Flourless Chocolate Cookies

aka, “Crinkle Cookies”. These are great to make with the egg whites left over from my brownie recipe, and if you have GF person in your house they’ll almost make up for not being able to have tea actual brownies. Almost.

 

 

Flourless Chocolate Cookies
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
24 cookies 15 minutes
Cook Time
12 minutes
Servings Prep Time
24 cookies 15 minutes
Cook Time
12 minutes
Flourless Chocolate Cookies
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
24 cookies 15 minutes
Cook Time
12 minutes
Servings Prep Time
24 cookies 15 minutes
Cook Time
12 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: cookies
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 355° F
  2. Line cookie sheet with parchment
  3. In a large bowl, whisk dry ingredients together
  4. Add egg whites and vanilla extract, whisking until fully blended. Dough should be thick but moist (like a very thick cake batter)
  5. Place spoonfuls of dough on prepared cookie sheet, leaving space for cookies to spread
  6. Bake for 12-14 minutes, until tops are glossy and cracked.
  7. Let cool for 5 minutes on sheet, then transfer to cooling rack (I have found this is easiest if I leave the cookies on the parchment, then remove the paper when the cookies are completely cool)
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Three Bean Soup


Three Bean Soup
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
10 cups, app. 15 minutes
Cook Time
1-3 hours
Servings Prep Time
10 cups, app. 15 minutes
Cook Time
1-3 hours
Three Bean Soup
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
10 cups, app. 15 minutes
Cook Time
1-3 hours
Servings Prep Time
10 cups, app. 15 minutes
Cook Time
1-3 hours
Ingredients
Servings: cups, app.
Instructions
  1. Heat oil in bottom of stock pot
  2. Saute onion until translucent, about 5 min
  3. Add garlic ad saute for 1-2 min more
  4. Add turkey, taco seasoning, salt, and paprika
  5. When turkey is browned, add corn, beans, tomatoes, and 1c of broth
  6. Simmer for at least 1 hour, stirring regularly and adding additional broth as needed
  7. Garnish with sour cream and/or shredded cheese, as desired
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Reunion Tour Dates TBD

Which is my way of saying that despite my best intentions, and despite making and baking like a mofo these past few weeks, I haven’t been blogging. Obviously. I’m not even sure why not? For instance, the bean soup recipe I promised has been drafted and nearly ready to post since mid-April. So, what’s the hold up?

No idea. For now, I think I’m just going to accept that it’s just not going to happen right now. BUT. I do have like 30 recipe tabs open on my phone right now, and I’d love to close them down, so look for a bunch of recipes – probably without either pics or commentary – to be added in the next couple of weeks. I’m also exploring the idea of upping my Instagram presence, so keep an eye on that. (And maybe I’ll do a weekly roundup of those posts? We’ll see.)

Gettin’ the Blog Back Together

It would be a tremendous understatement to say that a lot has happened since the last time I posted here. The tl;dr version is: finally found a fantastic new job, worked real hard at it, company got slammed by virus fallout*, and here I am with time on my hands.

I’ve done more baking and crafting the past couple of months than I did in probably the previous two years, between hard-core job hunting and then ramping up into the new job in a new field (construction and renovation!), and I’d been starting to think about getting back to blogging. Now it’s time to stop thinking about it and start doing it.

One of the first questions Kit (that’s my amazing husband, in case I haven’t mentioned him by name before) asked me when I delivered the sad news about being on the dole was, “when does the therapeutic baking start?” The answer is tomorrow, but with a twist: I’m going to (mostly) be making things I’ve never made before.

I’d already started doing this a little the past couple of weeks – I’ve been working remote with this new job since last June, but with nowhere to go it seemed like I had a lot more time on my hands. I also started a rewatch of GBBO – so relaxing! – which may have influenced me a tad. So I’ve already made a roll cake:

Lemon cake with lingonberry jam and vanilla buttercream. Paul Hollywood-style critique: – Sponge is over baked and a little rubbery – Flavors are good together, but vanilla frosting is so sweet it almost overwhelms the lemon flavor – Frosting is a little thick, although proportions are right. Might have been better with a thinner layer inside, then frosting the outside.

 

a couple of challah loaves

You can’t really see the crumb on this, but it’s super dense. It was tasty, but very crumby. I suspect this is because the recipe was from my no-knead book, and also my water might not have been warm enough to get my yeast super activated. Going to try again with a traditional recipe.

and some meringue cookies (not pictured – they were the right shape and  consistency, but the bake went badly and they were just…off, in a bunch of different ways. I’m going to retry them at 200° instead of 225°, and a half batch instead of crowding the oven). Oh, also zucchini bread, not pictured – it came out fine, but was underspiced. Will definitely make again.

I have a pretty lengthy list of things I still want to try, including but not limited to:

  • carrot cake (maybe cupcakes)
  • Olive Garden style breadsticks
  • chocolate swiss roll cake
  • naan
  • pitas
  • tortillas
  • treacle tart (blame GBBO for this  one)
  • lemon meringue pie
  • GF lemon cookies
  • pineapple upside down cake
  • puff pastry
  • cheesy garlic monkey bread

This is by no means an comprehensive list, but it’s a start. And that’s just the baking. Tomorrow, I’m planning to bake a big pan of brownies and that cheesy garlic monkey bread from the list. I’m also going to make some 3 Bean Taco Soup – that’s not a new dish, and I’ll snap some pics and get the recipe up for y’all next week.

Next week I’ll also talk some more about my non-kitchen oriented crafting plans, and we’ll get this blog thing rolling along again. It’s good to be back — I’ve missed being here!

Lola’s back, tell a friend…

*Sweeten is the company, and it is truly a group of wonderful people providing a service that really helps people through the construction and renovation process. If you’re planning to do any serious work on your home when things ramp back up, I encourage you to go ahead and list your project at Sweeten.com to get a head start. And if you’re a general contractor, let me say first that it is so cool that you’re here reading my blog, but also, go sign up to join Sweeten’s network – it’s free to join, and there’s no fee unless you’re successfully awarded a project.

Well Read

Sometime in December a blurb about the Popsugar Reading Challenge came across my internet, and I thought that might be a fun thing to do. I started looking at the prompts for 2019…and then realized that I have dozens and dozens of books in my very own home that I picked up because I wanted to read them and have never gotten around to.

So I decided instead of doing the Popsugar challenge, I would create my own 2019 reading list. I decided on 50 books, because it’s a nice round number and even though it’s mostly a book a week, there’s a little wiggle room there so I don’t feel quite so pressured to absolutely beyond a doubt finish a book per week. Since I almost always have at least three books going at once (one in the car that I read at lunch, one on my nightstand to read before bed, and one on the couch to read whenever), trying to finish one per week doesn’t really fit with my reading style, but I can see myself trying to conform to that deadline and being miserable about it.

It was really, really hard to pick just 50, and I’m still second guessing myself on a couple. I probably have enough left to do another 50 in 2020, and that’s not counting the books I will inevitably pick up during the year (I’m only buying one book for this list, and it’s a book I’d already decided to buy before I knew I was going to be doing this). You can see what I ended up with at the bottom of this post.

I’m tracking everything with a modified version of this spreadsheet from BookRiot, which allows me to pretty easily drill down and get some fun data. For instance, even though I did not plan it this way at all and just grabbed the books I most wanted to read, the list is split right down the middle into fiction and non-fiction. I’m planning to read 16612 pages this year. The shortest book I’m planning to read is 128 pages (Jessica Jones: Alias Vol. 2), and the longest is 901 pages (The Crimson Petal and the White). Eventually I’ll be able to see what my pages per day average is and cool stuff like that (okay, maybe it’s only “cool” if you’re a data geek like me, but I’m loving it).

And here are my guidelines, such as they are. I very much do not want this to be a source of stress for me, so there aren’t many:

  • Read books in any order.
  • Books that I don’t want to finish for whatever reason must be replaced if I’m less than halfway done, and may be replaced if I’m more than halfway done.
  • Finally, this is not a race. There is no punishment for not finishing all of the books. They will still be there for me to read if I don’t get to all of them this year.

Happy reading, everyone!

 

Lola’s 2019 Reading List

 

goodreads.com

 

Countdown to Pretty

[You guys! Remember how I could never use the WP app on my phone because it was constantly breaking my site??? Now, through the magic of Jetpack, I can upload media directly from my phone AND write posts!!! This is so exciting!!]

Assortment of silk bags
Little silken bags of joy!

Back in November, one of my favorite crafters (I legit do not remember if it was Space Cadet or Kim Werker, but they’re both awesome so go check them out) included some information in a newsletter about a yarny advent calendar. I got all excited about doing it, but then realized that I have a ridiculous amount of yarn already. So, instead of buying a new one, I bought some little silk bags from Amazon and bagged up a bunch of little balls of yarn. I picked out a simple-but-not-boring shawl pattern (Fuss Free Festival Shawl) and eagerly awaited Dec. 1.

Ball of ombre blue yarn
First color! Note that the color does not match the bag. I did that on purpose to make sure I’m surprised every time. No cheating on this project!

The idea was that I would pull a bag each day and knit up the yarn, just like a traditional advent calendar. Easy, right? Except…I’m really slow. Really good, but really slow. Plus, I have about 5 gajillion other projects crying out for my attention. Also plus, I don’t have a huge amount of time to commit to knitting every night these days. It pretty quickly became apparent that the advent thing was just not going to be feasible (not to worry — I also had a unicorn advent calendar that met my daily opening needs just fine). So I’ve decided that this is going to instead be a random draw shawl. I’ll finish one ball, then draw the next and continue. But no time pressure. I’ll get to it when I get to it. And it will be beautiful when it’s done.

Lemon Poppy Seed Loaves: A Tragical Tale of Hunger and Woe

A while back, my beloved husband starting using a new scent of deodorant that smells just like lemon muffins. I am a huge fan of this, except that it makes me hungry for lemon muffins, which I have not had the opportunity to obtain of late. So today I had some spare time, and also had (in anticipation of just such an occasion) ordered some poppy seeds and lemon powder from Penzey’s (<3 them!). Aha!, I thought, Finally, it is time to satisfy my craving!

I pulled out a bowl and whisked together two cups of sugar, a cup and a half of milk, some lemon juice, three eggs, a cup of vegetable oil, and a splash of vanilla. Then I added in three cups of flour, and grabbed the salt out of the cabinet. Except it was stuck. See, our spice cabinet is a tad full these days (thanks to the aforementioned Penzey’s) (still <3 them!) so the salt somehow got relegated to the top shelf, where it not only needed to be tilted a particular way to get it out, but also it was kind of wedged in between some other things. So I yanked on it, and it finally popped out…and slipped out of my hand.

Now, I know you’re probably thinking it landed in that big bowl of almost-dough and things got a little messy…but you’re wrong. No, it did not land in the bowl. It smacked the edge of the bowl at just exactly the right angle to flip the bowl, depositing the not-yet mixed dough all over the counter, floor, and me.

🙁

And That’s How I Became a Zebracorn

For the past 3 years, I have been training to play roller derby. It hasn’t been easy — for a lot of reasons — but the one thing that has been easier than I imagined it ever could be was being a part of the Jerzey Derby Brigade family. On the track and off, I have never experienced anything but 100% support and encouragement from everyone in the league. And that’s the biggest part of why this is so difficult:

Last night, I made the decision to stop training as a player and switch entirely to reffing. I knew this would happen eventually, and have even been doing some training and reffing another ruleset, but I didn’t expect it to happen so soon. Early on in my training, I torqued my knee the wrong way and experienced some mild trauma. I went to the doctor, took the time off, did the physical therapy. It got better, but it never got back to 100% and a lot of the things we do in practice really exacerbate it.

Even before the original trauma, I was never going to be a great player. I’d’ve been lucky to be a good player. I’ve never been athletic…I have trouble getting my body to move where and how I want it to (you should see me dance sometime — it’s very Elaine Benes).

Image result for elaine from seinfeld dancing gif

But I did want to get good enough that I could at least support my team on the track. At the East Coast Derby Expo this year, I had the opportunity to take a clinic with one of the best jammers in the world, Miracle Whips, and I jumped at it. I knew going in I would likely be the low man on the totem pole in terms of skills, and I was absolutely right. But Whips is an amazing coach, and took the time to scale her instructions down to my level, so I was able to participate in all of the drills and exercises.

A lot of jammer skills involve quick changes of directions and moving your body at weird angles. While running on your toestops. And getting hit. For instance, like this, only with people trying to hit you:

We did things like that for four hours. I was supposed to skate as a ref at a scrimmage the next day, but my knee felt the worst it has felt since the original injury so I sat it out. Then we didn’t have practice for a couple of weeks, so I let it rest, until I went up to practice with the team I’ve already been reffing for (hi, Firestorm!), and we did a 15 minute work line. That is a looooong time to maintain derby stance (basically, a rolling squat), and I should have known better, especially since my knee still hadn’t gotten back to normal.

The next weekend, I reffed my first game for Firestorm, and my knee felt okay-ish. Not great, but not the intense, painful ache I’d been experiencing since the clinic, either. More like it usually felt after practice before the clinic (it hurts, but low-level ache and then I ice it when I get home and it’s fine). I made it to another couple of  practices and did some experimenting. Straight-up skating in circles (including crossovers): totally fine. Transitions and turn-around toestops: totally fine. Pretty much anything else: screaming knee.

So I’ve spent the past couple of weeks coming to terms with the knowledge that I physically cannot play roller derby without being in a pretty tremendous amount of pain. I’ve tried making deals with myself, like I’d make the switch after my first game, or at the end of the season, but the truth is, my knee won’t even make it through a full practice at this point, much less allow me to play a game. So, last night I let league management (and the refs and players who were at practice) know where I was at. And once again, I was met with so much kindness and support…this league, y’all. <3 <3 <3

I’m still really down about the switch…not that I don’t think I’ll both enjoy and be good at reffing, and not that I’m not already very fond of the ref crew (I totally am!)…but it’s a different dynamic. I’m not super fond of change, especially when I’m happy, and I have been super happy being part of the team at JDB. I mean, technically I’ll still be part of the league, but it won’t be the same, and I’m sad about that.

I’ve also spent the last three years feeling like a total badass…does switching to reffing make me lose some of that badass cred? I’ve been thinking about this a lot, and realized that as a ref, I will be in charge of disciplining the  badasses, so I think that actually maybe makes me more badass. Other positives:

  • there is a LOT of rainbow zebra and even zebracorn merch out there. I am going to own all of it. (For those not derby-adjacent, the refs really embrace the whole “zebra” thing.)
  • I get to keep my derby name.
  • I can be a bit more flexible about going to practice (although my plan is to keep attending as much as I can — at least every Wednesday at Firestorm and Friday at JDB)
  • Maybe, possibly, not overworking my knee every week (but still continuing to train and strengthen) will allow it to actually heal up and I will be able to return to playing in a year or two. I’m not super optimistic about this right now, but it is a tiny little beacon of hope (and huge thanks to Coach Jheri for pointing this out to me last night — it helped so much).

I’m still not feeling happy about this…I had planned to switch to reffing in a few years, but I did want to play some first. I’m kind of angry at my body right now for letting me down. But I’m going to try to make the best of it and do what I can still do. <3

Let’s hope I’m better at reffing than at selfies.

Oh My Stars and Stripes

Note: It is really hard to start blogging again when you’ve been on a hiatus, but I’m going to try. I’ve been meaning to post more for weeks now, but I keep getting stuck on what to post about. So I finally decided to just dive back in and post about whatever. That means at least the first few posts back will probably be all over the place, but I’m just going to go with it in the interest of getting back into the swing of adding content without getting bogged down in the details. ETA: Sigh. And then I forgot to give it a title

Pic of me wearing a red white and blue American flag-style scarf
Mine is quite a bit smaller than the original, but that’s by design.

I realized the other day that I hadn’t actually finished anything in awhile. I don’t actually know how many projects I have in progress right now, but it’s a lot. Like, more than 10. Maybe more than 20. And that’s just the ones that I know where they are and occasionally pick them up and work on them. So, I knew I had this Protest is Patriotic shawl from Craftivist on the needles, and I decided to go ahead and finish it up for 4th of July because I only had a few rows left to go.

Except…I didn’t get it finished for the 4th, but that turned out to be okay because it was so stupid hot here that there’s no way I could have worn it, even though it is both tiny and cotton. I finished up the knitting a couple of days later, and then I left it on the couch to stare balefully at me until I wove the ends in. Which I finally did last night, and now I have an adorable shawlette, as seen above. Who doesn’t love a happy ending?!

Icon-ic

[TW: body image, diet]

Update: Want to get some for your very own? Full disclosure, if you click there I get $10 off my next pair, so it’s like you’re getting something for yourself AND giving me a nice present. 🙂 <3

I have never had the “ideal” body. And by “ideal” I mean the body I thought I should have, could have if only I worked out enough, starved myself enough, took the right pill. I have, at various times in my life, been a competitive swimmer, a member of the armed forces, and even given myself scurvy. I have been a regular gym go-er, I’ve tried diet pills of varying efficacy and foul side effects, and I’ve tried to eat healthy. But even at the times I was most happy with my body’s appearance, it has never been good enough.

A little over three years ago, my doctor told me I need to be doing more in the way of exercise, so I joined a gym. After a few months of working out on the regular, I felt like I needed to do something with my newly rediscovered strength and endurance. I figured I was too old for roller derby, but thought I’d Google it anyhow, and it turns out 42 isn’t even close to “too old”. So I contacted a couple of leagues in my area and found an amazing team to call home (shout out to Jerzey Derby Brigade!).

I kept going to the gym, kept skating, got a little healthier with the eating…and was(am) still what I would describe as “chunky”. Or perhaps “plush”. I tried tracking my calories and found myself starting to slip into the same habits that put me on the road to scurvy (and also still not losing weight). But, my body is strong in the ways it needs to be strong for derby. I have muscles I can feel and flex and use to accomplish things I love to do. So about six months ago I made a conscious decision to focus on what my body can do instead of what it looks like. It’s hard, some days, especially days when I don’t fit into something I think I should fit into, but I think I’m doing okay at it.

Another thing about my body is that it is getting older. A fun thing that happens to a lot of women when we get older is that our pelvic floors stop being super reliable, and we sometimes leak a little. Some women find it happens when they sneeze, cough, or laugh. For me, it’s when I take a particularly solid hit on the derby track. But I found this great underwear that has built in absorbency and odor control, called Icon, so I can keep my pee to myself. I’ve been wearing them for about a year, and they are super comfortable, very attractive, and perform as advertised.

A couple of months ago, I got a newsletter from Icon that included a call for customers who might want to model for them. I thought about it, went and looked at how happy and comfortable the women in their current ads look, took a deep breath, remembered how amazing I felt about myself when I modeled my friend Lauren’s amazing lipstick last year, and put my name in the ring. After a bit of back and forth in email I was invited to their Manhattan offices (which are gorgeous!) for a chat, which I really enjoyed.

I actually didn’t think I’d be picked…at our first chat, I really expected to have to take my clothes off so they’d be able to see what they were getting. So when that didn’t happen I figured they could tell even with my clothes on that I wasn’t what they were looking for (because that’s what my brain does…I’m never pretty enough, or thin enough, or shaped the right way. There is always something wrong with me, according to the jerk who lives in my brain.). I was kind of blown away that turned out not to be the case, and that just made me more enthusiastic about modeling for them. I was thrilled when they asked me to come back for the shoot.

It was really way more like what you see on TV and in movies than I expected (because nothing is ever quite like what they show on TV)…there was a gorgeous SoHo loft, a bunch of us models lounging around on our cell phones between shots, and a whole bunch of people from the company who spent a lot of time making us feel pretty and sexy all day. And you guys, modeling is hard. We didn’t even do any really difficult poses (they took pity on us poor amateurs), and I could barely lift my right arm for a couple of days because I used it to support my weight for one of the poses we were in for awhile.

I historically hate pictures of myself. Like, really, really hate them. I avoid being in front of the camera at gatherings, and in group shots I’m usually half hidden in the back (completely hidden if I can manage it). I spend a lot of time picking apart every little thing that’s wrong with me in every picture. So I decided before I did this that even if I hated these pictures in the usual way I hate pictures, I would love them as a symbol of how proud I am of my body and what it can do. It turns out, though, that I really actually love them all on their own.

I will never have a flat belly. I will always be at least a little “plush”. I pee a little when I take a hard hit. I have had a hard time accepting my body, much less loving it. But these pictures…I finally, finally have started loving my body. Thank you, Icon. You are more than a company that makes great pee-proof panties. You are a company that lets women be active, strong, and beautiful, and shows us how to love our bodies, flaws and all. <3