Sunday, September 26, 2010

Goodbye, wedding diet

...hello cookies.

First things first... why did no one inform me that I spelled my future last name wrong in my header? I'm embarrassed. Guess that means I need to practice my signature more! I don't hate it.

Next...if you're not in love yet, get ready to fall head over heels. If you are, well, tell your loved one they'll have to take a back seat for a while.

If you ever went to OC, chances are that at one point or another you've had a cookie from Eileen's. They're absolutely delicious. My roommates and I used to go on Saturday's junior year for breakfast. Do not judge unless you've had these cookies. Everyone I know instantly becomes addicted, and on more than one occasion I brought these cookies to Stillwater by request of le fiance.

And now I am more than happy to present to you, my friends, the recipe. Please disregard the quality of le picture. I may be a working girl (AH!! I HAVE A JOB!) but still don't have enough money for a good camera. Sigh. Also, excuse the weird looking frosting. Somehow all the cookies got stuck together, and I figured a bad picture is better than none at all.

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Eileen's Cookies
adapted from this recipe
--Note: If you switch out vanilla extract for almond extract, you'll get Lofthouse cookies instead! Win win situation if you ask me. However, I doubled the measurements in the frosting for the extract, so make sure you taste it and adjust as needed.

  • 1 box Pillsbury white cake mix (yes, you have to use Pillsbury. You need the pudding in the mix!!)
  • ⅔ cup flour
  • 2 large eggs
  • ⅓ cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
Mix the dry cake mix and flour then add the eggs, oil, sour cream and extract and mix well.
Roll the dough into about 1" balls (cookie scoops work perfectly!) and place them on a Silpat-like sheet. Seriously, I wish I was lying, but you need one to make these cookies.The point of these cookies is melt-in-your-mouth-goodness, so you don't want a brown bottom! No crisp cookies here. Plus, they might overbake if you don't use one. Which is bad. Very, very bad.
Flatten the balls using the heel of your hand. You don't want them too thin, maybe just about 1/2 an inch thick. The edges might be a little crackly, so feel free to touch them up. Or, if you're like me, you just want them in the oven as fast as you can, so you don't really consider presentation. And you know what? That's okay too. Too many Martha Stewarts could be a bad thing...right?
Bake for about 10-12 minutes, depending on how big you made your cookies, how your oven works, etc. You'll just kind of have to play around with it. I baked mine for 12, and you'll know they're done when they're kind of firm in the center. But remember, don't over bake! The bottom of the cookies are supposed to still be light if you did the right thing and used a Silpat (what? They're amazing. And yes, you DO need one). The point is melty-ness, not Chips Ahoy. -Beginning of rant- am I the only one who can't stand Chips Ahoy? I mean, if you're going to skimp on chocolate chip cookies, the least you could do is break and bake. Come on, people. -End of rant-
When you take your cookies out of the oven, let them cool off a bit and harden up before transferring them to a foil sheet to completely cool down. Now it's time for the icing..

  • ½ cup Crisco
  • ½ cup butter, room temp
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 2 teaspoons almond extract
  • 1 tablespoon meringue powder (go to the specialty baking section of Wal-Mart near the party planning stuff. It will be with the Wilton products)
  • ½ envelope Dream Whip Mix (this will be near the Jello. Normally on the top shelf!)
  • 1 pound powdered sugar
Beat the Crisco and butter until the mixture is smooth and blended together. Add the salt, milk and almond extract and beat for one minute. Add the meringue powder, Dream Whip powder, and powdered sugar and mix well. Use a spoon or spatula to make sure everything's incorporated. Then, carefully beat on medium-high for about a minute (I think mine took longer) or until the frosting becomes light and fluffy. Taste your frosting to make sure you have enough extract. At first, the powdered sugar will be a little overwhelming, but I ended up adding more than 2 teaspoons of the extract. What? I like it, okay.
Let the cookies come to room temperature before frosting them. Obviously, I didn't pile up the icing as much on mine as Eileen's does, but I ended up regretting that. Just spread the icing on with an offset spatula, or if you're feeling artsy-fartsy go ahead and use a piping bag. But only if you must. Now, this is when the original recipe states that you "MUST use sprinkles"...however, if you're like me, then you have an issue with texture and get super weirded out by sprinkles. But, I realize that not everyone's like me (weird, right? I know.) so feel free to add them if you wish. The following step, however, is a must. Seriously. Trust me. You need to store the cookies in Tupperware or place them on a cookie sheet and cover them pretty tightly with plastic wrap after frosting them, and leave them for a few hours or overnight. This little step makes all your efforts worthwhile; it gives the frosting the perfect texture. And...well...I just can't explain it. It's just plain divine. So don't skip that step!
Then, enjoy! Share with your friends and family! And ignore the fact that you just started Weight Watchers. You get flex points, right? Right.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Top 5 No-No's

I think it's already happening....I am becoming bridezilla.

I don't think there's anything wrong with knowing exactly what you want and how you want it, is there?


Let me rephrase. I actually don't think I'm becoming a bridezilla...I think I might feel like one because my answers to "the questions" about wedding planning aren't necessarily normal. But when am I ever normal? Let's be real here.

Here's my top 5 list of things that I hate hearing right now:

1) "What? NO TUXES?!" Whoa, sorry. Didn't realize that's a wedding must-have. But apparently, it is. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE tuxes; they're chic and sharp. However, there are couple of things to keep in mind. First, Scott wears tuxes all the time for school. He looks uber handsome and I love it. BUT, we're going for more casual. And if he wears tuxes almost twice a month (if not more), then that really special element of wearing a full tuxedo is missing. That feeling, my friends, might be replaced with a vest. A khaki one. And he's REAL excited about it. Second, we're getting married at a ranch. Tuxedos. At a ranch. Think about it.....wait for it....weird, right? Exactly.

2) "Why don't you have your dress yet? You've been engaged a month." ....exactly. I've been engaged a month. I know a lot of girls who can pick out their dresses the day after the proposal and be perfectly satisfied, and it makes me jealous. I, on the other hand, will buy a pack of gum from QT and the instant I sit in my car will be second guessing if I made the right decision. If I get a dress now, there's no telling what will be going through my mind come April. This question can also be replaced with "Where's your honeymoon?" and the answer will remain the same.

3) "What exactly is the budget for your wedding?" I really, really wish that wasn't true. That information should be strictly voluntary.

4) "'re using WHAT as decorations?" So maybe I have some crazy, pseudo-tacky ideas. Will they be at the wedding? Maybe, maybe not. But if they are, smile. Just like this lovely couple.

See? They're in love. And they have bunting as decorations. And no one's dying or is confused that they're at a circus.

5) Saved the best for last..."You're waiting a YEAR to get married? Oh sweetheart, that's just not a good decision." Well, whether it was or not, that's the decision we made. Could we have gotten married sooner? Yes, if we wanted a winter wedding. My lil Maid of Honor is traveling to the Outback in February, and I wouldn't do this without her. Yes, I realize that you can get married while in school. However, for Scott and I, these were not the right decisions, and I think that's okay. Everyone's different. Will we be regretting this decision around May? Yeah, probably. But I want to be able to look back on wedding planning and smile, not pull my hair out. And for me, that means a year-long engagement. I wish I could be someone to pull it off in a sixth of the time, really I do. But for me, that's just not feasible, and never in a million years would I drag Scott through it with me.

So, wedding world, there it is. I believe that weddings are a celebration of the couple getting married, not just the bride. If that means that Scott wants tuxes with cowboy boots and spurs, done. Or if that means khaki suits, let there be khaki! If that means Chick Fil A nuggets somewhere amongst the catering festivities, then bring on the Roasted Honey Mustard sauce. And if Scott decides he wants a giant Jello shape thing instead of a groom's cake, I'll gag a little bit, and proceed with finding the most perfect mold.

So in the future, dearest readers, make sure you use caution when talking to a bride. Maybe her style isn't the same or she's doing things "wrong." In reality, she's not. It's her wedding, so let her have her day! No couple should be second-guessing on their wedding day what others will think.

Will our wedding be weird? Maybe. Will it be us? Definitely. And I think that's the most important.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Just a boy and a girl in a little canoe...

So, here we are. I'M GETTING MARRIED! And instead of creating a whole new blog, I decided I'd be frugal (what?) and just re-use my old one. It was lonely and neglected.

ANYWAY. This won't be limited just to wedding-ness, I'll still be posting recipes (no, really this time) and other things. But since wedding planning is the most recent, let's start with that.

First: I HAVE A DATE! September 3rd, 2011. Mark it down. I know that it's Labor Day weekend, but you have a year notice. You'll be fine. Promise. Second: I HAVE A VENUE! It's amazing. They're amazing. I basically get to do whatever I want with the lodge, which I LOVE! Except touch the chandeliers...which have shotguns on them. I like to think that it adds character....right? There will also be some surprises in regards to the location. But I'll let you find those out when you see them in person! I'm tricky like that. Third: I HAVE BRIDESMAIDS! And I love them. I didn't exactly ask them in a creative way (or even ask them at all...sorry Emmy and Becky) but they're all in! Which is good, otherwise I would be a very depressed bride-to-be.

Now that we've got all that out of the way, you should probably know a couple of things...a) I will be asking for advice on a lot of things. I'm the first to get married from my family and am severely lacking in the wedding etiquette department. That, and I've got crazy tunnel vision and when I want something I narrow in on it, even if it's tacky. So PLEASE, give me your honest opinions!! b) This is basically going to be a completely DIY affair. Why not? I've got a year. So if I stumble on something amazing, I'll be sure and share.

So I guess to conclude my post, I do have a question: since my wedding is 367 days away (what? judge.), do I start planning decorations now? Or do I wait until March-ish?

Le sigh. I just don't know these things.

I do know one thing, though. I'm crazy excited to spend the rest of my life with this guy.