Give thanks for cookies!

These are the best cookies of all time: nutella stuffed chocolate chip cookies. Thank you, Ambitious Kitchen! Of course LCB found the recipe. I followed it to the tee, except I used 3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips and 1 cup milk chocolate chips and did not use any dark chocolate chips because I didn’t want to spring for more bags of chocolate chips.

Heidi A. was the winner of $25 worth of Rhymes with Twee goods at DIY Trunk Show. Heidi has been emailed and will hopefully email me what she would like soon!

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! I hope yours is safe and scrumptious!

As an additional perk, why not give everyone who reads this 20% off the Rhymes with Twee Etsy shop with coupon code: THANKSCOOKIES. Buy handmade this holiday. Those you’re buying for will appreciate it more! Bah to Black Friday. See ya Cyber Monday! Offer good through Tuesday, November 27th!

2012 Week 45: This cake is pleased to mead you…

This week FLEW by:

  • Tilda training
  • Thrilled that Obama is able to finish what he started
  • Spontaneous Amanda/Stacy hang at Division Ale House
  • Checked out a new neighborhood store called Paperish Mess
  • Pre-JV dinner at Native Foods with Steph, Z, and Mark
  • JV opening for Crooked Fingers @ Schubas [that moment where you hear David Bazan’s liony voice behind you while you are backstage and you get strangely nervous!]
  • Coworker’s baby showers
  • Cooking up Change
  • Brunch with Sarah vG and co. at Wishbone
  • CakeFork @ Beth’s
  • Post-CakeFork dinner at Bite
  • Sold my first bottle of LAK lacquer!
  • Re-made my two Chicago Christmas cards and brainstormed a new and awesome Chicago Christmas card that I still need an inside message for.
  • For DIY Trunk Show next Saturday, November 17th, Rhymes with Twee is Booth 140, on a corner because I am a vendor sponsor. Come say hello, friends & fans!

    For CakeFork this year, I made this Apple Honey Bundt Cake with Fuji apples, subbing in pumpkin for vegetable oil, leaving out walnuts, and making up a mead glaze (recipe below). I ended up winning the write-in category. People wrote in these things for my cake: “autumnal,” “honey-licious,” “best use of alcohol/medieval beverage/creative ingredients,” and “deliciously medieval”. Color me PROUD!

    Mead Glaze

    1/2 cup mead
    1 cup powdered sugar, plus additional for serving

    Whisk together mead and powdered sugar. Drizzle over still warm cake and dust with additional powdered sugar.

    Films watched 45th week of the year:

    The Girlfriend Experience
    The American Scream*


    2012 Week 32: Life is short…cake.

    I made this shortcake because Stanley’s had an insane sale on strawberries. It was a success.

    I also made a whole heck of a lot of stuff crafty-wise prepping for Renegade and went to the gym three times. Monday, I took a Turbo Kick class with a teacher who I could not believe was a real human being. She barely broke a sweat in the almost hour-long class that she did all the “advanced” moves throughout! Also of note: went to Alison & Ian’s vegan pizza and ice cream party, went to Lao Sze Chuan for Sei Jin’s birthday.

    Probably the most awesome thing this week: Z and I went to see HARRY & THE POTTERS with POTTER PUPPET PALS. This was such an amazing show! If they come to your town and you love the HP books and rocking out, you really owe it to yourself to see them.

    I also have something pretty neat that I will be doing that I am not going to address on the blog until it’s final, but the supplies for this project arrive tomorrow. Basically, PSYCHED.

    Films watched 32nd week of the year:

    Shut Up Little Man!*
    Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark
    Pirahna (1978)


    2012 Week 26: When you’re alone and life is making you lonely, you can always go – to Downton.

    Tofu Chimichurri

    This week mostly revolved around eating. I started making protein shakes with vegan Life’s Basics (Pea, Hemp, Rice, Chia Seed) protein powder. I felt way more energy than I usually do in the mornings the 4 days I did it. I cooked tofu chimichurri. Somehow I clicked on something that let me know that Still Flyin’ were playing on Friday night at the Burlington and I Miss Alison went with me. I had been feeling so blah and it was one of those nights that was so desperately needed. They RULED. It was so weird and great to see two of my favorite band dudes, Mark from the Lucksmiths and Phil from Maserati, on stage next to each other. Mind explosion! Also, I got to experience Mark’s first Malort shot. Priceless! I went to see Ham Siobam @ Cordinated and it’s probably the last time they’ll play together in ages since Juli and Dan are moving to San Fran. I got to try two newish places: Phil’s Last Stand and Bullhead Cantina. The veggie dog at Phil’s is pretty darn good. The tacos at Bullhead were really creative, cheap, and best of all – TASTY! This week, I also am nearly caught up with my Flickr uploading: see here.

    I’ve been vegetarian for almost 3 weeks now and I will admit that I have almost caved a few times, but I have not given in. That’s part of why I bought the protein powder because my body was screaming out for chicken, I’m guessing because I need that protein. Happy news is that I am still losing weight even though this week I did not work out or ride my bike once. I have been taking long walks, but it’s just so hot I don’t want to sweat both while I’m outside and inside. I abhor sweating.

    On Saturday, I was feeling lousy so I laid on the couch and finished Downton Abbey: Season 2 and then I talked to my parents for a total of an hour about that show. I can’t stop thinking about it. It is such a wonderful show. If you have yet to watch it, give it a whirl. I am still trying to figure out a card design in ode to Downtown. We’ll see! I just looked a few weeks ago and I swear all this was not up there then: THIS, THIS, and THIS.

    Also of importance: next week on Friday, we are taking Tilda in to see a behaviorist, Dr. Ballentyne, at Furnetic. Tilda had been so good, but this week she ended up biting my hand when I reached in to pull a napkin out of her crate that she was eating. My guard was down and it didn’t even cross my mind that I was reaching into her safe place. We have to get to the root of what is making her aggressive and see if we can nip it in the bud. Fingers crossed.

    Films watched 26th week of the year:

    A Good Old Fashioned Orgy
    Life During Wartime
    The Devil’s Double


    2012 Week 17: “Say goodbye to all your friends.”

    I ate far too many meals out this week, but most of the time I used my calories wisely. Above is the exception. The photo was taken of my chicken & waffle (no bacon) lunch at Inspiration Kitchen. Chicagoans, take note: this is not only a place to get a delicious meal, but by dining there, you are supporting a wonderful cause. I got to witness another awesome cause in action right before my co-workers and I ate lunch there: Fresh Moves. Fresh Moves is a converted CTA bus that serves as a mobile produce market that goes from food desert to food desert, supplying affordable vegetables where there are none available. My birthday is coming up on 5/10. I don’t want anything for my birthday, but if you want to spend money on me, please donate to Fresh Moves here instead.

    This week, my friend Brandy said goodbye to the midwest and headed down to San Antonio for a new job that sounds perfect for her. It seems like a mass exodus is happening with friends/acquaintances leaving the Chicago-area. Everyone has good reasons, but what a bummer!

    I am once again at my lowest weight. I swear to you, if you want to lose weight, My Fitness Pal, helps so much! Holding myself accountable is what has really worked for me. Also, having my friends egg me on has been motivational.

    Also of note: We went to see our friend Derek’s theatre company, Chicago dell’Arte perform Comm-80s-a. A very fun and short show if you loved 80’s movies and well-choreographed dance numbers!

    Films watched 17th week of the year:

    Candyman: The David Klein Story*
    Edie & Thea: A Very Long Engagement*
    Leaves of Grass


    This week there was only one dud and it was Leaves of Grass. Every other movie was fulfilling and worthwhile in different ways. Edie & Thea: A Very Long Engagement was the clear winner this week. Seeing people so genuinely in love makes me so happy. I bawled my eyes out. Anyone who believes that being gay is a “choice” should see this movie. It is rare that I see straight people love one another the way that Edie & Thea do in this documentary. If you like food history, then you should see Candyman: The David Klein Story. David Klein got the short end of the Jelly Belly. Zachary and I went to the Jelly Belly factory in WI and they literally had written him out of their history on the tour we went on. David Klein has a new gourmet line of jelly beans here if you’d like to support the real genius with the jelly belly.

    2012 Week 14: Happy Anniversa-twee!

    Z and I celebrated our 6 year anniversary twice this week. On our actual anniversary (Monday), we went to our beloved Bite because we wanted to do something on the actual day and it was lovely, as always. While we were in the DC area for the Chickfactor shows, we went to a fancy dinner at Birch & Barley. It was one of *the* best meals of my life. Stuff of dreams was my appetizer: ricotta dumplings wrapped in duck prosciutto with fried capers and olives and there are two elements I am missing. Creamy and salty and the texture was just amazing. Duck as my entree was excellent also, but I wasn’t wild about the wild rice on the side. The goat milk cheesecake was flawless. One of the pricier meals we have eaten, but definitely worth every single penny and then some. Photos are above. You should probably have a napkin handy to wipe the drool from your mouth.

    RE: Chickfactor at Artisphere (Arlington, VA). Seeing Stevie Jackson and Black Tambourine were the highlights for me. Spending time with Z and my family and friends this weekend was fun-filled and we ate and drank like kings every day. Truth: I ate duck Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. We got a nice long walk with my parents in over the weekend, but not much other exercise. We are definitely going back to Lean Cuisines and Wii-ing every day this week!

    Films watched 14th week of the year:

    Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging
    The Wild and Wonderful Whites of West Virginia*
    Sleeping With the Enemy


    Being so busy, we didn’t have a whole lot of time to watch films, but all of them were enjoyable in their own way. This is definitely a must-watch doc and it’s on Netflix instant viewing!

    2012 Week 10: When you forgot you had a lemon on hand, make butter lemon sauce.

    Most of this week was awesome, but I experienced a giant pitfall in there. Took a co-worker pal to Podhalanka. Attended my first ICNC networking breakfast. Went to a reading that was part of Chicago Zinefest and went to Chicago Zinefest itself. Went to my first Paper Machete at Horseshoe. Made chicken and waffles from scratch with friends. Saw Stacy of Paper Doll’s new pug Rhoda Morgenstern twice this week!

    The pitfall experience was failing to get tickets to Radiohead. We tried and failed on both the w.a.s.t.e. pre-sale and the WXRT presale. During the proper sale on Saturday, I had 200 level tickets in my cart on Saturday and I just could not pull the trigger. I can’t see my favorite band since 1995 from that far away. I just can’t. So, if anyone stumbles upon this blog post and can help out, my friend (old school IRL #permanent_daylight name internautte) and I (old school IRL #permanent_daylight name madflowr) are looking for two Pit or 100 level tickets. Crestfallen is the best way to describe how it feels not getting tickets to your favorite band for over half of your life. I am fairly certain it will work out in the end and we’ll find some way to see them, but currently I am feeling gutted. I had to force myself to leave the house Saturday, but I made it out and it was a good thing I did.

    Adapted from the recipe I found here:

    Lemon Butter Sauce:

    1 cup dry white wine
    1 lemon, quartered and chopped
    2 tablespoons minced shallots
    1/2 cup 1% milk
    2 cans artichoke hearts, quartered
    1.5 sticks unsalted butter, cut into pieces
    1 teaspoon kosher salt
    1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

    Combine the wine, lemons and shallots in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until reduced by half, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally and mashing the lemons with the back of a spoon to break up into pieces. Add the milk and cook until reduced by half, about 3 minutes.

    Add in two cans of artichoke hearts, quartered. Whisk in the butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, adding each piece before the previous one has been completely incorporated. Continue until all the butter is incorporated and the sauce coats the back of a spoon, removing the pan from the heat periodically to prevent the sauce from getting too hot and breaking. Add the salt and pepper, and whisk to blend.

    Remove from the heat and serve immediately over your favorite type of pasta or cover to keep warm.

    Yield: 5 servings

    I removed the couple steps I did not follow. I know this would have been better with cream, but all I had on hand was 2% milk. I would also recommend using only 1/2 or 1/4 of the lemon, depending on your tastebuds. This sauce was extremely tart and had way too much lemon incorporated into it.

    Films watched 10th week of the year:

    The Exploding Girl
    A Fish Called Wanda
    The Gate
    Dirty Country*
    From Prada to Nada
    Waste Land*


    Winners this week were the two docs. I love documentaries. Wasteland felt especially pertinent to my job and I’m going to recommend that my co-workers watch it. Anyone who is a fan of art, living green, or a good doc would enjoy it. Dirty Country was Z’s pick, but I ended up loving it. Prudes, beware! I want to go see this guy Larry Pierce play a show in his garage one day. Watch it: Dirty Country.