joyeux cuisine

a blog about good food, family, friends, and life.

(not your usual) monster cookies.

Some thoughts about my first day of senior year:
Being on stage for the entirety of the first chapel of the year is cool….wait, Dr. B is making seniors stand up? Alright then…
Why the heck did I wait so long to take General Biology?!
Flat major three? Sus-4? These aren’t real things…right?
I need to go practice.
Where did all these freshmen come from?
I need to eat a bunch of cookies right now.

As you can see by the above statements and questions I am a crazy person. But that’s okay. Cookies usually make these thoughts better.

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I have some very fond memories of monster cookies from my childhood. My dad is a band director and every year at the end of marching season my mom would make cookies for the whole band. She has a recipe for about 100 cookies and mixes everything in this plastic tub because it can’t fit in a mixer. One year, a really long time ago, one guy did the chicken dance for one of their marching shows so my mom made him the biggest cookie. It was almost the size of one of those cookie pizzas, and he got the entire thing all to himself! So lucky.

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I didn’t use my mom’s recipe for this (mostly because it was going to require math and I don’t do math past 8:00 at night) but I found one online that is super delicious. And there is no flour in it! Crazy!

One thing I did differently: use peanut butter M&Ms. Guys. Seriously. This is UH-mazing. My friend Bethany and I discovered this one day because peanut butter M&Ms were on sale so we got a bag of those and made monster cookies. So dang good.

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So make some cookies. Enjoy your day. Try and be nice to people.

Monster Cookies

adapted from Recipe Girl

makes about 4 and 1/2 dozen cookies

1 and 1/2 cups creamy peanut butter

1 cup brown sugar, packed

1 cup white sugar

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

3 large eggs

1 Tablespoon vanilla extract

2 teaspoons baking soda

4 and 1/2 cups quick cooking oats

1/2 to 1 cup milk chocolate chips

1 cup (give or take a handful) peanut butter M&Ms

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper. In a large bowl cream together peanut butter, butter, and sugars with an electric mixer until smooth and creamy. Add eggs one at a time beating well between each addition. Add the vanilla and beat again. Mix in the baking soda. With a spatula mix in the oats until evenly distributed. Fold in the chocolate chips and M&Ms. Use a large cookie scoop to heap onto the cookie sheets. Bake for about 9-11 minutes or until the edges are barely golden brown. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack. Store in an airtight container.

These cookies will last 3-4 days stored at room temperature.

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the first last.

So I’ve been missing for awhile. It was completely unintentional. I promise. Remember 2 weeks ago when I made a list of all the things that were happening? After that my life got crazy. Everyday for 10 days (with one day off) I woke up, went to that marching field at 7:30am, stayed there for three and a half hours, ate a crappy lunch, practiced for 3 more hours inside, ate an equally crappy dinner, and then was back on the field for 3 more hours of practice.

And the day still wasn’t over after that. I am the Vice President of Band Council (which sounds a lot cooler than it actually is) which means that I planned all the activities for after practice each night. So I haven’t gotten back to my apartment until around 11:00 at night for the last few weeks. (I’m the type of person that likes to be asleep super early…it’s been hard.)

The weird thing about this year is that this is my last band camp. To me that is unfathomable. I’ve been going to band camp for eight years. And even longer than that because my dad is a band director and I would sometimes go with him. After this morning, I’m done with band camp. It’s been a good run.

My low brass kiddos. :)

This is going to be a year of lasts. I’m pretty glad to be starting with my favorite last.

(That was a lot of words and no food. I promise someday I will have to time make and bake again. Just wait until you see my tiny, tiny oven…so good.)

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today I…

Today I have done these things:
Drove back from DCI World Championships with 21 pretty cool people
Stayed up until 4 in the morning baking 15 dozen cookies
Watched an entire movie
Woke up at 7:30 and showered
Made and baked gluten free cookies
Wrote this for you

Today I will do these things:
Say goodbye to one of my best friends moving far far away
Skip church (sorry Jesus…)
Bake more cookies
Meet about 100 new people that I will spend the next 2 weeks with
Lose my voice
Remember to smile
Buy 6 gallon + one pint things of vanilla ice cream
Help cook hot dogs and hamburgers for almost 200 people
Talk in front of a large group of people
Make 200 root beer floats
Sleep

This means that band camp has officially started.

Let’s hope this doesn’t happen again…sleet and snow and freezing cold. We’ve still got a couple months before that though.

Pray for me.

I’ll be here as much as possible. I’ll bake you something. Hopefully.

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chocolate chip cookie dough balls.

This post should be entitled: “it’s ten o’clock at night and joy was really craving cookie dough but won’t let herself eat what is already in the freezer.” That might have been a little bit too long though. There are four different kinds of cookie dough in my freezer right now totaling about twenty-five dozen cookies. And I have a boxed mix of gluten free cookies in my pantry. That’s going to be about thirty dozen cookies. Lord, help us all.

All those cookies are for band camp. Band camp starts on Sunday. Well…technically for me it starts on Friday. That’s tomorrow. I’m so not ready for that. That means my summer is over. This was my last summer before I’m a college senior. The last summer before real life starts.

Okay…enough of that scary nonsense. Let’s talk about cookie dough. That’s much more comfortable. This cookie dough is egg-less. You know what that means right? You can eat this and not feel bad about it!! That’s my favorite thing! Everything is pretty much the same as normal cookie dough except there isn’t any baking powder because it won’t be baked. The water replaces the egg and helps hold everything together. I made a fairly small batch only because if I keep a lot of cookie dough around I will eat it all. Danger. You can adjust the recipe according to your needs and how much cookie dough it’s safe for you to have around.

Make some cookie dough. Hang out with friends. Share the cookie dough. Stop freaking out. Be thankful.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Balls

makes about a dozen balls

1/4 cup butter, softened

1/4 cup plus 2 Tablespoons brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1 teaspoon water

1/2 cup flour

1/4 mini semisweet chocolate chips

milk chocolate chips for melting and drizzling

In a bowl with a wooden spoon cream (or stir together) the butter and brown sugar until well combined. Add vanilla, water, and flour. Mix very well. Stir in the chocolate chips. Use a cookie scoop and scoop dough onto a plate lined with wax paper. Chill in the fridge for 20-30 minutes until dough firms up. While balls are cooling melt about a handful of milk chocolate chips in the microwave in 20 second intervals until completely melted. Drizzle or dollop chocolate onto cookie dough balls. Return to fridge and chill for another 10-15 minutes. Serve cold.

These should last in the fridge in an airtight container for 2-3 days (but they really won’t last that long).

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vegan mango banana bread.

I’ve been wanting to make something vegan for a long time. Not because I am vegan (I love meat and eggs way too much for that) but because one of my professors is allergic to dairy and eggs and so is his family. He makes jokes all the time about people not making him dairy and egg free things and I always tell him that I’ll make him and his family something. He directs the orchestra at my college and I was late everyday last semester. In my defense, I had to work until orchestra started. At least I had a good reason and wasn’t involved in any shenanigans of any kind. Something always came up when I was leaving that I had to help with, so it just happened that way.

Anyway…I totally forgot where that was going…

Mango! I haven’t worked with mangoes. Ever. I’m doing two new things right now. Wait. No. Three new things. I’ve never made banana bread either. That’s pretty intense for me. This recipe is from Joy the Baker. Shocking, I know. Someday I’ll learn to make my own recipes. Until then I’ll just share awesome ones with you.

I got really worried when making this because the batter was really thick. I’m used to cookie dough and cake batter. This was way different. But after baking and growing a little bit it turned out really well. I’m pretty proud of it and I’m really glad to share it with great people.

Make some banana bread, have some friends over, and watch a movie about young love. And maybe cry a little at the end. It’s totally acceptable.

P.S. Is the only way you remember how to spell bananas because of that really inappropriate Gwen Stefani song? Yeah, I figured that was just me.

Vegan Mango Banana Bread

from Joy the Baker

makes one 9×5 loaf pan

3 medium bananas

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1/2 cup brown sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 fresh mango, sliced into chunks

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease and flour a 9×5 loaf pan. In a large bowl mash the bananas. Add the sugar, oil, and vanilla and whisk until combined. Sift in the flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Stir everything until the wet and dry ingredients are incorporated. Fold in the mango chunks. The batter will be pretty thick. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Sprinkle with granulated sugar if you would like to. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until a knife interested into the top comes out clean. Cool in the pan for about 20 minutes and then remove the bread from the pan and cool completely on a cooling rack. Serve at room temperature. If gifting, wrap the cooled bread in plastic wrap and tie with a ribbon or string.

The bread will last well wrapped for up to five days.

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crèpes à la français.

One of my favorite things that has happened in my life was the summer after my senior year when I got to spend two weeks in France. It was amazing. I took four years of French in high school and our French club took a trip every two years. I was so excited when my parents said I could go. Those two weeks were the best two weeks of my life up to that point. I had had kind of a rough end to my senior year (read: really tough break up and lots of stress), but that trip made all of that go away for awhile.

This is one of my favorite pictures that I took. We spend out last 3 days in France in Paris. Notre Dame was just one of the many sights we visited. We spent our first few days in Normandy and visited the World War II museum and the American Cemetery. Then we went through the Loire valley and visited some castles. We went to southern France and went to the beach for a day and then traveled up through Dijon to Versailles. Then Paris. I loved Paris. I’ll make it back someday. I miss the sunsets.

Anyway…all that to say: CREPES! Every year in French class we would have crepe day on or around Fat Tuesday. My teacher was from France so she knew how to make crepes. She was the best and crepe day was the best day of class. In France you can get crepes anywhere. It was the best. We probably had crepes once a day. They take a little bit of work, but those guys make it look super easy.

This is how my stove looks while making crepes. (oh, hey tea pot!) Batter, butter, crepe pan. All essentials. Well, not necessarily a crepe pan, but a large skillet.

Crepes are meant to be really thin. When you put the batter in the pan you HAVE to swirl it around the bottom right away. The pan needs to be pretty warm to keep the batter on the pan. It isn’t as difficult as it sounds. I promise.

This is what a perfect crepe looks like. I’m not gonna lie….I had to throw one away. I was a little bit out of practice. Don’t worry. I have it down again…you were worried. I can tell.

Toppings. Also a very important part of crepe making. I prefer Nutella (shocking!) and whipped cream. “Une crepe avec Nutella, sil vous plait” was a very common phrase during the trip. But you can top crepes with anything you want; even just granulated sugar. Chocolate chips are good and white chocolate chips are better. Make them your own. (that seems to be a common theme this week.)

These are awesome. Make some crepes. Watch a ‘Say Yes to the Dress’ marathon. Smile. Figure out what to wear to a parade wedding (more on that later).

P.S. I totally caught that fly.

Crèpes à la français

makes between 12-15 crepes

1 and 1/2 cups flour

1 Tablespoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 eggs

2 cups milk

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

2 Tablespoons oil

butter for the pan

toppings

In a large bowl combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. In a different bowl whisk together eggs, milk, and vanilla. Add the milk mixture to the flour mixture and whisk. There will be some lumps but that’s okay. Whisk in the oil. Heat a skillet or crepe pan over medium heat. Melt about a teaspoon of butter in the pan. When the pan is hot ladle enough batter into the pan to just cover the bottom and swirl around right away to cover the entire pan. Cook until the top is set and the bottom is golden brown. Flip and cook until the other side is golden brown. Remove from pan and top with desired toppings. Either roll or fold and serve warm.

You can keep batter in the fridge in an airtight container. Just stir before you’re going to make the crepes and use it within two days.

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easy mac n’cheese.

Need a quick lunch idea? This is mine. My mom has been making it forever and it’s probably way better for you than mac n’cheese out of a box. Although I am a sucker for boxed mac n’cheese. I’ll be honest.

This has been my go to lunch for the summer. It’s pretty cheap (great for college kids) and pretty delicious (great for everyone). All you need is noodles, some block American cheese (like Velveeta), some milk, and butter. That’s all. Kids love this. At least my brothers and I did when we were kids. That’s gotta mean something right?

This doesn’t even need an oven. It’s wonderful. You can add anything you want to this. I don’t even measure the normal stuff. My mom adds some frozen vegetables. I just eat mine plain. It’s how you want. Make it your own. Just like life. (Yeah, I totally connected life to macaroni and cheese. That happened.)

Easy Mac n’ Cheese

makes 1 serving, adapt amounts to suit needs

3/4 cup uncooked noodles (I like elbow or rotini)

splash of milk

butter

Velveeta

shredded colby jack cheese

Cook the noodles according to the package directions. Drain and return to pan. Add enough milk to cover the bottom of the pan. Add about a spoonful of butter. Add however much Velveeta you want to get your desired cheese amount. Allow everything to melt in the pan while stirring. When everything is melted together pour into a bowl and top with some shredded cheese. Enjoy while hot and maybe with some chicken nuggets.

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one of those days.

You know those days when you just don’t want to do anything? I’ve been having one of those days for the last few days. Example: I ate cookies for dinner last night. It wasn’t pretty. I’m slightly ashamed. Not because I ate cookies for dinner but because it was store bought cookie dough. It happened.

I want to bake but I don’t know what. I’ve scoured Pinterest and different blogs and a really crappy cookbook that I have to no avail. I think I’ll make you crepes tomorrow. They are great. I think instead of sharing a recipe I’ll share a little bit more about myself. Is that cool? Cool. There’ll be pictures. If that makes a difference.

This picture was taken by my lovely friend Morgan. I had this idea to give my mom a photo album of pretty nice pictures of my brothers and I for Christmas. She cried. It was great. My brothers are pretty great. They like to eat food and I like to make it. Ian (right) is two years older than me but only one grade level ahead. Paul (left) is one year younger but two grade levels behind. We all get along…for the most part.

This picture is kind of old, but I love it. That’s my cat Coda. We got her on my 17th birthday and she’s been my sidekick since then. In that picture I’m pretty sure she’s sitting on Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis. She’s pretty scholarly. But unfortunately she stays at home while I’m at school. During my senior year of high school she would sit outside my bedroom door and meow in the mornings. Like my own personal alarm clock! There are days when I really miss her. I think I have enough pictures on my phone to keep me sane though.

I got this in the mail today. I am ridiculously excited. I haven’t played anything from the 20th century period of music yet. Well, okay Strauss isn’t totally modern, but he counts. He’s more modern than Mozart, Handel, and Marcello so I’m okay with it. (To hear more about my musical endeavors check out the page up at the top “Now Playing.”)

Yesterday my roommate moved up to Chicago. We caravaned three cars up there with all her stuff and helped her move in. It was pretty fun. I decided that I am much too laid back to compete with all those crazy Chicago drivers. Which is saying something because usually I’m not laid back..but I was wearing sweatpants so that probably had something to do with it. Anyway, now I’m down a roommate while my other two are off singing and playing lovely music for Jesus somewhere in the surrounding states. And I’m fighting a losing battle to a fly in my apartment most likely due to the use of a slotted spoon as a flyswatter. This is what happens when I don’t bake. Bad news, friends.

I’ll bake something tomorrow. I gotta go catch a fly.

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