seems like there is no better way to celebrate girl-ness than with scalloped cutters. (Well, that and a potential apartment fire, right?)

Okay, so as a recap, I just put BUGS on scalloped cookies to celebrate the anticipated birth of a baby girl. And I don't have to go to the hospital with the green floor anymore.

Pumpkin Medallions

A few weeks ago, a firetruck pulled up to my apartment complex with lights flashing. 3 firemen jumped out and ran toward the building. My 4 year old was completely enchanted with this up-close excitement and practically glued himself to our window. (Yes, I know -- I need to get this kid more excitement in his little life.) I was slightly less interested. That is, until 3 minutes later when they came knocking at MY DOOR. They don't speak English and I don't speak Korean so well. I wasn't sure what to do. I figured that if they were firemen, they had a pretty good reason for wanting to come in. (Unless of course, they had borrowed the uniforms and stolen a firetruck just so they could trick me into letting them in so they could eat my food and steal all my good stuff...) So I just opened my door. They went straight to the balcony and THEN---

one of them jumped over the edge. 

I mean, sure he was attached to a rope and all. But he just walked into my house and jumped off my balcony! Just like that. The other two quickly packed up the rope and left. I just stood there. 3 minutes ago, I was a normal person trying to sneak my son's snacks without him noticing...and now-- my whole life had changed. Some stranger had come into my house and jumped off my balcony. And the worst part was that I don't even know WHY. Or where he was going. Or what he was going to do when he got there. Or how in the world I had managed to make cookies for so long without owning scalloped circle cutters.

Luckily, those kind of questions don't really keep me up at night. I'm happy that my apartment wasn't on fire -- especially without my knowledge -- and that I have a giant set of scalloped circle cutters that I can use any time I want to.  But maybe I should work on that whole "learning Korean" thing.

Fall Tree Cookies

You know what I wish?  (Besides world peace and skinny jeans that fit and stuff...) I wish someone would invent some kind of sticky something that actually works just how it is supposed to. See, I live in a pretty nice apartment in Korea. It's beautiful. I love it. Except that holiday decorations are basically NOT going to happen because you can't hang anything on a marble wall. (Yes...I have marble walls. Hate me if you like.) I have tried every kind of self-stick, non-permanent wall hanging device I can find in this country. Oh sure, they CLAIM to be able to hold up to 7 pounds and stick for a year...but THEY LIE. And, where I come from, lying is bad. Like, the kind of bad where you go to your room to think about what you've done, but you have to stay there for so long that everyone forgets about you and THAT is why you have puzzles hidden under your bed. And maybe a juice box.

So...my point is...we tried to decorate for Halloween today and we ended up with some wooden pumpkins on the table and a Happy Halloween sign being used as a tiara. Not really what I would consider ideal. Especially since I was NOT the one with the tiara. But we DO have fun fall cookies. Well, we did. Then we ate them all during our non-decoratable marble wall pity party.

pumpkin witches

I've been kind of "away" this week. My husband's family has come for a visit. To Korea. (That's across the ocean.) But they are only staying 8 days. :(   {<--------sad face} So we have been very busy going everywhere and doing lots of really important things like taking flying cars to the top of mountains and eating kimchi. You know, the basics. And I have a teensy-tiny confession. -- I haven't made any cookies this week. Zero. We did make some rice krispie treats with sprinkles on them, but that is as close to cookies as I've come. So now you have to look at these cookies.

I didn't love them so much when I made them. And I wasn't even going to show them to you. But to be honest...I worked real hard making that tiny little hay bale out of rafia. I've never actually worked on a farm that had hay (or any farm at all for that matter) so I'm not sure how it compares to the actual thing, but I'm pretty sure it was almost as much work. AND, I had to do it on the balcony so a certain small child at my house wouldn't try to eat it, so it DID get kind of hot.... and after a couple of minutes, I got kind of tired of trying to make it work, but I kept going, because if I didn't do it, I knew nobody else would...so you know....that's what I'm willing to do for you all. Make hay bales out of rafia. And let you look at weird cookies while I go to the beach.

Pumpkins and Balloons

So, I made these cookies because I wanted to. (As opposed to all the other cookies I make because I can't help it. Seriously, sometimes there are little cookies screaming to be made and I can't just walk away and pretend like I don't hear them. They KNOW better. And they would totally call me on it. And then it would be all awkward. And I would probably have to take them to the market and buy them a new outfit to make up for it. And I just don't have that kind of time.) And I liked these cookies. And then I showed them to my little boy. And he LAUGHED. A lot. Like, A LOT a lot. He thought they were VERY funny cookies. See, because the faces are on the balloons instead of the pumpkin. And I started to question who I am as a person. And I contemplated life without sugar. For at least 12 seconds. Well, probably at least like 3 or 4 anyway. And then I did some internet research on vats of ice cream...

And then I remembered this picture. Its a picture he drew for me. It's a picture of him washing the TV and he's messy because he just ate a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. And then I felt a little more bad inside, because I totally laughed when he showed me his picture. BUT...I only laughed because it made me happy inside. And then I felt better because maybe HE laughed at MY cookie because it made him happy inside. So then I decided that maybe we are both just a little misunderstood. And we should probably eat cookies together. And then maybe look into those vats of ice cream after all.

Halloween Pinwheel Cookies -- on a stick

I've been thinking about pinwheel cookies ever since I saw the cookies on a stick from Carolyn at Occasional Cookies  on The Sweet Adventures of Sugarbelle. Carolyn's cookies are fabulous. They are like a special glammed up sparkly version of cookies my mother makes every year at Christmas. The secret benefit to my mother's cookies however is that they require much, much less effort. (Or so it seems. Because, to be honest, I haven't tried making Carolyn's beautiful cookies. I'm impatient. And my children would eat all the beautifully colored ropes of cookie dough before they were ever wound into the oh-so-impressive looking Lollypop Cookie. And then I would cry. And they would cry. And we would all be eating macaroni and cheese for dinner. And crying. And my husband would walk in the door and stare at all of us, and maybe wish he had some extra work he forgot about that he needed to go back to work and take care of. So... you know...I had to find an easier way.)

So I made pinwheel cookies. On a stick. Super easy. Make a batch of your favorite chocolate cookie dough. Or use mine. And before you add the flour, drop in some black food coloring. And then make a batch of your favorite vanilla cookie dough and add orange food coloring right before the flour. If you want, you can totally add some orange extract in there as well. But that's your call. I'm not here to tell you what to do.

Chill the dough. Even if you never chill dough. You want it to be real, real stiff. Then roll each dough out into its own rectangle. My mom rolls the dough out onto floured kitchen towels. I don't. It's okay though, we've worked through our differences, and I'm pretty sure my mother still loves me anyway. I have to tell you what I use though, because I think it might change your world. Well, maybe. Just a little bit. I use VINYL. Yep, clear vinyl that I purchased in the fabric department of a big box store back ever so long ago when I lived in a land that had big box stores. It was the best $2.37 I EVER spent. (I also use it for fondant cakes and pie crusts and ...you know....stuff.)

Okay, so you have your two different colors of dough rolled out into their two different rectangles on their two different floured dish towels (or pieces of vinyl.) Take the edges of one towel/vinyl and just flip the orange on top of the black. OR the other way around. I really don't care. And I promise not to tell my mom.

Then you are going to roll it all up together. Starting with one of the long sides of the rectangle, lift the edges of the towel and gently help the dough start rolling onto itself. Keep lifting the towel and the dough will just roll itself right up.

I didn't actually take a picture of this part....but it's not too complicated. Cut the dough roll into two pieces and wrap them each in clear plastic wrap. I only cut it in half because I have a little freezer, and because it's easier to carry that way. Then freeze the dough over night. Or for a couple of weeks. Whatever works for you.

When you are finally ready to bake your cookies, take your rolls out of the freezer and immediately start cutting off 1/2" chunks of dough and put them on a greased baking sheet. Yes, you can make them thinner. But I like them thick and puffy. And you want the dough to still be kind of frozen so that it stays rounded when you cut it, instead of all squishing down to the bottom and making some kind of weird ovalish NOT cute cookie.

You can leave them just as they are, or insert some sucker sticks before baking. (PS -- Do you SEE this tiny baking sheet? This is what fits in my little Korean oven.)

And then, you know...bake them. I baked mine at 350F for 15 minutes. You can leave them as they are, or wrap them up with plastic wrap and ribbons so they look like giant, oversize candies. Or...you could just eat them. Right away. And not tell anyone.

Pumpkin Cookies for Grown Ups

Hey, when you were growing up, did your parents ever have one of those "Adults Only" parties? You know, where they invited all of their friends over and made you go to bed at 6pm. And to console you for not being able to attend, they promised that it wouldn't be any fun at all and you would hate it if you tried to come anyway? But you could HEAR them. And they were most definitely having FUN. And your parents always saved the FUN food for those parties. And you just KNEW that if you could sneak out there without them seeing you that you would most definitely have FUN and you would get to eat all that delicious, magical food before it turned back into normal, everyday food in the morning.

I think that if I am ever responsible and adult enough to have one of those parties for Halloween, I will make these cookies. And all my guests will drink out of glasses that are made of real, actual glass. No plastic cartoon character glasses for them. Oooh, and we'll have as much ice cream as we want. And maybe there will be a pinata. But it won't be filled with dum-dums and those orange and black peanut butter taffy candies. No way. My pinata will have full size candy bars and diamonds and stuff. And my kids will get to stay up until at least 6:30pm. And eat pizza under their blankets with flashlights. (Hey...I can do laundry in the morning.)

P.S. I have secret to tell you about silver and gold cookies. And it doesn't include luster dust. I use Americolor gold and silver airbrush colors. They are SO easy to use. No mixing. Just grab a brush and paint them right on to the royal icing and let it dry for 20 minutes. See? You love it, right?

How to Make Fall Leaf Cookies

I'm warning you right now -- these leaves are so fun to make that you won't want to stop. You're just going to keep on making them right through dinner time. And bed time. And hitting the snooze button over and over again time.

First...bake some cookies. It's best for everyone if you just go ahead and bake those cookies in a leaf shape of some kind.

And gather up some supplies. You know, like snacks and a drink and...well, get what you want. But while you're getting, make sure you get some fall colored icing (12-15 seconds thick), some #3 tips, and some toothpicks.

These cookies go real, real quick. I recommend doing just one cookie at a time. But for the sake of the tutorial I did two. Oh, and its best if you decide on your color pattern BEFORE starting the cookie. Anyway, pipe on your outside layer first.

Pipe around that with the next color. And if you disregard my previous advice to only do one cookie at a time, at least only do one color pattern at a time. Or you will mess up. And be mad. Maybe at me. And, that's not healthy for either of us.

Then pipe your third color right inside the other two. There is no real need to be neat here. Just be quick.

Take the original outside color and pipe that into the remaining spaces, and vaguely in the pattern of the veins of a leaf.

And this is the tricky part. Not to do, but to explain. Take a toothpick and draw from inside the vein color out towards all the points on the leaf. And make some additional points all crazy like. You can really do what you want here, but if you want some guidance, check out the arrows above. (I told you it was all crazy like.) Don't bother wiping your toothpick off unless it gets globby. The leaves look better when there are bits of different colors all over the place. 

Done and done. I did both of these in about 90 seconds. WHILE taking pictures. I'm telling you... you are going to LOVE making them!

Fall Leaf Cookies

I used to love playing in the leaves when I was a kid. My parents had some big trees. And those trees pretty much produced enough leaves for the entire neighborhood. Not that I shared. (Come on. I was a kid. The biggest pile of leaves wins. I wanted to win.)

My brothers and I would rake for hours. HOURS I tell you. That's like 4 years to a kid. My mom always told me that if we wanted to rake the leaves into big piles, we had to rake ALL the leaves. Not just some of them. (How do parents get to be so smart anyway?) And then after we jumped in them and hid in them and threw them at each other, we would build houses out of them. Seriously, I TOLD you we had a ton of leaves. And then my mom would come out and we knew that would be the end of it all. And we would pretend to be sad, but honestly, we already had leaves stuck in places we didn't want to mention and they kind of smelled bad and its not really very fun to hide in a big pile of slightly wet leaves while your brothers pretend like they can't find you. For a super long time. And then they all jump on you like they didn't know you were there.... So, yeah, not too sad to see my mom in the doorway.

Anyway....I haven't actually lived anywhere that has trees with leaves that fall off in the fall since I moved away from home. It makes me wonder what this world is coming to. My poor children. I feel so bad that they will never smell like moldy leaves. So I make them fall leaf cookies instead. And I let them help me. Because these cookies are so fun and so easy to make.

And they make me happy inside when I look at them. And I think that maybe eating them makes my children happy inside. And that's what I'm all about. Happy insides.

Witch Hats and Cauldrons

So...my 4 year old just put a sign on his sister that said, "She is NOT for sale." I thought that was real sweet of him to look after his sister and all. And then she ran over his foot with her little push car. And he changed the sign to say, "She is for sale." He told my husband about this new development and my husband said, "Well, I'd buy her." So my little boy again changed the sign. This time it read, "She is for sale for someone else." You know, just to clear things up. And then he proceeded to sell me my husband for a dollar.

So, basically what I'm saying here is that if I ever sell cookies...I'm not going to make him my front man. But someone else is going to have to tell him. I can't handle the sad face.

Sometimes MOST times, cookies don't turn out quite like I expected. These cookies are a rare exception. The cauldrons are a black cookie to begin with and since they are flat...ha ha ha...I was about to say that I think it makes the bubbles pop. And then I realized how ridiculous that sounds. Let's just say...I kind of like these cookies and we'll call it a day. How's that sound?

winners of the tiniest giveaway ever

My goodness I have been without an icing bag in my hand for at least 3 days now. I have, however, been to the top of a mountain, ridden a train, and there was that incident with the fire department that I will TOTALLY tell you about later. In the meantime....WINNERS. That's what we are all here for.

Winner #1 ---

The A Team who said...
"Just yesterday I got a mattress pad on clearance at macys! Woohoo!" 

And Winner #2 ---
Chris. And check out Chris's best clearance find ...

"So the best thing I got on clearance....a pair of jeans for $1.97. Seriously! I couldn't believe it. It was such a good deal that I bought both my sisters and my daughter each a pair. I didn't want to try them on in the store so I bought 2 different sizes because I wasn't sure what size would fit. I love clearance sales!!!" 

I am honestly loving that you bought two pairs of jeans in different sizes. It makes me feel better about my compulsive cookie cutter purchasing.

Anyway...email me your address and I'll send this package on over. LilaLoa@ymail.com