Monday, September 3, 2012

Cookie Project: Pistachio + Dark Chocolate Salted Cookies

Well, things are going ok here. Summer is winding down and I feel like very little I wanted got done actually got done. Our remodel has not made any progress for almost three weeks which is super frustrating. I hate the state of our house right now. I feel like I have to put off my decorating, organizing  not to mention cleaning plans for the house. I love our new wood floor but can't really enjoy it since the house is torn apart and progress is at a standstill. 

Will is hurt pretty badly and can't run while my running is finally feeling better again and I'm slightly motivated for my next marathon. I am attempting to stick to a plan and feeling mostly ok about it. I ran a 5k this past Saturday that left me frustrated with myself. I did not run well and can't explain why. I had a great 15 mile long run yesterday and a fun bike ride, so I'm feeling moderately good about my running. When other things aren't working well I tend to rely on my running to give me a sense of self confidence so when my running isn't going great I feel very low. We're hoping to get Will's bike this week so he can start riding with me and get some cardio and exercise since he cannot run. 

I LOVE cookies and baking continues to make me happy and I have began to realize that finding happiness isn't about some magical bolt of lighting coming out of the sky and making me happy, it's about doing little things that make me happy and make me who I am. Cooking, baking and photographing are those little things and it's important to make time for that.

Spending time with Will makes life so much better. I love him so much. He helped me shell all these pistachios for these cookies and he makes me feel better about myself when I'm sad or things don't go well (like my race). As I write this he is doing the laundry. I am a very lucky girl :)

These cookies turned out great and tasted awesome, although I do feel like I overcooked them a little bit and so they were pretty crunchy. I got worried that they were undercooked so I left them in the oven for an extra couple minutes and it was a bit too much. The pistachio was the perfect complement to the dark chocolate and despite being a bit crunchy, no one complained about the taste and they didn't last long!

Pistachio + Dark Chocolate Salted Cookies

Recipe from Joy the Baker

Makes about 24 cookies
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups dark chocolate chips
1 cup shelled pistachios, coarsely chopped
Kosher salt for topping

Place rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat oven to 300 degrees F.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat butter and sugars together until pale and fluffy, about 4 minutes.   Add the egg and beat in for about 1 minute.  Add vanilla extract and beat to incorporate.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt.  Add the mixture all at once to the butter mixture.  Beat on low speed until just incorporated.  Finally mix in the chocolate chips and nuts.
Dollop or scoop cookie dough by the 2 tablespoonful onto prepared baking tins.  Leave about 2 inches of room between each cookie.  Sprinkle generously with smoked sea salt.
Bake cookies for 18 minutes, or until just golden brown.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the pan for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely. 

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Cookie Project: Oatmeal Chocolate Chip

I love cookies. Seriously, love them. And as much as I love eating them, I love baking them even more. So, awhile back I decided to start a Cookie Project, inspired by Elise and her incredible blog and her bread and pizza projects. Seriously, I love reading about her life and try to have just a teeny bit of her enthusiasm and creativity in mine. But, back to the project. COOKIES! Yum. Everyone loves a good cookie, right? I've been compiling an array of recipes to try and put my own spin on. I want to make all the classics and try some creative and different cookies that I haven't made before. Also, I'm planning to make my childhood favorites that my Mom and Grandma made for us when we were kids.

This cookie starts my journey through a world full of delightful and yummy cookie recipes! Hope you enjoy them with me and feel free to suggest any other kinds of cookies. I tend to stick to my safety net of chocolate chip varieties but I'm really trying to branch out and try new things and test the limits of "cookie". I'll definitely be including healthy cookie options too. Because while everyone loves a good cookie, it's not realistic to sit around eating cookies all day and I love to experiment with cookies that can serve as energy boosters in a healthy way and still be tasty.

This oatmeal chocolate chip cookies was delicious and everything I was hoping for. Sweet, but not too much so with a good chewy outside and soft inside and a variety of textures with the addition of the pecans. I will be making these again since the ingredients are all things I keep on hand and they were super easy to throw together. And, they didn't last long either. Between me, my husband and my baking buddy Brooke they were gone in two days!

OATMEAL CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES (adapted from Pixelated Crumb)
  • 1 1/4 cups (6 1/4 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 cups (3 3/4 ounces) old-fashioned oats
  • 1 cup toasted pecans, chopped
  • 3/4 cup chocolate chips
  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), slightly softened
  • 1 1/2 cups (10 1/2 ounces) packed brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  1. Place an oven rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In another medium bowl, mix together toasted pecans, oats, and chocolate chips.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix together butter and sugar until no lumps remain, about 1 minute. Add the egg and vanilla, stopping to scrape the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula if necessary and mix for about 30 seconds. On low-speed, slowly add the flour mixture until just combined. Then turn off the mixer and fold in the oats and cherry mixture with a rubber spatula.
  4. Roll dough into 1/4-inch balls and place on the baking sheet, lightly flattening each ball to 1-inch thickness. Place the balls 2 1/2 inches apart on the cookies sheets.
  5. Bake the cookies one sheet at a time for 20-22 minutes, rotating the cookie sheet halfway through, until cookies are medium brown and the edges are set. Don't worry, the cookies will appear a little underbaked in the middle.
  6. Let the cookies cool for 5 minutes on the cookie sheet and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Friday, August 17, 2012


I missed out on the 12 on the 12th so I thought I would 
share what's bringing happiness to my life right now.  Photographs truly make me happy.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The Remodel: Update

We are remodeling our house! I've spent a long time thinking about changes I want to make and now it is actually happening. It's frustrating, stressful and exhausting but I am so excited! I can't wait to see the end results but I'm trying to enjoy the process!

We had planned some updates for our house at the beginning of the year but other priorities, like training for marathons, kept us busy and it just seemed to get pushed aside. We had finally started moving forward with plans when out of nowhere the unexpected happened and a pipe burst under our kitchen sink and flooded our house! Luckily, we weren't out of town and we were able to get the 3-4" of water out of our house pretty quickly, but despite that the majority of our flooring was ruined so the scope of the remodel project grew and changed. 

Right now we're in the first phase of the remodel. Removed wallpaper from the kitchen and bathroom, painted primer in the bathroom and removed baseboards and carpet tack strips throughout the house. And the big one: I've picked out and planned the paint colors for the house. The next couple days will be spent prepping the house for paint: texturing walls, taping and caulking and then finally PAINTING the house! I am so excited for the new colors. I know it will be so much work but I am looking forward to the end result.

Last week in a discouraged moment I was convinced to paint the fireplace. It was an easy task to paint and it made a huge difference in my moral and in the room! I love the white and the black mantle just tied it all together! I'm so happy about it!

Once the painting is complete we will be eagerly looking forward to next week when the remaining flooring in our house (tile and wood) will be removed and our beautiful new wood floors will be installed! I know this is going to make a huge difference in the livability factor in our house. Remodels are not fun for general living but I know it will be so much better soon!

Friday, July 13, 2012

12 on the 12th: July

This 12 on the 12th is a slight bit of a compilation of days so I must admit that not all of these photos were technically taken on the 12th, but all of my days this week have seemed to run together so I felt it was ok this month to sneak a couple in to better tell the story of what's been going on for me lately. And, well, the house remodel is the big deal right now. It's a really overwhelming project, but I'm eager and excited to tackle it. This week the big accomplishments were removing the wallpaper in the kitchen and painting the fireplace and mantle. It's amazing what one little change will do for the look of a room. We have so much more to go on the remodel, but it's motivating to see progress. I'm lucky to have a wonderful friend who is as excited about the projects as I am and has been a big help and who patiently listens to me "talk out" all my design decisions. The next steps are removing the baseboards and painting the whole house, and at the end of the month our flooring will be torn out and replaced. I cannot wait! 

Photos left to right:

1) Removing kitchen wallpaper
2) Light falling on the concrete floors
3) My kitty and I snuggled a lot since Will was out of town this week
4) Chocolate pudding oreo pie for dinner with friends. I had my wisdom teeth taken out last Friday and I've been craving chocolate pudding
5) Kitchen with wallpaper completely gone!
6) White paint going up on the fireplace
7) A huge piece of the big pieces
8) Fireplace before (I hated the yellow!)
9) Fireplace after (I LOVE the white and black!)
10) Lunch
11) Cozy kitty
12) PAINT!! Can't wait to get started on the transformation!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

July Goals

I'm always making goals and to-do lists. And life is always getting in the way of my completing them, it seems. But I'm going to keep at it and hope that at least some things will get done! I had big plans for June and starting off summer great. Then my Aunt died and our house flooded and well, things didn't exactly go as planned. I'm glad June is behind me and I'm starting fresh this month. I've been feeling stressed out the last few days and since I actually acknowledged that June was tough and I've got a lot going on right now, I actually feel some relief. I'm not all the way better yet, but I'm happier in the realization that it's ok for me to be down and stressed out and that like all things, this too shall pass. I also had two wisdom teeth removed the beginning of July. Not a great way to start the month, but I'm glad to get it done and put it behind me. It set me up for a slow start to the month, but now that I'm starting to recover and feel less drugged up I am eager to get started on my goals list, mainly my home renovation projects! Hopefully our house will be back to normal and better than ever in the next few months!


*Home renovation

*To work purposefully and commit myself to the task at hand each day (get things done!)

*Run, bike, and cook healthfully

*Organization of office and photos (physical and electronic)

*Worry less and embrace all that life has to offer! Remember that every day is a gift from God and appreciate the little things!

*Cut back to one cup or less of coffee per day (Decaf only by the end of the month)

Monday, July 2, 2012


June has been a pretty interesting, long and exhausting month. It officially feels like summer and I'm feeling the urge to make lots of summer to do lists and goals and start lots of projects and dream about getting them all done. 

Right now the big deal here in Oklahoma City is, of course, the Thunder being in the NBA finals. The city has gone Thunder crazy and we are all very excitedly cheering on our home team as they play against the Miami Heat in the finals. It's so incredibly to think that just four years ago Oklahoma City didn't even make it on the radar when it came to professional sports, and now after a dismal first season, in only our 4th season we are in the finals and arguably the best team in the if only we could play like that! Update: The Thunder lost game 5 last night, ending their playoff run. It was a tough game to watch but win or lose, I'm an OKC Thunder fan and I'm so proud of our team and the great season that we had! I'm already counting down til October and our game opener against the Suns!

I've been happily tending to my basil and it seems to be flourishing after two separate major harvests of leaves (YUM!) and despite a four day period of neglect due to an unexpected trip. I love how hearty and easy to care for basil is, it makes me feel like I can garden and is boosting my confidence! So much so that I bought a rosemary plant (I'm keeping it inside) and for now it seems to be doing well also. Rosemary makes for some yummy potatoes. 

Organizing my work space to increase productivity with the help of my organization consultant (aka Brooke). Hoping to have my office space better suited to working very soon!

Struggling with low levels of energy towards getting things done. I get very frustrated when nothing happens when I think it should and yet I feel no urgent desire to get things done. Blah. Trying to work though what's going on and figure out what works for me. Trying new organizing systems is one way as well as working on new ways of thinking. I know it isn't easy, hopefully I'll work through this time shortly!

I'm still running and biking...isn't that what summer is for? I love it! Although I'm having a tough time adjusting to the early morning wake-up times that summer heat requires. I'm telling myself that's why I DESERVE that extra (one...ok four, cups of coffee throughout the day!)

I  was able to finally see more of the new Devon building since Will has officially moved in now. His office is on the 38th floor so after meeting him for lunch at Nebu on Friday we took a tour of his floor and office. The view from that high is quite spectacular and the building is very nice!

We recently tried the newest coffee and breakfast spot in Edmond: Cafe Evoke. After our 14 miler Sunday we stopped in for coffee and it was delicious!  I have a feeling we will be enjoying their coffee on a regular basis.

Of course I've been cooking a lot, as always! 

The second week of June, my Aunt Jennie passed away after a long and difficult battle with cancer. Will and I joined Emily and Brian and road-tripped to Indianapolis to pay our respects and celebrate her life! It was a long and exhausting trip but I am so glad we were able to be there with family!

After Jennie's funeral we went and hung out at their neighborhood beach! It was the coolest place...their neighborhood had taken a water retention pond and added sand to make a beach and we were able to swim, play and make sand castles! It was a great way to spend the afternoon. Emily and I made some really awesome sand castles with moats!

Big Emily entertained us with her impersonation of a french hair dresser and braiding everyone's hair.

 It was great to spend time together. Even if we were there for a very sad reason, it felt good to be together. We all went to SkyZone, a giant trampoline play place. It was SO much fun! Even us big kids had a good time bouncing and it was great exercise too!

With only a week home to recover from our trip to Indiana, we prepared for our big trip to Las Vegas for the annual Sonic Convention trip. I've become the official photographer for the Sonic Convention, so I was busy attending all the events, but we had fun enjoying time by the pool and hanging out with Will's family and friends. We were even able to make it to two different restaurants featured on the Food Network (Pho 87 and Forte) and try Bobby Flay's restaurant, Mesa Grill which was located inside our hotel, Caesar's Palace. We woke up early every morning to run with our last morning including a trip to Red Rock Canyon to run. WOW! Hills! Very hard but great views. Vegas is fun but exhausting and I am always so ready to get home!

Unfortunately, right before we left for Vegas, we had a major flood at our house! Looking on the bright side, we are very lucky that it happened BEFORE we went out of town, not during since we were able to get the water shut off and have a cleanup crew out to the house quickly. Unfortunately, all our carpets were ruined and a lot of things in the kitchen are going to need repair and replacement. It's really stressful and annoying since our house is torn apart and we're living with dirty concrete floors and dodging carpet nail strips, but I'm looking forward to our upcoming remodel and updating our house with some more modern touches! Look forward to more updates about our home renovation!