The End of Creativity

Um, I know. June ended like a week ago.

I have the last two days of creativity for you. 30 Days of Creativity challenged me more than I’d expected, especially after Michael pointed out that I cook every day anyway, so using that as the majority of my creativities was kind of cheating. The point of a challenge is to stretch yourself, right? Coming up with ideas wasn’t the hard part. It was finding the time to create after a long day of work and the budget to create. I am more excited about the ease of DIY projects, and I’ve found lots of inspiration on Pinterest.

So maybe this isn’t the end of creativity as we know it. I certainly feel fine.

Day 29

I revisited the coconut peach cookies, now renamed peachy colada cuffins (that’s cookie + muffin). Peaches have been added and pureed.

Day 30

Vegan raspberry muffins from ReadyMade. I love one thing about these muffins – they’re vegan. No butter and no milk. All whole-wheat flour. But I’ve made healthy, whole-wheat muffins before! The addition of silken tofu and the lack of sugar got my interest. I don’t know that I’d make them again considering they require buying tofu, but I have been enjoying them.

Lots of Days

The above muffin recipe makes 15 muffins. I cannot eat muffins that fast, so after three days I packed them into a large ziplock bag and stashed them in the freezer. Now, most mornings, I take one out, defrost it in the microwave, and make a smoothie (that’s 1 banana + handful of berries or peaches + spoonful of peanut butter + 4 spoonfuls of Greek yogurt/soy milk halfway up the fruit blended in blender). Perfect breakfast! Quick and easy, and can be eaten on the go.

I have lots of music posts coming up now that creativity has ended. Summertime music is here!

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Day 12 – 36 Hour Chocolate Chip Cookies

Long week. Glad it’s over, but it’s not really over. Glad I have a wonderful and supportive boyfriend. Glad I can support my mom. Not glad the last time I saw my grandmother was two years ago. Distance sucks. I’m not quite sure what else to say right now. I think I’m going to miss my Oma though.

Chocolate chip cookies – a classic comfort food.

Chocolate chip cookies, you gotta have more
You can bake them in the oven or buy them at the store
But whatever you do have them ready at the door
And I’ll love you til I die, boom, boom, boom

That’s gotta be Michael’s anthem.

In our quest for the perfect chocolate chip cookies, I came across a recipe published in the New York Times in 2008. The gist of the article that accompanied it was that in order to get a truly flavorful chocolate chip cookie, you must let the dough rest in the refrigerator for 36 hours. The resting time allows the eggs, the hydrating ingredient in cookies, to really penetrate the dry ingredients. You must pay attention to the size, because, well, it matters. Large cookies allow for three textures – a crisp outer edge, a soft center, and a small space where the two meld together in a ring. Please also use salt. Salt enhances sweet like no other. Trust this. And use disc-shaped chips. Ghirardelli 60% cacao bittersweet chips are a larger, disc shape.

So, was the 36 hour wait worth it? Well, Michael, the very picky judge, claims these are addicting and good. My brother claims they are more flavorful. I ate five yesterday.

The recipe suggests baking for 18-20 minutes. I had never heard of cookies baking for that long, so I punched 10 minutes into my timer for the first batch. When it beeped, the cookies were very ready to come out. In fact I shortened the baking time to 8 minutes for the rest, rotating the sheets at 4 minutes.

Also, don’t be scared by cake flour. Mix 1 cup all-purpose flour with 1 tablespoon of cornstartch and you have one cup of cake flour.

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Day 7 – Peachy Coconut Cookies

Just looking at the name of these cookies makes me think SUMMER SUMMER SUMMER! I almost cried when I spotted peaches on the list of produce I could get in my grocery bin last week. Peaches mean summer is here! Another hint may be the 90+ degree weather we’re having.

Anyway, my first instinct was to make a blueberry-peach pie. But Michael is out of town this week and I didn’t want him to miss out on one of my favorite pies. Plus the blueberries may have jumped into a few breakfast smoothies. It’s like they wanted me to do something healthy with them, the buggers.

About a month ago I marked a peach sugar cookie recipe on A Beautiful Mess. The cookies photographed were decorated so gorgeously with pastel-colored coconut that I couldn’t resist. But alas, no peaches yet for me. Until day 7 of Creative Fun Month!

Conveniently enough, today is a co-worker’s birthday. So I settled into the kitchen last night with Joy the Baker’s latest podcast and a beer. And so a mouthful of summertime prettiness was created!

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Ginger Chocolate Cookies

These past few weeks I’ve been too exhausted to cook or even really bake much. I’ve been eating out with my parents, eating over at my parents’ house, eating with my girlfriends, and sometimes throwing something together at home. I’m sure you know the feeling. Work is overwhelming, your personal life is a roller coaster, and standing in the kitchen becomes a chore rather than a joy. No one ever told me that being a beginning grown-up was so hard and tiring! Your college diploma should come with a big warning label: Hard times ahead. Forget staying up late to party or study. You won’t be able to make it past 10:30pm lots of nights. You think being independent will be cool and will involve having fancy drinks at fancy bars, buying awesome clothes, and decorating your first real apartment? Think again and this time include bills, rent, credit cards, food for your pets, gas money, food for yourself…and then swear that the only time you’ll look at your bank account is when you need a good cry. Oh and balancing your personal and work lives? They overlap. Work seeps into personal time, even if you don’t work long hours. It affects your personal relationships. Just…be prepared.

OK, so enough with the bitching about being a grown-up. The good part is that if you do come home from work one day and are craving cookies like woah, you can make a batch of cookies if you damn well please.

And these ginger chocolate cookies are the ones you should probably make. That’s what I did one Friday about a month ago. (shut up, I know I’m behind on posting!) They’re hella easy and you most likely have everything in your house.

Chocolate and brown sugar make cookies magical

(You may not have molasses, but you should probably buy some and keep your cabinet stocked with it always. It adds amazing depth and flavor to baked goods.) Kind of like chocolate chip cookies with a fantastic kick.

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I Lurrrve You

A list of my Right Now Loves

  • Conan O’Brien’s tweets, particularly “I just learned that retweets of my Bieber tweet mentioning Bieber actually help Bieber. Bieber, you’re a worthy foe. Bieber.” I also love Conan’s new beard. Oh what the hell, I LOVE CONAN O’BRIEN!
  • Spoon’s SXSW show (
  • Lady rocker Rachel Flotard and her band called Visqueen. Please take a moment to enjoy “Hand Me Down.” 
  • Spring having sprung! Warm weather is here, though who knows if she’ll stay. Windows are open, Mira is sunbathing in any and every sunny spot she can find, long walks are being taken, bike will be fixed up.
  • Six days until our Raleigh visit! I can hardly believe that two and a half years have passed since I moved from Raleigh back to Indy. This visit is long overdue. Hilary, Bette, and I will be reunited. Adam will enjoy North Carolina so much that we will not come home. (At least that’s how it goes in my mind…) I don’t have a whole lot of places to revisit or things I very much want to do. I just really want to see my friends, eat some Cookout, and go to a few choice bars. The fun I remember having the year I lived there really comes from just having really awesome friends.
  • Molasses chip cookies, which I would like to morph into cherry molasses chip cookies. (recipe to follow after jump.)
  • Plans to run the Race for the Cure this year instead of walking with the girls.

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Something New

I’ve been telling myself for awhile that I need to start writing on my blog again, but the idea of just rambling about my life seemed fairly unappealing. So I’ve decided to dedicate my “new” blog to two of my loves: food and music. OK, no long-winded introductions to the food and songs in my life.

I’m going to start with a recipe Adam and I made for dinner a few days ago. I try not to eat too much meat. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE my burgers, steak, and chicken. I just can’t handle a lot. In lieu of “real” meat, I decided to make some fish, specifically salmon. I found this recipe is from Gourmet, April 2005, Wild Salmon with Pearl Couscous, slow-roasted tomatoes, and lemon oregano oil. OK, I know, with a name as confusing as that, why on earth did I decide to make the friggin stuff? Well the ingredients aren’t that weird. I usually have most of them in my apartment. First of all, we halved the recipe. (there was still couscous left over which I inhaled cold the next day for lunch while watching Friends.) Second, you’re supposed to roast the tomatoes for 2ish hours. There’s no way that on a week night, I can wait for 2 hours to eat after I get home while tomatoes roast. I have very little self-control or patience. So we sauted the red bitches and then popped them in the oven with the salmon for five minutes. I really liked the sharp lemon and tomato flavors with the fish. Four stars.

Next, GUSTER. Guster has been my favorite band since freshman year of college, though I first saw them open for Barenaked Ladies in high school in 2000. I’ve traveled to quite a few of their concerts in college and after even. The music is good, solid, catchy, sometimes deep sometimes silly, and, for me, like a favorite old tshirt. So when I hear that they were touring in honor of 10 years since the release/tour of their first big label album Lost and Gone Forever, I almost peed my pants. They were going to play through the whole album, plus another set. I bought tickets to the show in Cincinnati, my tenth Guster show. Let me just tell you, it was great. GREAT. They walked on stage, started playing “Diane,” and I felt like I had suddenly been reunited with four of my old friends. I sang to every song (except for the two new ones they played). So, check out Guster if you haven’t already.

OK, I also just took a bite of my first potato chip cookie ever and I have to report. Because, seriously, POTATO CHIP cookies? WTF? Adam’s mom gave me the recipe and I was seriously doubtful. They’re actually pretty good though. Chewy because of the oatmeal, and a nice mix of sweet and salty. Kind of like the dough for chocolate chip cookies, but without the chips…well chocolate chips. I have been proved wrong. And so ridiculously easy to make. Here, why not, you try them too. I think that when I make them next time though, I might cut back on the sugar just a bit. They’re veeeerrry sweet cookies.

Potato Chip Cookies
recipe from Debbie Coffin

1 cup butter
1 cup white sugar
2 cups oatmeal
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups crushed potato chips (I suggest Lays classic, no ridges)

Preheat the oven to 350.
Mix the butter and sugars together in a large bowl.
Add the dry ingredients and mix.
Add the eggs and vanilla and mix yet again.
Bake for 10-12 minutes.
BAM.

And now Mira is begging me to play with her jeans with her.