Out With The Old, In With The New

Wow. I am not alone. It's comforting in a way, that tons of peeps share my feelings that 2009 sucked ass. Big time.

The blogging world concurs.

While waiting for my routines to run at work, I visited a few of my favorite blogs, as well as a few of my least favorite. I scouted around the Interwebs looking for new voices, new laughs, new snark. I found a few keepers, some I want to explore more. I found a few space wasters, and no, I won't link and drive traffic to them- they really don't deserve it.

But a common theme running through most of them the last few days? That many of them were ready to move on to bright, shiny new 2010.

And I'm joining that throng that wanted to throw 2009 to the curb. And kick it while it's down.

So I already did my whiny, crybaby post about how melancholy I was going into the new year. I sulked on Sunday (maybe it was the bourbon, maybe it was MENOPAUSE!)

But after awhile I realized that a lot of good came out of the sadness and insanity of 2009. Such as...

  • I've forged a closer bond to Dad. Since it was him and Mom for so long, it was hard to get close to one or the other. Dad relies on certain stuff for me (computer crap and recipes) and we've made a point to get together often- not just for holidays.

  • My layoff from the bank resulted in getting my debts paid off.

  • The $13,000 screw up resulted in getting household projects started as well providing us a very nice Christmas.

  • I got a tattoo.

  • My current consulting job with the bank resulted in a very nice bonus and a raise. Working directly for the bank got me diddly at bonus time the past few years, so this year was a nice surprise.

  • I started going to the gym and haven't gained any weight since August. Plus my bingo wings are firming up.

  • The family crisis back in April has brought the rest of us a little closer to each other. We appreciate each other more.

  • I've found some true blue friends who stuck with me through crisis. I've made a bunch of new friends this past year. I'm no longer wasting time on one- sided relationships.

Most importantly, I've explored my Inner Pieces inside and out and have come to the conclusion that although I have things in my life I'd like to change, I'm basically happy. That suckish year is behind me, and I only have good things (and night sweats) to look forward to.

And to finish what I've started, here's the rest of the cookie recipes from the cookie party!

Irene's Lemony Crisps

1 (18.25 oz.) pkg. Lemon Cake Mix (Pillsbury Moist Supreme)
1/3 cup Oil
2 Eggs
1/4 cup Sugar
1 cup Powdered Sugar
2-3 tablespoons Lemon Juice
Colored Sugar for decoration

Heat oven to 375 degrees. In large bowl combine cake mix, oil, and eggs. Stir until thoroughly moistened. Shape dough into 1" balls; place 2" apart on un greased cookie sheet (line cookie sheets with parchment for easy removal). Place sugar in shallow dish. Dip the bottom of a glass into the sugar and then flatten the cookies to 1/4" thickness. This gives the cookies a nice sugar crunch topping.
Bake at 375 degrees for 5-7 minutes or until edges are light golden brown. Cool 1 minute; remove from cookie sheets.
In a small bowl, combine powdered sugar and lemon juice until smooth. Drizzle over cookies and sprinkle with colored sugar before icing sets. Yields 4 dozen cookies

Beth's Chocolate Gooey Butter Cookies
1 (8-ounce) brick cream cheese, room temperature
1 stick butter, at room temperature
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 (18-ounce) box moist chocolate cake mix
Confectioners' sugar, for dusting

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a large bowl with an electric mixer, cream the cream cheese and butter until smooth. Beat in the egg. Then beat in the vanilla extract. Beat in the cake mix. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours to firm up so that you can roll the batter into balls. Roll the chilled batter into tablespoon sized balls and then roll them in confectioner's sugar. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet, 2 inches apart. Bake 12 minutes. The cookies will remain soft and "gooey." Cool completely and sprinkle with more confectioners' sugar, if desired. Yield: 2 dozen cookies

Jodi's Slice and Bake Shortbread Cookies
1 cup butter, softened
½ cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon

Combine butter, brown sugar and vanilla in large bowl. Beat at medium speed, scraping bowl often, until creamy. Reduce speed to low; add flour. Beat, scraping bowl often, until mixture leaves side of bowl and forms a smooth, soft dough. Divide dough in half. Shape each half into 6x2-inch round log. Wrap each log in plastic food wrap; refrigerate at least 2 hours. Heat oven to 375°F. Cut logs into 1/4-inch slices with sharp knife. Place 1 inch apart onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake for 7 to 9 minutes or until lightly browned on edges. Let stand 5 minutes before removing from cookie sheets. Meanwhile, combine sugar and cinnamon in small bowl. Roll warm cookies in cinnamon-sugar mixture. Yields 3 ½ dozen cookies
VARIATION:Marbled Slice & Bake Shortbread Cookies: Melt 2 (1-ounce) squares semi-sweet baking chocolate* in 1-quart saucepan over low heat; cool 5 minutes. Prepare dough as directed. Remove half of dough from bowl; set aside. To remaining dough in bowl, add cooled melted chocolate. Beat at low speed just until mixed. Divide white and chocolate doughs into 2 pieces each. Shape each piece into a 6-inch log. Press and mold together 1 white and 1 chocolate log to create marbled effect. Shape marbled dough into 6-inch log. Repeat with remaining 2 pieces of dough. Wrap each log in plastic food wrap; refrigerate until firm (at least 2 hours). Slice and bake as directed above. Roll warm cookies in sugar. *Substitute 1/3 cup real semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted and cooled.
Eileen's Meringue Mushrooms

2 egg whites
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 cup sugar
Chocolate Frosting (recipe below, canned will also work)

Cover 2 cookie sheets with heavy brown paper. Beat egg whites and cream of tartar until foamy. Beat in sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time; continue beating until stiff and glossy, about 5 minutes, do not underbeat.

Heat oven to 200. Fit decorator's tube with plain tip, with 1/4 inch opening (#10 or 11). Fill tube with meringue, hold tube upright, pipe out about 55 mushroom caps, each 1 - 1 1/4 in. diameter. Sift cocoa over the caps. Bake until firm, 45 - 50 minutes. Remove from oven immediately turn caps upside down and carefully make an indentation on the bottom of each cap, wooden spoon handle is ideal size. Brush off excess cocoa with soft bristle brush.

Using same tip, on 2nd cookie sheet pipe out about 55 stems, about 3/4 inch diameter. Stems should have peaks that will fit into mushroom caps. Bake until firm, about 40 - 45 minutes.

Chocolate Frosting

1 squares (1 ounce) unsweetened chocolate
1 teaspoons butter
1 cups powdered sugar
1 tablespoons hot water

Heat chocolate and butter until melted. Remove from heat. Beat in powdered sugar and hot water until smooth and of spreading consistency. If necessary, add more hot water, 1 teaspoon at a time.

Assemble the Mushrooms

Turn over each cap, spread a small amount of frosting in the indentation, insert stem, carefully place upside down to dry. Store uncovered at room temperature.



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