Wookiee Cookies

24 01 2009

For his birthday last year Isaac received Wookiee Cookies: The Star Wars Cookbook.  It was apparently written by someone who, like me, is both a foodie and a Star Wars geek.  It’s complete with pictures of Star Wars action figures posing with each dish.  I thought this was an awesome birthday present.  Oh wait, it was for Isaac, wasn’t it?

They're called that because they're chewy.

I decided to make the title recipe from the cookbook and Jonathan wanted to help.  The Wookiee Cookies are basically chocolate chip cookies with cinnamon added.  Perhaps Wookiees like cinnamon, I don’t know.  I never could understand Chewbacca.  But the cookies turned out well and they were enjoyed by all.  In fact, they were made so late in the evening that I thought they’d go well with a relaxing cup of decaf.  

I cleaned the table just for this picture

They did.  But, like most things, I got impatient toward the end and the cookies got bigger and got squished together in the oven.

maybe I should just eat these now

Oh well.  I took a page from the cookbook and got out our LEGO Star Wars dudes for a quick photo shoot.

Han shot first you know

your cookies are weak old man

The cookies make for very realistic looking terrain, don’t you think?

Santa will thank you

23 12 2007

Karen recently got a cookbook revolving around chocolate and coffee. Sometimes they’re together, sometimes they’re showcased separately. Flipping through the book there was one recipe in particular that caught my eye. It seemed as though the book would fall open to the page of its own accord. And it does now, since I’ve spent so much time drooling over the picture. It was called “White Hot Chocolate” and I was instantly hooked. Karen was unconvinced because white chocolate isn’t real chocolate, but I said “I’m making it, do you want some or not?”  She did.

So I got the idea, wouldn’t Santa like this? It’d keep him warm for his wintry trek, and it’s got a splash of liquor to keep his cheeks rosy. So go ahead, make Santa happy and ditch the milk for something more interesting. This is what he really wants.

I love this mug

I made this with skim milk, but I can imagine it’s ten times better with whole milk. Good idea, I think I’ll go make some more.

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Mark ruins August

6 09 2007

Benchmarks are always good. It’s good to know “Ick, I ruined dinner, but it wasn’t as bad as last week’s Jerk chicken.” or “This pizza isn’t very good but it’s not the shape of Wisconsin.” Our family (and by that I mean Mark) has a new benchmark for success, or more specifically, failure.

In life we all make mistakes. We all make bad decisions, errors in judgment. And in these mistakes there are varying degrees of disaster associated with them. And in our house we now know that there are bad ideas, horrible ideas, and then there’s Wal-Mart.

Do I ever have any good ideas?

It seemed like a good idea at the time. If I’m still home to watch the boys during the day I can work two or three nights a week third shift, right? Right? Perhaps not. Had I been working just weekends I still would have failed, but it certainly didn’t help that I was on four nights a week – in a row. By the morning following night #4, the boys were on their own, playing video games all day in their pajamas and eating candy for lunch. And it would take three days off for me to start feeling normal again. Well, as normal as I can be.

I’d been working nights for two weeks when I gave my notice. I told them I’d work the existing schedule and then be done. Problem was, there was three weeks of schedule already done, and two of them were jammed together – four days on, one day off, four days on. Ugh.

It’s amazing just how neurotic you become with sleep deprivation. Do you know how confusing it is to start your shift on Monday and finish it Tuesday? Halfway through the night today turns into yesterday and tomorrow turns into today. And somewhere along the line (I’m not sure the exact time) tonight turns into this morning. People start talking about “tonight” and they really mean “tomorrow.” Then I get to go home and sleep all day watch the kids. Is it any wonder that my love affair with coffee became an addiction? After working those eight nights during a nine day period I actually said to the boys “If you don’t eat your dinner tonight I’m selling the Wii on ebay!”

I once had a college professor who told me “You can’t fail if you never try.” This is something you never want to hear from a college professor. He was trying to make me feel better, knowing that at least I’d had the courage to pluck up and do something stupid. And I suppose it’s true. Adding something to the list of my stupid ideas is better than sitting around wondering what would’ve happened if I’d tried this or that. And boy, I set my sights really high on this one, didn’t I?

Oh, and a guy made a pass at me while working the cheese wall at 2:00am on a Saturday night. Or was it a Sunday morning?

This is why I get the food network

25 06 2007

Good Eats is by far the best food show ever. If my kids watch your cooking show and say “Play that again, Daddy” you know it’s great. And he always uses the most important phrase in any cooking show: “You’ll know it’s done when…

I made cinnamon rolls this week. I’d made them before (and by “I” I mean Aliyah made them, but it was my idea) and they’d turned out great. This time I figured I’d document the process for posterity.

Alton showed me how to make them but some of these things I don’t have access to. Like a stand mixer.  Wanna know a good reason to get a stand mixer? I couldn’t quite get the butter mixed in all the way at the beginning with a whisk. Not soft enough I guess. See?

it was the best i could do

So I made Alton’s recipe with some changes. Here is my whisk attachment:

my whisk attachment

Here is my dough hook:

my dough hook

Have I told you that I hate my oven? Well, not for long. The oven switched off again. I swear the previous owners left just before everything in this house broke.  So twice now a $30 Wal-Mart toaster oven bought twelve years ago has come to the aid of a $2000 Jenn-Air downdraft convection oven.

It’s not just that the range is broken, what about my cinnamon rolls? They were half cooked after an hour. See what happened to my nice quiet Monday morning breakfast to finish off Karen’s vacation week? We went from this:

peaceful breakfast

to this:

rolls in the toaster oven, cooked 4 at a time

It’s still a great recipe, and if I can do it on the first try you know it’s good. I’ll have to do this again once our new oven is delivered.

Living on decaf

3 05 2007

Jonny asleep on the floor

This is how I feel.

I made a decision a couple weeks ago, and now I’m living with the consequences of that decision. I was standing in the coffee roasters’ store and I said to myself “You should not be reliant on caffeine.” Wow, I thought, what a great idea. Going back to drinking decaf like I did before Ben was born. Caffeine isn’t really good for you, it’ll be a health kinda thing.

Ben Sleeping Bumbo

I haven’t been getting headaches. I’m thankful for that. But holy cow, I am tired. I get to about 10:30 before I think to myself “I could really use a nap.” The only problem is you can’t nap with a three year old jumping on you.

Jonny Sleeping Glider

I used to drink decaf exclusively with no problem. I was proud of myself. Standing in that store I convinced myself that I could switch back after a year and everything would be the same. Ugh. I suppose that was a stupid thing to think.Jonny Sleeping Surrounded by toys

Perhaps it’s all in my head. There are times when I have to stop drinking regular coffee for a day or two (for reasons which we’ll not get into here) and everything is okay, but now I know that all the caffeine in the house is gone. I couldn’t have regular coffee now if I wanted it, and believe me, I do. So maybe I’ve got the “flu vaccine” syndrome. Nobody gets the flu shot unless there’s not enough, then everyone wants it. I don’t need caffeine unless I don’t have any.

Ever done anything stupid before your coffee?

3 04 2007


See what I did this morning?  Yes, I put whole coffee beans are in the coffee maker.  I wonder what the coffee would taste like if I actually made it like this.  A while ago Karen bought a coffee grinder, and I was very excited.  But here’s what they never tell you about grinding your own coffee: it adds an extra step to your morning ritual.  If you’ve been making your coffee with your eyes closed in the morning like me, sometimes that little addition to the morning routine causes confusion. 

You know what else they don’t tell you when you buy a coffee grinder?  For two weeks you gotta do math in your head before your caffeine fix, and your coffee will probably suck until you get it right.  Monday’s coffee will have the consistency of mud, Tuesday it will be brown water, Wednesday it will come out in clumps, Thursday you’ll make a pot using your last little bit of ground coffee because you really can’t afford to fall asleep that afternoon, and Friday you’ll go to a coffee shop.  Finally you decide how you like it, and so you take a blowtorch (maybe a class 5 laser) and mark the level on the coffee grinder so you will never have to count scoops again. 

The only down side is that now you need at least one eye open to see the mark.