Cookie Cure

Double You Tee Eff?

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I thought I was done with this puffer coat for the season, but then it decided to snow today. I was not happy about digging it back out again.

There was obviously only one way to cure these cold weather blues: COOKIES!

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I was actually in a baking mood over the weekend, but lacking any sort of add-in like chocolate chips that I usually use in cookies. Chris and I attempted a random Pinterest recipe I found for brown sugar cinnamon cookies, but they ended up being sub-par. “And if there is one thing I don’t like sub-par, it’s cookies.” – Chris

But let’s be real, we still ate them all. (There were only about 24 small cookies in that batch that we ate over 2 days. Okay, that still sounds kind of bad. Sorrynotsorry.)

Anyway, after work today, I picked up a package of butterscotch chips, intending to bake these cookies that I have made before on many occasions. Once we spied the suggested recipe on the back of the bag, however, we decided to go with Oatmeal Scotchies instead.

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Baking these while jamming out to *NSYNC and The Sound of Music soundtrack made these taste even better!

How do you cope with unexpected changes in weather? Are you a huge baby about it like I am?

~Tina

Movies and Free Food

How is everyone’s weekend going so far?

We made it a Redbox night yesterday, and rented Big Hero 6 for the evening. I didn’t know anything about the plot except there was a kid and a big, squishy robot, but I thought it was so fun! I couldn’t stop laughing at this:

Anyway, would watch again. Recommended if you’re looking for easy viewing.

As for today, I had a lunch date with myself at Corner Bakery. A few days ago, I received an invite to try out one of their new grilled flat sandwiches for free (Pro life tip: sign up for fast casual restaurants’ mailing lists for all the free food! – This particular offer may still be available if you click the link). I chose the Southwest Chicken option.

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Yummy! Check out all those jalapenos – Nice and spicy, just how I like it. I was worried that these sandwiches would be dinky, but this was actually a pretty decent size and stuffed with grilled chicken, cabbage, corn, pico de gallo, and spicy peppers. The flatbread was warm and doughy, too. I still would have preferred it to be bigger, but it was flavorful and satisfying nonetheless.

I also would have preferred being able to select bread or chips as my side like you usually can at Corner Bakery, but this offer only allowed the baby carrots option. Oh well, I made do.

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On par for the rest of the day: taxes, cleaning, making more lettuce wraps for dinner, and possibly watching Birdman!

Any other tips for getting complimentary meals? I’m a grown adult, but I still hunt down free food like a college student. No shame!

~Tina

Not-So-Instant Ramen

Dinner tonight was a college staple:

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Tia, our friend Maya, and I were trying to decide between pizza, BBQ, and ramen and these spicy noodles from High Five won out. We all ordered the “Half Spice” and it was pretty damn hot. I love when the “spicy” options at restaurants are actually spicy and not, like, sprinkled with a dash of pepper.

This definitely hit the spot on this brisk evening. This is a far cry from the instant ramen packages I used to devour while I was in college, that’s for sure…

Totally kidding – I still eat cheap ramen all the time. It’s delicious!

What was your cheap, college food of choice? Do you like your food spicy or not so much?

~Tina

Blue Apron Review

Happy Tuesday, friends!

Hope your week is getting along a little better than mine. Seems like the weekend food poisoning bandit is at it again – I have been feeling all stomach-funky since eating a weird shrimp sandwich for lunch yesterday and poor Chris was sick all last night from something he ate after work. Apparently, Tia and CJ have not been feeling too hot either. What is going on???

sick

I have a feeling we’ll all be sticking to blander eats for the time being.

While the ultra-flavorful meals available through Blue Apron will not be making an upcoming appearance anytime soon, I thought we could live vicariously through my recent experience with them. My sister sent me a code for a free one-week trial a few weeks ago, and I am never one to turn down free food, so I signed up.

If you’re not familiar with Blue Apron, they are a meal delivery service that sends recipes and the fresh ingredients needed to make them right to your door. My one-week trial included 3 meals for two:

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Tilapia Meuniere with Moroccan-Spiced Lentils & Rainbow Chard (wine not included!)

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Lamb & Beef Shawarma with Creamy Radish Salad

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Crispy Chicken Thighs with Braised Lettuce, Kimchi & Maitake Mushrooms

Pros:

  • I loved being introduced to different types of ingredients and cuisine that I wouldn’t otherwise attempt to use or make on my own.
  • Each recipe, despite seeming a little daunting at first, was detailed with step-by-step instructions and visuals that made preparing everything fairly easy. There are even additional videos online you can access that will walk you through tasks like zesting a lemon or mincing garlic, if you have never done them before.
  • All ingredients are proportioned out for the recipes you will be making. This is my biggest pet peeve when buying ingredients on my own for a new recipe. Usually, I’m forced to buy a whole bunch of fresh herbs or something, when a recipe only calls for one teaspoon, so this method definitely solves for that issue.

Cons:

  • While Blue Apron will recommend a meal selection based on any dietary restrictions you provide, you cannot always choose exactly which 3 meals they will send you. You can switch out some of their recommendations, but some combinations of meals cannot be selected, I’m guessing because they take in account ingredients that can be used across different meals. I found this a little frustrating, but I probably would have chosen “safer” meals if given the choice, too.
  • Blue Apron provides all necessary unique ingredients for the recipes, but some “basics” are not included. Namely, household items like salt & pepper and olive oil were called for in each of my meals, but weren’t included in my delivery box. I’m sure this won’t be a huge issue for most participants, but I happened to be out of olive oil that week and had to steal Chris’s bottle.
  • I felt like there was a lot more preparation and effort involved in making each recipe than I was led to believe from the website. From perusing the available menus, it seemed like they claimed about 25 minutes of preparation was needed on average to make each meal. I probably spent closer to 45 minutes working on the recipes, even with Chris helping me. I’m sure more experienced “chefs” could fly through these, but expect to be in the kitchen a little longer if you’re more of a basic cook like I am.

Overall, I was satisfied with my Blue Apron experience, but I’m not in a hurry to try it out again. Unless it’s the weekend or I’m making something really special, I hate spending more than 20-30 minutes cooking if I can help it (less is better!). I’ll probably keep an eye on what kind of food they’re offering, but would have to be really intrigued by something to actually purchase another delivery. Who knows, though? I will say that I think cooking these meals would be a great date idea for new couples to see how their kitchen chemistry is :)  Working on these with Chris reminded me of when we first started dating and he learned what a terrible onion chopper I was.

Anyone else ever try Blue Apron or another meal delivery service like Plated? What did you think of it?

~Tina

Luck of the Chi-rish

While St. Patrick’s Day isn’t officially until Tuesday, we all know the real party was this weekend. I hope everyone is successfully recovered on this lovely Sunday funday.

You’ve seen how Tia and I celebrate a lowkey version of St. Patrick’s Day, but this weekend was party central because Chris’s high school and college friends were in town for the weekend and you know you’re in for some fun stories when that happens. Let’s just say that one of them might have thrown up on Tia once.

The crew arrived Friday night and we ended up at Three Dots and a Dash, which you might remember from that time we ate some funky chips. There was much imbibing.

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Banana dolphin!

Afterward, we searched for some late night eats and ended up at Taco Burrito King. To be honest, I had never heard of this place, but the out-of-towners we were with had rave reviews. It was an order-at-the-counter Mexican place and while all the food looked decent, Chris and I just split some chips and salsa. The salsa was nice and spicy. Unfortunately, we think one of our friends got food poisoning from the burrito he ate here because the poor guy got sick and had to stay in all of Saturday. So, buyer beware!

The rest of us, fortunately, were well enough to hit up some house parties bright and early Saturday morning. I sent this picture to my friend Joyce, whose drink of choice is Bailey’s.

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She replied, “Right now?!” and I realized that it was 9:17am. Hey, you can’t drink all day if you don’t start in the morning.

The rest of the day followed in typical fashion. At the first party we went to, we could see into another apartment across the street where an unattractive naked man was walking around, baring all in front of his floor-to-ceiling windows. That’s confidence right there. Chris and I started off with his big group of friends and we slowly lost track of them until 3pm when we headed back to my place to chill until the gang found each other again.

Another St. Patty’s in the books. My only regret is not having a green beer, but I guess I still have until Tuesday to track one down.

How was your weekend? Follow-up question: Shamrock Shakes should be available all year round, right?

~Tina

Long Time, No See

Guess who’s back? Sorry it’s been a while. Let’s recap real quick!

Things that have happened since Tina and Tia’s last blog post:

All right, so that totally sums things up perfectly and brings us up to tonight!

After making tacos for dinner last week, Chris had a pretty big chunk of iceberg lettuce that needed using up (This actually tends to happen every time we have tacos). I don’t know why it never occurred to me before, but last night it dawned on me to make lettuce wraps. So I made it happen:

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I cooked up the filling using ground chicken, diced onion, minced garlic, chopped shitake mushrooms, chopped celery, and shredded carrots. Some soy sauce, oyster sauce, hoisin sauce, rice wine vinegar, and sriracha held it all together for this yummy meal.

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Eaten with a side of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Well, it’s good to be back and stay tuned for more!

What’s new with you?

~Tina

Italian Rainbow Cookies

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Hi Everyone! Hope everyone had a good weekend!

I spent the long weekend sleeping/napping, hanging out/brunching with CJ’s coworkers, having dinner with Tina and her parents who were in town, and eating cookies CJ made. GET THAT? I do probably 99% of the cooking, but the man bakes! (Actually the secret is that these were microwaved!)

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  • 2 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 8 oz can of almond paste
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 2 stick of butter
  • 4 eggs
  • almond extract (if you want to make it extra almond-y)

Beat together until smooth, and add red food coloring to 1/3 of the mixture, and green to 1/3 of it.

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Microwave for 10 minutes on 50% until the mixture has set. Spread apricot and raspberry jam between the layers, and top with melted semi-sweet chocolate.

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Every microwave “baked goods?”

~Tia