Tuesday, August 03, 2010

TWD—Gingered Carrot Cookies, and a Weekend Away

Been crazy busy, it seems.  Kevin took me to Reno for the weekend (we’d planned it for a few months now).  We had a GREAT time.  (Thanks, Hon!)  We drove all the way around Lake Tahoe on Friday.  I cannot even tell you how breathtaking that lake is to me.  One of the most beautiful places I’ve seen on this earth (I haven’t been to to many places, but still.)  I’ve never seen such blue water and gorgeous mountains surrounding the lake.

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We ate at a few fun places in Reno.  At the Gold & Silver Inn, which Guy Fieri from Diners, Drive Ins & Dives reviewed on the show, Kevin got a tri tip sandwich that Guy raved about.  He ended up thinking it was just okay.  The meal I had there wasn’t really very good at all—salmon that was WAY overcooked.  Dry as can be, I didn’t even eat but a few bites of it.  Oh well.  The whole meal wasn’t horrible.

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Saturday morning we met a former co-worker of mine (who used to live in Utah and now lives in Reno) for breakfast.  The place we originally wanted to go to was closed on Saturday (whatever!), so we ended up at Peg’s Ham & Eggs with Norm!  Norm (not knowingly) ordered the biggest breakfast we’d ever seen—served in about a 16 inch skillet.  (I hadn’t seen or really even talked to Norm for about 12 years, but recently “found” him on Facebook and after finding out he lives in Reno we decided to meet up while we were there.

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Stormin’ Norman with the Chiles Rellenos breakfast.  He said it was very good.  It was great to see Norm.  He was always a fun guy to work with.  “B, B, B, Benny and the Jets……..Ben-nay!”  We chatted a way with Norm for a couple hours.  Kevin and I then ran a couple errands and met one of my longtime-ist (I can’t say old since I’m a few months older than her), Ann.  Ann and I met when we were 11 years old in 6th grade.  We were best of friends through our teenage years, then through distance, haven’t seen each other as much.  We were guessing this time it had been about five years.  Ann lives in Nowhereland, Nevada.  She drove 3 1/2 hours to Reno to meet up with us.  Thanks, Ann!  Great to see you and Dan.  We ate lunch at BJ’s Nevada BBQ, which was voted Best BBQ in the West.  Well, we had to see what we thought having just lived in Kansas City for five years and eaten lots of BBQ there.  I’m not a huge eat-lots-of-meat kind of gal, so I never LOVED BBQ.  Kevin does.  But just in my own comparison, I hate to say it, but I liked BJ’s BBQ flavor better than any I recall from Kansas City.  Kevin liked it a lot, but couldn’t really decide.  Great to chat with Ann for a few hours!

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(I always overcompensate when I make sure I don’t blink for pictures and end up looking like a dork.  Great photo-op with Ann though!)

Sick of the travel log yet?  I’m getting to the TWD cookies shortly.  Last big event of the quick weekend—the concert.  Clay Aiken and Ruben Studdard’s Timeless tour.  Everyone who knows me knows I’ve always “loved” Clay Aiken.  I just think he has one of the most fantastic voices.  Kevin has made it possible for me to be at almost all of his concerts when he tours.  While we lived in Kansas, we saw Clay in concert in Kansas City once, we drove to Tulsa once for a concert and Wichita, as well as that, I was able to go to NYC twice in 2008 to see Clay perform in Spamalot—one of the funniest shows ever!  I was not expecting to make it to this latest concert tour when I told Kevin about it months ago, since we just moved and with everything we’ve had going on this summer.  But Kevin surprised me for Mother’s Day and got tickets to go see the concert in Reno (the closest venue to Utah).  I seriously feel so spoiled and loved by Kevin.  Thanks for the great weekend!  The concert was so fun.

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Okay, okay.  Cookies!  Our recipe for TWD this week is Dorie’s Gingered Carrot Cookies, page 162 in Baking From My Home to Yours.  Natalia, author of the delicious Italian blog, gatti fili e farina chose this week’s recipe.  Because we’d been out of town over the weekend, I was going to skip this week, but decided last minute to just make them.  I’m glad I did.  The cookies are good and different and I had fun with them.

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I used one cup of whole wheat flour and one cup of all purpose flour for the cookies.  I thought I had some fresh ginger in the freezer but could not find it (I’m probably just remembering that I for sure had some in Kansas.)  So I used ground ginger.  I finely grated the carrots.  I used just 1/2 cup Pomegranate flavored Craisins (they are good!).  And I used walnuts instead of pecans.

Saturday morning in Reno, before we met Norm for breakfast, we went to the Reno Farmers’ Market.  They have a pretty good market.  I took lots of pictures, but I will spare you photos of lots of fresh produce.  One vendor had lots of nuts from the area surrounding Reno.  Including some red walnuts.  I’d never seen or heard of red walnuts before.  So I had to get some.

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Cool, huh.  I thought they’d be great to put in these carrot cookies. 

These cookies are just okay plain, as written (with my minimal changes).  But nothing goes better with carrot cookies or cake than cream cheese frosting. 

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Oh yeah, much better.

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I left about half of them with no frosting, since Kevin doesn’t like frosting.  But these are much, much better with it.  Even like this---

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Simple Cream Cheese Frosting, by Katrina, Baking and Boys!

4 ounces 1/3 less fat cream cheese, room temperature

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

pinch salt

2 cups powdered sugar

Cream butter and cream cheese together, add vanilla and salt to combine.  Scrape sides of bowl.  Add powdered sugar one cup at a time and beat well. 

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You can get the recipe for these cookies on Natalia’s blog.  I’m excited to see the other blogger’s cookies, you can, too---here.  Next week’s TWD pick---it’s my turn!  Hope to see you then, if not sooner—I’ve got a couple yummy things to share with you this week!

36 comments:

Stephanie said...

Holy breakfast dish!

You read my mind with the cream cheese frosting for these cookies :)

Nickki said...

Those pictures are stunning! Absolutely gorgeous. And I love those red walnuts! I also thought these cookies are so good with cream cheese icing..as I discovered this morning for my breakfast!

Clivia said...

I knew I could count on you for cream cheese icing! They look awesome. Love your holiday photos. Sounds like you had a great time.

Sweet and Savory said...

The frosting is a great addition to the cookie although, it is not necessary. After all, it only makes it better.:)

Peggy said...

It's so nice to wake up and see your beautiful photos this morning. And that breakfast dish - whoa. I'm getting hungry. Your cookies are just beautiful. Love the frosting.

Valerie said...

Wow! Those red pecans are beautiful. As are your cookies, I love that you were not shy with the cream cheese frosting. :D

Great post, thanks for sharing your picturer.

Nancy said...

I'd love to see pictures of the Farmers Market! I'm always interested in what the markets are like in other towns. Overland Park's market was pretty nice. The pictures of Reno and the lake are just beautiful! Nice getaway for the weekend.

Karen said...

Glad you had such a fun trip. :)I have to concentrate on keeping my eyes open for pictures too or they end up as slits. Nice cram cheese frosting! :)

Tia said...

wow looks like a fun trip. and what a great way to finish off the cookies, with that frosting and those nuts. great job!

Eliana said...

Sounds like such a wonderful trip. And your cookies look amazing too :)

Flourchild said...

I love Tahoe..My brother has a condo right on the lake! We have been twice..your pictures make me want to go again!
Girl your cookies are the best I've seen all morning! You always do such an outstanding job baking! I wish I was your neighbor so you could share with me!:)

Beryl said...

Love, love, love Tahoe! We try to go every year and no matter how many time I see that view it always leaves me breathless. Your cookies look great!

cindy said...

Fun trip! I think the cream cheese addition is a great idea. Love the red walnuts.

Lauryn said...

what a great trip!!! Those photos are gorgeous! The cookies look delicious, espec with the frosting!

Jennifurla said...

Lovely place, and that last picture really did me in!

Mimi said...

A little frosting dressed sure dressed up these cookies.
Looks like a fabulous trip. Lake Tahoe is gorgeous, never warm water, but gorgeous nonetheless.
Mimi

natalia said...

Ciao Katrina !Thank you for joining me this week ! I went to Lake Tahoe for New years 12 years ago.... it was beautiful even with the snow !!! Lovely frosting and addictions !

Avanika [YumsiliciousBakes] said...

Seems like you're having an awesome time :)

Those red walnuts look so intersting, though I'd like to call them pink instead :D :D

Love the cookie sandwich!

TeaLady said...

YEP!! Much better with frosting.

Your pictures of Lake Tahoe are BEAUTIFUL!! It is a gorgeous place to go any time of the year. And so fun you got to meet up with two 'old' friends.

Jessica of My Baking Heart said...

Awesome cookies! Beautiful pictures, too - looks like you had a great trip! :)

Kayte said...

Tahoe is one of those places that always looks exactly like it does in the photos when you go there...so beautiful, thanks for sharing the photos. Red walnuts...hmmm...do you suppose they are like the red pistachios that you see, treated with something or other to make them red? Love your cookies, they look wonderful, especially love the little bikini of frosting in there! Yep, that looks wonderful!

Jill said...

Great trip! I've always wanted to see Lake Tahoe but haven't made it there yet.

I got the gum today - they sent it Fed Ex! Thanks again!

Mary said...

Red walnuts! I've never heard of them either, but they look gorgeous on your cookies. Lake Tahoe looks beautiful too.

Nicole said...

I've never seen red walnuts, how interesting! Lake Tahoe is beautiful and I haven't been there in years. I wish I would have iced mine, those look so good!

Paula said...

The red walnuts are so cool. Did they taste any different?

I noticed on another blog that you don't like onions. Right? Or is it just raw onion? (ME) Do you like to use frozen onions? (Much easier on my tummy)

Amber Marie said...

Wow - red walnuts! Those would be perfect for Christmas-time! Glad you had a good trip to Reno. The lake pictures are beautiful!

Becky said...

wowza, red walnuts. I've never seen those.

sounds like you had such a great trip. so nice to get away.


...i loved these cookies!

Mary @ Bites and Bliss said...

Gorgeous scenery!! and HUMUNGOUS breakfast! Did he eat the whole thing?! He deserves a medal or something..

mike said...

Please tell me you stopped at the Bonanza Ranch???!!! I loved my trip to Tahoe and Reno - so glad you enjoyed it - AND the cookies. Looks like everyone enjoyed the stops along the way - what a wonderful post!

Liz said...

Hey, cream cheese frosting twins! Also, I have so many questions about red walnuts. Like...do they taste different? Is the red a food coloring (like bright green pistachios) or natural? Follow-up post, please!

Barbara Bakes said...

Lake Tahoe is one of the prettiest lakes. Sounds like you had a great time. How nice to catchup with old friends. The cookies sound scrumptious. Definitely with the cream cheese frosting. I'm in South Jordan. How are you liking Eagle Mountain?

Damaris said...

Paying for a bad meal is so depressing. Those cookies look awesome, though.

Teanna said...

I have so many TWD posts saved up - I've been slacking! I'm getting back on the bandwagon this week and after seeing your post, I am more excited than EVER! Because you know why? THAT FROSTING. That looks incredible! And so does your trip! And all of that food! I want it all!

Natalie said...

what a fun getaway with your hubs! I love Lake Tahoe and your pictures made me want to go back!!!

Have a good weekend!

Tiffany Winters said...

I remember when you went to NY to see spamalot and how I was jealous. That's super kind of Kevin to let you go to all those concerts. That's a man who knows he'll get his back scratched when he scratches yours. (btw, can you tell that I'm finally catching up on all your blogs? I know, I've been a bad friend-- after all, you've kept up on my one blog this year :))

koh lanta hotels said...

I have no idea that Reno has this very wonderful view! Looks like you guys had a great day there. I would love to have some of those cookies.