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Archive for the ‘Dessert’ Category

I am not really much of a baker.  Baking involves things like measuring and following recipes because it is a matter of chemistry and science, what with the flour and the baking powder and the baking soda.  Or at least, that’s what I’ve heard.

But for part of a holiday present I wanted to make some kind of cookies involving caramel, and the lovely Betsy forwarded me this recipe.  We consulted back and forth a bit, mostly about the fact that the instructions for the caramel involved wearing a long sleeve shirt and protective eyewear.

Scary, right?  I thought so too.

However, I bet you didn’t know this about me, but I am quite brave.  I really live on the edge.  For instance, sometimes I cross the street on a solid hand.  So I decided to give the caramel a go.   But first, I had to make the cookies:

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Then I put on my long sleeves in preparation for the caramel:

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No eye wear, though.  Like I said, brave.

The recipe calls for light corn syrup, but my local grocery store didn’t have that, so I bought this instead:

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And then I put it all in the pan and started stirring:

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Nothing happened for a while, and I was getting pretty annoyed because I’m an impatient person and I wanted to see some action in that pan.  But then things started bubbling:

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And then everything happened all at once and I was running around grabbing cream and stirring and looking at my laptop and freaking out and then I poured the warm cream in and the whole thing bubbled like crazy and I would’ve taken a picture but I was scared out of my mind because I didn’t have protective eye wear on.

Finally, after all that, there were these:

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Pretty good, right?  I think they’re okay.  The cookies aren’t the best peanut butter cookies I’ve ever had (probably because I again didn’t follow the recipe and used natural peanut butter) but the caramel is AWESOME, if I do say so myself.  However, I had a ton leftover and I didn’t know what to do with it so I ate like half poured it onto a sheet pan in hopes of making brittle:

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Yeah.  Apparently that’s not how you make brittle, because it didn’t harden.  Maybe I’ll work on that one next.

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I don’t understand

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I bought one of those Pure Protein bars from Trader Joe’s over the weekend because I’ve heard that they are really good and I wanted to try one.  I mean, Kate practically lived off them for two weeks, so I figured they must be really fantastic because I’m not even sure I could eat ice cream at every meal for two weeks straight, and I can put away some ice cream.

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Anyway, what the hell?  That’s all I have to say, really.  Perhaps it’s because I didn’t eat it with the recommended “eight fluid ounces of water or other liquid,” but I thought this thing was gross.  Between the two of us, Chris and I could only eat about a quarter of it.  Sorry, Pure Protein.  But in your defense, I should have known I would be disappointed because I generally hate protein bars.  They all taste like metal to me.  I really think I can taste the vitamins and minerals or something.  Maybe I am sensitive, but I swear it’s like eating a piece of aluminum foil.

However, I do not think that I am being sensitive when I say that I don’t believe I should be eating a bar, tasty or not, that warns of “gastrointestinal discomfort” and a “laxative effect.”  I wish I’d seen that little gem before I took a bite.

Aside from that, I didn’t take many food pictures this weekend, but I did have this beautiful cupcake on Saturday:

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Mine is the chocolate one, of course.  This was taken with my friend’s camera phone.  They were prettier in real life, because they weren’t blurry.

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Second best

Well, I found it.  It’s not quite as good as this, but it’s very creamy and if I had my eyes closed I might think it was regular ice cream:

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It’s way, way, way better than any other soy ice cream I’ve ever had, but not quite good enough to make me want to have four bowls in one night.  I consider this a solid plus.

And to continue my love affair with Trader Joe’s, I would also like to share with you my new favorite soup, which I had for dinner tonight:

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It is so good.  I didn’t even know I liked split pea soup.  My mother would be very proud.  I actually bought it by mistake but I am happy I did.  I don’t even have to doctor it up, and I always add a little something to canned soup.  You know, just some salt or some extra vegetables or four large handfuls of cheese.

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Thanks for all the lactose-related tips from the other day.  I know that I will probably be able to eat Sun Chips and butter and yogurt, but for some reason my doctor said not to until I go back in two weeks.  I’m serious.  I specifically asked about the Sun Chips.

In the comments of my last post, Heather mentioned that I should take a picture of my very small stove.  I don’t find it very interesting – mostly I find it annoying – and almost everyone I know in New York has one the same size, but I can imagine that it would be fun for someone who has a real stove to laugh at my easy bake oven.  It’s kind of like Roadside America

Roadside America definitely makes me laugh.  I am laughing right now.  I had no idea it had a website.  

Anyway.  I am getting sidetracked.  Here is my stove:

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It’s hard to tell out of context, but you can’t realistically use more than two pans at the same time.  I mean, you could use four small sauce pans, I guess, if you angled the handles just right.  I don’t really count that as a perk, though, since I can’t envision a time when I’ll need to make four sauces at once. 

I tried to take a picture of my dark and scary broiler, but it was too dark and scary to show up. 

Along with my mini stove, we also have a mini fridge that looks like this:

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Yes, that is Bo Jackson.

Here’s the inside:

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Quite expansive, I know.

Really, though, I don’t mind my small kitchen and its small appliances.  It could be smaller for sure.  And I can turn on the stove from the couch.  Major perk.  If only I could reach the fridge, we’d really be in business.

Anyway, on to food.  Today I tried some soy yogurt:

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Um.  Someone please tell me there’s a better kind.  Right?  There’s a better kind?  

I also made THE cookies from Betsy’s blog:

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These are for Chris because he is turning 30 on Monday.  Yikes!  I’m glad I’m not that old.

I hope he thought that was funny.

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Temptation

Look at what Chris brought home from Pittsburgh:

An entire box of chocolate covered pretzels and chocolate peanut butter covered pretzels.  And it’s deep.  There are like fifty packages or something crazy.  I already had a pack and a half yesterday, and I’m thinking about another right now.  I think it’s safe to say that I am in mucho trouble.

Do you like my Spanish?  Just a little word I picked up on vacation.  I am quite good at the languages.  I took French for seven years and I can just about introduce myself before I start stuttering.  Oh!  And I know that oui means yes. I know this because in Mexico I kept saying oui instead of si.  See what I mean?  Awesome at languages.

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Another Sunday night…blah!  That’s what I think about that.

Here’s the weekend eats:

On Friday, I didn’t get to post again because I ran out of time before I had to meet Chris for the movie.  But for lunch, I had some more of that Trader Joe’s vegan black bean soup mixed with some refried beans:

This is a random brand of beans, but obviously any kind would work.  The grocery store near my apartment has a bunch of stuff no one has ever heard of, but good luck finding standard grocery store things like ice cream and trash bags.  Not happening.  Anyway, here is my bowl of soup:

I used the whole can of soup and a couple spoonfuls of the beans.  And cheese. Obviously.

I brought a Z Bar to the movie, and then we went out to dinner to this old school Italian restaurant.  It was really good but I’m pretty sure my ravioli had at least four cups of cream sauce on it.  I had to do some scrapping action, but I eventually uncovered a little pasta.  Sorry, no pictures.

Moving on to Saturday.  Here is my lunch:

A leftover black bean burger that I made the other night, some grapes, cucumbers, and Sun Chips.  Good stuff.

I also picked up the infamous peanut butter cookie Larabar at Trader Joe’s, just to see what all the fuss was about:

Um.  I did not think this was very good – I actually didn’t even eat it.  It didn’t really taste like peanut butter to me.  I do admire the short ingredient list (peanuts, dates, salt) but I’d rather eat two tablespoons of straight up peanut butter and call it a day.  Maybe I’m just not a Larabar person, because I wasn’t a huge fan of the two other flavors I’ve had (cashew and chocolate mole, I think).  Are the fruit ones better?  Am I just a lost cause?

After dinner, I had some ice cream:

Which brings us to today, when I tried out this new soup for lunch:

It’s an Annie Chun’s Udon Soup Bowl with bok choy and shiitake mushrooms.  It was okay.  The noodles were good.  I added some more mushrooms, a chopped scallion, and some soy sauce, which helped.  But I wouldn’t buy it again.  Check this out:

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Hmm.  What do you think that is?  Do we want to know?  It was kind of scaly.  There were a lot of them.  It freaked me out.

Anyway, it also didn’t really fill me up, so a few hours later I was hungry again and I had some cereal with soy milk:

No seconds.  Small triumph.

But, um, some chocolate covered raisins:

More than I am showing here.  Probably another handful.

And that was my weekend, or the basics, anyway.

As for this week, we’re going to try a little something different.  I have a ton of work to do the next few days, and I don’t think I’m going to have time to blog my snacks.  And let’s be honest, you don’t need to see five days of Z bars, anyway.  So for the next week, I’m going to just blog dinner in the evenings.  I have some new things to make this week, and I made two new recipes last night and tonight that I’m going to write up and post tomorrow and Tuesday, because I won’t be home to cook or eat.

Actually, I may try to switch to this format permanently in the future, but we’ll see.  I’m open to comments about that. To be honest, I don’t really mindlessly snack anymore just because I’m home, so the blog has worked its magic!  Or, I learned some self control.  And that keeping chocolate covered pretzels in the house on a regular basis is a bad idea.  Probably, it was a combination of all three.

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One of the best Seinfeld episodes ever.  On right now.  Why are you still reading this?

Anyway, lots of snacks today.  I was hungry.

Pear this morning:

I am usually skeptical of Trader Joe’s pears, but these are actually good.

Grapes:

Not frozen.  Let me ask you a question – red or green?  Chris says red.  I think I prefer green.  Are red really sweeter, or is he just making things up again?

Z bar:

Fairly self-explanatory, I’d say.

And then for dinner, I made this random eggplant/pasta/mozzarella concoction:

I’d post the recipe, but that’s about it.  Cut up an eggplant into chunks, saute in a little olive oil, mix with some pasta sauce, 4 ounces or so of cooked penne, and about three ounces of fresh mozzarella.  Bake for 15 minutes.   Voila!

Here’s my plate:

And now I’m having a few chocolate chips:

I also had a random meringue and two chocolate covered raisins.  I was trying to decide what I wanted.  I like to test things out and see how I feel about them.

Good night!

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