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Cookie + Pie, 2gether 4ever {recipe: peanut butter cookie pie}

12 Jun

I don’t really have a story to tell except that I made this pie and it was amazing. I think you should make it too.

It is like a warm-and-chewy-soft-and-gooey peanut butter cookie that still has a crisp top and looks nice because it’s all held together in a succinct pie crust.

Go. Bake. Eat!

Peanut Butter Cookie Pie

Serves 8-12

adapted from Culinary Concoctions by Peabody

  • 1 pre-made, unbaked pie crust (or one recipe homemade crust for a one-crust 9-inch pie, rolled out to be 1/4 inch thick)
  • 1 cup granulated Sugar
  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup Reeses Pieces
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Press pie crust into a 9-inch pie plate like you would for any pie
  3. In a bowl, combine butter, sugar, and peanut butter, mix well.
  4. Add eggs and vanilla, stir to combine.
  5. Add flour, stir to combine.
  6. Add Reeses Pieces, and chocolate morsels, stir to combine.
  7. Spread filling into prepared pie crust.
  8. Bake until firm in the middle (it will still be a little gooey from the Reeses Pieces and chocolate chips in the middle if you test it with a knife), approximately 45 minutes.

Cool, slice, and serve with whipped cream if you like.

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Lots Going On {recipe: quick oatmeal cookie drops}

4 Nov

I have been making and eating things in the past month that have been quick and filling…not so much things that I am extremely proud of or want to share with you 🙂 Quesadillas, chili, soups, pasta, and frozen pizza have reigned our dinner menus, and, sadly, packaged halloween candy and Blue Bell ice cream have been my treat.

Today, I eat a few M&Ms from the package sitting on the kitchen table. I notice on the front of the package there’s a little graphic that reads CALORIES – 210: 11%DV. For a minute, I toy with the thought of just eating nine bags of M&Ms today and calling it a day. I figure that is a lot of artificial food coloring and dismiss the thought, heading to the pantry to figure out what to put together quickly for today’s lunches. Then, its back to other things to think about:

Some of our friends are in the hospital, at 23 weeks pregnant and holding fast to hope for their little baby. Others just got the daughter from Haiti that they adopted years ago, beautiful but difficult. We’re helping lead a class about marriage, also wonderful, but discussion is heavy, at times.

My personal list is decidedly more trivial…refinish the dresser in the nursery, clean out the closets, organize the freezer, cook. Those things aren’t really happening.

I did make these cookies though, they are quick and soft and the whole-wheat flour makes me feel better about the frozen pizza we keep having for dinner.

Quick Oatmeal Cookie Drops

adapted from Homesick Texan

3/4 cup butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 T. vanilla
3 cups oats
1 cup whole-wheat flour (use white if it’s all you have)
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
2 cups chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350.

Cream together butter, sugar and egg.

Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well.

Place place 1.5-inch scoops of dough on  a greased cookie sheet and bake for 12-15 minutes.

How to Know When Not to Tip {recipe: pumpkin bread with maple cream cheese icing}

16 Oct

You know how you tip based on the level of difficulty you perceive of the task at hand? Well, maybe you don’t, but I do.

From Pumpkin Bread with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

For example:

Venti regular coffee that you just poured out of the drip coffee maker? No tip. I can do that, and do on most mornings.

Tall non-fat double-shot latte with pumpkin syrup (only one pump) and a little of that caramel sauce on the top. Please? Tip for sure. I am embarrassed. I can’t even remember what I ordered.

Valet my car with complimentary restaurant valet and go park it in a tiny spot three cars deep in a lot behind the restaurant because we’re building high-rises in every known parking lot in town? Giant tip. I am not a good driver and would have surely hit at least two cars doing what someone did for me. That would have cost way more than $5.

From Pumpkin Bread with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

Ok, so now that you know about my tipping strategy, I will tell you about all of the food we brought to my last friend who had a baby.  The meal signup went out. I picked a day, planned my meal, and  then kept adding to it. Maybe they need dessert too. Maybe they need breakfast? Yes, definitely breakfast as well. And juice. And probably some fresh fruit.

My friend just had a baby. I was thinking about why I felt compelled to bring her so much food. Well it is because having a baby seems way more difficult than parking my compact car in a small spot. I perceive it arduous and stressful. I was trying to bring her the I-just-had-a-baby version of a tip.

So we go over there and bring the food and I am holding this beautiful little baby and trying to explain why I brought all of these things and it came out like, “having a baby must be hard. Here is your tip.”

I am awkward. But I make a mean pumpkin bread, so please forgive me. I love you, and your baby, A 🙂 Bottom line, if there’s not a line, or a tip jar, don’t try and relate anything to tipping. You will sound insensitive.

Pumpkin Bread

makes one loaf

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1 cup pumpkin

2 eggs

1 1/2 cup flour

1 t. sat

1 t. baking soda

1/3 cup water

1 t. cinnamon

1/2 t. nutmeg

1/2 t. ground cloves

Preheat oven to 350.

Mix first four ingredients thoroughly, then add in the rest of ingredients and mix until combined. Pour int oa buttered 9×5 loaf pan and bake 45-60 minutes, until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

16 oz. cream cheese, softened to room temperature

1 stick unsalted butter, softened to room temperature

2 1/2 c. confectioners’ sugar

1/4 c. pure maple syrup

In a stand mixer or with a hand mixer, beat all the ingredients on medium until fluffy (this will take about 10 minutes).

Chill the frosting for 10 to 20 minutes, until it has set up enough to spread smoothly.

From Pumpkin Bread with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

I Love Carbs Now, Honestly {recipe: chocolate caramel oat bars}

22 Sep

I am going to be honest with you, because it will be best to maintain honesty in our friendship. I originally made these bars to send to my brother. And then I ate them all.

Sorry, Ben.

I shall make more. Actually, I am a little afraid to make more in case the same thing happens where I lose all willpower and then eat too, too many. So maybe I will make you something slightly less tasty.

In the spirit of honesty, there is more I should share… all these tidbits of pregnancy that I did not expect. Honestly…

1. The first is that dutiful willingness to indulge in many a baked treat or carb. I have never been much of a bread or pasta eater, thinking meals laden with such things leave me feeling full and sleepy, but now I have a newfound love for them. Especially when I am hungry and turn into the need-to-eat-now-or-the-hungry-monster-will-take-control-of-my-emotions person, nothing fixes that quicker than a quick pasta dinner or frozen pizza (gasp!) for dinner.

2. There is a sense of pride that comes when someone you don’t know, asks you in public when you are due. At this point, you can stop wondering if everyone just thinks you drink a lot of beer.

3. The willingness of other pregnant ladies to share their pregnancy/baby things. Right now, I am wearing Erika‘s shirt and Olivia‘s pants. Amber-Rose‘s sling and Coralee’s Baby Bjorn are patiently awaiting a newborn, tucked away in the closet, and Jackie’s soft, green crib bumpers are rolled up on the floor, where the crib  will go in the nursery. I didn’t ask for any of these things. Friends just willingly shared from what they had from their own babies. Think of what life would look like if we did that with all stages of life.

4. Temporary, overwhelming emotions to a not-over-emotional person like me.

5. Pain. I came back from a run last week with shooting pain in my back and down my leg. I am only 23 weeks pregnant. This will get worse and I am a little irritated that the pain has started now, and not 12 weeks from now.

6. A sense of feeling. Other than physical pain and other than the occasional over-emotional times that I mentioned before. I feel like if pregnancy has done anything to me, it has made me ‘feel’ things more, giving me a heightened sense of emotion. I like it. I would say that I am someone who shoves things out of my mind and would rather not deal with things that are hard because they can cause hurt, and consequently, I don’t feel as much excitement around happy things as I should, because I feel like getting really stoked about something only sets me up for disappointment, and then that hurt that I so desperately avoid. So….I am hoping I can hold on to this. Not being an emotional wreck, but just having heightened senses of excitement and sadness, because I am finding that those things only drive me to a healthy empathy and sorrow, or joy and thanksgiving.

7. Pregnant does not always mean tired. There have been multiple mornings that I have quit fighting insomnia at the wee hour of 4am and just gotten up to start the day.

8. General largeness. I knew I would get bigger, but I really only thought my stomach would get bigger. I have jeans that side low, on my hips below my waist. I left these jeans in the closet when I rid the racks of any clothing I knew would not accommodate my growing belly. Much to my surprise, I am 23 weeks in and, um, none of those pants fit. Apparently all other body parts grow throughout pregnancy as well. Some more than others, but we won’t go there. This weekend, I will conduct Round Two of maternify-my-closet, and all such pants will be banished to the storage tubs, sealed, and placed on the floor of the closet, not to be opened until June of 2010.

9. Nosebleeds. And giant veins. I look like a body-builder. You gain something like three pounds just in blood during pregnancy…and it shows on me. So much that for 10 days straight the veins in my node would burst from so much pressure and I had nosebleeds.

10. Excitement and Fear. Fear of pain. Of giving birth. Of raising a human. Of not being enough…and Excitement to experience new life. To give birth. To raise a child with my husband. To try.

Chocolate Caramel Oat Bars

from Half-baked

2 2/3 cup oats, rolled, old fashioned or quick cooking, divided

3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup butter
32 kraft caramels, unwrapped (or, a bag of the new kraft caramel bits for baking)
5 tbsp cream
1 cup chocolate chips

Grease or butter a 9×13 pan.

Take 1 2/3 c. oats and whirl through a food processor until they resemble a fine flour.

Combine oat flour, baking soda, salt and stir well. Stir in oats and brown sugar. Cut butter into dry ingredients until crumbly.

Press half of mixture into a lightly greased pan. Bake at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes or until golden brown.
While the base is baking, in a small saucepan, melt the caramels in the cream until smooth.

Remove pan from the oven. Sprinkle the chocolate chips on top of the base. Drizzle the caramel mixture on top. Add remaining oat mixture. Return to the 350 degrees oven for another 10 – 15 minutes or until golden brown.

Allow bars to cool before cutting. Because they don’t contain any flour or eggs the carmalites are not as thick and a little most crumbly than most bar cookies but they taste so good you won’t mind.

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Why I Don’t Smoke {recipe, kind of: key lime pie}

26 Mar

There are a lot of reasons not to smoke, like that smokers die younger, get clogged arteries and causes heart attacks and strokes, have more wrinkles, and are prime candidates for mouth, throat, and lung cancer. I hear smokers lose their acute sense of taste. To not taste this, or this, or this?

Or this?


Oh, and it’s bad for other people. I would like to think that I am so selfless that even the last of those reasons would deter me. But I don’t think that’s right. I am pretty selfish sometimes.

I know it’s a big risk, but that’s not really what keeps me at bay. According to research, we take a lot of risks every day. Thirty-one percent of us occasionally use the top step of a step-ladder. Forty-three percent of us jumped on trampolines as kids (resulting in an average of 105,000 hospital visits, yearly). And, 39% of us eat raw cookie dough (and clearly, some us us lie about not eating it).

I drink the occasional diet soda, sometime I eat McDonald’s fries, I put candles out with my fingers, and often I lift with my back and not my knees. I have been known to haphazardly send emails after having a glass of wine.

There are other risks in my life. The health risks aren’t why I don’t smoke.

I don’t smoke because I think I would like it. I mean, I think I would love it. I think I would want to smoke all the time. I think I wouldn’t get work done because I would always be going outside to smoke. I would get sick because I stood out in the cold all winter, smoking. My friends, not to mention my husband, probably wouldn’t like me as much.

Take this week, Austin got pummeled with hail last night. Our house got some damage and my car is reminiscent of a once-pockmarked scarred teen, it’s outermost part tainted with dents and crevaces which are subtle from the distance, but definite upon inspection. I ran out in the hail with my helmet on to move my car into the garage. I looked like I do in this pic, except in my work clothes and without a bike. And our lawn looked like a driving range of hail-balls.

By 9am today we had been to Lowes, been home, figured out the car insurance and made a claim, and driven to work. Outside of the office, some committed smoker was outside, in the rain, with a cigarette. The slightly stifiling smell of smoke didn’t turn me off, but rather made me think, man, I wish I could relax like that right now.

Ok, I feel like that was a big confession. I should go now.

Oh. You wanted a recipe? For this?

This is the best key lime pie I have ever had. And I made it. I can’t give you the recipe on this blog, because there is someone who always talks of challenging me to a bake-off at the office, and we decided that for said bake-off, we will make a key lime pie. Because key lime pie is neutral and provides little enough variation that two different ones could be compared, but room for enough variation that two key lime pies can taste very different.

If you want the recipe and you don’t work at my office, leave a comment below and I will happily email it to you directly. If you do work at my office, you can just participate in the bake-off judging and see what you think whenever that happens.

https://saltimbocca.wordpress.com

A Case of the Mondays {recipe: olivia’s oatmeal chocolate chip cookies}

19 Mar

Olivia and her husband, Todd, have us and four other couples over every Monday night. Olivia makes one fantastic dessert after another, week after week, but that’s not really why we’re there. It’s their cute kid. No, not really. We spend time talking about life and marriage and all the joys and challenges that those bring, amongst other things. It’s great.

These are Olivia’s cookies. Also great:

From Olivia’s Cookies

She would probably give the credit to someone else, but for our purposes here, they are Olivia’s cookies. Thanks Olivia. I love your cookies. I am cheating on my once-favorite cookies with yours. Can we say, “Flavor of the week?” Yes. Yes, we can.

These cookies are thin and soft and gooey. Thin and soft, you ask? I know, I know. Until this recipe I would deem those two words an oxymoron in its finest sense. I do not like a crunchy cookie.

From Olivia’s Cookies

Now, a word to the wise: When I made these, I knew what I was aiming for. I had eaten one (or four) of Olivia’s cookies weeks before and I was stoked about this recipe. I made the cookies, and when I pulled them out of the oven I was crushed. They had poofed up in all the wrong places and looked like “those” cookies. You know the ones. The cookies that are a bit airy and crunchy as a cracker. We had people over hanging out and I had to go un-hype the cookies that I had just hyped up for 10 minutes while making the dough. So we finished dinner and I went back to the kitchen to get said crappy cookies. And they had sunk, much like my heart had about 5 minutes before. But this time it was good. The cookies had deflated and redeemed themselves. They were flat and chewy and gooey all at the same time. A dream come true.

From Olivia’s Cookies

Olivia’s Chocolate Chip Cookies

makes 20

Cream:

1 c. butter

1 c. white sugar

1 c. brown sugar

Add:

2 eggs

2 t. vanilla

Blend in:

2 1/2 c. oats

2 c. flour

1 t. baking powder

1 t. baking soda

4 oz. grated milk chocolate Hershey’s bar

Drop 1/4 cup dough on a greased cookie sheet.

Bake at 350 for 8 minutes.

Remember the note ablove about how the cookies will sink.

Enjoy.

Changing Scenery {recipe: carrot cake cupcakes}

17 Mar
From carrot cake cupcakes

I recently changed desks at work. In three years, this is the fifth cube that I have occupied. I think I am the most-moved one on the team, and I like it. I love changing desks, even if it’s just a few yards over, or swapping with someone on the next row. Management likes to keep us all sitting near the people we are working directly with, which helps collaboration and discussion, and I like new things. Not bright-shiny new, but just new-to-me things. New cube neighbors, a new view.

My current cube is somewhat in the middle of our department, technically on a row with people who I am not on a team with.

They are nice enough to let me sit here. So I made them cupcakes.

I took photos of these cupcakes because they were soooooooo pretty (probably because they weren’t my idea, but they were Deb’s), but I have had them for weeks and forgot that I had not posted the recipe.

From carrot cake cupcakes

These are very, very good. The carrot cake is moist and the frosting is creamy and sweet. Smitten Kitchen used maple in the frosting, but I did not have maple syrup, so I used honey and all was well.

From carrot cake cupcakes

Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Honey Cream Cheese Frosting

yields 24 cupcakes

2 c. all purpose flour

2 t. baking soda

1 t. salt1 T.  ground cinnamon

1 t. ground nutmeg

2 t. ground ginger

2 c. sugar

1 1/4 c. canola oil

4 large eggs

3 c. grated carrots (I used a food processor to grate them)

1 c. coarsely chopped walnuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350.

Place liners in 24 muffin cups.

Stir sugar and oil together until incorporated.

Add in eggs one at a time and stir after each addition.

Add spices,  salt, and baking soda and stir well.

Add in flour and stir until blended.

Stir in carrots and nuts.

Drop into cupcake cups.

Bake 12 to 18 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into a cupcake comes out clean.

Let the cupcakes cool in pans for about 10 minutes then transfer cakes to a cooling rack.

The cupcakes should cool completely before you frost them.

Honey Cream Cheese Frosting

16 oz. cream cheese, softened to room temperature

1 stick unsalted butter, softened to room temperature

2 1/2 c. confectioners’ sugar

1/4 c. honey

In a stand mixer or with a hand mixer, beat all the ingredients on medium until fluffy (this will take about 10 minutes).

Chill the frosting for 10 to 20 minutes, until it has set up enough to spread smoothly.

For the spikey frosting, I used a Wilton #129 tip and just kept dolliping, dolliping, dolliping!