If Life Gives You Lemons, Make Arnold Palmers

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As soon as the weather starts to seem even the slightest bit warmer, my thoughts tend to drift to lemons.

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(Want to know the best part about using your phone to take kitchen pictures because your boyfriend left the camera in his truck and then left for work? You have no idea how out-of-focus they are until you are all done! Hooray! Sorry, guys.)

When I was a child, I hated anything lemon-flavored. Lemon bars? Lemonade? I wanted nothing to do with it. Yellow candies of all kinds were not to be trusted (I’m looking at you, yellow Starburst).

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I was obviously deranged. Now, in my dotage, I have realized that lemons are the most delicious things that you can get from a tree. You can dress them up and make them super sweet and fancy when you add butter and sugar, or you can leave them in their tangy, sour perfection with just the addition of some black iced tea. That’s right! We’re making lemon cookies and Arnold Palmers today because the heater hasn’t had to come on in at least two weeks, and it’s going to be such a fabulous lemony kick to the face that you will definitely be thanking me later.

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The lemon cookie recipe comes courtesy of the always-delightful Jeannette at everybody likes sandwiches. I remember reading it when it first was published in 2007 and heading out to the store to buy lemons that very moment. Since then, I have made them more times than I can count, even once sending them cross-country to sit in for me during a game of D&D.

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See? Hipster food-blog-follower cred! I seriously wrote it down on an index card (!), back when her blog was still at BlogSpot. How very quaint of me and my purple Sharpie. This was before Pinterest, people, when I wrote everything down or spent long hours with my printer and bookmarks, making huge Word documents of dessert recipes that needed printing. Want to see the rest? Here you go.

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These cookies are obviously something special, otherwise that little index card would not still be in my recipe binder. When you make them, they are little balls of bright, tangy dough, rolled in sugar.

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Just look at how cute that is! They taste buttery and lemony and almost floral, without feeling like you’re eating a plant. They are crisp on the outside and chewy on the inside, absolute perfection with a quick dip in some cold milk.

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Yum.

Now, what if we want something that preserves more of that natural lemon essence? That super tart feeling that you’re getting in your mouth right now just thinking about lemons? We make Arnold Palmers!

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I’m aware that most people refer to this as Lemonade Iced Tea, but once I learned that a professional golfer claimed that he invented the concoction, I just can’t bring myself to call it anything else. First, we brew up the tea.

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Then we get mesmerized by the process of tea steeping. Don’t pretend it isn’t interesting to watch. (I even made a little video of it, if you can ignore the sweet strains of Despicable Me playing in the background.) Oh, heat conduction. You make pretty things happen in water.

While we wait for our tea to cool, we have to juice up some lemons. We’re looking for 1 1/4 cups of delicious lemon juice, which is about 6-7 lemons usually, depending on how large they are.

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Close enough.

Then we make simple syrup, which is essentially just combining equal parts of sugar and water together over heat.

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Until it’s super clear and bubbly.

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All of these things get dumped together into the appropriate receptacles and topped off with enough ice to make yourself about 2 gallons of sweet, tangy, summery deliciousness. And when I say ‘tangy,’ I mean it. That first sip is a game-changer. Feel free to add a little more sugar if you don’t roll that way.

Arnold Palmers
or just Lemonade Iced Tea, if you aren’t whimsical enough

Ingredients:
4 bags of black tea
6-7 lemons (enough to make about 1 1/4 cups of juice)
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
lots of ice

Directions:
Steep 4 bags of black tea in approximately 2 liters of boiling water. Don’t worry if you end up staring at it for a little while. It’s totally normal.

Juice your lemons and set the juice aside. Prepare simple syrup by combining sugar and water over medium-high heat until the sugar has completely dissolved, and the mixture is clear and starting to boil. Discard the tea bags, and combine the tea, lemon juice, and simple syrup together in a heatproof 2-gallon (or two 1-gallon) beverage container(s). Things will be super hot and boiling, so be careful. Top off the mixture with plenty of ice in order to get it up to the 2-gallon mark. Enjoy the cracking sounds that ice makes when it hits all that super hot tea. I know that I do.  Stick that stuff in the refrigerator until you’re ready.

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Drink up a big tall glass and eat yourself some lemon cookies. You’re almost done with February. You deserve it.

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Chocolate and Orange, Together Forever – Doctored Up Chocolate Orange Bundt Cake

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Beautiful chocolate and orange above the fold? Do I have your attention? Good.

There is a well-established precedent here on this blog that I believe that chocolate + orange = holidays. Therefore, Christmas dinner this year required for me to get up early to make a decadent chocolate and orange treat for everyone to enjoy after the long day’s festivities.

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Cue Joy the Baker‘s Chocolate Orange Bundt Cake. (By the by, the photos here were taken by multiple people, none of which were me, on various phones and cameras whilst I flitted about the kitchen wearing an owl apron and a super serious face.)

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This cake, by itself, is pretty damn delicious, but this was Christmas, dammit. Game had to be stepped up. First addition? I poked holes all over the beautiful finished and cooled cake and brushed fresh squeezed orange juice (from the lonely little orange that you zest and then ignore to make the cake) all over the cake, letting it soak in.

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See? Super serious business here.

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If you’ve got tiny bits of orange pulp all over the outside of your cake, you’re doing everything right. In life and in baking.

Second addition? Get out your favorite chocolate ganache recipe. Don’t have one? Betty does, and it’s pretty great.

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Pour it all over that cooled orange-drenched cake (with aluminum foil cake stand protectors, of course), and then admire it for a second.

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Then spread things out a bit with a spatula. Did you start to smile? Stop that. Baking is a serious business.

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Lovely.

Now, we haven’t even eaten dinner yet, so we can’t dig into this cake. Besides, ganache (which WordPress doesn’t believe is a real word, by the way) needs to set, which is a cruel, but necessary, step. What do we do while we’re in that weird between-time when we can’t eat dinner or dessert yet?

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Well, in my family, you make more dessert, apparently.

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Super basic roll-out sugar cookies, again from Lady Betty.  Cookie cutters from my awesome friends Brittany and Michele made their inaugural sugar cookie appearance.

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You may think that bunnies don’t belong on a Christmas cookie plate. You are wrong.

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I don’t know why I wanted to include this one, but I really like this picture somehow. I feel as though those cookies are cowering in fear from my threatening cookie-eating presence. They are right to fear.

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After dinner, all kinds of royal icing happened.

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Again, no smiling allowed. Decorating sugar cookies with icing, candies, and sprinkles requires extreme concentration from all involved.

We made approximately 800,000 cookies. Here are a few highlights.

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The kitchen counter got a little crowded.

After all that hard work decorating, it was time for cake!

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It was worth the wait.

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I feel like this would be even better in mini-Bundt size, where you can get an even more favorable ganache-to-cake ratio. It’s all about the balance between the floral, tangy orange and the creamy semisweet chocolate. And then overloading it with a whole bunch more chocolate.

Year-end roundup is not over yet! Remember when I said something about bunnies being involved? Those cookie cutters didn’t count. We’ve got way more bunny goodness coming up. I am still excited about it, and it’s already over. That’s saying something.

Restless Energy

What happens when you have a whole day off and your significant other is out of town for a day? If you are at all like me, your thoughts do not run to the salacious side like you may think.

You suddenly just realize that you are an extraordinarily boring person who has a hard time getting up and doing things that need to get done without someone helping you to come up with the ideas. You realize that you talk to the cat an awful lot. You realize that you haven’t baked in an indecently long time, and a plan starts to come together.

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You’re only home alone for an hour and a half before you’ve already cleaned out the refrigerator (I like to imagine that Tracy from shutterbean was standing over me, nodding approvingly) and cleaned the coffee maker. You clean the bathrooms. And vacuum the living room. And start some awesome socks for your Mom for Mother’s Day.

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Sometimes I feel like I should abandon my long-practiced process of hand-winding my yarn and cave in and buy a winder. But then, I get started winding a ball of yarn for a new project, and that all melts away.

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No pictures of the project quite yet, but this is the beginnings of the Floral Lace Anklets from Lace Style, a truly lovely book for anyone who enjoys knitting lace for their mom. And it just so happens, I am one of those people!

These are going along swimmingly so far, and although there is no way they’re getting done for Sunday, they are getting here as fast as they can. (Just to be clear, their lateness is nowhere close to my fault. When I asked my mom last weekend what she wanted when she said that she wasn’t too into flowers this year, socks are what she came up with. Not much time to get something worthy of my Mom’s wonderfulness done, but I’m up to the challenge.)

Then, you decide to tackle the problem that’s been nagging you for a little while, in that there has been very little coming out of your oven lately.

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That sounds kind of dirty out of context.

Can I also say that I’ll never tire of the uniformity that my cookie scoop provides? Never.

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Oatmeal and Chocolate Chip cookies, courtesy of Betty Crocker and a little substituting.

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Simple and perfect and delicious.

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And irresistible, even to tiny cats.

As if this wasn’t enough for one day, suddenly some friends call you up who happen to love Oatmeal and Chocolate Chip cookies, and then you don’t have to worry as much about how to fill what was most likely going to be the long, lonely, restless afternoon and night.

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The evening fills itself with good, cheap wine at a classy locale…

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And ridiculously indulgent hot dogs. (Dat Dog, by the by, which definitely needs much more of my attention this summer.)

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If only I could have gotten a picture with of myself while shoving a hot dog in my face, but once you try to pick that sucker up, there is no turning back.

I ordered the Guiness Dog with the Chef’s Choice toppings, which involves letting other people pick what goes on your hot dog. A risky choice, and I certainly ended up with an lot of things that I would have never considered putting on a hot dog, but somehow it all worked together.

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This helped, too.  Along with a ton of napkins.

Finish up the evening with some great conversation, and then head home for some more knitting and tea and movies to put yourself to sleep, knowing that tomorrow night, you won’t still be all alone.

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Thank god.

365 Project – Week 11

It seems like spring has arrived here in New Orleans, if my pictures this week are any indication. Lots of greenery (can we pretend I did it on purpose for St. Patrick’s Day?) and other signs of springtime! Plus, it’s suddenly extremely humid and foggy, and, much to my chagrin, we’ve had to turn the air conditioner on. That’s a pretty good barometer.

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Ah, spring. When a young woman’s thoughts turn to those of cookies. Girl Scout cookies. Hopefully we can stick to just two boxes this year.

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Beautiful bright rose from my rose bush in my garden! These guys make me so happy, even though they are gone in just a few days.

Such bright colors seem like they shouldn’t be able to exist in nature. Seems like they could only be relegated to fluorescent office supplies. But they are here, seemingly just to please me.

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This little guy came to join me while I was weeding, hanging out on my beet leaves. He’s so green! Almost like a little robot insect.

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Our first carrots! They didn’t get very long for some reason (I think it might have something to do with the fact that my dad kept them in a starter planter for weeks and weeks before he traded them with us), but they were tasty nonetheless.

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Anklets! I decided to make some for myself since the last ones that I made ended up going over to my mom. These ones are made of leftover Austermann Step, which might be my favorite sock yarn in the world. Super cool random-y stripe sequences, incredibly soft and strong, and silky smooth with the addition of the aloe in there. Knitting with it is pure pleasure. (Ravelry link? Southwest Anklets.)

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This plant has been through an awful lot. Three different Boulder apartments, and then a trip across the country in the back of my overstuffed Kia Rio. It wasn’t looking good after we got here, but through repottings and multiple relocations throughout the house to try to find the ideal sun situation, this plant is finally thriving and growing again. It’ll be awesome when I finally feel like I’m no longer responsible for losing so many plant lives.

That is, unless we do it on purpose to eat them. That’s an exception.

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Dewy spiderwebs on my rose bush early in the morning. Just lovely.

More springtime to come, plus some finished projects to show off later this week! Have a lovely St. Patrick’s Day! Drink some Bailey’s for me.

I made Oreos! And they didn’t entirely suck!

I made cookies. Knowing me, this is nothing out of the ordinary.

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I made a mess in my kitchen. Also, nothing new. (Although, this time I took a page out of the Joy the Baker stylebook and documented it. Next time I should get up on a chair.)

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However, this crumbly, chocolatey dough was meant for something slightly different than my usual fare.

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Check that action out! Homemade Oreo cookies courtesy of Baking Bites‘s recipe. Dan and I have been known to cause some destruction on some Oreos (And has anyone noticed that the serving size for Oreos is only two cookies? Two? 2? You can’t know that and then still think that the world is a fair and just place. You just can’t…), and this week was Oreo’s 100th Birthday, as I found out from Cakespy’s extremely informative post. It seemed only fitting to give it a try.

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Let’s look past the fact that these cookies are not quite round. They are more oblong-ish, like swedish butter cookies that you find in tins during the holidays, which has no effect on their taste, because I am incapable of forming a round log of dough.

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The taste…I had mixed feelings about. The filling was spot on. Eerily so. It even leaves that not-terribly-unpleasant-but-still-strange-when-you-consider-it-came-out-of-my-KitchenAid-mixer oily feeling on your tongue after you enjoy it.

The chocolate cookie part…I think that my cocoa is somehow not cocoa-y enough. The texture was great, especially when dissolving in a glass of cold milk, but it seemed like things just needed to be a lot darker and richer. These taste like Oreos in the same way that Hydrox tastes like Oreos. As in, sort of. (We totally had Hydrox in our house on occasion when I was a kid, but really, it’s just no comparision now. Oreo owns our hearts.)

They did start to verge on Oreo-y goodness when you shoved the entire thing in your mouth and just went to town on it without milk or without thinking about it too hard.

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Not to say we didn’t enjoy them, of course. They’re just as good the day after, by the by. And there’s plenty more dough in the freezer to make more when the spirit hits.

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So what’s the advice from the fellow bakers out there? How do we get a more chocolatey Oreo flavor here? Do I find a better cocoa instead of taking the easier and cheaper way out? Do we employ some type of chocolate shavings, pieces, or syrup? Inquiring minds need to know!

365 Project – Week 10

Week 10? 69 photos? 18% complete? Why can’t I stop typing questions?

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We tried to get to the theatre before midnight, but it just didn’t happen. So…this was March 3rd…ish. And it was The Artist. And it was beautiful.

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This is from the wee hours of the morning on March 4th on the same movie date. We spent some quality time looking at ourselves looking like Nighthawks in the mirror at Morning Call while having some delicious coffee and beignets.

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I’ve had some tweedy wool sitting around waiting for some time to become something classic and cabled and traditional. Cue the hat projects for me and my love!

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Bowie had an outdoor adventure, despite the fact that he hates his harness and leash. He put on a brave face and attempted to enjoy the grass and nature sounds and smells, but spent most of the time hiding on the porch swing or in our laps.

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Dan gave me a book light for Christmas. It keeps me happy and reading in bed and him able to fall asleep. Right now, I’m reading a very silly catty-girl young adult novel from work and feeling extremely old.

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Homemade Oreo cookies went down in this kitchen. Right down into some milk. And then in our mouths. And our stomachs. More to come.

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Getting right into those crisp cables for Dan’s hat! (Knotty, but Nice from Knitty.com for those of you who want to know.) I’m loving this slightly itchy but totally classic cabled number. (Ravelry link? Right here.)

Stay tuned for more baking and knitting coverage from this past week. I know it’s extremely exciting, but try to control yourselves.

365 Project – Week 4

Remember when I used to blog about things other than my 365 Project?

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Me neither.

Finally getting to see my best friend’s band play for the first time in six years? Awesome. The Ghostwood show was so much fun, especially seeing all kinds of people that I’ve missed for so long.

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Horse! A lazy afternoon at the New Orleans Fairgrounds. Fun was had by all. No betting necessary, really.

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Chocolate frozen yogurt with Cost Plus World Market Pepperkakor on top? Delicious!

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I’m tinkering around with a super secret project for a super special baby. If you are potential parents of a special baby, look away! It’s a secret.

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Dan peeking under our burger concoction/experiment to see how things are going. He said that this was his favorite photo of the process. I was more partial to one involving smiling.

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When Dan and I have a morning off together, Bowie always seems to know right away and makes room for himself under the sheets. Best cat ever. He looks like a little toy right here. (Sorry for the graininess, also. iPhone pics only first thing in the morning.)

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Our vegetable garden project kicked off yesterday with Dan digging a giant hole in our backyard. Today, seeds were planted, packets were organized, mini-greenhouses were set in a warm place near a window, and journaling commenced. I am super excited, and only managed to cut myself on something that seemed unable to do such a thing once. A triumph of the human spirit.

Nerd Cred

One of my coworkers told me that I had ‘nerd cred’ the other day, and although it was mostly in regard to my voracious consumption of podcasts (Nerdist, Stuff You Should Know, Radiolab, Freakonomics, Savage Love…I’m addicted, it’s true), I couldn’t help but interpret it as a sort of badge of honor.

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When I like something, I tend to like it to extremes. When I want to bake something, I often find a recipe that’s complex and finicky and make the hell out of it, usually over and over again. I taught myself how to knit, and have barely stopped doing it over the past 11 years, usually taking on large and complicated projects that test my sanity several times over. During grade school summers, my brother and I used to dedicate ourselves to beating certain Nintendo and Sega games in record time, bruising our thumbs in the process and taking lots of pictures of the final screens in hopes of one day sending them in to Nintendo Power magazine.

I’ve got an impressive repertoire of musical theatre scores memorized, and I can recite Little Shop of Horrors, Aladdin, and Who Framed Roger Rabbit? backward and forward from pretty much any point in the script. I own the full Karate Kid boxed set on DVD, as well as all of Home Movies, the BBC version of The Office, Neon Genesis Evangelion, Arrested Development, and a respectable portion of the Degrassi universe. I have knitted myself, and several others who have asked nicely, Karate Kid headbands.

A large portion of any spare time that I might happen to run across is devoted to catching up with Wil Wheaton, Felicia Day, and Cracked, and have been hopelessly devoted to the mastery of Penny Arcade, PvP, Real Life, and xkcd ever since I realized back in the early days that the internet was more than the chat rooms on AOL.

As you can see, my nerd love crosses many boundaries and yet still knows no bounds, and I am not ashamed.  In fact, typing it all out seems like it’s just a list of awesome stuff that everyone should like.

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Possibly the nerdiest part of my nerd love lies in role-playing games. Despite the plethora of ridiculous titles I just dropped in the previous paragraph, I bet some of you just had a moment at their mere mention. Even the nerdiest of the nerdy think that playing D&D is just plain too much.

These people are wrong.

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How can the sight of this complicated-looking paperwork not make someone blithely happy? Crazy people…

I started playing D&D with one of my best friends, TJ, when I visited him in Boulder after Hurricane Katrina. I’d be staying there while a session would be in progress, and I could either sit it out and drink wine, or jump in and play, and still be able to drink some wine. Guess which one I picked.

Before the hurricane, I had merely dallied about in the role-playing universe with very little commitment to anything in particular. I had played my fair share of Final Fantasy, helped friends paint Warhammer armies, and played a few rounds of Heroquest. However, writing my character’s intensely complicated backstory with TJ on that very first night (fueled by more wine, of course) opened my brain up to a new, ridiculously geeky universe of which I have yet to take my fill.

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I played with the same core group of people in Boulder the entire 5 1/2 years that I lived there, and to leave it behind was more difficult than I thought it would be. I have D&D to thank for my entire relationship with the love of my life (no, he doesn’t play, unfortunately, but was the friend of a friend who did, and we’d have never met otherwise, being from opposite sides of the country and all).

Last year, TJ wrote an amazing one-man show about how awesome the entire experience is, and I teared up the first time that I read it because he stated it much better than I ever could. It’s not just about pretending to be a hero for a few hours. It’s about having a great time with your friends and being intensely interested in the same insane things and not having anyone judge you about it for a few hours. And also killing dragons. What more could a theatre nerd want?

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Since moving, we have made it a point to still get together once a month to slay our monsters through the beauty of technology. I used to always contribute dessert to our get-togethers, and this week was no exception. Delicious little lemon sugar cookies, specially designed to assist with devastating monsters, from everybody likes sandwiches (she’s going to think I’m stalking her with how often I link to her recipes!) went through the mail and found their way to the battle map.

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See! There they are! Along with my super nerdy loot and hit points Excel spreadsheet.

While my loved ones and fellow adventurers enjoyed their cookies, I settled in with my spell list…

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…and some wine (are we noticing a pattern here?)

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…and tore up some Skinwalkers! And various other sundry baddies.

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And it was awesome. There’s a little lost in the translation, but what always makes these evenings so great — the friends, the jokes, the joy of the experience — is all still there. I can’t wait until next month.

Five years training. Hard, hard work. Night school. Pilot. Chocolate Biscuits.

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Is there anything more lovely than cookie-makings in the strainer, waiting to be sifted?

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Here are the beautiful beginnings of everybody likes sandwiches‘s Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies, all sifted and ready to go. As you’ll soon be able to see, here’s also where the realistically-colored pictures come to an end.

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All that dark cocoa makes my camera’s contrast go crazy, resulting in delicious cookies that are particularly hard to photograph.

Here again I used my new cookie scoop to get more uniformly-sized cookies. The dough for these cookies is fairly loose and hard to shape, due to the oil involved, so the less touching, the better.

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The original recipe also calls for flattening the dough into discs, but I’ve found that makes for very thin cookies that don’t hold much jam. And we want these babies to be full of jam. Packed. So again, I try to touch them as little as possible.

You first bake the cookies about halfway, and then take them out, use your 1/2 teaspoon measure to make indentations in them (because you used your thumb the first time you made them years ago, and the lingering memories of scalding hot cookie dough make you eager not the make that mistake again), and fill them up with jammy goodness.

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You also have to hold very still and stay on that shutter button to get a picture of this in time-lapse style, just because. We usually use raspberry jam, but since strawberry was what was on hand, it was going right in.

I also can’t keep typing the word jammy without thinking of this bit of brilliance from Eddie Izzard:

I wish that there was the original version of this somewhere, but the Fisher Price one will have to do. Just imagine everything coming out of the mouth of a British man in fantastic makeup, having a hankering for chocolate biscuits. It’s about 2:04ish when he starts raving about jammy dodgers, but do give a listen to the whole thing (otherwise my title for this post makes absolutely no sense).  He does love his jam.

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With a multi-step process like this, having two ovens helps. I thought it was a bit odd at first that my parents chose to go with both a gas and an electric oven, but while cookie-making (and I’m sure during Thanksgiving and Christmas preparations), I have a deeper understanding and appreciation. I can have some cookies on their first go through the oven while prepping the next for the second step, all at once.  It’s quite exciting.  However, multiple timers going off all at once does nothing to help the sanity.

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After that second trip in the oven, the jam molds itself into the cookie, turning the entire thing into a wonderful sweet treat that tastes like brownies and summertime.  These are Dan’s favorite cookies (and probably favorite baked good, next to pumpkin pie, that I make at all), and usually when I’m making them, I just tell him that I’m making his cookies.

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The obligatory bite-out-of-the-cookie shot. Look at that.

And the fact that I obviously need to redo my nail polish.

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For the whole of the week, I’ve been looking forward to coming home from work/school and cozying up to a little plate of this jammy happiness with some milk…

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…some craftiness…

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…and the dreamy, sad eyes of Josh Charles kicking serious ass on Sports Night.

I’m on the last disc, and that makes me a bit misty.

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There’s always some casualties when making thumbprint cookies, usually from pushing too far through the dough when making the little jam wells. However, the whole texture this time was a bit off for some reason. My cookies didn’t really set quite as well as usual, resulting in really soft brownie bites rather than denser cookies. I’m not sure if I made a mistake in doubling the recipe (because how could you not double this up?), or if it’s just the altitude shift (since I’ve only ever made this recipe in Colorado). They still taste delicious, though, so I’m in no hurry to find the ‘problem,’ if you could even call it that.

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Nope. No problems here.

Cookies & Comfort

Sometimes there’s really nothing that makes you want to leave the bed in the morning. You might still be exhausted, even after supposedly sleeping all night, because your brain never leaves you alone. The bed might be too soft and comfortable compared to stepping outside of it. The idea of doing anything other than nothing seems like a really bad idea, because nothing lately has been going the way that it’s supposed to.

What do you do? When your eyes still aren’t opening fully? Bake cookies.

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Sometimes there just isn’t anything better to do at 7:00 AM. Sometimes you need to make yourself get up just so that butter and those eggs can get to room temperature, otherwise your cookies will just not hack it.

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Dewy eggs and a bit of a rainbow on my butter wrapper. Already the morning is a bit brighter.

I always take a bit of solace in that line from Julie & Julia: “You know what I love about cooking? I love that after a day when nothing is sure, and when I say nothing, I mean nothing. You can come home and absolutely know that if you add egg yolks to chocolate and sugar and milk, it will get thick. That’s such a comfort.” (It’s one of those movies that I often turn on when I’m baking. Is that too meta?  I already know it’s really dorky.)

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I hope that the act of creaming butter into sugar will always a similar effect on me.

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Should we just stop now before the raw eggs go in? Yum.

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Is there anyone else like me who doesn’t bake professionally, yet buys chocolate chips in bulk from Sam’s Club? I’m not ashamed. I’m owning it. These things are fabulous. I’m one step away from getting those huge dog-food-sized bags of flour and sugar next time.

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Chocolate chips make the harder parts of life easier to get through.

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Also, my cookie scoop.

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It makes all the cookies roughly the same size. This makes me unreasonably happy.  Most people don’t care about things like this, but when you combine my slight-OCD tendencies to want to make these chocolate chip cookies just as pretty as Bakerella’s (ha! impossible!), plus the fact that I really dislike getting my hands dirty, the cookie scoop is a wonderful little tool.

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Part of what’s so great about Bakerella’s recipe is that she stops halfway through to sprinkle more chocolate chips on top. With my larger chips, they didn’t come out nearly as pretty, but the cookies stayed chewy and gooey and melty and delicious long after they reached their destination.

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Cookie! In your face!

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Milliseconds later. They taste like all the best things about chewy Chips Ahoy, but way, waaaaay better. They taste like warmth and sweetness. They taste like chocolate, vanilla, and butter.

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They taste like comfort.

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My cat is jealous. As am I, because right after these cooled off, they got packed up and sent along to Dan’s hungry coworkers. I did get to eat a few, but just not enough. Never enough.

I might need to make more.

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Soon.