It’s been months…MONTHS since I’ve had time to lose myself in the groove of making something intricate in the kitchen. Of course, I’ve cooked the occasional steak or chicken dish for dinner but never one I felt I could call truly creative. This is the first time in months I’ve had fun baking something.
As I’ve stated in nearly all my blogs this year, I’ve been going through some stressful changes. I’m a week away from closing on my first house and have been feverishly working on my novella, “The Collection” in order to have it ready to print in July. Today in particular, I was really feeling the pressure. I’ve been packing my apartment up bit by bit for over a week, my life slowly being boxed away and the place I’ve called home for the last five years is beginning to feel less and less so.
Similarly at my job, one of my wonderful co-workers is moving on to bigger and brighter things with a new job. I decided very last minute that I’d make him something as a going away gift. I’d seen a recipe for some Mocha Crinkle Cookies on Pinterest yesterday and decided that those would be the perfect thing to try. They are an uncomplicated cookie, one that doesn’t take too long to make and that I don’t have to stress about as far as clean up is concerned.
I know. You don’t have to tell me. I’m a horrible person.
I said (a while ago) that I’d have this cooking adventure up for all of you to enjoy and…well…it’s taken this long.
Earlier in February, I decided I was going to embark on a hobby of candy-making. I didn’t have just any candy in mind, though. I wanted to create a somewhat healthier (if that’s even possible) replica of the beloved Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup. And I succeeded. Ish. I made some lovely almond butter cups which were pretty popular with my coworkers, and some white chocolate almond butter cups which my family adored.
Eventually, I grew bored with the almond butter (I still have LOADS of it left) and decided to try a different filling. I happened to have a lovely bag of shredded coconut just waiting to be used. Combining it with some sweetened condensed milk created a nice textured filling for these sweet treats. They taste pretty similar to the Mounds candy, the one that I didn’t appreciate until I was much older. Believe me, once you try these decadent bites of coconut heaven, you’ll be howling for some of your own.
Wake up, you sleepy-head! Rub your eyes! Get out of bed! Wake up; the Wicked Witch is BREAD!
That’s right. This week on Literary Cooking Adventures, we’re celebrating L. Frank Baum’s classic children’s book, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, by making some utterly impressive chocolate chunk zucchini bread! Yes, it is as beautiful and delicious as it sounds.
In this episode, I battle a rather bendy zucchini, a mandolin, converse with the furry cat munchkins, and straight up kill the Wicked Witch of the East. Boom. Dropped a couch on you, witch. Didn’t see that coming, did ya?!
I found the original recipe through Simple Bites. The recipe there is a little more in depth with making the bread whole wheat and using freshly ground spices. I cut corners where I felt I could and the zucchini bread still came out well and tasted amazing.
Interested in making this wonderful, magical zucchini bread for yourself? Follow the yellow brick road down to the instructions below.
On this very impromptu Literary Cooking Adventure, I had a sudden craving for French Toast that really couldn’t be denied. Breakfast is one of the few meals that I get to enjoy as I’m usually going to work or am hip-deep in a project and am entirely engrossed for the remainder of the morning. I decided in lieu of several things to celebrate this month (namely my fourth book being put in print!), that a wonderful stack of French Toast would be just the right thing. Even better? I matched them up with some chocolate chips and blueberries for a very berry Mainer breakfast extravaganza!
As tribute, I decided to dedicate this Cooking Adventure to the supremely skilled author, Oscar Wilde, and one of his well-known short stories, The Canterbury Ghost.
Below are the simple directions for making a stack of your very own delicious Chocolate Blueberry French Toast!
Mr. Burt Bacharach said it best: “What the world needs now is love, sweet love.” And that was my intention last week on Valentine’s Day when I made a pink-frosted chocolate cake for a good friend and co-worker of mine (as it happened to be his birthday the same day). It seems as though this week, I’ve seen several examples of bullying, hatred in the media, and an all around depression because of our never-ending winter here in New England. And then, there is that little bit of depression that the single people of the world (including myself) often get on Valentine’s Day. In short, last weekend, everyone was desperate for sunshine, for laughter, for smiles, and for friends.
It can be hard to look past the desire for companionship when you feel lonely in order to realize that there are people in your life who matter, who you care about and who care about you. Basically, without descending too deeply into preaching, look at what you have today, the good and the bad and appreciate it for what it is.
Today, I’m telling you to make a cake. Make it for someone you care about, make it for someone who might need it, make it for yourself if you are feeling low and need just a little break. Make that cake and enjoy the act of making it. Put on your favorite song and rock out in the kitchen. Because…being happy is what matters. And if you’re making cake, how can you not feel good?
So, we still have about two weeks until the Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour comes to the wonderful little town of Camden, Maine. Every year, the Banff Centre in Canada holds a film festival where hundreds of athletes professional and amateur, budding and professional film makers all compete for the chance to be shown in the World Tour. This year, like last year, I was eager to do a Cooking Adventure that was, in a sense, “adventure” themed.
Birthday celebrations galore. August has been one thrill ride of a month. I’ve recently returned from my first out-of-state book-signing event, worked a few long days at my day job, and… oh, yeah… celebrated 25 years on this earth on Thursday August 22nd. My parents and I went out for dinner at a nice little restaurant in town where I enjoyed an Angry Orchard (on tap! The best ever!) and a divine sandwich with both bacon and lobster. You have no idea what a good sandwich is until you’ve had something with both lobster and bacon. No idea. But, I didn’t get my craving for a celebratory dessert that evening because of being so full. So, Saturday night, I concocted a non-traditional birthday delight that totally rocked the socks of everyone I work with. And by the time I’ve finished telling you the tale, you will be eager to make one for yourself!
You may be shaking your head while looking at the above picture and saying to yourself, “What is that thing?” If you are a supreme chocoholic, you’re probably drooling into your lap saying, “UMMM… Yes, please!” Believe it or not, my reaction is closer to the first one I mentioned. I was tasked with making some kind of a dessert for Easter… which was only a few days after my brother’s birthday. So, bare in mind that we’ve just had a rich Tetris-themed birthday cake not a couple days earlier. And the first thought of what I could come up with for Easter was… “Hmm… Why not cake again!?” …Bad idea, Katherine. Bad idea. I’ll be clear. Nothing was wrong with the cake per say. But when the last one (along with copious amounts of alcohol and coffee has caused your ulcer to be unhappy) the last thing you should do is feed the dragon, so to speak. But I went ahead and did it anyway… just to see if I could. Oh… I definitely could.
Yup, that recipe’s name is a bit of an oxymoron. How does one enjoy frozen hot chocolate, do you ask? I’ll make it simple for you. It’s not chocolate milk. It’s not a frappe or a milkshake or anything that can be easily made. It’s the most fattening, sugar laced hot chocolate you’ve ever known. And somehow, it wasn’t invented by Paula Dean. Shocker. Actually this recipe is taken from a very popular place in the great New York City called Serendipity where they are known for their frozen hot chocolate. I found this recipe while scouting Pinterest (once again) and decided to take a whack at it. It’s not as if I needed to add to my chocolate consumption though. Combine your surplus of chocolate from Valentine’s day and mix in some stress from a long and not great day at work. Voila. You are now primed for clogging your arteries with this drink of choice. Or at least, I thought I would be able to enjoy it while sulking about my day. Turns out that even making the frozen hot chocolate was more of a chore than I’d predicted.
So, I may have grossly over-estimated how difficult this Cooking Adventure was going to be. It was originally supposed to be part of last week’s post, but because of finishing up Book 2, work, and Christmas parties, it was just too many things to try and do. However, if you are looking for a ridiculously simple and festive Christmas treat to make either with friends, kids, or even by yourself, I think you’ll enjoy this one very much.