bake sale week: monster cookies 2.0

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Before I get into telling you about these monster cookies, I wanted to tell you about some of the cool things my friends are doing. I’m at a very exciting time in my life and career right now where the people around me are starting to make headway with their dreams.

Matthew J. Kirby, who wrote the beautiful book Icefall, which I’ll talk about on here soon, had his launch party at The King’s English last night for his next two books. The kids and I all went to Salt Lake together and sat in on his reading of The Lost Kingdom and Cave of Wonders, the fifth installment in the Infinity Ring Series. Matt’s a great writer, and it’s wonderful to see that his career has taken off in so short a time.

This coming Tuesday, Julie, whom I’ve mentioned here before and has a killer recipe for banana bread, will also be having a launch party at The King’s English. Once again, she has crafted a beautiful story set in Regency England that will give you wistful longings for England and gentlemen in breeches (did I just steal a line from Austenland?). Her book is called Blackmoore, and is just as lovely as her first book Edenbrooke.

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Okay, on to the cookies.

bake sale week: coconut cream cheese brownies

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Some of you may be wondering where I’ve been. I could ask myself the same thing.

My friend Matt and I spent last night talking about what’s been holding me back from blogging, from writing, and really from anything I want to be doing, or feel like I should be doing. The simple answer is, and has been for some time now: I need a vacation. I’ve been so wound up with trying to survive as a stay-at-home single mom, that I barely have the time to do the laundry or clean the bathrooms and take the kids to school and help them with homework and read to them and pray with them and pack lunches and kiss their boo-boos and be their shoulder to cry on and make dinner and answer the cries of “Mom, mom, mom, mom, mom, MOM!!!!!!!!” let alone sit down and edit photographs or write something interesting. Sometimes, I feel so overwhelmed with everything, putting up a post is the last thing on earth I want to do. Sometimes, I want to make brownies without taking a picture of them, or without writing down how I made them, dammit.

Sometimes, I just feel like swearing.

When I blog, you’re usually not seeing the whole me (not the part of me that swears, until today, apparently). You’re seeing some of me, but you’re only seeing a version of me. Usually, you’re seeing me on a good day, or on a bad day, when I’ve managed to spin my story into something uplifting.

cream cheese no-bake cookies

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Today is National Oatmeal Cookie Day. Can someone please tell me who decides these things?

Lucky for me, I already have a recipe for oatmeal cookies ready to go.

You know those No-bake Cookies? Some people call them Minute Cookies, and I’m sure there are other names I can’t think of right now. They’re made with cocoa powder and peanut butter, and I love them, but the other day, the kids wanted some and I was out of cocoa powder. I didn’t want them to just be peanut butter flavor, so instead I used cream cheese. At the last minute, I stirred in some chocolate chips so the mixture would have little bits of chocolate throughout. I even refrigerated them so that some of the chocolate bits would get crunchy. They were a huge hit.

How do you like to make your no-bake cookies?

brown sugar macarons and my trip to the big apple

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I need a vacation.

The single mom thing has been getting to me lately. I would imagine a lot of you read my blog and think I have a perfect life, or that I’m trying to make you think I do. The truth is, I take many a photograph around here after I just shoved crumbs or unfinished homework out of the way to take a picture.

My life is messy. And most days I wonder how I’ll ever be enough. In a few years, my oldest will be leaving the house, and I wonder if he’ll ever know what stability actually feels like. I worry I’ll never get everything together . . . or not even everything! I’d be happy happy with just having a few things together! Like my laundry, for example. I think I’d like to actually get it all folded one of these days . . . that would be good.

I keep stumbling upon articles that talk about how stress makes it hard to lose weight, and then they go on to make suggestions about eliminating things that stress you out!! That’s when I break into a manic laugh. Oh right!! I’ll just cut back on my stress!! Why didn’t I think of that before!! Hahahahahahaha!!!!!!

Oh, I’m fine. I’m fine. Seriously. I’m fine.

So as I was saying, I need a vacation. I need the real kind with palm trees and soft white sand and towels and beach umbrellas. No cell phones. No computers. No cooking. Come to think of it, I’ve never had a vacation like that. The kind I usually take involves going to a city and walking around and eating a bunch of things that look interesting. And those are fun, too, and rare, and I love them when I can get them. A couple months ago I got to go on a little trip like that (and since I’m already talking about needing a vacation again, it must not have been quite long enough!). Remember a couple months ago I told you about those doughnuts from The Doughnut Plant ?? That was right after I got back from New York. I didn’t want to spill about the whole trip because I wanted to wait until I could show you these videos. I collaborated with Martha Stewart’s people and the Crocs shoes company to make a couple little videos about exploring New York and all the best places Martha loves. I got to try all my favorite foods and meet a bunch of fascinating people. You can see the videos here  and here .

Shooting those was a lot of work, but really fun. It’s hard to explain why so many people love New York, but it’s so full of life and energy.  I’m sorry I couldn’t bring you back a treat from all the great places I visited, but I thought you might like a recipe you can try for yourself. These French macarons are based on a macaron I tried from a French bakery. They had used un-blanched almond flour and then I think they only used butter as the filling. This is my version. Oh, and one more thing: don’t you think a vacation to Paris—with one whole day going from bakery to bakery to try all the different macarons—would be great?

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