Cookie Overdose

Yesterday was such a treat! I got to take a nice, much needed study break to socialize with other blogger at a cookie exchange. I definitely ODed but it was totally worth it!

Why, yes. There were 6 people but we managed to produce 9 types of cookies. It’s how blogger roll. Also notice the lone cheese plate and veggie plate. You need something to chase the cookies with, right? I already know Kaitlin and Andy & Amanda. I also met Kaitlin’s roommate Mark and Melissa from Trying to Heal.

And the cookies? Amazing!

My peanut butter cookies from the Flour Cookbook

From left to right: Dough balls by Kaitlin, orange chocolate cookies by Mark, smore cookies by Kaitlin, behind that you can see brie (!), and in the corner the cutest mini chocolate chip oatmeal cookies ever by Amanda & Andy.

There was also peppermint bark by Melissa! All the cookies were amazing this might have been my favorite of the afternoon.

The last batch!

Lemon and strawberry wippersnappers by Melissa, and finally almond Cinnamon cookies by Kaitlin. Whew.

We ate cookies and chatted for three hours! Time flies when you’re having fun. It was great chatting with some awesome blogger (I guess now we’re friends) and eating!

Group pic! Thanks to Kaitlin for hosting and for letting me steal this photo!

Kaitlin’s house is totally decked out for the holidays and she has a real tree, named Douglass because he is a Douglass Fir obvi. This inspired me to get my tree out tonight! I had a 6 hour long final and after I was exhausted but I managed to find the energy to decorate.

I told Izzy that if she wore the Santa hat she could have a treat but she wasn’t interested so just stuck to setting up the tree.

Why yes, my tree is silver and mini and fake. It doesn’t have a name yet but I am open to suggestions!

My favorite part of the tree are the ornaments. Every year growing up my Mom would give my brother and I an ornament as a gift that reflected what happened in our lives that year. Last year was my first year in my own apartment and my Mom sent me some. Last year I got surfing Santa.

So cute! My other favs are my Frango Mint ornament (you understand that if you’re from Chicago), Raggedy Ann ornament, Starbucks cup ornament, martini glass ornament, Clara from the Nutcracker, skating ornament, and my ornament with my Senior quote from high school on it. “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams”, in case you were curious.

I also hung a wreath and Christmasfied my dining table:

Don’t you just love the holidays?

And now an announcement!

As readers know, I recently ran the Malibu Half Marathon and loved it! Running is definitely a long term hobby for me and I have been thinking about what race I want to run next. Well, I am ready to announce, my next race will be the Rock n Roll Half Marathon in San Diego! The race is in early June and several other bloggers are planning on running. It should be a pretty fun time. Since Malibu I have averaged between 10 and 17 miles a week. I am very glad I don’t have training pressure during finals but I am excited to run in another race! After the holidays I will post a training plan. Since this will be my second half I will probably complete more long runs. I am very excited, and I hope you are too!

Finals Day 6

Cookies consumed: Countless (+1)

Bagels consumed: 3

YouTube videos watched: 7

Finals taken: 1 (but it was the longest one! Wahoo!)

Back at it

How was everyone’s Thanksgiving?

Mine was awesome! I took Thursday and Friday 100% totally OFF. I didn’t read, I didn’t outline, and I didn’t blog. All I did was hang out with Catie and her family, ate good food, gave thanks, watched movies, shopped and put my feet up. It felt gooooooood. Sometimes you just want a day or two off. Saturday I got home and ran errands, organized my life, studied and crashed really early.

Good thing too, because guess what tomorrow is? The last day of classes. This is both good and bad. Its great because I will have a lot of very unstructured time, it means the semester is almost over and I’m almost half way done with law school (gah! I can’t even believe it). It also means I have finals. Boo.

Here is what we have to look forward to:

Yup, it all ends on the 16th. Can’t wait!

Tonight I made a very healthy recipe from the Skinny Bitch cookbook: Leek and Sweet Potato Casserole. Casseroles are great when it is chilly. Yes, it was only 55 degrees today. I realize there was a wind chill of 9 in Chicago on Thanksgiving, but I don’t want to hear it. My blood has officially thinned out and a high of 54 is cold. Casseroles reheat well, which is good when you anticipate being short of time. And I really love sweet potatoes. Any excuse, right?

3 leeks. 2 sweet potatoes.

Sliced.

Sauteed (with salt, pepper, rosemary, and garlic).

Arrange (potato, leek, potato). Top with panko. Add vegetable broth. Bake at 400 for 30 mins.

Yes, I added a thin layer of Swiss. I realize that this isn’t vegan or part of the skinny bitch recipe but I ran 8 miles today and I wanted some cheese. Deal with it.

This was a great, easy casserole. Another reason I like Skinny Bitch is that she lists all the nutritional information after all of her recipes. One serving of this is only 280 calories! It probably ended up being more per serving because I added a little bit of cheese. I ate slightly more than one serving because of the aforementioned run. This was a fantastic dinner and I am already looking forward to the leftovers! Definitely a dish worth repeating.

Hope everyone had an awesome holiday weekend!

Things are about to get serious…

So a few days ago I confidently announced that there are no dishes that scare me. I think its true. I see complicated dishes as a challenge and I’ve always loved a challenge. I mean, hell, I’m in law school. I’m not sure why ‘almond flour’ translates into hardcore in my mind, but it does. Today I spent $9 on almond flour (you win again Whole Foods!) and tomorrow I am attempting a fabu dessert from the Flour Cookbook. The recipe has homemade frangipane and pate brisee. The names are French which makes them sound intense. I am a little but nervous but mostly excited.

Stay tuned for some baking magic…

Cheddar and Scallion Scones

Another day, another amazing creation from the Flour Cookbook. These scones are delicious and super easy to make!

It’s as simple as combining the dry ingredients…

combining all the wet ingredients…

I am having a love affair with Creme Fraiche. So much more amazing than sour cream!

Combining the two together and placing them on a baking dish is a circle…

Brushing with yoke…

Wipe the drool with your apron…

and bake. Wait and wait and wait while your apartment starts to smell like cheese. These babies smell ah-maz-ing! And then, they are ready. Everybody out of the oven.

Again, wipe the drool off with your apron. Cut them up and enjoy the best breakfast ever.

This scone is really very light and had cheese melted in the middle. Does it get any better than that? Nope. I am surprised by how easy the recipes in the Flour Cookbook really are.


The treats are special and decadent but totally do able. It just goes to show how little ingredients, like creme fraiche, can make a dish unique and even more delicious.

Melted cheese, soft interior, and crispy crust.

I realize that this is like foodie torture, making such a good savory breakfast item and not sharing the recipe. There is a cure! Order the book and make them for yourself!

I am off to a pumpkin patch so that I can pretend like its really fall! Hope ya’ll are having a happy Sunday!

And then there were cookies…

As I announced yesterday, I got the Flour Cookbook in the mail. After scanning it I realized that I have to stock up on some basics (like milk, cream, cake flour). I did however have all the ingredients for peanut butter cookies…

I am not going to post the recipe. The book just came out and I want to entice you to buy it!

I will however, share beautiful pictures of butter.

Last night I gathered my ingredients, quietly stood barefoot in my kitchen at 10:30 pm and made these cookies. I have had them many times in Boston and was excited to reproduce them in LA.


Am I the only person out there who thinks the patterns hand held beaters make in batter are beautiful? I hope not.

Exhibit A:

Exhibit B:

Exhibit C:

The dough had to chill so I put it away for the night at cooked these puppies at 8 am this morning.

I let them bake while I read for Evidence and then at 8:30 I ate a cookie and had a photo shoot.

I normally have peanut butter toast or oatmeal for breakfast so why not a peanut butter cookie, right?

Don’t worry, I had wonderful green things at lunch and dinner. One cannot live on a diet of cookies alone. Lord knows I would like to try. Plus, I had no trouble unloading these puppies at school.

Chewy, thick, buttery and delicious. The ratio of peanut butter to butter, sugar, flour and egg is, dare I say it? Perfect? It is.

Have I convinced you that you must buy this cookbook yet? Don’t worry. I’ll be back with more temptation this weekend. Muhahaha.

Quick announcement: One month from right now I will have completed my first Half Marathon! Eek! So excited for all the calorie replenishing I cannot even tell you.

Project Food Blog Round 2- The Classics

When I read the prompt for round 2 of Project Food Blog I knew exactly which culture I wanted to draw from…

It had to be Turkey! I traveled to Turkey last summer and fell in love with the country. From Istanbul to Ephesus, I loved everything about Turkey. I saw ancient ruins, beautiful mosques, and went wild in the Spice Market.

More than anything, I loved the food! Lets be real, any culture where it is encouraged to eat cheese for breakfast is fantastic. I ate tons of eggplant, hummus, thick yogurt, cucumbers, lamb, beef, cheese, nuts, olives, and of course baklava!

After returning from Turkey I missed the food, but never attempted to recreate it myself. Well, the time has come and I decided to make baklava!

What I love about baklava is that there are so many ways to customize it to your tastes. I decided to make pistachio, walnuts, and walnuts with dates because the only thing I miss more than baklava are Turkish delights. The ingredients for this recipe are almost all local. The only ingredients that aren’t local are the sugar, nutmeg, and the phyllo dough. Yesterday morning I went to the Santa Monica Organic Farmer’s Market to pick up my ingredients and then I set off to making baklava!

To save money I bought whole walnuts and then chopped them myself.

After consulting with the honey man at the farmers market I decided to use orange blossom honey in my baklava.

Delicious honey syrup!

Mid way through construction…

and all together:

Delicious, mouth watering, and sticky sweet.

Yes, I ate all three. I have no self control when it comes to phyllo, nuts, sugar and honey.

Are you convinced that you have to make this right now?

Baklava

Sauce:

1 cup water

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup orange blossom honey

1 tablespoon lemon juice (from the lemon)

1/2 teaspoon Saigon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon of grated nutmeg

Baklava

3 cups of chopped nuts (I used 2 cups walnuts, 1 cup pistachio)

1/4 cup sugar (divided between the nuts)

1 teaspoon Saigon cinnamon (again, divided between the nuts)

8 oz. phyllo dough

3/4 cup melted butter

1 small hand full of dates, chopped, make sure there are no pits

For the sauce

Combine the water and the sugar and bring to a boil. Once boiling reduce the heat to low and simmer for 15 mins. After 15 mins take off the heat and combine honey, nutmeg, cinnamon, and lemon juice. Return to medium heat and cook for 5 mins, stirring throughout. Take off the heat and cool completely to room temperature. Set aside.

For baklava:

Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees. Combine the chopped nuts with the sugar and the cinnamon. Stir and set aside.

Melt the butter. Unroll the phyllo dough. Be careful! Keep the dough covered with damp towels at all times or it will dry out! I used a casserole dish that is the same size as the phyllo dough. If yours isn’t the same size you will want to cut it down. Lay a layer of phyllo dough in the dish and brush the melted butter on the sheet. I used by fingers, it was like finger painting with butter!  Repeat this 4 times alternating butter and phyllo. Then, layer half of the nuts and dates as you wish! Continue layering the phyllo with the melted butter for two more layers. After adding two more layers of butter and phyllo add the second half of the dates and nuts. Top with four more layers of butter and phyllo dough. Make sure that you generously apply butter to the top layer of the phyllo dough.

Cut into slices with a serrated knife. You must do this before cooking because you will be unable to cut it afterwords. Bake for 30 mins.

Once the baklava is done baking take it out of the oven and pour the cooled syrup over the baklava. Let the baklava cool completely.

Enjoy and afiyet olsun!

Boozy Dark Chocolate Orange Chunk Cookies

A few weeks ago I had a thought. I love cocktails. I love chocolate. I love orange. Why haven’t I combined all three yet? I had no good answer. So I promptly came up with this cookie recipe.

I gathered my ingredients and started by combining flour, salt and baking soda in a bowl. First things first, measure out the flour and sift it with a whisk. The whisking breaks up any of the flour that is clumping. 2 and a quarter cups!Make sure that the flour is even!

Once you have the flour, add the salt (teaspoon).

And baking powder.

Mix the three and set it aside.

Now you must must must brown the butter! Two sticks please!

Drool. Combine with brown sugar (1 cup) and mix well.

Then add a half cup of granulated sugar.

Next add two eggs, vanilla, and Contreau (the booze!)

Mix again until they are fully combined.

Now combine the flour mixture in three parts.

Make sure that it is mixed well.

Once it is well mixed, zest an orange and combine to the mixture. I zest using a micoplane, which is the best kitchen utensil ever. Although some, I hear are partial to the spoon-hula (right Committee ladies?)

After zesting the orange take two Ghirardelli bars (dark chocolate), break them up with a knife and combine.

Mix it up, put some saran around it and pop it in the fridge for several hours. Go on a run or something because you will be eating a ton of cookies in the very near future.

After the dough is sufficiently cold take it out. Pre heat the oven to 350 and get those cookies on the pan!

Bake these puppies for 10-12 mins. Enjoy the scent and pretty soon, out they come!

Chewy, delicious, and fragrant. Orange, dark chocolate fantasticness!

They didn’t last long. These are the ultimate Left Coast Contessa cookies. Boozy, rich, and chocolaty.

One last time, make sure you vote for me at Project Food Blog. Only one day left!

What I'm eating this week

Greetings! Today I made a farmers market run…

Radish, only $1.00 a bunch!

And because they were only $2.00 a bunch…

I love hydrangeas! I got busy today baking these cookies, running errands, and picking up my number for tomorrows race! I am excited for my first race. After than I am going to plan out my 1/2 marathon training schedule. Off to a BBQ & happy weekend!

What I’m eating this week

Greetings! Today I made a farmers market run…

Radish, only $1.00 a bunch!

And because they were only $2.00 a bunch…

I love hydrangeas! I got busy today baking these cookies, running errands, and picking up my number for tomorrows race! I am excited for my first race. After than I am going to plan out my 1/2 marathon training schedule. Off to a BBQ & happy weekend!

Put Some Ice On It

First order of business

This suped up version of Paula Deen Brown Sugar Chewies were a big hit at work today. Non profits love free baked goodies. The cake was moist and spicy because of the nutmeg and Saigon Cinn. Will be making these again at some point.

Today was another crappy day. It actually rained today which is kinda unheard of for So Cal in the summer. Ok, by “rain” I mean that it misted enough for me to put the wipers on the lowest setting. Between the overcast weather and being a bit hormone whacked at the moment I kinda had another gucky overly tired day. Positives from today? Free iced tea day at Coffee Bean and while I was at coffee bean I spotted this truck!

Dainty Cakes sounds like it would be right up my ally, right? I have to get this dessert truck thing under control because roaming cupcake trucks are SO TEMPTING! Of course, I got a cupcake. I’m human and my mood was mediocre.

Can I just say that the frosting was incredible. It was super light butter cream and you could tell it was made with tons of butter. It tasted totally homemade.

However, I will say that the cake part was not exactly “dainty”. It was cakey, not very moist and really tasted like it was from a box. I am not totally positive that it was, but it was a bit heavy compared to other cupcakes I’ve had. This is also surprising because the frosting was so amazing and homemade tasting. Either way, it was worth the calories but I was still in a bit of a funk…

Best cure? Working out! I went on a 2 mile run to the UCLA stairs which I went up and down 5 times and then ran about 3/4 miles home. I also did some weights, triceps dips, and crunches. It energized me and boosted my mood. However, my right knee didn’t love it. I had some pain so I decided to put some ice on it.

Its already feeling better, but tomorrow is for sure going to be a yoga day.

Dinner tonight was a veggie a thon because I wasn’t that hungry after my supervisor approved hour and a half long lunch/ oogling the Spain Soccer Team break. I had a chicken sandwich on wheat for lunch but I forgot to order without mayo. I forgot how glorious mayo kinda is… don’t get me wrong, I love replacing with avocado but mayo was kinda a special treat! So for dinner I went light…

I made even more veg then you see here so I have something to enjoy with lunch tomorrow!

And my potato “chips”

LOVING farmers market potatoes. Look at all the pretty colors! Delicious.

OK so “negativity off, positivity on!” Extra credit to those that can identify the show where I altered that phrase from…