it’s called being a disaster

Hello! 

I bet you thought I died.  I didn’t.  Not really, anyway, but my baking and social life have.  It’s finals week for me which means all available brain cells are focused on not failing.  And Husband and I have made some big career and life decisions recently which took a lot of our focus.  I’ve been busy and working and just plain old tired.  These are all excuses for why I haven’t seen the inside of my kitchen in the last two weeks.  Poor Husband has been taking over cooking duty which means firing up the grill. And oh my!  That dude can grill!  We have had the most amazing fish, chicken, pork, steaks, you name it.  I keep trying to talk him into doing a grilling post for the blog but no luck so far.

All of the busyness has meant that I usually don’t put as much effort into things as I should.  Leading to shortcuts like just flipping the couch cushions instead of removing the chalkboard paint I that was on my pants and is now on the couch (more on that project later).

Me: There! Problem solved!
Husband: No, not problem solved. Problem stalled.
Me: Whatever. Same thing.
Husband: No, no it isn’t. This kind of behavior is how you get yourself into ridiculous situations.
Me: I call it being fun and spontaneous.
Husband: Wrong. It’s called being a disaster.
Me: Okay.……but can you help me with this?
Husband: No. Be “fun and spontaneous” all by yourself.

Ugh. Why is he so much smarter than I am?!

And…..drumroll please….the blog is getting a facelift and some new features soon thanks to the amazing and beautiful Bobbi at Ready to Blog.  I’m pretty excited to get everything wrapped up and show off all of her hard work.  Because, let’s face it, we all know I can barely type my own name and there’s no way I could do anything like this by myself.  Stay tuned for awesome!

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once upon a time

Here’s a little story from my kitchen to yours:

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Once upon a time in a kitchen far, far away, a little baker put on her apron and a pot of coffee and got ready for some baking. She was so excited because this was going to be a great day. She was trying a new recipe for gluten-free chocolate cookies and company was coming over for dinner. All of her favorite things!

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So she whipped and mixed and baked. And whipped and mixed and baked again. Hmmmm….this little baker was confused. Her cookies didn’t look at all like the cookies in the picture. Hers were just goo. She sampled and tasted and found them yummy but not at all like the cookies she had envisioned. Company was coming soon and she didn’t have any cookies to serve them! This had never happened to her before! What was a little baker to do?

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“Chocolate chip cookies,” she thought, “I can’t mess those up!” So she rushed and mixed and whipped up her favorite chocolate chip cookie dough. Now she had two batches of dough but still no cookies! The fudgy dough she had was too delicious to throw out but she didn’t know what to do with it.

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Then the little baker had an idea: MOLTEN CHOCOLATE COOKIES! The fudge dough needed to be inside the chocolate chip cookie dough. It would be perfect!

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She thought of two ways to do it: like traditional cookies where she rolled the chocolate chip dough around the fudge, or make them in layers in a mini muffin tin, which was even better!

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The smell of baking cookies filled the kitchen and all was right in the world of the little baker. They were golden brown just as the company walked in the door. The little baker served her cookies and then took off her apron.

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When she turned back around, the cookies were gone! But everyone’s tummies lived happily ever after.

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molten chocolate cookies

baker’s note: since these happened by accident, you’ll probably want to find a less complicated way to make the chocolate fudge but this way turned out delicious. Just saying…

chocolate “fudge”: (from divine baking)
1 C bittersweet chocolate chips
2 Tbsp Kahlua
2 tsp instant coffee
2 egg whites
1 C powdered sugar
1/3 C dark cocoa
1 Tbsp cornstarch
pinch salt

1. Melt chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl in microwave. Stir in Kahlua and instant coffee. Blend until coffee is dissolved and cool slightly.
2. Using electric mixer, beat whites in large bowl to soft peaks. Gradually beat in 1 cup sugar. Continue beating until mixture is shiny and resembles soft marshmallow creme.
3. Whisk together powdered sugar, cocoa, cornstarch, and salt in medium bowl to blend. On low speed, beat dry ingredients into meringue.
4. Stir in lukewarm chocolate mixture.
5. Refrigerate dough until ready for assembly.

chocolate chip cookies:
I recently changed my chocolate chip cookie recipe from my standard Toll House favorite to the recipe from My Baking Addiction because I love the cake flour. Head on over here for the recipe and directions. You won’t regret it!

assembly:
1. Preheat oven to 350. Grease and flour mini muffin tin.
2. Press approx 1 tsp of chocolate chip cookie dough into bottom of each well.
3. Place a ball of fudge on top, about 1/4 tsp
4. Roll about 1/2 to 1 tsp of chocolate chip cookie dough into a ball and place on top. DO NOT FLATTEN. Unorthodox, yes but this is important so that your “cookies” don’t sink in the middle.
5. Bake at 350 for 10-13 minutes or until starting to brown. Allow to cool in pan for 3 minutes then move to wire rack to finish cooling.

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lean to the left

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Husband is the most precious thing ever but sometimes his communication skills leave me shaking my head. He has a habit of opening his mouth in the middle of his thoughts, leaving me really confused about what the topic of conversation actually is.

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Mostly I think it’s just that his brain moves so much faster than his mouth. Speaking of brains, his is enormous and housed in a giant head which gets pretty heavy for him and thus his poor melon always leans to the left.

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While laying in bed watching a movie…

(silence)

Husband:I mean, I guess that would be okay.

Me: What would be okay?

Husband: For tomorrow.

Me: Context, please.

Husband: We’ll have to drive two cars to work tomorrow.

Me: Thanks for filling me in, I was a little behind. This happens a lot.

Husband: I was just having a conversation with myself but I guess it happened out loud.

Me: I guess it did.

Husband: That happened to me all the time as a kid, too. We’d be sitting around the dinner table and all of the sudden, everyone would tilt their heads and look at me. That’s how I’d know when to stop talking: everyone leans their head to the left.

Me: (dying laughing) It’s so true!

Husband: Either that or they just always tilted their heads to make me feel better about mine always leaning to the left.

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Sometimes his random thoughts are pretty amazing, like these cookies. Driving home from church today, he blurted “That would be awesome!” Reverse engineering the conversation led to the creation of these “Twix” cookies. Win for him and Husband gets all of the credit for these “miraculous bites of heaven” (his description). Although there aren’t any actual Twix in the cookies, they sure do taste like one!

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twix cookies

1 C butter, softened
1/4 C pure cane white sugar
1/3 C pure cane brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 C flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 C mini chocolate chips
1/4 C caramel pieces, chopped
Rolo candies

1. Cream together butter, sugars, and vanilla.
2. Gradually add in flour, baking powder, and salt.
3. I didn’t have any mini chocolate chips so I threw regular-sized ones and the caramel bits in the food processor and “chopped” them. Whatever you do, this is the step where they go in the dough.
4. Refrigerate dough for at least 30 minutes. This is the hard part!
5. Preheat oven to 325°; unwrap Rolo candies. The step reminds me of why I need children: my hands are too clumsy for candy unwrapping. Growing up, Dad always made us unwrap the Hershey’s kisses and now I understand why.
6. Roll about one Tbsp of chilled dough around a Rolo and place on cookie sheet.
7. Bake at 325° for 12-15 minutes.
8. Let rest on cookie sheet for 2 minutes then feed to Husband.

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words

Sorry for all of the mushy posts lately…I have a batch dough for these unusual cookies currently cooling in the fridge and will let you know how they turn out soon. In the meantime you get to hear more about me and Husband. Lucky you.

Since we’ve spent a fair bit of our short marriage apart, our letter-writing and card-making skills are pretty stellar. There’s something about getting a letter in the mail or a note in my gym bag that just really makes my day. So cards are a pretty substantial part of our marriage.

Sometimes it’s an invitation…

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And sometimes it’s just a statement.

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Sometimes we have a lot to say… (Okay, that’s usually just me.)

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And sometimes not much at all.

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Sometimes they’re silly… (Actually that’s most of the time.)

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And sometimes they’re sweet.

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This is my very favorite one. Oddly enough I was touched by his portrayal of me. Even if my eyes aren’t the same size.

Sometimes they come from a store…

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And sometimes they come from the imagination.

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Sometimes they’re complex…

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It was love at first sight. Husband’s first card to me was this one at Christmas. In case you can’t see it, he’s throwing me off a cliff.

And sometimes they’re simple.

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Sometimes they say “I love you”

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And sometimes they say “I’m sorry.”

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All these awesome cards pile up though. They’re meaningful and we love going back and looking at the story that they tell about us but when they’re piled in a shoebox, they’re not very accessible. I had five minutes today so decided to make a little book out of them to keep on our coffee table. Using a two hole punch is easy-ish and I punched holes in each card and clipped them together with rings.

20120609-214122.jpgFor the cover, I made a little picture out of cardstock. I’m sure there is something really professional-looking you can do with a computer but that’s way out of my league. I’m still into crayons and construction paper.

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The plan was to laminate it but I couldn’t find the laminating sheets so that’ll happen another time. Or never, if I know myself.

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I would like to say that I’m the prime card-maker of the family but that award goes to Husband, hands-down. He is an excellent artist and always has the most creative things.
Like this year’s anniversary card. Which was made of felt because the second anniversary is supposed to be cotton and he’s cool like that. My card, although cute, was from Target.

Husband, win. Wife, fail.

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He also took me to a wonderful restaurant where we had our own private table and there were flowers waiting and we had a pretty grand time. The waiter brought out the wine and cocktail menu and offered his suggestions. We promptly ordered beer (my one a year) because we’re classy like that.

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We somehow ended up with crab claws in our calamari. We had to ask Siri what they were….

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Private table + beautiful view + great company = happy wife.

With the exception of a date, we have a $5 limit for anniversary gifts because it can just get out of control and it keeps it stressful fun when you have zero ideas and 24 hours to figure something out. Last year I made Husband an “anniversary jar” of all of the pictures and ticket stubs and wine corks from special occasions and things we had collected through our first year of marriage. This year I made some coupons for him to use, which is not a very original idea but he was pretty happy and has managed to use all but one in the last week.

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UPDATE: I’ve had several requests for my coupon content.  So here’s a picture of most of them along with a list.  Again, I did all of these by hand so don’t be too impressed with my skills…

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1. one huge hug…anytime, anyplace
2. one compliment
3. one pants off, dance off party (because Husband gets a huge kick out of me dancing)
4. remote for the day
5. “it’s all about you” sexy time (ahem)
6. one favor…anytime, anyplace
7. 30 minutes, electronic-free cuddling (because we have a bad habit of taking our iPads to bed)
8. movie night…in or out, the choice is yours
9. 1 hour of catch…any sport, anytime, anyplace
10. one smooch
11. one massage…anytime, anyplace
12. one foot rub…anytime, anyplace