April 23, 2012

Grammar: feel free to use it.

You know those suuuper annoying grammar snobs? OMG I hate them! They are the worst! It's like it's their job, correcting you on your emails, ruining your Facebook posts with nonsense edits, just TRYING to make you look like a complete moron.
Ok yeah that’s me. But in my defense words are the only thing I’m good at, so I have to rub it in your face sometimes (all the time). Besides, you are probably good at something else, like math or science. No? Maybe you have a good personality.
Let’s have a little grammar lesson. Oh, you don’t want to? Well I’m sick of reading text messages that hardly make sense because of your consistent misuse of common words. And if you’re older than 8 years old, there is really no excuse for this behavior.
Men – you may not know this, but your cool points take a significant blow when you use the wrong form of ‘your’ or ‘there’. For me, you are practically out of the game if you repeatedly put ‘to’ instead of 'too'. 

Maybe we are sticklers, but it is not uncommon for the following convo to go down between my roommate and me:
“That hottie just texted me!”
“What did he say?! He is fiiiiine.”
“Ohhhh…he used the wrong ‘your’. Damn.”
“He wasn’t that cool anyway.”

Lucky for you, this shit isn't that hard.
YOUR: This is the possessive form of "you". "Does this child belong to you? It’s your child. No really, I think this is your kid."
YOU’RE: Do you see that little apostrophe? That means this word is a contraction. A combination of "you" and "are". You are. So when writing me an email, it will say, “You’re really cool, Maddie. Probably the coolest girl I've ever met."

THERE: There refers to a place or idea. "Ryan Gosling is over there. JK no he's not. Because he's actually in my bed."
THEIR: This indicates possession. "It's their turn to mow the lawn. Just like every other time because I don't do that."
THEY’RE: Ok, peeps, see that apostrophe again? Another contraction! A combo of “they” and “are”. "They’re at the store buying Four Loko. Which means they're either really poor or really awesome."

TO: Do you really not know the difference between "to" and "too"?
TOO: No seriously, I don’t even feel like telling you because that is absurd.

Here's an idea: let’s not exchange any form of written communication and eat these instead.

Chocolate chip peanut butter cookies with Reese's chunks on top. Because regular peanut butter cookies aren't unhealthy enough.

Reese's Peanut Butter Cookies
Real Mom Kitchen

3/4 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup peanut butter
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 cup milk chocolate chips
1 bag mini Reese's peanut butter cups, each cut into 4 pieces

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cream together butter, the sugars, and peanut butter. Once well combined, add eggs and vanilla. Slowly add flour, salt, and baking soda. Fold in chocolate chips. Scoop round balls onto cookie sheet. Slightly flatten the cookie. You still want them thick, just making a base for the peanut butter cups later. Bake for 10 minutes.

Remove and allow to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes. During this time, press 4 peanut butter cup pieces into each cookie. Move cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.

April 18, 2012

B is for Baby. and Bribery

^ Two things that, in my opinion, go hand in hand.

I get weirdly excited when I get the opportunity to watch other people's children. Throw a baby in the mix and it's comparable to Christmas morning. But I would be lying if I said it wasn't hard work. I would also be lying if I said I was always a good role model.

"No, I said tucking, silly."
"Ok please don't repeat that to your mother. No seriously."
"Want a cookie...?"

A while back I watched a couple of hellions angels for a weekend, and by the time Sunday rolled around I felt like I had been hit by a train. Or spent the weekend at the Gorge. How do real moms do it? Kids are tiring. It probably didn't help that I stayed up until the wee hours playing video games with them. Can you blame me though? They had an obscene amount of gaming systems, including Nintendo 64 which might be the greatest creation ever known to mankind.

Side note, since when did kids become so bossy? The following morning this conversation went down:

Child: Babysitter, I want waffles for breakfast. (yes, he really called me "babysitter" instead of "Maddie." I didn't make him call me by my name though because how hilarious is that?)
Me: I actually don't really want to make waffles. Let's eat cereal instead. OMG you guys have Cinnamon Toast Crunch.
Child: But you're the babysitter, so you have to make what I want to eat. That's your job.
Me: Damn, you have a point. But dude, Cinnamon Toast Crunch is seriously what's up. And I'm tired from all that dominating I did in Mario Kart.
Child: No, I want waffles.
Me. Ok fine. Wait...I don't even know how to make waffles.
Child: Google it.

I find no matter the babysitting situation, you must come prepared. These cookies are vital for the overall success of the experience, because they are delicious and gigantic and kids get SUPER excited about the m&ms. They will probably pick out the m&ms before touching the rest of the cookie, a trait I personally find annoying. But to each his own.

When things start to get out of control, and you sense a meltdown on the horizon, just whip out one of these bad boys. It's foolproof. Parents also really appreciate coming home to cracked out little people due to the massive sugar overdose. Sike.

Giant M&M Cookies
How Sweet It Is
Makes 18 large cookies

2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons) of salted butter, melted and cooled
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg plus 1 egg yolk, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups m&ms

Preheat oven to 325F

Mix the flour and baking soda in a bowl and set aside. In another bowl, mix the butter and sugars until they are combined. Add the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla and stir until mixed. Gradually add flour and mix until a dough forms - it will look crumbly at first, but it will come together. Fold in the m&m's.

Shape dough into balls (roughly the size of large golf balls), and then pull each ball into two equal pieces with your hands. Turn each half so that the rough side of the half (what used to be the inside of the ball) faces upwards and then squish both halves together. Place the dough rough-side up on the baking sheet. Weird, I know. But it's the secret and it works.

Bake for 11-14 minutes or until edges are slightly brown. The centers should be soft and puffy. Do no over bake. Let cool completely.

April 14, 2012


Is anyone tired of hearing about my roommate yet? That's unfortunate, because I'm going to continue to talk about her. Mostly because I don't have many other friends, and she gives me good material. But I'm pretty sure she is one of four people who read this blog (hi mom!), and she loves talking about herself, so this works out well.

It's amazing how much you learn about someone while living with them. More so than you would ever imagine. If there's anything I've learned in the glorious 12 months we've resided together, it's that this lady is by far the most interesting person I have ever met. And I will even go so far as to say she is the most interesting person I will EVER meet, which is a bold statement for someone of twenty five. Thus far, I've observed the following:

1. She has an undeniable, irrefutable adversity to cleaning. It's impressive. I've never seen anything like it, even when I lived with three dudes. I marvel at her ability to leave a trail of clothes and belongings everywhere she goes, and to do so without the slightest idea. Her capacity to cook a meal, use every pan in the kitchen, and leave dishes and a multitude of sauces littering the living room without giving the slightest fuck is astonishing and spectacular all at the same time. If I possessed just one-tenth of her negligence I would probably be a cooler person.

2. If she's taught me anything, it's that any word is better with "ski" added to the end. I'm not just talking the traditional "brewski". You can literally add "ski" to anything. Jobski, barski, shoeski. "I'm not sure where the restaurant is, check Googski." "What are you wearing tonight, your tankski?"

3. I never have to worry about her eating my food. In her world, the food pyramid is solely made up of Nutella, Honey Bunches of Oats, and Phad Thai.

4. She is apparently immune to any and all foodborne illnesses. She will often leave mayonnaise, meat, and eggs sitting on the counter for extended periods of time before eating it. During summer. When I first saw this I freaked out, informing her of her impending death due to hazardous pathogens, but she simply responded with, "No, it's chill! I did this ALL the time in college." Can't argue with that.

5. I thought I had an issue with losing items and generally leaving things where they don't belong (apparently my debit card is supposed to be in my wallet, not at the bar) until I lived with her. I have never heard the phrase "where are my keys?" as many times in my entire life than I have in the past year. In fact, I think we should create an acronym out of it so we can get a couple years back. From now on, I demand "WIMP" be used instead of wasting time with "Where is my purse?" I pray nightly that her husband was born with an overwhelming sense of patience. I also pray he is hot, because that means he has hot friends.

6. Unknowingly, she is prepping me for motherhood. When it's particularly quiet in the house, I know she has either gotten into the cookie dough or is doing some heavy creeping on Facebook. When my future children are quiet, busy taking Sharpies to my couch or crayons to the wall, I will be on them like lightning.

Like my roommate, these chocolate chip cookies are quirky (ahhh...see how I'm tying this all togeth??) For one, they require two types of flour. Annoying? Yes. But Snooki is also annoying and that doesn't mean you just turn your back on her like she is yesterday's news (even though she is). The recipe requires that you also mix the butter and sugars for a full five minutes, and each egg has to be added and mixed individually for whatever reason. It's also strongly recommended you refrigerate the dough for 24-36 hours before baking, which is a nearly impossible task as you can imagine. But you must exercise restraint because 1) Salmonella is probably not a pleasurable experience and 2) they are worth it.

This is the famous New York Times chocolate chip cookies recipe, and since we neither live in New York nor have any idea what newspapers and cookies have to do with one another, can't you see why it's absolutely vital you make these immediately? Just go with it.

The New York Times Chocolate Chip Cookies
Makes 18 large cookies

2 cups minus 2 tablespoons cake flour
1 2/3 cups bread flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
2 1/2 sticks (1 1/4 cups) unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups packed light brown sugar
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/4 pounds bittersweet chocolate chips

1. Sift flours, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into a bowl. Set aside.
2. Using a mixer with a paddle attachment, cream butters and sugars together until very light, about 5 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Stir in vanilla.
3. Reduce speed to low, add dry ingredients and mix until combined, 5 to 10 seconds. Mix in chocolate chips.
4. Press plastic wrap against dough and refrigerate for 24 to 36 hours. Dough may be used in batches, and can be refrigerated for up to 72 hours.
5. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat. Set aside.
6. Scoop 6 mounds of dough (the size of generous golf balls) onto baking sheet. HUGE, I know.
7. Bake until light golden brown, 17-19 minutes. Transfer sheet to a wire rack for 10 minutes, then slip cookies onto another rack to cool a but more.

April 8, 2012

Old adolescent or baby adult?

I'm not sure when it happened.

I think somewhere between growing a kick-ass sticker collection and making my own dentist appointments, but I recently realized I'm getting old. Not old as in i'm so mature, I no longer find Jersey Shore amusing, but quite the opposite. My age keeps increasing, but my level of sophistication isn't exactly advancing at a rapid pace. The greatest stress in my life stems from a DVR that is at 100% or getting too behind on Words with Friends. Famous athletes and people on The Real World are younger than me, and this really trips me out.

Sometimes at work I feel like I'm faking it, playing pretend. "Hey guys! Look at me giving a presentation in heels!" That's when I realize, no...I really am giving a presentation in heels. Because this is my job.

25 is a weird age. I see it as a toss up as to whether or not you're a true adult or still an immature asshole. Take Friday nights for example. Some of my friends are juggling babies, second jobs, and more babies. I'm usually juggling a glass of wine while I try on a million different outfits as my roommate and I analyze the deeper meaning of a completely insignificant text message.

All this has led me to do some serious thinking lately. Don't even try to tell me these aren't important life questions:
-How many more years will I be able to camp at the Gorge, drinking PBR and wearing cutoff shorts, before it's creepy?
-My parent's bed is always made. At what point will I have to start making my bed every day?
-Is going to Chelan for Memorial Day still acceptable? (I think I already know the answer to this one. And it's a big fat no)
-All day hangovers: a normal occurrence or a sign of impending alcoholism? All day hangovers that revolve around a Kardashian's marathon: really pathetic or really awesome?
-How long will I be able to shop at Forever 21? Because if the name gives any indication, I am four years overdue. Side note, my sweet grandma refers to Forever 21 as "the store for hookers." she has a point...
-At what point do I need to start learning how to cook? Let me rephrase that. When do I have to stop passing off top ramen and Nutella as an acceptable meal?

If you're older than 30, you are likely rolling your eyes. So young and naive, fretting about the future while in her mid-20s. But if you're older than 30, what in the actual fuck are you doing spending your time on my blog? Go do adult shit for god sake. Don't you need to like, review your stock options or send a fax or something? Or talk on your landline? SLOL (seriously laughing out loud).

These oatmeal cookies are better than your average oatmeal cookie. The recipe uses brown butter, which in my opinion really adds a great depth of flavor. Do I sound like I know what I'm talking about? Do I sound...wise, perhaps? They are really good, and obviously come out chewy and fluffy. chuffy.

Besides, adults eat oatmeal, right?

Brown Butter Oatmeal Cookies
How Sweet it Is
Makes 18 cookies

1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup loosely packed brown sugar
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup rolled oats
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 cup chocolate chips

Heat a small saucepan over medium-low heat and add butter. Whisking constantly, cook butter until bubbly and small brown bits appear on the bottom of the pan, about 5-6 minutes. Watch closely and immediately remove the butter from the heat, whisking for an additional 30 seconds or so. Set aside and let cool COMPLETELY. It doesn't need to solidify, but it should not be warm to the touch.

In a bowl, combine flour, salt, baking powder, oats, and cinnamon. Set aside.

Once the butter has cooled, add to a large bowl. Whisk in sugar, stirring until smooth. Add in the egg and vanilla, whisking until smooth again. Slowly begin to stir in the dry ingredients, using your hands if necessary to bring dough together. Fold in chocolate chips. Refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 375F. Form dough into 1 1/2 inch balls. Place about 2 inches apart on a nonstick baking sheet and bake for 10-11 minutes, or until bottoms are just barely golden. Let cool before serving.

April 1, 2012

How to murder a perfectly good weekend in 5 easy steps.

1. Forget your ID at home. Take a cab to the bar, only to realize you can't get in, because you look like you're 12. This is when you flag down the cab you just got dropped off in, go home, and try again. In case anyone is curious how much a mistake like this will cost you, it is $30.

2. Stay up until 5:30am, which only ever seems like a good idea at the time. Apparently this is a prime time to put Justin Bieber's new song on repeat and watch TLC's Mystery Diagnosis.

3. Get peer pressured into going to Peso's after a three hours of quality (sarcasm) sleep. Why yes, I would love loud techno music to accompany my eggs benedict and unbearable headache.

4. Sit on the couch. Don't ever get off the couch. Sit on the couch so long you start to question essentially every aspect of your lifestyle.

5. And since we are already here, how about we watch 48 Hours now? There's nothing like a two-hour special documenting how a man brutally killed his wife to really lighten the mood.

In desperate times such as these, there is really only one cure. And no, it's not more cowbell (although that works sometimes too). It's my mom's snickerdoodles.

I'm pretty sure these cookies are the main reason my previous roommates were sad to see me go when I moved out. But they were dudes, so that makes sense. They probably also really miss regular viewings of The Bachelor and Say Yes to the Dress...siiiiiike.

The Best Ever Snickerdoodles. Period.

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup Crisco (butter flavor)
1 1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs (room temperature)
2 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 tsp. cream of tartar
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup sugar (for rolling)
4 tsp. cinnamon

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

1. Mix sugar and butter until smooth. Scrape down sides of bowl.

2. Add eggs, one at a time, scraping bowl after each addition.

3. Mix together flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and, salt. Add to butter mixture and mix well. Refrigerate for at least an hour.

4. Mix together ¼ cup sugar and cinnamon.

5. Form dough into 1-inch balls and roll in sugar mixture. Place on parchment lined baking sheet and cook 7-8 minutes until cookie edges are barely golden. Cool 2 minutes on sheet before removing to rack.