Saturday, January 9, 2016

Further (AVOCADO) Stat-TOAST Conference

Happy 2016! I think it's time that I get back into the punny-blog-post game. It's going to be a resolution of mine to keep up with this thing more.


So...it is 2016. It is crazy to think how much my life has changed in only 12 months. Last year this time, I was starting my first job as a sworn in attorney, my apartment was a mess of boxes, and my personal life was more stressful than studying for the bar. Today, I'm still often confused at work (but much less!), my apartment is stunning, and I have never been more me before. I'm very grateful for 2015 -- it was a year of hurt, growth, and ultimate happiness. I'm looking forward to 2016 -- I don't know what it holds, but I anticipate it to be a year of challenges, love, family, and adventures.

As for work, when I think about how I look at a pleading today compared to 12 months ago, it shocks me. Today, I UNDERSTAND IT! Moreover, in the last year, I've appeared in court (unsupervised), argued motions that I drafted, communicated with clients and opposing counsel, and have been published.  HOW COOL?! Hopefully the excitement of learning and doing doesn't wear off.

Lately, I've been attending a lot of Status Conferences. I've also been making amazing breakfasts. Got me thinking about Further (AVOCADO) Stat-TOAST Conference...

Super simple, very satisfying, and healthy if you use good bread. Check it out:

What you'll need:
- 1/2 ripe avocado
- olive oil
- slice of your favorite toast
- brown or yellow mustard (I'm sure dijon tastes great too)
- red pepper flakes
- pomegranate seeds (optional)
- salt

How you make it:

Toast your bread, spread a thin layer of mustard, and spread your avocado on top.  You can either do slices like I did in the photos, or mash it up and spread the avocado more evenly. I change it up depending on my mood/level of desired effort. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle salt and red pepper flakes to taste, and drop on a few pomegranate seeds. Then EAT EAT EAT!


All of the toppings are optional, but I think they really add a nice touch.  The mustard is my little secret--I seriously love avocado and mustard together!



Saturday, January 31, 2015

Split Subpoena Soup with Ham

Hello, hello! Happy 2015!

2015 is off to a running start. Life has been crazy, but in the best type of ways. I've been officially sworn in as a lawyer, received a bar number, and I signed my first court document a few days ago!!!! I guess I am a REAL lawyer. I'm still in shock. I'm not sure how I got here, but THANK YOU UNIVERSE! Everything that I worked for, planned for, prayed for, is becoming reality.



The working world is HARD, and no one ever tells you that. What the heck?! When people said, "working is better than school because you get your nights and weekends free of stress," they lied. I don't know about everyone else, but I have definitely been taking my work home with me. Pshh free weekends. I wish!

Don't get me wrong though -- it's easy to complain about it (so I do), but (at least for now) I actually really enjoy this busy-crazy-hectic-in-over-my-head world that I'm living in. I like the uphill climb of learning EVERYTHING. In its own twisted way, it's exciting.

If your year has started off as busy as mine, you've probably been unable to cook for yourself. It's a shame really, because I find cooking therapeutic and so enjoyable. I just don't seem to have the time for it, nor the energy to wash dishes after. That's why the crockpot was invented!

Nothing says RELAX like a bowl of soup. One of my favorite soups is Split Pea Soup. That makes crockpot split pea soup absolutely perfect. Comforting, relaxing, easy, and delicious. Even better is you can now buy crockpot liners, so clean up is literally a breeze. Throw away your liner and you're done! Poof, magic!

I warn you, I made a slight mistake and forgot to add the 4 cups of water to my recipe so my peas turned a brown hue Still delicious when I mixed in the water later, but definitely not as pretty as it should be. Just ignore that, please. I was a little out of it when I was putting it all together. Thank you!



What you'll need:

- 1lb dried peas, rinsed
- 7oz ham, diced (can add more of less according to preference)
- 4 cups chicken stock
- 4 cups water
- 3 sprigs of fresh thyme
- 2-3 large carrots, diced
- 3 stalks of celery, diced
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 shallot, diced (optional)
- salt and pepper to taste


How you make it:

Dice everything up, throw it into the crockpot, and set it for 6 hours! Then come home to deliciousness.


Wednesday, December 24, 2014

EggNOT GUILTY Melt-Away Christmas Cookies

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year! 2014 was a whirlwind -- lots of ups, a lot of downs, and now it's over. It amazes me how quickly years come and go. I remember last New Years like it was yesterday -- I was in Philadelphia, FREEZING, with absolutely no idea about what lay in store for me in the coming months. Wait a second... that sounds like my life right now (only slightly warmer)! On the plus side, I think things are a little clearer? Maybe? Hopefully. Yes, let's say "hopefully." Oh life, you have a way of constantly surprising us. Can't wait to see what 2015 has in store! I'm ready for it.




So about these cookies -- they are good. I won't say they are mind-blowing or out-of-this-world, but they are perfectly Christmas-y and very delicious. It's about finding the best of both worlds (festive and tasty) and these cookies accomplish that beautifully! Oh, and did I mention they are SUPER easy? Yeah, that's what sold me. Enjoy, and Happy Holidays from my kitchen to yours :)




What you'll need:

- 1 3/4 cups flour
- 1/2 cup cornstarch
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 cup powdered sugar
- 1 cup butter, room temperature
- 1/4 cup eggnot
- 1 cup powdered sugar (for rolling the cookies)

How you make it:

Mix the flour, cornstarch, and salt together in a medium bowl. Set aside. Using an electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugar. Add in the eggnog. Then, gradually add the flour mixture and combine until everything is nicely incorporated. Lastly, refrigerate the dough for at least an hour, but preferably overnight. 

When ready to bake, preheat the over to 350 degrees. Roll the dough into 1-inch balls, and place approximately 1 inch apart on cookie sheets. Back for 12-14 minutes, until nicely golden brown. Allow the cookies to cool for about 5 minutes, and then roll the cookies in the powdered sugar. 

The End! Enjoy! 






Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Prob-APPLE Cause CRUMB MUFFINS






What you need for the…

CRUMB TOPPING:
1/3 cup light or dark brown sugar
1 Tbsp granulated sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
2/3 cup all-purpose flour



MUFFINS:
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup light sugar
1/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 cup yogurt
2 tps vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 cup milk
1 1/2 cups peeled, chopped apple (approx. 2 small apples)

Glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar
3 Tbsp milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract




How you make the…

CRUMB TOPPING:
In a medium bowl, combine the white and brown sugars, the cinnamon, and the melted butter. Using a rubber spatula, stir in the flour. The crumb topping will be thick and crumbly. Set aside.

Now, preheat oven to 425F degrees. Spray or line a muffin tin with nonstick spray.

MUFFINS:
Make the muffins: In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on high speed until smooth and creamy. Next, add in the brown and white sugars and beat on high until creamed. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed.

Add the eggs, yogurt, and vanilla extract. Beat on medium speed for 1 minute, then turn up to high speed until the mixture is combined and uniform in texture. Don’t forget to scape down the sides!

In a bowl, mix together the remaining ingredients. Then pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and slowly mix. Add the milk, whisking until combined and little lumps remain. Lastly, fold in the apples with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula.

Spoon the muffin batter evenly between all of the muffin tins, making sure to fill the muffin tins until they are full. Go all the way up to the top!

GLAZE:
Mix all of the ingredients together.
ASSEMBLY:

Now, crumble the topping with your hands to make some big chunks, and press it into the top of the muffins.

Bake for 5 minutes at 425F degrees, then lower the oven temperature to 350F degrees and bake for an extra 15-17 minutes. You want them to be nice and golden brown.

When done, drizzle the glaze over warm muffins and enjoy! Nom nom nom!


Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Rules Against for Perfect-and-chewy-ties Cookies

Okay, so I know that I promised this post a long time ago, and completely failed to deliver, but here it is now! Trust me on this, better late than never when it comes to these cookies. I have developed a few tricks/rules that deliver the best, chewiest, perfectly soft, and beautifully shaped cookies, nearly every time. A few rules and some patience. That's all. Follow them and you won't regret it!

Note: While the recipe below is for chocolate chip cookies, I use these rules for almost every batch of cookies that I bake.

P.S. You should make these chocolate chip cookies. Really. I mean it. Dare I say, the BEST CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE THAT I HAVE EVER EATEN?! I dare. They really are.



Rule 1: Use a paddle attachment. It seems silly, but I've noticed that using the paddle attachment (rather than using the whisk attachment) makes for softer cookies. I don't know how, but it does, so I don't question it.  




Rule 2: Corn Starch. Sounds crazy, right?! That's what I thought the first time that I saw a recipe that called for corn starch. I quickly realized, however, cornstarch is the gateway to cookie heaven. Add 2 tsp of cornstarch and your cookies will keep a nice shape, have perfectly crispy outer edges, and still be delicately soft inside. It works. Just believe.




Rule 3: ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS use high quality chocolate chips. It makes allllllll the difference in the world. People will notice, I promise. I switched from tollhouse and store brand chocolate chips to Ghirardelli and the crowds went wild. The cookies are simply better. There's no debating it.




Rule 4: Mix chocolates. I think adding two different types of chocolate chips to a cookie keeps things interesting and makes every bite a little different. It keeps the taste buds guessing and your cookie far from monotone. I love adding a little bittersweet too, just to cut back the overall sweetness of the cookie. Makes for a more sophisticated cookie. 



Rule 5: FREEZE THE DOUGH. If you're going to follow only one rule, THIS IS THE RULE TO FOLLOW. The technique takes a little time and patience, but it is well worth the efforts. First, you have to make the dough, then refrigerate it until it's not ridiculously sticky (maybe an hour or two), and then, you have to make golfball-sized cookie balls. Place the balls on a cookie sheet and stick them in the freezer. After 2 hours, you can bake. Freezing the dough into round balls, and then baking them creates the perfect shape with just the right amount of thickness. The cookies won't spread everywhere. They just turn into perfect little mounds of deliciousness.

Note: I usually don't bake right away, but rather stash ziplock bag fulls of cookie balls in my freezer for later use. I like to keep them on hand for whenever I get a random cookie craving or need a last minute potluck contribution.




Now the recipe that will change your life...



What you'll need: 

- 3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened 
- 3/4 cup brown sugar 
- 1/4 cup white sugar 
- 1 egg 
- 2 tsp vanilla extract 
- 2 cups flour 
- 2 tsp cornstarch 
- 1 tsp baking soda 
- 1/2 tsp salt 
- 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips (I used 1/2 cup bittersweet & 1 cup semi-sweet)


How you make it:

In the bowl of a stand mixer, using a paddle attachment, cream together butter and the white and brown sugars until fluffy and light in color. Then, add the egg and vanilla. Mix well. 

Next, mix in the flour, cornstarch, baking soda and salt. Lastly, stir in the chocolate chips.

Place the dough in the fridge to firm up, approximately an hour. When firm, shape the dough into golf-ball sized cookies and place on a lined baking sheet. Freeze the balls for at least 2 hours, or for weeks. 

When ready, bake the frozen dough at 350 degrees for approximately 10-12 minutes, until barely golden brown around the edges.  (The tops will not brown, but do NOT cook longer than twelve minutes.)

Let the cookies cool for 5 minutes, and then remove them from the baking sheet and let them cool completely.  Enjoy your treats! Try not to eat them all.




Saturday, June 7, 2014

Employment & LabORANGE WALNUT & CRANBERRY GRANOLA Law

Hiiiiiiiii!

This is my first post since officially moving back to Los Angeles! It's strange and exciting to be back here. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love it, but I'm HERE. Actually HERE. I haven't actually lived in LA since high school. That's like...umm...7 years ago. When I was 18. It's just weird.


BUT, I'm excited! Life is coming together for the most part. I've moved into an amazing apartment (that I probably can't afford), have my family close by (next door, no joke), and get to hang out with my best friend (Baileyboo, duh). Oh, and I'm studying for that little thing called the Bar Exam. Life could be worse (aka, will be worse in July). For now, I'm just taking it all in.

During an early morning walk with my roommate, Bailey, I spotted some oranges...

so I picked them...

and then zested them...

which was then baked...

and turned into the yummiest granola! 


This recipe is simply wonderful! I have already made 2 batches of it...in less than a week. And I haven't shared. Whoops. (I'm going to use the Bar as an excuse to stuff my face with any- and everything. Don't judge me.)

It's super simple, really fresh, and makes a sad-study-zone-apartment smell INCREDIBLE. Check it out!

What you'll need:

- 1 cup dried cranberries
- 1 cup chopped walnuts
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 3 tbsp butter, melted
- 2 cups oats (DO NOT USE QUICK OATS)
- 1.5 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 tsp vanilla
- zest from 3 small oranges (I like a strong orange flavor. Add less for a more subtle flavor)
- 1/3 cup orange juice


How you make it:

Preheat you oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, mix together the butter, brown sugar, orange juice, vanilla, orange zest, cinnamon, and salt. Add in the oats and chopped walnuts and stir.

Now, spread the mixture on a lined baking sheets. Make sure to spread it out as much as possible -- a thick layer won't bake well. I suggest using a cookie sheet with a rims so that you don't have granola all over the bottom of your oven. Bake for 10 minutes.

Allow the granola to cool completely, then transfer it to a large bowl. Add in the cranberries and mix. DONE! Enjoy by the handfuls, with yogurt and fruit, or with milk. Store in an air tight container for freshness.


Legal Term: http://www.sba.gov/content/employment-labor-law


Thursday, April 17, 2014

Classic VanilLAW Cake with Raspberry Filling and Milk Chocolate Frosting

TODAY IS THE LAST DAY OF LAW SCHOOL. Insane. Three years come to an end today. I don't know what to do with myself...



So, I baked a cake. This cake is celebrating two things -- Meagan's Birthday and the end of our law school lives. HAPPY BIRTHDAY MEAGS!

The cake is on the denser side. It's good, but it almost resembles pound cake. The real money is the FROSTING. Honestly, this might be the best frosting to have ever touched my lips. I ate spoonfuls of it when I was done frosting the cake...I never do that.





What you'll need for...

The Cake:
- 4 cups flour
- 2 tbsp baking powder
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 cup butter, melted
- 2 cup milk
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 4 eggs

The Filling: 
- 1-2 cups raspberries (fresh or frozen)

The Frosting:
- 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 3 tbsp milk
- 1 tsp vanilla




How you make...

The Cake:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Grease two 8-inch pans (I used Pam spray).

Then mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Add in the butter, milk, eggs, and vanilla. Using a hand mixer, beat everything together until well incorporated.

Pour the batter into the prepared pans, trying to make them as equal as possible. Place them in the oven and bake for 30-33 minutes. They cakes should be a light golden brown and a toothpick should come out cleanly. Allow the cakes to cool in their pans for 15 minutes, and then transfer to a wire rack (or a plate.

The Frosting:

Using either a hand mixer or a Kitchen Aid, cream the butter on medium for 4 minutes. Add in the powdered sugar and cocoa powder, then mix on low for a minutes. Next, add in the milk and vanilla extract. Again, mix on medium until mostly incorporated. Then, turn up the mixer on high and let it mix for 4-5 minutes until the frosting is fluffy and has a lighter chocolate color.




The Assembly:

Alright, this is the fun (messy/scary) part. Trim your cake tops so that they are flat and will lay nicely on top of on another. Place you first layer down. I like to place the "bottom" of the individual cakes face up (this provides you a smoother top surface). Spread about 1/3 of the frosting across the top of the bottom layer. Then, sprinkle the raspberries over the frosting. Place the next cake layer on top of that (again, "bottom" up) and put the remainder of the frosting on the top and sides of the cake.

AND YOU'RE DONE! Let the cake sit for 1-1.5 hours before serving. YUMMMM





It looked so good, I couldn't wait for the birthday party -- I made mini cake sandwiches from the cake trimmings. SO GOOD! YUMMMMM