Saturday, January 22, 2011

Saturday afternoon cookies

In a few hours, I'm headed down to Old Town for an afternoon of Trivia with my Colgate Chicago Alumni group.  Since I rarely like to go to a party empty handed, and I haven't had much of an opportunity to bake recently, I decided to bake some cookies to bring with me.  Actually, I have baked so rarely recently that I didn't even realize I had only 1/2 stick of butter in the refrigerator, with no back-up in the freezer.  Unprecedented!
So the cookies I chose for this afternoon are potato chip cookies, from an old issue of Real Simple Magazine.  You may remember that I made these cookies last Halloween for the kids in my building.  I found them to be crumbly, so today I tweaked the recipe a bit and am pretty happy with the results so far.  They're still a bit crumbly, so I may try some more egg next time, but for now, here's the new recipe:

1 cup butter at room temp.  (the original recipe calls for unsalted, but I'm a salty gal . . . )
1/2 cup granulated sugar (extra, if you want to dust the cookies with it)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 egg
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 cup potato chips, crushed (extra, if you want to dust the cookies with it)
1/2 cup pecans, chopped

Heat oven to 375.  Cream the butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer on high speed.  Then add vanilla on medium speed.  Add the egg, flour and cinnamon.  Beat on low/medium speed until incorporated, then fold in potato chips and pecans.  Form into 1 inch balls, then dip in either sugar or more potato chips (today I used potato chips, because I'm taking them to a bar, so I want them to be saltier than sweet).  Place on parchment 2 inches apart and press with a flat-bottomed glass.  Bake until the edges are a little golden brown, 13-14 minutes, depending on your baking sheets.  Let cool on sheets for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire racks.  Yield: about 3 dozen.

Thanks to Real Simple for the original recipe, which I have loved enough to want to try to make it better :-)

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


Home is an excellent song by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, which I started hearing sometime last spring.  This morning, a friend of mine on facebook posted the cutest youtube video ever of a little girl and her dad singing it together.  If my friend posted it on facebook, chances are everyone in the world has already seen this, but since I believe my main blog following consists of people who are related to me, it might be new to some of you.
Happy Wednesday!

and in case you're interested, here's a link to the original song.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

weekend paperwork

So I was sidelined for my Friday night plans (to finally see a fellow piano teacher's band playing at a real club!) by a gruesome headache, but after spending about 14 hours in bed, I hopefully am back on track for the rest of my weekend, at least to a certain extent.  Tonight's celebration is one I've been looking forward to - my friend Katy's birthday dinner at Sun Wah BBQ, then singing at Lincoln Karaoke (my friends have rented out a room).  For Katy's birthday, I wanted to give her the very large ice cube trays that I got from Ikea a few years ago; she always compliments me on my ice cubes (boy, that sounds funny) whenever I have them at parties.  Unfortunately, when I went to Ikea last week, they didn't have them, so instead I bought her some forest animal shaped cookie cutters, which I also already own and were actually featured in Martha Stewart's holiday cookie magazine.
            To complement the animal cookies, I made Katy a birthday card featuring a javelina (because she already has a javelina cookie cutter for these new ones to befriend) and some traffic cones (long story):

A: to wish Katy a happy birthday!

and maybe bring me back some ibuprofen.  Ugh.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Perils of Cupcakes

On Tuesday night, my foodie partner-in-crime Ruthie and I had a real treat.  We met for dinner at the Soupbox on Chicago Ave.  I've eaten at the Lakeview location many times, and of course this was just as good, with a few more tables.
Then we made our chilly way over to Sprinkles, where they were having a small party, I guess you could call it, to introduce a new cupcake flavor: German Chocolate (officially available today).  Now I'm not a German Chocolate fan in general, but I have to say this was a very. good. cupcake.
            What made it even better, and what Ruthie and I hadn't known before showing up, was that everyone on "the list" would get to take home a box of 4 cupcakes (one German Chocolate, and 3 others, of our choice).  Clockwise from the top left, my cupcake choices were: Milk Chocolate/choc. frosting (simple I know), Lemon Coconut (really good!), Vanilla/choc. frosting (even simpler, I know), and finally German Chocolate.  Here's what I realized, 3 days later, having finished all the cupcakes:
The best thing about being single is: if you get a box of free cupcakes, you don't have to share them with anyone.
The worst thing about being single is: if you get a box of free cupcakes, you'll eat them all yourself.
Oh, sweet gluttony.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Mod-ern art

I had been trying for a while to find a nice, big piece of art to put above my fireplace.  After reading some of the Marimekko Blog, and seeing that they were having a big sale (still going on, until Jan. 15) I decided to invest in a yard of fabric, which I stretched over a canvas and hung up.  First, I had to figure out who I had lent my staple gun to, years ago, but once I had all of the necessary materials, it went up in a flash.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Cross Stitch Christmas

This post is about a week late, but the sentiment is up-to-date.
This Christmas, I gave my family members some counted cross stitch projects I had been working on.  The first one I did was from a kit I bought last time I was home, at the Mystic Seaport Museum Store, a little taste of home for my dad and my step-mother.

Since my mom had the original cross-stitch, I had to think of something else to do for her.  After a lot of mulling, I remembered what my grandmother used to say to my mom every morning to wake her up for school (and my mother used to say to me sometimes too).  Here is the result.

Another gift I gave to my parents was a drawing for each of them, that I had done in my drawing class.  Here is the finished and framed drawing for my mom, which was perfect for her because she weaves and uses the same spools of yarn as I drew in class.  She has it up in her weaving room.

Gapers Block : Drive-Thru : Chicago Food - Grahamwich for Christmas

On Monday, Dec. 20, my friend Brittany and I headed down to the newly-opened Grahamwich for a little lunch.
I enjoyed the beef shortrib sandwich, with an orange ginger soda. I also ordered g'wich chips (yukon potatoes, fresh herbs, bacon bits, cheddar cheese and ranch powder) which came in a delightfully large serving, so large that I brought it home with me and left it for my friend Ruthie, who was bringing in my mail while I was out of town for Christmas. Ruthie, delighted by the potato chip surprise, wrote about me on Gaper's Block:
Gapers Block : Drive-Thru : Chicago Food - Grahamwich for Christmas
and she just told me the other day that Graham Elliot re-tweeted the article! We're all famous by association.
Strangely, I think everything has come full circle, considering Brittany and I had a Graham sighting when we stopped into the restaurant.
Yum Yum!