Tag Archives: white chocolate

No-Bake Cookie Butter Avalanche Cookies

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So apparently one of my students lives next door to me.

Forgive me if I don’t jump for joy.

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Living next door to any of my students–as you can probably imagine–isn’t exactly my idea of a delightful development. I guess this means I’ll have to actually put on pants now when I open the windows.

Kidding. I’m totally kidding. (Except maybe on laundry day.)

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Though this news has made me self-conscious enough to stop blasting Taylor Swift out the open window at odd hours of the day now, weirdly enough, my first reaction when s/he asked me if I lived in his/her building was to simply laugh.

Sometimes, in the midst of all this labeling and titling and instructing, we forget that our students are every bit as human as we are. We complain (rightly so) that our students think we live in our offices and have nothing to do but answer all their last-minute essay-related emails–but aren’t we teachers guilty of the same thing? I mean, it’s a bit unfair to assume that the only thing our students have going on in their lives is brainstorming, outlining, writing, and revising their 8-page paper on Stuart Little.

(Okay, so maybe that keg of beer they consumed while they were actually supposed to be writing was a bad idea…but seriously, it’s college. When else are they going to get the chance? Certainly not when they “get their act together” and “grow up,” which is what the world always seems so keen on rushing them–and us all!–to do.)

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At the end of the day, I’m actually a bit glad life decided to Punk me with this bizarre, slightly awkward development. It’s a smart reminder that we’re all sort of in the same boat together, even if we’re not exactly operating on the same level.… Read more

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Filed under Baked Goods and Desserts, Cookies, Snacks

Coconut Oil Cranberry Hootycreeks {guest post for Brunch with Joy}

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Linda from Brunch with Joy and I met a few months back through Sunday Supper–she’s one of the loveliest ladies on the planet, and I immediately fell in love with her vibrant blog. Since I began blogging back in 2012, I’ve had the chance to meet so many amazing people like Linda from every nook and cranny of the internet. Today, I’m the lucky gal who’s guest posting on her blog–check it out!

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In today’s post, I’m sharing a very near-and-dear story about one of my closest friends, M. We met in the unlikeliest of circumstances, separated by every continent conceivable and some that probably didn’t even exist yet. It’s a story about friendship, but more importantly it’s a story about how critical it is to remain open-minded in this day and age, when tragic recent events like Charlie Hebdo make us question our belief in one another, in a shared global community.

A word to the wise: don’t stop believing, but don’t be complacent, either.

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Linda is proof that people from such different little corners can find each other and celebrate in the most unexpected places! So visit this lovely lady (which you need to do pronto), read my post, and get the recipe for these absolutely awesome Coconut Oil Cranberry Hootycreeks–in short, get yourself acquainted with her blog here now!

Have stories of unexpected meetings you’d like to share? I’d love to hear them in the comments!

Ala

 

 

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Filed under Baked Goods and Desserts, Cookies

Homemade Snickerdoodle Peanut Butter for #SundaySupper

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Last year was the year of the spoon.

I had my spoon in everything and anything delicious that could be spread, dipped, or straight-up eaten. Hummus, jelly, cookie butter, sweetened condensed milk, ice cream, and of course…

Peanut butter. Did I mention that the bottom of my mouth and the sides of my tongue have started swelling a bit when I eat peanut butter too many days in a row now? Because they do. I get the vague feeling (as I sit here with my spoonful of peanut butter hanging out of my mouth) I should be cutting back. Three words: Denial solves everything.

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This year, however, I have made a resolution. A good one. One that will make me a fundamentally better human being who is in touch with her fundamentally good human side.

This year, I declare 2015: the year of the finger foods.

Because really, wasn’t that what fingers were made for? Scraping out the very last drop of peanut butter from those hard-to-reach spots at the bottom of a cylindrical jar? And you even get ten uses–one for each finger–before you have to wash them! It’s like the Supreme Creator attached handy portable sampler spoons on the ends of our hands for this very purpose.

Human creation. They really did think of everything. Now all I need is a retractable wings and a manual-speed metabolism with overdrive, and this new year will be a breeze.

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I really didn’t start making homemade peanut butter until my friend gifted me a food processor at the end of my first year in grad school. If you know me at all, my lack of kitchen appliance ownership probably wouldn’t surprise you since I didn’t learn how to boil an egg until about junior year of college.

That’s when the finger-tasting obsession started: suddenly I was struck by a realization that the warm, liquidy goodness at the bottom of the food processor bowl could be scraped up and enjoyed right on the spot, and–what was more–that I could apply the same logic to most things that come in jars!… Read more

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Filed under Dips/Spreads, Healthy/Clean Eating Challenge, Homemade/DIY

Coconut Oil White Chocolate + Chocolate Chip Cookies

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There are two types of people in this world who can afford to wait around for miracles to change their lives.

Immortals, and dead people.

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I’d be a liar if I said I didn’t spend the better part of my many daydreams sighing after a miracle to sweep me off my feet. Usually this miracle saunters up in the guise of a tall, gorgeous man with a charming smile and perfectly manicured fingers sweeping through wind-tossed dark bangs, but sometimes it’s a publishing contract for my new YA novel or–if I’ve been watching one too many interviews of The Hunger Games that night–an accidental bumping-into Josh Hutcherson on a local sidestreet.

Most miracles nowadays, however, are manufactured. I always feel like I’m cheating fate when I make my own miracles, sort of like how technology ruins romance for a 21st-century couple that yearns for destiny to bring them back together. Because let’s face it: Serendipity (2001) would never have happened had it taken place 10 years later, because John Cusack would have already Facebook stalked the bejeezus out of Kate Beckinsale’s character before Googling her employment history, contact info, and relationship status. Who needs phone numbers written on dollar bills when you have the internet?

In short, most modern-day miracles suck the fun out of romance. And don’t sit there shaking your head knowingly at me, because even as you read these words you’re secretly toggling to the browser tab that contains every Facebook picture that guy (or girl) you just met yesterday at the airport has ever uploaded. And if you aren’t doing it now, you have done it, or will be doing it, or both. And it’s probably not your first time, either.

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I hold my own pretty well–better in some cases than in others. Just this Thanksgiving, I was at the airport along with hundreds of other straggling holiday travelers and finally snagged a seat at a crowded table full of disheveled but friendly-looking guys.… Read more

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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 be an old hag who runs around on her neighbor’s lawns scattering apple tree seeds and shouting at the top of my voice: “The British are coming! The British are coming!

Or I could be without these blondies, and that’d be a crying shame, don’t you think?

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Thankfully, a few nights ago I was chatting with one of my best friends and unofficial psychotherapist H, who finally talked me out of my three-week shlump. To celebrate my release from the fetters of romantic comedy films, I decided to start a dedicated Me-Time journal for the next 21 days, where I can write my scattered thoughts about the day’s events. However, it’s only Day 1 and I’ve already filled 8 pages with musings on life! Who knew anything actually buzzed in this tiny brain of mine, right?

One thing I realized over the course of those eight pages was that a) I’ve actually had a really amazing week, and b) I love the feeling of meeting and keeping in touch with new people. There’s something incredibly liberating about getting to know someone who has no preconceptions about who you are except what you show them while you’re chatting–in the past 3 days alone, I’ve met & become (at least Facebook) friends with 2 folks in Starbucks, 2 guys from an international siblings program, and at least a handful of really wonderful people from my friend J’s recent PhD graduation party.… Read more

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Filed under Baked Goods and Desserts, Bars

The Amazing ‘Un-Relationship’ Chocolate Chip Cookie

This is the story of the Amazing Un-Relationship Cookie. Have you spent your whole life wondering when you would ever find that special something in your life? Well, stop looking. You’ve found it. And guess what? You found it a long time ago.
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This is going to be a long post. If you get tired of reading, feel free to skip through to the pictorial guide on 8 REASONS THE ‘AMAZING UN-RELATIONSHIP COOKIE’ WAS MEANT FOR YOU. But for those of you still with me, let’s start with the basics.
What exactly is an Un-Relationship? Un-Relationships are like relationships, but with truly no strings attached. This is because the relationship depends on you, the individual, and you alone. So if you have an Un-Relationship with food, for example, you are the only person who can define your attitude towards, and your satisfaction with, whatever food you happen to be have in mind. For me, these cookies symbolize everything that goes into a healthy Un-Relationship (more on that later).

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Just You, and You. No matter what your official relationship status is–whether you’re comfortably married or happily single, flirty & fun or settled & won–we all have our own special relationship with food. What do you love most about it? The thing I love most about food is that it will never judge you. Ever. This is essential for creating an UN-RELATIONSHIP. Others may judge you, and sadly they may judge your relationship with food, although I firmly believe we fixate on what we think other people think about us rather than what they actually believe. Goodness knows many of us judge ourselves for our relationship with food, and I have no doubt hails of self-judgment poured down on my head as I reached for my eighth cookie after finishing the photoshoot you see here.
Read more

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o.m.f.g. (Oreos made for gods) bars & producti-baking

o.m.f.g.–stick around, I’ll explain. Trust me, you won’t want to miss this post OR recipe.

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We’ll get to the o.m.f.g. factor in these bars in just a second.

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For those of you who are just joining in here (welcome!) and for those of you returning folks (welcome back!), you should know that I am an avid literary gal. My appetite for books and brownies is voracious. If it ever boiled down to choosing between (Lewis) Carroll and chocolate chip cookies, we would have a dilemma on our hands, and we’re not talking the insignificant moment of panic you experienced in high school when you saw that huge zit pop up on your nose five hours before senior ball.

No, we’re talking tearing-my-heartstrings-and-running-them-through-the-paper-shredder dilemma.

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I love books.

I also love to bake and cook.

In fact, Bake + cOOK = book. True story.

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The problem is that sometimes, reading for my program (I’m a second-year grad student, en longgg route to an English Literature Ph.D) can sometimes be a drag. Trying to sludge through hundreds or even thousands of pages a week, in addition to grading Mt. Everest stacks of student papers, evokes horrors unrivaled by even the most chilling Gothic novels.

The solution is, of course, procrastibaking. It’s just what it sounds like–procrastinating through baking.

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This coming Fall quarter, I will be taking my qualifying exam to receive my Master’s and (hopefully) move onto writing a dissertation prospectus. Big, big stuff. As incentive to get me through reading lists of over 140 literary and scholarly works before November, I’ve come up with what will hopefully be an effective counter to the problem of procrastibaking.

I call it PRODUCTIBAKING.

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(On my kitchen table: Mansfield Park, by Jane Austen. British Romanticism List Book #1)

So here’s the idea:

I have approximately 140 works of literature to wade through between now and November.… Read more

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Filed under Baked Goods and Desserts, Bars, Brownies & Chocolates

Frosty Pumpkin Streusel Magic Bars

It’s spring! You know what that means…

lovin’ the sunshine

lovin’ the flirty sundresses

lovin’ the beaches

lovin’ life

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loving the gifs!

How could you NOT love that creamy, squishy sweet pumpkin magic bar layer there?

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Yes, I’m sure all of you who have seen my latest batch of posts know that I have recently become obsessed with gifsWhether or not this will turn out to be an occupational hazard to my health remains to be seen.

Are they all lovely gifs? Certainly not. I’m a gif-fing amateur (is giffing a word? What good is being in an English doctoral program if you can’t make up your own words? Giffing is a word)–I use *cringe* online software because for some reason or other Windows Movie Maker does not work on my computer. I cannot figure out for the holy life of me why. (Any ideas, techie folks!)

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So back to my point–these gifs are not Da Vincis. In artistic merit, they’re not Picassos or Monets or even Stephanie Meyers–nope, they’re definitely better than that.  Sorry, Team Mayers folks. It must be said.

As my dearest friend Clark Gable says about this very subject (or maybe it was a different one–I get mixed up when it’s this time of the school year), “Frankly m’dear–I don’t give a damn.

Because I drool over them anyway. This may or may not have physically happened to me in the middle of, erm, lecture last week when I was staring at them. It’s okay, nobody noticed.

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There were many reasons for my choosing to go total gif-scapade (invented word number two–I’m on a roll! er, a stale one), but the biggest one was when I made the world’s fudgiest brownies and wondered how in holy heck I could convince you all of it.… Read more

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Saltine Toffee ‘Crack’-ers: An Ode to a New DSLR!

I have not danced around with such elf-like mirth since they announced the summer 2013 release of Sailor Moon.

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Guess who is the proud new owner of a DSLR camera?

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I’ll give you a hint.

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ME. Me me me me me me me. Did I mention me?

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That’s right, folks–in the shameless spirit of commercialism, selfishness, and dragon-like hoarding, I have graciously received a shiny new DSLR camera for Christmas.

Jigs may or may not have been performed under my Christmas tree this holiday season.

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Did I mention the fact that I also received a Playstation 3 AND the Disney Imagineering book?

This year’s forecast: Absolutely zero productivity levels, with a 50% chance of precipitation from the tear ducts–because I am going to be so darn happy playing around with all of my new toys that I will most probably break down into tears at some point and bawl like a baby.

A very, very happy bouncing crying baby adult woman.

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In honor of this momentous occasion, I’ve decided to do absolutely nothing substantive in this post except gloat, revel, and bask in the glory that is focused pictures with appropriately blurry backgrounds. I’m still getting the hang of the whole “real-camera” photography deal (read: driving my parents crazy dancing around the house singing “What’s This?” a la Jack Skellington as I test out all of the nifty functions–and they are nifty), and now I don’t have an excuse to not learn about proper photo composition…

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But I think I can live with that.

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I can also live with a batch of these delicious saltine toffee ‘crack’-ers (thus dubbed as an homage to their addictive status) sitting on my kitchen counter at this very moment.

Those of you who have followed me for some time will know that this is a repeat recipe that you can find here…but the results were so pretty, and my camera was so here (YAY), that I had to share these photos.… Read more

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Filed under Baked Goods and Desserts, Brownies & Chocolates

7 Days Until Christmas: Orange Cheesecake Gingerbread Blondies

Playful, chilly winds nip our ears and prick our exposed noses. Straggling students wrap scarves around their heads in the fashion of ancient, entombed Egyptians. And as the days dwindle into the single digits, you can almost hear the wintertime choirs burst out into song and chime…

Seven days until Christmas!

That, my friends, is the stocking that’s Santa’s going to fill with lots of nice goodies for a very nice girl this year (a.k.a. yours truly):

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Wait…seven days?! That’s exactly one week!

In honor of this momentous occasion, which occurs once every 364 1/4 days in a year–something it shares in common with Leprechaun’s Day, National Talk Like a Pirate Day, and your Auntie Mabel’s birthday–I’ve compiled a list of 7 holiday traditions that, for some reason or another, just never seemed to make the cut…

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7. Naughty or Naughtier: Draw from a hat of “naughty” deeds and perform them in front of your friends! But it gets better–in order to win, your friends have to out-naughty your naughty deed. Do you have what it takes to get yourself in the top spot on Santa’s naughty list this year?

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6. Hot Space Heater: Want to turn up the heat this year on family & friends fun day? Play this season-appropriate version of “Hot Potato” with your closest enemies. All you need are some rockin’ Christmas tunes and a preheated warmer–toss the space heater around in a circle until it gets too hot to handle! For extra excitement, make sure to invite your in-laws and that second cousin, twice removed that you never really liked.

5. Turkey Deep-Frying Competition: Get your frying vats ready–this is one sizzling holiday game! See who can fry their turkies the fastest; the hotter the stove, the hotter the game! (In order to qualify, participants must fry their turkies whole, preferably in a crowded space where flying oil and raging tempers will be an issue.)

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4. … Read more

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Filed under Baked Goods and Desserts, Bars, Brownies & Chocolates, Cheesecakes