Monday, January 30, 2012

easy app: jicama spears with fresh lime juice and chili powder

I love having jicama on hand to add to a veggie platter. It has this satisfying crunch. When we snack on it here during the week, we enjoy it plain-- just skinned and chopped into chunks or spears. But this weekend, I was whipping up a few Mexican-themed appetizers, and wanted an alternative to the heavy, decadent food we were going to be enjoying. The other app I was making was a simple grilled chorizo with local quesito cheese. The was a nice alternative because it was fresh, light and veggie-based. This app can be made ahead (chopping the jicama and squeezing the lime juice on top... the only thing you'll want to do at the last minute is sprinkle the chili powder over the top), making it another great accompaniment to a Mexican-themed make-ahead dinner party.

Jicama Spears with Fresh Lime Juice and Chili Powder

jicama, peeled and chopped into spears
fresh lime juice
chili powder

Place sliced jicama on a platter or bowl. Squeeze fresh lime juice over the jicama and toss to coat. This may be done several hours before serving. Then, right before serving, sprinkle with chili powder. Enjoy cold or room temp.

what is jicama?

I've gotten a lot of positive feedback for sharing what fennel looks like and what various squashes look like, so I'm going to do the same for jicama today. I have a simple snack/ appetizer recipe to share: jicama spears with fresh lime juice and chili powder, but first I want to make sure everyone knows what to look for in your produce section! As you can see in the above pic, jicama has a papery light brown exterior (though most of the jicama found by us in CT appear to have a coating of wax on top of the skin). Once the skin is removed, you have this white interior that is hard and watery-- kind of like a raw potato in texture, but much sweeter, which you see pictured below. Jicama is almost 90% water, and can be enjoyed raw or added to things like stir-fries to add some crunch. Usually featured in Mexican and SE Asian cooking, I add it to green salads, bean salads, gazpacho, or just have it prepped in the fridge for a healthy, quick snack.

easy app: grilled chorizo with queso

This past weekend, I was in charge of the food for a community gathering of almost 40 parents. Now, I love to cook, but I'm not a caterer, so 10-12 people is my max for a full dinner spread. We ordered the food from a local Mexican restaurant (which ended up being fabulous) and I simply made a couple of very easy appetizers + my (phenomenal, totally decadent) cinnamon-chocolate brownies... since I can only stay out of the kitchen for so long. Anyway, knowing this group of guys regularly eats meat straight off the cutting board when they're on father-child camp outs together, this was the "carnivore" app option... These would be perfect accompaniments to the "make-ahead Mexican-themed dinner party" post I shared with you earlier this month because in addition to being super easy (and crowd-pleasing), you can grill the sausages ahead of time, then assembled them and just serve them room temp.

Grilled Chorizo with Quesito (or Queso Blanco/Fresco)
(I'm not listing amts b/c you can make as many as you'd like...)

Chorizo sausages
Queso Fresco, Queso Blanco or Quesito cheese

Grill sausages, then slice on the diagonal. Top with a square of your favorite Mexican cheese. Stick a toothpick in each one, if you'd like. Serve warm or room temp.

More on chorizo: my favorite brand of chorizo is D'Artagnan. It's smokey but not too spicy. If you want to learn everything there is to know about chorizo, I recommend going here

More on queso: Queso blanco and queso fresco are white cheeses with a mild, tangy taste. They are typically made with cow's milk and crumble quite easily, like a Feta cheese, so they are perfect atop salads, enchiladas or soups. This sort of cheese also worked cutting it into wedges, as I did in this appetizer. Because this cheese won't get "oily" or "sweat" sitting out during a party, it's a great option for a make-ahead app. I went to a local supermarket that has plentiful ethnic products, knowing they would have several queso blanco and queso fresos to choose from. A local (Stamford, CT) company, La Finquita, happened to be sampling that afternoon, and after getting the thumbs up from me, and my trusted 5-year-old sidekick, I used their "quesito" variety. A little went a long way. One 14 oz. round topped 8 grilled chorizo sausages (making approximately 50 appetizer pieces).

Sunday, January 29, 2012

orange-fennel salad with lemon vinaigrette

Coming off a weekend of party food, I am looking forward to lightening up a bit in this week ahead. I made this salad earlier this winter and loved it. It's fresh tasting, brightly colored and super healthy. Best of all, I can make it one day when I have some extra time to cook, and then store it in the fridge. It held up well for 3-4 days, which is always a bonus when we're heading into a busy week!

Fennel-Orange Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette
about 8 servings

4 oranges
1-2 large fennel bulbs, stalks and fronds removed
fresh parsley and/ or mint, chopped
juice of 2-3 lemons
1/4 cup olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste

Thinly slice the fennel, either by hand or using the slicer blade of a food processor. Cut the peel and the pith (white part) from the oranges, then cut into bite-sized chunks. Chop leaves of fresh parsley or mint. Add all ingredients to a mixing bowl. Then, either using a whisk and bowl (or a blender), combine the lemon juice, olive oil and salt and pepper, to taste. Pour over the salad and mix to combine. Can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days.

Here it is in photos for those who like to see the recipes in action...

(The first time I made this I made way too much dressing. I ended up using the rest in a quinoa salad, but it would also be nice drizzled over grilled veggies, fish, shrimp or chicken...)

And I know you have that burning question of whether my kids actually ate this? Sort of. One of them did-- he loves celery and fennel is pretty close in texture. Right now, he's far more adventuresome with his eating, so I didn't hear boo from him other than "this is great!". He's my easy eater these days. My other son tried a bit of fennel and didn't like it at all. Instead of hopping up from the table to make him something else, I simply encouraged him to just eat the oranges out of his salad...

what does a fennel bulb look like?

As I was typing up a recipe for (this fabulous) fennel-orange salad it occurred to me that some might ask what a fennel bulb looks like? It's easy to get your bulbs confused, particularly if you have an antsy toddler in the shopping cart "helping". So, without further adieu... here is what you're looking for when a recipe calls for a "fennel bulb" or "fresh fennel". Fennel appears in many Mediterranean recipes. It is crunchy, a little bit sweet, and has a mild anise flavor. It's showcased in one of my favorite lentil salads, I have roasted it alongside root veggies and if I have it on hand, I love to add it to my bouillabaisse. Most of the recipes I feature fennel in just use the white bulb part.

(more) lunchbox ideas

You can always tell what we had for dinner, or what fruit/veggies I have prepped, and how late I slept by what makes it into the lunchbox that morning...

fresh pineapple + red pepper spears + avocado hummus (from Trader Joe's) + baked blue corn chips + a mozzarella stick + a cup of yogurt for a treat

yogurt smoothie + shredded carrots (leftover from a recipe the night before) + freeze-dried berries + a few gingersnaps + cream cheese and jelly on whole wheat bread (made exciting with cookie cutters)

a cup of yogurt + fresh berries + a slice of cornbread from dinner the night before + a bunch of veggies + a fruit leather

a fruit leather (can you tell I stocked up that week?) + a cinnamon-raisin bagel with cream cheese + cucumbers + blueberries + peas (fun to pick up apparently..)

special centerpieces

I've kept running with the idea of featuring something the children made as our centerpiece. I don't know why I didn't think of this sooner? Total keeper.

Friday, January 27, 2012

thank you and sorry for any confusion...

Humph. Here I was all excited to be in the running as your favorite inspiration when it comes to simple, meatless, family-pleasing meals but I received an email today (as I shot up through the top 10) that "we have unfortunately had to remove your blog from the Top 25 Vegan and Vegetarian Moms competition as it is not a solely vegan or vegetarian blog. Although you do feature vegan and vegetarian recipes, we see that you have many recipes that include meat and unfortunately that does not fit in to this contest category." I'm disappointed, but I totally get it. While I am cooking several meatless meals a week, and rocking my goal of expanding my meatless repertoire, at my core, I am a believer in "everything in moderation".

I truly appreciate all of you who voted for the full plate blog, even if it was in vain this time. It really did mean  lot to see so many friends and readers being so supportive. In less than a day, the full plate blog went from the bottom of the list to #7 because of your votes. (That is simply awesome.) While my blog won't appear in this niche category, I do still encourage readers here who are interested in expanding their meatless meal repertoire to check out those in the top 25 because there are some really awesome (purely vegan and vegetarian) blogs out there. While I choose to stay flexible in our family cooking, inspiration can always be found in other's ideas!

there is no way I am cooking every night (the idea of "re-purposing" leftovers)

I had an excellent night out last night with a bunch of mom friends. But of course, even when we're out and there's not a child or husband in sight, conversation still includes cooking, and other (riveting) household topics. Anyway, I was kind of surprised at how many of my mom friends say they cook each night. Seriously? While I regularly get snarky emails from my friends saying, "I don't know how you do it", I always respond, "I don't". As in, yes, I make my family a healthy, nourishing dinner every night, but I definitely don't cook every night. At least 3 nights a week, it is all about re-purposing (or hauling something delicious out of the freezer). Speaking of the freezer, you can see my go-to meatless freezer ideas here. Or for those who eat a little bit of everything (including chicken, turkey, beef), here are all of my go-to freezer-friendly entrees. But, back to the topic at hand: re-purposing.

As those who have been reading full plate for a while know, I usually cook a bunch of something at once, so I, well, only have to cook it once. Makes sense, right? But what if everyone doesn't want roasted root veggies again, or you cooked enough zucchini for a small army? I know some people have an aversion to leftovers, so I'm leaving that word out this post (though I, personally, have no problem eating some delicious thing made the day before). Instead, we're going to give it a fancy (albeit industrial-sounding) name: re-purposing. I regularly "re-purpose" veggies in soups, frittatas, and whatnot. So, it should come as no surprise that one recent evening, my leftover-- I mean re-purposed-- veggies were transformed (in a matter of minutes) into a decadent pasta sauce....

This particular sauce (which I served over whole wheat rotini) was a combination of "re-purposed" roasted butternut squash and onions + a jar of artichoke hearts (in oil, which became the cooking oil for this sauce) from the pantry + the small remainder of roasted zucchini in my fridge + the few cherry tomatoes I had kicking around + some minted peas that had been a great side a few days prior + a tub of bocconchini (mozzarella balls) I had. My point is not to share a recipe, per se, but rather to give you an idea and some accompanying visuals so you see how easy it can be to create a delicious dinner with what you might already have on hand.

simple (kid-pleasing) side: roasted delicata squash

Heading into 2012 with a goal of preparing more meatless meals for my family, I was inspired by Mark Bittman's NYT piece, "no meat, no problem" I pinned his delicata squash recipe onto my "recipes I can't wait to try" board. (It has since been elevate to the tried-and-true "side dishes (make again!)" board, if you're looking for it.) But what is a delicata squash I wondered as I perused the various orbs in the produce section? I know I'm not the only one who confuses one squash with another because a 2009 post I wrote on "what does a butternut and acorn squash look like?" is still one of the most popular on this site. So, before I launch into this super easy veggie side that my kids loved, I am sharing a photo of delicata squashes above. Now you know what to look for!

Simple Roasted Delicata Squash
(reheats well, so make a bunch at one time to enjoy throughout the week)

delicata squash
olive oil (or your favorite oil)
salt & pepper to taste

Heat oven to 425. Wash the squash, since you will be roasting it with the skin on. Cut the round ends off each squash, so it stands up easily when you slice it in half the long way. Then scoop and discard seeds. (This is a good part to let kids help with, if they want to take part.) Slice each half cross-wise into 2" pieces and lay on baking sheet. (I lined mine with parchment, so the squash would not stick.) Drizzle with a bit of olive (or your favorite) oil, and sprinkle with a bit of salt and pepper. Roast for about 30 minutes, until tender. (You can test by sticking a fork into a should pierce easily.) Serve warm. I packaged up leftovers and reheated them in the oven at future meals that week. This reheats perfectly, so I encourage you to make a big batch and either serve it as a made-ahead side, or it can be chopped up and added to a soup or risotto.

I will try to remember to shoot an "after" photo with the next batch we make. The pieces caramelize and get really sweet, making it particularly appealing to my younger son. And, since manners are second to just getting food down their hatches these days, I should note that this recipe was enjoyed with fingers, not a fork. Yes, I just admitted that I left my kids eat with their hands... Hope it's a hit in your house too, no matter how your family enjoys this simple side!

[Update 1/30/12: an "after" shot! Here's a batch that is cooked and ready to enjoy. At my friend, Loren's, suggestion, I cut them into rings this time. Even neater!! Still finger food as far as I am concerned...]

wondering about the new USDA School Food standards?

Earlier this week, new USDA School Food Standards were announced. For many parents, this is a hot button topic. Here are two excellent articles describing the new standards. Bettina, over at The Lunch Tray, always provides a thoroughly researched synopsis of the latest school food news, infused with a (very reasonable) parent's perspective. While she too believes this a a big step forward, she raises a natural question of attainability for all. Marion Nestle thinks there was "near universal applause". As a mom who packs a few days a week for one of my children (who is not old enough for his school's cafeteria), and has another child who thoroughly enjoys the offerings from his (independent) school cafeteria, I am thankful we have the resources and a school lunch program that is a local model of excellence. As parents, we can feel confident about the fruits, veggies, and healthy entrees we provide our children for breakfast and dinner at home...this is a big step towards feeling just as confident about what they are consuming in their school lunches.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

a vote of confidence for full plate!

[Update 1/27: I receive an email from Circle of Moms saying, ".... I'm writing to let you know that we have unfortunately had to remove your blog from the Top 25 Vegan and Vegetarian competition as it is not a solely vegan or vegetarian blog. Although you do feature vegan and vegetarian recipes, we see that you have many recipes that include meat and unfortunately that does not fit in to this contest category..." So, while I am disappointed to be knocked out of the popularity contest, I totally get it. Still, you should still head on over there if you're interested in vegetarian/vegan recipes because there are tons of inspiring (fully vegan or vegetarian) blogs on there!]

I've just tossed my blog into the ring on one of these "Top 25" contest and would love your vote, if you enjoy reading the full plate blog! Here's the link to vote. Mine is listed as "the full plate blog" with the photo above (of my black bean cakes) as the image, if you're into searching visually. They're looking for the Top 25 mom-written blogs with a focus on vegetarian meals. As you all know, one of my goals this year is to expand our repertoire of family-friendly, meatless meals. I'm loving the recipes I've made for our family in January, and look forward to sharing a bunch more with you all. Another bonus of checking out this contest is learning about a bunch of other healthy mom-written blogs. You guys know I sometimes suffer from "inspiration overload", but I do love it when I find another like-minded mom. Thanks, in advance, for your votes of confidence. I'm in a little bubble writing this blog, so sometimes recognition like this is just the boost I need!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

feeding other people's from our table

School's letting out early, and hungry kids are about to pile off the school bus. They'll arrive just in time for lunch. {I hear a collective groan from a bunch of friends.} Based upon emails/queries you all send me, this sort of hosting completely stresses parents out. Here's my strategy for keeping mealtimes (with a variety of palates, preferences and levels of picky) sane. Or, as sane as 4 little ones around a lunch table will ever be:

  • Ask the parent(s) what his/her child typically has for lunch, and make sure you serve something similar. You don't need to cater to every child precisely, but it makes everything run more smoothly if you have at least one thing that is familiar and enjoyed by your little guest. There is nothing worse than having a child come to play, look at lunch with mild horror and then proceed to unravel because they didn't eat a thing.
  • Get everything prepared and laid out in advance. When the kids come in, have them wash hands and sit down to eat. It's much easier to get the meal down the hatch first thing, than to try to lure them out of the playroom or in from the yard once happy revelry is underway. Don't stress if the pizza's cold at that point. Trust me on this one.
  • Cut down on waste by letting the little ones serve themselves. 

Here are a few playdate meal examples...

According to his mom, our guest "really likes hot dogs and fruit". So, I laid out some grilled chicken-apple sausages + snap pea crisps + alphabet cookies + grapes + blanched green beans. Told the kids everything could be eaten with their hands, which made everyone want to try everything, including the green beans. Never mind that they became swords...

Our guest likes "plain sandwiches, just meat and cheese". I put the sandwiches on hearty bread, like my kids are used to eating...but if I notice the child seems freaked out by that, I tell them it's ok to just eat the filling.

"Pizza is her favorite food", can become an opportunity for a make-your-own pizza playdate, if you have the time and energy. If not (which is more often the case for me), I'll have both a plain cheese and a veggie one made, and served together on one platter. A few of my favorite frozen brands are Kashi, Amy's, AC LaRocco and American Flatbread.

I hope these simple tips help with your lunch prep when hosting little ones. Have another question or mealtime struggle, you can always email me and I'll share what works in our house, or do my best to link you up with another busy mom's ideas that might inspire you!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

family dinner: making it festive

My family dinner goal is going well, but there's always room for improvement (e.g. the kids could actually eat, and I could not feel like I am going to spontaneously combust when they don't...). But all in all, not to sound too tutti frutti, they have been nice daily times to reconnect, and really pay attention to one another. Since today was the Chinese/Lunar New Year, I tried to use that as a chance to make dinner a little special. It didn't take much, and the kids were totally wowed: homemade soup (our regular dinner) + some take-out dumplings (in honor of the holiday) + today's dragon artwork on display (those are dried beans in champagne glasses-- don't ask, it was hard to figure out how to get it to stand up above the food...) + alongside the handmade ceramic box our older son brought home from school today. I noticed how excited they were to have things they made on display. Placing something they've made as the centerpiece would be easy to continue doing, and if we ever do find ourselves in a conversation lull, it's the perfect thing to ask about.

spinach-turkey-lentil- quinoa (aka: use-what's-in-the-fridge-up) soup

It's cold, it's drizzly, and aside from our outing to the pediatrician, I've been marooned at home with a sick child. I knew I had turkey tucked away in the freezer. That was by design for exactly this sort of day. A quick scan of the fridge/freezer turned up: some red pepper slices (crunchy for about one more day), a bowl of quinoa (that everyone is tired of) and last week's spinach dip (that's held up remarkably well, but the novelty of spinach dip has worn off). Since I don't want to waste perfectly good food, it's time for a batch of {drum roll}...

Use-What-Is-In-The-Fridge Soup
a.k.a. Spinach-Lentil-Quinoa Soup with Shredded Turkey*
(amount made will depend upon what your putting in)

In a large pot, I combined:

onion, chopped
bell pepper, chopped
olive oil (optional: to saute the onions/pepper)
bag of frozen spinach
dried lentils
shredded turkey (I had in the freezer, optional)*
leftover spinach dip
leftover cooked quinoa
Rapunzel vegetable bouillon cubes + water
salt & pepper, to taste (optional)

*to make this soup a super easy vegetarian masterpiece, just leave the turkey out!

Let it simmer and do its' thing until the lentils are cooked. Ironically, this soup made largely from leftovers will freeze well for up to 3 months in an airtight container, if you find yourself with leftovers!

This is not the prettiest photo, but you'll see that I literally just popped the remainder of the spinach dip into the soup.

prepping ahead: roast a turkey breast

I've mentioned prepping vegetables and fruit in past posts. Bowls of cut-up fruit and veggies stored in the fridge guarantee that I can easily ensure a fruit or veggie on every plate. And I usually have some sort of grain on hand, already cooked (usually quinoa...I never trust that it's really going to puff up that much and always make way too much). When I roast vegetables, I always try to prepare more than we're eating at that meal, so extras can be on hand to go into frittatas, scrambled eggs, enchiladascurries, whatnot. And lately, I've been into cooking a large bone-in turkey breast and then tucking the shredded meat away in the freezer, to use in meals the following month or two. This was a major bonus when we could make pot pies a month after Thanksgiving, and tonight I was able to pop a bag on turkey into the pot with other ingredients and have an amazing homemade soup made in a half hour.

I recommend brining your turkey breast. It really does make a difference, and it's not much extra work (just plan ahead time-wise), especially since you're doing the cooking once, and then reaping the rewards for many meals to come. I choose to just do a breast. You may prefer to roast a whole bird for even more meat. Either way, here's a good roasting guide. It's helpful to shred the meat after cooking, and then package it in single-meal portions. This way you can simply grab what you need, without thawing the rest.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Gun Hay Fat Choy!!

Two fellow blog writers are way more organized and festive than I am this Year of the Dragon. Perhaps that is because I am still recovering from our trip to Russia last night. But I have fond memories of my Kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Toy, making Egg Foo Young with us, and making a really big deal about the day. So, I kind of felt like I should do something.... Thankfully, my friend Katy's blog Healthy Working Mom came to the rescue with a simple, parade-inducing craft I could make with my son. And, I suffered only momentary inspiration overload reading Jeanette's Healthy Living's post that is a wealth of information about traditions and cuisine. It makes me wish I had my act together to make something Chinese tonight... I mean how amazing do those dumplings look?

a Russian feast fit for a king...or a dad

For my husband's bday this year, I suggested the kids give him an "experience". (I knew he'd also be getting a whole host of thoughtfully crafted pipe cleaner and tape creations.) My older son was thrilled with this prospect and started listing off all of the fun things the two of them could do together. My younger son nodded wisely and said from the backseat, "I think I'll take him someplace he's never been. Like Russia!" Glancing in the rear view mirror I questioned the cost (and logistics) of that sort of gift, and encouraged him to think of something, well, a bit more reasonable. "I know!" he exclaimed. "We could turn our house into Russia!" Right. "That's a neat idea. Let's think a little bit more about that one," I said hoping he'd come up with something a little easier to execute. But days went by and the excitement about a Russian extravaganza grew. "How about if we made a Russian meal, and you picked out a Russian book or movie or something?" I suggested, knowing that was one area I could help out with. "Super!! That is exactly what daddy would want", my 5-year-old assured me, nodding his head.

And so, that is how we ended up with a Russian feast yesterday. A quick Wiki search of Russian cuisine resulted in, "a large boiled piece of meat cooked in a soup or porridge, and then used as second course or served cold (particularly in jellied stock); offal dishes (liver, tripe, etc.), baked in pots together with cereals; whole fowl dishes or parts of fowl (legs or breasts), or a large piece of meat (rump) baked on a baking tray in an oven, so-called 'zharkoye'."  Eew. 

I think my husband is still scratching his head at the randomness of it all, but it ended up being a delicious (family dinner) trip to Russia: blinis (store bought, Whole Food's seafood section) topped with sour cream and 1/2 with sour cherry jam, 1/2 with smoked salmon + my adaptation of a "traditional" salad Olivier off of a Russian cuisine site (potatoes + peas + carrots + hard-boiled eggs with a homemade vinaigrette-- I skipped the pickles and mayo, ick) + meatball stroganoff (a recipe I had kicking around from my personal chef days, which used to be a client favorite). 

Ypa! {Cheers!}

snow day cooking: homemade marshmallows!

Had I known my little one would be home sick from school today, I might have saved one of our snow day activities for a gray Monday. Thankfully, we still had a few decadent marshmallows leftover, so we could enjoy some hot cocoa... loaded up. Over the weekend, I made my first batch of homemade marshmallows, which I found on Real Mom Nutrition. Now, I am a fabulous cook, not a baker. Baking requires precise measurements and following directions, two things that are not my forte. But these were fun. Kind of a make-them-once sort of recipe, perfect for a snow day. I'm going to let Sally's recipe be your go-to, but I do have a few pictures I'll share with you all to clarify a few parts (if you're anything like me and would like to see a recipe in action, before you try it)!

The recipe says to beat on high for about 12-15 minutes.... the batter went from very watery brown (from the addition of vanilla, probably more than was supposed to go in--see above about not being very good at following precise instructions)...

gradually got thicker...

until it was a very white, thick batter.

Thick enough that, as you can see, it sticks to the beaters.

Since we were already cooking with corn syrup, I thought what the heck, we can also add the food coloring we use for science experiments. I mean really, why let the excitement end with white sugar and corn syrup?!

You could beat the coloring in, or stir it to make a swirly patter, as we did. Be forewarned that once you cut the marshmallows and roll them in powdered sugar, the color will be kind of hidden in hindsight, coloring them wasn't really worth it...

OK, folks, here's the really important part though: I didn't have a 9x9 pan, so I used a 9x13 pan. That worked fine, as long as you don't mind you marshmallows being a little thinner. BUT, make sure you use enough cooking spray. This is key.

Here's where I made my big mistake... the sprayed parchment paper peeled off easily. (Parchment was fine in lieu of plastic wrap). But I turned the marshmallows onto a cutting board, which was not sprayed. And they stuck. Understatement. Like glue. So, I sat there struggling to cut the marshmallows off the cutting board, swearing I would never make these again. Had I simply dusted the cutting board with confectioner's sugar or placed the marshmallow sheet onto a sprayed piece of parchment paper, things would have gone MUCH more smoothly! I also hadn't tried these babies yet. Whoa, they are good. Really good. Perhaps even worth my crazy knife wielding trying to cut them before fluffing them in confectioner's sugar?!