ATK: cookie 3 – molasses spice

here’s the problem with having tried and true cookie recipes that i’ve gathered and used over the last 15 years of christmas cookie baking: they’re tried and true. so i found with the sugar cookie. i had never tried the brown sugar cookies, so those were awesome. i’m expecting the ATK chocolate chip cookies to fall flat (there’s a reason our family recipe has been around so long).

i use a molasses/ginger cookie recipe that i modified from a martha stewart recipe i found about four years ago. it’s awesome, but i was really expecting the ATK recipe to outdo it.


the weird thing in this recipe? it calls for pepper. and a seemingly ungodly amount of spices, the likes of which (the measurements, that is) i’ve never seen in a cookie recipe.


this alton brown liquid measuring cup was the best present i ever got nate 🙂



i poured the molasses onto the whipped sugar and butter, and it looked so much like chocolate syrup on ice cream that i almost dug in. that would’ve been a mouthful of weird, though.

basic cookie assembly. roll into balls, roll in sugar, bake. once again, ATK called for 22 cookies, and i came out with 32.



they sure LOOK pretty! final result? there is something about them that just doesn’t cut it. maybe they’re now quite sweet enough, or the huge amounts of all these kicky spices just don’t play well together. and one of the things mentioned in the recipes is that molasses cookies generally are dry and taste like cardboard. quite frankly, i found these a little dry. well, dryer than my tried and true molasses cookie. that said, they are still cookies, and still yummy.

so, ATK 1, kate 2. i will TRY the chocolate chip ones, but i’m not holding out much hope.



rain rain rain

it’s supposed to rain with temps in the 40s all week, then on saturday, which is my first 5k of the season, the sun will break forth with a high of 58. i know they say april showers bring may flowers, but this is ridonkulous.

i have gotten tired of the treadmill. i was down there last night, and i just am blah about it – i would much rather run up the crappy hills in this town and be outside and look around than stuck in my basement running in place.

i’m trying to sell my lawn mower i bought last fall so i can get some cash. craigslist, i’m counting on you. i’ve gotten a lot of emails about it, but i haven’t gotten a firm “yes i want to come see it this day” from anyone yet.

hmm…what else is there. oh yeah! the dark tower series has gone meta. it could end wtih captain picard waking up from a faint on the holodeck and i wouldn’t be surprised.

cookie 2: brown sugar cookie

today i made the second cookie in the “america’s test kitchen” cookbook, the brown sugar cookie. after the disappointment (only for me) that was the sugar cookie, i wasn’t expecting much out of this one, BUT…i was blown away.


the weird method about this cookie recipe (i’m assuming there is a weird method in all the recipes in the book): browning the butter before mixing it in with the rest of the ingredients.


the recipe says to melt the butter for so many minutes then swirl for so many minutes, but after i realized what they wanted (to get rid of all the water in the butter by evaporating it), psssh, who needs timing? the above is the melted butter along with an additional 4 tablespoons.


mixed dark brown sugar in the butter then added the dry ingredients. i tried the dough after it was all mixed together, and YUM to the capital Y-U-M. it reminded me a little of my tried and true family choco-chip cookie recipe.


roll them in more sugar, because why not?

this and the last cookie i did ended up yielding more cookies for me than the recipe recommended, which means ATK makes some mad-big cookies. which makes me happy.


STELLAR cookies. these things are addicting, and i’m not sure any will be left for work on monday morning. when i make them again, perhaps i’ll add some chocolate chips to them. that is the only thing i can see making these any better than they are.

point, ATK.

food porn

tonight i went to a fundraiser for my mom’s work where we were served a 4-course meal: salad, fish, pork, and dessert. i got pics of everything but the salad (forgot…oh well).

the best part of the fish course was the pea shoots. oh, and the mushrooms weren't bad.

the best part of the fish course was the pea shoots. oh, and the mushrooms weren’t bad.

dessert - fruit tartlet, which wasn't any chocolate pie, that's for sure.

dessert – fruit tartlet, which wasn’t any chocolate pie, that’s for sure.

the menu

the menu

the best course - pork with carrot-hazelnut puree and snap peas.

the best course – pork with carrot-hazelnut puree and snap peas.

it was wine and roses, so each course was paired with a wine.

it was wine and roses, so each course was paired with a wine.

bread course, which everyone was excited about.

bread course, which everyone was excited about.

to semicolon; or not to semicolon

if you know me, you probably know that love to use a semicolon; it is my favorite punctuation mark. comma splice? BAM – fixed with a semicolon. long list of convoluted stuff involving oxford commas? BAM – fixed with a semicolon. i am also a huge grammar nerd; why not indelible punctuation?

so i was looking into a semicolon tattoo; HOWEVER, a semicolon tattoo has been overtaken by the former cutters and suicidals, especially if it’s located on the wrist – the semicolon movement. something about how that life is over and now it’s time for my second related, but independent clause. i’ve seen a lot of comments on these tattoos along the lines of “OMG this a great suicide tattoo!”

this allows for two questions: 1. do i want a semicolon tattoo if it’s going to get me marked (oh ho ho nice pun there) as a former cutter and/or suicidal? and 2. it won’t go on the wrist; nate says no to a behind-the-ear, back of neck, or lower arm tattoo; so where do i put this thing?

a stipulation: i must be able to see it without a mirror. i was thinking on my shoulder, so if i look over my shoulder, i can still see it. here is the photo that got me hooked.


happy earth day, for the 44th time

i am almost finished with the environment chapter in my devil’s syrup book, which has to do with environmentalism. here is an excerpt for this year’s earth day. 


I have a philosophy: every day should be earth day. One day a year is not going to convince the world that we need to be doing something to help out the planet. One thing I’m happy my parents deeply ingrained in me was the decency to clean up after my footprint on the planet.  My parents are polarized when it comes to most politics, but the one thing they both agree on is conservation and stewardship of the planet. I have no recollection of a time in my life when I didn’t recycle, and it has been that way because I have parents who understand that part of being on this planet is a recognition that we need to keep it in good condition, if not better condition than when we arrived. Unfortunately, as a whole humans are not doing a great job at this philosophy, but as individuals, my parents passed along their awareness early on and more than well enough.

I remember in the Catholic grade school I went to celebrating earth day; it was a big deal. We decorated t-shirts, had poster contests more than once, recited the three Rs (Reduce! Reuse! Recycle!), planted trees, and pledged to turn the lights off when we weren’t using them. Maybe it was the culture of that particular school or it was the time period (the mid-to-late-80s), but I don’t remember as much of a focus on earth day once we moved away and my siblings and I picked up our studies at public school. This isn’t to say my family wasn’t still maintaining stewardship of the earth; it just wasn’t a huge focus in school, where an impressionable young person spends seven hours of the day.

Once I got to college, the tables turned again, and a focus on being green was once again in my educational life. I went to an all-girls’ Catholic college where a focus on easy recycling, reduction of paper usage, and even a major in environmental studies was offered. The Catholic Church, it turns out, has it straight when it comes to the environment. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has actually published a number of statements concerning social justice and climate change. In 1993, an Environmental Justice Program was created to “educate and motivate Catholics to a deeper reverence and respect for God’s creation, and to encourage Catholics to address environmental problems, particularly as they affect poor and vulnerable people.”[1] Social justice and concern for the environment go hand in hand.

(If you are Catholic, or formerly Catholic with hints of guilt, or even if you aren’t anywhere near being Catholic and want to see what Catholics are doing about climate change, you can visit the Catholic Climate Covenant website at Once there, you can sign up for a newsletter that will keep you up to date on all Catholic statements on climate change and take the St. Francis pledge. As a person of the second variety, I found the site hopeful and enlightening.)