Archive | May, 2010

oatmeal crispies (or: how to bag yourself a cowboy; or: how baking prevented my implosion)

18 May

trying to figure out what to do with your life can be the absolute pits. lease-ending season always gets me unbelievably freaked out–to the point where i feel like im being buried alive, clawing at the coffin lid, wishing i were in the 1800s so i could grab a little bell string bringing someone to my rescue. (i have an overactive imagination, so my fantasies and nightmares tend to be on the lengthy, detail-oriented side. i also tend to frequently wish i lived in the 19th century for reasons unknown even to myself.) lately i’ve been somewhat of a mess. there are just too many choices and decisions to be made. who knew that when our past generations were paving the way for equality and the freedom to be whoever you wanted to be that they were creating ungrateful jerks like me who now wish there weren’t so many choices available. come on, 19th century. 2 choices: married or spinster. not much room for lengthy contemplation.

after listening to me whine and moan to the point of ear-bleeding, my hetero-lifemate suggested i try focusing on the things that make me happy and find something relaxing to do. after briefly contemplating going for a run in the great outdoors, and then remembering the fact that this tends to nearly kill me from over-pollenation and leave me wheezing for hours afterward, i realized that what really calms me down is baking. clearly. hence the blog. i decided to bake something from the pioneer woman cookbook, since she has actually managed to accomplish one of my life goals, namely, to marry a cowboy. and if she can do it, i can do it. right? there we go. choice number one–made.  these cookies are apparently her husband’s favorite, so i’m hoping they will help me catch myself a cowboy of my own.  there don’t seem to be that many roaming around boston, but maybe if i hit up that line dancing bar in manchester, i can at least find myself a seriously old dude who likes to dress up in cowboy hats. then i could work on life goal number 2: become some seriously old dude’s sugar baby.

in the meantime, there is one new man in my life:

this is olaf. he is my beta fish. i’ve been talking about buying a fish for about 4 years or so now, so it’s a pretty big deal that i finally went and saved him from his tiny cup prison at petsmart. (huh, look at that. i made another choice.) olaf happens to be a very recalcitrant beta fish, and therefore never comes when i call him and always refuses to wag his fins on command. he also likes to spontaneously go on hunger strikes to oppose various potential name choices (like darnell.. he hated the name darnell) and whenever i shield his bowl to keep him from creepily watching me (im preeeetty sure he was a perv in a past life). but he’s fun. sometimes he tries to leap from his bowl and bite me, which isn’t fun, and i’m half-convinced that one day he will turn into a dreaded snakefish and climb from his bowl and slither around my room and strangle me in my sleep, which also isn’t fun, but i’m sure we will get over this rough patch soon enough and live blissfully for the rest of time or at least until i implode from too many life decisions.

but in an effort to stave off the implosion, it is time for some relaxation and, let’s not forget, cowboy bait.

oatmeal crispies a la pioneer woman:
(note: the original recipe doubles the ingredients below. i was working with limited supplies and only had enough oats for half the recipe, so what follows is my alteration.)

what you’ll need:
1/4 cup pecan halves
1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup brown sugar (light or dark)
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 cups rolled oats
liberal amt of chocolate

1. finely chop pecans and set aside. at one point in time, i used to chop each pecan individually.  then i discovered julia child and her knife wielding/chop-chopping. i now massacre many pecans all at once. much more efficient.  this also gives me less opportunity to eat the pecans as i chop. (ha! who am i kidding. i have to buy an extra bag for the snacking.)

2. in a large mixing bowl, combine the shortening and the sugars.  beat together until combined.

3. lightly beat the egg and vanilla in a separate bowl.

4. add the egg mixture to the sugar/shortening mixture. beat until combined.

5. in a separate bowl, combine the flour, salt, and baking soda. stir it up.  add to the egg/sugar mixture and stir some more/until combined.

6. toss in the oats and pecans and stir to combine.

7. dump in a large quantity of chocolate chips. however many will make you happy. for me… that is mucho de chocolat.  you should also take this opportunity to admire my matchy-matchiness and no, i did not do this on purpose.

8. place dough on a sheet of waxed paper and form into a roll about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. you can now wrap the waxed paper tightly around the roll and chill until you are ready to use. (i failed miserably at tightly wrapping the roll, so i won’t even disgrace this blog with a photo of it.) the roll can be refrigerated up to a week or frozen for up to 3 months.  i chilled the roll while cleaning my dishes with the idea that this would make slicing easier, but i ended up washing like a speed demon since i wanted my cookies asap. it is amazing how quickly i can get things done when cookies are on the line.

9. preheat oven to 350 degrees f. unwrap dough from waxed paper and slice into 1/2 inch thick slices.

10. place the rounds on a cookie sheet and bake for 10 minutes or until light golden brown. using a spatula, remove the cookies from the sheet immediately. (i thought i was too good for a spatula and tried to remove with my hands resulting in a cookie missing its innards. needless-to-say… i grabbed a spatula for the rest.)

11. fin. eat. enjoy. bask in the glow of oozy chocolate and joy of knowing your innards are still intact unlike that poor cookie. grab some rope and wrangle a cowboy/old man pretending to be a cowboy (cowman?).

ps- today is my father’s birthday. happy birthday dadder!