Snickerdoodles: the perfect road trip companion

For those of you who were maybe hoping this was some sort of Thanksgiving post, then I must apologize (however one of those will come in the very near future!!).  These cookies were actually made for a road trip that my friends Iman, Kristina, Jase-Face (okay, his actual name is Jasen) and I took to Montreal last weekend.  I wasn’t originally even supposed to go on this little trip, but after I found out that cutest couple in the universe, K & J, were popping over to our neighbouring province, I knew I had to pester them into letting me go.  This being said, I felt semi-guilty for bumming a ride in the car just so I could shop, so I decided I needed to bake something to apologize for my absurd inviting abilities.

Normally when I decide to bake something, I usually lean towards cheesecakes or cupcakes.  Knowing that the first would be rather difficult to cut in a moving vehicle and since I just made the latter, I decided to switch it up a little and try out a new cookie recipe.

This Snickerdoodle recipe came from one of my favourite blogs, Annie’s Eats.  Now in case you’re just as curious as me as to where this silly name comes from (it sounds like it should be followed by a singing of “supercalifragilisticexpialidocious“), I did a little bit of searching on my favourite research site (Wikipedia) and came up with this…

“Snickerdoodles are probably German in origin. … The name is probably a corruption of the German word Schneckennudeln, which means “snail cookies.” … Yet another hypothesis suggests that the name has no particular meaning or purpose and is simply a whimsically named cookie that originated from a New England tradition of fanciful cookie names.  There is also a series of tall tales about a hero named “Snickerdoodle” from the early 1900s which may be related to the name of the cookie.”

Anyways, kind of cool!

Baking these cookies for half the time and at 75 degrees less in our oven meant that they were perfect and soft on the inside, with a crunchy, sugary crisp on the outside.  ALSO, look at Annie’s Eats, she actually makes baked goods every single day.  If I were her kids I would LOVE homemade lunches.

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A Pre-Night Class Feast! (Maple-glazed pork chops and spinach pilaf)

This may have been the best meal I’ve ever eaten.  No joke, I was so happy with the way this entire thing turned out, that I came home from my night class and started to snack on the cold, refrigerated leftovers.  I have absolutely no shame.

My concerned parents have recently been questioning my protein intake, and I was interrogated by both my mom and dad a few days ago on the phone, about whether I was eating eggs, peanut butter, cheese, ANYTHING.  My answer: a hesitant “sort of.”  To convince my dearest parents that I was, in fact, not going to shrivel away from a protein deficiency, I decided to splurge on some meat.  Kind of craving pork chops, I bought a package of four from the grocery store, for about $8.  Eight dollars may not seem like much to the average spender, but considering I bought the cheap, almost expired $2 meat last year, this is a definite step up.

I also wanted to get rid of the extra spinach I had from my salad a few days ago, and was desperate to find a recipe that was not some sort of pasta dish.  I struck gold when I found this Spinach Pilaf recipe on the Canadian Living website.  Having never made a pilaf with rice before, I was kind of nervous as to how this one would turn out.  I halved the recipe (to make 2 servings) and the only alteration I had to make was to add an extra 1/4 cup of vegetable stock.  My roommates will vouch for me in saying it was delicious!!  Mmm, just typing this post I am tempted to sneak upstairs and grab a spoonful (I wrote this at night, at which time I had already brushed my teeth, major logistics fail).

For the pork I used CL’s Maple-Glazed Pork Chops recipe, since I needed a fast garnish so I wouldn’t be late for my night class.  Finally, I attempted to make some sort of vegetable packet with farmer’s market carrots and zucchini.  Due to poor planning and my impatience, the carrots were still a little crunchy, but the rest was amazing!

I definitely suggest the two recipes listed above for students!  Such an easy meal, yet super impressive once plated and served (yes, the “bed of spinach” is for decoration, don’t roll your eyes at me).

Spinach Strawberry and Pear Salad

On a warm, reminiscent of summer day, I rejoiced in the fact that I got to eat at a barbeque.  My attendance at this afternoon event meant that I could resist the delicious outdoor supper smells as I returned from my afternoon journalism story covering.  Since I was full of delicious hot dog and cotton candy goodness (I ate the latter on the bus, which is an extremely difficult task), I wasn’t that hungry for supper, so I decided to just make myself a light salad.

As of the late, I have discovered my favourite types of salad always involve baby spinach and some sort of fruit.  With this knowledge in mind, I decided to use these two key elements to whip up a quick and delicious spinach strawberry and pear salad.  The baby spinach I used was the stuff I had sitting in the fridge after I neglected to include it in my last blog post meal.  As for the strawberries, Britt and I went to the local farmer’s market at Lansdowne Park this morning, and had the most wonderful time browsing through the fresh produce and eating AMAZING macarons (the first time I’ve ever tried them).  The strawberries came fresh from the market (I also got peaches and carrots!) and cast a magical “fresh strawberry” spell over me.  I know I’ve been slacking on posting recipes lately, but here is the one for this salad:

Salad
– 1 cup of trimmed baby spinach
– 1/2 cup of strawberries, pitted and halved
–  Half a pear, thinly sliced
– 1/4 cup almonds, toasted (or not, since I burnt my first batch in the toaster oven and decided to settle with them un-toasted)

Dressing
– 1 tbsp vegetable oil
– 1/2 tbsp white wine vinegar
– 1/2 tsp granulated sugar
– pinch of salt and pepper

Toss and enjoy!

I hope this salad has the same magical effect on you that it had on me!

Oh, one more thing… I took this picture at around 7:17 this evening.  Please note that the sun now sets at 7:05, which meant that this picture was taken in the semi-dark at the end of my street under a streetlight.  People walked by and saw me crouched down beside the sidewalk, photographing my food.  I’m starting to think my entire neighbourhood thinks I’m off my rocker… I may have to think of alternative arrangements for darkened photography.

Sour Cream Chocolate Chip Cake

For as long as I can remember my mom has been making this cake.  This was the dessert that, when I was young, kept me sneaking into the kitchen to trim the slightest of pieces off the cake, hoping she wouldn’t notice and somehow punish me with her evil dietician ways (kind of like this time I tried to masking tape shut a bag of chocolates, but that’s a whole other story…).

For any students who may read my blog, this chocolate chip cake is actually the most easy dessert in the world.  If you’re ever having any sort of guests over, or just wanting to plain out spoil yourself, this cake is decadent, moist and delicious – the perfect fix for both chocolate and cake cravings alike.  As an added bonus, any leftovers (hmmph, yeah right) also freeze wonderfully, and can be pulled out of the freezer last minute to stifle any midnight sugar cravings.

The three pictures you see below were again taken on the deck of my Sudbury home.  It’s quite different than taking pictures on my shaded Ottawa patio, and I was happy to have the bright evening light photograph in my favour.

Since this is a recipe that requires typing, I’ll post it right under the pictures!  Also, wondering where the hell you’re going to get a bundt pan?  Try rummage sales (where I got my vintage forrest green one) or Value Village.  Always an adventure.

Recipe
– 1 cup melted butter (or half butter, half margarine)
– 2 eggs
– 1 1/2 cups of granulated sugar

1 cup of sour cream
– 2 tablespoons of milk
– 1 tablespoon of vanilla
– 2 cups of flour
– 2 teaspoons of baking powder
– 1 teaspoon of baking soda
– 1 cup of chocolate chips

Blend ingredients together well.  Pour batter into a greased and floured bundt pan.  Bake at 350 for 45-50 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean and cake springs back when touched.

Voila (wasn’t that easy?)… bon appetit!

Apple Torte

With the weather having cooled off enough for me to cook without breaking out into a sweat, I decided it was time to rev-up the oven and bake again.  Craving something with apples in it, I was perfectly pleased with the simplicity of Canadian Living’s Apple Tort recipe.  The recipe also allowed me to pop down to the NEW specialty grocery market in my neighbourhood and pick up some apples (I used spartan).  This store is actually a two minute walk from my house, and will be a great place to go to pick up last minute blogging ingredients for foodie adventures in the future!

In the past, I’ve made one other apple dessert using a Canadian Living recipe (see the results: layered apple cake, a father’s day treat), and this apple torte turned out just as well, if not better, than that cake (and it was good!).  Being a huge fan of toasted almonds, I sprinkled an extra handful on top of the torte, along with some brown sugar, to add some colour to the top of the dish.  My pictures (and taste buds) benefitted from these last-minute additions, and they made the torte wonderfully photogenic.