• Mixed Berry Crumb Bars

    Sunday night, and I’m still in recovery mood from this weekend’s food coma. My Uncle Jimmy was on the Cape for his annual dinner where he wows us with his latest culinary skills, and has us all testing the physical … Continue reading

  • Browned Butter Salted Rice Krispie Treats

    I’ve been holding out on you. Taunting you with pictures of this on instagram but not actually getting it up on the blog for almost a month. I’ve probably made it about six or seven times in the past month … Continue reading

  • Brown Butter Cinnamon Rolls

    Sunday morning, brown butter and cinnamon buns. Now that is a combo I could get onboard with every weekend. Not to mention this weekend was filled with sunshine + good friends + good food. Another winning combo to kickoff summer. … Continue reading

  • Cape Cod Cranberry Orange Muffins

    I had every intention of writing this blog post much earlier in the day. But Mother Nature graced us with some sunshine and warm weather today. And then crazy eddie was in full pyro-mode next door tonight, so I got … Continue reading

  • Browned Butter Vanilla Bean Blondies

    That’s it. I’ve had it. I’m moving to Florida. Anyone who says they live in New England because they “love the seasons” is absolutely bananas. You can say you love summer and fall, but no one in their right mind … Continue reading

  • Brown Butter Salted Chocolate Chip Cookies

    You know that part in Amazing Graze where it says “I once was lost, but now am am found, was blind, but now I see” – that is how I feel today. About brown butter. I have tasted brown butter … Continue reading

Cinnamon Sugar Pumpkin Donuts

I know, it’s Tuesday not Sunday. But let’s get one thing straight here before you guilt trip me on being late with this post. My coworkers got their sugar-fix on-time Monday morning with these fresh Cinnamon Sugar Pumpkin Donuts, EVEN though I landed at Logan airport at 9:15 pm Sunday night. Luckily, I have a post-vacation complex where I really need to unpack everything and do a load of laundry before I can go to bed, no matter how late I get in. So I used that time to whip up these super easy and OH MAHH GAWDD delicious pumpkin donuts. It’s like you took the month of October and just shoved it right into this delicious friggin donut that had my coworkers on Monday giving me a standing ovation. And the crowd goes wild <insert cheering sounds>. So maybe not that dramatic of a reaction, but these were a huge hit.

So if you don’t follow my super exciting life (of going on vacation with my parents) on instagram, let me drop some knowledge on you right now about how you can go to Disney World at any age and have an amazing time, if you’re with the right people. We’ve been taking family vacations to Disney World since I was two years old. And since today I am exactly 29 and a half years old (but who’se counting?) that’s a lot of Disney vacations under my belt. So for my parent’s 34th wedding anniversary which was on Sunday, my brother, sister, sister-in-law and parents all flew down from NYC and Boston and spent a really fun four-days in the happiest place on earth. If you haven’t been to Disney lately, it’s gone digital and it’s amazing. I’ll tell you more about this later in the post. But needless to say, I came back Sunday in a pretty good mood so thought I’d share some of that magic with my coworkers Monday morning.

King Arthur Flour is one of my favorite sources for unique baking ingredients. Specifically, their Vietnamese Cinnamon is life changing. I’m thinking a trip up to their store in Vermont is probably in my future soon. So I was on the plane Sunday night as we were taxiing to the gate, and looked up pumpkin recipes on the King Arthur site and came across this recipe for Pumpkin Doughnuts. I actually am not a big donut person. But I do like the baked donut trays I got this summer, because the whole concept of a fluffy baked donut that doesn’t involve a fried mess is definitely something I’m all about right now. So I made these hot donuts. And then took the hot donuts and shook them up in a bag of cinnamon sugar, and then I took these hot cinnamony sugar pumpkin donuts and I brought them to work and I blew people’s minds. And that’s all I have to say about that.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree (canned pumpkin)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice (or 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon plus a heaping 1/4 teaspoon each ground nutmeg and ground ginger)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 3/4 cups + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar + 1 tablespoon Cinnamon combined in a zip-loc bag

Step 1: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. You can make these either in a bowl with a wooden spoon or using your mixer. I used stirring this as my workout of the day.

Step 2: Mix the vegetable oil, eggs, sugar, and pumpkin puree together until mixed well. Sift together the pumpkin pie spice, salt, baking powder and flour, and mix together using a wooden spoon or beat on a low speed in your mixer until well incorporated.

Step 3: Lightly grease the donut trays with non-stick spray. I have a regular-size tray and a mini-donut tray. Fill the tray up about 3/4 of the way, a little more for the mini donuts. Because I predicted making a giant mess, I ended up filling an icing bag with the batter and using that to evenly distribute in the donut trays without getting it all over the place. Winning. IMG_1821

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Step 4: Bake at 350 degrees for about 12-14 minutes. The mini donuts took closer to 12 minutes, and the regular-size donuts took closer to 14/15. When you press the donut with your hand, if it is firm and not sticky, then it’s done. Leave the donuts in the tray for about 2 minutes to set before removing them and putting them on the cooling rack. IMG_1825

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Step 5: Mix 1 cup of granulated sugar with 1 tablespoon (or a little more) of cinnamon in a zip-loc bag. When the donuts are still hot (important) toss them in the sugar and slam it to the left, shake it to the right, spice up your life. No? Anybody? Alright. Then let them sit on the cooling rack. IMG_1827

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Like if a pumpkin went to heaven and became a pumpkin angel and you could eat it, that’s what these hot donuts taste like. They were really good the next morning chilled, but I’m telling you – it would be perfectly acceptable and understandable to binge eat and entire dozen out of these fresh out of the oven.

Oh and you know what these go perfectly with? My new Emily McDowell hilarious “It’s too early for you to say things” mug. I bought 3 of her mugs the other day, and gave both my mom and friend Allie the “everything will be okay” mug which I also love. IMG_1842

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So yes. My coworkers were happy on Monday morning to say the least. So now it’s 10pm. I’m tired and I really just want to watch Scandal (YESSSSSSSSS)  and I can’t move post-crossfit tonight, so I will give you all the updates you need on my awesome Disney vacation in pictures with little hilarious captions that will make you feel like you were there for a super fun Shaw Family Vacation.

So first, I’ve been going to Disney World since 1987 when my dad won a trip from his job – United Technologies. Since then, we’ve been totally hooked as a Disney family. We always went at least once a year for our big trip. And if there’s one thing I’ve inherited from my dad, it’s the planning gene. Skip always makes a color-coded Excel itinerary of our Disney trip – with morning, breakfast, lunch, afternoon, evening, dinner, all planned out (180 days in advance), park hours, and any other special considerations like extended hours or firework shows. Only in the 90s, I rocked my printed out itinerary in my sweet ninja turtles fanny pack. But now everything is digital and you have apps on your phone and a magic wristband which is just awesome. Honestly, just go to Disney and check it out for yourself. So here’s some vacation highlights:

SO these crazy kids have been married for 34 years. Hooray! So to celebrate, we super loving children let them take us on vacation again. (I know, we’re too nice).

photo 4We hit up the Magic Kingdom (my favorite park) right when we landed Thursday afternoon and had time to go back on Sunday morning. Normally I’m not a big Splash Mountain fan, but when you hit that Florida heat and humidity, getting soaking wet sounds really refreshing. This is a post big-drop selfie with my brother (left) and sister (right). Happy kids reunited in Disney!

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Now, the Tower of Terror was a different story. Without going into too much detail (because I don’t want to relive it) I had to work on Saturday morning to launch a new release of the website I help manage for my client. Which meant being on the phone at 5:45 am which should have only been for 90 minutes, but it turned into a 4 hour phone call that then turned into txts, and emails, and phone calls lasting until 3:30 pm. So needless to say my reaction to Tower of Terror was a combination of being slightly terrified of the ride, and also as an excuse to scream out some work frustration. My siblings are big fans of planning what we’re going to do in the ride photos. Sometimes we point to people, or thumbs up, or do other wacky things (we’re super mature, still) but Danny, me, Kristen and Skip are all in the front row – with our true personalities showing nicely. photo 2

And a nice picture of the three Shaw sisters, Kristen, me and our lovely sister-in-law Ann Taylor. (Roll Tide)

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We also stayed in a super awesome hotel – the Bay Lake Tower at the Contemporary. We had this three-bedroom, four bathroom bi-level hotel room which was great because we all had our own space. BUT the best part was the VIEW of these Magic Kingdom fireworks. This picture is my favorite, even though it only took me about 80 photos to get one good one. I like the look of fireworks. but since age 3 I have required someone to cover my ears when fireworks are going off. but at almost 30, I have to cover my own ears which makes taking a picture at the same time kind of challenging.photo 3And finally, my favorite full-family photo from our day at EPCOT. Such an awesome, magical trip.DSC_0033So that’s it. I think I’m too hashtag tired to watch Scandal tonight, but at least I got this post done so I can fully focus on getting my Olivia Pope on tomorrow night. Oh, and good news (if you’re still reading) I got poked 92 times last week for allergy tests which came back as “you’re allergic to water” which I said was bananas, but it turns out my skin is too sensitive for allergy testing (you think they would test you for that with one prick first), SO I’m not fully converted to full-time gluten-free baking, although I am still going to be testing new GF recipes for my gluten-free mama. So there ya go. Prepare yourself for all things apple, because October is here and that my friends means apple everything.

Happy October! And happy half birthday to me (thank you, thank you). Hopefully in 6 months I’ll be able to accept 30 like a mature grown up. Not likely, but wishful thinking.

Chunkin Punkins

I know what you’re thinking. Chunkin Punkins? Have you gone completely bananas? You never give cutesy names to your cookies. I know, I know. Trust me I know. I think I was going a little bit cray cray today (okay, maybe the past few weeks) and when I was baking today I had the canned pumpkin out next to a bag of chocolate chunks, and I made a “chunkin punkin” joke (to myself) and obviously cracked myself up, and no one was around to tell me I am bananas, so it stuck. Also it sounded better than “Non-Gluten-Free Browned Butter Pumpkin Oatmeal Chocolate Chunk Cookies.” Plus I’m a grown ass lady and I can do what I want. Actually, I just saw that on a greeting card.

So I’ve been looking for baking inspiration over the past week. But I’m so deep into this work project, that I’m surprised I manage to get up every day and put pants on. Luckily, I have some fab coworkers who are always there to give me baking inspiration … or try to jedi-mind-trick me into making something they want. Friday afternoon, my coworker Alex told me “I think it’s time to put the cookie back in Cookie Monday.” He makes a good point. I’ve been lazily bringing muffins, crumb cake, and bars on Mondays, but what’s cookie Monday without cookies? And for any of you who are new to this blog, Cookie Monday is when I bring cookies every single Monday morning (yes, every. single. Monday.) to my lovely coworkers so that they eat everything and I don’t end up starring in the episode of “My 800-lb life” where they have to cut me out of my bathroom and load me up on a tractor trailer. I have a highly coveted “cookie distribution list” which is basically just an email I send out alerting the VIPs that the cookies are on my desk with a recipe, but it is blind carbon copied (bcc’d) so that no one knows who is on the list. Some important frequently asked questions I must answer before we move on:

1. Q: How do I get on the cookie list?

A: One does not simply just “get” on the cookie list. If you’re staffed on one of my projects, you’re automatically on the list (for the duration of the project). Or if you are on my good side. Or if you hired me. Or the head of HR. Automatically on the list.

2. Q: Do you really take people off the cookie list?

A. Abso-freakin-lutely. Get on my bad side? See ya never Monday cookie email. Yell at me on a conference call? Buh-bye sugary Monday pick-me-up. Try to talk to me before 8am without free coffee in hand? Try that at your own risk.

So anyways, I think I’ve at least proven over the past few paragraphs that I have gone pretty bananas – but at least it’s entertaining. So back to the Chunkin Punkins. I know I’ve been getting all hipster gluten-free on you lately, so I went back to full-gluten bleached all-purpose flour for these cookies. With Browned Butter. Pulling out all the stops for a real cookie Monday. I browsed the interweb this morning looking at a whole bunch of different pumpkin cookies, but decided just to wing it and make my own recipe up. I’ve been missing the smell of browned butter in my kitchen lately so I needed to work that in as well. So I got out some oats, pumpkin, chocolate chunks and browned butter, closed my eyes and mixed it all up, put it in the oven, and 13 minutes later these bad boys were born.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup canned pumpkin
  • 3/4 cup oats
  • 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chunks

Step 1: Brown the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Set aside to cool.

Step 2: In a mixer, combine the butter and sugars. Add in the egg, vanilla extract, canned pumpkin and mix well.

Step 3: In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, cinnamon, salt, baking powder, and oats. Slowly add the dry mixture to the wet batter and mix on a low  to medium speed until incorporated. IMG_1801

Step 4: Add in the chocolate chunks and mix just until evenly-distributed. Chill the dough for about 30 minutes. This is an important step for browned butter or melted butter recipes. It will help the cookies maintain a better cookie shape. (I just made that up). Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.IMG_1803

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Step 5: On a sil-pat or parchment-lined baking sheet, use a medium cookie scoop to place even-size balls of dough on the cookie sheet. Bake at 375 degrees for about 11-13 minutes. Let the cookies set on the baking sheet for a few minutes when you take them out of the oven before transferring them to a cooling rack.IMG_1807

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Probably inappropriate, but a benefit of living alone is I could react like Chunk from The Goonies after trying these. You know, lifting my shirt up and slapping my gut. Again, I ask you — why will no one date me? But for real, these cookies turned out pretty legit. And since summer’s over, my pumpkin game is on. They are not crisp like my regular browned butter cookies, but a little softer and chewy which is a nice consistency with the crunchy oats and chocolate chunks. High five to myself.

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Okay, so now that I’ve got you all laughing and in a good mood, I’m going to break some less than pleasant news to some of you all-purpose flour lovers. I think this might be the last gluten-filled recipe you see from me for a while. Well, until I can figure out exactly what is going on with my stomach. But after being gluten (and booze) free for almost a month, eating some of that stuff this weekend – including one of these delicious cookies :( – resulted in some wicked headaches and less than stellar stomach feelings. So while the allergy doctor figures this shiznizzle out, I’m going to try my baking skillz at some gluten-free experimenting. But I think as I proved with last week’s pumpkin gluten-free cranberry muffins, I can make this shit taste good. Real good. So good you will take your flour-baby from home economics and drop that gluten-filled sack right in the trash.

Every time I call my Grandpa (meaning, every day) he always says the same thing on repeat: “So what else is new? What else is new?” So I’m trying to think … what is new this week. More work travel. I’ve regained my ability to pack like an absolute b-o-s-s in my carry-on. I’ve become addicted to Starbucks black iced-tea. I did not eat alone in my rental car this week, so that was good. I actually drove into Chicago Tuesday night (because I work out in the burbs) to meet one of my college friends for dinner, which was a nice reunion. And I am trying to find new interesting plane window instagram shots. This one, not the best quality because JetBlue had that light blinking at the end of the wing that was messing up my lighting (geeze, pilots. Can’t a girl get a good instagram up in the air?) But I was happy to say “see ya nevah” to this view of Chicago last Thursday. photo 1My next trip in an airplane is only a few days away though. But at least Thursday morning I’m flying to …. wait for it … wait for it … DISNEY WORLD. YEAH YEAH YEAH YEAH YEAH YEAH YEAH. And that’s all I have to say about that.

After crazy work weeks, the only thing I want to do on the weekends is NOT be on a schedule. So I caught up on my trashy TV Friday night (The Mindy Project and Teen Mom 2, of course) and after spinning Saturday morning went to my favorite spa in Newton for a much needed facial to fix my skin from flying. And then the most perfect afternoon ended up being spent eating Georgetown Cupcakes on a park bench in Boston Common with my friend Ania, talking life and watching people get all of their wedding photos done. We also got 2 free red-velet Cupcakes for some new tv show giveaway or something. (All that registered were the words “free cupcake.”) If I can recreate the Gluten-Free Peanut Butter Fudge Cupcake that I had yesterday, I think my gluten-free mama will officially declare me favorite child forever. (not that we all don’t already know I am.)photo 3

And in the home improvement department, I took my extreme couponing skills to HomeGoods yesterday and scored this perfect mirror for my vanity for $20. Yeah buddy. And then in my very handy DIY moment, I converted the framed shell art into a necklace holder since my mom so nicely detangled all of my necklaces one morning a few weekends ago. The lamp is from target, and so is the ottoman and I just love it all. photo 4

photo 5And with that, it’s time for me to continue combatting my Sunday scaries (which are no bueno today) with a Sex and the City marathon. But I will leave you with this hilarious sign I found on Instagram this week, that made me literally laugh out loud (LLOL) walking down the street yesterday. Ah hipster jokes, they never get old. photo 2

Gluten-Free Pumpkin Cranberry Muffins

I feel like I need one of those cheerleading horns where you scream things into them to get people really excited. I need one to tell all my gluten-free friends that I made these muffins and they taste amazing. Like so good, you actually want to lick the batter from the bowl and when you bite into one and the cranberry and pumpkin flavors are quite literally bursting with every bite, you don’t even miss the gluten. I mean it. It tastes like a normal muffin, but maybe even better.

Trust me, I am well aware that a lot of gluten-free substitutes taste like absolute poo. Sometimes when my mom orders something at a restaurant and it looks too good to be gluten-free she has me do a taste test before she eats it, and based on the fact my face looks like someone just farted in front it, that’s the universal sign for “you’re clear, this is gluten-free.” I have been doing a lot of reading up lately on different gluten-free recipes and I’m on a mission to find ways to make all of my favorite baked goods gluten-free BUT still taste really good. Also, hopefully without costing me $80 to make a batch of cookies. That second part I’m still working on. Gluten-free flour comes in tiny boxes and is expensive. And I finally caved and paid $12 for a bag of Xanthan gum yesterday because so many of the muffins/bread/cookie recipes that are GF call for about a half teaspoon of it. Luckily, you only need about 1/2 a teaspoon of Xanthan gum for every 1 cup of gluten-free flour in your recipe, so that bag will hopefully last me for a while.

Anyway, after eating gluten-free for the past few weeks, I decided to do some more GF experimenting in the kitchen this afternoon. And if you’re in Boston today, we went to sleep with summer weather and woke up in fall. It is one of those perfect fall weather days today like you see in the movies. So I donned my best hipster outfit and headed to the SOWA market with my friend Amanda for some outdoor market and food truck activities. Pictures from that are at the end of this post. But seeing all the fresh fruit and autumn veggies had me in the mood for something pumpkin. This weekend was also the Cranberry Harvest Festival down in Harwich which I didn’t go to, but used to love going every year as a kid. So I figured I’d try to make a pumpkin muffin with some cranberries and see what happened. Well it happened. And dayyyum. They are delicious. And honestly, not too hard (or crazy costly) to make.

Ingredients:

  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons molasses
  • 1 15-ounce can pumpkin puree
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups gluten-free flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon xantan gum
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cup cranberries, fresh or thawed

Step 1: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line 24 muffin tins with paper liners and spray them with non-stick spray. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs, molasses, vanilla extract and pumpkin puree until combined, and set aside.IMG_1781

Step 2: In your mixer, beat the flour, baking powder, xanthan gum, salt and pumpkin pie spice lightly until mixed well. Add in the softened butter and mix on medium to low speed until it is crumbly.

Step 3: Add in the wet pumpkin mixture about a half cup at a time. Normally, I’m all about dumping it all in, but I do think with this baking it’s a better approach to add in a little wet mixture and beat on a low speed and continue to incorporate it that way. Once it is all incorporated beat on a medium to high speed for at least a minute. IMG_1782

Step 4: Fold in the cranberries until evenly incorporated. Using a large cookie-scoop, place even-size scoops of muffin batter into the greased muffin tins. Bake at 375 degrees for about 20 minutes. (My bottom tray took an extra 3 minutes). You can also fill the tins pretty full because unlike regular muffins which seem to rise a lot and spill over, these don’t rise up that much.

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Let these cool in the tins for a few minutes and then transfer to a cooling rack. I think these would be great topped with a nice light cream cheese glaze. I attempted a cinnamon sugar melted butter topping on two of them until I decided they actually tasted just great plain. Adding the topping would make it messy to bring to work tomorrow, so just leaving them as is. I’m not pulling your leg when I tell you these taste just as good as my regular gluten-filled pumpkin muffins. We’ll let my coworkers be the final judges tomorrow, since brutal honesty is their specialty.

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So I’m getting used to this view again. photo 2It’s not that bad, considering my first consulting job I got on a plane twice a week every single week. Right now my travel is more spread out, but in a 5 week period I have 4 roundtrip flights for work and vacation, so lots of time up in the air. Last week I had a debacle with JetBlue and my flight on September 11th, which I was already anxious about flying that day. They meant to cancel the Wednesday night 6:30pm flight when it was so delayed, but someone fat fingered it in the back-end and cancelled my Thursday night 6:30 flight. So I was up working at 10:30 at night and got an email that said “Your flight has been moved up 495 minutes.” Uh, jigga whaaa? So after a long convo with the travel agency on the phone, I let my clients know I had to be on a 10:15am flight out because they couldn’t get me on another flight Thursday. And then I woke up at 5am to check my email and another email “Your flight has been moved back 495 minutes.” So I spent an hour on the phone at 5am with the travel agency and then Jetblue. Just a mess. But I made it home in one piece, but needless to say I was in much need of my own bed and some serious relaxation this weekend.

Speaking of my bed, I was super excited to have the rest of my Pottery Barn furniture arrive on Saturday afternoon. After repainting the room last weekend, it was looking a bit empty but look how perfect the new furniture fits into the room. photo 3I’m in the market for a nice mirror to go over the vanity but haven’t found anything (reasonably priced) that I like yet. And I am really trying to work on this whole patience thing that apparently comes more naturally for other people. But this afternoon I did snag two really nice photos for the wall next to my bed from Fiber and Water at the SOWA market. I got these two prints framed for $65 and hung them up this afternoon, and they are just perfect. photo 5I also finally tried the BonMe food truck for lunch, which sometimes sits outside of my office at work. They have gluten-free options, so I tried this rice noodle bowl with chicken, which was spicy and delicious. It took some serious will-power to not stop at the Cookie Monster truck. Walking around the open market, there were lots of people selling their own baked goods. I’m thinking The Salted Cookie needs a tent there next year. Right?? photo 4Last night Colleen came over and it was cruddy weather so we decided to stay in and make dinner and watch the movie Ted (so funny). I learned everything I know about risotto making from my Uncle Jimmy, and decided to put a spin on my normal porcini mushroom risotto. So instead of mushrooms I boiled some buternut squash and fried up some bacon, and made butternut squash and bacon risotto and topped it with some fried sage leaves. Oh yes. So good.

Oh. And I joined Crossfit this weekend. I know, I see your raised eyebrow of judgement but don’t worry. I’m not a full-blown paleo weight lifting koolaid drinking crossfit junkie (….yet). But the trainers I met during my on-ramp program were so nice and I’m always looking for new ways to switch up my workouts, so yolo. Don’t worry though, I’m not giving up my processed sugar and jumping in the paleo train. Sugar fuels me. Well, sugar, Diet Coke and sarcasm.

So that’s it. I’m trying to fight off the Sunday scaries with a TV marathon this afternoon. I’m headed back to Chicago bright and early Tuesday morning for another round of website testing. Make sure you follow @thesaltedcookie on instagram, so you can keep a pulse on my daily exciting adventures — like spending my per diem on FroYo and eating chips + salsa at the airport Chili’s for dinner. If you only follow this blog, you wouldn’t even know what I had for dinner on Tuesday! (I had this for dinner on Tuesday, which actually was delicious). But get on instagram and follow my daily adventures with hashtags.photo 1

Happy Sunday.

 

Flourless Peanut Butter Oatmeal M&M Cookies

Sunday night, and I am pooped. Mama Shaw was in town this weekend and we had a jam-packed weekend of house projects. Of course, all of these and more are documented at the end of this post. So after I dropped Mom off at the train back to ghetto Connecticut tonight, I came home and needed to figure out what I was baking this week. I needed something simple. After painting for 4 hours in 90 degree 100% humidity yesterday and using power tools before 8am today, simple was the only thing I could handle. And in honor of my favorite mama, gluten-free of course. I like going out to eat with my mom because I feel like I am her gluten-free body guard. I make sure the hostess gives us a gluten-free menu or explains where we can find the GF options. And if a waiter doesn’t seem to get it, I get a little sassy to make sure they know I will lay a smack down if they eff up her order. (like the time I walked out of a restaurant this summer when the waitress messed things up.) She’s not trying to be trendy jumping on the gluten-free bandwagon. She’s one of the original celiacs diagnosed 10 years ago before there were aisles of gluten free food, and when one waitress in Florida brought us a “glue-free menu” that she checked herself and didn’t have any glue on it. (we left that restaurant).

Anyways, Boston is a very gluten-free friendly city, so it’s great when Mom comes to visit because we can eat at a lot of restaurants and have many options. We have a Foodie’s market in Southie which has tons of gluten-free options for grocery shopping. The Cheesecake Factory is by far the best in terms of having more options than you can imagine. But we also had great dinners at Joe’s American Bar + Grill on Newbury Street and Rosa Mexicano in the Seaport. Our waiter at Joe’s tonight (who I think I scared a bit) told us his “bestie” was gluten free so he knew the drill. I’ve been trying to figure out some stomach issues of my own lately, and tried a gluten elimination diet last week which left me feeling a lot better than usual, so I’m going to try to stay with the gluten-free eating for a bit until I can go back to my doctor – which of course means tonight’s cookies were going to need to be gluten-free and delicious. Two words which used to not go hand-in-hand, but I’m on a mission to start making more gluten-free treats that aren’t crazy hard but still taste good.

I found these Flourless Peanut Butter Oatmeal cookies on one of my favorite blogs Sally’s Baking Addiction and decided to add my own twist with mini M&Ms. I’ve also been on this make-my-own-peanut butter kick for the past few weeks which came in handy for this recipe. Taking a jar of honey roasted peanuts and letting them get all nice in the food processor is so easy and SO delicious. If you haven’t tried it, I highly recommend it. It will save you the trip to Whole Foods for their fresh PB. I made the peanut butter earlier this afternoon and left it in the fridge to chill, since it does get a bit warm. I picked up these mini M&Ms in Target this afternoon so substituted them instead of chocolate chips. These are so easy you don’t need a mixer if you don’t feel like lugging it out. I’ll definitely be making different variations of these soon.

Ingredients:

  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 6 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup mini M&Ms
  • 2/3 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

Step 1: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a mixing bowl, beat the egg first. Then add in the peanut butter and light brown sugar and mix well. I used homemade honey roasted peanut butter, but store bought works well too. If using natural peanut butter just make sure to stir it really well before adding it, or it will be too oily.

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Step 2: In a separate bowl mix the oats, cinnamon and baking soda, and then add to the wet mixture. Use some elbow grease to really mix well. (I used up all my elbow grease this weekend so used my mixer. yolo.)

Step 3: Add in the mini M&Ms and mix just until they are incorporated. Chill the dough for about 30 minutes. This step is important to help the dough stick together.

IMG_1766Step 4: Using a medium-size cookie scoop, place even-size balls of dough on a parchment or sil-pat-lined baking sheet. You will need to roll these in your hand first to make sure they stick together. If they are too oily you can pat them lightly with a paper towel. Bake at 350 degrees for about 9 minutes. They will seem a little undercooked but let them sit on the baking sheet for about 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.

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You know what? Not too bad. They aren’t quite as sugary as normal oatmeal cookies I make, but the peanut butter and chocolate combo is still sweet and these definitely taste like a treat. And not a piece of moldy styrofoam like some gluten-free cookies do. So I’m going to need to get myself on Pinterest and start figuring out different gluten-free cookie bases, the same way I have memorized a good regular oatmeal base, peanut butter base, and chocolate chip cookie base. One I nail a few good gluten-free cookie bases I’ll start dominating the baking scene with my salted cookie spin. Like Superman for Celiacs. To infinity and beyond! Or Buzz Gluten-Free Lightyear. Oh man, I am tired.

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So let’s get right to the good stuff. Last week Mom and I planned out our schedule for this weekend (OCD project planning much?) So we got up bright and early Saturday morning and got to work. I used my extreme couponing skills last weekend to order the rest of my bedroom set from Pottery Barn, which arrives next weekend. So I needed to sell my current bedroom set and paint the bedroom this weekend, so that it will be all ready for the new furniture to fit in. I’ve had my bedroom set since I was like 8 years old. It’s why I am a firm believer in buying really good quality furniture instead of cheap stuff that will fall apart in a few years. When I was moving out of my last apartment I sold a 25-year old rocking chair for $100 that I told the guy was 5 years old, since it was in such good shape. My current bedroom set was literally 21 years old, and because my parents were smart and got glass toppers for all of the pieces, they were all in almost perfect condition still. So some lucky Craigslisters bought my furniture, and then we decided to open the windows and paint the room in the 90 degree heat and 100% humidity. Holy sweat. My WOD was about 100 trips up and down the ladder, and painting all the trim up near the ceiling. (I started crossfit last week, btu that’s a story for another post). I also painted 6 color swatches on the wall last week, and we were undecided between 3 and said we would decide before we went to Home Depot. But it wasn’t until we were pulling into the Home Depot parking lot that we realized we never picked a color. Luckily, I had some of the paint SKUs written down on a post-it in my purse and we finally went with the color Zen by Behr, and it is PERFECT. Check out these before and afters.

BEFORE:

IMG_7216BEFORE:IMG_7217After, TA DA!
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We also put our collective extreme couponing skills to good use during a Labor Day sale last week and got all brand-new blinds from JCPenney. We went with nice wooden blinds for the guest room and family room to block out any view of Crazy Eddie. And then in my bedroom in the front of the house, these blackout shades that also pull down to let tons of light in during the day. I was using a power drill before 8am today. WHO AM I? And only broke off one drill bit into the top of a window frame.

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I painted the ghetto alley door that separates my house and Crazy Eddie’s and then mom painted the kickboards on our front porch. IMG_7230

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We scored some good deals at Home Goods and Target today, so I just need to find a mirror for my bedroom over the new vanity and then I’ll be all set. I’m going to take my time to find some good wall art for my bedroom. The wall color is just so calming and zen (fitting) that I want to not do my usual crazy hang up as much stuff as possible, and take my time with it.

Aside from house projects, the highlight of last week was getting this book in the mail from one of my favorite blogs How Sweet Eats. I love her sense of humor and all of the recipes look, well, seriously delish! This is the ultimate goal  for one day. Salted Cookie cookbook anyone?
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So that’s it. I’m glad I’m overly exhausted today because then I don’t even have enough energy to deal with the Sunday Scaries. The next 3 weeks at work are going to be shitcraycray bananas to put it nicely. I also have 6 flights in the next 3 weeks. Heading out to lovely Northbrook, Illinois the next two weeks back to back for the crazy part of a project – testing testing and more testing. And then we launch the next big release for the website I currently manage. Oh, and of course the launch date is when I am on vacation in Disney World with my family. Ah, the joys of Corporate America. Luckily I’ve been preparing for this since I was just a wee young’n in my Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle fanny pack walking around the Magic Kingdom, while Skip was taking conference calls from a pay-phone outside of Splash Mountain. (my favorite consulting story to tell). So now I’ll be in a hotel room in Disney, 20 years later, drinking the consulting koolaid, launching a website at 1am on vacation. Some things never change.

And you thought I was kidding about that fanny pack didn’t you?photo (1)

 

Orange Cranberry Crumb Bars

Welp, that’s a wrap summer. Time to take the boat out of the water, put the white jeans in storage, and get out the big sweaters, leggings and boots. Recently I re-read this book called “Who moved my cheese?” and I’ve been quoting and referencing it a lot the past few weeks. It’s all about change, and how you can either be stubborn and fight change, or accept the fact change happens and adapt with it. So let’s all just do that with this whole season thing, can we? Before you dress yourself in all your white clothing and sit on the couch face planting into a pint of Ben and Jerry’s with end-of-summer-depression, let’s first accept the fact the seasons are going to change whether you like it or not, and then let’s think of all the nice things about fall:

  • Semi-warm temperatures with no humidity
  • Apples for baking
  • ALL things pumpkin (muffins, pies, cookies, coffee, carved, seeds, I mean EVERYTHING pumpkin)
  • Cranberry season
  • Using the slow cooker
  • Not wearing bathing suits
  • The return of Scandal
  • Socially acceptable 24/7 legging usage
  • No more Facebook posts from your teacher friends complaining about going back to work
  • Pretending to watch football as an excuse to day-drink and continuously eat on the weekends
  • No Cape traffic
  • No snow
  • It’s not winter

I could go on, but honestly, get onboard the wagon with accepting summer’s over and you’ll be a lot happier. Don’t get me wrong, I love summer, but if I learned anything from Who moved my cheese? it would be that if I sit here whining over how summer is over then I will starve to death and die. (I think that’s what the moral of that story was). So in the spirit of embracing change with open arms, I decided to give you the PERFECT most delicious dessert to transition smoothly out of summer and into fall – the Orange Cranberry Crumb Bar. Orange and cranberry is my all-time favorite flavor combination, we already covered that a few weeks ago in muffin form. Cranberries are starting to make an appearance in the freezer section of the grocery store, so I snagged two bags for baking experiments. I decided to adapt my Mixed Berry Crumb Bar from a few weeks back, and swap out the lemon for orange and mixed berries for cranberries. And it worked. And they not only smell like angels, they taste like heaven.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup cold unsalted butter (2 sticks)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Zest and juice of one orange
  • 3 cups cranberries, thawed
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 teaspoons cornstarch

Step 1: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a 13×9 baking dish with parchment paper and grease with non-stick spray.

Step 2: In a medium bowl, stir together 1 cup granulated sugar, 3 cups flour, and baking powder. Mix in the salt and orange zest. Using two forks or a pastry cutter (my recommended approach) blend in the cold butter and egg. I usually cut the cold butter into half tablespoons before attacking it with a pastry cutter. This takes a while, and I usually alternate the pastry cutter and mixing with my hands near the end until the dough is crumbly. Place half of the dough into the prepared pan and press down so it is even.

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Step 3: In a separate bowl, stir together the sugar, corn starch, and orange juice. Fold in the cranberries until evenly coated. Sprinkle the cranberry mixture evenly over the crust. Crumble the remaining dough over the cranberry layer.

IMG_1744Step 4: Bake at 375 degrees for 50-55 minutes or until the top is golden brown. Cool completely before cutting into squares.

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One bite of these and you’ll be out of your white jeans and into leggings and rolling around in a pile of leaves before you even realize it. They are very sweet, similar to how cranberry sauce is, but the orange zest flavor really compliments the cranberry and it is a very refreshing dessert packed with flavor. To make these easier to serve, I put them in muffin papers since they can get a little sticky. Expect lots of cranberry, pumpkin and apple combinations from me in the next few weeks.

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So let’s see, not too much has happened over the past few days since I was delayed in my blog post last week. I went down to the Cape for one last long weekend, and even took Friday off to get the most out of the remaining nice weather down there.

I did a whole lot of this: 
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With my personal Skipper (Skip). photo 3And even got in one last gorgeous sunset on the lake.

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I also napped a lot, which if you know me, I am normally incapable of napping or sitting still, especially mid-day. But I tried to embrace a little more relaxation this weekend and afternoon naps seemed necessary. We did a lot of cooking at the house which was nice. Another reason to add on the long list of reasons why I should be wifed up, is that I love cooking for groups of people. Friday for lunch I made everyone BBQ chicken salads and Saturday night we stayed in and had homemade pizza and watched Divergent, and last night I made the peach cobbler for dessert. I’ve also survived a full week without coffee or booze. Only 3 more weeks to go with this post summer detox. The nice thing is though, is that I’m refocusing all of my energy this month onto house projects. (outside of the big work project that launches at the end of the month).

My mom is coming up next weekend for 48 hours of nonstop house projects (wahoo). We went to Home Depot on the Cape bright and early Sunday morning to start project planning. We descoped the kitchen backsplash for likely next year, and reprioritized some house painting for this weekend. I bought the rest of the pieces for my bedroom set from Pottery Barn so we’re going to paint my bedroom and then the back hall where the washer is, and a few other outside projects.

I will say the paint man in Home Depot yesterday was not my favorite person. When I asked for 3 paint samples, he asked if I was going back to school. To which I replied “I’m almost 30 … so … no. I’m painting my house.” And he said “ohhhhh YOU’RE painting the house? You mean your husband? or boyfriend?” Now, if I could have snapped a picture of the death glare I gave him at this moment, you’d probably never look at me the same. So I just got all Kelly Clarkson up on him and told him I do my own painting and I don’t need a man <insert sassy finger wag and snap here>.

photo 4So that’s all for this week. I’m excited its a short one. You can keep up-to-date with the house projects this week by following me on instagram @thesaltedcookie

Happy Labor Day!

 

Orange Creamsicle Muffins

I know, it’s not Sunday night. It’s not even Monday. It’s Wednesday night. That’s the problem when you get into the habit of posting every Sunday, people expect the posts to come every Sunday. Like what if a priest decided on a Sunday morning he was just too tired, he can’t postpone mass until Monday (or all the way till Wednesday). Luckily, food blogging is a little more flexible than Sunday mass, but still I know I’m late with this one. The baking still happened on Sunday and the coworkers still got their sugar fix Monday morning, which is why there was not as much of an uproar as the few times I’ve shown up to work on a Monday cookie-less. Anyways, I was not on my a-game sunday when I made these so I wanted some feedback from my coworker guinea pigs to see if these were even good before I put this into an official recipe post.

I usually make muffins with buttermilk or sour cream. But all I had in the fridge was greek yogurt, and I was in rough shape Sunday from a night out on Saturday so there was no going out in public, and I needed to make due with what was in the fridge. Here’s all I’m going to say about Saturday night. Colleen and I went to a great concert. Great hair day, rocked the red lips. And while we may have lost ourselves in the sunshine and perfect day for an outdoor concert, the Sunday all-day bud light headache was a reminder that we’re not 21, and don’t bounce back like we used to. Enough said. photo 4

Earlier in the day I had ventured out in public with my friend Amanda to try to get some breakfast. We went down to Cranberry Cafe on East Broadway for breakfast smoothies and I got the orange creamsicle smoothie. The waitress cut up an entire orange and put it in the mega-mixer and my body was really excited for the mega dose of Vitamin C. So when I got home I perused through the fridge and found an orange and then some white chocolate chips in the baking cabinet, and decided to do some experimenting. I used a combination of my recent lemon poppyseed muffin recipe and cranberry orange recipe, to try to come up with an orange muffin recipe where I had all the ingredients in the house already. I used greek yogurt in place of where I would normally use sour cream in a muffin recipe. I ended up adding two tablespoons of vegetable oil at the end because the batter was a little thick, but I think you could just add a little more greek yogurt if you had it and it would be fine. Or use 3/4 cup of sour cream instead of the greek yogurt. Either way, they looked decent enough that my coworkers could taste test them on Monday, which of course they were so graciously willing to do.

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Yield: 16 muffins

Ingredients:

  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • Zest from one orange
  • 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup greek yogurt (or 3/4 cup sour cream)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 stick butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil (optional)
  • 1 1/2 cups white chocolate chips

Step 1: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line 16 muffin tins with paper liners and spray the inside with non-stick spray.

Step 2: Zest a large orange into a large mixing bowl over the granulated sugar. Mix the zest together with the sugar so that the sugar becomes infused with the orange zest flavor. Add in the fresh orange juice. You don’t need to measure here, just squeeze out as much juice from the orange you zested as possible.IMG_1722

Step 3: Mix in the greek yogurt, eggs, vanilla extract and melted butter and stir well.

Step 4: In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add the dry ingredients slowly into the wet mixture stirring with a wooden spoon until evenly incorporated. If the batter is a bit thick, you can add 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil to thin it out a bit.

Step 5: Fold in the white chocolate chips until evenly distributed. Using a large cookie scoop, place even-size scoops of batter into each muffin tin. Bake at 400 degrees for about 18-20 minutes, rotating the tray halfway through so ensure even baking. The white chocolate chips that are exposed brown a little, but that’s okay.

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Let them cool in the trays for a bit before moving them to a cooling rack.

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So I was really unsure about these. Not just because I was under the weather with the “Irish Flu” on Sunday, but I was concerned about if the batter would be too dry. But my coworkers gave these a resounding two thumbs up on Monday morning. They liked the flavor and sweetness of the white chocolate chips especially. So after enough encouragement from positive feedback, I figured these were blog worthy. IMG_1732So let’s cut to the chase. Summer is over. Before you get all depressed and run around with your white pants on screaming “we still have 4 more days to wear these” let’s just take a moment to reflect on how awful we Bostonians are when it comes to weather. All winter we lament about the ungodly cold weather, snow emergencies, parking, shoveling, freezing temperatures, “CAN’T WAIT FOR SUMMER.” Well last week we get a brief taste of fall mid-august with some nice 60 degree temps, and everyone is busting out their riding boots saying “THIS WEATHER IS BEAUTIFUL, SO MUCH BETTER THAN THE HEAT.” This week, we’re back into the 80s and you’d think we took the elevator straight to the fiery gates of hell. CHILL OUT BOSTON. We have only had 4 days this summer over 90 degrees (or at least that’s what someone told me yesterday) and everyone is losing their shirt over a little heat. And it’s only a matter of time before these wicked pissahs are all crying when daylight savings spring forward hits and its pitch black at 4pm and it snows in October. So let’s just do this. Whatever the weather is for the next few weeks, embrace it. I don’t give a flying cupcake whether it’s 90 degrees or 60 degrees and breezy or a monsoon. As long as no one comes at me with that four-letter word of Winter that I won’t even utter this time of year. Also, let’s remember the best part of the upcoming season – PUMPKIN. and cranberries. and apples. Recipes galore chock full of fall flavors are coming your way people, so prepare yourself.

In an effort to really live up the nice summer weather I’ve been trying to get as much use out of my back patio recently as possible. Last week my friend Kate came over on Thursday night and we had some grilled flatbreads and pinot noir, with the free entertainment next door of Crazy Eddie who has been experimenting late night with his tile cutter outside (very very safe). Kate and I lived across the hall freshman year at Boston College and it’s always great to catch up and relive our glory days, when our weekends were scheduled around BC football games and eating unsanitary sausages from Chi-Chis at 1am on Lower Campus. Ah college. Take me back.

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I was down in lovely Pittsburgh last week for work. I used to fly to the Pitts back in 2009 weekly for work in the middle of the winter, so I was not thrilled to go back, but I will say that in the summer, it’s a much nicer place. Though I was happy for it to be a quick trip so I was back in Boston in time to catch this sweet city view on my flight home. They should seriously put a note on Jetblue seat selector that row 20 is “ideal for instagramming” – actually no, that’s my go-to seat. Forget I just told you that.

photo 2So that’s it. Not the most pulled together and witty post, but I’m much less pulled together on Wednesdays than I am on Sundays. I went to a crossfit class last night – more to come on that in the next few weeks. I also started my post-Summer detox a week early (thanks to Sunday’s hangover) and am coffee and wine free for 30 days. So until September 25th I’m going to be a REAL gem to be around. You’ve been warned. But at least fill all my free time with house projects and baking, so make sure you follow @thesaltedcookie on Instagram for (mostly) daily updates!

Tomorrow’s my Friday because I took the real Friday off to enjoy one last beach weekend down the Cape. Beach chair and a book, that’s the only thing in my outlook calendar this Friday and I’m totally onboard with that plan.

Mini Crispy Oatmeal Chip Cookies

Sometimes I get these great recipe ideas in my head. And if you’ve ever been around me when I am baking, you know that measuring isn’t really something that I enjoy. While some people go all Alton Brown on baking trying to nail down the perfect measurements to be as precise as possible, I am more from the school of dashes and handfuls and eyeballing it. Which popular to contrary belief, does actually work in baking. If you kind of know what you’re doing. Which today apparently I did not. So here’s how it all started:

On Tuesday I hosted a nice dinner in my backyard for my tennis friends Heather and Caitlan who both had birthdays last week. For dinner, of course I tapped my recipe guru Uncle Jimmy – and ended up making grilled romaine salads with steak tips, gorgonzola, fresh tomatoes, and a warm bacon vinagrette. But of course, it’s dessert where I need to wow my guests. So I made this nutella crunch fro-yo cake (gluten free!). I didn’t have a springform cheesecake pan, so I just made it in an 8×8 glass dish, which all tastes the same in the end. And this cake was a major hit. Not even a spoonful left over after we got done with it. Our 24-year old coach even made an appearance when I told him what was for dessert. photo 1

So with that in mind, I was thinking about how much my coworkers loved my browned butter rice krispie treats a few weeks back, and given I was feeling especially lazy today with a wicked case of the Sunday scaries, I thought what if I just added some Nutella to that recipe? That counts as a new recipe right? Well yes, if you don’t eff it up. I think if I just added two spoonfuls of Nutella, they would have turned out stellar. But I added an entire jar and it messed up the marshmallow consistency and got all weird and sticky like taffy and just wouldn’t coat the krispies. Ugh. And I couldn’t redo it because I didn’t have any more marshmallows and I was just not in the mood to go back to the store.

So I was staring at the box of Rice Krispies trying to think of what I could use these for if I didn’t have marshmallows. And I remembered seeing some recipes where people add them to chocolate chip cookies and it makes them a little bit airy and crunchy, and I figured sure, if it keeps me from having to walk back down to Stoppies, I might as well try it. So after doing some interweb perusing, I came across this recipe from Two Peas and Their Pod, one of my faves, and decided to adapt it a bit because I also only had mini chips. You can make these regular size too if you’re more organized with your ingredients than me.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1 1/4 cups Rice Krispies cereal
  • 1 1/2 cups mini chocolate chips

Step 1: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Cream the butter and sugars in a mixer. Add in eggs and vanilla extract and mix on medium to high speed until creamy.

Step 2: Sift together the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda and add to the wet batter. Mix on a low speed until well incorporated.

Step 3: Add in oats and mini chocolate chips, and mix on low speed, stopping to scrape the sides of the bowl so the oats are evenly distributed. Add in the Rice Krispies and just mix on low speed until they are incorporated, but being careful not to crush them to smithereens.

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Step 4: On a parchment or sil-pat lined baking sheet, use a medium cookie scoop to place even-size balls of dough about an inch apart. I fix 15 cookies per tray if you’re doing the mini cookies. Bake at 375 degrees for 9-11 minutes or until lightly golden brown. Let them sit on the baking sheet for a few minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool.

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So despite the snafu with the original Nutella, I think I redeemed myself with these mini krispie cookies. I was surprised that they do have a different texture you can actually taste when you bite into them. I think the krispies make them a little bit airier (if that’s even a word) so they have a nice crunch to them too. AND the best part about mini cookies is you can eat as many as you want and they never add up to a full-size cookie, hooray! Just like munchkins from Dunkin Donuts. (Unless you’re my trainer Rita reading this right now … in which case of course I did not have any of these mini cookies. Processed sugar, yuck! Burpees, yay!)

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IMG_1712I’ll keep this short, because I still need to pack for my work trip to Pittsburgh which is giving me wicked Sunday scaries that can only be quelled by watching a few episodes of Teen Mom 2. Somehow Barb and Jeanelle screaming at each other is a sweet symphony that soothes my soul and makes me less anxious about the fact that JetBlue did not assign me a seat on my flight yet tomorrow. And it’s a well known fact that I like to book row 20 on JetBlue since they board from the back and then I don’t risk getting arrested on the flight when there is no overhead space and I go cray cray throwing peoples jackets out of the overhead bins. Not like that situation has almost happened before or anything.

You may notice a new look and feel to the blog. I’m testing out a new template and started playing around with my photos in Adobe Lightroom. I really need to invest the time in taking the tutorial because half the time my photos look more over-exposed than Casper the Ghost, but I’m getting there. Soon I’ll be asking you loyal readers (hi mom) for some recipe ideas that you’d like to see soon, once I get this whole new bloggy thing under control.

So aside from the fab dinner we had last Tuesday for Heather and Caitlan’s birthday – which ended in Heather calling the cops on our neighbors (and not even Crazy Eddie, shocking) the rest of the week was relatively tame compared to that. Thursday night we had our annual company summer outing at the Charlestown Navy Yard which luckily we had nice weather for. Company outings are much less fun when you’re older and responsible and limit your drinks and dancing in front of your coworkers. Back in the good ol’ days of my early twenties, I was much more fun at these outings. Like when I lived at the Raleigh Sheraton and some of the hotel staff took me out for my twenty-third birthday since I had lived there for so many months for work, and let’s just say every Sunday night after that I would be a little embarrassed checking in. And maybe I might have once rapped Nicki Minaj’s “Super Bass” at the company Christmas party. Or had too much vino on a boat in Boston Harbor and fell asleep in my new company windbreaker. Anyways, it was a tame night but still a fun one. These are the business consulting ladies that have to put up sitting in my row at work every day. Lucky ladies.

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A benefit of being lame (tame) was that I could drive down to the Cape Thursday night and work from home on Friday. Which meant instead of battling traffic during rush hour, I was able to cook my parents a nice dinner on the grill in time for this nice sunset view.
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And most importantly for what’s on the agenda for this week – my little sissy is turning the big 2-6 this week. Here’s to hoping she doesn’t try to dive into her birthday cake like when she turned the big s-i-x twenty years ago. Honestly though Kristen, what are you doing here?
photo 4Happy Sunday.

 

 

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