Just Call Me Sweetie

Valentine's week continues, and this time we're talking sweets. Sugar cookies, to be exact. And these are pink, heart-shaped, oversized, and beyond easy to boot. There's just something about a giant sugary cookie, don't you think? Whether you're spending the day with a loved one, with friends, or even solo, these cookies are a simple treat for all to enjoy, even beyond the big V...and everyone can make them. Let's get down to it...

Easy Sugar Cookies - Valentine's Day Edition
*Adapted from Giada DeLaurentiis
1 tube Pillsbury cookie dough (I used sugar, but any kind you like will work)
1/4 C+ all purpose flour
Red food coloring
Sprinkles, chocolate chips, coconut flakes, or any other flavor you want to add

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine cookie dough and flour. I used my trusty stand mixer (I rave about this little baby here), but my gut tells me mixing it in a bowl with a good old wooden spoon will work just as well. Add 4-5 drops of food coloring, depending on how 'red' you want it. I wanted a soft pink so 4-5 drops worked just fine. Next, add any other extras that you'd like. I split my dough into thirds; one for semi-sweet chocolate chips, one for white chocolate chips, and one for coconut. Take your dough and roll out onto a wooden board or counter top that is generously floured. Flour your rolling pin and roll out the dough. Using a cookie cutter (I just so happen to have a heart one), cut out your cookies. You know the drill: roll up the scraps, repeat.

Place on baking sheet and sprinkle with sprinkles if you so choose. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes or until they look done. This isn't an exact science. Depending on how thinly I rolled the dough, the cookies browned at different rates - which is also why some of my gorgeous pink confections have brown undertones. Just a note of caution: I made the mistake of thinking sugar cookies would be similar to butter cookies, where they don't really puff up or take up any additional space other than what the initial dough occupies. I was wrong. On the first batch, I placed them too close together and they ended up looking like this: Let sit on the baking sheet for 2 minutes, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely. If done properly, they should look like this: Isn't she pretty? To make these even more decadent, try topping them with a bit o'frosting. I will likely freeze some of these and frost them on Sunday for a fresh taste. I'm trying out pomegranate cream cheese frosting...say it with me, 'mmmmm'. So what kind of sweets do you look forward to on Vday? Cookies? Cakes? Chocolate truffles? Hershey's Kisses? 

Psst - if you missed any of Vday week thus far, check out It's a Date and Gorgonzola Fig Crostini!

The Misadventures Part: Top 5 Kitchen Mishaps

I write about a lot of fabulous things on this blog...how to do breakfast in Aruba, feasting on first-class sushi during Restaurant Week, making decadent cakes and cupcakes...but what I neglect to mention most of the time are the mishaps that go on during my culinary endeavors...forcing me to rethink the whole 'in the kitchen' thing and relegate myself to this at all times:

Sushi Lounge in Hoboken, Spring 2009

Not too shabby. But, I love to cook. Do I know a whole lot about it? Nope. But I like to pretend like I do and try to pick up a few tricks along the way. So, in the spirit of inspiring others like myself (that whole if I can do it, you can do it too thing), I'm listing my top five kitchen mishaps (or as Shaun said when I told him about the article, "you mean top five of the last three days?") ...yeah.

1. Slicing my middle finger on a can of dog food. My refusal to use an electric can opener at my parent's house (I'm in the Alton Brown school of thought to not keep excessive gadgets on hand. This goes against all my mother stands for, as she has every kitchen gadget you could possibly think of) lead to this dastardly finger wound and one that I hope never rears it's ugly head again. Putting my middle finger out of commission not only lead to extreme bandaging and underuse, but the constant feeling that I was giving people the unholiest of finger gestures. 

2. Opening a pull can and splattering chipotle pepper sauce all over the wall. Yup it was this past weekend as I made a slow cooker full of black bean soup and it's exactly as it sounds. Did I mention that Shaun had just given this very wall a good scrubbing following my last splatter incident?

3. Burning my thumb on a hot stove grate. Shaun had just used the grate in heating the tea kettle. Rachel thinks she's so smart and getting ahead of the game by cleaning the entire kitchen as things are used (what can I say? Random bits of food just jump out of pans and under the grate). One swift move to lift the grate and I'm left with a skinless thumb.

4. Inadvertently pouring half a can of tomato sauce on my shirt. As I opened the can and pushed up the lid (this was pre-finger slicing as mentioned in number 1 when I carelessly opened cans using bare fingers at any whim), the lid flicked a huge droplet-turned-saucy stain on my fancy shirt. This did, however, lead to my purchasing of a truly fab Anthropologie apron, which ultimately became the color inspiration for my new blog.

5. Sharp knife sticking out of dishwasher decides to slice my palm. I reach into the lower half of the dishwasher, and out of nowhere, a knife sticking out of the utensil basket just does its thing on my hand. Though not enough to warrant a full hand bandage, I have to tell you candidly...it did not feel good.

So it's not all fun in the Humiston kitchen, though even despite my many recent mishaps and Shaun's teasing of said wounds, it still hasn't deterred my desire to learn the culinary arts. And I guess after looking at the above, you'd think I be more interested in reviewing restaurants than cooking food myself, but I guess that's part of the fun - learning as you go along, just like anything else in life. Just make sure you have plenty of bandages, first aid cream, and ibuprofen on hand as a quick cure kit to many kitchen mishaps. Oh, and probably a fire extinguisher, though luckily none of my missteps have warranted this...yet.

But what about you? Am I the only one who's had kitchen malfunctions, causing bodily harm? Please tell me that I'm not alone in my culinary misadventures. Have you ever had a major, yet kinda funny in hindsight, mishap in the kitchen?