Recipe: Peanut Butter Oatmeal Monster Cookies

This cookie recipe was posted on The Kitchn sometime last week and it looks delicious. While these are still incredibly bad for you, at least they are whole-grain and gluten-free. At the very least, a small, delicious step in the right direction!

I was planning to make these last weekend for a cookout but it didn't end up happening so I'll be saving this recipe for a summer cookout in our new house!

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Monster Cookies

About 3 dozen cookies

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, slightly softened
1 1/2 cups creamy natural peanut butter, well-mixed
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
3 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla
2 teaspoons baking soda
4 1/2 cups old fashioned oats
About 1 cup chocolate candies or other mix-ins

Preheat oven to 350F and line two large cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Cream butter, peanut butter, and sugars. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Beat in baking soda, then oatmeal and mix-ins.

Drop onto cookie sheets with an ice cream scoop and flatten slightly. Bake at 350F for 8-10 minutes or until done. Do not overbake!

Remove from oven when slightly golden. Let cool on the sheets for a few minutes until they have firmed up enough to remove to wire racks.

Original Collector: Me

Decorating Inspiration

This past month I've been busy collecting lots of decorating inspiration for our house. I am ridiculously excited to have a house to decorate, a blank canvas for all of my ideas. Living in apartments for the last 5 years has been very limiting when it comes to personal style. Below are my two favorite photos which were featured in an article on Apartment Therapy.

I envision our living room looking a lot like the photo above. Our couch and chair are the same beige as this one and we're painting the walls blue. We'll throw in some cool prints with the pillows and there you have it: our living room.
I LOVE this photo, I love every element here, I want to move right into this place! I would love to have this living room but we've already got that design covered. We are, however, using this same color scheme for our kitchen and dining room. Gray walls with white trim, golden yellow and brown as accent colors - Its going to be excellent, I'm stoked, enough said.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Our House

Here it is, the reason I've been completely MIA for nearly a month.....our house! We have been insanely busy running here and there, doing one thing or another for the house almost every single night this past month. We should be closing on the house next week, we should have closed on May 20th but I've come to learn that this stuff does not always go according to plan...actually, it never goes according to plan. We've had about 50 different plans at this point and none of them have worked out.

Anyway, I've still been busy collecting some good stuff so hopefully I'll have a few days to make some posts before the real craziness begins. This house has already been a lot of sweat and tears on our part and I'm sure the blood is soon to come with all the moving and painting.

I'll post more photos of the house in the future, after we get moved in. Hopefully some good before and afters!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Recipe: Fleur de Sel Caramels

Here is the recipe for the homemade caramels that may be making a show at our wedding. I've always wanted to give homemade caramels a try and if I do make them as wedding favors you can bet that I'll be testing out the recipe several times. Yum!

Recipe from Cookbook Catchall
Original recipe from Barefoot Contessa
Fleur De Sel Caramels
Vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1 cup heavy cream
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon fleur de sel, plus extra for sprinkling
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1. Line the bottom of an 8-inch-square baking pan with parchment paper, then brush the paper lightly with oil, allowing the paper to drape over two sides.
2. In a deep saucepan (89 diameter by 4 1/2" deep), stir together 1/4 cup water with the sugar and corn syrup and bring them to a boil over medium-high heat. Continue to boil until the mixture is a warm golden brown color. Don't stir — just swirl the pan to mix. Watch carefully, as it will burn quickly at the end!
3. In the meantime, in a small pan, bring the cream, butter, and 1 teaspoon of fleur de sel to a simmer over medium heat. Turn off the heat and set aside.
4. When the sugar mixture is a warm golden color, turn off the heat and slowly add the cream mixture to the sugar mixture. Be careful! It will bubble up violently. Stir in the vanilla with a wooden spoon and cook over medium-low heat for about 10 minutes, until the mixture reaches 248°F (firm ball) on a candy thermometer. Very carefully (because it's hot!) pour the caramel into the prepared pan and refrigerate until firm.
5. When the caramels are cold, use the parchment paper to pry the sheet from the pan onto a cutting board (note: the caramels will still be supple and easy to handle – if too stiff, allow to sit at room temperature for 10 minutes). Using the parchment and starting from the long side, tightly roll the caramel up until you have rolled 1/3 of it. Cut along the edge and repeat two more times. Use the parchment to gently roll each log to even out the thickness and smooth out the seam from the cut side. Cut each roll into 8-10 pieces, taking care not to touch the caramel with your finger. Sprinkle each piece with fleur de sel and wrap individually in glassine or parchment paper. Store in the refrigerator and serve the caramels chilled.

Original Collector: Me

DIY: My Wedding Favors

I'm currently debating between these 3 wedding favors:
from The Knot
Caramel apples bought from Huber's Orchard in Indiana (delicious) - with custom wrapping.

From Cookbook Catchall

Homemade caramels by me - packaged in some cute container.

Small homemade jars of apple butter (the first recipe I posted!) - This would be extra special but lots of work (well, for my dad) haha.

All three of these ideas would be excellent for our fall wedding....I want something that's more unique than jordan almonds and other candies and I think these are all great ideas.... I just can't decide! Thoughts?
Saturday, May 02, 2009

DIY: My Wedding Cake

Photo here
As I mentioned in the DIY recipe cards post, I've been thinking about having a cake bar instead of a traditional wedding cake. These photos are some of my inspiration. I love vintage cake plates.... I also love baking cakes. Having a homemade, old fashioned cake bar would be a perfect fit for our style of wedding.

Photo here <- this blog is great, I love her tag line: Creative. Thrifty. Sane. I like to believe that about myself as well.

Photo here

Taking on the task of making the cakes will be incredibly stressful - what if I burn them?! I'll be testing out cake recipes before the wedding and posting them on here! We'll see how those go and then I'll decide if I can handle it.
Saturday, May 02, 2009