I’m not sure why exactly baking is everyone’s particular obsession right now. Is it all the spare time at home? A desire for comfort food? Feeling guilty about panic buying too much flour and needing to put it to good use? Probably a little of all three.
I’m deep in it myself. I’ve nearly gone through a whole 5 pound bag of flour in less than a month. So far I’ve made cinnamon rolls, pancakes, waffles, and pita bread—each of these recipes is a tried and true favorite. I think next up I’ll make something totally new to me like bagels or pasta.
But the easiest and most comforting use I’ve found for my bag of flour is these chocolate chip cookies. It’s the only CCC recipe I use anymore and, with just a couple alterations, these cookies always turns out just how I like them—chewy inside, crisp and beautifully caramelized outside.
Here’s what I do differently:
Cut down the salt from 1 tsp to 3/4 tsp.
Cut down the chocolate chips from 12 oz to 10 oz (I know, I know, this sounds crazy, but as much as I love chocolate, 12 oz just ends up being a little too much. It’s even hard to shape the cookies since there’s not quite enough dough to bring all the chips together. With 10 oz you still get plenty of chocolate in each bite plus a more balanced chocolate to dough ratio. Bonus: a handful of chocolate chips leftover for snacking on once the cookies are all gone.
Make the cookies a little bit bigger. I did this by accident, but I like the results. Instead of the 30 cookie yield I get about 21-22 cookies.
I use light brown sugar (instead of dark brown) and dark chocolate chips (instead of semi-sweet), just because that’s what I usually have on hand.
Anyone starting to get overwhelmed with so much cooking at home? When I’m in need of something easy, delicious, and leaning toward healthy, I always use the same equation: grain + protein + veggie + tasty sauce. The tasty sauce is really the star of the show here. It makes it easy to mix and match whatever grains or veggies you have on hand to easily pull together a fantastic meal.
I used this sauce to make BBQ seitan the other day and then combined it with quinoa, sautéed garlicky kale, and roasted potatoes, all drizzled with more BBQ sauce. It was so good, I’m still thinking about it days later.
Blend until well-combined:
1/2 cup vegetable broth
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
2 tablespoons molasses
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons peanut butter
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon prepared mustard (I use Dijon)
1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke (I subbed smoked paprika here since I didn’t have liquid smoke)
1/2 teaspoon Sriracha hot sauce (again, I subbed Gochujang here!)
Everyone is talking about how damn long January felt, but I think I fell behind somewhere along the way because I’m not quite convinced it’s already February.
Here’s what I got up to in January.
I celebrated my 32nd birthday. As a self-employed individual, I get to choose my own time off, so I took advantage of that and gifted myself a 5-day weekend for my birthday. I ate some really delicious food, wandered around a museum, and shared cocktails out with some friends at my favorite local bar.
I did yoga (almost) every day thanks to Yoga with Adriene. Ok so I skipped 5 days, but caught myself back up each time with a double yoga session the next day. Now I’m still going (no days missed yet this month!) with her perfectly curated monthly calendars. Honestly, her YouTube channel is a lifesaver.
I started a habit of doing some light meal prep on Sundays and made this really delicious cashew turmeric granola a few times as part of my regular rotation. Last time I made it with walnuts and dried cranberries instead of cashews and dehydrated fruit and it was SO GOOD.
I attended DIY Fair and bought some killer candles. Every year my neighborhood hosts a weekend-long event where local artists and crafters set up shop under big white tents that take over two entire parking lots plus main street. I go just about every year and struggle not to spend an entire month’s income on art, candles, jewelry, and food. This year, I maintained my self control and only purchased a giant roasted veggie sandwich covered in hash browns and three candles from this shop I love called Pagan Potions. I bought the Unfuck Yourself candle from them last year and loved it, so I got another one this year plus Money Money Money and Manifestation Muthafucka. They’re all so beautiful and smell amazing. I’ve been burning the Unfuck Yourself one every day the past couple weeks, and I’ve felt so much more motivated and at peace than usual.
I cozied up at home and watched a whole bunch of tv. I started and finished the last season of Jessica Jones which I loved. I’m really bummed the series is over. I’m not generally that into super hero stuff, but the characters and story lines in Jessica Jones made it a great show that would’ve held up without any of the super stuff. My boyfriend and I started and finished the first season of Altered Carbon which was decent. The story was interesting, but it was a little hard to follow at some points. I wasn’t super invested in any of the characters, but the world building was pretty cool. My favorite thing I watched was definitely The Dark Crystal: The Age of Resistance. I started off by re-watching the original Dark Crystalmovie, which was a huge staple in my childhood, before racing through the new show in the course of one weekend. I was a little nervous about how it would maintain continuity with the original movie, but I was pleasantly surprised that they treated the original with respect and brought in some interesting new pieces that actually fit well with the existing narrative.
I cooked so many stir fries with the spicy sriracha peanut sauce from this list. I’m obsessed with this sauce—it’s mega easy to make, I always keep the ingredients stocked in my pantry, and it’s so good I honestly lick the spoon to get every last drop. I like to pair this sauce with brown rice or buckwheat noodles (these are my go-to) + whatever veggies I have on hand + tempeh or whatever Quorn fake meat product I currently have in my freezer. If I could only eat one thing for the rest of my life, this would be it.
I had my regularly scheduled cleaning at the dentist. Keeping up with doctor appointments is a super important part of self care! I don’t particularly like the dentist, but it does feel really good to check it off my list and come home knowing that my mouth is healthy. It keeps those anxious what-if-I-have-a-million-cavities-and-need-ten-root-canals thoughts at bay. At every visit I schedule my next one for six months out since that makes it a WHOLE lot more likely that I’ll remember to go. My dentist even sends me text reminders a few days before my appointment which is super helpful. Consider this your call to GET YOU A DENTIST YOU ACTUALLY LIKE and MAKE THAT APPOINTMENT today.
A short list of things I loved in February that made the snow covered hellscape of Michigan tolerable:
I finished N.K. Jemisin’s Broken Earth trilogy this month and now I want to read everything else she’s written. It was exciting, deeply upsetting at many points, and emotionally dense. She created a rich world, slowly unwrapping it over the course the three novels and dragging you in deeper with each chapter. She describes this future world from several different perspectives as the events piece together and the world and its residents crystallize into something truly magnificent and horrifying.
The band Cheekface knows how to write a serious jam wrapped up in lyrics that cut directly into our collective millennial heart. It’s hard to pick a favorite track from the delightful collection of singles they’ve trickled out over this past year, but “Eternity Leave” is a bouncy lyrical gem that I just can’t get enough of. Their debut album comes out March 20th and I can’t fucking wait.
I’ve been working on perfecting my pita and hummus making skills. I’m still tweaking my hummus recipe, but I’ve used this pita recipe from The Kitchn twice so far and I think I got it just right on my second try. On the first attempt, they turned out a little too dense and didn’t puff up—I think I over-kneaded the dough or maybe didn’t let the dough rise long enough. The second time, I only kneaded the dough for 5 minutes and then let it rise for one and a half hours—they turned out so good! This might have to become a weekly thing because pita + hummus is one of my favorite snacks, and the store bought options are truly awful for the most part.