Girl Versus Dough

pink champagne cookies

pink champagne cookies on cooling rack

Please don’t hate me for shoving another cookie recipe in your face after what may have been the most sugar coma-inducing week of the year.

And I’m not really shoving these cookies in your face, anyway, as I’m more just highly, highly suggesting that you make room for them in your tummy for New Year’s Eve. Pretty please.

I’m not really one to get all googly-eyed over pretty foods (I’m more of the, “Oh, that mound of brown goop tastes just like chocolate ganache? LET ME AT IT” type), but I couldn’t get over how cute and fanciful these cookies looked in the recipe photo and so, I had to make them. And, as I’m sure you’ve guessed, I’m so glad I did.

creamy shrimp cocktail dip

Hi, hello! I hope you had a wonderful Christmas. We celebrated ours with my family in Chicago a day early on Monday, then flew back to Minnesota on Christmas Eve in time for Christmas Day with the husband’s family before he shipped off to work the night shift (blech). Meanwhile, I did my wifely duty by holding down the fort at home, wearing my new pajamas, drinking hot cocoa and watching “Friday Night Lights” on Netflix until I passed out at 9 p.m.

I think it’s safe to say we all need a week to recover from one holiday before diving into the next — New Year’s Eve. But in case you’ve already got that holiday on the brain, I’m here with a yummy-nummy shrimp cocktail-inspired dip for ya. It’s got cream cheese and shrimpies and tangy cocktail sauce and combined it turns into — well, just about the best thing ever, really.

smoked gouda cheese straws

Merry day-before-Christmas-Eve, friends! I’m going to keep this post short in case you are in the throes of last-minute gift shopping, menu planning, working (boo) or, more hopefully, sitting by the fire with your friends and family enjoying copious amounts of nog and good cheer.

If you’re the kind of people who like to snack throughout the holiday (my family are those people), I highly encourage you to add these smoked gouda cheese straws to the spread. They’re ridiculously simple to make, they taste like cheese and a little like bacon (YES) and you may want to just go ahead and quadruple the recipe below because man, they go fast. As in, I brought them to our Bible study Christmas party last week and left with one straw (which I promptly devoured myself, natch).

eggnog cinnamon swirl bread

The Christmas season always brings with it a flood of memories and emotions for me (all of which, mind you, are grossly exaggerated right now thanks to my physical status. Pretty sure I teared up after watching a life insurance commercial the other day). It reminds me of gatherings with old friends; glittering, nostalgic memories of waiting for Santa to come deliver our presents on Christmas Eve; spending my first Christmas with my husband when he surprised me by decorating our entire place (indoors) with Christmas lights.

It also reminds me of the ones I’ve loved and lost — my sweet grandfathers who never ceased to make me laugh and whom I miss terribly with an aching, gutting feeling every year as the snow begins to fall; and my loving aunt, whose two young boys will be without their mother for the first time this holiday.

Most of all, it reminds of how ridiculously blessed we are in this life. I say this humbly, because I know there are so many hurting and alone this season. Sometimes I feel that pain in my own life, too. And sometimes I feel it for others so much that I become paralyzed with indecision on how to help them. Do I send cookies? A card? Do I just offer a hug? A sympathetic tweet or Facebook message? Will I sound selfish? Aloof? Sometimes I feel like a drop of a few coins in a red bucket outside of the mall just isn’t helpful, so I don’t even do it. Sometimes I clean out our cupboards and completely forget to set aside a few pantry items for the local food shelf. We send money to a child in India, but sometimes I forget we even divvy out that payment every month. Is that enough? Why do I become so overwhelmed by the needs of others that I neglect them?

apple-bacon cheddar mini breakfast pies

Mini Apple-Bacon Breakfast Pies

My husband is having dreams lately about being chased by bears. I’m having dreams of these apple-y, bacon-y, cheesy breakfast bites.

I’d say my dream life is winning right now.

If you haven’t noticed, breakfast is a big deal around here. There was a time in my tween years when I would skip breakfast or just eat one of those measly chocolate granola bars that are like 100 calories and I was always SO CRANKY in the mornings (this could also be attributed to the fact that I was a tween, but I think the non-breakfast-eating was a factor). Since then I’ve learned that the most important meal of the day needs to be a part of my life, and I’ve been trying to perfect it ever since.

You see, a bowl of cereal just won’t do it for me. And when I get really tired of peanut butter toast or oatmeal — my usual go-tos — I seek out more unique, yet filling, foods to swap in their place. Right now these apple-bacon cheddar mini breakfast pies are totally winning. Just like my dreams.

salted dark chocolate honey biscotti

Salted Dark Chocolate Honey Biscotti

Hi hello, friends!

Popping in for a bonus post this lovely Friday to let you know that I’m guest posting these oh-so-delicious salted dark chocolate honey biscotti over at the wonderful Stefanie’s blog, Sarcastic Cooking, while she rests and relaxes with her new baby boy. Can you say “YUM” a million billion times? Because I’m pretty sure I did when I tried one of these biscotti. I’m also pretty sure I heard a choir of angels singing as I made them. No big deal.

Head on over to Stefanie’s site to grab the recipe! And happy weekend. I hope it’s filled with cookies.