Friday, May 31, 2013

Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookies

I am a firm believer in alliteration and chocolate chip cookies. They're the classic all american cookies. And probably my favorite dessert, tied with jell-o no bake cheesecake and brownies.
A little variation in these cookies is a great thing too. What to make it a little healthier? We're subbing butter for coconut oil. We're also adding some coconut flakes for texture and crunch.
If you bring a box to work they may disappear before lunch time. Nurses are a hungry bunch.

They're pretty straightforward to make too. We'll start with mixing the coconut oil and brown sugar in your stand up mixer (or using an electric hand-held mixer).
Dump in the flour and you end up with this beautiful dough. Delicious to snack on I might add, if you're okay with a little bit of raw egg. I suppose I shouldn't advocate for that though.

Finally make yo cookies! They don't spread out as much as other recipes I've made and are a delicious combination of chewy with a little bit of that coconut crunch.
Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookies
(Makes ~24-30 cookies)

Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 12 oz semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened, shredded coconut
To Make

1) Preheat oven to 375*. Using electric mixer or stand mixer, combine coconut oil and brown sugar. Next add in eggs one at a time and vanilla extract until light and fluffy.

2) In separate bowl whisk together flour, salt, baking powder and salt. Add all at once to wet ingredients and mix just until combined. Using a spoon stir in coconut and chocolate chips. 

3) Put large spoonfuls of cookie dough onto sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until bottoms are just brown. Let cool on cookie sheet for a few minutes then transfer to cooling rack.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Playful Pancakes

So I love Pinterest. For years I bookmarked my recipes just in the regular bookmarking way. But after my computer got stolen last year I lost all of them. Super depressing. Pinterest came in my life and now that is how I save recipes I've made or mark recipes I want to make soon. This is not a new concept. 
I also started creating tons of boards with other random stuff; craft ideas, things that make me laugh, nurse things. However I never used these. This year I decided I was going to start doing at least a few of them.
Today's post was inspired by this pin and it is/was really easy minus my lack of artistic ability.
To make this simply use a condiment bottle and fill with pancake batter. I found my condiment bottle at Target for about $3. I used a basic pancake recipe from my basic cookbook. I did have to thin it out with a little more milk than the recipe called for. You also want to make sure it's whisked pretty well to get the clumps out.
Heat a griddle over medium heat and go to town with whatever crazy design your heart desires.
Some tips: use a large, flat spatula if you have one. Makes it easier for flipping.
Also, when writing things, make sure you remember to attach all the letters and flip carefully.
One of my favorite messages I wrote, for my awesome nephew! So make this soon and have fun.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Exploring San Juan Island

I hope everyone had a great long weekend, minus those of us that had to work :) A regularly scheduled Observation Tuesday post has been interrupted to bring you this day of exploring I had last weekend with some friends.

If you're ever in Seattle and feel like doing some exploring further out of the city you should definitely go to the San Juan Islands. They're a few hours north of the city and you get to take the ferry to get there. We left at 6:30 to catch the 9:30 am ferry from Anacortes to Friday Harbor on San Juan Island.
Our first stop when we go there was breakfast. The Cask and Schooner serves a weekend brunch and I definitely recommend it. I got biscuits and gravy, Seth got their banana pancakes. Everyone else got something different (steak and eggs, frittata, eggs benedict) and it was all delicious. It comes with potatoes, salad and fruit.
After wandering around Friday Harbor for a bit we headed over to Roche Harbor.
 There we found a cute gift shop, walked on the docks and played bocce ball.
One of two free bocce courts with a nice seating area nearby.
In the background are the limestone kilns. The british founded a limestone quarry on the island back in the 1800s.

 After that leisure we headed over to Lime Kiln State Park. Their is a view point that is excellent for whale watching. I didn't see any though.


 Doesn't this look like perfection?
 Finally, we drove to a lavender farm. The harvesting season is July to September and you can cut your own. We explored the gift shop, tried samples of lavender flavored things and enjoyed the sun.

 All of this is totally doable in a days drive. We left on the 4:20 ferry but could have spent a few more hours looking at shops or getting ice cream.

Definitely check out the San Juans if you're ever in the Northwest!

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Snapshot Sunday: May 26

First of all, Happy Birthday, Mom! You're getting your present when I see you next week

Second of all, here is my week.

A quote I loved from a sermon last Sunday.
(Edited with the photo app from A Beautiful Mess)

Seattle rained on us this week.
Got to wear my rain boots
 
Flowers from Pike Place still making my table beautiful
Why am I eating rice cakes again?
Not sure, but I like it.
 Breakfast for dinner after work.
I have this cool friend who brought me cake at work.
The Funfetti went over very well. Thanks, KP!
 Book reading and chai.
 Book recommendations.
 I made donuts. I ate four today.
Real Life. 
 Went to ikea. Seth found this gem inside a cup.

Did you guys do anything fun this week?

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Books: Great Gatsby, Flight Behavior, Breathing Lessons

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

I read this in high school and have a vague recollection of really liking it. And re-read it for book club and liked it significantly less this time. This is the story of Jay Gatsby and his quest for long lost love Daisy, who just happens to be Nick's cousin, who is neighbor to Gatsby. Gatsby like a luxurious life, filled with parties and insignificant friendships. Daisy is married, with a two year-old, to Tom, who is having an affair with a married woman. Fitzgerald's writing is amazing. I love the way he paints pictures of their lives and parties and adventures. But I didn't like any of the characters and their morals are questionable at best. Nevertheless, read it because it's an example classic American literature. I'm planning to see the movie soon, so I'll se how they compare. 3/5 stars

Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver

I love Kinsgolver. The Poisonwood Bible is one of my favorite books so I was really excited to pick up her new novel. This is the story of Dellarobia, a housewife in modern-day Appalachia, who, on her way to meet a lover, stumbles upon a valley of fire. This valley of fire turns out to be monarch butterflies driven to different migration patterns by global warming. Her normal life, filled with a too-kind husband, overbearing mother-in-law and father-in-law who wants to log the mountain for quick cash, is turned upside down when scientists and enthusiasts come from all over to study the phenomenon.  Kingsolver does another great job telling this story. It takes a little while to really delve into the story line, but her writing drew me in and I couldn't wait to see what happens to the butterflies, Dellarobia's marriage and their farm. If you're a fan of her other novels I definitely recommend this one. 4/5 stars

Breathing Lessons by Anne Tyler

Description from Wikipedia: "The story describes the joys and pains of the ordinary marriage of Ira and Maggie Moran as they travel from Baltimore to attend a funeral and back home again in one day. It also examines Maggie's attempts to reconcile her son and daughter-in-law. A few detours during their 90-mile drive reveal Ira and Maggie's incompatibilties, disappointments, unmet expectations - and lasting love" This came highly recommended by someone I met and has similar taste in book (we were both reading Flight Behavior). It also won a Pulitzer Prize in 1989. I wasn't sure why until I read the Pulitzer Prize is awarded to a work that depicts American Life, which makes total sense to me. That's exactly what this novel was and I was so bored. Ira and Maggie lead a relatively simple life, Ira is consistent and practical, Maggie is a little flighty and dramatic and meddling. And the whole book takes place in one day with various flashbacks. I mostly don't recommend reading it, unless it sounds utterly fascinating to you. 2/5 stars


Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Observation Tuesday: Volume 52

This is why I hate sleeping with socks on:

Probably the best commencement address I've ever heard. This is Water by David Foster Wallace.

Have a happy Tuesday y'all. 

Monday, May 20, 2013

Rhubarb Custard Ice Cream with Honey & Ginger Cookies

You should be thankful I had my eyes dilated at the optometrist today. 

Why you ask? It's barely rained in the last two or three weeks. And I just feel guilty for being inside when it's so nice outside. That's what Seattle has done to me. 
But today, I went to the optometrist to get a new contact prescription, because my last one expired two weeks before I tired to reorder contacts online so I couldn't...anyway. I'm at the eye doctor and before I know what's happening the doctor gives me those dilating eye drops. Makes me wait fifteen minutes, then finishes the exam and tells me I'm good to go.
Here's the problem, its still sunny and my eyes are totally dilated. I felt sort of blind and going outside still hurts my eyes. This is why I'm inside on a nice day sharing this amazing recipe with you.
This is fairly labor intensive and has a few steps but it is SO worth it. This ice cream is sweet, tart with cookie crumbles mixed in. And it really highlights rhubarb, which is just starting to get stellar. If you know someone who grows it go steal it from their garden, if not go pick it up at the grocery store. 
The pictures above show the steps for making the rhubard compote. Really simple and just involves chopping the rhubarb and letting it cook and break down with sugar.
Now we get to make the custard. Vanilla bean, eggs, sugar, whole milk and whipping cream combined to make a delicious, thick, rich custard base.
After you make the custard base you let it cool in the refrigerator overnight (I did two days) or set it in an ice bath to cool more quickly if you're making it for that day.
The final thing to make before combining the three parts is the ginger & honey cookies.
To make the cake flour for the cookies I used Joy's instructions found here. It gets a little messy but is easier than putting real pants on, going to the store and buying some.
Another not-so-pro tip, I also just used my coffee grinder to make oat flour out of regular oats.
It all comes together to make a slightly sticky dough that will be refrigerated for 30 minutes, rolled out, cut into cookies and baked. Yum. They're good enough to make on their own.
Finally, it all comes together. After you use your ice cream machine to make the custard, that is. Layers of the vanilla custard, rhubarb compote and crumbled cookies.
Frozen for a few hours and then served to anxious guests. Or yourself for a mid-afternoon snack.

Rhubarb Custard Ice Cream with Honey & Ginger Cookies
(from Goboroot

To Make Rhubarb Compote:
  • 3 cups chopped rhubarb
  • 1/4 cup cane sugar (regular sugar would be okay too)
  • squeeze of lemon juice
1) Combine rhubarb and sugar in a small or medium sauce pan and turn heat on to medium. Let it cook until rhubarb looses its shape and mixture becomes textured and lovely. This took me about 10-15 minutes. Stir occasionally.

2) When its done, squeeze lemon juice and stir to combine. Refrigerate until ready to use. About half and hour before finally combining ice cream put in the freezer.

To Make Custard:
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 vanilla bean, cut lenthwise and scraped
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup cane (or regular) sugar
  • 1 cup whipping cream
1) Bring whole milk, vanilla bean (and insides) to a gentle boil. Once it boils, remove from stove and let sit for 10 minutes

2) While that is cooling, whisk yolks and sugar together until light yellow and combine. Gently stir in 1/2 cup of milk, just to combine and prevent eggs from cooking when they're put on heat. 

3) Add egg mixture back to saucepan, bring back to a gentle boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. It should begin to thicken after about 5 minutes. Once it's done, remove from heat and put through a fine strainer. Stir in whipping cream and refrigerate.

4) Let it cool completely before you'r making into a custard. Can stay in refrigerator overnight.

To Make Cookies:
  • 1/3 cup butter, room tempreature
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1/2 tsp ginger juice, from grated ginger
  • 2/3 cup oat flour
  • 1 cup cake flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • pinch of salt
1) Sift together oats, cake flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside

2) Mix together butter and sugar and creamy. Add in egg, honey and ginger. Next, using a spatula, add in dry ingredients all at once and fold in until ingredients are all combine. Batter will be sticky. 

3) Form into ball and refrigerate for about 30 minutes. When it's ready, preheat oven to 320. Roll out dough into sheet 1/3 inch thick and cut into 2 inch squares. 

4) Make on cookie sheet covered with parchment paper for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool for 2 minutes on cookie sheet, then on rack until room temperature. Store in air tight container until ready to make ice cream.

To Make Ice Cream:

1) Prepare the ice cream according to instructions for your ice cream maker. Crumbled cookies, saving a few for serving. Take rhubarb out of freezer.

2) In container for freezing, add layer of ice cream, dollop with rhubarb and sprinkle cookies; repeat for 1-2 more layers depending on the size of your container.

3) Freeze for 2-3 more hours (or overnight) and serve with extra cookie on the side. Enjoy!