I've been quiet lately because I've been on a mission to redecorate two rooms in our house. We have two small bedrooms (each 9.5 x 11 ft, which incidentally is smaller than Lindsay Lohan's jail cell) that are used as a guest suite and office/laundry storage room. We've just thrown our old furniture in both rooms and bemoaned the lack of space for the last four and half years.
Our recent purchase of the iPad has led me to purchase online magazine subscriptions - frighteningly simple to do, and delivered on the beautiful iPad interface. We can now get two Canadian design magazines that we love and missed - Canada's Style at Home and Canadian House and Home. I've never figured out what the American equivalent is, and I'm convinced Canadian design is better anyways or why else would HGTV in US be filled with Canadian shows? :-)
So perusing design magazines again and browsing a lot of design blogs led me to consider our two under-utilized rooms. It wasn't until I tried room planning software (there's a program on the Better Homes and Gardens website) that let me play around with furniture that I realized we had positioned all of the furniture in the wrong spots in the guest bedroom. It would take something as simple as flipping the bed around so that the headboard was against the window and not the opposite wall that would free up tons of space and allow us to get a queen bed in there. (We have a full or double bed in there now - apologies to all past guests for the cramped sleeping quarters!)
We found a bed we liked pretty quickly - we got the Nailhead Bed from West Elm, pictured below, but in the natural color and not the gray shown:
We're going to keep the dresser we have in there now so all we need is a narrow desk/vanity table or bookcase and the guest room has been redone.
During my obsessive quest to find appropriate yet inexpensive furniture, the husband alerted me to the fact that he was dangerously low on cookies. While he's an extremely healthy eater, he enjoys his desserts and generally prefers them to be home made. His favorite is a ginger-cranberry chocolate chip cookie recipe that I saw on Ming Tsai and now make regularly. It is super easy to make (thanks to the my trusty Kitchen Aid mixer) and I pop each batch into the freezer when they're baked since they freeze well and they're delicious when warmed in the oven. It's also my diet trick - I forget that they're in the freezer since I don't see them, so I don't eat them other than 1 or 2 when they're first baked. The husband, on the other hand, meticulously takes one to work each day to finish off his lunch, and likes to alert me when he's running low. So I stepped away from my obsessive searching to whip up a batch.
Ginger-Cranberry Chocolate Chip Cookies
From Simply Ming (Ming Tsai)
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
9 tablespoons butter
1 extra-large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons minced ginger
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 pound chocolate chips
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1.Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees.
2.In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle, cream together sugars and butter.
3.Add egg, vanilla and ginger and mix until combined.
4.In a large bowl, combine flour, salt and baking soda.
5.In a second large bowl, combine cranberries and chocolate chips.
6.Starting with flour, alternate flour and cranberry mixtures until dough is thoroughly combined.
7.Using a tablespoon, portion cookie dough 2 inches apart onto ungreased bake sheet (you can line with parchment, if you like).
8.Bake for 8-12 minutes, or until cookies are golden brown and underside is the same. They will feel moist on top, but will harden as they cool.
9.Let cookies cool on bake sheet for 5 minutes, then remove to a rack to finish cooling.
I generally use half oat flour and half regular flour to try and make it a bit healthier, and white chocolate chips seem to be a better match with the dried cranberries. I can usually get 24 cookies per batch.