Baking with Julia – Mocha Chip Cookies

IMG_0202First of all I just want to say thanks for the nice comments on my last not-so-fun post. They really meant a lot to me and I appreciate you taking the time. I’m still thinking about everything and trying to figure things out but today I got to do one of my favorite things which is this – cream some butter and sugar, turn on the oven, turn off my brain, and bake some frickin’ cookies. Since winter is seemingly never-ending this year (that goddamn groundhog is a liar. A LIAR!) it was especially soothing to bake something warm and gooey and make the house smell nice.

Brace yourselves: I only had one stick of butter in the house. gasp! That’s how you know I haven’t been feeling like myself guys, one stupid stick of butter. I was kind of tempted to try a Greek yogurt substitution thing for the other stick of butter since I recently pinned something that tells you how to do all kinds of swaps to make things healthier but then I thought, do I really need 4 dozen cookies? Probably not. So I just halved the recipe and kept them nice and fatty. I’m trying to make really good choices foodwise these days and I think letting a cookie be a cookie and not a health food is a good choice. Sue me. This way I’ll probably only eat one or two instead of telling myself that they’re not that bad for me and eating like 6. Fact.

IMG_0184Look at that beautiful dough – the flecks of espresso powder in there are killing me. And it smelled amazing. I mixed the dough this morning and then baked them after lunch so it was definitely a less time-consuming project that our last recipe. This is the kind of thing that makes me love my stand mixer again. I know I get mad at her from time to time, but Candy is seriously my kitchen BFF forever and always. And you know what else I love? Cookie scoops! As Woody would say, “If you don’t have one, get one!”

IMG_0187The recipe called for dried apricots but I didn’t have any of those so dried cherries are what’s happening here. Love them, always have them, never gonna quit them. I don’t know that I could say the same thing for dried apricots. I was going to try to wait and not eat these until after dinner tonight, but how could I properly blog them without trying them? hehehehe

IMG_0206This is pretty much the ideal cookie for me – crispy, crunchy exterior + chewy, delicious interior = cookie bliss. When I was halving the recipe I accidentally still put in the whole tsp of baking soda instead of 1/2 so maybe that contributed the the amazing texture. Who knows? I’m not a scientist. What I am is a cookie connoisseur these get my two enthusiastic thumbs up!

IMG_0196To try these for yourself (cause I’m not sharing mine, sorry!) visit this week’s host Galettista for the recipe.

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French Fridays with Dorie – Orange-Scented Lentil Soup (+feelings)

IMG_2716So I made this lentil soup and it was pretty good, but the majority of this post will not be about soup. I just want to put that out there right away. I’m going to be talking about feelings people, so if that sounds gross to you, just click away. Come back next week when I talk about cookies and stuff again.

It’s been kind of a rough week over here in real-life. If you’ve been reading my postings for awhile you probably remember last spring when I got a little “tough love” on myself about exercising. Now it’s time for some of that again but just about me in general. Recently a friend quoted me back to me (I can never resist a When Harry Met Sally reference, sorry) and though I laughed at the time, I have been thinking a lot about what she said. In a post a few months ago I said something to the effect of “I hate when movies and TV shows have scenes of people just sitting around and thinking pensively because that sounds terrible to me and I would never do that.” Something like that. She said that she frequently sets aside blocks of time to do this and thought my comments on it were hilarious. Because of some particularly harsh truths I’ve had to face recently, I started thinking about why I would say that. And the answer is kind of not fun. Actually it’s really not fun. Here it is: I haven’t felt great about myself for a few years. I don’t really know when it happened, but I have kind of been checked out for awhile. It sounds stupid to say it but I guess I just thought if I didn’t think about it, it would go away. Denial is the cure for everything, right?

In my whole life, I have never really liked planning ahead. It’s not that I’m not organized or responsible, it’s just that I’ve never really been much of a dreamer. Or that’s what I kind of always thought. But if I really am totally honest with myself this is what I come up with- another thing that’s cliche but true: if you don’t want or hope or try for things, you won’t be disappointed when you fail or it doesn’t work out. And that is actually really shitty. What a horrible way to look at things. That’s what you’re saying, right? That’s the place I’m at right now. So here’s a few things I want: I want to be excited about something. I want to spend more time with my husband. I want to keep writing this blog and getting better at expressing myself. Ugh, expressing myself? Even typing that made me cringe, but I don’t think there’s another way to say it. Obviously it’s fun to be snarky and self-deprecating and critical sometimes but I can’t be like that all the time. And this is the really hard one to admit – I want to have a plan. Not like a Pinky & the Brain World Domination kind of plan, but just something to work towards. I’m still trying to figure out what that will be but the first step is admitting you have a problem, right?

So about this soup……hahahahahaha. It’s lentil soup and it’s not pretty, but I actually think that’s kind of appropriate for this post, right? Lentils are good for you, there’s no denying it, but damn they are ugly. See how nice and colorful everything looks before the addition of the lentils?IMG_0175It’s not even a clever metaphor at this point – adding the lentils = thinking about all this hard and ugly stuff. I’m pretty sure this is good for me, the process is just kind of unappetizing and sucky.

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French Fridays with Dorie – Cheesy Creme Brulee

IMG_2697Just a short one this time –  I liked this a lot but pretty much everyone else who ate it did not. 😦 I have never eaten a traditional Creme Brulee before (shocking, I know) so I didn’t really have anything to compare it to and maybe that was the issue. I would love to go back and make the traditional sweet Creme Brulee that the rest of the Doristas did quite awhile ago because I have always loved the part in Amelie where she talks about cracking the crust on a Creme Brulee:

urlIn fact, I’m actually kind of horrified that I have never tried this dessert. I will have to remedy this shortly. Also, I want to watch Amelie again….

But back to the point, which is the Cheesy Creme Brulee. I made this with some open-faced steak sandwiches with reduced balsamic vinegar and bleu cheese and I think it was just a weird match. I was trying to knock it out and get it done on time and I think I just didn’t pair it right. Also since all the other people that ate it didn’t like it, I may have been barking up the wrong tree audience-wise. I’m glad I made it and got kind of back on track with my FFWD postings even though this one is late. I promise things will be back to my normal standards soon. Next up is Orange-Scented Lentil soup – another crowd pleaser around here (not). We’ll see how it goes…

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