Signature Pretzel MMmmm Cookies

I have been working for year on making a signature dessert. I have mentioned before that have a strange addition to baking and there is nothing quite as satisfying as having people rush to you at a party exclaiming “These are delicious!” or “You are such a great baker!” or occasionally “What’s your secret ingredient?” to which I always respond “Love” but in reality is “butter and 2 different types of sugar”. When I began venturing away from the recipe book a few years ago and starting to make my own creations, I started to think about how great it would be to have a dessert that people linked to me. I wanted to be that person who was invited to a party and the host thinks to herself “I hope she brings a batch of those delicious _______”. And one day, after a particularly long few hours of stress baking, it came to me. My own cookie recipe. Disclaimer: This is a big world so there is a chance that there is another person out there in the world who also have a similar or even the exact same cookie recipe that I am about to present. But it actually leads me to my next point. I was going to keep this a secret. It was going to be my own, just for me. But that I realized how sad that was. I thought about how the point of baking is to share sweetness to everyone. I thought that a delicious cookie could make a bad day into a good day and even be considered comfort food during the worst of times. So I knew that I had to share.

Happy Baking!

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • 1 stick of butter (soften at room temperature)
  • 1/2 cup of coconut oil (room temperature)
  • 2 cup of granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup of coconut sugar
  • 1 Tbsp of Dark Molasses
  • 1 tsp of vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 bag of Pretzel M&Ms (I have yet to try this with just regular M&Ms and pretzels but I’m sure it would work fine)

1) Preheat the oven to 375 F

2) Combine butter, coconut oil, both sugars, molasses and vanilla into a smooth paste

3) Add Eggs in one at a time, mixing in between

4) Mix in the baking soda and salt

5) Gradually add in the flour until everything is well combined

6) Put all of the M&Ms into a blender and pulse into a powder with a few chunkier pieces (FYI this makes a TERRIBLE noise but just power through)

7) Incorporate the pretzel-chocolate powder into the batter until everything is combined

8) Put this mixture in the refrigerator for 15 minutes

9) Roll the chilled batter into 1 inch balls and place the evenly along a baking pan lined with wax paper

10) Bake for 13 minutes

11) Resist the temptation to eat them right off of the hot baking pan and let them cool for 10 minutes

12) Enjoy!!!

Hair Dying

I feel that everyone have very different opinions about hair dye. It can be used for many reasons but my favorite reason for dying one’s hair is definitely as a form of expression. I personal love dying my hair . It think it’s fun and refreshing but I have been known to go a bit overboard at times. I have dyed my hair many times in the past, in all kinds of colors and styles. It all started in elementary school. You hear me right, 5th grade. A popular girl that I’m going to call “L” came into the class one day with not only a brand new cartilage piercing, but also strips of pink in her light brown curly hair. All of the girls were on her at one. We were all fascinated and jealous to the core. By lunch time, the blond girls were highlighting their hair with actual highlighters. I was disappointed when it didn’t work on my dark brown almost black hair. I remember asking my mom about it the moment I got home and she of course said no. However, my cousins who were around my age had been experimenting with highlights at the time (and when I say experimenting, I literally mean that because my aunt was putting house-hold cleaning bleach on small sections of their hair). I was offer this as an alternative but I said refused. It wasn’t colorful. After a while of watching me desperately draw on my hair with different markers (and I think actual paint at one point) my mom and dad had a discussion about what to do and eventually gave in. I was shocked that they were actually okay with this but now I’m pretty sure that discussion was just my dad saying, “Let her do it and let her learn her lesson,” because, oh boy did I. [It was the same thing he said when I wanted to wear a bikini to my first day of summer swim team practice, another horrible cringe worthy story that I probably won’t ever tell. I just kind of hope that one will completely disappear from my memory. ]

My mom had a friend in who owned a little beauty store and so she brought me in one day. When my mom voiced her concerns, her friend cheerfully said, “Lot of the young girls are doing it now, I think it’s a trend.” She helped me find a hair dye called “Cherry” and warned me that my hair was probably too dark for it to show up really well but it would show up a little. And it did. My mom helped me put it in and I was slightly disappointed that it didn’t show up as vibrant as Lindsey’s but it shone in the sun and I was happy. The next day at school, I walked in to class spinning my hair around waiting for compliments, but nobody really noticed. Except for a few of the other girls. Now I definitely wasn’t part of the popular crowd, I hung around mainly with myself, so as you can imagine this made me look….well frankly desperate. I hear “L” at one point saying “She just did it too copy me.” in a tone of aggravation and annoyance that made me just want to die (Haha, Die-Dye. Punny). It made me surprisingly sad, regretful. I even went up to “L” and tried to explain that I wasn’t trying to copy her and I’m sure you can all imagine how well that went. I had the color in my hair for a little bit, my mom’s friend made sure to give me the temporary stuff (another reason my mom gave in). And you would have thought that was the last time I would have attempted to color my hair but even thought I still felt my stomach do flips when I think about “L” comment, I was hooked. I did eventually let my Aunt put the bleach in my hair and I actually really liked it (now the pictures from that time make me shake my head but in the early 2000s, it was pretty nifty).

When I got older, my mom and I experimented with home highlighting kits together  but most of those just looked terrible. I’ve had red highlights, purple tones and a smattering of other. All looked okay for a little bit and was only acceptable because I was in high school. When I was in college, I had this “thing” I would do where I was get one of the “Splat” kits from CVS, bleach about an inch of the underside of my hair, on the left side and then give it vibrant color. I had neon blues, pinks, reds, I think green at one point. Then I would cut my hair short, cutting off the bleached section, have normal hair for a while and when my hair was long enough, do it all over again. Last year, dyed my entire underside of my at the time very long hair a dark purple. I don’t know if I will ever completely give it up. I told myself when I got a real job and was a grown up, I would stop but then I dyed my entire head red just a month ago. I go back and forth on the topic so much. Every year I tell myself I’m too old to dye my hair but I suddenly blink and poof! Color! Maybe I’ll never stop. Maybe I don’t want to stop. Maybe it’s time that we redefine the normal. Maybe it’s time you see a girl with exotic pink and green hair walking down the street and instead of saying “Wow, she has weird hair”, you’ll say “Wow, why is she walking a ferret?” It is the time for acceptance. For expression. For more color.

Putting the Fuse in Confused,

C

I feel that everyone have very different opinions about hair dye. It can be applied many reasons but my favorite is definitely as a form of expression. I personal love dying my hair . It think it’s fun and refreshing but I have been known to go a bit overboard at times. I have dyed my hair many times in the past, in all kinds of colors and styles. It all started in elementary school. You hear me right, 5th grade. A popular girl that I’m going to call “L” came into the class one day with not only a brand new cartilage piercing, but also strips of pink in her light brown curly hair. All of the girls were on her at one. We were all fascinated and jealous to the core. By lunch time, the blond girls were highlighting their hair with actual highlighters. I was disappointed when it didn’t work on my dark brown almost black hair. I remember asking my mom about it the moment I got home and she of course said no. However, my cousins who were around my age had been experimenting with highlights at the time (and when I say experimenting, I literally mean that because my aunt was putting house-hold cleaning bleach on small sections of their hair). I was offer this as an alternative but I said refused. It wasn’t colorful. After a while of watching me desperately draw on my hair with different markers (and I think actual paint at one point) my mom and dad had a discussion about what to do and eventually gave in. I was shocked that they were actually okay with this but now I’m pretty sure that discussion was just my dad saying, “Let her do it and let her learn her lesson,” because, oh boy did I. [It was the same thing he said when I wanted to wear a bikini to my first day of summer swim team practice, another horrible cringe worthy story that I probably won’t ever tell. I just kind of hope that one will completely disappear from my memory. ]

My mom had a friend in who owned a little beauty store and so she brought me in one day. When my mom voiced her concerns, her friend cheerfully said, “Lot of the young girls are doing it now, I think it’s a trend.” She helped me find a hair dye called “Cherry” and warned me that my hair was probably too dark for it to show up really well but it would show up a little. And it did. My mom helped me put it in and I was slightly disappointed that it didn’t show up as vibrant as Lindsey’s but it shone in the sun and I was happy. The next day at school, I walked in to class spinning my hair around waiting for compliments, but nobody really noticed. Except for a few of the other girls. Now I definitely wasn’t part of the popular crowd, I hung around mainly with myself, so as you can imagine this made me look….well frankly desperate. I hear “L” at one point saying “She just did it too copy me.” in a tone of aggravation and annoyance that made me just want to die (Haha, Die-Dye. Punny). It made me surprisingly sad, regretful. I even went up to “L” and tried to explain that I wasn’t trying to copy her and I’m sure you can all imagine how well that went. I had the color in my hair for a little bit, my mom’s friend made sure to give me the temporary stuff (another reason my mom gave in). And you would have thought that was the last time I would have attempted to color my hair but even thought I still felt my stomach do flips when I think about “L” comment, I was hooked. I did eventually let my Aunt put the bleach in my hair and I actually really liked it (now the pictures from that time make me shake my head but in the early 2000s, it was pretty nifty).

When I got older, my mom and I experimented with home highlighting kits together  but most of those just looked terrible. I’ve had red highlights, purple tones and a smattering of other. All looked okay for a little bit and was only acceptable because I was in high school. When I was in college, I had this “thing” I would do where I was get one of the “Splat” kits from CVS, bleach about an inch of the underside of my hair, on the left side and then give it vibrant color. I had neon blues, pinks, reds, I think green at one point. Then I would cut my hair short, cutting off the bleached section, have normal hair for a while and when my hair was long enough, do it all over again. Last year, dyed my entire underside of my at the time very long hair a dark purple. I don’t know if I will ever completely give it up. I told myself when I got a real job and was a grown up, I would stop but then I dyed my entire head red just a month ago. I go back and forth on the topic so much. Every year I tell myself I’m too old to dye my hair but I suddenly blink and poof! Color! Maybe I’ll never stop. Maybe I don’t want to stop. Maybe it’s time that we redefine the normal. Maybe it’s time you see a girl with exotic pink and green hair walking down the street and instead of saying “Wow, she has weird hair”, you’ll say “Wow, why is she walking a ferret?” It is the time for acceptance. For expression. For more color.

Putting the Fuse in Confused,

C

Don’t Be the Best

My most valuable piece of advice: don’t be the ‘best’ in any situation. This may seem like rude advice at first but it’s actually not as degrading at it seems at first. This phrase isn’t exactly saying don’t be the ‘best’ at anything, it’s more so saying don’t be the ‘most’ at anything. They seem similar but there is a very important difference and the best way that I can explain it through examples.

I was an pretty annoying kid growing up. Not as in “no one liked me” annoying, but more I was “too awkward to function” so no one really knew how to deal with me. Looking back, I wish I could have just been more normal but what can you do. I always reflect on my earlier self and end up thinking to myself “How did I actually have friends? Hahaha! But no, seriously.”After much deliberation, I have narrowed down this one simple fact: there was another kid who was much more annoying that I was. This kid, in fact, was the MOST annoying person in the classroom. This kid was constantly interrupting you or bragging about himself or wanting to talk about the things only he was interested in or saying rude things that he did think were rude and I could go on but basically, this kid was obnoxious. You see, I thought I was also quite obnoxious when I wanted to be but nowhere near as obnoxious as he was. This kid was the MOST obnoxious person in the vicinity to the extreme. So you see in comparison, I was not that bad and thus had a pretty normal social life (well, as normal as I could have been considering). This little tidbit also applied as I got older.

When I worked my first restaurant job as a cashier in the ToGo section, I was a little bit of an idiot. I just had trouble working the register system and once in a while people would change their mind about the bills they gave me after I rang them up and I, as a high school senior, couldn’t do the simple math for giving them back their new change without counting on my fingers. So you see, I was kind of a hot mess but no one really noticed me. How is this possible, you ask? Because one my co-worker was a much bigger hot mess than I was. Besides having a much harder time working the register than I did, this kid couldn’t comprehend replacing the napkins on tables when they ran out or why we need to correctly assign the right sides on each plate before we sent them out (“couldn’t we just change them when we get out there?”) and also forgot which of the sauces was spicy and which wasn’t when customers asked (just FYI, they were really clearly marked on our end). So I was a bit incompetent but this kid was the MOST incompetent. So I got to clock in clock out without too much worry that someone was going to sit me down and talk about my performance since I may have accidently given someone a dime instead of a nickel but he would accidently give someone an entire extra entree without charging them. In comparison, I was golden.

This has surprisingly helped with everything. You see, I was never the MOST likely to get drunk and cause a scene at a holiday party or the MOST likely to accidently curse in front of a child or the MOST likely to lose my car keys before an important appointment. Have I done all of these things at one point? Maybe. You see as evident from this blog, I have plenty of quirks and strange habits and weird things tend to happen to me but in the end, I won’t end up being THAT person. You all know who I’m talking about.

Putting the Fuse in Confused,

C

One Day, This Will Make a Great Story

If you ever go through something horribly embarrassing and cringe worthy something that I like to tell myself is that one day, it will make a great story. Now I’m not saying that I never cringe at things I did when I was younger. On the contrary, I find myself cringing at least once a day at an old forgotten memory that suddenly decided to pop back into my head. (I mean, don’t we all??) But instead of sitting there, wallowing in self pity over something that just happened, I like to tell myself: you know, one day this is going to make a great story. I remember when I was little and I would pee my pants all the time at kindergarten because I was actually too shy to tell the teacher I had to go. Was it horrible at the time? Of course. Is it kind of funny now? Definitely. A more recent example in my life, I remember one incident where I jokingly trashed who I thought was a relatively hated political figure to a few close peers at work hoping for laughs. Instead, I got nervous laughter and an “Oh, my mom loves him.” from one of them. Whoops. It was terribly awkward at the time? More that you can imagine. But can laugh about it now? Yeah, and only with a few tears of embarrassment.

So moral of the story, kids? If you do something terribly embarrassing and you feel really down in the dumps, all you need to do is tell yourself to pull yourself back up and make yourself feel better is say to yourself “one day, this will make a great story” or at least in my case “one day this will make a funny blog post”.

Putting the Fuse in Confused,

C

Don’t Give Up

So this post is going to be a little bit different then my normal stories, just a warning. But it does start off with a confused situation. Typical. Long story short, last week most of my writing energy went towards a brief essay for a grad school application. So I wrote all about why I am the person I am today because of my most recent experiences and failures and how I learned to never give up because of it. You probably know the drill. As I finished the last sentence, I discovered to my despair that I misread the prompt. So my essay actually contained nothing they had asked for. Whoops.

But before I got too grumpy, I read it over again and realized that this little tale might actually serve another purpose. So instead of wasting a perfectly good story, I decided to share it to my little confused world. This story won’t be that funny and it won’t have any crazy, weird anecdotes, but it will have a lesson I learned. And maybe if someone reading this is going through the same situation, it will help in some way. Or at least make them feel better to know they are not alone.

“I will always remember my college graduation because that was when I thought everything in my life was finally falling into place. (I will also remember it because I was seriously ill, suffering from a peritonsillar abscess but that’s a story for another time). I was congratulated by so many people and told by everyone that this would be start of the next chapter of my life. Little did I know that this “next chapter of my life” was me staying in pajamas all day, watching TV shows by the season and eating cereal straight from the box. But why? I was a science major and science majors were high in demand (according to a Buzzfeed article I read 2 years ago), so why wasn’t I getting job offers left and right. When I look back at it now, my theory does sound pretty stupid. Regardless, I spent most of that summer frustrated. Why did I waste all this time studying and pulling all nighters to end up with nothing? I was supposed to be adventuring but instead, I was avoiding social gatherings just so I wouldn’t have to answer that dreaded question “So what are you doing now?” I remember fake laughing when neighbors made unemployment jokes at my expense. I remember lying to a friend about taking a gap year to travel. I remember crying on my birthday after receiving what seemed like my hundredth job rejection from promising prospect. Then I finally snapped and just gave up. I started to look for non-scientific jobs with the description: “some high school education required”. Almost immediately, I was hired as a receptionist at a small business and I was finally happy. Or at least I thought I was. But after 2 months of repeating the same phrases over and over again for 8 hours a day, I started to get that sinking feeling again. I found myself thinking about college, and I missed science more than I thought I would. At that moment I knew I had made a mistake, and finally got the kick in the pants I desperately needed so long ago. I have a different job now at a biotechnical company and on my first day, it actually felt like I had come home after an extended trip abroad. I feel that sometimes, life gives you a challenge because it wants you to know the feeling of overcoming. That time in my life will stay with me forever. I experienced a lot over those 5 months and looking back I still wouldn’t change a thing. Those experiences have become a part of me and for the better. I know what it’s like to fall down and give up. And I also know what it’s like to pick myself back and start walking again. It took some time, and I got some scrapes and bruises along the way, but eventually what goes down will come back up again. Hey, I should know. I’m a scientist.”

Putting the Fuse in Confused,

C

“The End”

With the new year upon us, it got me thinking about the end of things. Like end of 2014 and thus the beginning of 2015. But from there, I started to think about “The End”. Like the end of the world kind of end. Not that I think the world is going to end any time soon but there are definitely points in my life when I thought that MY world was coming to an end. This feeling normally comes up when something has happened that is so awful that it gives you that horrible stomach ache and makes you break out in sweats. In your own little world, you think the world is going to end. So in honor of the end of the year, I started to think about all of the times when I thought my life was coming to an end.

When I was 5, my brother gave me his helium balloon to hold for him. I accidently let go and it floated up into the sky. He was so angry at me, I thought I would never make it past that day. But the day did pass and he forgot about it by dinner time. When I was 7, we were at lunch and my friend asked if she could have one of my Cheese Puffs. I said yes and promised her that I would give her one. She went to the bathroom, I stopped paying attention and accidently ate all of them without realizing it. I started sweating so much my T-Shirt changed color. My friend came back and I started apologizing profusely. She shrugged it off, since she had forgot that she asked for a Cheese Puff. When I was 10, my dog ate almost all of my Halloween candy and then threw it all up. I actually thought my world was crumbling around me as I started at the chewed up candy wrappers and colorful vomit. When I was 12, I asked a boy to a dance and he said yes. He then spent the entire time with his friends because he forgot I asked him in the first place. I swore off men that day and told people I was going to be the cat lady that live on the corner of the street and would be so single and crazy that you would tell your kids to run past my house if you saw me coming to the window. (I give my younger self 10 points for creativity at least.) When I was 14, I walked into a really big locker and a kid next to me shut the door closed behind me and trapped me inside as she laughed and refused to let me out. I remember embracing death that day. When I was 15, one of my best friends moved away. I cried for days. Funny thing is she actually didn’t like me at all and was only pretending to be my friend. Yeah, I got over that once a lot faster than some of the others. When I was 17, I was driving my dad’s car and it brushed up against a pole taking a chunk of the bumper with it. I hadn’t been to church in years but man did I started praying hard that day. This way when my dad killed me, I wanted to at least have a shot at getting into heaven. And you’ll bet your bottom I prayed even harder when I popped one of the car’s tires 4 months later. When I was 18 and in my first year of college, I failed my first exam. I went that afternoon to the convenience store and ate almost an entire box of Chips Ahoy in my dorm room as I cried into my pillow. When I was 19, I almost failed my Organic Chemistry class. I actually went on Craigslist look up houses in Mexico to live in when I started my new life as a college dropout. You know, after I changed my name and burned off my fingerprints. And finally when I turned 21….. the world did almost end that day because at one point in the night, I actually did think I was going to die.

But the thing is, I survived all of those things and kept on going. So there’s a little message for all of you. When you think the world is ending and that nothing in your life is going to be good again, just remember that hangovers and helium balloons typically only last for a day anyway.

Putting the Fuse in Confused,

C

Going Against Your Gut

“Go with your gut”. “Listen to your heart”. “You do you Boo-Boo”. There are many ways to say it but if you ask any important person or inspiration speaker they would say the same thing, to go with your instincts. Well, I am here to tell you NOT to do so. Okay, that is a bit of an exaggeration. I’m not saying to completely ignore your brain, just to not let every feeling or sign from above dictate your life. I learned a lot during my time at college but this was one of the biggest lessons I learned. Here is an example.

So I am a very clumsy person. Some much so that I try to avoid certain things, like big sets of stairs, carrying heavy glasses, house with very small dogs that I could potentially step on and most of all, wearing white. I NEVER wear white. I cannot emphasize that enough. It is basically a blank canvas for accidents. This particular day, I was looking through my wardrobe and this white T-Shirt just looks very appealing. I own exactly one white T-Shirt and I never wear it but this day, I has a “gut instinct” to wear this shirt and go for the comfy casual basic white and jeans look. So I put it on. The weather today was stunning, the sun was shining with a nice breeze so it was a perfect day to eat lunch outside. I was meeting a large group of peers for a little picnic in the grass and there were sandwiches and soda pops for all. I almost got a Sprite but once again, my “gut instinct” told me to get a Coca Cola. It seemed like a good choice and about 6 or 7 others had Coca colas so what could go wrong.

However, I opened my fizzy brown drink it exploded. All. Over. My. White. Shirt. Out of the 10 sodas, I picked up the only one that was shaken up. So, being the scientific analyzer I am, I reached this conclusion: “Never trust your instincts”. To solidify this, right afterwards I had to run to class and this is what happened. Classmate 1: (looking at shirt) “Well looks like someone had an accident.” Classmate 2: (turning to see what’s wrong) “Oh my gosh what happened?! Your hair is a mess!… Oh and you got a little something on your shirt.”

 

Putting the Fuse in Confused,

C

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