Monday, November 30, 2015

My favorite (definitely NOT healthy) cookies

In the age of the internet & Pinterest, I don't typically consult hard copy recipe books when I'm looking for something to make. There is, however, one exception.

In a ratty little old book, so old it isn't even really a book anymore, as the front and back covers are long gone, is my favorite cookie recipe. This recipe was my Papa's favorite, and I've grown up making these with my mom. Nearly every trip home includes baking a big batch of these cookies.

Let me preface the sharing of this recipe, by saying these are NOT healthy. These are not one of these recipes where you can make a million substitutions and get the same or similar product. People everywhere comment on recipes like,

"I substituted whole wheat for white flour & applesauce for oil and agave nectar for sugar and a banana for the other cup of sugar & it turned out dry & flavorless. Would not repeat"
Oh really, they didn't turn out?

 I'll admit, I've been that person to substitute some applesauce for oil, or some banana, or even cut back the sugar in a recipe. But, never will I ever blame the recipe creator when attempted substitutions do not work as planned.

So, this is me, telling you, the following recipe contains CRISCO, yes, like straight up shortening.

And it's contained for good reason. It yields a cookie with a crisp edge & soft chewy center, a texture that remains even after these cookies have cooled. Though, in all honesty, they are best straight from the oven.

Crisp Oatmeal Treasures : Yields approx 35 - 40 cookies
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup shortening
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 scant cups oats (either old fashioned or quick cook)

1. Stir together flour, soda, salt & sugars.
2. Add shortening & stir/mash until batter is clumpy like shown below. The shortening & dry ingredients will form fine little balls. This is how it should be. I've always mixed by hand, either with a spatula or wooden spoon, but, if you want to be lazy, you could use a mixer.

3. Add egg and vanilla & mix until well incorporated.
4. Gradually stir in oats. I add oats 1 cup at a time until the batter cannot handle more. This usually ends up being between 2 1/2 & 3 cups of oats. Stirring these in is a workout. Walnuts or pecans work in these cookies if you're a fan of nuts in cookies...I am not. But if you were...this would be the time to stir in a 1/2 cup or so.

5. Scoop tablespoon sized balls onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Be careful, the dough will spread a lot while baking. I typically can fit 12 onto a large cookie sheet.
6. Bake 10-12 minutes at 350 degrees. These should look puffy & slightly underdone when you pull them out of the oven. However, once removed, their centers will drop & they will become thin & flat like shown below. Remove from cookie sheet nearly immediately.

7. Eat & enjoy. These can store for 3-4 days in an air tight container. Though they've never lasted that long in my house. I managed to eat THREE before the rest of my family even noticed I had taken them out of the oven. Sorry, I'm not sorry.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Weekend Highlights : Exploring Cincinnati

So far, this weekend has been rainy & dreary in Cincinnati. My mom, brother & I figured yesterday would be a great day to head to the Cincinnati Museum Center. Turns out we weren't the only ones with that same idea, but we were able to park fairly quickly and headed inside.

We got our tickets for the lego exhibit, also known as The Art of the Brick. Well known art pieces, sculptures & every day items recreated in legos by artist Nathan Sawaya.

Each rendition had a small placard that included a brief description of the piece, including a picture of the original art, if applicable. Also included was the # of lego pieces used, one piece, Moai, known better as an Easter Island head, featured over 75,000 pieces!

Many of the pieces included well known paintings & sculptures replicated in legos, including Van Gogh's Starry Night, The Great Wave & American Gothic.

Starry Night
The Great Wave
American Gothic

All in all, we spent about an hour walking through 100+ pieces of lego art. The end of the exhibit included Brickworks, an interactive play zone. Different stations encourage kids to complete a prompt, some included building as tall as they could, building with eyes closed, etc.

I opted out of this experience due to the number of sneezing, coughing, slobbering tiny humans in the area. And I do believe that was a wise choice.

T-Rex skeleton that contained over 80,000 lego pieces

A flying pig made entirely from Legos

Afterwards we headed for lunch at a Cincinnati staple, Skyline Chili. Cincinnati style chili is more like a meat sauce than an actual chili, and it's unique spice profile includes chocolate & cinnamon. Don't knock it 'til you try it though. Skyline Chili is known for 3-ways, spaghetti topped with chili & cheese. If you add beans or onion you've got yourself a 4 or 5 way. I opted to share a 4-way with my Mom & ordered an extra coney on the side. A little bit of everything.

4-way to the left, coney to the right.

After lunch we swung by the store, picked up a few items & headed home to make cookies. An old family favorite I hope to share tomorrow.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Here I go, again.

Apparently past Jessie (Hi, I'm Jessie) started this blog in 2013, when I spent a few months unemployed. What else does one do to pass the time? The posts & content were much different, though as I re-read them, HILARIOUS. But alas, it's the internet, so they were deleted, should my parents ever stumble upon this page, but the name was kept, because dammit if I am not still super sassy. And all the other blog names I wanted were already taken.

So, here we are 2015. Current Jessie thinks starting a blog is a great idea. It is. I'm sure of it.

What about me you ask?
Let's see...

Grew up near here. [Cincinnati, OH]

Moved to here. [Pittsburgh, PA]

Acquired a boyfriend,  who shall probably be referred to simply as the BF. Because though he does not know yet that I am starting a blog, I'm certain he would be wary of me sharing my life with internet strangers.

Now that I've graduated college & been forced into this adulting business, I'm busy trying to figure out how to juggle it all. Sometimes I rock it, other times I just have to laugh it off and try again.

My dream for this blog is to document my training/workouts, I love to run, my recipes and adventures in food and my adventures around the city & the world.

Welcome, I hope you'll stick around for a post or two.