Double Chocolate Macadamia Cookies

double chocolate macadamia nut cookies 2

After college I used to go to my parent’s house every Sunday to do my laundry. It wasn’t that I didn’t have laundry at my apartment, I was just terrified beyond belief of the laundry room beneath my apartment. When my roommate and I moved in, we looked at the dark dungeon of a laundry room and both gave it a definitive “no thanks.” I only used it a few times, and always in the middle of the day, and on my final trip I had a perfectly pleasant conversation with a man who had just moved in…which seems harmless enough looking back, but at the time I was convinced he was going to kidnap me. Yes, my mind is a weird place.

Anyway, my laundry room fear led to several cozy Sundays at my parent’s place. My sister would usually come over too, and we’d fight, as sisters do, over who got to put the first load in. While waiting for our laundry, we’d sometimes watch Grey’s Anatomy on the DVR, but usually we’d make cookies for my dad. Sure, my mom enjoys cookies (as long as they have “nothing weird” in them like peanut butter…crazy lady), but my dad is the one who really treasures baked goods. Now that my sister and I both live in places with in-unit laundry, our weekend baking adventures happen less often than my dad would like. When we do go to my parents place, my dad will inevitably come upstairs and say, “Are my girls baking me cookies? I haven’t had fresh cookies in so long…” Guilt.

A few weeks ago, this same scenario played out, but then my dad reached for a package of store-bought cookies. STORE BOUGHT! That’s what he’s succumbed to? I felt ashamed. It only got worse when he said, “Katie, give these a try. They’re really good.” Oh ARE they…We’ll see about that.

They were good. I hated them for it, but they were really good…disturbingly good, and of course full of the scary ingredients that come in store-bought cookies.

With my dad’s birthday coming up this Thursday, I decided to make him a batch of cookies that would at least keep him away from the store-bought variety for a few days. For this birthday treat, I put my own spin on those boxed white chocolate macadamia cookies he talked up so much. I wish I could say this “spin” was purely out of artistic inspiration, but in the same fashion that my sister and I usually make cookies at my parent’s place, I just went with what I had in my cupboards and made it work.
Continue reading

Sponsored Post Learn from the experts: Create a successful blog with our brand new courseThe WordPress.com Blog

WordPress.com is excited to announce our newest offering: a course just for beginning bloggers where you’ll learn everything you need to know about blogging from the most trusted experts in the industry. We have helped millions of blogs get up and running, we know what works, and we want you to to know everything we know. This course provides all the fundamental skills and inspiration you need to get your blog started, an interactive community forum, and content updated annually.

Vegetable Soup with Gouda Dumplings, aka “Dawson’s Dumps”

vegetable soup with cheese dumplings

This week’s theme is apparently television. After sucking dry every last bit of Revenge I could find last weekend, I just so happened to have a girl’s TV night with a couple of college friends this Monday. Not just any TV night either, but a Dawson’s Creek themed TV night (that might be the lamest sentence I’ve ever written). Dawson’s Creek held a lot of power over how I viewed the world in my late teens and early twenties. I blame it for [nearly] all of my overly-dramatic girl moments circa 2000-2008. Damn you, Joey Potter.

…but not really, cause I actually kind of love Joey Potter. And Pacey. Especially Pacey.

Early on in freshman year of college, a good friend and I discovered that we shared an equally embarrassing love of the teen drama; We knew every episode, we could quote the characters, and we even had Joey’s facial expressions nailed. Now, 8 years since we first bonded over our fascination, we finally have another friend who’s begun dabbling in Dawson’s life. When we got wind of our friend’s new Netflix go-to choice, we saw an opportunity for another [much needed] person to bond with over absurdly dramatic teen moments. For our Dawson’s Creek get-together, we decided to dive right into the heart of the drama when, at the end of season three, Joey and Pacey admit their feelings to each other (FINALLY OMG). This most-dysfunctional love triangle results with poor Dawson, that well-meaning boy with no lady luck whatsoever, getting dumped by his soul mate, and betrayed by his best friend.

With this theme in mind, we decided on a dinner of chunky vegetable soup topped with “Dawson’s Dumps.” Comforting and laden with puns, it seemed like the perfect meal to slurp up while watching Dawson’s heart get shattered into a million pieces…yet again.
Continue reading

Apple Banana Muffins with Brown Butter Cider Glaze

banana apple cider spice muffins

I’m not proud of what happened last week. Just a few short years ago, I was a poor post-college student with a TV that basically had no purpose. My roommate and I sometimes watched movies, but network television didn’t come in, and we were against (/couldn’t afford) getting cable or a new TV. Now that I’m in my mid twenties and [slightly] less poor, I’ve upgraded to fully-functioning TV with both cable AND Netflix (fancy, I know). After finishing up How I Met Your Mother (six seasons) and Keeping Up With The Kardashians (sorry, I know), I decided to give Revenge a try this past Tuesday. By Friday, I had surged through 13 episodes, by Saturday afternoon I had finished all 22 episodes of season 1. When 6:00 on Saturday night came around, I had my credit card out, ready to subscribe to Hulu so I could watch the first two episodes of the new season. I couldn’t stop.

In my defense, the boy and I had our first “hibernation day” of the season on Saturday. Even though it’s sad to watch the warmth drain away from Minnesota, the colder weather makes way for these perfectly lazy days: a Saturday or a Sunday where you do not leave the house, and instead stay holed up and hibernating. For instance, Saturday we slept until noon, and then I watched episode after episode of Revenge while he worked on the headboard for the bed he’s building us…we had different levels of productivity needs that day.

Although I’m in deep with my Revenge obsession, I realize it may have been a bad idea to start watching Revenge the same week that I finished reading Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. I now look at everything with a suspicious eye, finding conspiracy everywhere. After a few hours of straight TV on Saturday, I decided I needed an activity to keep my hands busy while my mind was taking in all the murder and mayhem. The boy requested I bake “something fall-ish” for our first hibernation day. I grabbed the leftover apple cider from our fridge, a honeycrisp apple, and got baking…with the TV still on in the background, obviously.
Continue reading

Crispy Red Lentil Garbanzo Burgers

chickpea red lentil burger open

In case you were wondering, I do realize that I’m a big pile of inconsistencies. I’ll eat peanut butter Nutella granola for breakfast nearly everyday, but justify it by mixing in ground flax and wheat germ. I’ll put brown butter in my pumpkin waffles, and top them with syrup, powdered sugar, and sometimes a bit of brown sugar as well, but convince myself that they make a balanced meal because they’re whole wheat. The funny thing is that when I’m not obsessing over sweets, I’m usually eating brussels sprouts and quinoa, or an absurdly huge salad with avocado and hummus (well, and a pretzel roll on the side). The way I see it, making healthy choices most of the time leaves room for naughtier choices other times (/for dessert every night). Logical, right?

Which brings me to these vibrant burger patties. This past Sunday, after returning from our two-year anniversary trip that included lots of delicious things, such as raspberry cream cheese turnovers and dark hot chocolate with pumpkin cream liquor, my body was yearning for some nutrients. Fortunately, a bag of split red lentils had been sitting in our pantry for a few months and were just begging to be used. When you cook red lentils, their texture leaves something to be desired, but their flavor remains awesome. So, I figured why not take that flavor, puree it with some chickpeas, coat it in panko, and make a sort of crispy falafel doppelgänger, if you will? Or a falafel relative of some sort? You know what I’m saying…whatever you want to call it, it’s pretty awesome. Especially if you put it on a pretzel roll (seriously, I have a problem).
Continue reading

No-Knead Whole Wheat Pretzel Rolls

whole wheat pretzel rolls

I have a bit of an obsession with pretzel rolls. As in, it’s borderline embarrassing. One summer when I lived with my parents, we used to frequent a restaurant that had a different type of bread basket every day of the week. Each time I set foot in those doors I wished and hoped and dreamed that it would be pretzel roll day. In fact, as soon as we sat down my dad would immediately say to the server, “Well, we know what Katie’s thinking…do you have pretzel rolls today?”

This conversation would be fine if I was referring to me at the age of 10 or younger, but nope, I was 18 when this started happening. Yes, I was a college student, home for the summer, so obsessed with pretzel rolls that her dad asked if they were available as soon as we were seated.

My fascination with the salty, airy rolls has only grown since then. I see pretzel rolls on a menu, I do an internal victory dance. I see pretzel rolls at the grocery store, and they’re immediately in my cart, without any memory of me even placing them there. Sadly, the grocery-store variety has failed to meet my high pretzel roll standards. After two recent disappointing purchases of spongey white bread with a misleadingly darker crust yet NO actual pretzel flavor, I decided to make my own pretzel roll dreams come true. Sure, I saw the danger in this choice, since I lack self control where pretzel rolls are concerned. For this reason, I chose to make them with whole wheat flour. Balance, baby. Salty, yeasty, chewy balance.
Continue reading