Cleaning and Cookie Decorating

This past weekend I hosted a party for the first time in my life. While I’ve certainly had a friend or two over to my apartment since I moved to Chicago, I’ve never hosted a group of people by any means. The friends I’ve hosted in the past have also generally lived with me before, so I never felt much of a need to, you know, clean or in any way prepare for their arrival.

I’m a pretty neat person by nature–messes and clutter really, really stress me out–but the whole living-at-Union-Station-in-November thing put a serious damper on my normal cleaning habits. When forced to decide between grocery shopping so I could eat the following week or vacuuming so my rug could look clean for .0001 seconds before my hair got all over everything again, grocery shopping always won. Needless to say, my apartment was in desperate need of a deep clean, and knowing I had company coming over was just the kick in the pants I needed.

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“Cleaning so all of Blogland doesn’t think I live like a pig” quickly turned into “The most thorough cleaning my unit has seen this century” as my roommate and I discovered all sorts of terrifying things about our apartment. Take, for example, an inherited Coors Light pitcher that I thought was stained but, as it turns out, simply had never been washed since the last person used it. The absolute most recent time this pitcher could have been used was May--MAY!–and I have a feeling it’s been much longer. Or, my personal favorite: the years of caked on grease that lived on top of our microwave (the years of dust bunnies on top of the ceiling fan was a close second, though). I know my apartment has never been empty since September 2009 at the latest (I suspect it hasn’t been empty for much longer than that), which means no one has ever been forced to deep clean the place, and it showed. DISGUSTING. I realize that cleaning isn’t the most exciting way to spend your free time, but come on people. Take some responsibility for your home and run a soapy sponge over your greasy kitchen utensils once every six months (or, better yet: after you use them).

In the process of all of this cleaning, I did everything I could to make our kitchen dirty again as I tackled three separate cookie recipes: sugar cookies, gingerbread cookies, and gluten-free sugar cookies. Gluten-free baking involved much weeping and gnashing of teeth on my part because that dough is sticky, but overall I was pretty happy with my adventures in cut-out cookie baking, as I had never made any kind of cut-out cookie before. I also made both vegan vanilla frosting and regular vanilla frosting, after which I decided to never buy frosting from the store again. Making frosting could not be simpler, both kinds tasted great, and I could eat them without having to turn a blind eye to all the partially hydrogenated trans fatty questionableness of store bought frosting. Win win win.

By mid afternoon, everything was ready to go!

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After retrieving Kelsey, Lindsay, Christina, Jeni, Emily and Kammie from the lobby, we headed up to my place and got to eating and decorating!

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To be honest, I don’t remember the last time I decorated Christmas cookies, but it was a lot of fun to play around with frosting and sprinkles to make some unique creations, such as New Year’s Eve Gingerbread Lady.

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I guarantee she looks classier than I’ll look on New Year’s Eve, as, unless something unexpected happens, I expect to spend my New Year’s Eve in my parent’s living room, eating nachos (and, let’s be real: being annoying and feeding the crumblies to my dog), watching the par-tay in Times Square, and trying oh-so hard to not snap at my parents for their usual sassiness over the ridiculousness of New  Year’s Eve. I, for one, happen to like New Year’s, thank you very much, but since right now it appears my options for the holiday are my parents or hanging out with my high school friends and their husbands (since, obviously, they’re all married), chances are I’ll be ringing in 2013 with the ‘rents. Livin’ the dream, folks.

Anyway.

Cookie decorating was lovely, and it’s safe to say I now have enough cookies in my apartment to feed an army. Fortunately, I have more company coming this week–our couch is serving as a free lodging Wednesday through Saturday? Sunday? as both my roommate and I have friends that will be in town for interviews–so I should be able to pawn some of the sugar off on them. Goodness knows (and my tummy knows!) I’ve had more than my fair share over the past few days, so I’ll be happy to spread the sweet joy.

What’s your favorite kind of cookie?
Have you ever hosted a party or get-together?

17 Comments

Filed under Life

17 responses to “Cleaning and Cookie Decorating

  1. Emily

    Thank you for hosting my grand idea of decorating Christmas cookies!!! Your apartment is LOVELY!! And I’m glad you linked to the gingerbread recipe… my mom was interested because I told her they were so good.

  2. That is the sexiest cookie I’ve ever seen. You naughty girl you.

    I love having people over…but I hate cleaning. I’ve gotten to the point with you guys now that I just warn you my place is a mess instead of actually cleaning it…

  3. I had so much fun cookie decorating, thanks for having us over! Also, I love your apartment, I wish I had such a beautiful view!

  4. what a great host you were! i am so jealous of that cookie decorating party

  5. when my roommates and i moved out of our house last year we had to do a similar thing and it was the grossest cleaning process that i’ve ever seen. things that had expired over 5 years ago in the top shelves of cabinets we’d never looked at…gross! the cookies look awesome though.

    • Augh, I feel your pain. I moved into my current place in June, and in August one of my roommates moved out, so ahead of a new roommate moving in I did some rearranging in the kitchen and found nonperishables that expired in 2006. I mean, those things have like a 2 year out date, so they were honestly probably purchased when I was in middle school. NOT OKAY!

  6. ahhh what a great party idea! That looks like it was such a good time, plus filled with lots of sweets, who could ever want more? and thanks for linking to the icing recipes. I do LOVE icing, but like you I hate the ingredient list on the store bought kind – I will be making my own next time i need it!

    • It’s seriously SO easy to make your own! If you’re going to do it, though, I recommend having a lot of cookies/cake/cupcakes/anything to put it on…otherwise you may end up with a bowl full of frosting in your fridge that you may or may not steal spoonfuls from every time you happen to open the fridge. Not that I’ve done that on a regular basis since Saturday, or anything… ;)

  7. Lia

    Yah, creepy deep cleaning adventures. I’ve had my fair share of those. It always feels good though, when it is all said and done and you have a nice “new” apartment! I’m pretty lucky to live with a clean roomy, so we take turns deep cleaning the different rooms, though I don’t think we’ve done the fans now that you mention it.

    I love love hosting parties and events, so it’s my pleasure to clean, cook, and display. My parents have also put me in charge of Christmas dinner and events since I graduated from hotel school. I suppose that makes sense. I’m a Ginger cookie kind of gal. Ginger and molasses!

    • Haha I do feel like my apartment is a new place now that it’s so clean! It also worked out great now that I’ve realized I have people staying at my place for most of this week, so now I don’t have to clean in advance of them coming.

      I have more molasses than I know what to do with since I made those gingerbread cookies. I’ve never used molasses before, but now I have a big ol’ jar of it. Time to get recipe searching, I suppose!

  8. I’m sad I couldn’t come on Saturday! I love homemade frosting and my mom and I already decided to bake and decorate Christmas cookies this weekend.
    I would really like to know where all the dust comes from. I try to keep my apartment clean (it’s still a mess, but it is not “dirty” if that makes sense), but there is still hair and dust everywhere!

  9. Pingback: Easter Weekend | accidental intentions

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