"I've discovered that my own little postage stamp of native soil was worth writing about and that I would never live long enough to exhaust it."
- William Faulkner

Monday, December 8, 2008

simply having a wonderful christmastime

Yaya and I went to Birmingham this weekend to hang out with Claire, and although I never enjoy 3.5 hours of solitude in my car (thank heavens for XM radio), it was more than worth it. It’s been a long time since I’ve really laid eyes on these girls, and we had a great time. Claire was the perfect hostess and provided impeccable directions in and out of the Ham, while catering to our every shopping and dining whim. Not to mention we finally got to meet her mischievous adopted daughter Pippilotta Delicatessa Windowshade Longstocking Hardin. For those of you that know Claire, this choice of name should come as absolutely no surprise. I’m just relieved she didn’t go with “Skillet.” Seriously, don’t ask.

Saturday night we attended Birmingham’s annual Black Tie White Christmas party at the Wine Loft in downtown, for which we all dressed to the nines. Claire even let me put purple eyeshadow on her. And yes, I am rocking a side pony. When you have massive hair like mine that gets lengthy at a moment’s notice, you have to be able to adapt. This weekend also marked my very first visit to a Forever 21 store – overwhelming to say the least.

This week’s Delicious Dish is a treat I made for Kell and Jen before Thanksgiving, and he asked me to make it again. They are REALLY good and look very wintry.

Chocolate Cakies (I made the name up – they’re sort of a delectable cross between a cookie and cake)

1 (8 oz.) block cream cheese, room temperature*
1 stick butter, room temperature*
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 (18 oz.) box moist chocolate cake mix (I’ve used the standard chocolate and Devil’s Food – both are great)
Confectioner’s 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 fluffy. Cool completely and sprinkle with more confectioner’s sugar, if desired.

The yield varies depending on how big you roll the dough.

* If you need to make this sort of quickly, you can just put the cream cheese and butter (separately) in the microwave on defrost for a little while until they become “room temperature.” If not, it probably works better to leave the butter and cream cheese out until they reach room temp.
** The dough gets really thick and almost killed my old school hand mixer. A stand mixer would probably work better. If not, just stir with a wooden spoon by hand once the dough gets too much for the little mixer.
*** Put the dough in the freezer for at least an hour. The dough loses its chill quickly, so I used a smaller bowl and put it in a larger bowl filled with ice to keep the dough cold while I was rolling the balls.


Tassie said...

I like your side ponytail. I used to wear them all the time, but have been waiting for them to make a comeback!

LT (and Max) said...

good times in the ham. i miss it already. and shall we never forget the name, skillet. it still makes me laugh.
love you.

Anonymous said...

I like the side pony. Mom

Maggie and Nathan said...

Mary Straton, you look absolutely GORGEOUS!! : ) How soon can I borrow that dress? Haha. I hope you and your sweet family have an amazing Christmas!

HilaryElise said...

MSK you look so cute!

Jennifer and BJ said...

you do look pretty hot in those pics :) i made the cookies for our sunday school party and they were soooo good!

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