• 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

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:

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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.

 

 

Coconut Macaroons

Before we get into the cookie part of this post, let’s revisit an important lesson in life. Looks don’t matter, it’s what’s on the inside that counts. Now let’s keep that in mind when you take a look at my first attempt at Coconut Macaroons (not to be confused with macarons). I didn’t get into my cookie-baking state of mind until late tonight, which meant I was a little bit rushed and not patient (shocker). So while these coconut macaroons taste pretty good in my opinion, they don’t look like they belong on a cover of a magazine by any means. And while most people would say, who cares! My Type-A personality and OCD had me toss half the batch, but there is at least still a good amount for my trusty coworker taste testers tomorrow morning.

The idea for these came from my coworker Alex who has the great pleasure/honor (unfortunate circumstance?) of sitting next to me at work. At Sapient, we sit in a totally open office work environment, which means learning to work with headphones in if you want any sense of tuning out the people next to you. And Alex has to deal with all of the people coming over to my desk on Monday mornings getting their weekly sugar fix. Which I am sure is annoying. But, on the flip side, he gets first dibs on any cookies and a permanent spot on the coveted “cookie list” which some people wait their whole lives to get on. And what has secured his lifetime spot is the fact he came back from buying lunch the other day and dropped a bag of coconut and dark chocolate on my desk and just said “hint hint, coconut macaroons, hint hint.” It took me a while to pick up what he was throwing down, but I think I got the message that he wanted me to make some coconut macaroons. Challenge accepted.

I perused the internet this afternoon for variations of recipes to see how I wanted to make mine. Sally’s Baking Addiction used sugar and egg whites, while Ina Gartner went with a combination of egg whites and condensed milk. So because I love a good A/B test I made both. And while they both came out pretty similar, I think whipping the egg whites until they are a bit stiff on their own first, and even chilling the dough slightly helps keeping them from spreading too much, regardless of which ingredient variation you choose. I prefer using regular sugar over sweetened condensed milk, so the below recipe is from Sally’s Baking Addiction.

Ingredients:

  • 4 large egg whites
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 and 3/4 cups sweetened shredded coconut (a little less than one 14-ounce package)
  • 1 package dark chocolate chips
  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil (optional)

Step 1: Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. According to Sally’s Baking Addiction, it’s important to make sure the oven is properly preheated before you put the dough in.

Step 2: Beat the egg whites, sugar, and vanilla together on medium-speed until the sugar is mostly dissolved and the mixture is foamy – for at least 2 minutes. Fold in the coconut, making sure it is evenly incorporated.

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Step 3: Using a large cookie scoop, place even-size balls of batter onto a sil-pat or parchment lined baking sheet, at least 2 inches apart. Take your time here (unlike me) to get the mounds nice and neat and compact, to help prevent spreading.

IMG_1680Step 4: Bake at 325 degrees for about 20 minutes, until lightly golden brown. Allow the cool completely (again, unlike me) on the baking sheet. This will make it a lot easier to get them off of the tray without breaking them.

Step 5: In a microwave-safe bowl, melt the dark chocolate chips and coconut oil, removing every 30 seconds to stir to make sure it does not burn. Dip the bottoms of the cooled macaroons into the melted chocolate, and place them on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Chill for at least an hour.

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Okay, so to be fair. I wrote the first half of this post before I actually tasted the finished product. And I’d like to retract my earlier statement that alluded to the idea that maybe I messed these up a little bit, because I taste tested one after it chilled in the fridge for a little bit. Holy coconut. These bad boys are duh-lish. Firstly, I friggin LOVE coconut. Especially toasted coconut. But coconut and dark chocolate? It’s like salt and pepper baby. Peas and carrots. Bill Cosby and Jello Pudding. Meant to be.

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Friday at work we had a half-day training in the afternoon for the business consultants. It was about personality and behavioral assessments and we had to each do a quick version of our DISC profile, and then the facilitator went around the room and gave a little more insight into what that meant for each person based on the words they selected and some of the observations he had of us during the earlier part of the day. Most people he talked about how they were friendly and gregarious and hard workers and whatnot. I had circled “competitive” “perfectionist” as a few of my words. When he got to me he explained that “I am the kind of person who takes people to hell … but most people really enjoy the ride there with me.” He went on to say that I am a straight shooter, I stick to the facts and I “get annoyed when people get emotional and take things personally when I am just being straightforward.” Meanwhile, my coworkers are all nodding their heads in agreement like YEP, spot ON facilitator. You nailed it. I was sitting there feeling like I just got a psychic reading done and was thinking GET OUT OF MY HEAD. Now everyone is going to know I just use the Monday cookies as leverage to get people to work on my projects. Anyways, it will be interesting to see how everyone acts this week now that we are all self-aware of our profiles. I’ve already been nicknamed “The Hammer” and “Thor” by my tech team so I don’t think I have to inform anyone that I am a straight shooter. We all know my favorite line on conference calls is “let me be clear.”

Speaking of Thor and Hammers, my sister was in town Friday night and was the first person to use the sleeper sofa in my new guest room. Little did she know that anyone who stays over must help with house projects. So she helped me finally get a lot of the wall art up in the guest room, and it’s really feeling like a comfy room now. I have one more ladder shelf thing coming from Pottery Barn this week for next to the desk, and then I think this room is finally done.

I love these wooden Starfish that I got from Pottery Barn a few months back. photo 3

I picked up these oars almost a year ago at The Crooked Fence in Chatham, which is great for nice nautical home furnishings. The pillows were from there as well.

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So my sister is a very good swing dancer and competes on the weekends. So she was in a competition on Saturday afternoon in Newton but took the train up on Friday night to stay with me and we got to hang out during the day on Saturday before I dropped her off. After putting her to work, we had a nice lunch on Newbury Street, and then as an early birthday present I made her an appointment to get her makeup done at Mac. Normally, I hate when people say we look alike or asks who is older, but look how gorgeous this pretty lady looked after her appointment. I definitely wouldn’t mind if anyone confused us for twins with her looking like a smokeshow!photo 4

I went back to Copley later in the afternoon because I have been waiting for a long time for a new laptop and have been pricing one out for almost a year. I finally decided to pull the trigger on this new MacBook Pro since my old one wouldn’t allow me to download any of the software I needed to up my cookie-blogging game. I’ve been playing with Lightroom and love it. I need to take a tutorial to learn all the tips and tricks, but if you scroll up I bet you can tell a big difference in the pictures from this blog post. photo 5
Last but not least, if you know me on a personal level, you know that I am a total freak magnet when it comes to dating. My friends enjoy my singleness because post-dates I usually write up a hilarious debrief email that gives a play-by-play of the date, whether it was good or bad. Honestly, I should have just started a separate blog for these, but then that would make it seem like I actually have a dating life. The cycle usually goes that I go on 3 dates in a few week period, and then get so bummed out that the dating pool is full of circus looneys (remember Kevin Mango or Karate Greg anyone?) that I take a month off, forget about how bad it was, and get back out there. Anyways, I thought I had screened this last one pretty well before I agreed to drinks the other night. Well, I can’t even write up a full debrief, because my key takeaway was that he was  crazy cat man who spent a really long time telling me about how he tried to patent a new cat food dish and all of the trials and tribulations around having a fat cat and a skinny cat. I spent the entire time trying to calculate in my head if no one ever wifes me up could I pay off my mortgage by myself. Well my trusty coworkers at least helped me find the humor in it, and when I came into the office the next morning, my desk was covered in hello kitty posters and cat food. Well done coworkers, but I think I prefer the baking ingredient gifts from Alex instead.

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As much as I am suffering from a bit of the Sunday scaries tonight since Friday was intern Abby’s last day and I am going to be in major withdrawal tomorrow, I’d just like to say I absolutely crushed Sunday today. Like nailed it, fist pump, high-five, Sunday for the win. I started my day with a nice yoga class at South Boston yoga, followed by a much needed uber relaxing massage at my favorite Christine’s Day Spa in Newton Center. I went down to Hingham for a nice outdoor lunch in the sunshine with my friend Sarah. My friend Heather stopped by tonight with a surprise batch of fresh-picked veggies from her garden for me to play with. And I have a few different plans with various friend groups this week that I am really looking forward to.

Sometimes I get really wacked out in the head when people around me are a bit crazy, so it’s definitely nice to take a weekend like this to myself and have some ‘me’ time and also spend time with my friends who I enjoy being around. I’ve made a point to reconnect with some of my friends who I haven’t seen in a while, like my friend Jen from college who I grabbed coffee with last week, and then my friend Kate who lived across from me freshman year in college and lives around the corner this week. In my old age (30 is rapidly approaching people) I’ve learned the importance of surrounding yourself with good friends. Lots of people come and go in and out of your life over time, but if you have a solid group of friends from all walks of life that don’t bring you down, you’ll always be in a good place. And not to get all deep on you this Sunday evening, but I was jamming to 90s on 9 in the car this afternoon, and heard this Red Hot Chili Pepper’s song lyric which I just love, and are totally words that I would like to live by better.

“The more I see the less I know
The more I like to let it go”

Just don’t google the meaning of the lyrics, because everyone on the Internet is pretty sure this song is about cocaine … in which case, those aren’t really words I recommend living by. Happy Sunday.

 

 

 

Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins

Sundays in Southie, with a mildly severe case of the Sunday scaries. This is the first weekend I’ve stayed put in the city in over a month, and I have been quickly reminded why I escape to the Cape every weekend (aside from hanging out with my wonderful parents): the city is very expensive and I am way too old to stay out past 11pm two nights in a row. I did get a lot done this weekend and saw a lot of friends all over the city, but I’m probably good with hitting any Boston bars until after Labor Day. I’ll give you more details about the weekend via pictures later in the post.

A lot of times people ask me where I get my inspiration for my Sunday baking. I wish I had a more sentimental or riveting story behind the baked good inspiration, like I uncovered a secret recipe book from my Great Grandmother or that Martha Stewart is my baking sherpa and is guiding me on my life journey to become a famous baker. But the real story is that most weeks I am standing in the grocery store on Sunday morning trying to decide on some flavor combination that I haven’t tried before. This morning, I was unshowered, a bit dehydrated and smelling of pinot (in a classy way), standing in line at the Java House waiting for my large iced Snickerdoodle coffee to bring me back to life, and I was just staring at the display of muffins. And I wanted the Lemon Poppy Seed one. But I’m on a new kick where I try not to eat any processed foods if I can help it, so if I can make something myself from scratch than that is better than eating something with a shelf life of 4 years. So I decided, LemonPoppy Seed Muffins from scratch couldn’t be that hard … and they weren’t, and they are delicious. Probably more delicious than the one in the Java House display case that was likely manhandled by some hungover hooligans earlier in the morning. (just kidding, no one in Southie is up and about before 9am except me).

After some light perusing on the world wide web comparing recipes, I settled on this recipe from one of my favorite bloggers Two Peas and their Pod. She added a lemon glaze to these which looked really good, but I decided to keep it simple today – also because my coworkers are like three-year-olds and don’t do well with messy things.

Ingredients:

  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 stick butter, melted and cooled
  • 2 tablespoons poppy seeds

Step 1: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line 16 muffin tins with paper muffin cups and spray with nonstick spray.

Step 2: In a large bowl, mix together the sugar and lemon zest. Whisk in the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together the sour cream, eggs, vanilla, lemon juice, and melted butter until well blended. (*If you don’t have sour cream, you can substitute plain Greek yogurt).

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Step 3: Pour the liquid ingredients over the dry ingredients and mix just until they are well incorporated, but be careful not to over mix. Stir in the poppyseeds. Spoon the batter evenly into the muffin tins. You can make larger muffins and just make 12 instead of 16.

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IMG_1631Step 4: Bake at 400 degrees for 20-22 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown.

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These are going to be a regular in my arsenal of muffin recipes. Super easy, and really nice, light and refreshing. I spent a long time today in the grocery store trying to pick out the best lemons that would be super zesty. I think I got some solid ones, because between the zest and fresh lemon juice these pack a mean lemon punch. IMG_1647

Earlier in the week, I had some food adventures with friends. Sarah came over Tuesday night for some vino and grilling – a combination I’m getting a little better at this summer. My Uncle Jimmy is always a solid go-to for new recipe ideas, so he sent me this BBQ Siracha chicken recipe which was delicious. We made his go-to Emeril’s cole slaw recipe, and then grilled some peaches for dessert. We popped open the Cranberry Pinot Gris that I got from my trip to Cisco Brewery in Nantucket a few weeks back. Ideal summer night in my book.

photo 1My summer intern Abby is a big fan of cookies and all things baked goods. As her career sherpa, I’m supposed to teach her all of the important things in life and about how to be a business consultant and leverage things and synergize, and all that good stuff. So Friday we continued our summer research project to eat all of the cookies in Boston, and took a little afternoon field trip to the Food Trucks near South Station – specifically, we visited the Cookie Monstah truck. I kick myself for not thinking of this food truck idea first. They have fresh baked cookies, ice cream sandwiches, or ice cream scoops topped with a cookie. Abby and I shared The Salty Dog ice cream sandwich – which was Salted Caramel Cookies with Totally Turtle ice cream (vanilla ice cream, cashews, caramel and brownie) in between. Holy bananas. We just sat in the sunshine on a park bench and went into a delicious sugar coma. We brought back a half dozen cookies for our coworkers, since navigating the orange line with melting ice cream was not going to happen. Obviously I am sending her off on a solid life path by dropping this knowledge on her.

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The weather wasn’t looking stellar for the weekend, so I decided to take a weekend off from fighting Cape traffic and take care of a bunch of things around the house this weekend. Friday night I went out to Legal Test Kitchen down in the seaport with my friend Ania – who survived both high school and college with me – and was one of my original baked good taste testers back in my high school baking days. This watermelon martini was super refreshing and delicious – and had lots of vodka in it. My favorite.

photo 3I was at my favorite place in Chestnut Hill yesterday – Pottery Barn. I had to swap out a rug and then use some more rewards to buy more fun things for Operation: Furnish the guest room. So far we have some new curtains, a sea grass rug, Albert + Dash ottoman and Pottery Barn tray (to make the ottoman more like a casual coffee table). I have a bunch of things to hang up on the walls, but need to bribe a friend with cookies to help with that. Or just wait until my mom visits next, since she is handy.

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Last night I went out with Sarah and a bunch of other friends to Legal Roofdeck in the Seaport. A solid spot on a nice summer night, if you can get there earlier enough to avoid the line and lock up a good spot at a table. The pinot tastes a thousand times better with this view:

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I wrapped up the weekend with a trip to the new movie theater in Somerville with my friends Allie and Luke. We saw 22 Jump Street, which had us laughing the whole time, but mostly we were loving the assigned seating, big comfy chairs, and fancy Diet Coke machines. And now it’s late, because I always leave these until the last minute. Back to work tomorrow morning to try to make back all of the money I spent this weekend. Uncle Jimmy is coming to the Cape this weekend for his annual big-dinner where he basically cooks the most amazing multi-course meal of your life which you try to stay just sober enough to enjoy and remember. I like to try to be his helper so I can learn to make some of his dishes – like the first year a few years back when he taught me how to make risotto which is my winter go-to when I need an impressive dish to pull off. The grilled peaches soaked in booze over coconut gelato is one of my favorite summertime desserts. So prepare yourself for some food envy on my instagram this weekend, because it’s going to be a weekend of boozy gluttony and I cannot wait.

 

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