Cookie Butter Latte

March 4, 2013 · 17 comments

Cookie Butter Latte | Baking Serendipity

The winter storm warning/five inches of snow in tomorrow’s forecast have me entirely convinced that March has it out for me.

This is fine…totally fine. I’m just going to start fighting back.

I postponed the plans to spring clean my closet…when I spent an unreasonable amount of time on Pinterest fashion pages making sure some shirts were actually out of style. (They are. They’re also still hanging in my closet. No bigs. It’s not spring (cleaning) time yet.)

I also made a casual latte in my blender at home…just in case the roads to Starbucks are slippery.

I’m calling this casual because it probably breaks every latte making rule. There’s milk…but it’s not steamed or frothed. (A spin in the blender sort of imitates this.) There’s no shot of espresso, just extra strong coffee. And there’s no whipped cream topping…which is an easily fixed problem, but requires a trip to the grocery store.

There is, however, cookie butter, which makes up for all the shortcuts I took.

Sometimes we just have to improvise, wear sweatpants all day and hope that if it’s going to snow, there’s at least a snow day.

Cookie Butter Latte | Baking Serendipity
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Daisies | Baking Serendipity

Signs of spring (at least indoors). Outside, it’s all ice and snow and cold. (Get your act together, March.)
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Fudge Brownies with Oreo Ganache | Baking Serendipity

I’ve thought all day that it was Tuesday.

(It’s definitely Wednesday. This is a total game changer.)

This week is half over…and what stands out most is the fact that I’ve eaten a lot of Oreo ganache. A whole lot.

Oops.

Fudge Brownies with Oreo Ganache | Baking Serendipity

Over the weekend, I baked brownies…in a pan that I forgot to grease. I learned that the best thing to do in these situations, is just cut the brownies into small bites, and cover them in ganache and a generous sprinkling of crushed Oreos. Instant solution.

Except…I was left with a lot of extra ganache. Enough to frost a pan of peanut butter rice krispie treats. Enough to sandwich between graham crackers. Enough to eat off a spoon. Enough to do all this and still sit (temptingly) in my fridge.

Oops.
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White Bean and Broccoli Potato Skins | Baking Serendipity

Truth: Sometimes I just want snacks for dinner.

Usually it’s guacamole…but these days I’m into potato skins. I dunno.

I’ve also missed The Bachelor the last few Mondays, live without a DVR (I know) and don’t know much beyond the Tiara hysterics from weeks ago. I’m feeling out of sorts.

Oh. And there’s snow in Phoenix? I don’t even know what to expect from this world.

I think this chaos is what inspired me to get beans involved with potato skins. Yes…really.

White Bean and Broccoli Potato Skins | Baking Serendipity

You should know…they’re white beans…of the cannelli sort, smashed up with broccoli to fill empty potato skin shells. This gets topped with a generous amount of cheese and bacon (naturally). I also baked these potato skins…for health reasons. I think these are all good ideas.

White Bean and Broccoli Potato Skins | Baking Serendipity

I also think I need a snow day, dedicated to watching too many hours of The Bachelor online.

Don’t worry. There will be wine involved too. And potato skins.
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Avocado and Dark Chocolate Chip Pancakes | Baking Serendipity

Navigating life in a new city is hard work.

You get lost driving to the post office. You have to sample every frozen yogurt flavor at every frozen yogurt shop. Okay…maybe that one’s a small luxury. You get majorly caught in the mess of church shopping.

When I say you…I obviously mean me. You’re smart enough to look up directions/wait for the GPS maps to load before you commit to driving.

Avocado and Dark Chocolate Chip Pancakes | Baking Serendipity

Can we real talk this church business? Or is the internet like public school and one of those awkward places to say you believe in Jesus, but wish He’d throw a really, really good church on your Sunday morning radar?

PS: Friends in Phoenix…this is exactly the place you should be.

PPS: Friends in Cleveland/Akron…what large(ish), contemporary, Bible based churches do you love? I need recommendations/help, and I’m basically at the point where I’m willing to drive far distances for a place to challenge me.

Avocado and Dark Chocolate Chip Pancakes | Baking Serendipity
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Crescent Breakfast Squares | Baking Serendipity

High schools are the worst places to be on Valentine’s Day. I know this as a student, and as a teacher. It’s a little bit like the Bachelor…meets real life. In every little clique. My head sort of spins remembering this.

Can I just tell you…there are a lot of days I miss Arizona and the school where I used to teach. Today is really not one of them. Today I went to work with preschoolers and toddlers dressed in suits and ties for Valentine’s Day parties.

Really…I’m not convinced there’s anything cuter than fancied up babies. And I’m pretty completely obsessed with puppies.

This has nothing to do with breakfast. It’s just what’s in my world today.

This breakfast actually happened last weekend…when I woke up in my sister’s house, determined to make a morning meal with just what was in the fridge. I like these sort of challenges.

PS: I used all the eggs in breakfast, and then wanted to make a cake. Challenge number two.

Crescent Breakfast Squares | Baking Serendipity
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life, everyday (week six)

February 12, 2013 · 8 comments

This is really just all the pictures on my phone from a long weekend trip to visit my sister and brother-in-law in North Carolina.

shelly and george

This is my sister, high-fiving her bulldog, George.
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Chocolate Covered Strawberry Bread | Baking Serendipity

I awkwardly/not so nicely delight when there’s snow…like a lot of snow…in places where I’m not.

It’s a character flaw. I get it.

But sunshine feels like a special treat when you know it’s not everywhere…and it is on your face.

PS: I woke up to sunshine and cinnamon rolls and a long weekend with my sister this morning. I have plans to eat guacamole for lunch (this food magically tastes better when it’s warm) and wander the military version of Target all afternoon. It’s relax mode…and I’m totally in it.

PPS: If there’s snow where you are, I’m infinitely sorry. I hope it melts soon, and you have strawberries in your house already for bread making.

One more thing…I think this storm is reason number 458528 I could never live in New York.

Yes. I did just type a lot of numbers without looking there.

And chop chocolate covered strawberries to fold into a chocolate chip quick bread. It’s a Valentine’s Day thing. Go with it.

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Bread | Baking Serendipity
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Browned Butter, Chocolate Chip and Cinnamon Almond Skillet Cookie | Baking Serendipity

I’ve been in this space for two and half (!!) years now. Which really only means…it’s time I come clean on some things.

I really don’t like washing my hair. I dunno. Just…hate it. It’s maybe for the best that a style too short for ponytails works best on me.

I yell at the tv the same way during the Bachelor that I do during football games. Yikes.

I want to like red wine. I want to keep my car clean. I have the best intentions of brushing this dog so he doesn’t shed all over my house every day. (To be fair, this is seriously difficult when it’s cold out.)

And, about the red wine…I’m definitely getting there.

I sometimes make chocolate chip cookies in cast iron skillets on weeknights…simply because I can’t stop thinking about them.

Browned Butter, Chocolate Chip and Cinnamon Almond Skillet Cookie | Baking Serendipity

This is really too much cookie for two people.

But I’m all about it anyway.
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(Sorry for the delay on this! I blame the Super Bowl, and a lot of snow/shoveling.)

Pretzel Dogs | Baking Serendipity

Homemade pretzel dogs. I was so excited to make these successfully and independently! Also…I might have eaten Super Bowl food all week.
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Chai Spiced Granola

January 31, 2013 · 13 comments

Chai Spiced Granola | Baking Serendipity

In the past two weeks, I’ve taught two writing workshops. In them, I have a habit of oversharing (no surprise) example life stories, and letting no one leave who hasn’t written an acceptable thesis statement. I tell you this so you know…these aren’t glamorous writing workshops. It’s not really about tea drinking and awkward/creative brainstorming.

They’ve made me infinitely aware of my happenings. (In the same way I remember the dog hasn’t been walked when his face is on my lap, blocking a view of the snow out the window… I don’t always stop what I’m doing to walk.)

They’ve made me remember just how much I love teaching…and simple, reliable structures, like five paragraph essays. (Does anyone else in this world really think this way, and then admit it on the internet?)

Oh. One more lesson thrown in my face these two weeks? That regular routines need to be spiced up a little sometimes. Especially in January. It’s why I stepped away from my desk for a few hours and got in front of people’s faces to talk about sentences and paragraphs.

It’s also why I emptied my spice cabinet into the granola recipe I’ve been making on repeat for the past few months.

We just need to do this sometimes.

Chai Spiced Granola | Baking Serendipity
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Coconut Oil Tea | Baking Serendipity

Starve a fever/feed a cold?

Is this even a real thing? (Don’t worry. I also asked Google this sixty seven times over the weekend.)(And I still don’t know.)

However, I know this. Being an adult is hard work…especially near tax season. Being a sick adult, with a sick husband and a sick dog? Game over. I definitely forfeit.

On Friday, when I felt the flu starting, I disinfected everything in my house and browned butter. I know…I should have just gone to bed. But browned butter blueberry muffins and a cup of tea felt like the best idea ever.

Um…it was.

Coconut Oil Tea | Baking Serendipity

I added a heaping teaspoon of coconut oil, in its solid state to one mug of tea, and let it melt itself in. No stirring. Just patience. (Really. This is the recipe.)

Guess what? This flu came with zero sore throat.

Coincidence? Maybe. But I’m now obsessed with this tea trick/praying I don’t have to try it again this season. Because I have bigger plans for my kitchen (fine…weekend life) than browned butter muffins.

I seriously hope this sickness doesn’t come at you. But if it does, make this tea.

This is all.

Except…I’m finally on the other side of this flu. And there’s 60 degree walks, homemade granola and the rest of the ginger ale combined with honey bourbon involved. (Also…drink this.)

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Green Smoothie with Chia Seeds

Green smoothie + chia seeds. Sneaking some health into breakfasts.
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Cinnamon Almond Pancakes | Baking Serendipity

There is an out of control amount of salt on the roads in my neighborhood.

The last time I lived in Ohio this was almost irrelevant to me. But now…when I’m living with a dog who walks through the salt every morning, licks it off his paws and then can’t keep down his breakfast…I’m seriously aware and concerned and trying not to cry every 8:00 am. (It’s been altogether unsuccessful.)

Cinnamon Almond Pancakes | Baking Serendipity

This is not the place where I want to talk about sick dogs and complain about winter. It’s just all over my brain these days. And so…I’m just here to tell you that I’ve been leaning hard on prayer and pancakes this week. These are the tricks I know to turn the day around. It’s just real life.
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sweatshirt hunter

In the last 24 hours, I’ve realized that I can either sit cranky about the fact that it’s artic cold outside and drafty cold inside…or I can put a hooded sweatshirt on my pup, laugh at his attempts to walk in it and get lost in the good places of the internet.

PS: He will not let me take this sweatshirt off. (It’s this desert dog’s first winter. Ever.)

PPS: The rest of this is about good places on the internet. (Obviously.)
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