Despite being college students, we have been eating quite well this week. Liz’s friends from high school (elementary school maybe as well?), Danielle and Frankie, have been visiting and as a result, we have actually put an emphasis on making legitimate dinners and eating at the table rather than on the couch eating haphazardly out of the freezer or in my case, throwing tofu and vegetables together.
So far we have devoured: (1) steak, potatoes, asparagus, (2) marinated chicken, carrots, and potatoes, and (3) raviolis/grilled veggies/spinach. Tonight seems to be shrimp ceviche, but I think I might scrounge around for an alternative. I’ll sample some as Liz and Eddie usually put some effort into the process, but let’s just say shellfish aren’t my fav.
Maybe I’ll dig into my leftover sandwich from Ike’s yesterday. It was called “Pumpkin” (and why wouldn’t I order a sandwich with that name?) and consisted of Dutch crunch bread with vegan chicken (I was looking for tofu…), pesto, avocado, pepper jack, provolone, and added in lettuce, tomatoes, jalapenos, banana peppers, and onions. Why not? This place has all sorts of crazy combinations with hilarious names and out of this world add-ins. Mozzarella sticks or beer-battered zucchini? Cream cheese or sliced rib-eye? For the Queen of Sauce, it actually had too much cream/mayonaise going on. I could have gone for a little less “white pesto” and a little more green pesto or mustard.
School has been going much better. I think it just helps to get into the swing of things and take each day as it comes rather than freaking out about all the tests, projects, and papers that are due. Novel concept, right? Yeah, I just keep telling myself that. I also keep trying to compare myself to everyone (well they do this and that, etc) and that needs to stop. Both Alex and Hayley had excellent posts on this subject and until I’m ready to jump in, I’ll let them explain.
Tuesdays and Thursdays are odd because I don’t start class until 1:45. Usually I am the one that selects classes starting around 9:15 and finishing before 3, just like the ‘ol days. But all the classes I needed were only offered after 11:45. You might be thinking, well why are you complaining? Time to sleep, work out, etc. Yes, you are right, but honestly I get a little frazzled if I have too much time off in the morning. I’d rather get all my work finished and be able to relax at night. I’ve decided I’ll allow myself a little extra sleep when necessary (getting up at 7:30 or 8 instead of 7) and will work in the athletic department on T/TH before class. That way, after class, I can review anything that I didn’t understand during class and start the next day’s reading or homework. I usually hit a point after 3-4 hours in the library where I can’t take it any more and decide it’s time for dinner and time to come home. Seemed to work well for the past few days, so I guess I’ll power on.
Well, yesterday I was just about through with the library and decided to experiment with some baking in the kitchen. Actually, I’ve been trying to wrack my brain (and my recipe books and the Internet) for something good. I wanted to try something new and maybe a little healthified. The word “healthified” tends to scare my friends off, but I think the recipe below will still blow their minds. You can barely tell that I substituted some of the ingredients. I doubt my sister would believe this, but then, her tastes have changed 😉
Still reading to see if I actually had a date? Fat chance. The “date” refers to the fact that I used ground up dates as a white sugar substitute. I was tirelessly searching the Internet as to how to incorporate such items (believe me, there are tons of articles, none of which answered my question exactly or how I wanted to hear it…typical), but I ended up winging it. Supposedly you need to slice and bake the dates so they are crispy when you put them in the food processor. At that point, they would probably blend to a point of appearing like sugar crystals. I wouldn’t know since the dates I tried to bake,
charred ended up burnt and almost caused the smoke detector to go off. I just new ones in the food processor with a little water and was good to go.
Oh, I guess it’s time to share the recipe as well. That’s where the Neiman Marcus part of the title comes in. See, like most books, the title isn’t completely obvious from the beginning. This Neiman Marcus Cookie came from a recipe I found a few years ago and might have come from a Girl Scout cookie exchange. Here is the story that accompanied the recipe. I have no clue if it is true or not, but sure adds some character. 🙂
“My daughter and I had just finished a salad at Neiman-Marcus Cafe in Dallas, and decided to have a small dessert. Because both of us are such cookie lovers, we decided to try the ‘Neiman-Marcus Cookie.’ It was so excellent that I asked if they would give me this recipe and the waitress said with a small frown, ‘I’m afraid not.’ Well, I said, would you let me buy the recipe? With a cute smile, she said, ‘Yes.’ I asked how much, and she responded, ‘Only two fifty, it’s a great deal!’ I said with approval, just add it to my tab.
Thirty days later, I received my VISA statement from Neiman-Marcus and it was $285.00. I looked again and remembered I had only spend $9.95 for two salads and about $20.00 for a scarf. As I glanced at the bottom of the statement. It said, ‘Cookie Recipe – $250.00’ – That’s outrageous!
I called Neiman’s Accounting Department and told them the waitress said it was ‘two-fifty’ which clearly does not mean ‘two-hundred and fifty dollars’ by any POSSIBLE interpretation of the phrase. Neiman-Marcus refused to budge because at this point I had seen the recipe and it was no longer their problem.
I just said, ‘Okay, you folks got my $250, and now I’m going to have $250 worth of fun – simply email the $250 cookie recipe to every cookie lover in the United States.’ She replied, ‘I wish you wouldn’t do this’ to which I responded, Well you should have thought of that before you ripped me off.”
And that’s the story. I have some enormous shoes to fill so please indulge.
Neiman Marcus Date Cookies
1 cup butter (or 1/2 cup butter + 1/4 cup Greek Yogurt)*
1 cup sugar (~1 cup blended dates)
1 cup brown sugar
2 cups flour (wheat flour)
2.5 cups blended oatmeal (do this in the food processor)*
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla
1.5 cups chocolate chips/chunks (feel free to sub/add in butterscotch/peanut butter chips or maybe toffee – chunks included for a different appearance/texture)
(optional – 1.5 chopped nuts – your choice…a blend like most things might be nice)
1. Preheat oven to 375F. Cream the butter (yogurt/butter) and both sugars (date/sugar).
2. Add eggs and vanilla. Mix together and add in flour, oatmeal, salt, baking powder/soda.
3. Add chocolate chips (and nuts).
4. Roll into balls and place on cooking sheet (use parchment paper to prevent the bottoms from getting too dark).
5. Bake for about 11 minutes. When you remove the cookies, check to see that the bottoms are a little brown. Be careful because they will be a tad bit doughy, but will harden on the counter.
Plan for today? Some exercise (not sure if it’s an off-campus run or not), class, homework, potentially more baking, and hopefully catching up on some of this week’s shows: Downton Abbey, Pretty Little Liars, and maybe the Bachelor? (Is it worth it? He’s pretty good looking from the commercials).
Have a wonderful Friday! What are some of your favorite shows?
“Be a first rate version of yourself, not a second rate version of someone else.”
– Judy Garland