my new favorite cookie recipe

You know what I miss since going dairy-free? Dessert. (Actually, a lot of things. But dessert definitely ranks high on that list.) Sure, my body didn’t need all that sugar anyway, and it’s a lot easier to say no to things that don’t fit my calorie or macro goals when there’s dairy in them too, and I definitely don’t struggle with decision fatigue anymore since at least three-quarters of the restaurant menu (and probably seven-eights of the dessert menu, basically everything that isn’t a sorbet) is off-limits to me now, but still. Dessert is amazing and I love baking and I don’t love figuring out vegan substitutes and pretending they taste as good as the real thing.

All of which is to say that I made chocolate chip cookies the other day, and they were amazing. They’re vegan, and gluten-free, and probably as healthy as a cookie can get, and L. absolutely loved them. And did I mention they’re easy? One bowl, one whisk, and ten minutes in the oven. Bam. I’ve found my new favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe.

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The recipe is from Oh She Glows, and I highly recommend you check them out. The base is rolled oats, which practically makes them breakfast food, right? (Please say yes, since both L. and I had one for breakfast on Saturday morning. hashtag adulting, but not really.)

things I ate that you might like to eat too

After a bit of a cooking dry spell, I’ve been taking advantage of Pinterest and finding some new recipes to try out. Here are my finds:

Grilled Moroccan Chicken with Garlic Sauce. Nope, still not Paleo, so I sub out regular ingredients for the Paleo ones when needed. I didn’t marinate this nearly as long as I was supposed to, since I made it on a whim. Good, though.

Spicy Fish Tacos with Cabbage Slaw and Lime Crema. Mwah. It was fine, but we weren’t at all impressed. I’ll have to try a different recipe next time I want fish tacos.

Spinach Pie Quesadillas. Spinach and cheese, what’s not to like?

Creamy Pasta with Prosciutto and Basil. We totally failed on the poached egg thing, but turns out it’s good with a lightly fried egg, too. The prosciutto we got at Costco and it was surprisingly good for the price.

And, of course, an old favorite: chickpeas in tomato sauce with feta and eggs. Not only does L. like this, it also passed muster when my sister was here: she and her boyfriend are both good cooks and foodies, so that’s high praise indeed.

And on the menu for this week:

Apple Cider Sage Pork Chops with Caramelized Apples. I’ve never made pork chops before (I tend to go the veggie route when cooking for myself), but there’s a first time for everything, I guess.

Grilled Chicken with Lemon Basil Pasta. It’s a Pioneer Woman recipe, so I’ll be cutting way down on the butter and cream involved, but if should be good.

on silence and peanut butter

It’s been kind of quiet over here, mostly because I’m slammed with work. I sent in paper proposals for three conferences, expecting at least one rejection, but then I got accepted to do all three. Then there’s the talk I’m doing at the U in April,  plus that pesky dissertation, three fellowship/grant applications, Wednesday mornings at the Natural History Museum, and oh, that class I’m taking, so I’ve been scrambling to get everything done in a way that satisfies my overachiever soul. (Which does not include getting an 8 out of 10 on a simple class assignment, by the way. When I got that back, I folded it in half neatly and stuck it at the bottom of my bag, hoping to never see it again. The fold of shame.)

I’m been so busy that I haven’t even been keeping up with my shows, and instead of spreading them out over the week like I’m used to (Tuesday: HIMYM, Wednesday: NCIS and NCIS LA, Thursday: Criminal Minds, Friday: Big Bang Theory, Saturday: Hawaii Five-O) I’ve taken to binge-watching them all in one tv-packed night. (And yes, listing that out makes me realize I really need to get a life that does not revolve around CBS.com or Netflix.)

But you know, I’m still breathing, and I like the work I’m doing, so it’s not all bad. Also, I have a 48 oz jar of peanut butter sitting at my desk at work (I didn’t even know they came in that size before I went to Costco!), and I’ve decided writer’s block is a good enough excuse to sneak a spoonful. It consistently brightens up my day. I finally understand why my sister E. keeps a jar of frosting at her desk…I might have to start doing that next.

things I ate that you might want to eat too

Smitten Kitchen’s warm lentil and potato salad: the dressing is really good. I had it with a boiled egg on top for lunch one day, and I bet the suggested sausage or roast or chops would be really nice too. I skipped the capers, as I’m not really a capers fan, and I just got basic lentils from Smith’s, though you’re certainly free to go the more discerning route. I also forgot the scallions; make of that what you will.

Perry’s Plate’s sweet potato foil packet tacos: I skip the beef, add more spinach, and usually do black beans. I also don’t call them tacos, but sweet potato packages. And since I’m not doing the paleo thing, I sometimes add a tortilla. I get my taco seasoning recipe from here.

Mel’s Kitchen Cafe’s skillet butternut squash, sausage and penne pasta: I am a big fan of squash, and this comes together very easily. Note to self: next time, try saving your appetite for the dish itself, instead of snacking on the sausage while you wait.

Closet Cooking’s brussels sprout and mushroom hash: this is a basic hash, and meant for breakfast, but I had it for dinner twice this week. Anything that features runny egg yolk and toast is a good idea in my book.

As an aside, when I went home for my grandfather’s cremation, I brought back a couple books I needed, but also my set of kitchen knives. I have liked cooking so much more now that I have proper knives again. It’s funny: from all my stuff at home, I miss my books and my kitchen supplies the most. (Immersion blender and bake ware, how I miss thee..) Next time I move somewhere overseas, I might have to drastically rethink my approach of what to bring.

cupcakes and tote bags

Today was our last staff meeting of the semester. Baked goods and other treats featured heavily in the meeting and there were presents for those of us that are leaving (one person was an exchange lecturer this year and is going back home, others are going on an exchange themselves or have a fellowship, like me). We each got a tote bag featuring an appropriate quotation. Mine was from Emily Dickinson:

Faith—is the Pierless Bridge
Supporting what We see
Unto the Scene that We do not.

I thought it was really nice of them and am very happy with the bag.

Also, I made these for the staff meeting, and they’re by far the best and easiest summer cupcakes you can make. I love them. If you don’t mind turning your oven on in the summer, you should make them too.

Things I ate that you might want to eat too

poached eggs with cheese and chickpeas (Everyday Reading)
This is a really good, simple and cheap meal to make. I usually make it for myself, as it’s perfect to eat with some flatbread while you’re studying or reading or watching tv (as if I ever take my meals any other way) but I made it for a friend the other day and she liked it, so it’s also fit for company, apparently. It makes its way onto my grocery list as “tomatoes and chickpeas,” but Janssen’s name for it is definitely better.

Caprese flatbread (from US Masala)
I can’t link to the site at the moment for some reason, but the Pinterest image should be self-explanatory. Basically, it’s a pizza on flatbread, and after I made it, I wondered why I’d never thought of doing that.

Grilled lime coconut chicken with coconut rice (Mel’s Kitchen Cafe)
I cook vegetarian more times than not, but this recipe captivated me and I made it when a friend came over. It was really, really good. The rice is good, the sauce is good, the chicken is good. I’m definitely a fan.

strawberry goat’s cheese bruschetta (Shutterbean)
My sister requested this for her post-graduation party. They’re similar to the blackberry prosciutto toasts I first saw on Heidikin’s blog (recipe here) and they were a big hit.

what I ate in January

My favorites from this month:

Dijon-braised brussels sprouts from Smitten Kitchen: These were so good. If you like brussels sprouts at all, please go try them! The sauce is really easy to make (and I bet would be good on a lot of other things). I tend to eat a lot of brussels sprouts when they’re in season, as they go on sale for anything from 50 to 90 cents for a bag, so this is a recipe I plan to use a lot.

Baked Ziti from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe: I had pinned this recipe a long time ago but hadn’t gotten around to making it yet. I used a lot less parmesan cheese, heavy cream, and cottage cheese as I find that Americans like their dishes to be much creamier than I do.

Dal nirvana from Budget Bytes: I made a big pot of this and ate it for days. One day, I paired it with Indian-style creamed spinach and rice and ate it as the ultimate comfort food. Only naan could have made it better but I was too lazy to make that that day.

Spicy Southwest Slaw from A Hint of Honey: I ate this with oven-roasted pulled pork sandwiches, and though I can’t recommend the sandwiches, I can definitely recommend the slaw.