Cancer, Health and Diet Related News
Don’t let the neatniks get you down if your desk is less than pristine. A new study from the University of Minnesota suggests that while there are practical benefits to keeping a neat desk, a messy one may bolster creative thinking. Researchers asked a group of college-age students to fill out some questionnaires in a clean and orderly office or a messy, paper-strewn one. Afterward, the students were given the chance to donate to a charity and to take an apple or a chocolate snack as they left. Those who worked in the neat offices gave more to the charity than the ones who worked in the messy environments, and were more likely to take apples instead of candy bars. Next, the students were assigned to either a clean or messy office and asked to come up with novel uses for ping pong balls. Both groups came up with the same number of ideas, but impartial judges viewed the ones from study participants assigned to the messy offices as more creative. The study was published online in the September 2013 issue of Psychological Science.
Kathleen D. Vohs, et al, “Physical Order Produces Healthy Choices, Generosity, and Conventionality, Whereas Disorder Produces Creativity,” Psychological Science, August 1, 2013, doi: 10.1177/0956797613480186
Baking is one of my favorite things to do, but it’s nearly impossible for me to make all the different kinds I love to snack on. Plus, I really don’t need more than a few of each recipe – who needs six dozen of the same type of cookies hanging around at one time? I want variety!
Whoever came up with the first cookie swap had the right idea. Make one or two kinds of cookies and trade with other bakers for a homemade cookie platter that will far outshine those boxed assortments. It’s the perfect way to taste a new flavor, stock up for long nights of gift-wrapping, and keep your own baking under control.
Here are some of my tips for hosting a cookie swap.
- Don’t step too far out of your comfort zone. Make a recipe you’ve had success with – this isn’t the time to start a new experiment!
- Label, label, label. Keep blank note cards or sticky notes with pens ready so you can make note of what is oatmeal raisin and what’s oatmeal chocolate chip.
- Make the mood festive. Put on some great music, pour wine or hot cider, and keep it casual.
- Either have cookies set out as as a free-for-all (my favorite) or have guests bring cookies already portioned according to the number of attendees.
- Have a supply of savory snacks as well, or make the cookie swap the dessert portion of an evening meal.
- Make sure to separate the cookies that are vegan, gluten-free, or adhere to other special diets, and keep them well-marked.
- Have reusable containers ready for guests to take home treats. Tins and plastic containers rather than bags will help prevent breakage.
- For packaging, waxed paper tied with colored baker’s twine adds a festive touch, or use Chinese takeout-style boxes.
- Ask your guests for their recipes ahead of time, and print them out into little booklets for a party favor as well as go-to holiday reference.
Need some cookie inspiration? Check out these sweet recipes.
Be sure to grab all of our favorite holiday cookie recipes!
Do you host or attend a cookie swap? I’d love to hear your tips and favorite cookies!