Monday, October 29, 2012

Papers and Pumpkin Cookies

It's crunch time at school.  I had five papers due this week, and wrote a total of 40 pages.  I needed a baking break on Saturday.  Even though I went as a bottle of hot sauce, I felt more like superwoman.  I woke up and got donuts with Jay, went for a walk around Harvard Square, stopped by the Boston Vegetarian Food Festival, wrote a 6 page paper, baked 5 dozen cookies, went to the gym, and was ready for the party by 9.

Since we were going to a Halloween party, I thought pumpkin cookies would be appropriate.  I didn't have a lot of time, so I flipped through the Cookie Bible and picked the first pumpkin recipe I saw.

Pumpkin Spice Chocolate Chip Cookies
Recipe adapted from the Cookie Bible
Yield: 4 1/2 dozen cookies

Candy Corn Cookies: Take 2

Last fall, I decided to make some fall-themed cookies around Halloween.  AKA- I used candy corn instead of chocolate chips.  It wasn't my brightest venture.  They were awkward and super chewy and the melted candy corn made a huge mess.

I decided to try again this year.  The boyfriend took his GRE, and I decided to make him these as a congratulatory present for him.  I took my own advice from my previous cookie adventure, and made some changes.  They still weren't perfect, but who knows, maybe I'll make them again next year and the third time will be a charm.

Candy Corn Cookies: Take 2
Recipe adapted from here
Yield: 2 dozen cookies

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Happiness Project w/ Pumpkin Cake

Despite my bouts of intermittent constant stress, I have been doing better emotionally the past few weeks.  My happiness project has been working.  With the help of my supervisors, classmates, and friends and family, I have finally found ways to make time for me.  Even if the idea of taking time out of my schedule to focus on me freaks and stresses me out to no end, I have been forcing myself to do it.  On Columbus Day, I went for a hike with my boyfriend.  Tonight, I went for a run at sunset around Jamaica Pond.  And last week, a bunch of us went out to celebrate our classmate and friend, Lauren's birthday.

Naonet Woodlands in Dover, MA
All the first year PsyD students are pretty maxed out right now.  October seems to be the month when all of our major projects and papers and exams and other assignments are due.  For those of us in statistics, the anxiety is through the roof because we have our midterm tomorrow.  Why am I blogging if I have a midterm tomorrow you might ask?  Good question.  Maybe it's because my brain is fried and I need a break.  Or maybe it's because I feel fairly confident in the material (this probability is highly unlikely...).  Or maybe it's because I'm still working on my happiness project and need to use this blog as it was intended- as my therapy outlet.

Even though we still don't know each other super well, many of us first years in the PsyD program have bonded and share an incredible sense of love and respect for one another.  The people in my cohort have become my family, and I am so grateful to have such giving and compassionate individuals as my peers.  One of these amazing people is my friend, Lauren P.  We met on the first day of orientation, but sadly have no classes together.  We try our best to stay in touch despite having different schedules, and even though we don't see each other often, she is never more than a text away when I need an extra smile.  Eight of us went out to dinner at Bertucci's last Friday night to celebrate the birth of this wonderful girl.  And of course I, in typical Hannah fashion, called the restaurant ahead of time to make sure I could bring in my own cake.  They said yes, and the baking began...

Pumpkin Cake w/ Brown Butter Icing, topped with Pumpkin Seeds and Dried Cranberries
Recipes from Martha Stewart (I know, I NEVER use her recipes because she annoys me, but I have to give her some credit on this one, it's a pretty awesome f***ing recipe)
Yield: 1 8" double layer cake

Monday, October 8, 2012

Fall and Friends

It's fall, it's fall, it's fall, YAY!  The weather is finally changing and the crisp fall air that tickles my bones is upon us.  There is something super magical about fall to me, and it always seems to lighten my mood.  Maybe it's the fresh, cool air when you wake up in the morning, or maybe it's the colors of the leaves, or maybe it's just that overall feeling of change and progress.  Whatever the reason, fall makes me happy.

Columbus day hike to Naonet Woodlands in Dover, MA
You know what else makes me happy?  Friends.  MSPP has given me so many new friends so far, and I am so grateful for every single one of them.  A few of us that are in almost every class together have formed a reading group to make our weeks less painful, and that has created a tremendous sense of solidarity and collaboration, which also lessens the stress.  However, as wonderful as it is sitting next to these amazing people for 7 hour stretches at a time, we really don't get to see each other outside of school.  We decided to have weekly study "parties," where we can do work, eat yummy snacks, and catch up on lives outside of grad school.

I hosted the first one this weekend, and since we are now officially in fall baking mode, I had to make something pumpkiny.  I chose pumpkin cheesecake bars.  Good choice, self.

Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars w/ a Caramel Swirl
Recipe loosely adapted from Taste of Home
Yield: 1 9x13" pan

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Housie Happiness

I have 5 wonderful housemates.  They are 5 really amazing girls, and I feel so fortunate to be living with them for the next year.  Unfortunately, I never really see them.  The rare occasions when I am home, I am either studying or sleeping.

We decided to amend this issue by having house dinners together every so-often.  Our first one was a few weeks ago, and Gwynneth and I were the first ones up to the plate (pun intended) to do the cooking.  We decided the easiest to do would be pizza.  Sadly, one of our housemates is gluten-free and lactose intolerant, and pizza isn't exactly the best food for someone with those issues.  So we made Becca her own pizza with gluten-free pizza crust and soy cheese.  It looked a little funny, but she said it was good, (although I think she was just being nice).

For dessert, I wanted to make a dessert pizza, like our dear friend at Wes, Mert the pizza guy, used to make.  It was an apple, cinnamon, cream cheese pizza, and it was to die for.  I wanted Becca to be able to eat it too, so we used the extra gluten-free crust and left out the cream cheese on part of it.

If you can have gluten and dairy, make a real one.  If not, this might be an OK substitute.

Gluten-Free Apple Cinnamon Cream Cheese Dessert Pizza
Recipe: by the seat of my pants
Yield: 1 large pizza