February 09, 2015

This is not right.

Somedays you are scrolling through Pinterest, looking for a tasty treat. Then you see something, and you scroll back up. "Surely, that can't really be a recipe."

But it is.

Last time this happened I may have ranted a little bit about how watermelon are not cakes. This time, I simply leave you:

Rice Krispy Treats...made out of ruffles potato chips.

I know salty and sweet is a flavor profile. I know that chocolate dipped pretzels are delicious. But I also know that this is not right. Chips are for barbecues and super bowl parties. Rice krispy treats require...well, RICE KRISPIES.

So next time you make rice krispy treats--go crazy. Add flavor. But please, please, please do not make them with potato chips. 

December 29, 2014

grapefruit, orange, chocolate, and cookies!

these photos brought to you by my iphone 5s, since I brought my camera home from law school but not my battery charger

Earlier this month, I tried a cookie that had been made with lemon cake mix and white chocolate chips. I chose it out of all of the other cookies on the tray because I said "mmmm! citrus! in a cookie! I love citrus, I love cookies, a match made in heaven!!"

It was not great. I said "I can do better."

When discussing how to make this cookie better, (what else do you do while studying for law school finals?) some people pointed out that white chocolate is always the inferior chocolate, and dark chocolate would make this cookie sixteen times better. Thinking about chocolate and oranges made me think of these guys, which are one of my favorite Christmas treats. I've made chocolate orange cut out cookies before, but I wanted something more like a chocolate chip cookie.

But somewhere in my heart, I still wanted to better that lemon and white chocolate cookie. Something citrus and white chocolate and buttery and light --that would be good with a little bit of tea, and then afterwards you could eat the dark chocolate cookie with your coffee.

Like she's done many times before, Joy the Baker came to the rescue with her White Chocolate Grapefruit cookies. So here you go, friends. White chocolate and dark chocolate, grapefruit and orange, tea and coffee, deliciousness all around.

White Chocolate Grapefruit Cookies (by Joy the Baker)
I didn't adapt this recipe. I just made it.

Note 1: Due to some unforeseen circumstances (::cough:: people eating all of the test cookies that I had made) I had to make another batch straight from the dough I had put in the freezer. Those seemed to hold up better and not spread out so much. I recommend freezing this dough in a log and then slicing the cookies. See instructions for slice and bake here (2nd option) Yes, it does work even with cookie dough with chocolate chips in it.

Note 2: Joy is all like "choose your own adventure and add nuts to this if you want to!" Do not do this. The grapefruit flavor is pretty subtle combo'ed with the browned butter nuttiness. If you added actual nuts this would be a very boring cookie and probably would mostly taste like a pecan sandie.

Double Chocolate Orange Fudge Cookies
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
3 tablespoons butter (I used salted and forgot to add salt, so, get crazy if you're using unsalted)
2 teaspoons orange liqueur (you can omit, but may want to substitute orange extract)
2 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1.5 cups mini dark chocolate chips
Zest from 2 oranges (divided)
1/8 cup Sugar in the Raw or sanding sugar (large crystals)

Preheat the oven to 350F

Melt your chocolate chips and butter over low heat on the stove. You could also do this in the microwave in 30 second bursts, stirring frequently. When the butter and chocolate are almost completely melted, add the orange liqueur. This will be very thick and you will wonder if you have wrecked everything. You haven't.

While this is melting, mix together the eggs, sugar, and zest of 1.5 oranges. Add the chocolate mixture. You can do this by hand, but a mixer of some sort will make your life easier.

Combine the flour and baking powder, then add to the wet ingredients, mixing until just combined. Fold in the mini chocolate chips by hand. I used 1.5 cups by scientifically pouring them out of the bag until it looked like I had enough. Your measurements should be similarly precise.

Pop this dough in the fridge, and let cool for at least 30 minutes. While that's happening, combine the orange zest and sanding sugar, until you get orange colored and flavored sugar.

Scoop out the chilled cookie dough onto a cookie sheet, and top with a bit of the sugar. Cook for 10-12 minutes. The cookies will look underdone. As long as the edges are set, do not cook them any more! Take them out of the oven and they will be awesome.

Then you can have cookies for breakfast.

September 26, 2014

Law School: A starter guide

I started law school this fall, and while I've learned a lot about torts and civil procedure, I've also learned that you need a few key things to keep law school bearable and worthwhile.

Some people might tell you that you need a good study schedule, killer outlines, and relationships with the best professors. These will all help you with your law career. But what do you need to survive your first few weeks of school and the general educational environment, especially if you haven't been in school for a few years?

Well, let me tell you. Here are 3 things that I use every single day.

1. An awesome pencil case
via anthropologie.com

When I first saw this pencil case, I loved it. But then I said "do I really need to spend $24 on a pencil case?"

But it's leather!
But it's a pencil case!
But it has gold lettering!
But it's a pencil case!
But you'll use it EVERY DAY!

It was the last one that got me eventually. Also the fact that I couldn't stop thinking about it. When you are in law school, you suddenly need to be able to carry a bunch of writing implements around at all times. I'm not talking about being able to dig a pen to write down a quick phone number from the bottom of your purse (and let's get real, I mostly use the notes function on my iphone for that anyway), but you need to have

  • Your specific best notetaking pen
  • your specific second best notetaking pen in case you change your mind
  • your specific best highlighter
  • your specific best OTHER highlighter in case the first one poops out
  • your colored pencils if you don't use highlighters (see number 2)

This pencil case has lived up to my expectations. The leather is soft and luscious, the zipper works well, and it's nice and deep so I can keep ALL of my colored pencils in there at once. If you are going to law school, get a fancy pencil case. You'll be glad you did. Get your own here.

2. Colored Pencils for Highlighting

image via amazon.com
"Colored Pencils?" you say. "Psh. I am no longer in 4th grade. I will use highlighters." Be my guest, but don't blame me when your highlighters bleed through the paper, smear, and lose their caps to draw all over the inside of your purse.

These twist up colored pencils will solve all your problems. They don't smear if you have a new textbook with shiny paper. They don't bleed through thin notebook pages. And because they're not traditional colored pencils, you don't need a pencil sharpener. By these at target and thank me.

3. An Adult-like but functional backpack

image via everlane.com

When I went to undergrad, as a tender young 18-year-old, I was glad to purchase a lovely one shoulder tote that would hold my laptop, and I proudly showed everyone how professional and adult-like I looked. 4 years later, I proudly showed everyone my back pain and doctors commented on how one of my shoulders was now higher than the other.

Law school was time for a change. I could have opted for a traditional Jansport, but since I graduated from highschool almost 10 years ago, I felt like maybe it was time to move on from that look. How can I look nice but also evenly distribute the weight of law school books? Everlane to the rescue! This backpack is amazing. It can hold a ton of stuff, has a padded pocket for your laptop, and two classy pockets on each side. I normally put my water bottle in one and my phone/headphones in the other. It also looks like you're an adult and can easily double as an overnight bag when you're doing one of those light packing trips.

Get your own backpack here, you will not regret it.

September 15, 2014

Bourbon Cherry Pie Bars

(or how to eat an Old Fashioned)

I was looking for a good recipe to take to a recent potluck. I had beautiful Trader Joe's cherries in my pantry, and fond memories of this delicious Bon Appetit pie. But the thought of making a pie crust was a little too overwhelming for this 1L, and since I knew it was a potluck, I figured people would be looking for things a little more bite sized than an entire slice of pie.

Off to pinterest I went, and there was Joy's awesome Cherry Pie Bar recipe. AHA. Still wanting the Bourbon orange flavor in there, I mashed up the two recipes and it turned out pretty sweet.

Bourbon Cherry Pie Bars
adapted from Joy the Baker and Bon Appetit
For the Crust:
3/4 cups unsalted butter, room temp
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
Zest of 1/2 orange
1/4 cup old fashioned oats

For the filling: 
2 large eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup greek yogurt
2 tablespoons orange juice
2 tablespoons bourbon
1 jar trader joe's cherries (approximately 1 2/3 cups drained), drained thoroughly, roughly chopped

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease a 9x9 or 8x8 pan. I used an 8x8, and the bars were definitely thick. If you want something thinner, go crazy with the 9x9.

Make the Crust:

  • Mix butter, powdered sugar, flour, and orange zest together until pea sized lumps form. I used my hands. You could use a food processor if you have one. 
  • Reserve 1/2 cup of this mixture and add the oats to it. I also added some extra orange zest, because I'm fancy like that.
  • Press the remainder of the crust mixture into your greased pan. Bake for 14-17 minutes, or until edges have started to turn brown. 
Make the Filling:
Combine everything but the cherries together in a bowl. Add the cherries. Mix. 

Put Everything Together:
Pour filling evenly over crust. Sprinkle reserved oat mixture evenly over filling. Bake for 30 minutes or until set through. Think lemon bars, you don't want jiggling here. 

Remove from oven, and let come to room temperature before eating. I promise, they're better that way.

July 21, 2014

avocado toast does not need a recipe

via Clean and Scentsible

Yesterday, I was mindlessly scrolling through pinterest, feeling sad that I will never be cool enough to actually be a "girl in white dresses" because that requires never having red wine or chocolate ice cream.

And then I saw it. A "recipe" for avocado toast.

A recipe? Guys, avocado toast is literally what is in it's name. Avocado. Toast. Maybe salt and lemon juice if you're feeling fancy. Ease is the entire point of avocado toast, the reason why it was invented.

But then. Oh but then. People got fancy. Add mayo! Cut it into hearts (see above)! Add eggs and siracha!

I'm not saying that any of these are bad. In fact, avocado toast with egg and siracha sounds delicious. But maybe, just maybe, we should hold ourselves to a higher standard of what constitutes a recipe. Maybe "more ingredients than what is listed in the title of the food itself?"

June 18, 2014

on pride and sunscreen

Recently,  I took a trip to Italy. On one of the days, we travelled to the beach and swam in the perfectly clear Mediterranean. It was glorious.

As previously mentioned, my skin burns basically within 0.56 seconds when exposed to the sun. I am a wise person about this, and came prepared with Yes to Cucumbers sunscreen and my new discovery, the Neutrogena sunscreen stick.

image via target.com
Things I love about this sunscreen stick: It is easy to apply, it didn't count toward my quart sized bag of liquids, and it was pretty effective at keeping me from getting sunburned.

Things I didn't love about this sunscreen stick: It is in a deodorant container, which makes it look like I think I stink so much that I am rubbing Dove all over my body. I got over this, because I like being sunburned less than I care about what people think about me.

Prepared with this and my Yes to Cucumbers stuff, I thought I was good to go. I applied sunscreen everywhere. This is where my pride came in. You see, when I put on spray sunscreen, I can cover my entire back.As I was applying lotion, I thought "oh yes for sure I can reach my entire back. I mean, I do yoga!"

About halfway through the day, as we were eating lunch, I realized that my back felt a little funny. Hmm, better reapply! Although it could not be possible, because my noodle-like arm ability to put sunscreen on my entire back, it felt like maybe I had a little bit of sunburn on my back? How weird!

My friend, Becca, helped me out and actually applied lotion all over my back. As we were heading home, she said "oh man, I must have missed some, you have a line...." I was all "psh no big deal probably nothing because remember I have excellent shoulder flexibility."

When we got back to their house and I looked in the mirror, oh man. I had made a dumb mistake. In a perfect, two inch line (minus one tiny part on my right shoulder blade where I had gotten some sunscreen a little bit higher than normal) was a sunburn from where my initial sunscreen application had missed.

When you have a sunburn, it's good to put lotion on it, to help your poor parched skin get some liquid in it.

When you have a sunburn exactly on your back where you couldn't reach, it is hard to put lotion on.

Pride comes before a fall. Or a sunburn. Learn from my mistakes. Ask your friends for help, before it's too late. Don't be like me, with a 2 inch sunburn line. And also, go visit Sicily because it's amazing (more on that later)

June 02, 2014

Watermelon is not a cake

Recently,  I've been seeing this picture all over pinterest.
via sprinklebakes.com 

Everyone is like "oh look what a beautiful cake isn't it awesome and wonderful! because look when you cut it open, there is a surprise! It is really WATERMELON!" 

via sprinklebakes.com 

This is not wonderful. This is terrible.

Now I love watermelon. I think it's a delicious, wonderful summery treat, especially when it's cold and eaten in big, messy slices. 

I also love cake. 

Watermelon and cake are most definitely not the same thing. 

As any good debater knows, you have to define your terms. The Oxford English Dictionary defines cake as "An item of soft, sweet food made from a mixture of flour, shortening, eggs, sugar, and other ingredients, baked and often decorated:"  Sometimes you use different types of flour. Sometimes you use more sugar or less sugar. Sometimes you use chocolate, sometimes you use red food coloring. All of these things are cake. 

Watermelon is a fruit. Made mostly of water. Not a cake. In fact, of the ingredients listed necessary to make a cake, watermelon includes exactly zero of them. ZERO! Watermelon is not soft. Watermelon is not baked. Watermelon is one of the most un-cake-like things you can eat. 

Secure in this knowledge, I hoped that this crazy idea of a watermelon "cake" would go away. 

BUT NO. It has risen, like a terrible 80s haircut, like it might be a good idea. My beloved Kitchn posted about it. People are branching out with multi melon "cakes." Joy the Baker pinned a "cake." Someone even made this...creation.

Join Americans for Cake Clarity today. This is a watermelon cake. This is fruit. Love cake. Love watermelon. Don't confuse the two. 

February 28, 2014

on quiet

Right now, my life is quiet. Quiet and cold.

There are big changes coming, a spring of work travel starting soon, and decisions to be made. But right now,  I can go to work, come home, and then sit in the stillness and read.

It's been a long time since I've had this much quiet. I think I like it.

In an attempt to reclaim the time, I'm aiming to read 50 books in 2014. I know that regular people use goodreads or something, but I didn't want to add another website, so I'm keeping my booklist on pinterest. If you have any suggestions, please, send them my way! My favorite so far of this year -- Where'd You Go, Bernadette about a reclusive architect, her microsoft guru husband, and their 11-year-old daughter's planned trip to Antarctica.

I know that compared to [insert your favorite colder place here] we have nothing to complain about. But it has been FREEZING in dc this winter and I'm ready for spring. Emily Dickinson said it well, except for the part when she tries to keep April away. COME ON APRIL I AM READY.

Dear March — Come in —
How glad I am —
I hoped for you before —

Put down your Hat —
You must have walked —
How out of Breath you are —
Dear March, Come right up the stairs with me —
I have so much to tell —

I got your Letter, and the Birds —
The Maples never knew that you were coming — till I called
I declare — how Red their Faces grew —
But March, forgive me — and
All those Hills you left for me to Hue —
There was no Purple suitable —
You took it all with you —

Who knocks? That April.
Lock the Door —
I will not be pursued —
He stayed away a Year to call
When I am occupied —
But trifles look so trivial
As soon as you have come

That Blame is just as dear as Praise
And Praise as mere as Blame —

October 26, 2013


"I was so sick, I couldn't drink water, anything! Finally thy brought me champagne. The only thing I could drink was champagne." -girl on bus with weirdest illness ever.

October 18, 2013

to airports, with love

oh, TSA.
to the women who fly while wearing 4 inch heels: How do you do it? Do you never have to run for a tight connection? Do your feet never swell while you're 30,000 feet in the air? How do you muffle the cries of your knees and pinkie toes after a hike from your gate to the baggage claim at Chicago O'Hare?

to the people crowding around the gate when the gate agent is still on "if you need any special assistance getting on board. . . ": Here is a fun surprise. We are all going to get on that plane. That plane will not leave until we are all on it. Unless Dr. Horrible shows up and freeze-rays you in place, you cannot miss this flight. The gate agent will let you on the flight. You have more chance of missing your connection because you accidentally trampled a small child in your rush for the general boarding lane than because OH MY GOSH three people boarded in zone 3 before you! (Also, why is it that on US Airways flights, 92% of the passengers are in zone 3?)

to enterprise rent-a-car: No matter how many times you try to scare tactic me, I know that I don't need additional coverage on my car. Is there a way to permanently note this in my account?

August 23, 2013

and soonest our best men with thee do go

When I try to write my own words about my Grandpa, my own, my precious grandfather, it's hard to pick only a few things. My memories break apart into half-remembered tenderness--games of peggity for hours at the kitchen table and stories of his lapis lazuli ring from Afghanistan.

My Grandpa was not a set a piece in our lives--a relative that we were supposed to write on Christmas. His love and joy were a part of us, a heritage that he passed down from his children to their children. He would rub his face against ours before he would shave, making us squeal because of his scratchy beard. He would say "I have a secret for you," and then whisper "I love you!" into our ears.

He loved my Grandma--you could tell it in the way he would say "Lorraine," his deep voice rolling over the syllables. He loved her for traveling the world with him, he loved her for caring for him in these last years. Their 60+ year marriage is a testament to their love, commitment, and the gracious kindness of God.

Grandpa loved his Savior. I remember waking up on summer mornings to see him faithfully sitting by the grandfather clock, leg rocking as he read his Bible. I know that this morning he heard "Well done, good and faithful servant."

I already miss you, Grandpa. I love you more than I can say. I cannot wait to see you again.

July 11, 2013

when plane tickets feel like a giant game of chicken

I'm flying to Seattle for a wedding, which is very exciting.

But in order to GET to Seattle, you have to buy a plane ticket. That's less exciting, but still something that has to happen.

So I got prepared. I started watching fares six weeks ago. I looked online for cheaper fares midweek. I cleared my cache so KAYAK wouldn't know that I was searching for the same fare over and over. I know how this game works.

Most of the fares have stayed within a pretty specific range. I would  not break the bank if I went ahead and bought my ticket now. It will probably not get that much cheaper.

But look at this:

That's KAYAK again, helpfully telling me to wait. 79% confidence telling me to wait! 

I can listen to them. I can keep waiting. But they said this last week and the prices didn't drop. But maybe they'll drop this week and then I'll feel stupid for overpaying for my plane ticket! 

Oh you taunting orange line. 

maybe I'll just drive.

May 17, 2013

Chocolate Covered Bacon cupcakes

I know this sounds weird and possibly disgusting. Bear with me, because these cupcakes were delicious.

This week one of the attorneys at work had a birthday, and I knew that he particularly likes bacon. Even chocolate covered bacon. I've made chocolate covered bacon before, and it was time to take it to the next level.

Enter chocolate bacon covered cupcakes. The cupcake isn't too sweet, and the maple frosting makes it taste like the best breakfast ever -- chocolate chip pancakes with bacon.

Bacon Chocolate Cupcakes  
recipe adapted from 52 Kitchen Adventures 
Makes 14-16 cupcakes.

1 package of thick cut bacon
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup boiling water
1 1/3 cup flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup bacon fat, cooled
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup mini chocolate chips (optional)
3 oz dark chocolate

1 cup butter
1/3 cup milk
splash of vanilla
1/2 cup maple syrup
4 cups (or so) of powdered sugar

  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Prepare muffin tin with cupcake papers
  • Mix together hot water and cocoa powder until totally dissolved. Set in the fridge to cool. 
  • Heat up a pan and cook that bacon! Save the grease and pop it in the fridge to cool because we'll be using it in the cupcakes.
  • Mix flour, baking powder, and salt together in a bowl. Set aside.
  • Cream butter, sugar, and bacon fat together in bowl. Add eggs one at a time. Add vanilla. 
  • Combine with dry ingredients, then add water/cocoa mixture. Add mini chocolate chips and mix until combined.
  • Divide into muffin tins, and cook for 15-19 minutes, or until tops spring back when touched.
chocolate covered bacon
  • Take that bacon you cooked earlier, and chop into bite sized pieces or smaller. 
  • Melt the 3oz dark chocolate in a double boiler or microwave until smooth
  • Take 2/3 of the chopped, cooked bacon, and mix in with the chocolate. Spread on a piece of waxed paper, spreading out the bacon as much as possible. (The clumps will dry together, so you'd rather have small pieces to cover your cupcakes with, rather than big pieces) 
  • If you're in a rush, pop this into the fridge. Let harden.

cream together butter, maple syrup, and vanilla. Add 1/2 of the milk and 2 cups of sugar. If too stiff/too soft, add more sugar or milk until frosting is desired consistency.

putting it all together
  • Frost the cupcakes with the maple frosting once the cupcakes are completely cool.
  • Take the cooled chocolate bacon and sprinkle over the cupcakes. Once they look chocolatey and delicious, take the non-chocolate bacon and fill in the gaps.

And there you have it! A weird (but delicious!) treat.

May 14, 2013

DC, my home.

A few weeks ago, quite a few people passed around this article. The author's basic thesis is simple (and explicit): "Life is too hard and too short to spend in the office trying to get ahead, while outside in the bright sunshine, the parade passes by."

However, some people who posted this on their facebook added additional commentary, simplifying the author's point  to something quite different, saying that it was instead a call away from cities and toward small towns.

A few days after reading the Business Report piece, I found "Capital Offense" on Front Porch Republic. The author, Jeffrey Polet makes a general point about capital cities,  using Washington, D.C. as his main example. He seems to make the same argument that facebook pulled from the Business Report piece: cities are bad, not-cities are good. Unfortunately, it's clear Mr. Polet never paid attention to "the bright sunshine [and] parade [passing him] by" right here in this city.

When describing DC, Mr. Polet says "Washington is a place inhabited by rich families in the SuperZips, by 20-something singles who want bars, restaurants, nightlife and shopping and who embody the nihilistic chic of contemporary culture, and by the avaricious and ambitious. It is a place no one is from but people flock to because it is a 'cool urban place.'”

While this may be true of some, to paint the entire city with such a broad brush necessarily stretches the truth. It is insulting to ignore the many families who are from DC and who have lived here for generations.  Mr. Polet continues the insult, lumping everyone together as "avaricious" and, used pejoratively, "ambitious."

Now to be perfectly honest, I am not "from" DC, in that I wasn't born there, and have yet to have a Washington, DC address. I am from Northern Virginia, the sprawling yet crowded suburbia that has to exist to support such a city. If anything, it's a social set up hated even more by the Back to the Small Towns crowd. The author also lived in one of these suburbs, so we're coming from the same place.

The description of Washington isn't the most frustrating part of Mr. Polet's article. He saves that for his very last thought.  He barely bothers to support this assertions, assuming that everyone will agree with him. "The capitol, the memorials, the museums – none of them connect to the heart like dipping in the salt-free waters of Lake Michigan, a lake trout snapping on a J-plug, the tulips blooming in early May, or a run down a sandy dune."

Perhaps the capitol, memorials, and museums didn't connect to Mr. Polet's heart because he didn't try? The other things he mentions are beautiful moments, but that doesn't mean DC is (somehow) both sterile and rotten. Did Mr. Polet really feel nothing when he walked the aisles of the Supreme Court law library, thinking of John Quincy Adams arguing the Amistad case in the Capitol basement? Has Mr. Polet never looked into Abraham Lincoln's statued eyes on a summer night, as the rain pours down outside, while silently mouthing the second inaugural carved into the wall, imagining the war torn nation hearing those words?

Did he ever go with his mom and spend hours at the Edward Hopper exhibit in the Smithsonian, tracing the lines of New England cottages with his eyes, learning to love beauty and each other? Or maybe he never got a chance to stand alongside the tidal basin at sunrise, eating bagels with his family while the cherry blossoms sing with life.

DC isn't perfect by any means, and it certainly deserves its share of critique.  Even Ryan Lochte makes fun of us. But to say the only thing one can experience here is "nihilistic chic" is lazy. If your heart is not moved by the history, beauty, and people here you are the one missing out, not the city. As Eliot says, what we call the beginning is often the end. Similarly, for every place that is someone's leaving, it is someone else's coming home.

There can be arguments made that certain places better create community than others, but you are silly to say there can only be community in particular places. The Business Report article got that--it wasn't about leaving the small town for the city, it was the author shutting his heart off from companionship. He watched his sister who had built a vibrant life, and saw that she had more than he could ever imagine.

Your door can be open to the stranger at the gates anywhere. You can say goodbye to the office and reach for the bright sunshine and the parade anywhere. You can find things to connect with your heart anywhere. Mr. Polet may not have found a home in Washington, DC, but I have, and it is very good.

April 22, 2013

iPhone restaurant reviews -- Skinny Pancake

I like it when people write blog posts and include crisp, beautiful pictures, taken by their DSLR with expensive lenses. I like it when I have time to take pictures and think about them and compose them and try again and again.

Right now in my life, I don't have time for that. 

However, my iphone comes with me everywhere (thanks, Steve Jobs) and I do get to visit a few different places across America. So here's a mashup of 3 of my favorite things: writing, restaurants, and travel! (Okay fine, 4 favorite things. My iphone ranks up there too.) Expect to see a few more iPhone Restaurant Reviews coming to the blog soon.

Our first iphone Restaurant Review takes us to Skinny Pancake in Burlington, Vermont. Nestled in with the Green Mountains and Lake Champlain, Burlington in general made me want to eat local food, braid my hair, and use natural coconut oil lotion. So using the ever helpful Yelp, I found  Skinny Pancake, who seemed to fit into that general vibe, while also fitting into my budget.

Skinny Pancake interior, 100 yards from Lake Champlain. Check out that light fixture!

First of all, it's called  Skinny Pancake because they serve crepes. Crepes of all sorts--Breakfast, savory, sweet, whatever you could imagine. All of their ingredients are locally sourced, and also are especially delicious. 


On my first visit, I tried "The Cattle Rancher." Filled with sliced sirloin tip, carmelized onions, roasted red peppers, and cabot cheddar cheese, this crepe was serious business. The meat was flavorful and tender, the cheese melted perfectly, and the chipotle cream on the side gave it a kick of spice. Also, the salad was dressed with one of those olive oil-lemon juice-salt and pepper concoctions that are so easy to make but make everything taste like freshness and life. 

Skinny Pancake also serves local soda. Since I was in Vermont, I had to try "maple seltzer." Ingredients: maple syrup, seltzer water. Taste: not too sweet, a nice light addition to my MEAT MEAT MEAT crepe.

On my way out of Burlington, I got to visit Skinny Pancake again, because they have two different locations in the Burlington airport. This time I went a little more healthy with the Sass-squatch. The squash puree, whole wheat crepe, apples and spinach was definitely less filling than the crepe I had eaten a few days before, but that was great for lunch.

Thankfully, my flight was delayed, so I had to eat a nutella crepe as well. No pictures of that, because I devoured it. Hopefully I don't have to describe how nutella tastes to you?

While I only tried two of the many options on  Skinny Pancake's menu, it wasn't for lack of interest. Skinny Pancake strikes a good balance between providing classics and thinking up some new combos which are tasty. If you're ever in Burlington, check them out!

Skinny Pancake, Burlington VT
Various Locations
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
4 out of 5 stars

February 28, 2013

I don't think it works like that.

Overheard on the metro:

"Do you prepare for sequestration like you get ready for a blizzard? Should I buy some milk and bread?"

February 24, 2013


The boy (young man?) stood by the Union Station McDonalds.
"Excuse me," his pitch would start, then fade off as people walked past him. He was thin, but not unkempt. "Excuse me," he tried again, this time to a tall older man carrying a law school textbook in one arm.

The man stopped, and started talking to the boy. His voice was kind when he asked "How old are you?" The boy's responses were inaudible to me, but the man obviously heard them. "19? And what do you do with yourself?" The two shared a joke, and then the man's voice dropped and I couldn't hear what he was saying. He looked earnestly at the boy, though, and at the end, patted his back as though they were old friends.

I had started to move away, it was time to board my train. The boy approached the McDonald's counter and ordered something. When the cashier looked at him for the cash, he looked back at the man in his wool coat and glasses. The man came forward and paid for the boy's dinner. He waved goodbye, then turned away, and boarded the train home.

February 15, 2013

valentine issues

the place: in line at target
the time: 8:30pm, Valentine's night
the characters: me, buying stuff.
The guy behind me, probably about sixteen or seventeen, holding a giant red cardboard box of chocolate.

him, on his phone: "Yeah, well I talked to Charlie about the project and that's all going well. Oh yeah, these chocolates are sugar free, hope she won't hold that against me. Seriously, it was the only valentines chocolate they had left."

yeah I think she probably will hold that against you.

February 13, 2013

chocolate orange valentine cookies

I've always loved valentines day. Folding lacy doilies into cool valentine cards, sitting in a dorm room surrounded by pink paper and glitter, and chocolate-y raspberry desserts!

This year, February has been a particularly busy season, but in an effort to at least make a nod to the holiday, I made these tasty cookies. They are adapted from the Smitten Kitchen cookbook which if you don't own now, you should. I added in the orange flavor to make them a little more interesting than your average chocolate cookie.

Chocolate Orange Valentine Cookies
3 cups of flour
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
3/4 tsp table salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 sticks (sixteen tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar (if you skip the glaze, I'd up this to 1.5 cups)
2 large eggs
Zest of 2 oranges

1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1.5 tsps of triple sec or other orange liqueur  

  • Preheat oven to 350
  • Sift together flour, cocoa, salt, and baking powder.
  • Cream butter and sugar together. Add eggs, one at a time. Add orange zest.
  • Gradually add in flour mixture. 
  • Wrap dough in plastic, and chill for at least one hour. (Do not skimp on this or your cookies will be a PAIN to roll out.
  • Roll out cookies on a well floured counter. Cut into shapes (since it's valentines, I went with hearts) Put on parchment paper or silpat in pan. You can keep these close together, they don't spread much. 
  • Bake for 8-10 minutes. WATCH THEM CLOSELY. You will think they are not done, and then they will be overdone. It's nutty.
  • Once cookies are totally cool, melt chocolate and triple sec together. I did this by melting for 10 seconds in the microwave, stirring, and repeat. Be careful here, it's really easy to burn this little amount of chocolate. Alternatively, you could bust out a double boiler, but for this little chocolate it seems like overkill.
  • Place cookies on a cooling rack over a table you don't mind messing up or parchment paper. Using a fork, flick the chocolate over the cookies. Allow to dry and then enjoy! (You can also enjoy beforehand. But then you might get a little chocolatey.) 

January 17, 2013

a little rusty

When I blog consistently, like most things, it gets easier and easier. I notice things I want to tell the world, the small interactions that make life so funny and worth living.

But it's been an off time for a while. Between work and life and random extraneous commitments I feel like my time is hemmed in at every which way and writing takes a backseat to the pressing now.

Tonight I got home from work around 9:30. I could have gone to bed, right then and there, but I wanted to bake something. Something easy, something calming. So I pulled out the Smitten Kitchen cookbook (which if you don't have, I highly recommend) and flipped through to the cookies, because those are always easy to whip up.

Roll-out brownie cookies sounded perfect. There is a sweet calm in measuring flour--spoon, smooth, dump, spoon, smooth, dump, a reassurance of the dough forming beneath my hands, a small (and very sweet!) satisfaction when seven ingredients come together into heart shaped chocolate perfection.

So no, I didn't get to bed on time. But I made cookies, and felt better for it.

December 22, 2012


walmart, the Saturday morning before Christmas

1. A young man (married), scans the coffee aisle. In one arm he holds a cheap coffee maker with filters balanced on top of the box. Grabbing a bag of dark roast, he dodges the carts of other shoppers and walks quickly toward the check out. I can just imagine the conversation that happened before he left the house.
him: "I can't believe your parents don't own a coffee maker!"
her: "I brought starbucks VIA packs."
him: "They're not the same."
her: "Can't you go a few days without coffee?"
him: "Nevermind. I'm going to walmart."

2. A man and his teenage son walk towards the back of the store.
Father: "Your mom said to get cheese and crackers."
Son: "Cheese? There's like a hundred types of cheese."
Father: "I think she meant something fancy."
Son: "I want American."

(and me? I just bought the apple juice I needed to make more apple cider caramels.)

December 03, 2012

why people text instead of talking

I have always loved reading, and plunged quickly into long chapter books soon after I finished the "a-a-apple" of phonics. This meant I knew a lot of words I had never actually heard said out loud, which led to some pronunciation issues. For example, one day I asked my mom the difference between crocheting and knitting. Except I said "crotch-ett-ing," and my mom started laughing at me.

With the advent of the internet, I can now avoid this embarrassment thanks to google. However, the other day, I didn't take the time to look something up before proclaiming that I planned on making an apple "guy-yette."

My mom: "I think it's just pronounced the way it's spelled. Gah-lette."

I realized if I had just texted her, she never would have been the wiser to my poorly pronounced ways. Now I understand you, texters of the world. (and how you can create the difficult to pronounce "ROFL.")

And yes, I did make this delicious apple galette, and you should too, because it's super easy, even if you're bad at pie crust. The apples taste like December candy joy. Shutterbean says use a food processor but I just did it by hand. There are no pictures on my end because it was kind of wolfed down by people in this house.

November 22, 2012

Now thank we all our God

Oh, may this bounteous God through all our life be near us,

With ever joyful hearts and blessed peace to cheer us;

And keep us in His grace, and guide us when perplexed;

And guard us through all ills in this world, till the next!

"Oh the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God . . .  from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever, amen." (Romans 11:33, 36)

Happy Thanksgiving!

November 20, 2012

goodbye, hostess.

via facebook
After hearing the news that Hostess was liquidating, and no more ho hos or twinkies would ever grace our grocery store shelves, it seemed appropriate to buy a box of twinkies--in memoriam, you know?

I was visiting my friend E, and we headed out to the grocery store with her five-week-old baby, realizing with a touch of sadness that he might never know a world with twinkies, all of that overprocessed flour and crisco and filling that made your teeth hurt because it was so very sweet. We also realized that neither of us had eaten a twinkie in about ten years, and we didn't even like them all that much. But still! It was the principle that mattered.

At the first grocery store, the Hostess section was cleared out. Only a few bags of sad, powdered sugar donuts were left. The store had set up a Little Debbie display close to the Hostess display. Gloating, much? They did have Little Debbie "cloud cakes," which looked like twinkies, but obviously weren't QUITE the same.

No problem! There's another grocery store on our way home. We'll stop there and grab some twinkies. We walked toward the hostess section, and again, it looked like the hostess section was empty. There was a grocery store employee putting bread onto one of the shelves, so I asked him "Do you have any twinkies?"
He shook his head. "Are you looking to sell them?"
"No, we want to eat them!"
He didn't really seem to understand what I meant by that. "I would sell them. They are going for $25,000 on ebay."
"So you don't have any."
He looked confused. "You want to sell them."

Maybe he was trying a jedi mind trick on us? It wasn't working, and they didn't have twinkies. So we went home and ate regular food. Goodbye, Hostess. (if you want a more touching goodbye article, check out this NYT piece.)
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