Easter Eats: Cookies-and-Cream Shortbread Cookies

Good Morning and Happy Monday, everyone! I hope you all had a wonderful weekend!

In my family, both immediate and extended- making the time to have occasional big, family dinners with lots of food and conversation is really important. The older everyone gets, and the more responsibilities and other commitments/engagements that come up- the harder it is to get everyone together.

We all know and understand that- which is why we treasure holidays like Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter (and sometimes the 4th of July or Memorial Day during the Summer!) It’s when everyone can be together and eat, drink and be merry.

My mother hosts Easter at her home every year- and while she typically enjoys taking charge and putting together the menu- she never says no to any dishes anyone wants to bring with them to share. When I bring food, I typically gravitate towards appetizers (they’re so much fun!) and side dishes- but I’m also known to whip up some pretty good desserts, too.

This year, in lieu of my usual “safe desserts” like thumbprint cookies or my experimental cakes and pies- I thought I’d bring this fun spin on shortbread cookies, instead- which is a chocolate lover’s dream!

WHAT YOU’LL NEED:

FOR THE COOKIES:

  • 15 chocolate sandwich cookies
  • ½ cup (56g) confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 cup (226g) cubed unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 cups (241g) all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

FOR THE GLAZE:

  • 1 cup (113g) confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream

READY? HERE’S WHAT YOU DO:

  1. MAKE THE COOKIES: Preheat the oven to 300°F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the cookies until they form fine crumbs, about 1 minute. Remove 2 tablespoons of the cookie crumbs and reserve in a small bowl.
  3. Add the confectioners’ sugar to the food processor and pulse to combine. Add the butter and process until the mixture is light and fluffy, about 1 minute. Scrape the bowl of the food processor well.
  4. Add the flour and salt, and pulse until the dough comes together, about 30 seconds. Add the vanilla and process until combined.
  5. Divide the dough in half and then form each piece into an inch-thick disk. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to ⅓ inch thick. Cut the dough into circles using a round fluted cookie cutter and then transfer to the prepared baking sheets.
  6. Bake until the cookies start to brown at the edges, 15 to 17 minutes. Cool completely.
  7. MAKE THE GLAZE: In a medium bowl, whisk the confectioners’ sugar and cream until a thick glaze forms. Working one at a time, spoon 1 teaspoon of glaze on top of each cookie. Let the glaze set for 5 minutes, then sprinkle the reserved cookie crumbs on top of each cookie. The glaze will fully set in another 10 to 15 minutes and then the cookies are ready to serve.

I had opted to sprinkle crumbled up sandwich cookie chunks on top of the still-setting glaze as opposed to the finely pulsed cookie crumbs I’d initially used to create the dough- since I thought it gave these a more fun look- but you can do it by the book if desired!

The result is a sweet, decadent dessert that serves as the perfect finale to a great meal! I can’t wait for my mother to see (and eat) these when I bring the next batch to her house.

And with that being said- there are lots of big changes happening at my job this week, which I’ll discuss at a later time when I have a free moment- and I’m here bright and early to get the jump on them and stay on top of things!

I’m off- but here’s wishing you all an easy start to your day and your work week!

xx

– Ashley –

Celebrations, Clam Chowder and Cocktails…

Good Morning and Happy Thursday, everyone!

With the weekend within reach and with it- so many plans (some long overdue!) with friends- I’m reflecting on the past few days which have consisted of work, good food, strong drinks and commemorating milestones!

Tuesday marked the one-year anniversary since the launch of Indie617– and while I’ve only been on board as a weekend host for a few weeks now- I’ve been a fan and a supporter ever since they emerged on the scene and I couldn’t be happier for everyone involved and grateful to be a part of it. The day was spent reminiscing about the previous year’s shows/events and music we first heard via the station.

Having taken the day off yesterday at my office, I popped by for an appearance during “Morning Glory” and then joined the rest of the station at Stockyard in Brighton for celebratory drinks and lunch to toast to many more fun and successful years together. (Side Note: their claim chowder may be some of the best I’ve ever tasted.)

And with keeping the parties going- last night I also went out with my good friend Duncan who was back in town from Chicago to celebrate his new job and recent promotion! He’ll be working out of Burlington- which is so much closer to me than Chicago- which means we’ll be able to see each other more often! If that’s not a reason to raise a glass- then I don’t know what is!

We indulged in some late night noodles and cocktails courtesy of wagamama– which remains one of my favorite places in the Boston Seaport. I’m so glad they expanded beyond Faneuil Hall, since that place can be a nightmare to navigate through depending on the time of day/year. The dining experience at the Seaport location is much less crowded, crazy and noisy- and it just looks/feels so much cleaner, too!

It was such a good night- even though I’m admittedly feeling a little groggy this morning- but it’s nothing a little coffee won’t take care of!

The posting schedule returns to normal next week- and I’ve got a lot on standby that I’m ready to share- but for now I hope you all enjoy your Friday and your weekend ahead!

xx

– Ashley –

Taking a Bite Out of Season 9 of ‘The Walking Dead’…

Well, well, well- look where we are again!

Good Morning, everyone! I had originally planned this post for Thursday- thinking I’d need a couple of days to process the finale to the most recent season of “The Walking Dead”, but considering how much I loved Sunday night’s episode and this season overall- I sat down to start writing and the words just flowed and flowed! Before I knew it, I had a full recap ready to go.

I’ve always been vocal about my grievances with past seasons of what is undoubtedly one of my favorite, “never miss an episode” shows since the TWD’s writing seemed to get lazier as the years wore on. Stories became repetitive, sluggish, and drawn out. The moments that were surprising and meant to catch people off guard felt like cheap ploys for ratings and “shock value” reactions on social media. More and more characters were brought in and then nothing of interest or value was ever done with them until they sort of faded into the background and out of people’s collective memory.

A lot of this downfall I blamed on Scott M. Gimple- the showrunner through seasons 4-8 (which were hands down the weakest)– and I didn’t have the highest hopes for season nine since he was still at the helm and rumors were flying very early on that many of the series’ main cast were in the process of parting ways due to personal reasons, salary disputes, etc.

… But then Angela Kang took over, and although she was essentially left with a years’ worth of messes to sort through and clean up- she rose to the challenge, took what could have been a total disaster- and gave us a string of some of the greatest episodes of ‘The Walking Dead’ since seasons 2 and 3. For the first time in a long time- it felt like someone actually cared about the show, the characters, and the fans who had been watching this entire time.

And yes, while a huge chunk of the main cast jumped ship by the time Season 9 premiered last October- Kang had been careful and creative- and had made it work where the show still functioned just as strongly, maybe even better- without key players to the series’ core.

I’m going to go more in depth after the cut- but this is the part where I warn people that AHEAD BE SPOILERS. If you haven’t caught up, are still binge-watching, or otherwise don’t want to know what happens- DO NOT PROCEED.

Otherwise, let a moment where Negan was actually sweet and heroic WELCOME YOU IN…

Continue reading “Taking a Bite Out of Season 9 of ‘The Walking Dead’…”

March 2019: In a Nutshell

Good Morning and Happy Sunday, everyone!

I hope you’re all enjoying your weekend so far. It’s been beautiful here in my neck of the woods- with sunshine and comfortably warm temperatures- and today is actually the first day I’ve been able to wear sneakers since early Fall of 2018! I was nearly starting to forget how my legs looked without knee-high boots on.

I don’t really follow basketball (sorry, Celtics!) but I had my own version of “March Madness” this year with regards to how unbelievably busy this past month was. I was essentially moving non-stop from one side of the state to the other- back and forth- at any given time. Not only was I working my full-time job Monday through Friday (I actually just got a raise, too- which definitely kept me from succumbing to stress!) but I also started my Saturday radio show in the city and working diligently as the Marketing & Publicity Director at a family theater company in Western Massachusetts. I had written more in-detail about those opportunities and career paths HERE.

Despite spending a lot of time on my feet (and maybe even more time in my car!) I still managed to take some time out to do a little cooking, raid my wardrobe to show off my favorite Springtime looks just as we kicked off the season, spend time with friends/family and a few surprise visits from those arriving from out of state, put together a light and pretty playlist to say au revoir to Winter– and enjoy some local traveling/sightseeing- including a stop at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and a brief trip to stop and smell the flowers during the Bulb Show at Smith College’s Botanical Garden.

Perhaps one of the biggest things to happen this month, however- is that I may be potentially relocating to the Pioneer Valley. I don’t want to speak too much into the universe right now- since the details are still being sorted out and I’m waiting for definitive confirmation and getting ahead of myself may result in it not coming to fruition- but so far the signs are good and I may have a pretty exciting “In a Nutshell” post ready to go by the end of April. I’m anxious and excited and hopeful and trying to be optimistic- but we’ll see how it goes!

And while it feels like I’ve done so much this month- there were a few things I couldn’t quite get to because of my schedule- including a planned trip to Nantucket, NYC and some sponsored posts I’ve been working on. Sometimes there just isn’t enough hours in the day or days in the week!

The good news is there’s always April- and with it comes the time to follow through on those plans/posts, as well as get ready for some upcoming events- including Marathon Monday and Easter! Now that I’ve gotten myself into the swing of all these new roles/responsibilities- I think I’ll have a much easier time keeping up with my day trip/weekend plans and my content here at Blondie Birdie, as well.

So as crazy as March was- it was invigorating and exciting and has me eager to move forward into April and Spring! I’m recharged and ready to go!

Because I’m posting on the weekend, I’m taking a short posting schedule this week (Tuesday and Thursday.) On Tuesday, I’ll have a look back at some of the things I did over these past couple of days- and on Thursday I’m going to be re-capping the most recent season of “The Walking Dead”. The finale is tonight and this season has been one of the best I’ve seen in years. I’m so excited- but also a little terrified!

Here’s wishing you all a wonderful rest of your Sunday and an easygoing Monday! I’ll see you in a couple of days!

xx

– Ashley –

Favorites: March 2019!

Good Evening and Happy Friday, everyone!

Today’s post is coming at you a little late in the day given how busy I’ve been this week. Within the past 24 hours I’ve been given a raise at my full-time job, found out a company shift has left me with a new team to work with- and applied for a lovely loft out in the Pioneer Valley (fingers crossed!)

Needless to say, I’m a little spent and plan on heading to bed early tonight before I head out to do my radio show tomorrow afternoon and spend an evening with my friend Duncan (who is visiting from Chicago for the second time this month! So excited!)

Before I put a sheet mask on and lay down- I wanted to share some of my favorite things from this past month! In terms of items/products- there isn’t much since a lot of my favorite things from February carried over into this month, as well- but what I did choose has definitely made the last few weeks so much easier.

As always- here’s the stuff I was able to take pictures of, first!

Even though this large floral necklace can feel heavy at times- I’ve been wearing it so much this month because it’s bright and bold and yes- a little tacky. But it’s fun and gets me into a Spring frame of mind- which I so desperately need right now given we keep dipping back and forth into warm weather and then bitterly cold days.

While my wardrobe continually switches between light sweaters on one day and heavy wool coats the next- this necklace remains a constant reminder that sunnier days are coming!

And while I gotta’ hold out on the full coverage foundations until it’s officially BB Cream season- I’m still going into Spring mode with my makeup and this rosy pink matte lip paint from Tarte.

This shade, ‘OG’, is long-lasting, non-drying- and super flattering to my still pasty Winter skin tone. It’s not too pale, but not too bright- which makes it perfect to wear at work or when I’m out during the day and going for the minimal makeup look while I’m having lunch or running errands.

If you’re sensing a pink or floral theme this month- you’re not wrong. I got one of these rose sheet masks from Mamonde in a recent subscription box- and I fell in love with how soft and supple it made my sometimes dry skin feel.

And although skincare products with fragrance can sometimes irritate my face- this one did anything but. The rose scent was relaxing and quite pretty- and I didn’t have any redness or small bumps after I finally peeled it off to take on the rest of my night!

Finally, I’m a huge advocate for women and their sexual health- and I’m wary of promoting products I don’t personally use or stand by. That being said, QUEEN V is one of my favorite and affordable brands geared towards women, their sexual pleasure, and their reproductive health.

These daily supplements boost my immune system and digestion while simultaneously keeping *that* area well-balanced so that I’m always feeling on top of my game. 30 capsules is $19- which is a lot more reasonable than other one-a-day vitamins I’ve seen on the market!

And that’s it for the photogenic goods this month- but I’ve still got a couple more things that made the list!

– MUSIC/MOVIES/TELEVISION –

‘Captain Marvel’ – Despite man-babies everywhere doing the absolute most to try and stifle this movie’s success from behind their keyboards- I was elated that ‘Captain Marvel’ was such a box office smash because it’s super entertaining and so much fun to watch. Knowing how devastating ‘Avengers: Endgame” will undoubtedly be next month- this was such an uplifting superhero experience to watch well in advance!

‘Us’ – Speaking of excellent movies, does Jordan Peele know how to make AMAZING cinema or what? I have yet to see a skit or a movie he’s been involved with that hasn’t just been expertly shot and acted and I am always left awe-struck and anxiously waiting to see what he’s going to do next. ‘Us’ is super creepy, really unexpected- and could very well be one of the best movies of 2019!

‘What We Do In The Shadows’ – A recent addition, the series inspired by the movie premiered earlier this week on FX and you guys- it is side-splitting funny. For real. I was cracking up so bad within 2 minutes and it just got progressively funnier as time wore on. I can’t wait to see the series through to the finale.

And that’s it for March, you guys! Short and sweet and to the point!

I’m spinning tracks at Indie617 tomorrow from 12-4 before I prepare to wrap up the month with a pretty little bow on Sunday. Lots of stuff and many changes happened this month for me- and I’ll be sure to recap them all with my “In a Nutshell” post!

Enjoy the start of your weekend, everyone!

xx

– Ashley –