Catherine Likes Lists.

  1. I wish I had a punching bag. Heck, I wish I even had a space to hang a punching bag. Anyone want to hook me up? I’m dying here.
  2. Sixties’ music: yes. My dad recorded an Ed Sullivan compilation on our DVR from many months ago and I’m just getting around to listening to it.
  3. Am I the only person in the world who likes the heel of bread loaves? I very well may be. Please, tell me there are more of my kind out there.
  4. The farthest west in the US I’ve ever been was Arizona until a few weeks ago when I and a friend went to visit another dear friend (aka Super Best Friends Reunion 2014) in the Pacific Northwest, specifically, Oregon. I cannot even begin to tell you how beautiful this state is.
  5. I’ve been listening to this album for the past few months on repeat and still can’t get enough of it.
  6. Guess who made her first ModCloth purchase? This girl! Guess who has to wait until school to get it because she sent it to her university address? This girl!
  7. Homemade Larabars: soon to be made and consumed with great fervor. Or packaged and stuck in a container until school.

Up & Coming: A Post in an Attempt to Make Myself Feel Less Cluttered.

You know how sometimes you have approximately 8 million things you want to do and about a quarter of the time necessary to accomplish three of them?

Yep. Me. That’s me.

My bed is covered in clothes that I need to try on so I can determine whether I want to take them to school or donate them to Good Will. Somewhere in the mass of clothing are books, recipes, CDs from the library I checked out weeks ago but have yet to listen to, nearly every book I swore I would read this summer before everything went to hell, and probably a pair of shoes stuck between my headboard and mattress.

The state of my bedroom floor is considerably worse. Coupons, pillows, newspapers, a Rolling Stone about Paul McCartney, old textbooks my school bookstore wouldn’t buy back, my stereo, some electronic cords for…I don’t even know what. Not to mention the shoes and belts and photographs and ugh.

We’ll leave that there.

Now that I’m finally finished with work and have a spread of “free” hours in the coming week (ha, yeah, right. I haven’t relaxed in about two years), my end-of-summer panic has welled up and suddenly I’m experiencing a summertime crisis: the fact that, in the two months I have been out of school, I have not accomplished any of the leisurely/semi-enjoyable things I so desire – and, for lack of better terms, crave.

(Yes, I hate the word “crave.” But yes, I just used it. That’s how unfortunate I’m feeling right now.)

This summer did not turn out how I wanted it to. Not even a little.

Why am I sitting on the floor of my bedroom pumping out a blog post, then? Because it’s like crossing off an item on a “to-do” list (for lack of a better analogy, I swear my blog isn’t an obligation. I swear). That’s how my mind works; small “successes” propel me to do other ones. Otherwise, as I was orating to my mother in the car earlier today, the tidal wave of panic knocks me to the sea floor of life and renders me absolutely incapable of doing one productive thing, let alone many.

This is all coming from the girl who has to periodically delete all of her emails and bookmarks in order to re-regulate her breathing.

Anyways, God willing I will bake and photograph the heck out of everything in my kitchen in the next 8 or so days, then at least draft posts to spread them out throughout my semester – and add new ones, of course. Armed with a camera (albeit without my gorgeous partner in crime) and a slew of college dorm-able recipes, I’ll fight the good fight.

Baked, drafted, & soon to be posted:

  • homemade nut butters (so original)
  • homemade Larabars
  • various sorts of accidental & purposeful breakfasts
  • musings over various sorts of breakfasts
  • CHEESECAKE.
  • ridiculously and literally addictive super easy granola bars
  • more delicious food photography from Europe
  • perhaps a Wordless Wednesday or two

Stay sweet.

Catherine

Bites from Europe: A Post in Photos, Part I.

I spent four months in Europe, most of that time spent either on trains or somewhere on campus buckling down on schoolwork. One thing I wish I’d done more: photographed more of my meals & snacks.

Train life: One of my European staples, very early one, was the nutty, seeded, grainy bread found in bakeries and grocery stores.

Train life: One of my European staples, very early one, was the nutty, seeded, grainy bread found in bakeries and grocery stores.

Italian food in Budapest: cheese & herb-stuffed chicken topped with tomatoes.

Italian food in Budapest: cheese & herb-stuffed chicken topped with tomatoes.

Tiramisu in Roma on Mardi Gras.

Tiramisu in Roma on Mardi Gras.

Cold "pasta fresca" from a cafeteria on a Roman side street.

Cold “pasta fresca” from a cafeteria on a Roman side street.

More pasta in Roma - the best I had abroad!

More pasta in Roma – the best I had abroad!

Une crepe au jambon et fromage in Lisieux, France.

Une crepe au jambon et fromage in Lisieux, France.

Pain au chocolat in transit from Lyon to Barcelona.

Pain au chocolat in transit from Lyon to Barcelona.

A very unfortunate sandwich (brie and cranberry - delicious in theory, not so much in practice) but wonderful bravas in the background (small potatoes).

A very unfortunate sandwich (brie and cranberry – delicious in theory, not so much in practice) but wonderful bravas in the background (small potatoes).

The best way to finish off a not-so-good lunch: deep, dark, and dare I say deadly, chocolate cake from a professional pastry chef.

The best way to finish off a not-so-good lunch: deep, dark, and dare I say deadly, chocolate cake from a professional pastry chef.

Maria's fancy chocolates; the flavors included olive oil, rosemary, and lemon.

Maria’s fancy chocolates; the flavors included olive oil, rosemary, and lemon.

Churros con chocolata in Barcelona - or, in Catalan, xurros con xocolata. This might have been my favorite dessert in all of Europe. The churros were freshly fried then promptly sugar-coated at a small place down the road; we carried them in white paper cones to a cafe where we ordered our hot chocolate, a drink so thick you can't sip it - it MUST be eaten with a spoon, or consumed on a churro!

Churros con chocolata in Barcelona – or, in Catalan, xurros con xocolata. This might have been my favorite dessert in all of Europe. The churros were freshly fried then promptly sugar-coated at a small place down the road; we carried them in white paper cones to a cafe where we ordered our hot chocolate, a drink so thick you can’t sip it – it MUST be eaten with a spoon, or consumed on a churro!

Current Thoughts Occupying Space in my Brain Concerning This Blog: A Note.

  1. I should make a real post.
  2. I should upload pictures for said real post. At least get them off my camera. They don’t even need to be sorted into a particular folder, just…on my computer.
  3. (I’ve been awake since 4 AM and then worked a 10 hour shift and now I am so tired I don’t even understand how keyboards work.)
  4. Does anyone else feel guilty/”less”/inadequate for not adhering to a “clean” or gluten-free or vegetarian or vegan or “health nut” lifestyle? Like, posting all my recipes with butter and (gasp!) white flour makes me feel like a villain, a fatty, and a plebian all at once.
  5. My nose is really stuffed up and that has nothing to do with this blog other than the fact that it is part of the human who runs this blog.
  6. There are several posts that I’ve begun. One will be up soon.

Pretzel Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Bars.

That title is a mouthful

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of delicious.

Sometimes, I expect myself to give lengthy, eloquent blog posts. Here’s a story, let’s have a laugh or poignant moment, now let me tie it into a baked good and tell you why you should bake and then consume it.

By “sometimes”, I mean “usually.” And by “usually,” I mean “always.”

I’ve never been very succinct.

I’m giving myself a break, a mental break. I know that if you’ve stumbled down the page this far, you’ll probably like the recipe. These bars are dense, thick, satisfying, comforting. Let them be a rainy-day treat, enjoyed with a cup of tea by an open window, or a sweet square to slow down your crazy mornings.

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Pretzel Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Bars
Adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction
Makes an 8×8 pan

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup peanut butter (creamy or chunky)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 1/4 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cup mini pretzels

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8×8 or 9×9 baking dish with parchment paper, or spray with cooking spray.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, cream together the brown sugar and peanut butter until light and fluffy. Mix in the vanilla.
  3. Mix in flour, oats, salt, and baking soda. As the dough begins to come together, slowly add the milk and mix until the dough forms.
  4. Fold in chocolate chips.
  5. Press into the prepared baking dish. Arrange the pretzels on top of the dough, pressing in lightly. Bake for about 17-20 minutes, until edges are brown. Cool completely and cut into squares. Devour.

most ardently.

(I love you.)

  1. All of these dresses. All. Of. Them.
  2. Portable burrito. When I was in Poland, my friends and I had the misfortune of dining at a “Mexican” restaurant, a night which became one of my regretted adventures. But, going to Chipotle in Paris (we were homesick!) made up for it. Burritos for days.
  3. Honey Almond Quinoa Granola. Do you know how much I adore Kristin’s blog? A lot. This granola looks to die for.
  4. Gregory Alan Isakov. Be still my heart. My roommate and I listened to this song all semester, and it’s still as gorgeous as ever.
  5. Music to my little introverted ears.
  6. Lemon Basil Shortbread Cookies. Yes. Please. In my mouth. Now.
  7. Just for fun. Because who doesn’t like ridiculous looking cats?

“I browned butter for you!” Or, Mini-Caramel Stuffed Snickerdoodle Cookie Cups.

Doesn’t that sound like a line from a soap opera? Scene: Eleanor, finding the door to boyfriend Jonathan’s apartment unlocked, steps inside, only to find Jonathan making out with Alexandra. Alexandra having fled the scene, Eleanor confronts an embarrassed, red-faced Jonathan in his entirely unkempt kitchen.

Eleanor: A year of dating and this? That? You with that woman? My God, Jonathan, I’ve done all I could for you – sat with you as you wept over Jane Eyre, drove you to the bakery every morning when your car was in the shop so you wouldn’t have to live a day without Josie’s bagels, didn’t laugh at the stupid things you said after your wisdom teeth were taken out. I made puff pastry for you from scratch! I slaved over that eighteen-layer cake for your mother’s birthday! I browned butter for you, Jonathan. And there you were, with that tramp who can only make cookies from refrigerated cookie dough.

End scene.

use ii

Maybe I should be a writer.

Anyways. I’m still having a love affair with my mini muffin tin, because mini muffins and small cups of various baked goods are automatically 50 zillion times more delicious than any standard-sized or jumbo counterparts. Size matters. And what’s better than cookies baked in a mini-muffin tin? And what’s better than cookies covered in cinnamon and filled with caramel in a mini-muffin tin? (Your boyfriend eating them is even better, actually.)

I’m a big fan of this recipe…but I wanted cups. So I searched the internet and found a recipe for maple snickerdoodle cookie cups…but, the addition of maple was overwhelming. Brown butter? (Everyone says browned butter smells nutty. To me, it smells like pancakes.) Vanilla? Cinnamon? Caramel? And you want me to add maple? No. Can’t do it. Maybe next time, when my caramel fiend of a boyfriend won’t be around.

After tweaking with reckless abandon (sort of), the results are…delicious. And perfect. Also, delicious.

use

#1 rule of baking: always “accidentally” add more vanilla extract than necessary. Oops, my hand slipped. Better let the overflow happen.

#2 rule of baking: there is no such thing as too much cinnamon.

Add the maple if you want. Fill with chocolate if you want. What-ever you want.

Go forth and enjoy. Before any significant others consume them before you get the chance.

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Mini Caramel-Stuffed Snickerdoodle Cookie Cups
Recipe adapted from Beyond Frosting and inspired by Sally’s Baking Addiction

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cup flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp cream of tartar

For the cinnamon-sugar coating

  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a mini muffin pan with cooking spray or line with muffin liners.
  2. Brown the butter in a sauce pan over medium heat. When the butter is melted, stir constantly until it turns brown with a nutty aroma.
  3. In a mixing bowl, cream the browned butter with sugars and cinnamon. Set aside and allow the butter to cool.
  4. When butter/sugar mixture has cooled, beat in the egg and vanilla.
  5. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and cream of tartar.
  6. Stir the dry ingredients into the butter until well combined.
  7. Mix together the sugar and cinnamon for the coating in a small bowl. Roll about a tablespoon of dough in the cinnamon sugar and place into the mini muffin pan.
  8. Bake at 350 degrees F for 8-10 minutes, until cookies are lightly browned.
  9. Allow the cookies to sit in the pan for 15-20 minutes before removing and cooling completely. Devour.

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