June 29, 2010

Molasses Cookies

The third time is the charm.

First, I tried to make Chocolate Toffee Cookies from Smitten Kitchen.
When you end up using emergency substitutions for 3 of the main ingredients they don't turn out so well. Or, I should say, they don't turn out so well as cookies. As a dough...yummy. Think brownie batter with toffee and chocolate chips.

I made myself a little sick.

So, I'm going to have to try these again. Hopefully when I plan ahead and actually have the correct ingredients.

Next, I tried to make Cheesecake Cookies from Buns in My Oven.
This time I thought they were pretty good...like a shortbread cookie. Not too sweet, but yummy. Except afterward I realized I used half the butter the recipe called for.

And I sent these cookies to James (who if you remember won some cookie love sent to him) and now I'm a little embarrassed, but I thought they still tasted OK. Maybe a little dry now that I realize that I left out half the butter.

For my third attempt, I went to one of my regular recipes. I never met a person who didn't like Molasses Cookies. I'm not joking. Everyone loves these things.

And they are basic and easy.


slice-n-bake.jpg slice-n-bake.jpg


It's messy work, but soooooo worth it.
I like to roll all the dough out first so it's ready to go then I just plop the little balls onto my cookie sheet and it makes the baking process go really quickly.
I use about a 1 1/2 Tablespoon sized scoop for these, I don't squish them down at all, but if I made them bigger I would do a slight flattening of the cookie.

Other tricks I use:
Parchment Paper. I'm obsessed. I don't bake without it. I know you can use a silicone mat, but if you've ever washed a silicone mat you will understand my love for parchment paper. Nothing sticks, I use it twice (on each side), I don't have to wash the pan, and when I'm done it goes into the trash (Can you recycle it? Anyone know?).
slice-n-bake.jpg slice-n-bake.jpg
Timers. I've tried to use the clock. I've tried to use my nose. Sometimes they work...sometimes they don't. I almost always ended up burning at least one pan. So I use two timers. One for each tray of cookies in the oven.
(This is an out of focus picture. I am well aware of the bad lighting in my kitchen thankyouverymuch.)

They're great plain. They'll keep for 3-5 days in a sealed container or you can freeze them.

Except I didn't want plain cookies, so I kicked it up a notch.
With Vanilla Bean Buttercream.
I know. I'm sorry.

I love, love, LOVE vanilla beans. If you're intimidated by them, don't be. They are forgiving, delicious, magical additions to ice cream, icing, and just about anything else.
I thought they would be hard, but a vanilla bean is flexible and a little like a Twizzler.

Just slice down the middle.
Scrape down the opening with the edge of your (slightly rusty) knife.
And use those beautiful seeds for all things good.

Like buttercream:


I may have been inspired by the Oatmeal Cream Pies from Sugarland, but these Molasses Cream Pies were BANGIN'. That's right I said bangin'.

Molasses Cookies
3/4 cup Butter
1 cup Brown Sugar
1 Egg
1/4 cup Molasses
2 1/4 cup Flour
2 tsp Baking Soda
1 tsp Cinnamon
1 tsp Ginger
1/2 tsp Cloves
1/4 tsp Salt

Mix butter, brown sugar, egg and molasses. Blend in remaining ingredients. Cover and chill one hour. Heat oven to 350. Shape dough in rounded balls. Roll in granulated sugar. Bake 10-12 minutes.

Vanilla Bean Buttercream
(I doubled the recipe in the pictures, so this is for a single batch. And, yes, I measured.)

1/2 cup Butter
2 cups Powdered Sugar
1-2 Tblsp Milk
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
1 Vanilla Bean, scraped

Mix all ingredients together, add more milk as necessary to reach desired consistency.

June 10, 2010


These shoes rock.
Remember that one time when I talked about the wedding in my head?

Well, after that post aired I was asked about the comfort of TOMS shoes and you know what? I couldn't answer that question. I was merely operating on the quality of their mission and not necessarily the quality of their product. Not that I can find major fault with that, but as the type of person attempting to provide you with the most accurate information possible, I felt it was my duty to explore the realm of TOMS.

I do what I can for you.

I went to Morgan Imports (one of my favorite stores in Durham) and they sell TOMS shoes.

They sell other stuff too...furniture, bikes, fun cards, random toiletries, purses, some kitchen stuff, planters, baby clothes, hilarious gifts, and beautiful jewelry. It's pretty much a smorgasbord of incredibleness.

Emily fell in love. With a store. It was a mountaintop experience.
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And hats. Fun, fun hats.
We're practically Southern Belles.
From the Midwest.

Then we came to the TOMS display.
Megan and I wear the same shoe size. Size 11. It's large. It's in charge. It's hard to find. Aaarg!
DSC_0422.jpg DSC_0422.jpg
I'm not sure if you noticed, so let me help you....
Yeah, that's Blake, the founder of TOMS Shoes. Adorable right? And the hint of a dimple beneath the rugged beard? And the guy who started this awesome one for one project?

I thought his name was Tom though. I'll bet that some of you did too, but it's not. I found that out in this Wikipedia article. TOMS actually came from the word "tomorrow" as in "Shoes for Tomorrow Project."

Cool right?
So, I got myself a pair.
They say "MAKE ART NOT WAR" which I pretty much love.

I 100% recommend getting a pair. For a multitude of reasons:
1. They're comfy.
2. They now have a wedge.
It's so cute! And if I actually wore heels I might be tempted to get a pair.
3. I like both the men's and women's styles. I find them rather unisex (except maybe the wedges?), so it's nice to see what options are there besides the ones listed under "women."
4. A child will get shoes.
5. You'll be a part of something bigger than yourself.

Things I noticed: when I was trying on shoes, my regular size felt a little tight, so I went up a half size. After wearing the shoes, I found that they stretched a bit so I think I would have been fine with my traditional size. Seriously these shoes are good quality, comfortable and fun!

Do you have a pair of TOMS? What do you think? Are you going to get a pair of TOMS? Which ones?

Winner-Winner-Chicken Dinner!

Did you watch Glee yet?

If you didn't I have conveniently provided the link to the full-length episode on Hulu below:

You're welcome.

The winner of the iTunes gift-card (to purchase Glee music) is.......
#2 Eric!


And the final prize, The Pioneer Woman Cooks goes to....
#5 Kate!
(since Eric's comments of 1,2 and 3 counted as one)

Thanks to everyone who comes by here and reads this nonsense and has left comments this week!! I love you all!

It's true.

June 9, 2010

It's a little creepy

–verb (used with object)
1. to pursue (game, a person, etc.) stealthily.
2. to proceed through (an area) in search of prey or quarry: to stalk the woods for game.
3. to proceed or spread through in a steady or sinister manner: Disease stalked the land. 

One time I had a stalker. 

Now, I live with her. 
Megan was my stalker back in fall 2008. 

Megan moved to McPherson, Kansas town of 14,000, to work at Central Christian College of Kansas. Amy moved to McPherson, Kansas town of 14,000, to work at McPherson College. If you've ever lived in a dorm before as a young 20-something, you know how hard it is to find friends who are your age who AREN'T college students. There's a fine line between being friends with your residents and being a supervisor of sorts. 

So Megan was on the prowl for friends. 

Amy was just thinking about the fact that she was back in her hometown, which was a place she swore she would never return to (to live, visiting is awesome). 

One evening Megan was at the local Wal-mart (Wal-mart is a pretty happenin' place. Plus it's the only place open after 10pm. I can tell that you're impressed.) where she ran into a young-ish man. Megan is bold, so she started talking to him and he was wearing a McPherson College shirt. She asked if he was a student and he replied that he was the women's basketball coach. *ding* Megan had an epiphany: if there was this one young-ish guy at McPherson College, there were probably others too. 

You should also know that McPherson College and Central Christian College are on the opposite sides of town. Across the tracks. 

We didn't mix. 
We didn't mingle. 
We stayed on our own sides unless there was a basketball or soccer game.

Megan took to the internet. After some swift research she found Amy on the student services page, listing her as a resident director, Megan sent an email.

Amy deleted that email.

As the student activities sponsor, Amy was at an event downtown one evening where both colleges had been invited. All of a sudden, Amy heard her name being called. 

"Hey, are you Amy?"
"Hi! I'm Megan! I sent you an email a few days back?" 
"Uh. Yeah. Hmmm...well, I've been having some trouble with my email." (Yes, I TOTALLY LIED. I'm a bad person.)
"Oh, OK. So, I work as a resident director over at Central and I was wondering if you wanted to meet for coffee sometime."
"Uh. Um. Uh....OK." (I'm extraordinarily AWKWARD.)
"Great! How about this week?"

And then we met for coffee. She forced me out of my comfort zone. 

And you know what? Megan wasn't crazy. 
She became one of my closest friends. 
And she made me drink coffee. 

Now, I love coffee enough that I drink it daily. 

And that was the time I had a stalker. 

Why am I telling you this story? 

Because I'm kind of a stalker to the Pioneer Woman. You know how much I love and adore her. She is my hero. 

I wouldn't actually, like, try to find her house or anything though. What do I look like? (Don't answer that.) I wouldn't even really call it "stalking," I'd call it a friend crush. 

I want to be her friend. 

In honor of PW, I'm giving away a copy of her cookbook. You will love it. I love it. 
Just leave a comment telling me about your current "friend crush." No judgment here. We all know this is crazytown. 

This is the last give-away in our anniversary edition of Mostly Nonsense-related give-aways! One comment per person, by 12:40 pm Thursday (6/10). 

Goooooood luck!

June 8, 2010

Season One

It's the season finale of Glee tonight.

I think you know how much this season has meant to me.

and lots.
and lots.
and lots.
and lots.
and lots.
and lots.
and lots.

I mean, we're talking the top three things a girl named Amy living in North Carolina with cats could want.

1. eye candy
Hello boys. Yes, I will sing a duet with you. Right now, although I don't love the tenors, I am obsessing over Chris Colfer's voice. Amazing. And Kevin McHale is all yours, Rach McF. You're welcome. Not that I have any power or ability to give him away, but in this fantasy land--aka Mostly Nonsense--I am omnipotent. The ladies are gorgeous too! It's a win-win for anyone viewing. At least, in my opinion.

2. ear candy
Who thought of the mash-up? Brilliant I tell you, brilliant.

3. ridiculousness

Yes, that just happened.

Today, our give-away is a $15 iTunes gift card! I mean, I'd spend it on some Glee music, but you know, I'm trying to release control, so you can just get whatever music you want.

I'd recommend some Glee songs.

I'm just sayin' it again.

Just leave a quick comment on your favorite song. 
Something you sing in the shower or the first song you look for when you go to karaoke. The song you crank and jam out to in your car. Your favorite song.

Then go sing it.

( :

Comments are open until 9:30am Wednesday (6/9). Thanks!

June 7, 2010


Two more winners!

Today I used my blogging time to not find the overdue library book that is stressing me out.

I'm sorry. And although I renewed the book, I still can't find it. Do you know where it is? Because it's not in my car (I checked 4 times), under my bed, under the couch, in the couch cushions, on my desk, in this pile of books, in that pile of books, under the magazine, under my laundry, in any bag I have used in the past 6 weeks, or anywhere else I could think of! ARRRRG!

Back to the task at hand!

Winner of Food Network Magazine (from post Sugar) is none other than
#7: Ms. K! 
It's Ms. K's birthday today too! Yay! 

Winner of a pair of earrings from Michelle's (aka Ms. K) Etsy site is......
#1: John! 
John, I love your love for Kathy.

Thanks to everyone for participating! Look for more posts tomorrow! 


June 6, 2010

I have a friend

Just one friend?

Her name is Michelle.

She's nekkid over on the right sidebar of this blog. I don't know if you noticed.

I have a confession to make. (Do you find it strange that I feel the need to confess things over here? It's like this is my faux-Catholic confessional, which I don't really know anything about because I am not Catholic nor have I ever really been around anyone who went to confessional. However, when I say "confess" it makes me think of movies where people are sitting in the dark shadowy box talking to a "priest" who usually turns out to be not a priest. He usually turns out to be a murderer who wants to get the confessor and they happen to be in the confessional at the same time. The end.)

On to the confession: I am a bad book club member. See I'm a part of this book club with 11 (12? 13? 14?) women Michelle knows throughout the country. We each chose a book to start with and then we send it to the same person every 4-6 weeks.


I however, will now tell you about the last book I was to have read: it's sitting next to my bed, unread, unloved and I was supposed to send it by the 15th.

Of May.

I think my person hates me. (Sorry Sabeen!) Luckily she's nice and doesn't send me angry messages.

Michelle is the person who sends to me. And you know what? She's usually late too! (HA!) Except she makes up for it by including presents.

See these?
I am easily bribed into forgetting that I was supposed to have recieved a book when there are bits of beauty to hang from my ears.
And this is the second pair!

The first pair (which I got with the last book) is right here:

Now, you could be jealous, or you could get yourself a pair. What? What's that I said? Well, Michelle sells these at her Etsy site!

Today, I'm giving away a pair of Michelle's earrings over on Etsy. You choose the earrings.

What do you have to do? Leave a comment. A comment about what?
A comment about a talented woman in your life who you have crossed paths with at any point. 
Comments will be taken until 10:00 am Monday (6/7).

Stay beautiful!