Monday, December 15, 2014

cookie break

With my exam just days away, I am in desperate need of a cookie break.
I remembered this reaaaaally good chocolate chip cookie recipe I made last fall, so I went to my trusty favorite recipes binder and thumbed through my recipes, once, twice, more and more frantic, where was it!?! And then I remembered, I think I used the link from my phone and had not printed off the recipe because I had no printer ink at the time. Noooooooooooooooo!
Luckily my googling skills and impeccable blog reading memory (this good memory only applies to blogs unfortunately), I recognized the recipe after just opening 4-5 tabs.
So now I just need to convince Doug to stop at the grocery store on his way home for bread flour and cake flour, and then I'm in business! Although still only halfway in business as these cookies need a rediculously long refrigeration period. (2-3 days?!?) but they were very good. And how could one not wait after reading the author describe it as: Chilling. This is key — KEY! — to cookie texture success. The reason is that letting the dough rest allows all the eggs and the butter and the liquids to ooze and soak and hydrate into all the dry goodness. 24 hours is minimum, 36 is preferable (and noticeably better). Also, the flavor gets crazy! Deep, caramel-y, toffee-y, and they bake up so much more deliciously brown. Plus, it lets the outside get crisp and crackly and keeps the middle almost underdone when you pull them out — they set up and turn into soft, chewy heaven. You just have to. Soft, chewy heaven?? Who says no to that.
This time I'm printing it off, and linking it here in case anyone else finds themselves in a situation where they need a delicious cookie.

Friday, December 12, 2014

the honeymoon edition - part one - Kauai

well now that I've been home from the honeymoon for about a month, maybe it's time I write a little about it!
For our honeymoon Doug and I chose to go to Hawaii. Neither of us had ever been there, the weather is supposed to be pretty steady year round, and we just wanted to go there. A couple friends of ours went there on their honeymoon and couldn't say enough good things about it, so that also sealed the deal.
We chose Kauai to be the first island to go to. We had heard that it was pretty low-key, and laid-back and that sounded perfect after weeks of wedding planning craziness, and finishing up school. A couple days after the wedding, off we went!
(I still find uploading pics to blogger to be tedious and time-consuming and I have to get back to studying! So these will most likely be the highlight pics :))
In general, we really liked Kauai. We stayed in a condo up on the Northshore, and used our trusty AAA tourguide book and went on mini excursions everyday.
We saw a lighthouse/ bird sanctuary
we walked on the beach and saw a 'spouting horn'
Doug loved driving the Wrangler, we had 3 total during our trip. We liked this little city called Hanalei, they had good food, cute shops, a delicious fresh juice shack, and pretty beaches. One of those beaches was in the movie South Pacific where the lady sang about washing a man out of her hair.
On this island we had 2 pretty big day trips. The first one was a hike along the Napali Coast. This could have been a one-way 11 mile hike that later we found out people just live out there in the wilderness... no thanks... my aunt also told me later a part of the trail is just a foot or so wide over a cliff with no rope or anything and people do fall off. We just hiked 2 miles along the coast, and then we hiked another 4 mile round trip in towards the middle of the island to a waterfall. The trail was steep, rocky, muddy, and in parts completely covered in ants. We were sore for days afterwards, but it was beautiful.
(the view back at the Coast, after hiking 8+ miles we walked another mile on the beach to get to a place with excellent snorkeling. Doug snorkeled a bit but I was cold and a party poop and did not!)
The other really cool thing we did on Kauai was drive through the Waimea Canyon. It was said that this is the Grand Canyon of Hawaii, one thing is for sure, it is very beautiful.
waterfall off the cliff
the guidebook describes it as 10 miles of gorges cut into the plateau, it looked like it went on and on. Planes flying through the canyon looked like little toys
Another lookout, this time out towards the bay. When we got to the lookout it was covered in fog. Doug told a tourist who walked up that "he just mist it". Hardy har har. So we went back to the car and took a look at the map of where to go next, and noticed it looked like it was clearing up. We walked back over and were rewarded with that view!
more canyon
The canyon was on the southwest side of Kauai, but you couldn't continue driving up because of the sea cliffs. So we had to drive all the way back around and up. This was a view on the way home.
We really liked Kauai. A couple downsides, it wasn't really super sunny there. (Maybe it was just the time of year?) This island has a mountain in the middle with the world's wettest spot. And it did rain a bit everyday. I guess I had just imagined laying around in a bikini all day getting brown, but it wasn't really sunny or hot enough. The other crazy thing about Kauai is that years ago a hurricane came and I guess it freed chickens from a chicken farm. Since there are no predators on the island the chickens have taken over. So bright and early every morning around 5:30am Mr. Rooster was outside our door waking us up. So we didn't really get to sleep in much. (one more fun fact, on Kauai wild boar outnumber people 4 to 1!) In general, we really liked the island, got a chance to kick back and relax, and when the week was up we were ready for a little more busyness and adventure on Maui.
To be continued....

Thursday, December 4, 2014

quick post

I have become a studying machine!
A few things from this last week:
last week went over to Liz's, our book club read "If I Stay" (good) and a couple girls went over to her house to watch the movie (also good). Liz made this broiled salmon, roasted potatoes, green beans, and homemade applesauce (also also good!)
we did Thanksgiving with Doug's parents. Kinda sad without an abundance of cousins :( but the food was good. Then on the weekend we did another Thanksgiving with my parents and an aunt and uncle. Fun. I made kale salad (seen here with my breakfast of avocado on toast)
I also made my first hummus ever that actually tasted good! I just followed a recipe in the recipe book that came with my BlendTec, and added a handful of fresh dill from Liz. It was good, and it has been very tasty with leftover turkey in a sandwich.
I went over to Jill's yesterday to hang with Becks and study without some of the distractions of home. It was nice. I made this awesome soup when I was over, and when Jill came home from work we ate, talked, and watched the Holiday. What a nice evening!
When I got home, I spent some time with Doug and spotted this cutie making a bed in my blanket cubby! Hey! Go to your cat bed!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

everyday life

The studying has officially begun!! Hooray! And I have signed up for the exam. So that's good. I was thinking and looking at my calendar and study plan and thinking about a date, and when I went to the state exam sign up site, only one date in all of December was available, and it was the day I had chosen, so that worked out perfectly!
I am still setting up things here around the house.
I tested out my new mixer with some Peanut Butter, Banana, Honey & Oat Chocolate Chip Cookies.
they turned out quite tasty!
I also tested a Brussel Sprout salad
you haven't known misery until you have tried to stir a jar of tahini
rrrr.... annoying.... I did find that microwaving for about a minute softened it up. Anyway, the salad was good.
And September has recovered from her brush with death! I am happy to report she is a little sweeter after we nursed her back to health. Even if that included shooting antibiotics down her throat 2x a day and eyedrops 3x a day, she seems to still like us!
she's eating!
would you look at that?!? - she's snuggling with me!
she's my Becks-substitute study buddy
and mommy's little helper
Otherwise life is studying and house fixing up. I ate some of Liz's delicious goodness. Sunflower cranberry (mock tuna, SO good) spread and jalapeno-cilantro hummmus. Mmmmmm
I'm feeling more and more homeowner-like every time I have to pick this disgusting leftover crap from the drain so our septic doesn't clog. Santa, PLEASE bring me a dispos-all!
I planted these sweet little succulants
doncha go dying on me!!
A couple nights ago we got Thai with Doug's friend(/my bridesmaid) for her belated birthday dinner. I got this Panang Curry. SO GOOD, must recreate!
The restaurant had these really cool tables that the waitress said a guy there had made from pallet wood. I have been planning on scouring craigslist for a table/chairs but am now thinking about asking that guy to build me one. Only downside- I really wanted a table that could add a leaf for guests, and I don't think his design would work that way
Last night Doug and I went downtown for the annual Christmas lighting ceremony. We saw real reindeer and window shopped. And also stuffed our faces with kettlecorn :)
it was fun