Dad and Bob (aka Devil Cat) waiting for trick-or-treaters on Halloween 2012
I usually pick out my work clothes for a particular day the night before because my brain doesn’t seem to be cabable of making such important choices early in the morning. So last night I pulled my favorite blue dress and silver heels out of the closet for work today. Dressing up on Mondays seems to make the start of the work week a little smoother. However, when I got up this morning all I wanted to do was throw on jeans and a t-shirt. I almost wore an outfit of that sort to work, but after some deliberation I managed to talk myself into the dress and heels instead. And it’s a good thing I did because my group had a lunchtime meeting with our program manager today! I would have felt like a total slacker if I’d shown up for that in jeans. Not that I think any less of my co-workers who do wear jeans because that’s my go-to article of clothing most of the time, but I felt much more confident wearing a dress and heels in a meeting with my program manager. All of this makes me realize that my wardrobe really needs an upgrade. I need some options that are somewhere between jeans and dresses. Too bad I’m such a picky shopper! Maybe I’ll have more luck when fall rolls around.
So as just about everyone knows by now, Prince George Alexander Louis was born on Monday. Congratulations to William and Kate on their beautiful son, by the way. I have nothing but warm wishes for the little baby who’s third in line for the British throne, but I do have one tiny little concern. I really hope the name “Alexander” doesn’t get too popular. It’s my favorite boy’s name. If I had a son and I was solely responsible for naming him, I would call him Alexander. The name goes back several generations in my mother’s family. It’s both my brother’s and grandfather’s middle names, and it’s also my great-grandfather’s first name. (Besides my brother this is all within the Thomas family. Funny enough, my great-great-grandfather’s name was Benjamin Franklin Thomas. That makes me chuckle.) Due to the family history I was kinda hoping to name my son Alexander. Assuming I actually have a son one day. One step at a time, I know! But if Alexander becomes a popular boy’s name due to the newest addition to the British royal family I’m going to be very disappointed. The last thing I want is to give my son a name that every other boy in his class at school will have! I suppose only time will tell.
I’ve been a bit frustrated lately. Things have definitely been up and down. A couple of weeks ago I was feeling really good after going jogging six times in the span of eight days (I was up to 1 mile jog/1 mile walk intervals without too much trouble), but then everything fell apart. I started my walk/jog a little late on a Thursday evening and it was getting pretty dark as I was in the home stretch. I was running along, listening to music on my iPhone, when I tripped on an uneven portion of the sidewalk. I didn’t fall down, but I stumbled and it took a few hard strides (and some pinwheeling arm moves that I’m sure looked pretty cartoonish) to catch myself. I was pretty shaken up, but I didn’t think there were any other ill effects. I even kept jogging until I completed my one-mile interval. Everything seemed fine when I went to bed that night, but that changed on Friday. My left knee (not the right one which hasn’t been the same since I was twelve and fell down during a ballet rehearsal) wasn’t feeling quite right during the day. I didn’t know if it was the jogging in general that bothered it or the spill I almost took, but I knew something was wrong. So I decided just to take a walk that evening and stretch everything out. Big mistake, I guess because that made my knee hurt much worse. It was pretty excruciating. Things went downhill from there. I could barely walk on Saturday morning. I spent the weekend on my couch, getting up as little as possible to give my knee a chance to heal. It was semi-successful. Unfortunately then I got hit with another setback. I drove over to a local deli to get a turkey sub for dinner on Sunday night and it did not agree with me. It came right back up. I’m pretty sure it was food poisoning of some kind, but I was worried that I had a stomach bug so I stayed home from work the next day just in case. So not only was my knee making me walk like an old woman, but my stomach was betraying me as well! I couldn’t win. Luckily my stomach started behaving again pretty quickly, but I was still limping a week later. Ugh. As soon as I decided that I absolutely had to see a doctor (last Tuesday) my knee finally decided to start getting better. It was like a light switch. I got up one morning and it hurt, but by the end of the day it was feeling almost normal again. I was thrilled! I still babied it for a few days, and it continued to improve. Thank goodness. I even went out walking/jogging tonight for the first time in over two weeks and I think it went well. I kept my jogging intervals to half a mile and my knee wasn’t bothering me at all. We’ll see if that’s still true in the morning. I’ve got my fingers crossed that these setbacks are finally behind me!
Chocolate chip cookies #35: Based on So Rumbly in My Tumbly’s M&M Sugar Cookie Bars. Baked on 7/22/13.
I had some friends over for dinner on Wednesday night and I made chocolate chip cookies for dessert. I was originally planning to make pound cake, but one of the attendees requested chocolate chip cookies instead and I was more than happy to oblige. She has cancer – how could I say no? At the time none of the cookie recipes I’ve gathered on Pinterest were jumping out at me so I decided to conduct a little experiment. I started with my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe (which is very similar to the M&M sugar cookie bars cited above) and made two batches – one with white sugar and one with light brown sugar. I didn’t brown the butter for either batch because I was baking the cookies on a weeknight so I wanted to save a little time. Sometimes I’m a lazy baker. So which batch turned out better? Believe it or not, the white sugar cookies! (That’s the batch on the right in the above photo.) Without the brown sugar these aren’t your typical chocolate chip cookie recipe, but more like sugar cookie bars. But I don’t care what you call them – they were seriously delicious. I was pleasantly surprised and my dinner guests seemed to like them as well. I will definitely be making these again, maybe with some sprinkles or holiday M&Ms later in the year.
OK not really, but kinda. I don’t remember what I was searching for yesterday, but I ran across the the Wikipedia page of René Clausen, the conductor of the 1997 Florida All-State Chorus that I was a part of. Here’s the excerpt that I was most intrested in:
The Salutation of the Dawn: The lyrics of this piece were taken from the Sanskrit poem, “The Salutation of the Dawn.” It was first performed by Florida All State Chorus in 1997 and was never performed again until 2009 when it was revived by the Maryland All State Chorus directed by Drew Collins.
So in a roundabout way I’m in Wikipedia!
On the left: Indian-spiced roasted chickpeas
While these took MUCH longer to cook than the recipe suggested, the chickpeas were great. The combination of curry powder, garam masala, garlic powder, and white pepper was unique and really tasty. I’ve seen several recipes for roasted chickpeas on Pinterest so I’ll definitely be trying a few variations. But I’ll make sure to try off the canned chickpeas better so that they will crisp up in the oven faster!
On the right: Paprika roasted almonds
I’ve made seasoned almonds a few times before, mostly for holiday care packages, and they’ve always been delicious. This time I decided to combine almonds with paprika, one of my favorite spices. Besides the fact that these were a bit too spicy for me (this recipe didn’t call for cayenne pepper, but I added some anyway) I really liked them. And they were a big hit with my friends. Since almonds are such a healthy snack I’ll have to make some more, skipping the cayenne pepper this time.
P.S. I recognize that my webpage is in danger of becoming exclusively a food blog again and I don’t like it. I will do my best to write some posts with non-culinary topics this weekend. Check back soon and see if I succeeded!
“We’re not lovers, but more than friends
Put a flame to every single word you ever said.
No more crying to get me through,
I’ll keep dancing till the morning with somebody new.
Tonight I’m getting over you.”
Carly Rae Jepsen, “Tonight I’m Getting Over You”
Bourbon banana bread (7/25/12) – This bread was supposed to have chocolate chips mixed in, but I forgot until I put the pan in the oven. So I sprinkled some chips on the top of the batter a few minutes after it started baking. The end result was delicious and a big hit with my co-workers.
Chocolate Texas sheet cake #1 (8/7/12) – This chocolate cake is delicious. Not quite as good as the second sheet cake recipe I tried, but still really good. The frosting turned out a little funny looking on this one, but it didn’t impact the taste.
Coconut pound cake (9/23/12) – I’m sorry to say I don’t remember how this cake tasted! I made it because I had some leftover shredded coconut (like always) and I wanted to give my co-workers a sweet treat. I assume this cake was pretty good because I usually remember when I recipe turns out badly! I should try this again with buttermilk and a lot more coconut.
York Peppermint Patty brownies (???) – Yes, I baked a layer of York Peppermint Patties in the middle of a batch of brownies. What of it? I have some co-workers who love chocolate and mint together so I was really excited to make these brownies. I have to admit that I used boxed brownie mix, but it was still very good.
Pumpkin bread for Halloween (11/3/12) – I made this pumpkin bread for a Halloween party so I only had a small bite before giving the rest away. But the bite I had was moist and delicious. The perfect pumpkin bread. I’ll have to try this recipe again with the pumpkin buttercream frosting. I can’t wait for Halloween 2013!
Peppermint chocolate pudding cookies (12/8/12) – I’m including this recipe for completeness, but I have to be honest and say that I don’t remember these cookies at all. I know I made them, but I have no memory of actually tasting them. Sorry!
Candy cane blossoms (12/17/12) – I made these festive Hershey’s Kiss blossom cookies for the 2012 annual holiday potluck at work. Unfortunately I can’t say I was all that pleased with how they turned out. I think I’m just biased towards the classic peanut butter blossoms. Still, my co-workers seemed to like the peppermint variety!