Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Currently

I'm working on a deeper post for you guys, but in the meantime...



Currently...



Watching: Breaking Bad...yes, I know I'm behind the times, and no, I don't really care. I know basically how it ends, and that actually makes it a little easier to watch. For me. We got to see Bryan Cranston on Broadway playing Lyndon B Johnson, and it inspired me to give this show (or as I call it, this study of human depravity) another chance. Dan loves it.

We are also watching Game of Thrones, and DUDE. I'm terrified, like, every other second. Which I'm pretty sure is how George R. R. Martin wants it.



Reading: The Secret History, by Donna Tartt. This is on some list somewhere of Books to Read in Your 20's, or Female Authors You Should Definitely Read, or Books That Will Simultaneously Make You Question Everything in Your Life And Appreciate How Good You've Got It. Anyway, it's extremely fascinating and compelling and so beautifully written. I can't quite believe these characters aren't real people, they're so vibrant and flawed.



Cooking: All the Things on the cast iron skillet. Dan got me two cast iron skillets for Christmas, and they are the.bomb.diggety (been hanging out with 5th graders too much). Every single time I use them, and carefully rinse them in scalding hot water with a soft cloth or bristle brush, then swab them with fresh oil to keep them seasoned, I am happy. Also when I eat the delicious things I am now capable of cooking (steak, anyone?).



Feeling: a bit disappointed in my spring break. I had Tuesday through Thursday off last week, and you know what I did with it? Pretty much nothing. I had all these grand schemes and they all fell through. Except planting seeds. And cleaning out one drawer. Oh well, take what you can get!



Stretching: I've been doing lots of yoga lately and I LOVE it. I feel like I've found a stride (pun) in my exercise routine--I like to run outside, not for very long and not very fast, and I love yoga. It makes me feel strong and powerful, instead of frustrated with how little I can do. My newly minted ab dents (they are certainly not abs in the proper sense) and nice toned arms don't hurt either.



Working: constantly, which is probably why I haven't been posting as much. Without trying to make some lame excuses, I have a pretty full plate without fun crafts or cooking projects. Here's hoping that changes over the summer (although only until the fall!).



What have you been up to lately?

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Cappuccino Peanut Butter Cookies

Oh, my friends.



This is a good one.



Get your recipe books/files/Pinterest boards ready.



For Christmas this year, my friend gave me a little jar of cappuccino peanut butter. It was tasty, unique, and she thought it'd make a perfect little gift. (Incidentally, she also gave me some apricot jam and told me she was thinking of a little PB&J theme. Melis, I hope you don't mind this use of your gift!)





It's been sitting in my cabinet since Christmas. I dipped some chocolate graham crackers in, and that was yummy, but it took me a while to figure out what I wanted to do with it:



Cookies.





Normally I'm your basic chocolate chip kinda gal (give me chocolate any day) but I figured one batch of peanut butter cookies wouldn't hurt.






Being a modern adult woman, I went to Pinterest to find a good peanut butter cookie, and oh man did I find one.



I found this recipe.



It's a pretty basic recipe, but I made sure I actually creamed the butter and sugars. Don't skimp on this step, I'm learning that really creaming the butter and sugars take a few minutes and it's oh-so-worth it.





 Alllllso the cappuccino peanut butter. It gives the cookies such a rich, toasty, coffee-y flavor without being overpowering. The texture of these cookies is just to die for.



Cappuccino Peanut Butter Cookies

1 cup butter (softened)
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup cappuccino peanut butter
2 eggs
3 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt


Cream the butter and sugars, then mix in the peanut butter until thoroughly combined. Mix in the eggs until well combined (if you use a stand-aid mixer like I do, turn it up for at least a few seconds). Add in the dry ingredients and mix well.

Bake at 325 for 12 minutes. The cookies will look just slightly underdone, but take them out and let them rest on the hot baking sheet for a few minutes before removing to a cooling rack.


The recipe also adds that you can dip/drizzle these in melted chocolate, which I fully intended to do until I tasted one. Why mess with perfection?


Also, if you're near a Trader Joe's, I bet these would be the perfect use of cookie butter. Yum.





Sunday, April 6, 2014

On Continuing the Conversation

This weekend I had the privilege of joining about 20 women from my church on our first ever Women's Retreat. Personally, I had my reservations--aren't "women's retreats" for my mom, and are we going to hold hands and sing kumbaya? Despite my qualms, I had a lovely time. A few ladies from our church shared their stories with us, and we had some great, honest discussions surrounding their words to us.



We went to Tel-Hai Camp in Honey Brook, PA. If anyone is looking for someplace to hold a retreat, I highly recommend it. The accommodations were great (we were on the decidedly non-rustic end of the housing options) and the staff was friendly and super helpful.



Of all the great things that happened this weekend, however, one of my very favorite things occurred at the very end. Most of us were packed up and getting ready to go, and there was an impromptu conversation between myself and about five other women on the topic of feminism.



I won't hash out all the gritty details of what we discussed, but it ranged from feminism in the 60's, feminism now, feminism in the church, and why any of it matters.



It also included three women in their 20's, one mother of toddlers, one mother of teenagers, and my pastor's wife. A range of life experiences, ages, cultural backgrounds, and faith backgrounds was represented.



Nobody was put down, had their opinions dismissed, or laughed at crazy ideas (ideas that we fully admitted may be blasphemous, and that's why we felt compelled to ask and study and pray about them). We talked about how far feminism has come, what it looks like today, and what we as the new generation of young adults, professionals, and parents want the future to look like.



It was a beautiful thing, and it was deeply encouraging to me. Not just because we were talking about something that I personally feel is important, but because our thoughts and opinions were being respected, validated, and discussed in a church setting, with ladies who hold some level of authority and experience over us (I never thought I'd interrupt my pastor's wife!).



I am deeply lucky that I have found a church home where this is the norm, where this is allowed, and where this can happen freely and with love.



If you have any resources on any of these topics, please share them! I don't want the conversation to be over, and we are always eager for more to read and think about.





Wednesday, April 2, 2014

On Being Healthy

Dan and I have both been working on eating healthier and getting into better shape this year. It's easier for me because I actually like foods that are good for me.



Although I also like plenty of foods that are bad for me, so...



Anyway, one of the things I've been doing is cooking on Sunday to prep for the whole week. Sometimes I hard-boil a bunch of eggs or roast veggies. Our biggest staples so far, however, are pretty easy: muffins and granola.



I found this awesome recipe on Pinterest, and these muffins rock. They are made with oatmeal and whole wheat flour, sweetened with a small amount of brown sugar and applesauce, and just egg whites. They come together really quickly, are super tasty, and make a great snack or breakfast on the go without sabotaging an otherwise "good" day.





(I do not, however, soak the oatmeal for an hour as the recipe calls for...I just mix it up right away. No issues so far, and I've made these at least a half dozen times.)



Secondly, I make granola.



Granola is kind of a mystery to me, because it's delicious and generally good for you (as long as you don't get a super-sweetened version or totally binge on it, of course) but it's SOO expensive to buy. This is mysterious because it's so easy and inexpensive to make.





My version, which I based loosely on the delicious homemade granola from Elcy's Cafe, goes something like this:



3 cups of oatmeal (I like Trader Joe's Toasted Organic Oats)
1/3 cup of coconut oil
1/3 cup of honey
one big handful of almonds (I use blanched, sliced almonds)
one big handful of cranberries
one big handful of shredded coconut


I mix the first four ingredients together, spread them on a baking sheet, and bake at 350 for about 6 minutes. Stir it around and bake for another 6 minutes. Take it out and while it's still warm, mix in the cranberries and coconut.


Ta-daa!



That recipe lasts us about 2-3 weeks, and you can totally switch out the sweetener, fat, fruit, or nuts as you like. This is just the particular combination that is really appealing to us!



Between these two easy recipes, we have breakfast covered at least 50% of the time (I'm a big cereal eater, so that tends to be my other 50%). Both recipes are full of good-for-you, whole ingredients with minimal sweetening and healthy fats.



Also, they are extremely delicious and lead to very happy Henriches.