Can’t Stay Away

This last Christmas Eve, my family in Oregon got together as we always do, but this one was different. There was the usual delicious spread of salads, ham, snacks, desserts and various other side dishes – but this one was different. This one, my grandma brought these bars, which she called “Can’t Leave Alone” Bars, but I knew better – they have some sort of addictive, illegal narcotic in them. They must. Otherwise I wouldn’t have eaten so many that I felt really carsick on the way home. I’ve since started calling them “Gram’s Crack Bars” – which I realize doesn’t sound very flattering, but if you’ve tried these, you’d know what I mean. They taste like raw cookie dough!

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I took them to a party about a week ago and once people started tasting them, they were gone within a matter of minutes. I ended up giving the recipe to 3 people. They are so simple, so delicious and, contrary to what my intuition usually tells me about baked goods, they are better once they’ve cooled completely.

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Keeping Resolutions with Cake

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My resolution for the last two years has been to use my cookbooks. And I’ve been doing an okay job. I have so many of them, and it’s so easy to turn to the internet to find the recipe I’m looking for. The internet is a great tool for researching recipes, because it gives the opportunity to compare similar recipes to adjust based on your personal taste and what you do or don’t have in the cupboard, as well as read reviews and tips from people who’ve made them. Continue reading

The Egg Salad That Made Me Believe In Egg Salad

I first fell in love with this recipe, or at least a variation of it, when I was working at a retirement home. I had never considered egg salad before because of its bland, eggy color reminiscent of a school cafeteria “brown bag” lunch, and it’s super alluring odor, even though I always loved hard-boiled eggs.

I started to like the idea of it after I saw how it was made, and realized I could control the offending ingredient – mayo! I would eat it at lunch with crackers and cucumber slices, and eventually in sandwiches as a condiment to compliment ham or turkey rather than a main ingredient. It was a great way to get quick protein at lunch. Because of this, my recipe produces a very flavorful, tangy, somewhat colorful (for what it is, at least) egg salad that is just great as a star ingredient but really compliments other ingredients one might put on a sandwich or in a salad.

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Veselé Vánoce – It’s Sušenka Time!

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Veselé Vánoce!

This winter is the first, since I’ve been dating my boyfriend, that I will not be having his family’s delicious Czech Christmas cookies (sušenky) to inhale. He’s left me behind in the Montana tundra while he basks in the lights and glory of the Karlův Most at Christmas. Which, now that I’m writing this, I realize will probably be for the best as I tend to really enjoy the tins full of them when they’re around.

I was worried when I was making them, as I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to do a 3 generations old recipe (at least) any justice. They’re done, and I can’t stop eating them.

This is my favorite out of an assortment of always nutty, buttery, sometimes chocolatey, beautifully formed cookies that his family spends days making every holiday season. They are called hrozinkovy (rozinka = raisin), with some other title that I’m unsure of and would certainly butcher anyway. This one, ironically, has no butter(!). They get their moist and soft texture from thoroughly pulverized raisins, egg yolks, and a coating of lemon glaze while they are still hot. Continue reading

Cookies, Cookies, Cookies!

This year was my first participating in the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap. I learned some lessons, and made and ate some delicious cookies! One of the lessons I think I learned was that I was only supposed to make one type of cookie…? Oops. “Overachieving in cookie production is a bad thing…” said no one, ever. Another lesson, about shipping and packaging, at the bottom.*cookie-swap-2013

My favorite part was the excitement of receiving a package in the mail… all 3 types of cookies I received were so different, and from people of different interests and backgrounds, which was way cool. I found it even kismetic (I just made up a word) how some of us were connected in little ways ways whether through travel, common interest (besides food, of course!), or background. A couple other great things were the awesome silicone spatulas I was almost too giddy about receiving from OXO, a partner of the GFBCS, and the almost $14,000 this year’s event raised for Cookies for Kids’ Cancer!

I received the moistest, softest Apple Jack Cookies from Karen at 2 Teaspoons, perfectly spiced and beautifully decorated Gingerbread Men from Nita at thebRUNcher, and finally, deliciously unique Taro Root White Chocolate Chip Cookies from Kristin at Bake Something.

My cookie recipients were Veronique at Food and Wine Chickie,  Natalie at In Natalie’s Shoes, and Dixya at Food, Pleasure, and Health. I would also like to shout out to my dear friends Hannah and Nora of Cats and Commas, who introduced me to the swap!

Here are the 3 recipes for the 3 cookies I sent this year! Continue reading

A Post PostSecret Post

From PostSecret… this has definitely been me before. Whoever you are, you are much braver than me for pulling it off like it was intentional! I probably wouldn’t have just thrown mine in the trash or only let myself eat it, depending on its level of atrocity.

I love checking PostSecret on Sundays. It makes me feel like no matter what I think at any time about anything, I’m not alone!

Deschutes Jubelale Stew

This stew combines some of my favorite things – beef stew, crock pots, and beer – not just any beer, but Jubelale from my favorite brewery, Deschutes. Besides being an awesome brewery with an awesome tour with awesome beer in an awesome location (Bend, OR), Jubelale is particularly unique, as the label changes every year and is selected from fan-submitted art.

On a side note – when I first made this recipe, found on the Deschutes Brewery webpage, it was listed as “Julbelale Stew”, but now it’s listed as “Jubelale Chili”… my guess is that the beans make the difference. It’s good with either ground meat or stew meat, but the ground meat reduces the cooking time.

A word to the wise: this makes a LOT of “soup”!

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