I haven’t made cookies in ages!

These peanut butter surprise cookies caught my eye and since I had everything in my kitchen already, I decided to give them a go! I doubled the recipe since I wanted some to bring in to share round work and some to put in the freezer to keep for myself. It came together fairly easily, but I think I didn’t do the adding-the-chocolate-chips-in-the-middle correctly because mine didn’t end up being a lovely, gooey chocolate surprise in the center of the cookie like the original poster’s did. Mine are just sort of like peanut butter cookies with chocolate chips in them.

I also think I slightly overbaked this first batch – they’re not burned, but I’m afraid that they’re going to really crisp up as they cool which I don’t like… I’m thinking the ones I froze might actually work better as they’ll be less likely to spread out and now that I know, I’ll take them out at 10 minutes and let them set up a bit more while they cool instead of waiting for them to be closer to being done when I take them out.

Healthy, healthy smoothies!

So, if you know me at all, you know that I am the world’s worst vegetarian in that I mainly live off of dairy and carbohydrates. I’m trying to be better, though, starting with this green smoothie! It’s very reminiscent of the Bolthouse Farms and Naked versions of sludge juice that I like and infinitely cheaper which is always appreciated.

I tried a beet one that I was really hoping to like but which was a little too beet-y for me. But I’m looking forward to trying some others!

February movies!

I don’t like Daniel Radcliffe (he’s just so pasty – he’s a pasty tool – and I don’t mean pale when I say pasty [that would be like the milk calling the snow white], I mean that he always looks vaguely…moist), but I do like a good ghost story, so I went to see The Woman in Black, the movie based on the long-running London play based on the book. (A friend of a friend of a friend had been to see the play and, from her reports, Steve, Liz, and I were all very jealous and had a few conversations about how nice it would be to be rich enough to take an impromptu trip to London just to see it.)

It’s definitely creepy and plenty atmospheric! The fake jolts of fright definitely got me a few times and one particular actual fright COMPLETELY got me. I wasn’t thrilled with the Hollywood “happy” ending, but up until then I was satisfied with it for what it was.

Also…it turns out I HAVE actually seen the play in London – saw it with my parents when we went to London for Christmas in 1996 or so. *facepalm* I even read the plot because I remembered seeing a play called The Woman in _____, but I really thought it had been a play of the Wilkie Collins novel The Woman in White not in Black and STILL didn’t remember that I’d seen it. But there was two recurring things in the movie that gave me a moment or two of “Wait a minute…” and sure enough!

Arthur’s new obsession…

My grandmother gave me an alarm clock with two kittens on it and Arthur is fascinated by it. The first time I put in the batteries, he just sat and stared at it. And stared at it.

And stared at it.

I don’t know if it’s the clicking noise that it makes or if he likes the watch the red second hand ticking around, but he loves it. It’s like kitty television for him.

An intriguing dessert!

When I read about this on foodgawker, I had to try it. Wasabi? Crystallized ginger? Brownies? Yes, please!

The flavors are really nice together – a hint of spiciness cutting through the sweetness of the chocolate. That’s a home run for sure! The brownies turned about a bit cakier than I usually prefer (I like them more on the fudgey side), so next time I might use a different base recipe for the brownie, but I’ll definitely try adding in the wasabi and ginger again!

I made sourdough bread!

Oh, and some soup. But sourdough bread! In ridiculous quantities!

The soup is garlic potato soup and is really nice and was pretty easy to put together.

But I think you’ll notice that most of that photo is taken up by my sourdough bread! I started by making my own starter which was interesting. The first recipe for a sourdough starter I tried was way too thick – more dough than starter. So that went in the bin and I tried again with a different recipe and more success. Though I think I’ll need to leave it out a bit longer to develop more of the sour flavor – the bread was lovely, but could have had a bit more of that distinctive sourdough flavor, I think.

Then it was on to actually making the bread! It’s actually fairly similar in process to the no-knead bread I made over the holidays – there’s no kneading, but there is a lot of sitting out (the first rise is 12-15 hours and the second is anywhere between 3-5, depending on how warm your kitchen is). It also makes a HUGE loaf.

I think next time I’ll half it and get a more manageable loaf. But I’ll do my best to put a dent in this one!

Dessert mashup!

Raise your hand if you like cheesecake. Now raise your hand if you like cinnamon rolls. Then you are going to be interested in this, potentially the most ridiculous dessert ever!

Cinnamon. Roll. Cheesecake.

I know what you’re thinking “Oh, so it’s cheesecake with the flavors of a cinnamon roll.” Wrong! It’s a cheesecake with a cinnamon roll on the bottom and brown sugar, cinnamon, and butter and globs of cinnamon roll batter swirled through the cheesecake. It was pretty amazing.

Unfortunately, I used a slightly too-small springform pan and it overflowed which, combined with the sugar, cinnamon, and butter basically gluing itself to the sides of the pan, made it impossible to get it unmolded with any kind of success. It looked like a mess, but it tasted just fine!

 

DIY FYI

So, an attempt to fix a leaky bathroom faucet turned into replacing the sink and vanity instead. Just a tip for any of you out there who might be working on a similar project, do not – I repeat, DO NOT – glue the sink to the wall. It is unnecessary and also results in the next person having to pray it off the wall, along with a few tiles.

Not cool, previous resident. Not. Cool. Fortunately, the new sink and vanity I chose is taller than what used to be in the room, so it actually ended up covering the missing tiles.

Speaking of which, how about a hint when selecting a new sink and vanity for a very small bathroom? Be sure to measure the depth of the vanity. It fits in my bathroom, but the next time you have food poisoning, head my way because then you can throw up in the sink without having to leave the toilet.

Also? It’s very helpful if you have a handy father who can sort of jury rig things around because you have an old bathroom and Martha Stewart hasn’t taken the placement of the above valves into the design of the cabinet that will be sitting in front of them.

Also also? Pipe wrench fight!

In which I make a beautiful dinner!

Otherwise known as soft polenta with caramelized onions, mushrooms, and a poached egg. This was sooooo tasty! A little more time consuming than I usually make, but not too difficult (do keep an eye on the caramelizing onions – mine got a teensy bit burny though were still completely edible).

Haha, and until I saw this photo I forgot that I also made a green bean salad with lemon, garlic, and chili which was also super tasty and made a nice contrast (cool and crunchy) to the polenta dish.

Let the catching up commence!

The last day I spent housesitting for my parents I was struck with kitchen inspiration and made not one but two cakes. The first was a red wine chocolate cake from Smitten Kitchen.

The wine I bought ended up being very strange- I think it was a merlot? But it was very light in color and surprisingly bland which made the cake a little bland. It was also a little dry – I skipped the mascarpone topping that Smitten Kitchen added because I forgot to add it to my list and was too lazy to wander back across to the market at that point, but I wish I had now. I’d try it again, but definitely with a stronger flavored wine.

The other cake was a salted caramel apple pound cake.

The salted caramel? Was amazing, if I do say so myself. I’m still hit or miss when it comes to caramel, but I got this one spot. On. I managed to refrain from eating it straight out of the pan, but it was a close thing. I’m trying to remember this cake since I left most of it with my parents, but I think it was quite lovely – sweet but not overly sweet (despite all the caramel). My dad said he thought it was his favorite of all the things I’ve ever made which is high praise indeed!