In Which I Question My Sanity and Consume Excessive Salmonella

Last week on pure impulse I agreed to bake some cookies for one of the philanthropic associations on campus. Probably partly out of a selfish desire to force JP to admit that, yes, my cookies ARE better than Grandma’s (as per our discussion in class). Thing I think neither of us was expecting was just how deep I would throw myself into this. If you’ve ever read the children’s book “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie” you will understand what happened here. Except the mouse wasn’t asking for more, I just got a little excited and progressively started offering more. What started as an offer to make a batch of my Oatmeal Chocolate Cheesecake Cookies somehow became an offer to make 120 cookies (which actually made about 140, but don’t tell the philanthropists), divided between 4 varieties. It started so innocently. I figured well I only use half a tub of cream cheese for the Oatmeal Cookies, and I didn’t want to just take the easy way and bake off 80 of the same kind, I figured everyone likes variety and what if they can’t sell that many? So I decided ok, I’ll figure something else out to use the other half tub. So I sat and thought long and hard about what other ideas would be delicious and easy, and true to student style (though I’m gonna preface this by saying I’m really NOT a huge drinker), I found a way to bring alcohol into the picture in the form of Bailey’s Chocolate Cookies

But I didn’t stop there.

Sitting on the couch watching Secret Princes and imagining scenarios in which that turned out to be a thing with someone I knew, I had several Hallelujah moments. Not of the “aha! Aaraf is a prince!” variety, though of course he’s my knight in shining armor ;). I thought, I love cookies and cream – can I make a cookie doubly cookie?

Yes, Yes I can.

I decided to add this third variety of cookie after reasoning that I would have flour, sugars, and eggs left over – if I only bought ONE more brick of cream cheese I could make close to 100 cookies. But then we were back to the half brick of cream cheese problem.

Quality control = tasting before and after the dough is prepped (I took the duty of beater licking)

Quality control = tasting before and after the dough is prepped (I took the duty of beater licking)

Brushing my teeth, ironic given the fact that I was doing this thinking about cookies, I thought I love s’mores. There had to be a recipe out there. After searching through a couple recipes I finally settled on this one from the Six Sisters Stuff. It had the perfect mix of darling and ease.

For those of you keeping track – based on the average cookie yield of most recipes I was now up to 4 varieties totally approximately 120 cookies.

And because I have issues visualizing volume, I now have approximately 9kg of flour in my cupboard. Life lesson – just because it’s a better deal buying in bulk doesn’t mean you should. Though Costco has a fantastic deal on pure vanilla extract – just saying.

Thankfully I had a wonderful baking assistant, and we had Aaraf for quality control

So after that teeny tiny little offer to bake some cookies we ended up with the following:

I now have a very clear idea of what 120 cookies looks like

I now have a very clear idea of what 120 cookies looks like

What exactly did I make?

Bailey's Chocolate Cookies :) Yes. Cookies with alcohol.

Bailey’s Chocolate Cookies 🙂 Yes. Cookies with alcohol.

This was a pretty straightforward recipe, so I stuck mostly to this great recipe by Ali over at Gimme Some Oven. The only adaptations I made were to swap in cream cheese and yogurt for the butter, this meant that I also had to add some flour, but in the end I got a puffier cookie. For my version check out here.

Cookies and Cream Cheesecake Cookies :)

Cookies and Cream Cheesecake Cookies 🙂

I also made Cookies & Cream Cookies using a recipe from Acute Designs. Again, I stuck pretty much to the recipe, the only thing I did was swap butter for plain cream cheese, and add more Oreos and half a teaspoon more vanilla, because that’s how I roll. My version can be found here.

I'll take S'more? (bad pun. I know.)

I’ll take S’more? (bad pun. I know.)

In case you haven’t caught the theme yet – the only difference between this and the original? Cream cheese. Because cream cheese makes everything better. Since I use light cream cheese it’s also healthier for you than using butter. You can get the original recipe over at Six Sisters Stuff. I didn’t get quite the approximate yield of 40 but I most likely was just making them slightly larger than the original. I haven’t posted this separately because really I did the exact same thing – I just used half a brick of cream cheese instead of half a cup of butter and chilled the dough for 2 hours. Try it both ways – let me know – has my cheesecake addiction interfered too much?

And of course - the amazingly delicious Oatmeal Chocolate Cheesecake Cookies ;)

And of course – the amazingly delicious Oatmeal Chocolate Cheesecake Cookies 😉

Of course, I had to make the originally planned Oatmeal Chocolate Cheesecake Cookies!

The Double Double of Cookies & Cream: Twice Creamy Cookies & Cream Cookies

As part of my baking rampage this weekend, I decided that I was going to make some cookies and cream cookies, and so I took to Pinterest – what I found was a lot of recipes telling me to use cookies and cream pudding mix, which I am fairly certain they don’t sell here. Or I could just not be up on the pudding news. Either way – I did not want pudding in my cookies.

I finally found a recipe from Acute Designs, which was great, but I was actually a little disappointed by the low Oreo content. And I thought, hey what would make Cookies & Cream better? Make ’em creamier. Voila! Genius!

mmmmmmm

Twice the creamy, twice the cookie, Exponential increase in deliciousness

Twice Creamy Cookie

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 brick plain light cream cheese
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 8-10 Crushed Oreos
And we begin

And we begin

Directions:

  1. Sift together the flour, salt, and baking soda in a separate bowl.
  2. Cream together the sugars, cream cheese, and vanilla in a bowl until fluffy. Add in egg whites and beat until just combined.
  3. Slowly add in flour mixture beating until just blended. Fold in Oreos. Cover and chill for 2 hours.
  4. Preheat oven to 350, and roll into balls slightly smaller than a golf ball, place approximately 1.5 inches apart on a lined (or greased) cookie sheet. Bake for about 10 minutes until just starting to get golden around the edges (the secret to a good cookie is to just slightly under-bake it and let it rest on the cookie sheet for 5 minutes after), transfer to cooling rack after 5 minutes and allow to cool completely.

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Socially Acceptable Excitement

Not to sound like Rebecca Black. But honestly guys, I get excited. A lot. It’s sort of my thing.

This weekend is Color Me Rad Gatineau. Last Sunday I started looking towards kit pick up. And I was pretty much quivering with excitement.

For kit pick-up.

Not the race, just when I get to go and collect my bib and t-shirt.

For a 5k.

I have already run about 20km this week. And I am excited about a 5K. What’s even funnier, is that this is not a normal 5 kilometer run. It is a run where I will be pelted with coloured cornstarch, come out looking like I fell out of a time machine from the 70’s. And this excites me. Unbelievably so.

hippie couple

I'm not entirely sure which is a better fashion statement but this is the idea

I’m not entirely sure which is a better fashion statement but this is the idea

I am only mildly ashamed to admit that prior to registration opening I checked almost daily. No, I did check daily, occasionally multiple times a day. I did the same thing with the Army Run, registering pretty much the instant it became available.

My mom and I after our latest half-marathon - the Niagara Falls Women's Half-Marathon

My mom and I after our latest half-marathon – the Niagara Falls Women’s Half-Marathon

I spent each of my three half-marathons cheering and dancing and jumping around, I had WAY too much energy, but funny thing is that getting excited gave me the energy to do the half-marathon.

So I spent energy to get energized. Got it?

Race day as my mom just chilled there I jumped around, pretty much squealing with excitement.  I can’t help it though. It’s like all my hard work is going to be for something and that excites me.

I get excited when we’re almost done classes for the semester. When we’re done exams. I get excited when we’re starting class again. When I am going home for the weekend. When there’s no line at Starbucks. When the flyers come in (I am such a suburbanite, don’t judge. I shop for groceries according to what’s on sale, and I cook accordingly, so really this is an excuse to start eyeing up food porn for the week). I get excited when dry-fit goes on sale. When the bus is late on the day that I too am running late. When Timothy’s starts selling Sugar Bush Maple coffee. When a Kiwi Kraze opened down the street.

I could go on but I think you get the point. I just get excited a lot. Not always quivering level excitement, but I openly admit that these things make me happy.

If you watched the old Looney Toons and remember Porky Pig getting so excited he started to shake, or ever asked a dog if they want to go for a car ride you have an accurate picture of me. I tried to find a video, but apparently the internet’s powers are not infinite and I have enough pride to not film myself and instead leave it up to your imagination. Usually there is a combination of drum-rolls on my thighs and shaking my entire body, in a non-twerking fashion.

I don’t get quite as excited as these guys. But hey whatever floats your boat.

My boyfriend thinks I’m crazy, hopefully crazy cute, not just straight up crazy, for getting excited about the little things, but that’s what gets you through life. Enjoying the little things.

Like lying in the sunIMG_20130908_130057

Or having  discovered the BEST chocolate oatmeal cookie recipe (that is actually healthy as far as a cookie goes)

The secret is in the cream cheese and yogurt.

The secret is in the cream cheese and yogurt.

Or making the most AMAZING Pralines and Cream Cupcakes.IMG_20130805_181627

Or having friends to celebrate with on your birthday.DSC00897

Or having a new mug to drink your coffee with.1013476_10152939647305417_467133997_n

While some people may write it off as being way too excited about way too much, I do temper it. It’s not like I come in marching band style to lectures. I prefer to think of myself as the Baby Bear of excitement levels. I appreciate without freaking out everyone around me.

There are four levels of excitement you will find in people:

1. Prozac Peppy: I met a Prozac Peppy in first year. My roommate and I decided to take advantage of the fitness programs our tuition was paying for and take a yoga class. I had done yoga before and was very much looking forward to the class and the feeling of calm. All those hopes were shattered the instant the instructor arrived and perkily announced “I’m so full of energy!!!! Let’s WIGGLE!!!” and proceeded to dance as if possessed. She toned it down a bit by the middle of the class, but still was far too bouncy for a calming yoga class.DSC01448

The Prozac Peppies are the ones who get incredibly excited, usually when completely unnecessary. Like this: “Oh my God! You have apples! Oh and I’m so excited! The bus wasn’t late! And my cat said hello to me! And I had the most AMAZING cup of coffee!” Causing you to wonder if they have overdosed on stimulants or just had one too many coffees. Every day of their lives. But these people are AWESOME because they remind us to be grateful. In a lot of places, these basic things don’t exist.

I’m currently reading Madd Adam (Margaret Atwood), and they talk about Oreos being a luxury. OREOS. You know those things you could easily buy in bulk from any store in North America? But you don’t always think of these things. I take for granted that when I get back from my run I can have a nice hot shower, I can make coffee in seconds, I can buy lunch if I don’t have time to pack one. I never have to worry about danger, or wanting for things, I just know I will always be warm, well fed, and loved.

So you go Prozac Peppy. Thanks for reminding me how awesome life is.

grumpy cat

2. Debbie downer: This is the person that never gets excited. Ever. They in fact usually go so far as to find a problem with the situation. This person is the human equivalent of Grumpy Cat. You could probably give them a million dollars and they would complain about the taxes they have to pay on that money.

“Are you excited for Cuba????”

“No. I will probably get a sunburn.”

Things like that. I like to think they balance the world for all the chipper folks out there. But they also remind us that life doesn’t always  work out, and sometime toning it down and being realistic is a good thing.

This person reminds me of two things. The first is that balance is a good thing, because life isn’t totally awesome all the time so a touch of realistic optimism is always handy – you can’t be naive. And two, that I am happy that I am not so jaded that I can still revel in the little things.

unexcited3. The Stone Hedge: While not being outright negative, this person cleverly side steps being positive, with a vague sense of total apathy. You are totally excited about something, they see it as no big deal. Everything is no big deal. You never know if they’re actually excited because their classic response is “Meh” or the slightly longer variation, “whatever.” or the tragic “I’m too busy to be excited about that.” Too busy?!? That sounds miserable. Which it’s good to realize that in the end it’s all going to be no big deal. They serve as a reminder to not take yourself too seriously, but SERIOUSLY, some things are just too AWESOME to shrug at.

swedish medal

4. The Swedish: These guys strike a balance, getting excited, without being either too excited, too doubtful, or too stoic. They save up their excitement for when it really counts. And still appreciate the small things. These guys remind me that it’s probably best to only show extreme displays of excitement at socially acceptable times if you wish to retain a steady network of friends. Or people who will be seen in public with you.

Each of these people play a role in life. Some more boring a role than others. But they still play a role.

This is going to be a busy couple of weeks! I’ve got Color Me Rad this weekend, the Army Run next weekend, sushi lessons the following week, and then Sweet Baby Jesus, October is here. That means Thanksgiving, and reading week, and Halloween…and midterms.

I would love to sit here and wiggle with excitement, throw in a couple thigh-rolls, but there are chapters to be read, classes to be attended, and floors to be swept. And I’m in the Faculty of Social Sciences building. I feel like there are a few too many psychologists around to make such a random display of excitement without being carted away for a psychological assessment.

I wish this world wasn’t so jaded and that kind of thing was cool. Probably would still freak me out. But it would be nice if people being happy wasn’t a weird thing.

So I leave you with one mission – can you collect the entire set of excited people? Do you already have the set? Are you the entire set all on your own depending on the day of the week? Think I missed one? Let me know down below!