Thursday, December 12, 2013

welcome back, me! (mandel bread)

Oh, hello.

Yeah, no, I definitely took a semester-long blog break because now, ladies and gentleladies, I am graaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaduated.

Before cookies happen (oh my goodness, really? cookies? from me?) I'd like to take some time to make a couple shout-outs to the people and things that made my college experience what it was.

  • To the Minnesota Daily, for providing me with a daily crossword puzzle distraction, I thank you. Because of you, my mind is sharper than ever and I now know multiple sites for cheating.
  • To the St Paul Student Center for being the only place on the entire campus with the bougie yogurt I like, I thank you.
  • To whomever decided it would be a good idea to have all tampon dispensers in campus bathrooms be free, I thank you.
  • To the kind people of Bruegger's Bagels, I thank you.
  • To the tester bottles of lotion in the bookstore, my hands thank you.
That's it. 

I kid! THAT'S NOT IT. To the hundreds of people I've had the pleasure of interacting with throughout these past three and a half years, I thank you. You've probably shaped me someway and somehow.

Can we please talk about cookies now?

Upon realizing I graduated college, the only thing that seemed appropriate and worth doing was making mandel bread. Oh, mandel. You little Jewish biscotti, you. More sugar, not as hard, chocolatey, twice baked and dredged in cinnamon sugar. Don't tell biscotti, but I like you more. Let's never stop being friends.

Chocolate Chip Mandel Bread

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt

3 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup chocolate chips

cinnamon sugar for dredging (I know this is a real word...but why.)

Whisk together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Beat sugar and oil together. Add eggs, one at a time, mix well. Add vanilla. Stir in flour mixture, mix til combined. Stir in chocolate chips. Refrigerate dough for at least two hours, maybe even overnight!

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare two baking sheets. Form dough into four, three inch wide logs, two on each sheet. Bake logs for 25 minutes. Let cool. 

Reduce heat to 250 degrees. Slice logs into 1/2 inch pieces and dredge sides in cinnamon sugar mixture. (this is the time when you set aside the ends of the logs especially for yourself)
Place cookies back onto cookie sheets, cinnamon sugar sides down. Bake for another 20 minutes.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

twenty one.

For a long time all I wanted for my birthday was one of these.

I mean, the expressions on these kids' faces says it all. I thought maybe this was the funnest thing in the world. More fun than bacon, which was my favorite food around the time I dreamt of Barbie Jeeps. Before I went to bed, I would pray to Santa Claus and the birthday gods to bring me one. 

He never did. I'm grateful for that. Having a Barbie Jeep would have boosted my ego way too much, I was also, at this time, the universe's funniest comedian. 

Fast forward to nowtimes. Today I got to take some of my lovely-souled friends out for breakfast at my favorite ever place.

And then I received this from my mother.

I would like to report that these things are better than any Barbie Jeep ever. I would like to report that I have a life I'm very lucky to have. I would like to report that most everything is perfect.

I would also like to report that I'm twenty-one now. And educate myself about wine, I will. 

To everyone I've come in contact with throughout this twentieth year of my existence, I thank you. It's been one filled with soul-searching and laughs and so much love and learning. I've grown tremendously, and that's because of all of you! Everysingleperson.

Happy birthday to me.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

an open letter to breathing, books, and blogs.

I've been reading this book, right? Self-help lady guru Gabrielle Bernstein was introduced to me by sister Sam. I'm currently in the process of finishing May Cause Miracles. Let me tell you. This book came at the right time. This early graduation-futuretimes uncertainty-being hard on myself terrible soup I've made for myself wasn't going over very well. But through this 40 day process (I'm not done yet), I've been reminded of the importance of breathing, gratitude, forgiveness, and love. That fear doesn't have to ruin everything, that creative abundance is a thing and will forever be a thing, that all relationships should be thought of with equal amounts of love and attention, that success will come if you believe in it and yourself, that forgiveness is always a good answer, and that if you fill yourself with love, your world will do the same.

I certainly don't mean to preach.

All I'm saying is that I was totally lacking love. I needed more. And right now I feel more apt to think with it. It's totally a book recommendation.

I realized needed a break from blogging. It was becoming something it should never be: a source of jealousy, competition, and anxiety. I needed to be reminded why I love it, that it motivates me to write, photograph, and try new things. I want to feel that motivation again, and that will only come with positive thoughts invested in blogging. No more jealousy or comparison: from now on, this blog becomes a place for learning and expressing and sharing. Anxiety and creativity don't mesh for me.

You guys. I'm totally ready for this new mindset, this new school year, this new attitude. I'm excited to enter everything with more love and fullness that ever.

OKAY ALSO. If you're not watching Orange is the New Black on the Netflix, you're need to.

And with that,

I'm am done for today.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

diy adjustable bra strap bracelet.

We're talking about bras today. Does everyone feel comfortable talking about bras? Good. Glad we got that out of the way.

It's almost moving time which means the yearly "I'm going to try to eliminate at least two of the pairs of shorts I've tried to cut myself but they didn't turn out right" time. I swear I attempt to filter out clothes, but let's be real...that New Kids on the Block sweater I have? I'M TOTALLY GOING TO NEED THAT ONE DAY.
Today I've got a way for you to use those old bras I know you have and make them into an adjustable bracelet. Bras. Bras. Bra. Are we uncomfortable yet?

DIY Adjustable Bra Strap Bracelet

You'll need: A bra. Some scissors. A needle and thread. Buttons and beads, optional.
Step One: Cut the strap off where it meets the band, and above the part of the strap where the adjustable part starts. (That was literally the best way I could explain it.)

Step Two: Get your needle and thread. Loop the end of the strap through the piece on top.

It will look like this:

Sew the end of the strap down with a few stitches.

Step Three: OPTIONAL ADD-ONS! Sew a button on there, a bead, embroider some cool design. There you have it. Now you don't have to feel bad about getting rid of your bra. Because you can wear your bra on your wrist. And it's adjustable.

Thanks for getting through that with me. I love you.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

taking the time to teach people things (banana bread).

Recently I've come to realize the importance of sharing knowledge. Never sharing what you know results in a waste of talent and a missed opportunity. Skills should be passed on and taken in with enthusiasm. 

Like how about that one time in fourth grade when I showed everyone in my class how to make a mouse-shaped balloon animal? Their lives surely would not be the same without said experience. Or when my sister taught me how to instant message someone on the internet? Without her assistance regarding which "send" button was the "send" button, my conversation with tiggergal92 would not have turned out very well. 

Fast forward into now-times, I've taken my boy under my wing and am teaching him how to bake. The first lesson was cherry pie, this time it was banana bread. Setting aside my pride and urge to say, "No, not that way" has allowed me to be reminded of how satisfying it actually is to make something, from scratch, all by yourself. It's reminded me why I love it.

I urge you to spread your skills, friends. It's the happiest.

This banana bread is delicious; not too sweet, allowing you to actually taste banana. Even with some healthier choices thrown in the mix (honey & yogurt), flavor is totally not sacrificed. The recipe makes two small 9x5 loaves but can be easily split to just produce one. You can also opt to make one bigger loaf and about six muffins.

(My Favorite) Banana Bread 
no refined sugar

1 cup softened unsalted butter
1/2 cup honey
4 eggs
3 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 cups mashed banana (about five, totally overripe nanners)
1 cup plain yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla
optional add-ins: toasted walnuts, toasted pecans, chocolate chips, toasted coconut

Prepare loaf or muffin pans. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside. In another bowl, combine mashed banana and yogurt. Mix in vanilla. Set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together butter and honey until light and fluffy, about three minutes. Add eggs to butter and sugar one at a time, combining well after each addition. Add dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Slowly add banana mixture. Mix in add-ins by hand. 

Pour batter into pans and bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour. A toothpick, inserted will should come out clean. Muffins will take about 22-25 minutes.

Can someone actually explain to me the science behind the fact that banana bread tastes better the next day? I'm content with accepting that it's just wizardry, but seriously. Why.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

lemon poppy seed biscotti.

The past few weeks have been filled with...things. Things pertaining to a new-found love for rock climbing, being denied surgery for plantar wart removal (Danie, why are you telling me this.), cherry pie for Dad Day, the ever-returning "what will I do with my life?!" discussion, breakfast, walking, talking, and A NEW PUPPY.

This little nugget's name is Duncan. I love him. He's fostered a love for small dogs that I never knew I had. I mean seriously, if that face doesn't make you want to cry, join the Peace Corps, throw up, and sing nonsense songs all at the same time, you're not a human.

Leaving this face makes me want cookies. All the time. Because I'm sad. 

Contrary to what you may believe, these biscotti are not puppies. But maybe they'll make you happy.

Lemon Poppy Seed Biscotti

6 Tbs butter
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 Tbs lemon zest
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
2 Tbs lemon juice
2 cups flour
1 Tbs poppy seeds

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Beat together butter, sugar, salt, baking powder, salt, and lemon zest until well combined. Add eggs and lemon juice and mix to combine. Mix in flour and poppy seeds.

With the dough, form a 13in x 3in log on a prepared cookie sheet. Bake for 25 minutes.

Remove from oven, reduce heat to 325 degrees, and let log cool for 15 minutes. Cut log into 1/2 pieces and place back onto the cookie sheet, right-side up.

Bake for 30 minutes. Biscotti will be drier and golden on the edges.


Thursday, May 30, 2013

honey chamomile cake.

The truth is, my mind has totally been freaking out lately. It all stems from the fact that I only have one semester left of college and, in my minorly self-deprecating opinion, no idea what I'm doing with my life. I've been trying to practice mindfulness, reminding myself that everything will work out, to focus on one day at a time, and I am indeed talented.

Don't get me wrong, I'm so supremely excited to see what the rest of my life will be like. For now, the eternal amount of possibilites whizzing through my brain sometimes seems to be too much. I wish they'd calm down and remember that what matters right now is right now.

My lovely love told me this week that "the future is just a bunch of tomorrows". He might of thought it was a little funny, I thought it was a lot wise. The thunderstorms in Minneapolis last night came at a good time as it seemed like a warm invitation to spend a night alone and release some negative energy. I threw on my new Laura Marling vinyl, and baked a cake.

This honey chamomile cake is really nice. A classic nighttime soother takes the form of a simple cake. I hope you'll use good quality honey; the flavor will really come through. I enjoyed my piece with some homemade jam. It was nice.

This a a wonderful day. I've never seen this one before. // Maya Angelou

Honey Chamomile Cake

1 cup good quality honey
1 egg
3 Tbs melted coconut oil (sub butter or canola oil)
1/2 milk, barely boiling
The contents of three chamomile tea bags
1/2 tsp vanilla

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare one eight inch cake pan.

Empty contents of tea bags into milk and let steep for ten minutes.

Place honey in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat on high for three minutes. Add egg, coconut oil, milk (with tea leaves), and vanilla and beat for one more minute.

Add flour, baking powder, and salt into mixer and beat until combined. 

Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 35 minutes or until a toothpick, inserted, comes out clean.

Let cool completely before slicing. (dust with powdered sugar, if desired)

Monday, May 20, 2013

blueberry cornmeal bread.

I made you bread because it's almost summer and I'm into it. My excitement relating to farmer's markets is unmanageable, I actually can't believe I've gotten one of my seedlings to sprout, and the amount of desire I have to wear shoes equals zero.

I also made you this bread because after a weekend of long car rides and flight delays, when I got home rom the airport at 11pm, all I wanted to do was bake. I realize no one does this but hope some people do.

Blueberry Cornmeal Bread (adapted from Joy the Baker)

Makes one standard loaf.

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour (or sub more AP flour)
1 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 C butter, melted
1/2 cup honey
1 1/4 C buttermilk
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1-1 1/2 C fresh or frozen blueberries. Or any other fruit, really.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and prepare one loaf pan.

Whisk together flours, sugar, baking powder, and salt.

In another bowl whisk together honey, butter, buttermilk, eggs, and vanilla.

Combine wet ingredients into dry, stirring until just combined.

Gently fold in blueberries.

Bake for 50-60 minutes or until a toothpick, inserted, comes out clean.

Friday, May 17, 2013

ampersands and amperSAM FELD.

My junior year of college is officially over and in about an hour, I'll make my way over to the airport so I can see my sister graduate. 

Time goes by pretty fast.

There's lots to be learned from this sister of mine. Lots concerning mindfulness, creativity, stress relief strategies, and taming curly hair. We share affinities for trashy television, cookies (surprise.), Degrassi, The Spice Girls, and socks. 


She's an incredible artist and human and sister &&&&&&&&&&&& she's got a permanent spot on my top five list of loveliest souls.

Oh, we're crafting?

I made you an ampersand ring. I hope you like saying "ampersand" as much as I do.
DIY Ampersand Ring

Materials: four inches of wire, one bead, and pliers.

Step One: Slip bead onto one end of the wire and make a loop around it using your pliers.

Step Two: Make another loop about 1/4 inch up from the bead. Maybe a tad more.

Step Three: If you're using round-nose pliers this is super simple. Wrap the wire around the base of the nose (Is this correct terminology. Do I care.).

Step Four: Grab something to mold your ring around. The easiest thing for me is a tube of chapstick. Hold the ampersand in place and wrap the wire around the chapstick.

Step Five: Trim if necessary and make a loop at the end of the wire to finish.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

five minute button earrings.

Spring is SERIOUSLY coming to Minneapolis. I'm having a hard time believing the forecast. Is there really a seven in front of that zero?! Seventy?! It makes me want to hug Minneapolis again. Because we've been bickering lately.

Spring means flowers means sun means no socks means I needed some new earrings today. 

None relevance.

I didn't have time for super glue to dry so today I present you with button earrings that require zero dry time and probably only five minutes. I might be the laziest.

Five Minute Button Earrings


two buttons with shanks that have fairly small holes
one head pin
pliers (or not)

1. Thread your head pin through the shank of the button and begin wrapping pin around the base of the shank.

 2. Using pliers (or fingers) bend end of eye pin up so as to form the post of the earring.

3. Grab yourself some earring backs and SHABAM. Super done-zo.

P.S. Recently bought the vsco cam app...and I'm like "yeah".

Sunday, April 7, 2013

vegan everything cookies.

We're making cookies today. What else is new. 

You know what is new? Spring time. Spring time hasn't really arrived yet here in the Twin Cities, but we're holding on pretty well. We're optimistic.

Who know who I recently realized is not optimistic? Our friendly meteorologists. How many times have you heard one tell you it's okay that it's going to snow more than once in the second week of April? NONE. TIMES. 

When I'm a meteorologist...I will take advantage of the power I have to make someone's day better by saying something good about the snow/rain mix on a 33 degree spring day. 

I'm not going to be a meteorologist. And that had nothing to do with what we're making today.

OKAY THESE COOKIES have everything except for chocolate in them. Sometimes you need that.

We start out by mixing our mix-ins together. Today we have rolled oats, coconut, dried cranberries, rice krispies, and some kind of nice, hearty flake cereal.

We get our usual suspects. Our dry ingredients.

 Our sometimes unusual vegan substitution wet ingredients. (My mom made that purple bowl for me. Thanks, mom.)

We form a nice ol' cookie dough and throw them in the oven.


Vegan Everything Cookies

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

1 flax egg
1/3 C canola oil
1/2 C brown sugar
1/2 C white sugar
1 tsp vanilla

1/2 C rice krispies
1/2 C flake cereal (or one whole cup of either)
1/2 C dried fruit
1/2 C coconut (shreds or flakes)
1/2 C old-fashioned oats

Preheat that oven of yours to 350 degrees and prepare one big cookie sheet.

In a medium sized bowl combine all mix-ins.

In large bowl sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

In a medium bowl whisk together sugars, flax egg, oil, and vanilla. (combine really well)

Pour wet ingredients into dry and stir to combine. If dough looks dry, add a splash of milk. Add mix-ins  and combine thoroughly.

Form balls of dough and place on cookie sheet. Flatten each ball slightly with the palm of your hand. Bake 10-12 minutes and let cool on cookie sheet for five minutes before moving to a wire rack.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

matzo toffee for real.

My most vivid memories of Passover are most likely a little different than most. At my house we always used the children's Haggadah which meant that a) our Seders lasted about twenty minutes b) there was a lot of "chanting" and "rapping" and noises involved ie: "let's rap about the seven plagues" and "let's all pretend like we're very tired after walking as long as the Jewish people did". So I've never actually been to a full-blown Seder dinner. Don't get me wrong, I'd totally enjoy every minute.

My love of Jewish culture comes from my mom's side of the family. Although the extent of my Jewish knowledge only reaches as far as knowing what's on a Seder plate, the prayer for lighting the candles on Hanukkah, and having the ability to throw around a few Yiddish phrases every now and then, my respect and love for the culture is more than abundant.

Which brings me to this recipe (PERFECT FOR PASSOVER. YES.). This is matzo toffee. The easiest "candy" you'll ever make and also probably one of the greatest things in the universe. After having to go to three grocery stores to find a box of matzo, I knew this just had to turn out in my favor. It did. Duh.

Let's do this.

We arrange matzo crackers on a cookie sheet, breaking some up to fill in all the spaces. We need to make good use of space, friends.

Butter is melted together with brown sugar, boils, and eventually thickens up to become the loveliest of caramel-like-substances.

Brown sugar butter heaven mixture gets a little vanilla extract mix-in and then is spread over dem matzo crackers.

After being in the oven for a short amount of time (NEVER SHORT ENOUGH), chocolate chips are dropped and scattered right on top. After they have time to melt, they get spread ALL. OVER. Matzo toffee love concoction is dressed up with anything your matzo-loving heart desires. I chose toasted almonds and coconut. 

Cool in the fridge. Break it up. Risk getting a stomach ache and eat all of it.

Matzo Toffee (hardly adapted from David Leibovitz)


1 cup butter or margarine or vegan butter
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
4-6 matzo crackers
1 cup chocolate chips 
optional: toppings (toasted nuts, coconut, spriiiiinkles)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Arrange matzo crackers on baking sheet, making sure to fill in any spaces with broken crackers.

Over medium heat, melt butter and sugar together. Let come to a boil and while still boiling, stir constantly for three minutes.

Remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract. Pour butter-sugar mixture over matzo and spread evenly using a rubber spatula.

Bake for 15 minutes.

Remove from oven, scatter chocolate chips on top, wait five minutes and spread melted chocolate evenly over crackers.

Top with toppings, if desired. Let cool in refrigerator for at least 45 minutes. Break up and EAT.