Thursday, December 22, 2011
The festivities started at 2pm, when Santa greeted attendees downstairs at Space with a Soul and directed them to the seventh floor loft, which we'd decorated with gold tablecloths and a holiday-themed photo booth.
After checking in and sharing the number of cookies they'd brought, swappers found a spot for displaying their goodies. They also sampled Polar's holiday flavors of seltzer or UDI's gluten-free cookies, created clothespin reindeer in the craft corner, or posed in the photo booth.
Around 3pm, Melissa from Swap.com made announcements and we handed out GladWare which the swappers and snackers filled with cookies. With dozens of cookies to choose from, including Cappucino "Kisses", Goat Cheese and Lime Cheesecake Thumprints, Reindeer Pinwheels, and Peppermint Merginges, it was tough to choose a favorite. Which is why we crowned two winners in our cookie contest: Jared Lazzaro for Nonna Bea's Raspberry Squares and Dawn Durkee for her Walnut Shortbread Cookies.
The Raspberry Squares were unfortunately devoured before I could sample them, but Dawn's shortbread was pretty amazing and she even brought some wrapping paper and boxes to create a multi-level display (a swapper after our own hearts!). You can find all the recipes on the Cookie Swap microsite, which was created by our pals at My Reci, a super-cool new platform for organizing recipes online.
All told, we raised $1,000 for Cookies for Kids' Cancer and had a fantastic time in the process. Big thanks to our "swap sisters" Melissa and Amy from Swap.com, as well as Glad to Give, My Reci, KO Catering and Pies, OXO kitchen tools, Udi's Gluten Free Foods, Space with a Soul, and, of course, all our fabulous swappers and snackers.
Next, we're gearing up for World Swap Day with our January food swap scheduled for Sunday, January 22. Want to get in on the #swaplove? RSVP through Eventbrite.
Photos courtesy of The Swapaholics
Wednesday, December 21, 2011
We love swapping: cookies, clothes, recipes... you name it. But for the most part, that's all done locally. Our pal Rachel from Boston Food Bloggers had a great idea: what if we swapped food with people halfway across the country? And thus the Austin to Boston Food Swap was born!
The 3 of us were excited to sum up our fair Hub in a single flat-rate box. Our Austin buddy is John of Luvs2Eat, and we wanted to give him a taste of how we experience Boston. So, we set out to source some of our favorite local purveyors and specialties, with a few of our own twists thrown in. Here's what we included:
Though at different ends of the spectrum, Taza Chocolate and Marshmallow Fluff are two treats made right here in Mass. For me, the juxtaposition of high and low brow is part of Boston's food culture.
With all of our institutes of higher learning, Boston is a quite the literary city. We decided to include a taste of our local food writing — a copy of Edible Boston, an issue of Cook's Illustrated, and Shucked, Erin Byers Murray's memoir of life on an oyster farm.
I happened to pick up Shucked at the Eat Boutique Holiday Local Market, where Lyn grabbed some tasty Lark shortbread and Q's Nuts to add to the box.
Last but not least, we had to include something homemade! Into the box went a jar of apple butter, lovingly produced on camera for our CBS Sunday Morning segment on canning that will air sometime in the future.
John, we hope you enjoy your goodies, and we're looking forward to a slice of Texas!
Friday, December 16, 2011
Q: How should I display my cookies? (thanks for the question Mindy!)
A: The recipe card is all you need to tell everyone what you made. If you have cooler labels you want to use, feel free. The team will provide some trays and risers but you can display your cookies creatively. We are expecting about 130 bakers with at least 50 cookies apiece so we ask that your creative displays are mindful of space. Think yoga mat rather than beach blanket!
Q: Will I be able to park at Space With a Soul?
A: Meter parking on Sunday is free in Boston. There are a lot of meters in the general area (many on the bridge on the next block away from downtown, some on Melcher St in the back of the building) and a few lots in the area. The building is also just over the bridge from South Station so we highly encourage the use of public transportation.
Wednesday, December 14, 2011
- Babette Papaj, Bakespace.com
- Jacqueline Church, Leather District Gourmet
- Loring Barnes, Clarity Group
- Hillary Allard, The Castle Group
- Lena Hanson, Lena on the Beach (who told us of the plans she was hatching for our Cookie Swap for a Cause)
- Elizabeth Evans, On Tap for Today
- Audrey, Boston Foodie Tours
- Rachel Cossar, The Frugal Foodista (who was the lucky winner of the scavenger hunt – Congrats!)
- Kristen Haley, Beantown Social (not a food blog but a great resource for what’s happening around town)
- Beth Quitadamo, The Sailing Foodie
- Sean William, BostonMO
(also not a food blogger but wildly entertaining)
- Erin, a Girl and Her Mutt
- Amanda, Tales from a Kitchen Misfit
- Amy, Wicked Good Travel
- Megan, Cooking Whims
Monday, December 12, 2011
This is the season when nonprofits amp up their fundraising efforts before the end of the year. And while we're all in favor of supporting charities (which is why we're hosting a Cookie Swap for a Cause to support Cookies for Kids' Cancer on December 18), we also understand that not everyone has a huge budget for donations.
- Search smart.
If you search online for movie listings, travel deals, or job openings, then consider searching through a site like BetterHumanRace and GoodSearch. A portion of the ad revenue from your search supports charitable causes. If you're like me and you instinctively start typing at the top of your Chrome window, you can install a toolbar in your browser so you won't forget about it.
- Shop for a cause.
Still shopping for holiday gifts? Buy online through sites like ShopforCharityNow or iGive and a portion of your purchase will go towards the charity of your choice. Or if you're shopping for someone who already has everything, consider a charity gift card from CharityChoice or choosing a symbolic gift like a dozen chicks from Oxfam America Unwrapped or a flock of ducks from Heifer International. (Your recipient gets a card about the gift, and a worthy household elsewhere in the world gets the animals.)
- Let the games begin!
FreeRice is an online word game that tests your knowledge of English vocabulary. For each correct answer, the United Nations World Food Programme gets 10 grains of rice donated. If you're addicted to Words with Friends like I am, you'll probably like FreeRice, too. It works on the iPhone so I sometimes use it entertain myself on long car rides.
- Send an ecard.
There are a number of charity-related ecard offerings, including Care2, the Breast Cancer Site, the Rainforest Site, and the Hunger Site. It's generally free for you and the recipient, though there are other sites that offer ecards as an incentive for donations.
- Add a badge to your blog.
Started by Kevin Bacon (yes, the Kevin Bacon), SixDegrees encourages people to leverage their network and fundraise for charity. You can see what celebrities are interested in a certain charity, add a badge to your blog, and more to help spread the word. Along the same lines, JustGiving offers a widget that can create a badge for your Outlook email signature.
Image courtesy of markuso / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Friday, December 9, 2011
Undeterred, I chose a recipe for molasses cookies, since I already had a big jar of molasses and most of the other ingredients in my pantry, and set out to create my own variation with more precise measurements and instructions. Adding the flour a half cup at a time and throwing in a hint of vanilla, I stopped once the cookie dough reached a rich caramel color and consistency.
The original recipe warns not to roll the dough too thin but this dough's texture called for dropping rather than rolling. Also, parchment paper may be an anachronism but it sure simplified clean-up!The end result? A soft, not-too-sweet cookie that's reminiscent of gingerbread.
Old-Fashioned Molasses Cookies
- 2 egg whites and 2 yolks (beaten separately)
- 4 tablespoons boiling water
- 1 cup melted butter
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup molasses
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 1/2 cups flour
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Combine beaten egg whites and yolks, boiling water, melted butter, vanilla extract, and molasses in a medium mixing bowl and set aside.
- Combine dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
- Fold wet mixture into dry mixture and mix thoroughly.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and drop spoonfuls of dough several apartment (lumps will smooth out while baking but cookies will expand so don't drop them too close together or too close to the edges).
- Bake for 8-10 minutes until cookies (longer for crispier cookies).
- Cool on a wire rack.
Tuesday, December 6, 2011
Here's how to enter (one chance for each of these activities for a total of four possible chances):
- Click over to OXO Good Cookies recipe book, choose which recipe looks most appealing, and leave a comment here on the Boston Food Swap blog with your favorite(s).
- Sign up for our newsletter and leave a comment on this post letting us know you want to be entered in the giveaway.
- Like us on Facebook and leave a comment on this post letting us know you want to be entered in the giveaway.
- Tweet about the giveaway, including the hashtag #bfsgoodcookie and this link:. Example: Win a “Good Cookie” spatula from @OXO & @BOSswappers #bfsgoodcookie
- Only those in the United States and Canada are eligible to win (sorry, but we're shipping the book ourselves and learned this the hard way).
- When commenting, please include a way to contact you for your mailing address. For instance, link your comment a website that contains your email address or include your email in your comment.
- All tweets, likes, newsletter subscriptions, and comments must be received by Sunday, December 11th at 11:59 EST. After that, we will use Random.org to choose the winner.
- If the winner does not respond to email requests for their address within one week, we reserve the right to choose another winner.