The 12 Treats of Christmas: #11 Classic Sugar Cookies

NOTE: You’re wondering… Why is this weird baking post here? I posted this here by accident when trying to update over at Mommydo.ca – my other blog. I know it’s been a while since I’ve updated here. Wee Obi is doing well. She turns 1 on Sunday. Crazy! One Year Old. I’ll come and do a proper update this weekend. In the meantime, if you like to bake, these cookies really are tasty, simple sugar cookies worth trying.

I’ve got my binder open, and this recipe comes from a photocopy of a page from Chatelaine Magazine circa 1998. 15 years later, this is still my go-to sugar cookie recipe. As I said yesterday, I don’t have a photo yet, as we’re going to bake these over the weekend. But I find I like it when the dough chills for a good long while (overnight if possible), so I thought I’d post now so you too can get the batter together tomorrow and have a good old-fashioned cookie bake with the kids this weekend now that school is out.

You can find this recipe here on the Chatelaine site.

Roberto Caruso

  Photo: Roberto Caruso

Classic Sugar Cookies

Preparation time: 15 minutes
Refrigeration Time: 60 minutes
Baking Time: 8 minutes
Makes: 96 cookies

Ingredients

  • 5 – 5½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1½ tsp salt
  • 1¼ cups unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2½ cups granulated sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 4 tsp vanilla

Instructions

  • In a large bowl, using a fork, stir 5 cups flour with baking powder and salt. In another large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat butter with sugar on medium-high for 2 min. Beat in eggs, 1 at a time, scraping down side of bowl as necessary. Then beat in vanilla. Using a wooden spoon, gradually stir in flour mixture just until evenly blended. (Over-mixing toughens cookies.)
  • If dough is too sticky to form into a ball, stir in remaining ½ cup flour, 2 tbsp at a time, until dough is no longer sticky and easy to roll. (You may not need all the flour.) Divide dough into 4 portions. Shape each into a ball, then flatten slightly into a disc . Wrap separately with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour or up to 1 week. Or overwrap with heavy foil and freeze up to 1 month.
  • When ready to bake, preheat oven to 375F. Lightly spray or oil 2 baking sheets or line with parchment paper. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough no thicker than ¼ in. (0.5 cm). Cut out shapes with a cookie cutter. Place on baking sheets, about 2 in. apart. Bake in centre of preheated oven until cookies are pale golden, 8 to 10 min, depending on thickness. Place cookie sheet on a rack for 5 min. Then remove cookies to a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat with remaining dough. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to 1 week or freeze up to 1 month.

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“Why don’t YOU do the world a favour” and other things infertiles want say to the world

Recently, I read this in an issue of Today’s Parent Magazine:

“I barely know where I stand on the topic of fertility treatments and suddenly I have to make a big decision. Up to this point, I’ve always believed that if you can’t naturally conceive a child, do the world a favour and adopt one. So many kids need homes and it seemed selfish and expensive to go about starting a family any other way.”

Now, the article was about a 24 year old who was facing chemotherapy and was suddenly having to decide whether or not to freeze her eggs so I can cut her a tiny bit of slack. But, the fact that she felt this way – and strongly enough that she felt it was ok to put it into an article in a national parenting magazine – and that the magazine felt it was ok to print it, made me wonder how many other people see couples choosing to use ART (assisted reproductive technology) to start a family as selfish, making poor financial decisions and as folks who chose not to ‘do the world a favour’.

I realize that is a long sentence, but you must understand that when I read it the first time, I was hopping mad. Like, run on sentence for 15 min at my husband mad. Like, tearing up mad. I sort of felt like I was judged to be of bad character simply because my husband and I, after struggling to conceive, looked to modern medicine for help starting a family.

After I calmed down, I decided it was more important to educate others about some things you only learn when you find yourself unable to have a child naturally, than it was to seethe silently.

So here goes.

1. It is true that there are many children out there that need homes. It is also true that every day couples who have no trouble conceiving choose to have a child the old fashioned way rather than donning a rubber and ‘doing the world a favour’ and adopting. For us, given our ages when we realized we weren’t gonna have a half a bottle of chardonnay, a dinner out, quick romp and then a baby shower some months later, adoption was not an easy road. IVF, despite it’s challenges, was our best bet to start a family. I believe we did the world a favour by bringing our lovely children into the world as we did, but I’m biased.

2. Starting a family is selfish business. This is true for everyone who does it. One might see submitting oneself to countless medical procedures, sacrificing trips, nice clothes and dinners out to save the funds and bearing the emotional strain of the whole process so you can give life to another human as selfless. That’s a lot of work to make a tiny human. But when it works, it’s worth it.

3. Yes. ART is expensive. So is a BMW. And a purebred dog. And a designer handbag. And a trip to France. The nice thing about money is, once you make it, it’s yours to spend how you wish. When you consider the latest figures have the lifetime cost of raising a child at over $600,000, the cost of fertility treatment is a drop in the bucket. Oh, and people should mind their own beeswax.

4. It’s just not the same. When you try for 3 months and don’t get pregnant, you don’t “know how it feels” – as in “before Baby What’shisname, we had neg tests for three months in a row. I totally know what it’s like to not be able to get pregnant” or “My sister’s husband’s cousin’s friend’s aunt tried for ages. I think it took like 6 months. I totally know what you mean” or “This one time when I had chemo and I had to have my eggs extracted and it was really hard and then my husband and I got pregnant after three months of trying after I’d had chemo and was supposed to be infertile bt wasn’t…but the freezing part, that was hard, I totally know how you feel”. NOT THE SAME. Yep, sounds harsh. But sometimes the truth is harsh.  I don’t know how hard it is to have cancer and chemo. It sounds like hell to me. I’m truly sorry you had to learn what that is like. I am really truly sorry.  And you should know that finding after not 3 months, but years of trying to have a baby that it’s not possible, then having to go extreme measures in fertility treatments to hopefully achieve what other people do every day is also a kind of hell. As is coming to terms with idea that having a child isn’t part of your future. Hell. I totally get that some hells are worse than others. I really do. But please don’t try and make me feel like you’ve been to my hell when you have not and I won’t pretend I’ve been to yours. Let’s all just acknowledge we all go though our own versions of hell and leave it at that.

5. Just because people don’t have kids, doesn’t mean they didn’t want to. And if that’s the case, there’s a good chance it’s a pretty touchy subject. So if you’re ever in a situation where you ask if someone has kids and they say no, just move on. If they want to talk about it – they usually will. If they say, “Nice weather”, or “Can I get you a drink” just keep the conversation moving in another direction. If you pry you might force someone to be more direct. And no one wants to be pushed to the point where they are forced to say “It just wasn’t in the cards” or worse, “We tried but we couldn’t” or the showstopping,  “No, I’m barren”. No one.

6. When you say “have you considered…having sex standing up, adoption, IVF, dancing under the moon with a monkey wearing a fertility amulet,” please know the person has likely considered everything you can come up with and more. If they clam up, don’t be offended. Everyone has a limit. Maybe they’ve reached it. And if that’s the case, unless they are your bestie (and even if they are), there’s a good chance they just don’t want to talk about it anymore. Like ever.

7. IVf and other baby-making interventions may give you the heebie-jeebies. But I gotta tell you, picturing you and your partner making a baby makes me feel the same way. I’m unlikely to say that to your face. And I’d appreciate you keeping your words to yourself. ‘Cause, that’s my kid you’re talking about.

7. Baby showers make people who can’t have babies feel sick. They even make people who couldn’t have babies but then found ways of having babies a little sick. Gracefully allow them to send you an nice gift and their regrets if they suddenly come down with a case of the infertiles.

8. Saying “Don’t worry, it will happen” to someone who’s been trying for ages isn’t a true statement, and you just say it to make yourself feel better.

9. “If it’s meant to be, it will happen” isn’t helping either.

10. You can take your “just relax” and shove it up your ass.

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Quick Eats

A big theme in our kitchen these days is fast food. Not like ‘can I have some fries with that’ fast food. More ‘I want to cook good eats without spending my day in the kitchen’ fast.

So I found a recipe on Pinterest that inspired this creation:

Lasagna Veloce

Image

This one pan Lasagna is made on the stove top in a skillet in about 30 min if you have some sauce handy.

So easy. Take some thin meat sauce and spread it in the bottom of a skillet.

(I made from scratch but you can always add some browned ground beef to jar sauce to save time.)

Add a layer of lasagna noodles. Then a layer sauce and some fresh spinach. Then noodles. Then put lots of little small bits of noodles around the edges so you get lots of tasty noodles…then cover with a little more sauce.

Add about 3/4 of a cup of water, cover and simmer for about 20 min.

I opened the lid and double checked the noodles a few times. I added more water to one skillet and turned the other up a little to make sure the liquid was bubbling around the noodles.

After the noodles are cooked, dob some cottage cheese or ricotta onto the noodles and cover with mozzarella cheese.

Put the lid back on and cook for another 5 min.

I also added a little parmesan cheese at this point.

To finish, I put the skillet in the over and broiled the Lasagna Veloce for a few minutes to get that crusty “baked in the oven lasagna taste”.

For a lactose free option:

As you read I made 2 skillets. In the second I used lactose-free cottage cheese and goat cheese mozzarella. As parmesan is lactose free, I added that too.

It’s really, really as good as the real thing. It’s currently my favourite food.

I have some photos of the steps, but once again, my food photos aren’t fab. Honestly, it tastes better than it looks in my pics.

Image

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Just ticking along…

Hi all, just wanted to post a quick update. Things are going along. We’re working though what this diagnosis means for Obi’s future and the whole family.

I’m still reeling, there’s no question, but Obi really is the cutest little thing. She’s almost 8 months and very petit – just under 13 lbs. She’s still wearing 0-3 clothes and hasn’t yet me all her milestones, but with some OT she’s catching up a little bit at a time, every day.

I’m not sure what else you’d like to know about Obi, her condition or what it’s like to go through all this and find yourself with a perfect little peach with some not-so-perfect genes. Let me know if you have any questions. I’m an open book – ask away. Don’t be shy about asking the hard stuff. I’m happy to have others learn from my journey.

Wonder what an-almost-8-month-old-who-wears-0-3-clothes looks like? A cutie-pie – that’s what. This is her first pair of jeans!

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William Syndrome Wednesday: Not all news is bad news

Here’s a post that I just popped up on Mommydo
But before you read it, here’s a little photo of Obi in case you don’t want to read about this new adventure and just want to check up on the little miss.

crib

A little update on the little miss. Obi met with cardiology today and she doesn’t have any of the heart trouble often associated with Williams Syndrome. This is outstanding, especially when you consider that heart issues are generally a defining factor in the disorder. I, of course, hope that the lack of cardio involvement will translate to a less severe manifestation of the syndrome but I know the two are not related. Still, a little sunny news goes a long way these days.

It’s amazing. When you suddenly find yourself in uncharted territory, the way you see and process the information coming at you completely new too. For instance, if you’d told me when I was still carrying Obi, that I would go to see a cardiologist, one of a whole slew of specialists tracking my soon to be born baby, and I’d been pleased to be there and delighted that she could be followed at our local hospital I would have looked at you like you had two heads. Which part of ‘seeing cardiologist’ is good news I would have wondered. Isn’t the fact that you’re there at all bad news.

Everything has changed.

I met with a dear friend today, one who is also a parent to a child (2 in fact) with special needs. She asked me if I’d read “Welcome to Holland”. In fact she said “Has anyone tried to jam that Welcome to Holland shit down your throat yet?” The fact that she asked me, and more importantly that I knew what she was talking about and was able to ask if she’s read some of the responses made me acutely aware of how the old days are gone forever, replaced by a brave new world. One where news that used to sound bad is far better than real, REALLY bad news. None of which I received today. I’m grateful for that.

If you don’t know the ‘holland’ thing, read here and here and next week we’ll discuss that. Because, I have a lot, and I mean A LOT to say about f’ing Holland.

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Getting results

We’ve waited and waited for results for Obi.
They finally arrived – one of those pivotal moments in life that redefines everything – spits time into 2 – before and after. I needed to tell some real life people before I could post here, those that read along, but now that’s done.
While I was taking care of that, I wrote a few posts but plunked them up on my other blog (the one that no one really reads) just ’cause I needed to get the words out.

So you can read all about the first few days after diagnosis over here.

When I have more time, I’ll add the posts here so they are all in one place, but I haven’t got a lot of free time these days.

As I was hearing all these things, and feeling all these feelings, I couldn’t help but think about what role IVF plays in all this – apparently it has nothing to do this this diagnosis but I imagine having been on this long journey somehow amplifies all the ‘stuff’ that runs through ones’ mind at times like these. I
haven’t been able to sort through those thoughts, but I’ll post about them soon enough.
This is rambley and disjointed, but that’s how things are these days.
As always, thanks for reading.

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Pity Party – Table for 1 in 20,000

Melanie:

Sorry to have kept you in the dark. I needed to tell real life people before I could post about what’s been happening with Obi.
It’s been a tough month. I’m just now making these drafts live.

Originally posted on MommyDo:

Sometimes you just need to let your heart be broken for a bit, before you can starting putting it back together again.

We’ve heard from genetics as I mentioned in my last post.

My sweet, perfect tiny baby girl was just that. And when I was talking to the doc, just before he gave me the news, I looked over at her and thought, I need to remember this moment, because right now, you’re not a patient or a diagnosis. You don’t have a label. You’re just my perfect little baby. You have challenges and good days and bad days but that’s all they are. I need to remember this because there will be times when all I see is what they tell me you are and I’ll need to remember this sweet little critter, my Obi, my little peachie pie. Little chicken. Little Miss. Missie Miss.

I knew while…

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