Graham Cracker Crumb Cheesecake Bars with Golden Oreos: a recipe/post from your newest PhD candidate! (eep!)

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If it’s felt quiet around here lately, you’re completely right. But guys. Guys.

Guess who’s penning this post as a newly baptized English PhD candidate? (eeks!) Excuse me while I bust-a-move around the room a la old-school 90s arcade game.

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So for those of you who are just like, Ala you big nut what are you even talking about we have no idea please speak English okay, I have basically spent the past few months working furiously toward writing a dissertation proposal (called a “prospectus”) that I finally discussed with my entire exam committee on Monday. For a little shy … Read more

S’mores Bars { + S’More Thoughts on the Difficulty of Loving Yourself }

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Almost a year ago now, I wrote this post on Defining Your Self-Worth, which received tons of amazing, thought-provoking, vulnerable, and deeply genuine comments from all of you readers out there. Today, in the midst of one of the craziest and most turbulent but also “happiest” periods of my life, I want to continue the discussion by bringing up another related topic: the Difficulty of Loving Yourself.

This is going to be a long post, so if you’re here for the S’mores Bars recipe (which is phenomenal BTW), go ahead and skip to the bottom of this Read more

No-Bake Cookie Butter Bars for #SundaySupper

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It’s hard to believe, but change is beginning to settle in the thick, smoggy air. The days are getting longer, the cotton material of my shirt is sticking to my armpit to an increasingly embarrassing degree, and these days I can go until nearly 7:45 PM before the sun starts setting and I actually begin to feel guilty about all the work I haven’t done for the day.

In other words: summer is coming!

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It’s hard to believe we spent the last two perfect weekends outdoors at two of the West Coast’s biggest book festivals–the Young Adult literature festival last … Read more

Easy English Toffee

Spoiler: majorly embarrassing stories ahead……

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Yesterday, over lunch, my friends and I were sharing our best embarrassing stories. You know, the ones that made you blush so hard you thought your face was actually going to combust into a bunch of fiery napalm and set ablaze everyone within 15 square yards of you. We’re not talking the kind of mild embarrassment that happens when you walk in late on the first day of class and get called out by the teacher.

We’re talking stress-dreams-of-getting-caught-stark-naked-in-a-Costco-parking-lot-on-a-Sunday-afternoon kind of embarrassment.

Unfortunately, I’m terrible at calling up examples while they are still relevant (i.e. … Read more

Apple Fritter Blondies

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I am fairly good about self-control (said nobody, ever), but every once in a while somebody throws something in my path that sets all my cravings on fire like a match to a bucket of propane.

Something that looks very much edible. Usually shaped like an apple fritter.

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Apple fritter was THE donut of choice in our house growing up. In fact, I did not know there was such a thing as “options” at a donut shop until our eighth grade field trip to Florida, where I downed my first–and second, and third, and maybe a fourth–Krispy Kreme. Up … Read more

The Best Blondies for #SundaySupper

Quick Etsy shop announcement: this month’s new featured item is my Coconut Rum White Chocolate Blondie: perfect for pre-holiday season gifting! If you’re looking for other thoughtful gifts, you can browse my whole selection and learn more about the shop’s history here!

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It’s clear what kind of a spinster I will be: not an old batty cat lady (I’m allergic to cats), but a decrepit little woman who bakes Coconut Rum Blondies at 4 AM after finishing a terrible Ginnifer Goodwin rom-com alone on my couch.

On the bright side, there are worse things. For example, I could … Read more

Inverted Graham Cracker Cheesecake Bars

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As students trundle to their first classes of the quarter, laden with heavy backpacks filled with books they will probably never finish, for classes they will soon find no time to attend;

as school swings back into high gear with the sound of familiar chimes ringing from the campus bell tower, tolling its stolen set of pipes recorded from another university tower;

as I lug my brick of a laptop to my office under the unnaturally blazing October sun, I think vaguely to myself that if I chance to encounter a mad Sasquatch on my unlikely path to school, at Read more

Raw Salted Chocolate Chip Oat Healthy Bars for #SundaySupper

I dare you to tell me this is “just another healthy oat bar” recipe. I triple dog dare you, and if you lose, I will bite the head off a hapless gingerbread man (is it almost that time of the year already? Sigh).

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Apart from the mumbled ooh’s and aah’s these bars received when I brought them to my friends’ houses, this healthy snack alternative just knocked my socks off. I was messing around with the food processor last week because it’s been a solid 98 degrees all week here. Living in perpetual beautiful summertime may not sound like a … Read more

Healthy Salted Caramel Apple Bars for #studentbloggers

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Thanks so much to everyone who has joined us for this #studentbloggers series. This is our final installment (for now, at least) as the school year revs into gear. See you guys on the other side, and don’t forget to check out all these incredibly TALENTED bloggers who have participated!

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(See our interviews from Week 1 and Week 2.)

QUESTION 1. Let’s be honest: how much time do you spend on schoolwork/research vs. the blog?

Ala: I treat school like a full-time job…and it is one! I still spend a good chunk of time every night blogging though … Read more

Mud Hen Bars

Dirty poultry desserts. Say what?

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Okay, so that’s not what “mud hen” really means, but I swear I was on the right track when I first heard the term “mud hen bars” two blissful months ago and tried my hand at creating my own!

Let me break this down for you and blow your soon-to-be-enlightened mind…

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Brown sugar meringue top. Yes, this is actually a thing. It is so much a thing, in fact, that these bars might just explode in the face of its ultimate thingy-ness. Crackle, meringue, yum!

Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie Base. Possibly my favorite kind of … Read more