Wednesday, March 23, 2011


Two weeks ago our friends gave us some Samoas - you know, the Girl Scout Cookies? Well, I'm not a fan of coconut, but o my! This time, I was completely won over by the gooey chocolate/caramel combo that the coconut actually tasted yummy! 

[When I was 8, I ate 3/4 of a 16oz bag of coconut. You wouldn't like it after that either. Ugh.]

- what I wore Tuesday. don't mind the futon being folded down... -

I kept dreaming about those Samoas long after they were gone.

I could taste them during my breaks at work - oh it was painful.

I decided I would just make them. From scratch

Now I know why the make them in a factory. 

If you'd like to try - here goes!

You'll need THIS link.


First things first: Samoas are part shortbread. It doesn't take long, so make them using the following:

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature
115g (1/2 cup) sugar
250g (2 cups) all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons milk

Cream together your butter and sugar with a mixer until light and fluffy.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.  Slowly add this to the butter mixture.

Finally, at low speed, add in the milk and vanilla.

Separate the dough into halves and wrap in plastic or store in tupperware.  Refrigerate until the dough is as firm as a stick of butter.

***I left mine sitting in tupperware for 2 days, because I simply didn't have the time to make the actual topping part until yesterday. I'm so glad I waited. ***

If you've clicked on the link above, you'll have the actual recipe. I'm not trying to cop out, but its a lot of important wording. Read it all! She does a fabulous job of telling you what to do. 

A trick I found: when you're rolling out the cookie batter, do use lots of flour! Its a good dough, so it can take a little bit more of the flour incorporation when rolling out. However, it really does get super sticky as it warms up, which means it'll start to not cooperate. 

Roll out the cookie dough until 1/4" or 1/8" [a little thicker is better for later on down the road], and place the scraps right back in the refrigerator - I just kept using the original tupperware. 

I didn't have a cookie cutter that was circular, so I improvised:
Can you find what I used? haha They're pretty hidden. I used a white circular apparatus that's used for  something else and a mellon-baller. Yah. Right by the rolling pin.

Your house will get messy. 

DO rotate the cookie sheet every 5-6 minutes as you cook. Smart. 

I didn't have parchment paper, so I just used cooking spray, and they came off so smoothly and tasted great!

The aftermath for the "Cookie Making Part:"

Take 2:

Samoas Recipe

For the topping, you'll need:
    •    225g (3 cups) shredded unsweetened coconut, toasted
    •    15-oz soft caramels (I recommend making your own if you have the time!)
    •    1/4 tsp salt
    •    3 tbsp milk
    •    8 oz. dark or semisweet chocolate

Prepare the dough according to the shortbread recipe.  [see above]

--Again, I'm going to refer you to the link because she went through a lot of work to put her website together, and she did a great job!--

But here are my edited comments:
1. You're going to toast coconut on a cookie sheet for 10-15 mins. I recommend using a cookie sheet that has high sides! Makes it a lot easier to stir/flip. 

2. If you're using hard caramels to melt, she recommends adding a little bit more milk. I missed that the first 5 times around. It really will make your topping go a bit further, and you'll be able to add that entire 3rd cup of coconut. 
3. Also, hard caramels are sold in 14oz bags at my grocer's. I didn't even bother trying to count out an extra ounce. But, as I said in step 2, it will make your topping go a bit further! So feel free to add a few more and melt them down!

4. I used a knife to force the topping onto the cookie - man, that's something you just have to get the knack for. Its resilient stuff.  You can always pop in back in the microwave for a second or two, just so the caramel is a bit more pliable. I didn't. I just fought with it! 

Sorry for the crappy pics - but you have got to bust a freakin move when you make these!!!

5. I only broke one cookie. I suggest using equal force from underneath the cookie [where you're holding it] and from the force of the knife applying the topping - you do have to be a bit crafty in how you get the topping to stay on the cookie instead of on your finger. 

Best part: when the topping hardens, you can handle the entire cookie to dip it in chocolate, so I guess its good that the topping is so resilient.

6. I placed the cookies, at each stage, on wax paper and put back in my fridge to cool/harden. My kitchen was a freakin sauna. Ah! So hot. haha And I was wearing a sweater. uhhh yeah. 

7. Melt chocolate down and dip the cookie into the chocolate - I just held onto the cookie with my hands. MUCH easier than using anything like a tool. Plus, you get the extra chocolate :) 

Let them cool, and do the next batch while they harden. I used "Candy Coating - Chocolate" which is like almond bark. Much easier to use than melting down chocolate chips. 

See my broken cookie? Still worth saving :)

She recommends putting the chocolate in a little baggie, cutting off a corner, and then drizziling it over the cookie. 

Warning: if the chocolate isn't hot enough, it won't drizzle out. 

                if the chocolate is too hot, you'll burn your hand trying to hold the dang bag. Ouch! haha
I cannot keep fighting with the pictures - so this one is sideways! Sorry! haha

Long post, but one I needed to record. Man. These take a long time, but taste soooo good! Let them sit a minute once you pull them out of the fridge, and then enjoy!!! So worth it! [maybe once a year!]

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Backup Dreams

This week Ty and I have "Spring Break" at the same time. For once, my week off coincided with his Spring Break. How awesome is that? Maybe we'll randomly go to CA again, like we did last summer!

 -sigh. remember when my hair was that color?-

We've decided to plan for the Backup Dreams.

First things first. The Graduate School Dilemma. 
-where do we go from here?-
pic from last summer 
-Tyler, when forced to apply for grad programs [by me?! never!], told me he didn't feel good about applying. He's glad he did, b/c now he knows WAY more about it.
-I like to take advantage of every opportunity.  And, if you know me, you'll know how much I love school. [Today I told my dad I wanted to sign up for Calc 1 again. He asked me if I would use it at work. I said, "No. But it would be fun to do over the summer!" Even he thinks I'm nuts.]
-We found out that we didn't get into grad school this year.
-The best part: how happy, giddy, excited, and at peace we felt! How funny?! Yeah. I thought so, too.

Seriously. I thought I would be so bummed out. 
And I wasn't. Not even a little bit. 
Its nice to know how right it feels.
Especially when you've been stressing about making 2 sets up backup plans.
"Do we move here, or wait? Do we have kids yet, or wait?"

Now, everything feels right. 
That's better than the alternative.
By a lot.
I grinned from ear to ear, jumped up and down, the works!!
[So did Tyler haha]
Oh my. I cannot tell you what an answer to prayer it is to not get into a grad school yet.
And honestly, I'd never thought I'd feel that way.

Its nice to know my heart can still change.

Secondly. The Future. 

-grateful that my future holds these people-

-I really dislike the unknown. That's really all.
-But, I love to plan.
-I planned a trip to San Fran, which we ended up not taking, but I loved every minute of planning it!! What's wrong with me!? [So, people have started asking me to plan their trips for them! I get just as much joy out of planning the trips as they get from going. Its a perfect set-up. I get to plan, they spend the money. Works like a charm! haha]
-We're thinking about buying an SUV.
-Oh. My. Heck. Are we serious? Have you ever spent an entire morning reading car reviews by consumers? Eek! I want to drive this now.
-Cars in the running:

1. Honda Pilot
2. Chevy Equinox
[just drove a 2008 - ah!!!!! so nice]
3. Nissan Murano/Rogue
4. Toyota Highlander
5. Jeep Compass/Cherokee
6. Acura MDX 
[another favorite!]
7. Lexus RX300 or 350 
[ok, not reasonable, but I still love this car. a lot.]
8. Hundai Santa Fe

The list could go on and on, but we're test driving lots this week.
Voice your opinions if you've driven, owned, or loathed one of these vehicles.
Remember, I need the following:

-Front Wheel Drive or AWD/4WD
-Sunroof [not a need, according to Tyler haha]
-Ok mpg

Yeah. That's it.
Third. Moving.
-We're looking for apartments. All over the Valley. 
-Fun, b/c I like to plan.
-Sad, b/c I don't want to move.
-Regardless, change comes and moves things along. 
 Best thing about all of it?
1. It feels right.
2. Lots of friends having babies w/in the next few months! 
This means Aunt Krista to the rescue!!! So excited!
3. A year of fun for Ty and I, since we'll both be working.
4. More opportunities to grow.
5. It feels right.
.just like this.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Only Thing...

The only thing that went right today was the hot water in the shower. 

Thank heavens for indoor plumbing. 

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

On the street where you live...

This is the street where I live.
In March.
This is the accumulation of snow in less than 12 hours.

These boots were made for walkin', and that's what I tried to do.

See anything tasty? [made by Hostess..]
[totally reminded me of twinkies. and now i want some.]

 I'm pretty sure an abominable snowman lives in there. 
I bet he's under the age of 5.
Does this remind you of "The Goonies" at all? 
1-eyed Willie. In ghost/snowman form. 
Built before 9 am. 
That, my friends, is dedication.
[or insanity haha]


  A video game character came out to play in the snow, too!
Can you find him?
[pac-man, middle left]

 My darling friend, Amber, wrote this on Facebook before it snowed:

"I think if it's going to be allowed to snow, we should at least get another Christmas! The whole shabang... presents, Santa Clause, sugar cookies, and 2 weeks off work!!!"

Merry March Christmas, Amber!
 [well, more like Merry Christmas to me. I get 1 week off of work...and I can eat cookies.... Close enough!]

 The clear blue sky started to peak through on my way back...

The good firemen were out, getting ready to save lives. 
[They must save alot, because they pull out and blare their sirens 5+ times a day. Oh, and 3+ at night, too.]

The path back to my house...
Lovely, isn't it? 
[I still like it better when there are green leaves on the trees... hint, hint spring!!!]

 My window + dead plant. 
I can't remember whether that plant is an annual or a perennial. 
-Enter science experiment-
I'm testing Darwin's theory; we'll see if its fit enough to survive this winter or not. 
Well, if it ever turns to spring, I guess. 

Thanks for coming on a walk down the street where I live.