March 30, 2013

Fish Fingers & Custard- Celebrating 50 years of Doctor Who


Are you surprised? Are you SHOCKED? Are you excited? Are you thrilled?


Don't be like that. I gave you plenty of hints. Yes, some of them were a little obscure, but you should have gotten it from the Cinnamon Sugar Mini Doughnuts post. I mean, c'mon, there was a TARDIS mug in the photos, and I posted a picture of River Song. Could I have been more obvious?


Apparently I could have.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the premier of Doctor Who. New episodes start tonight, and then the 50th anniversary special is on November 23rd, which is the date the show first aired back in 1963, starring William Hartnell as the mysterious Doctor in An Unearthly Child.
Since that day, 11 different actors have played the Doctor, earning the love and admiration of fanboys and fangirls worldwide.
To show my own fangirly devotion, I've decided to do a series in celebration this incredible landmark. I'll be doing posts once a week for the 8 new episodes, then I'll switch it up to once a month while we're counting do to the anniversary special.

And for you non-Whovian readers, there will be two additional posts each week that have absolutely nothing to with a time traveling madman in a magic blue box that's bigger on the inside. That means three posts a week, at least until the end of the season (and if it doesn't kill me, maybe I'll keep that updating schedule afterwards. We'll see.)

So what is Doctor Who? Well, it's about this man-- actually an alien, that travels through time and space in his magic box called the TARDIS (nicknamed as such by his granddaughter Susan as we learn in An Unearthly Child, short for Time And Relative Dimension in Space). He saves worlds (often our own), fights monsters, and makes friends. Sometimes he's happy and everything turns out okay. Sometimes he gets his heart(s) broken. Oftentimes, he breaks our hearts.
And sometimes he's mad and clever and funny. Sometimes he's terrifying. But we still love him. Because, as Madame de Pompadour says, the Doctor is worth the monsters.
Anyway, the current Doctor, the 11th played by Matt Smith, is a bit of a foodie himself. Albeit one with some unusual tastes. When he first regenerates (more on that in another post), he needs to find something to eat. New mouth and new teeth make it a bit hard to find something good, until he finally settles on fish fingers and custard.
Now, as I'm not a newly regenerated Time Lord, so fish fingers and custard doesn't sound terribly appetizing to me. Until I found this recipe from Alton Brown using a savory custard that tastes almost like tartar sauce without the relish (as he calls it, TARDIS sauce. It took me a while to get that. Tartar sauce/Tardis sauce. Yeah). It's super tasty, and while it doesn't seem like it makes enough, it's so thick and rich and filling, that I had leftovers.

The fish sticks themselves were a little bit too "bready" for my tastes, and I chopped the fish into pieces a little too big, so they were more like fish croquettes than fish fingers. I also had less panko than I thought, hence the reason I use both regular and panko in the recipe. That might have made it a little more bready.
Otherwise, these were a tasty and fun meal, and the absolute perfect thing to serve to any Whovian, especially during a Doctor Who marathon. Just make sure to don a fez and a bowtie and to have your sonic screwdriver at the ready for any daleks that might emerge.


Fish Fingers and Custard {Printable Version}
Yield: About 4-6 servings

For the fish sticks:
1 lb. firm white fish fillets (Cod or haddock work well) I used flounder
¾ cup regular bread crumbs
3 eggs, divided
1 tbsp. mayonnaise
1 tbsp. mustard
½ tsp. onion powder
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
½ cup all-purpose flour
1 cup panko bread crumbs

For the custard:
1 cup whole milk
1 tbsp. cornstarch
1 tsp. mustard
1 tsp. lemon juice
½ tsp. salt
1 egg yolk, whisked
½ tsp. dill
Pinch sugar (optional)
Freshly cracked black pepper, to taste

Prepare the fish sticks: Freeze fish fillets about ½ an hour, or until firm. Chop finely. In a large bowl, mix
the fish with the regular bread crumbs, 1 egg, mayonnaise, mustard, onion powder, salt, and cayenne.
Shape into equal-sized “fingers”. Place the fingers on a lightly oiled cookie sheet and refrigerate for 30

Preheat the oven to 450°F. Whisk the remaining eggs in a wide-mouthed, shallow container (such as a
pie plate). Add the flour to a second container, and the panko to a third. Roll the fish sticks first in flour,
then in the egg, and then in the panko. Return to the cookie sheet and bake 5 minutes. Flip the sticks
over and bake another 3-6 minutes, until lightly browned.

Prepare the custard: In a saucepan, whisk the milk, cornstarch, mustard, lemon juice, salt, and sugar
until no lumps remain. Heat over medium low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture just begins to
boil. Remove from heat. A little at a time, add the milk mixture into the beaten egg yolk, whisking
constantly. Return to the saucepan and heat on low, whisking constantly, until mixture is thick enough
to coat the back of a spoon. Remove from heat and stir in the dill and pepper.

Recipe adapted slightly from Alton Brown
P.S. April 3rd is Fish Fingers and Custard Day. So now you can consider yourselves prepared.

March 24, 2013

Chocolate Chip Cookie Cupcakes

So I finally finished watching Parade's End.

OMG. Sooooo good.

The book is totally on my to-read list now.

It's a costume drama, in a similar vein as Downton Abbey. Although less about the soap operatic details of everyone's lives and more about the last vestiges of the British upperclass trying to hold on to their ideals and traditions in the modern era.

And it shouldn't surprise you, but I'm so totally in love with Christopher Tietjens, it's not even funny. Intellectual, suffragette sympathizer, loves horses, great with kids, oh yeah, and looks like Benedict Cumberbatch. Honestly though, Benedict may have brought me to Parade's End, but the character of Christopher Tietjens is what kept me there. Ooh, he completely melted my heart when he was soothing his son out of a nightmare. And when he had to leave his son to be raised by his sister, you could see how completely devastated he was. I may or may not have done a little snifflin' myself there.

But what I don't get is why did Christopher sleep with Sylvia in the first place? I realize that that's the bit that starts the entire story, but it seems so out of character! Christopher is so bound by his set of morals and idea of honor even though the rest of society thinks they are outmoded, that he sacrifices his own happiness to hold to them. But he's okay with a quickie on a train with a woman he barely knows?

This is why I need to read the book.
Anyway, forgetting for a moment that Christopher Tietjens is currently threatening Mr. Darcy's position on my literary crush list (I have to read the book before Mr. Darcy can be dethroned, however), I realized that it's been quite a long time since I've given you a cupcake recipe. That seems like complete crazy-talk, but it's true. And what have I been giving you instead? Weirdy foodie recipes with goat cheese and browned butter and quinoa and beans.

I'm freaking out a little here. I never set out to be one of those bloggers. I was always like, "who would want to eat that? Can't they post normal food?"

What have you done to me???

Deep breaths. Clear blue ocean, clear blue ocean. I'm okay. Of course I'm okay. I'm the king of okay... no that's a rubbish title. Forget that title.

Anyway, this was something that needed to be rectified. Immediately. I needed something normal. Something anyone would like. Something in a cupcake.

Cookie dough. Who doesn't like cookie dough? Cookie dough is cool. Like bowties are cool.
So I made these Cookie Dough Balls (from the cookie queen herself, Kayle the Cooking Actress) because even baked, they still taste like cookie dough. And then I put them in a brown sugar cake, and I baked it, and I put chocolate frosting on top. And umm, the insides weren't quite as gooey as I wanted (the first time that's ever been a problem in a cupcake recipe), but the flavor was right, so it was kind of like a really big, really soft chocolate chip cookie. And when is that ever a bad thing?

So they're not cookie dough cupcakes. Well, you're no Christopher Tietjens. But I think we'll both survive.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Cupcakes {Printable Version}
Yield: 12 cupcakes

For the cookie dough:
1½ cups all-purpose flour
¼ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. baking powder
1/8 tsp. baking soda
½ cup packed brown sugar
6 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
1 tbsp. granulated sugar
1 egg
½ tsp. vanilla
½ cup chocolate chips

For the cupcakes:
1 cup flour
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
6 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
6 tbsp. granulated sugar
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
½ tsp. vanilla
1/3 cup vegetable oil

For the frosting:
6 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
2 2/3 cups powdered sugar
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/3 cup milk
1 tsp. vanilla

Prepare the cookie dough: In a mixing bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. In a separate bowl with electric beaters, beat the sugars and butter. Add the egg and vanilla, beating well after each addition. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix well (dough will be very thick). Gently fold in the chocolate chips. Roll the dough into tablespoon-sized balls and freeze minimum 1 hour

Prepare the cupcakes: Preheat the oven to 350°F. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugars together on medium speed until fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla, beating well after each addition. Gradually add the dry ingredients, alternating with the oil, until fully incorporated. Divide the batter equally between 12 muffin cups. Add one frozen cookie dough ball to each muffin cup, pressing it into the batter. Bake 15-20 minutes, until the cake springs back when lightly pressed. Cool completely on wire racks.

For the frosting: In a small mixing bowl, mix together the powdered sugar and cocoa powder. In a different bowl using electric beaters, beat the butter on low speed. Add the vanilla. Gradually add in the sugar and cocoa, alternating with the milk. Beat on high speed until smooth.

Tip: Keep the extra cookie dough frozen until a cookie craving strikes. Bake at 350°F for 9-11 minutes, until set and the bottoms are lightly browned.

Cookie dough recipe found via The Cooking Actress. Frosting recipe adapted from Hershey’s Homemade. Cupcake recipe by Kim
P.S. My surprise series starts in less than a week. Have you guessed what it is yet? Hint: It's a celebration for something that's been around a very long time...

March 20, 2013

Spaghetti Squash with Browned Butter and Goat Cheese

I think people expect receptionists to have secret, exciting lives. I got back to work this week and people kept asking me if I did anything cool or went anywhere exciting.

The real answer of cooking food and chasing down the cat so he doesn't try to make friends with the contractors' power tools did not seem to satisfy them.

So I told it in a different manner. I went to this super cute place, totally my style. It was under construction, which kind of sucked, but it was pet friendly and really comfortable. There are plenty of places to read and relax, lots of shopping, and there was a gourmet cook that was out of this world.

People were rather more impressed with that and asked me where I went.

Chez Kim, of course.
See, I don't really have any coworkers, other than G who I do security with, and who was the receptionist before me. I'm pretty much by myself all day, everyday. And while I know pretty much everyone, and everyone knows me, no one really knows me, if you catch my drift. I don't have water cooler chats or get to talk to people that sit near me. Maybe that's why people assume that I have a secret life. Shh, I'm Batman

G tries to convince people I'm funny, but no one believes her. I told her I don't believe her, either. She laughed.

Anyway, back to my original point. When I said that there was a gourmet cook, G laughed, but everyone else was curious.

Who's doing the cooking? they asked. I could almost see the gears turning in their heads. Boyfriend? Does she have a boyfriend? Would we know if she had a boyfriend? She's not married is she?

Me. I'm doing the cooking.

And then I got weird looks because you're apparently not supposed to cook for yourself when you're on vacation. But a) I like cooking, and b) I wouldn't have gotten this spaghetti squash, because no one else had the recipe. I didn't even have the recipe until I finished cooking it. Because that's how I roll.
Creamy and cheesy and buttery and ooey-gooey goodness. Browned butter and goat cheese and garlic get mixed to make a super creamy, decadent sauce. You've got the natural sweetness of the squash, then I added some fresh basil, some crumbled bacon, and some seasonings. I added some mozz on top for extra gooey melty-ness. And it was good.

I took healthy stuff and I drowned it in the thoroughly unhealthy to make it some nummy, nummy goodness. That fact is not lost on me.
And if I may suggest-- keep a bodybuilder on call to help you cut open the squash. That sucker was not giving it up. I had to break out the big knife, and klutzy me is normally kept far away from such sharp implements of doom. (oddly, I did not cut myself. But I did burn my thumb pretty badly.)

Spaghetti Squash with Browned Butter and Goat Cheese {Printable Version}
Yield: 4-6 serving

1 large spaghetti squash
¾ cup unsalted butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 oz. goat cheese
4 strips cooked bacon, crumbled
¼ cup roughly chopped fresh basil
½ tsp. sea salt
¼ tsp. freshly cracked black pepper
Pinch dried sage
Shredded mozzarella, for sprinkling

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Cut the squash in half lengthwise, scrape out the seeds, and place flesh side
down on a baking sheet. Bake 30-50 minutes, until the skin can be pricked with a fork. Using a fork,
scrape the flesh away from the skin into long “noodles.” Discard the skin.

While the squash is cooking, melt the butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the minced garlic
and continue to cook, stirring constantly, until the butter turns a light golden brown. Remove from heat
and let cool slightly.

Mix together the cooked squash, browned butter, and all remaining ingredients except the mozzarella,
until well combined and creamy. Add to a baking dish (a 9-inch pie plate should work, depending on the
size of your squash), sprinkle with mozzarella, and bake 5-10 minutes, until the cheese is melted. Let
cool slightly before serving.

Recipe by Kim

March 17, 2013

White Bean Blondies

You guys, I think I need a vacation from my vacation.

I took this past week off of work to get stuff done that I haven't been able to since I feel like I'm always at work. And the bathroom was being renovated, so I wanted to make sure Needy McSnuggles was shut away with enough food and water.

It was also the perfect time to get some stuff together for your surprise coming up (March 30th is the first post. That's your clue for the day) and to work on some recipes. And you guys, I cooked and baked my little butt off. I mean, I was up making pie at 2 in the morning on Tuesday. Wednesday? I don't know; it's all a bit of a blur.

Then this weekend rolls around I realize something: despite the fact that my refrigerator is now fully stocked, I had nothing to post. Everything was either a recipe fail, prep for your surprise, or recipe development for Cookie Wars. And you guys, I didn't want to bake anymore. I've been non-stop all week. I haven't been keeping up on your blogs, I haven't been on facebook, I haven't been on the computer at all except for research. I've been at the grocery store so many times this week that I would pick the check out lane by finding a cashier I haven't seen yet.

Luckily, I remembered that I had these beauties saved for just such an occasion. Every so often, planning does work out for me.
I made these blondies from Chocolate-Covered Katie for someone who wanted a healthy dessert. The flavor was great-- if you went by that alone, you'd never be able to tell that they were both vegan and gluten free. The texture, however, was a bit bean-y. That might be the fault of my food processor, which is small and, umm... inexpensive. The blondies also were rather gooey-er than I had expected, which made them a bit delicate. I think the bake time may be off, but with no clear indication of "doneness", it's hard to say if it's the recipe or it just needed a couple minutes longer in the oven.

While I wouldn't give these blondies to anyone expecting a thoroughly unhealthy dessert, the flavor is there, and there are worse problems than it being a bit too gooey. And being vegan and gluten free, these can satisfy people who are even on restricted diets. I'd call it a keeper.

Yes, I know they're not green. Or boozey. Or Irish in anyway. I'm posting a non-St. Paddy's Day recipe on St. Paddy's Day. It's okay, I've already pinched myself for you. But hey, they're probably great with beer.

White Bean Blondies {Printable Version}
Yield: 12 blondies

1 can white beans or chickpeas, rinsed well and drained
¾ cup packed brown sugar
¼ cup ground quick oats
¼ cup peanut butter
2 tsp. vanilla extract
¾ tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. baking soda
½ cup semisweet chocolate chips, divided

Preheat oven to 350°F. Add all ingredients, except chocolate chips, to a food processor and blend until smooth. Reserve about 1/3 of the chocolate chips and fold the rest into the batter. Spray an 8x8 inch square pan with cooking spray and line with parchment paper. Spread the batter evenly into the prepared pan. Bake 30-35 minutes. Blondies will appear slightly under done, but should firm up as they cool

Recipe from Chocolate-Covered Katie

March 13, 2013

Homemade Mayonnaise

So apparently, when I have free time, all of my knowledge of cooking and baking just flies out the window. It's like my brain took some time off, too. Everything that I have cooked or baked this week so far has been a fail. Not an epic fail, mind you-- it's all still been edible, and in some cases, quite tasty-- but just enough to rankle my inner perfectionist.

First was the Irish soda bread. The recipe there was all wonkified, as the batter was way too wet.

Second was the pasta salad. Still good to eat, however I tried that thing where you add the food coloring to the water to dye the pasta, and it just turned this sad sort of gray color. Sad little gray bowtie pasta. Because bowties are cool. Even gray ones.

Third were the petit fours. Now, there were a couple of indicators that these weren't going to turn out, but the kicker was when the liquid fondant wouldn't cover them and I ended up burning my fingers instead of having cute little tea cakes.

Fourth was the meringue pie. I screwed up the crust so it fell apart, and the custard filling was too gooey. It tasted really good, but you have to eat it with a spoon.

This was all in a time span of two days, people.

So while I was going to hold off giving you this recipe until I had perfected it a little bit more, I figured I should really take a break before I end up blowing up the house or something.
Homemade mayonnaise is surprisingly simple to make, and uses ingredients you probably already have in the kitchen. It's basically just an emulsion of egg and oil. With some seasonings to make it taste good. Honestly, the hardest part of the process is adding the oil slowly enough that the mayo properly emulsifies. The whole process takes about 10 minutes, tops. Then it's got to chill a bit in the fridge, but if you're making dressing (which I was. For the grayish pasta salad.) you can skip that step since you're going to thin it out anyway.

Seriously, make your own mayo. Flavor it however you like. Even I was able to do it, and I'm apparently doomed to recipe fails this week. You just want to make sure to use the freshest eggs possible, don't use olive oil (too heavy), and grab some tune-age to pass the time while drizzling the oil. You'll need it.

Homemade Mayonnaise {Printable Version}
Yield: Approx. 8 oz.

1 fresh egg, at room temperature
2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
2 tsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. mustard
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. garlic powder
Large pinch of sugar
1 cup vegetable oil

In a food processor, or in a mixing bowl with electric beaters, add the egg and beat on medium speed until pale yellow and foamy. Add the vinegar, lemon juice, mustard, salt, garlic powder, and sugar, and continue to mix until well blended. With the mixer or food processor on medium-high speed, slowly begin to drip in the oil. Once about ¼ cup of the oil has been added, reduce speed and add the remaining oil in a thin, steady stream. Add any further seasonings to taste. Place in an airtight container, and refrigerate 1-2 hours until thickened. Store in the refrigerator up to 1 week.

Tip: Because the egg is uncooked, the use of pasteurized eggs is recommended. The egg must be room temperature, and the oil must be added excruciatingly slowly, otherwise the mayo will not properly emulsify. The use of earbuds is recommended to help pass the time during this step.

Recipe adapted from various internet sources

March 10, 2013

Crispy Oven-Baked Chicken Strips

I forgot to give you guys your clue last post. Sorry dudes. I was just trying to bang out a post before work and I got caught up in the ranting.

...What? Of course I've been giving you clues. I promised didn't I? I just didn't make them obvious. You saw, but you did not observe.

Sorry, no. It's not a Sherlock surprise (although I've been thinking about doing something to celebrate the start of the filming. But I don't know if I'll ever actually do it. It's a bit out of my wheelhouse)

So to make it up to you, I'll give you an obviously obvious clue right now.

Clue: The series is based on something that I love very, very much. (And you already know it's not Sherlock. So that's like 2 clues right there. You're welcome)

Onto the noms!
This recipe, found in Fast Food Fix, was originally meant to be sort of a healthified copycat version of the KFC Twister, which used to be my very favorite fast food sandwich before they stopped carrying it. It was just a wrap with fried chicken strips and this creamy peppercorn sauce (which totally made the whole sandwich), along with a little lettuce and tomato.

So when I was flipping through my copy of Fast Food Fix, I was excited to see that the Twister was one of the recipes included in the book. I could have my Twister again, and I didn't have to confront my frying phobia to do it.

Except, it didn't really taste like the Twister. The sauce (again, the thing that made the whole sandwich) was way too sweet, and I couldn't get that signature peppery taste, even though I drowned it in freshly cracked pepper. And the chicken was missing that signature KFC blend of spices.

But, taken on its own-- without trying to compare it to that beloved sandwich-- the chicken was delicious. Crispy and juicy and tasty and ready in under half an hour, using only basic ingredients. It wasn't the Twister, but it was too good not to share

Yes. Those are snowpeas in my wrap. I didn't have lettuce, and I needed something green. besides, it was pretty tasty that way.

Crispy Oven-Baked Chicken Strips {Printable Version}
Yield: About 4 servings (2 strips per serving)

½ cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt, plus more for sprinkling
1 tsp. freshly cracked black pepper, plus more for sprinkling
½ tsp. onion powder
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast strips
2 eggs, beaten
2 cups unseasoned panko bread crumbs

In a zip-top bag, add the flour, salt, pepper, and onion powder, and shake to mix well. Add the chicken breast strips to the bag, and shake to evenly coat each piece in the flour mixture. Place the sealed bag in the refrigerator and chill at least 10 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 475°F and lightly spray a baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside. Take two wide-mouthed, shallow bowls. Place the beaten eggs in one, and the panko in the second. Remove the chicken from the refrigerator. Take one strip and dip it in the egg, making sure to coat it completely. Allow the excess to drip off before dipping in the panko. Coat the strip completely in the panko, and place on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining chicken strips. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Bake the chicken for 5 minutes. Carefully flip the strips over, and bake an additional 4-6 minutes, until the chicken is fully cooked. Serve warm.

Recipe adapted from Fast Food Fix

March 6, 2013

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies

I don't know about you guys, but I've been feeling the need lately for a good, hearty breakfast before work these days. A good, hearty breakfast that is also a cookie. Yeah, it's been that kind of week.

Firstly, I've been training a temp to take over reception duties while I'm off next week. Or I should say, trying to. I'll be training my third temp in 5 days today. The first one was great. She had reception experience, she picked everything up quickly, she was friendly and had a good personality. Only problem was, she could only make 6 out of the 10 days we needed her. The temp agency really screwed us on that one. The second temp was everything the first was not. She had no reception experience, she was rude and bossy, didn't pay attention to what we told her, came in late both days of training, and was dropping calls even after 2 days of learning the system. So fingers crossed on the one that's coming in today-- she's apparently a recent college grad whose last job was lead lifeguard. I'm willing to give her a shot because I was in a similar situation when I started (my last job was "playtime activity associate" at a kennel. I took the dogs out and played with them and got paid to do it. True story), but she better learn fast because I don't have time to babysit.

And then we come to my second problem. We've been abnormally busy at work lately. We picked up a new contract, so I'm fielding dozens of interviews a day, in addition to any other visitors, consultants, or out-of-office employees coming in for meetings. Not to mention the training class that comes in everyday, and my usual work with the security badges for ours and a handful of other sites. And of course, the phones. Busy isn't usually a problem; it's never fun, of course, but since on a normal day I get a good chunk of downtime, it's easily handled. But since I've been babysitting temps, everything's just gotten compounded.

Especially when an elevator motor burns out, sets off the fire alarms, and my boss is coming in late, and his boss is at another site. I had to track down the landlord, find out what was happening, convince people that yes, the blaring alarms mean you need to evacuate the building, no I don't think Mindy cares that her 9:00 is here at the moment, please hang up the phone, and talk to the fire department to make sure that this wasn't something that was going to come back on my (the facilities management) company. And then tell every curious employee who came up to me what had happened.
Is it really only Wednesday? Mother $@&#^%

Yeah. Cookies for breakfast. With a kiwi lemonade slushy. Because I've earned it, gosh darn it.

Of course, while I feel I'm completely justified in eating any cookie I'd like for breakfast, I also need some good nutrition so I can keep up with whatever the job wants to throw at me. And these cookies provide that. Oats, banana, peanut butter, and one egg. And sugar, because I need the energy.

You don't really taste the banana in these puppies. They end up just being these big, soft, peanut-buttery oatmeal cookies. I also used Peanut Butter & Company's Cinnamon Raisin Swirl peanut butter, and dude, that flavor was meant for these cookies. Cinnamon, plus raisins, plus peanut butter, plus oatmeal cookie=perfection for breakfast.
Nice, thick cookie. Nom nom nom.
So, if you're having a bad week at work, I recommend cookies for breakfast. At least you can make sure the day starts well. And I hope that my job at the very least makes you feel slightly better about yours. Now if you'll excuse me, I've got cookies to eat before going back to the circus...

... I meant work.

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies {Printable Version}
Yield: About 2 dozen cookies

3 small bananas, mashed
¾ cup Cinnamon Raisin Swirl Peanut Butter*
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3 cups quick oats
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. cinnamon
¼ tsp. salt

Preheat the oven to 350°F. In a large bowl, mix together the banana, peanut butter, brown sugar, egg, and vanilla. Add the remaining ingredients and mix until well-blended. Drop the batter by the tablespoonful on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or a silpat mat, and flatten into disks about 1 inch thick. Bake 10 minutes, or until cookies are set and the edges just begin to brown.

*If using regular peanut butter, increase the cinnamon to 1 teaspoon, and add raisins, if desired.

Recipe by Kim

March 3, 2013

Fizzy Kiwi Lemonade

The job has been seriously trying to drive me crazy. Not just with floods, bounty hunters, and mystery pizzas. No, on Friday, the landlord was mucking about with the water without telling anyone what they were doing and screwed it up. There was no water on the fourth floor. Visitors would come up to me and ask if they could use they bathroom, and I had to tell them I wasn't exactly sure if the bathrooms on the first floor were functional.

Not to mention that, whatever they were doing was setting off the alarms. Not fire alarms. Shrill, annoying, "hey, pay attention to me, there's something wro-ong" alarms. Going off right by my desk.

Now let me set the scene for you. I work in a four story building. I sit in the lobby, which is in this sort of atrium. Every floor is open above me, all the way up to the skylight. So every. Single. Little. Sound. Echoes. Especially shrill little alarms that go off for four hours straight.

But not continuously. Oh no, I might be able to tune it out if that happened. No, it would go off for 20 minutes, and then it would stop, and I would sigh in relief and try to get some work done, but 10 minutes later:

beep... beep... beep...

I would call the landlord at increasing levels of desperation, asking if they could silence the alarms. It didn't do any good.
That's my special straw. It adds extra fizz.

So when I was pureeing kiwis, and my family asked what I was doing, they thought the job had finally shoved me off the deep end, because I responded, "lemonade."

This drink is light and refreshing. And super fizzy. Fizz, fizz. The kiwi flavor is pretty strong which I like, but I think I'd prefer it a little more lemony. And I love the bright alien green color of it. It kind of looks like something out of Doctor Who, right?

Also, this makes an awesome slushy, if you have a Slush Mug from Think Geek, which I totally do, because I'm an adult. *snickers* Or, instead of adding the seltzer, you can blend the kiwi, lemon, and sugar with some ice.

Fizzy Kiwi Lemonade {Printable Version}
Yield: 6 servings

6 kiwifruit, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 cup granulated sugar
1 liter seltzer, chilled

In a blender, puree the kiwis. Press the kiwi puree through a fine mesh sieve, removing the seeds. In a large pitcher, mix together the puree, lemon juice, and sugar until the sugar is fully dissolved. Chill for 2 to 24 hours. Immediately before serving, add the seltzer, and stir until just combined. Serve chilled, over ice.

Recipe adapted slightly from Better Homes and Gardens website