Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Chocolate Birthday Love

For some reason, I'm still kind of in a funk.  I think maybe I have just had too much to do and haven't been sleeping well.  The brownies I made last night definitely helped, but it's a pretty serious weird mood.  Luckily, it's my lovely housemate, Lilly's birthday today.  That means I have an excuse to make cake!

Her wonderful boyfriend is also quite the baker, so we collaborated to make her a chocolate cake.  However, Lilly is quite the athlete/fitness guru, so I wanted to make her something a little on the healthier side.  I found a recipe for a lower-sugar, whole wheat chocolate cake.  I also had very little time today, so the fact that it was a super simple recipe with only one bowl sold me.  It's also summer, which means I opted for a chocolate sauce and fresh strawberries instead of frosting.

Lighter Chocolate Cake with Homemade Chocolate Sauce and Fresh Strawberries (Dairy-free)
Cake recipe adapted from Eating Well
Chocolate sauce recipe adapted from david lebovitz
Yield: 2 8" chocolate cakes

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Bad Day Brownies

Today was a bad day, for almost every person in my house.  JoJo and Suzie both had really stressful days at work, and Lilly had to figure out how to get a physical without health insurance.  I went for an absolutely miserable shopping trip, and ended up getting epically lost, and maxed out my credit card.  Today was a really bad Tuesday.  It was so bad, in fact, that even coffee couldn't cheer me up (I'm kind of like an addict, and every time I'm upset I drink coffee, kind of like an alcoholic turns to booze at the end of a really bad day).  I went to Starbucks, and shortly afterwards, I was in tears.

I eventually survived my trip, and got my necessary clothes for my new job.  When I got home, I flopped on my bed and blasted Jeff Buckley's Hallelujah until I could collect my thoughts.  I had to plan how to bring me out of this funk.  I tried dinner, which was delicious leftover sesame peanut noodles (from my really fun date last night) on top of tons of spinach, and the rest of Nick Campiglia's apple raspberry wine.  That should have done the trick, but it wasn't enough.  I still felt out of it.  There is only one thing to bring an entire house out of a funk that bad: brownies.

When I was waiting forever at the library to print my insurance papers, and sadly watching a man have a psychotic breakdown, I found a cookie book, (forgot the name- sorry), completely out of place on one of the shelves.  It was clearly meant for me to see.  I flipped through it, and a recipe for overnight brownies caught my eye.  Apparently, if you let the brownie batter sit in the pan overnight in the fridge, the flour and cocoa are hydrated, and you end up with moister, more delicious brownies.  Of course, TODAY was the bad day, not tomorrow, so I decided to let the batter sit for 2 hours in the fridge, and said it was good enough.  We needed those brownies stat.

I also took a really blurry picture of the ingredients on my phone, so I kind of just guessed at whatever I couldn't read.

Bad Day Brownies
Recipe kind of adapted from a recipe in a random cookie book in the library, but mostly made up
Makes 1 8x8" pan of brownies (aka- not a lot if everyone is upset)

Super fudgey and amazing

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

New Beginnings and Old Habits

Well, it's certainly been a while since my last post, over a month in fact.  For that, I apologize.  You see, I was rather busy with that whole graduating college/moving thing.  Oh, and the fact that I had also resolved to stop baking.  It's a rather expensive/unhealthy habit, and I figured that since I would be on a poor grad student budget with a full class schedule and job (hopefully I'll get one soon), I might have to cut down on my favorite hobby.  Blogging also takes up a considerable chunk of time.  I figured, OK, undergrad done=blog done.

Then why am I still writing, you ask?  Well, old habits die hard.  Baking is my therapy.  It is what I turn to whenever I am sad, lonely, or just plain bored.  I guess there are worse habits to have, so I might as well just embrace it.  Baking is what makes me happy, and I like being happy, and I'm not ready to take that away from myself just yet.

I moved to Boston a week ago.  I LOVE it here.  My house is beautiful, it's in a great location, and my housemates are more wonderful than I ever could have hoped for.  I am ready to call this my home for the next four years.  Unfortunately, it can't all be smiles and rainbows.  Moving to a new city can be tough, and even though I know a few people here, I've been feeling a little lonely.  It could be the small-town-girl-in-the-big-city effect, or it could just be Wes-withdrawal and the fact I no longer live within a 5-minute walking radius of all my closest friends.  Or it could just be the constant rejection of job applications.

I baked some muffins last week for a brunch my housemate through for her teaching aids, and it felt pretty good, but I wasn't too proud of their texture, so they didn't really cheer me up.  Last night, we had a house meeting, so I decided to bake some cookies.  I had to improvise with the ingredients a bit and I was worried how they'd turn out, but in the end, they were amazing.  They reminded me that this is what I do, this is my passion, and this is what makes me happy.  So I'm going to keep baking through doctoral school.  You're welcome to follow me along my journey.

Triple Chocolate Espresso Cookies
Recipe adapted from the Cookie Bible
Yield: 2 1/2 dozen cookies