joyeux cuisine

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

happy halloween!

So today is Halloween. In my family that never really meant very much because we never went Trick-or-Treating or dressed up for anything cool. But that’s okay. My family is pretty conservative so Halloween was never ‘celebrated’. Oh well, I survived. Sure we went to church for the ‘Harvest Festival’ (honestly…I’m still not sure what that means), but it wasn’t the Halloween that everyone else knew.

Here’s the thing: I like Halloween. I mean, I hate scary horror movies and couldn’t even watch Psycho all the way through because it scared the crap outta me. But I think Halloween is fun. You can make it fun without doing weird crazy stuff like dressing super crazy or ‘evil’. I do hate the fact that girls think it’s an excuse to look scantily clad and be okay with it. That’s a little weird. And crazy. (Seriously: don’t do that.)

There are so many great things about fall. Halloween just comes with the territory. Fall is all about scarves, apple cider, candy corn, corn mazes, boots, mittens, baking, soup for dinner, and so many other things. Use this year to do something for other people. Bless them with your talents and gifts that you’ve been given. Make today a great day for someone else.

Speaking of fall; check out these sweet outfits.

Happy Halloween! :)

(P.S. I’m totally making Snickerdoodles tonight.)

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oatmeal chocolate chip cookies

An update:
I’m doing better. I read a whole book yesterday. I’m rediscovering my love for knitting. I’m starting to like playing and practicing oboe again. I looked at grad schools again. I’m making progress.

I also made cookies. It helped…a lot. My roommates and I are still eating them. Normal.

It seems like cookies are either amazingly delicious or not. At least that’s how it goes for me. Let’s talk about the basics of cookies. Sometimes you just need to take it back there.

Butter: Softened. Not melting or rock hard. This can be a relative term because sometimes you never know. I usually let my butter sit out for about 45 minutes to an hour. It should sink in a little bit when you push on it, but not melty. That’s no good. You can put butter in the microwave for about 10 seconds to soften it, but I usually only use this as a last resort.
Unsalted. You never know the amount of salt that companies use in salted butter. This can effect the way your cookies taste. It’s better for you to control the salt in your cookies.

Sugar: Brown or white/granulated? Brown sugar gives cookies a lot of flavor. It also keeps the cookie a lot more moist because of the molasses in the sugar. White sugar is also great it cookies but creates a lot flatter, more crisp cookie. I like to do half brown-half white sugar, but even doing more of the brown sugar is totally okay in my book.

Vanilla: Pure vanilla extract. Use it. Love it. I grew up using Mexican vanilla because that’s what my mom always got, but it’s totally preference. Be you. Some recipes say to add vanilla near the end of the mixing process but at that point it’s harder to mix in to everything. Solution? Add the vanilla to the creamed butter and sugar. This allows it to permeate that part of the dough and you get lots of vanilla flavor. Amazing.

After you get the basics down all you do is dump and mix. Well…that’s basically it.

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Make some cookies. Eat too much candy corn. Read The Bridge by Karen Kingsbury. Remember to smile.

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

adapted slightly from Betty Crocker

3/4 cup brown sugar, packed

3/4 cup white sugar

1 cup unsalted butter, softened

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 egg

2 cups old fashioned oats

1 and 1/2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup chocolate chips (I use milk chocolate)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper and set aside. In a large bowl cream butter and sugars until fluffy. Add the vanilla and the egg and mix until well combined. Stir in all the dry ingredients and mix well. Spoon onto the prepared cookie sheets. Bake for 8-9 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on the cookie sheet for about 2 minutes and then move them to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Store in an airtight container or on the cooling rack for easy access.

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as I stand.

I’ve been absent for a little while. It’s been kind of a rough few weeks…scratch that. Rough semester. It’s my senior year and it seems like everything good that I expected to happen is going the exact opposite of how I planned and expected it to. A lot of these things I’ve come to deal with and move on from, but I had the final blow last week and it just left me feeling dejected and like I don’t really have a purpose anymore. It feels like all I do is homework and practice. I mean, that’s how it should be, but I feel like I’m not making progress. Like I’m just stuck.

This started before the school year even began. I figured I had a pretty good shot at making center podium drum major (we conduct the marching band and center is essentially the most important). The four of us auditioned for it with all the section leaders and they picked which one of us it would be. My friend Stephanie got it, which was really exciting for her. She hasn’t conducted before and to be honest I was surprised. After a short mourning period I decided that it would be okay for me to be on the side and help Stephanie out from where I was. All good. No hard feelings.

A few weeks after that we did ensemble auditions for our music department. Naturally I auditioned for orchestra and mostly expected things to be like they were last year; playing first part because the other oboe player mostly plays English Horn. However, this was not the case. And needless to say she and I aren’t the best of friends and this only made it worse because she kind of rubbed it in my face. It hurt. A lot. I challenged her and lost to her (which she also rubbed in my face a little) and that hurt even more. I lost a lot of desire for practicing after that. But after a few weeks I’ve decided the only thing I can do is kick butt at my recital and audition for the concerto competition and kick butt at that too.

All these things built up in me until last week when I totally stepped out of my comfort zone and got shot down. Not literally, but basically that’s what happened. I auditioned for our school’s show choir after two of my friends urged me to. Keep in mind, I don’t sing (in front of people) and I don’t dance. But I did it. And apparently it was pretty good. One of my friends, who was also the director, said it was pretty amazing. But when the email when out to those who made it, I was not one of them. It hurt. But really only because everything I’ve tried I’ve failed at. I lost it that day. I cried on my friend Zach for about 5 minutes. And then I cried on my roommate for about 20 minutes. Thank God for friends.

I trust that God is using these things for something. I can’t figure out what or why. I need prayer. And hugs. And ice cream. I’m trying to keep my head up. I keep thinking that this year can’t get any worse. Hopefully that’s true.

Sorry this is long. And ramble-y. Thank you for listening. Or reading? I’ll bake soon.

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