Saturday, February 28, 2009

Best Chocolate Chip Cookies Ever

When I own a bakery, I want to have a few different kinds of chocolate chip cookies. I've already posted about my Levain Bakery ripoffs (I think?) that are almost cakes, but these are thin and the perfect mix of crispy on the outside and chewy in the middle. I'm not going to say where I found my recipe because I don't want anyone to know about it. :) I made this small batch for my good friend in South Carolina for when A visited her this week.

I love my heart-shaped measuring cups!

Fresh Pear & Gruyere Pie

I totally ripped this idea off of the show Pushing Daisies, which regular followers of my blog know that I adore. One day I just couldn't resist my temptation to make it and headed to the grocery store. Gruyere is expensive!! I made the pie entirely from scratch, something I am very proud of. Making pie crust is pretty complicated but entirely do-able. Unfortunately, I forgot to add the cheese under the crust before baking and panicked while cleaning my hair and added the cheese on top before figuring out how much longer it would take the pie to bake. The cheese started to get crispy so I had to take it out before the center was really cooked enough. It was a learning lesson for sure. Next time I'll make sure to brush the bottom of the crust with egg whites to keep it from getting soggy.

The dessert was very grown-up and a lot less tart than apple pie, although it had a similar flavor. I love pears so I was very pleased with the taste. I was surprised at how much everyone else loved it, too! Something to consider when I open a bakery. Maybe I'll just do a pie shop like on my favorite show!

Ready to go in the oven!

I have an order for an apple pie so I'm going to apply all the lessons I learned with this first one!

Sunday Night Supper Club 2/22

This past week of SNSC was pizza! We made handmade crust and I even made myself a gluten-free pizza. Making the crust was quite the experience. I learned a lot about making the dough with the first batch that made the second batch a lot easier. We used pizza stones to give the crust a nice chewy inside and crispy outside. The crusts were huge (just look at the pics)! My gluten-free pizza was interesting to make but tasted almost exactly like regular wheat pizza - but not according to anyone else. People were calling me "saintly" to be able to eat it! I guess it's good that I'm the one who likes it, right? We had limited toppings due to a limited showing: green pepper, jalapenos, mushrooms, and pineapple. Everyone was satisfied with those, thankfully! I also served my fresh pear & gruyere pie (blog post coming soon) for dessert. We gobbled it up.

Leaning tower of pizza ingredients

Topping pizza #2

Pizza #1

Gluten-free way to be!

Gigantic second pizza

Sunday Night Supper Club 2/15

The week of 2/15 we decided to do breakfast for dinner. We made huevos rancheros and crepes. I love crepes and haven't had them in a long time, maybe even since I was in French Club in high school. For the crepes we had toppings of nutella, mixed berries, bananas, and homemade whipped cream. We did huevos rancheros the authentic way, with fried corn tortillas and a sunny side up egg. Okay, I was the only one to do it sunny side up while everyone else chickened out and did scrambled eggs. We had toppings of cheese, salsa, sour cream, and hot sauce for those. Everyone's favorite part of the meal were the hashbrowns. We shredded them by hand and added some onions and "special stuff" and then fried them forever. I didn't use a big enough pan and underestimated the amount of shredded potato on hand, so it took forever to do them. A lesson for next time. A brought apple & orange juice to top off the meal. I didn't even make dessert because the crepes took on that role. I love breakfast and wish I could eat like this every day.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009


Just got Trainspotting from Netflix and was planning on watching it & Slumdog Millionaire tonight before bed. I just realized they're both directed by Danny Boyle. He hasn't even directed many movies. I've never seen a movie of his before so I'm not sure what to expect, but I'm hoping for the best.

Yes, Please.

p.s. I have 2 sunday night supper club & 3 baking blogs coming. so so so busy with school stuff & baking.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Deleting all my pop-punk (okay, just 98% of it) music off my Zune. I realized today that I skipped over almost every song because it just doesn't make me happy or match my mood. It's just too juvenile for me. I like substance, I guess. Guess I'm just a melancholy indie chick now.

Don't worry, I still love The Maine. And Saves The Day doesn't count because everyone likes them, even hipsters.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Beep Beep!

This is mine!! My dad was working at a franchising expo at the Minneapolis Convention Center this past weekend for his company and got to know the guy from RS Motorsports at the booth across from his. They had this scooter on display and the guy offered to sell it to my dad for $800! It was too good to refuse and I've been looking for a way to get around, especially to work, grocery shop, and get to Uptown to see A without taking an hour's worth of buses. I had to pay the $800, but I had been willing to pay $1000 for a car. Once I'm gone to England in the fall, my mom can use it to get to work. I'm going to make her pay for it, of course!

It goes up to 35 MPH, gets around 100 MPG, and is cute to boot! I'm a little nervous about riding this, but I'm going to practice in parking lots with my dad until I feel comfortable enough to zoom around the city. Wish me luck & look for me flying by soon!

Strawberry Shortcakes

For Italian Night for Sunday Night Supper Club last week (see previous post), I wanted to do something lighter to go with our carb-heavy meal. I decided to do mini strawberry shortcakes, using vanilla cupcakes as the base. I got the recipe from my Cupcake daily calendar. I did cheat by looking ahead at a December recipe for a basic vanilla cupcake. I liked the density of the cake, but they dried out quickly. I'll have to add a little oil next time. I knew they had the possibility of drying out because the batter going into the cupcake tin was more like cookie dough than cake batter. I also forgot to pick up more cupcake liners at the store, so I just greased the cupcake tins. That could have contributed to them drying out.

I also bought some baker's sugar to see if it made a noticeable difference in my baking. It was almost the same price as regular sugar so I knew it'd be worth it. Boy, was it! My batter was so smooth and creamy; no grains at all! I will never go back.

To transform these into shortcakes, I sliced open the cakes and spooned some whipped cream on the bottom half, adding a couple of strawberry slices. I put on the top, then adding a bit more whipped cream and strawberries.

I'm trying to become a better baking blogger, so I tried to take pictures of the entire process of making these. I forgot most of the time, but hopefully I'll get better at it.

The ingredients, plus my heart-shaped measuring utensils to add a little love. :)

Beating the butter and sugar.



Sunday Night Supper Club 2/8

This week was Italian Night. We made eggplant parmesan with spaghetti and marinara and vodka sauces, salad with Italian dressing, and bread twists made by my good friend David. Blake and Molly had the bright idea to bring sparkling water and strawberry nectar to make Italian sodas. I also made mini strawberry shortcakes for dessert. My mom had brought over some huge chucks of triple chocolate bundt cake, so i cut that into manageable slices to use for the shortcake if someone preferred that over the vanilla cupcakes I made. (Another post on those to follow.) We stuffed ourselves silly since we made so many eggplant slices.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Why I Was Named Yvonne (According To My Dad)

The 1976 cover of Sports Illustrated:

Yvonne's on the right. My dad thought that Yvonne was hot and I guess it stuck with him until '89, when I was born.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Coconut Special K "Cookies"

I put cookies in quotation marks because these were more just copious amounts of coconut and sugar mixed with egg whites. I had an intense craving for coconut, so I found this recipe. I substituted Special K for cornflakes because that's what I had on hand. These were somewhat like macaroons, I guess. I drizzled half of them with milk chocolate for even more sweetness.

I honestly ate 4 of these right after they came out of the oven. I couldn't help myself. They were really gooey and not quite set in the middle, but I didn't care. The next day they had firmed up more, so I ate the remaining 8. I can't believe myself, but they were simply irresistible. So light and airy (due to the whipped egg whites) and sweet. If you aren't obsessed with sugar, definitely cut the amount in half or use even less than that. I will probably make these again when another craving hits!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Ayo Technology

I just got one of those little tab pictures instead of the boring Blogger 'B' thanks to this site. A little complicated but it was worth it!

Also, is my new best friend. I've been whining internally about how I don't have photoshop on my computer anymore but this is just as good & free!

On the Mississippi

Today I convinced A to take a long walk with my be the Mississippi since it was so nice outside - a balmy 33 degrees and sunny. I lugged on my old winter boots (the first time all season, I admit) to make myself unstoppable in the slush and puddles.

It's nice to walk along the Mississippi, but it's even nicer to walk ON it! I wish I had brought my camera along to document our escapades on the melting river. Maybe I'll bring my camera along with me tomorrow when I take a walk if I don't work.

I love walking. I have knee/back/lung problems that prevent me from running so walking is the next best thing for me. I can cover a lot of ground and I'm known as a superfast speed walker! I hope to do it a lot more as the weather gets nicer out.


I love whimsical, magical, fantastical things. Not in a nerd way, but in a little kid way. I went to see Coraline in 3D last night and I loved it an unbelievable amount. Definitely spend the extra bucks for the 3D experience because I feel it definitely added to the film. There were so many extra touches that made me break out into a wide grin. I was squeezing A's arm every time anything extra cute happened. Go see it!

To build on whimsy, I posted before about Pushing Daisies. I just got Season 1: Disc 1 from Netflix today and watched all the episodes right in a row! It is so cute, so fanciful, so colorful, so.... everything I love in a movie or TV show! There were many times I teared up. The actress who plays Chuck has a birthday the day after mine, so maybe that's how I can identify with that character so well? Anyway, I wish this show hadn't have been cancelled so it could go on forever and ever. I wish I lived in Couer d'Couers. I want to be enveloped in that world - much like how Coraline was enraptured with alternate reality! I don't think my life would be in imminent danger if I stayed there, though.

I really want to make an apple pie with Gruyere baked right into the crust after watching that last episode.

Friday, February 6, 2009

How To Make The Perfect Baked Potato

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
2. Poke holes all over potato.
3. Spray liberally with cooking spray.
4. Sprinkle on generous amount of salt.
5. Pop in oven, right on the rack, for around 1 hour. Depends on size & age of potato.
6. Cut open, enjoy the crispy skin and fluffy interior.

I love baked potatoes. On Thursday in high school, we had potato bar at the salad bar. I would always load mine up with sour cream and cheese. I can't have sour cream OR cheese now, so I just dab on some margarine. With this perfect texture, I am completely satisfied with my bare-bones potato.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Tennessee Or Bust!

I really want to make it out to Bonnaroo this year! 4 days, June 11-14. I hate camping but will just have to suck it up! The lineup is very appealing to me:

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band
Phish (2 Shows)
Beastie Boys
Nine Inch Nails
David Byrne
Al Green
Snoop Dogg
Elvis Costello Solo
Erykah Badu
Paul Oakenfold
Ben Harper and Relentless7
The Mars Volta
TV on the Radio
Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Gov’t Mule
Andrew Bird
Band Of Horses

Merle Haggard
The Decemberists
Girl Talk
Bon Iver

Béla Fleck & Toumani Diabate
Rodrigo y Gabriela
The Del McCoury Band
of Montreal
Allen Toussaint
Coheed and Cambria
Booker T & the DBTs
David Grisman Quintet
Lucinda Williams
Animal Collective
Neko Case
Jenny Lewis

Robert Earl Keen
Citizen Cope
Femi Kuti and the Positive Force
The Ting Tings
Robyn Hitchcock & The Venus 3
Grace Potter and the Nocturnals
Kaki King
Grizzly Bear
King Sunny Adé
Okkervil River
St. Vincent
Zac Brown Band
Raphael Saadiq
Ted Leo and the Pharmacists
Crystal Castles
Tift Merritt
Brett Dennen
Mike Farris and the Roseland Rhythm Revue
Toubab Krewe
People Under the Stairs
Alejandro Escovedo
Vieux Farka Touré
Elvis Perkins In Dearland
Todd Snider
Portugal. The Man.
The SteelDrivers
The Knux
The Low Anthem
Delta Spirit
A.A. Bondy
The Lovell Sisters
Alberta Cross

meowwwww, who's up for a road trip?

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Do Not Shop At

I ordered those lovely boots I posted about earlier from in December. I received a package right before my vacation to Florida containing the completely wrong items: a men's hoodie and t-shirt. I didn't have time to return it, so I had to do it when I came back. I paid $8 for shipping the package back with the promise they would reimburse me if I emailed them the receipt. I did so 2+ weeks ago and still haven't gotten that money back. I bugged and bugged them about receiving my package and sending me the right thing back and was assured they would process the return in FIFTEEN DAYS. Today I received an email saying the item I originally ordered is now out of stock so they're refunding my money. ARE YOU FUCKING SERIOUS??? I wish their customer service actually picked up the phone so I could bitch at them for a long, long, long time.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

The Next Six Weeks

Fitting perfectly into a pair of pants that you didn't think would make it past your thighs is possibly one of the greatest feelings in the world.

For Lent I always try to do something instead of giving something up. I'm going to try to work out 4 times a week. This means mostly in my bedroom with my secret little plan, but I am also going to try to walk a couple of miles when it's nice outside since I can't run. I think this will really improve my neck and back problems now that I'm out of physical therapy.

I also want to do a volunteer activity. There is this program with elderly people I wanted to check out last semester but I will this semester. My only problem is that I'm trying to return to my second job and obtain a third, so I don't know how much this will help.

A third thing for Lent is to reach out to more friends. I started today by setting a homework date with a friend in all my classes & setting up a weekend get-together with a friend I don't see nearly enough. It's really hard for me to reach out to others so I'm really working on improving that.

Working out gives me a lot of energy. I'm dancing around in my undies to Girl Talk. I'll have to start homework sometime soon.

Monday, February 2, 2009


Food For Life's rice almond bread is SO good. I bought it for a hefty $6 for a loaf that's about half the size of a regular loaf a bread, but twice as dense. It tastes just like regular bread. It doesn't really toast (I think it has to do with the density) but it tastes good with a good amount of topping - jam, black beans, apple butter, whatever. I can't wait to make toad-in-the-holes with this!

Aw Yeahhh

In Existence Just For Me

Precious Tongues: Bunnies

Sunday Night Supper Club 2/1

I'm going to start documenting what we create because I have a feeling it'll be getting more creative and labor-intensive.

This week we decided to do a Caribbean theme with jerk marinated chicken breasts, rice & black beans, fried plantains, and pineapple slices. I wish whole pineapple wasn't so expensive in Minnesota so we could have had it fresh. The fried plantains were the most fun to make. We marinated the chicken in KC Masterpiece's Spice Caribbean Jerk 30-Minute marinade and baked it. It turned out moist and delicious. The rice and beans were a nice side to it all. The previously-posted cheesecake brownies were the perfect finish. I would have liked to do something tropical-themed for dessert (like Key Lime Cupcakes I made once before) but everyone was craving something with chocolate and cream cheese. Here's a snap of Blake's plate:

Next week we're thinking Italian. Eggplant or Chicken Parmesan? Turkey Meatballs? Who knows what'll turn up.

Cheesecake Brownies

I made these once before for my physical therapy office using a brownie mix, but for Sunday Night Supper Club last night I made even the brownie part from scratch. I like how these are just the right mix of sugary sweet from the brownie and tart from the cheesecake. I got the idea from the cookbook Favorite Brand Name Bake Sale and the brownie recipe from I wish I had gotten a picture of the plate of brownies all cut, but they honestly disappeared too fast for that to happen. I think everyone had two of them.

On a side note, I find it personally offensive when my roommate bakes 4 packages of premade cookie dough. Just give me the $8+ you spent and I'll make you something that actually tastes good.

Lovin' this song. I just decided to check out Coconut Records for the first time a week or two ago and I really like it. Some of the songs really start to get old after a few listens, but this song is my favorite off of both releases. It's the right amount of catchy.