Chouquettes

This post should really be called “The Quirky Things You Did While You Were Alone In The Apartment For Two Weeks Of Spring Break.”

 

The list may or may not include:

– Trying to say the alphabet backwards while you’re waiting for the toaster to pop.

– Videotaping to see what you actually look like while head banging.

– Organizing your perfume bottles by scent.

– And then by size.

– And then putting them back how they were before.

– Learning the chords to awful(ly good) songs and pretending to be a pop star, aviators mandatory, towel-turban optional.

– Convince yourself (out loud, preferably), that’s it’s fine to eat chocolate-covered potato chips for breakfast.

– And lunch.

– Seeing just how big you can tease your hair and how much really obnoxious blue eyeshadow you can wear.*

 

Left to my own devices, I open 27 tabs in my internet browser, start 9 different projects, change songs approximately every 6.8 seconds, and walk around all morning looking like a slightly strung-out strumpet.

And so I made French pastries. It was good that I was alone the first time this happened. Because a talking-to-dough, big-haired, blue-eyesahdowed street stroller is not something that should be on public display. Ever.

I’m not going to lie. These stressed me out. I’m used to cookies and brownies and other predictable baked goods. These things puff up. They’re delicate. The remind you of tiny fancy bakery shops in the winding streets of cobble-stoned Paris (does Paris have cobble-stoned streets?). You may be inclined to lift your pinky finger while eating them. If you do, just go with it.

I made half of the batch using Belgian pearl sugar on top. I should have pressed it in more to the dough, because I watched through the window of the oven, horrified, as much of the sugar fell off during the “popping” process. There may have been cries and screams of agony.

Again, good thing I was home alone.

If you use the sugar, really go to town with it because it’s entirely possible you’ll have the same “problem” I did.

First world problem: The Belgian pearl sugar I put on my French pastries fell off during baking!

The other half of the batch I took David Lebovitz advice in his book The Sweet Life in Paris and added a handful of chocolate chips. Because. Just because. I still haven’t figured out if I was just supposed to press them on top, similar to the sugar, but I added them to the dough. This batch turned out so ugly, but there was chocolate. There are no pictures to prove that this actually happened.

If you choose to add chocolate chips, you may or may not eat the entire batch by yourself. Blue eyeliner suggested, but not required.

* A lot. That’s the answer to both of those questions.

[keep reading! there’s more here]


Manic Monday

Another Manic Monday post! In other news, so long, Spring break. School’s started back up.

Also pretty sure I just ate a cookie for breakfast. Totally acceptable back-to-school food. There was coffee in it.
Blame this curiosity on the fact that I work with 6-year-olds.

An adorable anniversary gift.

Rockin’ rockin’ band. “Mental Incarceration” has been playing on repeat. Check. It. Out.

Iced coffee season is starting! Dig in your couch for all that lost change.

Incredibly beautiful, incredibly temporary artwork.

Shape insults.

In the spirit of new beginnings: How Mad Men isn’t (or is) handling the subject of race.

Heat in Hoodies.

Anyone interested in throwing a Hunger Games party? Fighting to the death doesn’t HAVE to be included.

Sometimes life just needs more “air quotes.” (And sometimes you need them in cold weather, too)

(Photo by Anders Ruff Custom Designs)


(Irish) Whiskey Cookies

I own very few articles of green clothing. I never realized that until this past Saturday.

Who wears black on St. Patrick’s Day?

This girl, right here.

I know. I’m way late on this Irish stuff.

But, for a moment, let’s talk about St. Patrick’s Day in New York City.

Oh holy wow. People were lined up. At 8 am. Outside of a bar. That didn’t open until 10.

Maybe that’s dedication? Maybe it’s out of distain for their livers? Maybe they really want to get the most out of their Leprechaun garb?

Personally, I’m not really feeling the whole “beer-for-breakfast” thing. I’d rather have waffles. Or fries. Or leftover pizza. Or really, anything other than beer. I’m not opposed to a nice brunch drink next to your omelette, no. But when you replace meals with green-tinged grain beverages, we might have a problem.

But these cookies. Let’s talk about these cookies. These SO aren’t Irish whiskey cookies. I really wish I could say they were. I used Tennessee whiskey. You know why? Because it was cheaper. No joke. I wanted to taste the whiskey, but I also didn’t want to spend $40 on a good bottle that was going to be blended with chocolate chips and walnuts. It’s possible I missed out. It’s also possible that it was totally ok.

I don’t claim to be a whiskey connoisseur, by any means. I know when it’s bad and I (sometimes) know when it’s not as bad.

So, since these cookies really didn’t use Irish whiskey, it’s fine if they’re posted almost a week after the holiday.

We can just call them “whiskey cookies” and leave out the “St. Patrick’s Day” aspect.

They have chocolate. They have walnuts. They have booze. They have frosting.

The frosting almost didn’t happen. But because I’m incapable of not frosting something that COULD have frosting, it happened. It was worth it. Make the frosting. Because the recipe makes more than you’ll probably use on the cookies, so if nothing else, you’re left with some pretty decadent leftovers.

Oh! Also!

These cookies are vegan!

Bonus points!

Not to toot my own horn, or anything, but you SO wouldn’t be able to tell that these are vegan. I swear.

On the moon and the stars in the sky.

Yes, I swear.

I don’t need to talk these cookies up anymore. Tell people that they’re Irish. Don’t tell people that they’re vegan. Or ignore both pieces of advice and just enjoy them.

[keep reading! there’s more here]


Manic Monday

I spent Sunday on the couch. In my sweat pants.

No joke.

I feel no shame.

I may have also tried dipping chocolate Teddy Grahams into peanut butter. It was just one of those things that needed to happen.

No big deal.

Marilyn looking far more put together on her couch. [Image via Retronaut]

 

Cheaper, tastier, and more fun than buying at a store. Yes, please and thank you.

Advanced shadow puppets.

It might not be too late…

Maybe I need to consider these tips more seriously.

Hauntingly addictive.

This turns into a totally different song when it’s sung like this.

Apparently, we’re more similar to flies than previously thought.

Does it need to be St. Patrick’s Day to make homemade Bailey’s? Probably not.

A lonely letter.

What CAN’T you microwave?


Birthday crisp

March is a big birthday month, it seems.

Thanks, Facebook, for reminding me every time there’s a birthday. Because I definitely wouldn’t remember them all.

And then WHAT kind of a friend would I be? Sheesh. Especially because I can’t claim it’s due to my never-checking-Facebook problem. Because we all know that doesn’t exist.

One birthday that I have a hard time forgetting is my dad’s. I think that, of all the birthdays in March, that’s probably the best one to remember, right? I mean, the whole, “helping to give life to, raise, support, yadda yadda” stuff.

I think I remember because it’s the day before St. Patrick’s day, and everyone makes a big deal about of green beer.

I think I also remember because he begins to remind me a week before.

I do the same thing.

Apparently it’s in my genes.

For my dad’s birthday, I decided to make a dessert.

Not a cake. Because that’s not really his thang. So cupcakes were out, too.

A pie?

Ugh. Not sure I was up for rolling a pie crust on a Friday morning.

But! A crisp!

If there is an apple crisp on the menu, you can almost be certain that it will be given a second, third, and possibly fourth glance. I may question the genetics behind birthday countdowns, but I can say with absolutely certainty that my father passed the love for apple crisp on to me.

It worked out perfectly, too. Because, after all the warm, 75 degrees and sunny weather, the forecast for today was grey and rainy.

I totes planned it that way. Nothing makes gross weather ok quite like cinnamon does.

So, for the man who repeatedly taught me how to check the oil in my car, spends countless phone calls helping me with my taxes, made sure I was exposed to all the right music, could name the band, the instruments, AND sing the harmonies*, I give you a birthday crisp.

*Obviously, there was more stuff, too.

[keep reading! there’s more here]


Ginger Grapefruit Curd

I have a confession:

I’m on Spring break.

And it’s glorious. I’m not even gonna pretend. I’m so flipping excited to be able to take these next two weeks and do the things I’ve neglected since my last break in December.

Like get my hair cut. And hang up pictures in my room. And take my coat to the dry cleaners. And order a desk. And learn how to apply liquid eyeliner. And go on a hunt to find avocado milkshakes. And see the inside of the gym that I pay far too much money for each month.

Yes. These are the things I get excited about. These are the big things in life.

Part of me feels guilty. Like, who am I that I get to do nothing all day except find excuses to go outside and drink coffee and paint my nails an outrageous shade of turquoise?

Except!

There are others!

Who may or may not be on Spring break right now!

Doing this, too!

It’s amazing what you see in the city while you’re not at work in the middle of the day. Who are these people, what do they do, and how can I be like them? We’re clearly dealing with some jealousy issues right now. Two days into break and already I’m mourning my return to work.

One thing that my break will not contain?

The beach. Or palm trees. Or tropical drinks. Or bikinis.

Oh, goodness. For so many reasons, this break will not contain those things.

But! It will contain things that are sunny and bright and make me think of warmth and happiness.

Like this ginger grapefruit curd. Oh yes.

But can we be honest for a second? I’m all about honesty these days.

That word curd is awful. Whoever decided that this luscious treat should be called curd should reconsider. Because there are very few good associations with the word curd. Ick.

Another honesty moment? I kind of wish this curd was tangier. I wanted the almost-make-your-mouth-pucker taste of the grapefruit to come through. Something to experiment with, I guess.

Don’t get me wrong. This curd is still awesomely awesome spicy silky deliciousness.

It’s good on muffins, scones, cake, yogurt, a spoon, your finger. Anywhere, really.

[keep reading! there’s more here]


Manic Monday

I’m starting a new thing! How exciting!

It’s called Manic Monday. And yes, I have the song in my head right now. I hope you do, too. You’re welcome.

It’s going to be a list of 10 or so links from things I’ve found around the interweb. They’ll be posted on Monday. Hence, the name.

Cleaver, no?

… don’t respond to that.

I find lots of things and (usually) I want to share them with others. Because I’m a sharer like that. And I have a hard time keeping things to myself.

 

100 best first lines from novels  makes me want to read more. A lot more.

On the subject of books, I really want this one.

The 8 new cupcake shops in New York better provide something new and different. Because I’m picky.

I need to give this card to somebody. Soon. Seriously.

Sometimes love is bitter, yo.

I never get tired of this song.

Amazingly delicate.

Cute idea, but I don’t think I’d be able to stop at one. Is that a problem?

Anyone up for a trip?

All set for a brunch potluck now.