Weekly Roundup: Life Gets in the Way of the Blog

Sometimes I feel like I don’t really “get going” until the middle of the week. This was one of those weeks. I haven’t done or seen anything that is “blog worthly” and I don’t have the time to write up the blog ideas I have in my notebook. A good, informative blog post easily takes 4-5 hours from start to finish.  So instead of just being strangely silent or publishing something mediocre I decided to give you all a peek at what has been keeping me so busy.

My biggest project/pain-in-the-butt is this baby quilt. Like any good crafter I waited till the last minute to begin working on it. Also, this is the first quilt I have ever made. I always seem to give myself a challenge when I have a deadline. (I do NOT recommend this.) I finally have all the squares cut out but I am fully aware that sewing them together isn’t going to be a quick project either. Wish me luck.

Hundreds of squares. Not sure if I will ever do this again.

Hundreds of squares. Not sure if I will ever do this again.

Keeping in the world of ‘craft’ I have three yarn-based projects keeping me busy. The teal one is an easy project I made up to use up that yarn and I need some new items for my Etsy shop.  I am almost done with it. The red and grey cowl is a pattern I am working on. I have several patterns that are waiting in the wings to get published. The brown is a Valentines gift. It was supposed to be a Christmas gift but that didn’t happen. Some people may wonder why I have so many projects going on at once but if you are at all crafty you probably understand me completely.

 

Thank God these are portable projects.

Thank God these are portable projects.

I spent most of yesterday baking or cleaning up from baking. My husband has a tendency to skip breakfast unless there is something quick to grab as he is going out the door. Of course there are store-bought granola bars but we both wanted something homemade to cut down on the “unknown ingredients factor” and cost.

The first recipe I decided to try was Healthy Avocado Chocolate Cookies. Basically you are using the avocado as a substitute for butter. Even though it sounds weird I could see how, in theory, that makes sense. I followed the recipe exactly except I used honey instead of coconut sugar; I didn’t have any coconut sugar and honey was the recommended substitution. Also I used regular chocolate chips instead of dark chocolate chunks.

My first problem with these was my own fault; my avocado was too ripe so my batter was too thin. I knew this wouldn’t work for cookies so I threw in a hand full of all purpose flour so the batter would have the right amount of stiffness. Also, when I tasted the batter I could totally taste avocado. Kinda grossed me out.

They LOOK good.

They LOOK good.

Fortunately my husband really liked the finished product. To me they just aren’t sweet enough. But I kind of have an aversion to “healthy” baked goods. My feeling is if you want a cookie have a COOKIE. Just don’t have ten. I find healthier versions to be much less satisfying so then I want to eat more.

My second baking adventure turned out much better. Flourless Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies sounded like it might make us both happy.

Batter ready to go on the cookie sheets.

Batter ready to go on the cookie sheets.

This recipe was easy to follow and turned out great. I used a half cup of brown sugar instead of the 2/3 cup the recipe calls for but otherwise followed all the instructions. Once again my batter seemed a little thin but once I folded in the oats and chocolate chips it seemed to have the right consistency. I would make these again.

The finished product.

The finished product.

I think we are going to buck tradition this year and go out the night before Valentine’s day instead of Saturday night. Every place that is worth going to is either already booked up or will have hour long waits. I am not sure where we will go tomorrow night – my husband is supposed to have it all figured out. Saturday we are going to have a little celebration at home; grill some brats, get some good craft beer, and watch Netflix. Sometimes simple is best.

Have a great Valentine’s Day!

-Christy

Foodie Friday: Small Batch Brown Sugar Oatmeal Cookies

Cookie!

Cookie!

Sometimes I hate making cookies. I love the finished product but it can take an entire afternoon to make a normal sized cookie recipe and inevitably the last few batches will end up being burnt because I have just lost interest and moved on to another project.

I wanted some cookies the other night but as there are only two of us in this house I did not want to use a recipe that makes two dozen cookies. I knew from hours of watching/listening to Alton Brown that baking is all about the chemical reactions and you can not simply cut all of the ingredients in half to get less cookies. I’ll admit I have done this before and sometimes they turn out but sometimes they don’t. I decided to actually take the time to experiment and create an actual small batch recipe.

These cookies are very soft and melt in your mouth. They pair great with coffee and tea. This recipe makes about 12 cookies but of course it depends how big or small you choose to make them. They are great for when you are hankering for a cookie but don’t want to spend all night making them and they would also be great if you need a baked gift for a friend of neighbor.

You can leave the oats and walnuts out or use one and not the other or use chocolate chips; you can probably stick about anything in these and it would be good.

Small Batch Brown Sugar Oatmeal Cookies

Ingredients:

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened

1/2 cup brown sugar

3 tbsp grade B maple syrup

1 egg lightly beaten

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 1/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 cup rolled old-fashioned oats

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350.

Cream butter, brown sugar and maple syrup together.

Add the egg, vanilla extract and beat on medium speed until combined.

Meanwhile, whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder, and cinnamon in a separate bowl.

With the mixer set on low, slowly add the flour no more than approximately 1/2 cup at a time. Increase speed after each addition. Make sure to stop occasionally and scrape down the sides of the bowl.

Once all of the flour has been incorporated, stir in the oats and walnuts BY HAND. Dough will be pretty stiff at this point, especially if you are baking in  a freezing cold kitchen as I do.

Scoop out even sized balls of dough and place on an ungreased cookie sheet. Really you can make them whatever size you wish. Remember the smaller they are the quicker they will cook. I made mine about 2 inches in diameter. I baked them for 8-10 minutes.

These are the kind of cookies you want to take out right before they are completely done. This will make them soft. However, even if they cook too long they are still great for dunking in coffee or hot cocoa.

Hope you enjoy this recipe! Do you have any recipes that makes smaller batches of cookies? Send them to me so I can give them a whirl.

-Christy