03 July 2010

Thin Oatmeal Pecan Cookies - recipe review

Original Recipe:

2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar, packed
2 eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup water
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups oatmeal, not cooked
2 cups toasted pecans, roughly chopped

 Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

 Cream together butter and both sugars. Add eggs, vanilla and water.  In a bowl, combine flour, cinnamon, salt and baking soda. Fluff together with a fork.  Stir dry ingredients into the creamed mixture, then oatmeal and pecans.

 Scoop out a rounded tablespoon of dough for each cookie, spacing them about 3 inches apart. Use a dampened spoon to flatten each cookie to about 2 inches in diameter. Bake 12 minutes or until golden. Cool for a few minutes before carefully removing from the parchment paper to a rack. Cool completely. Store in an airtight container. Makes about 3 dozen large cookies

Via Cookie Madness

My Thoughts/Adjustments:
I started thinking about these cookies about a week ago -- I pulled out the recipe and who would have guessed, the last time I made it was almost a year ago exactly - what is it about early July that makes me want a oatmeal cookies. I have no earthly idea. Do I have some strange internal food clock in my head that wants these at the same time each year -- scary. I have only made this as a half recipe as this is for me. The guys aren't huge fans of sweets (although the boy has already snarfed down two), but I make cookies for me - mostly and occasionally to take to the office. 
I add a little more vanilla, but I almost always do - just me. I also bake for a little less because I put my cookies out in teaspoons, not tablespoons. I also prefer walnuts in these cookies - again personal preference. I also don't leave them on the baking sheet too long - they get too attached to the parchment paper. I add sultanas (1 cup)  - it's just not oatmeal cookies w/out raisins. Hell, I add raisins to my regular oatmeal. 
One thing I have realized - yet again - is how much I hate the timer on my stove - the buzzer is more that just annoying ... jeez - who the frig designed this damn thing - want to strangle it (or him - must be a guy who designed it) - but not possible to strangle inanimate objects. 
10 minutes in the oven - turning the pan half way through seems to work for me. 

Why do I like these cookies? They have all the great flavor of an oatmeal cookie without being too dense. They are chewy and crunchy at the same time and have just a perfect combination of flavors, chew, and lightness. Great cookie!

01 July 2010

Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict - Laurie Viera Rigler

Austen Addict - Aren't we all... if you think about it. What would you do - besides assume your dreaming or insane if you woke up in Miss Austen's England looking like someone else and getting bits of her memories?  Well, Courtney in Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict handled it masterfully. However, I know I would end up in Bedlam.

Summary: After nursing a broken engagement with Jane Austen novels and Absolut, Courtney Stone wakes up and finds herself not in her Los Angeles bedroom or even in her own body, but inside the bedchamber of a woman in Regency England. Who but an Austen addict like herself could concoct such a fantasy?
Not only is Courtney stuck in another woman’s life, she is forced to pretend she actually is that woman; and despite knowing nothing about her, she manages to fool even the most astute observer. But not even her level of Austen mania has prepared Courtney for the chamber pots and filthy coaching inns of nineteenth-century England, let alone the realities of being a single woman who must fend off suffocating chaperones, condom-less seducers, and marriages of convenience. 
This looking-glass Austen world is not without its charms, however. There are journeys to Bath and London, balls in the Assembly Rooms, and the enigmatic Mr. Edgeworth, who may not be a familiar species of philanderer after all. But when Courtney’s borrowed brain serves up memories that are not her own, the ultimate identity crisis ensues. Will she ever get her real life back, and does she even want to?

Comments: There are several things I really enjoyed about Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict. I love that the story starts when with Courtney wakes up in 1813. Finding about Courtney's back story/"real" life a little at a time throughout the rest of the story was just such an effortless way to add interest and kept me waiting for more instead of the conventional linear story line. I found via Jane (have decided to call her that for simplicity because otherwise I'll confuse myself) how much of an impact a lady can have on those around her - good and bad. Through Jane's friendship with Mary, I was enlightened that just having a little fun can cause so much trouble for others.  Mary does try to inform Jane of this, but Courtney gets in the way. That is a lesson that I too, would learn the hard way.
On to the goods - Edgeworth is an amazingly sexy (a word I typically don't use - I don't think Darcy is sexy - that's for sure - Wentworth - yeah mostly) character with a bad boy bent and who does not love that?  I want to meet Wes. I'm sure Courtney could love him, if not for the big betrayal -- ouch. 
I do think that there should be more cussing - I know it would take me forever to stop talking like a sailor as I can do and I think Courtney would have a hard time sinking into the back ground when she just wants to tell Mother to fuck off. I loved the idea that in 1813 when you're visited by your friend each month you just get days in bed. That should be a national right no matter what friggin year it is - my personal opinion.  But chamber pots -- eeeewww - never mind - think I'll stay right here in 2010. 

Fortune tellers are creepy, but somehow it ties the past to the present very nicely for me. Never been to one and never will, but it works here. 
Things I was not convinced about - a romantic thing with Barnes' brother? I'm thinking not likely. But that idea that Jane had been telling him about the future... hmmmm?

Ah, Edgeworth, just lovely. Isn't it just lovely to find a man that makes you all giggly inside and who after all (spoiler alert) a good guy at heart. Isn't that what we want - and I'm happy I have one that does that to me. Lucky me. 
And last but certainly not least - I loved adored the diary entry at the end. The idea that Edgeworth has heard and wants to hear more stories of the 21st century and what Jane's life (may) have been like before. 

"Perhaps I did not always love him so well as I do now. But in such cases as this, a good memory is unpardonable."

29 June 2010

Everything Austen II - addition #1

I knew six would never be enough so I'm adding to it today and can't wait to read this one. 

7: Anne Elliot, A New Beginning, by Mary Lydon Simonsen. 

Ms. Simonsen has a great blog and has written some wonderful short stories that sometimes just keep me going (when it's been one of those days or weeks). Book is already here and I can't wait to dive right in.