Sunday, October 12, 2014

All kinds of exciting news!

September 5th weekend was the best weekend ever! Turned 30, got a dog, and got engaged!!! Cool, huh?

 I LOVE my ring! It has a vintage look, but it's nice and simple which is what I wanted.

We had reservations at Table 52 for my birthday dinner, which is a place that I've been wanting to try for years! It's a little on the expensive side, so it was a perfect place for a special dinner. Art Smith is the chef (used to be Oprah's personal chef!), and his food is southern cooking with awesome flavors. The complementary goat cheese biscuits that came out first were so good, I almost missed getting a picture of them.

I had my heart set on the fried chicken, and it was pretty darn good. I wouldn't say it was THE best fried chicken I've ever had, but still really good!

We also got the mac and cheese in a cast iron pot, which was SO rich and creamy. I loved the top slightly burnt parts of the cheese the most. The best thing we ordered was actually the prime rib that you can kind of see behind the mac. It melted in your mouth and has the best flavor! It wasn't cheap, but it was a really, really good steak.

I also ordered the Hummingbird cake with blueberry sauce to bring home because we were so stuffed! It was pretty delicious, but I almost thought it had too much icing!

So after we got home, we went on a walk in the park near our house, and B got down on one knee and asked me to marry him :) It was the best birthday present I've ever gotten.

We had already planned on going to the shelter and looking at dogs that next day, and we said we were just going to "look", but if we saw a dog we liked we could decide then if we should adopt it.

And of course we found a black lab that we loved! We named him Wyatt, and he is 1-2 years old. He had only been there a week, so if we didn't take him home that day, he would've been gone the next week I'm sure.

That night we were going out with friends for my birthday, so we got to tell everyone our big news! It was a pretty crazy few days of telling everyone and getting used to the doggie, but now it's all soaking in and it's awesome.

The next weekend, my brother and niece came up to visit and go to my company's annual picnic! It was so much fun riding the Frog Hopper, and I made sure there wasn't a weight limit!


P had a blast doing all the activities without waiting in line or anything! It was pretty cool. We went to Ed Debevic's for dinner because I'd never been, and I figured P would like that the servers yell at you and and dance on the tables. She definitely liked it there. The food was pretty average though. Definitely a tourist spot!

So now we're just getting used to having another thing living with us, and having more responsibilities like feeding and walking him 3 times a day!

His favorite hobbies so far include looking out the window at squirrels, stretching in downward doggie, and chewing on shoes and potholders. We're trying to give him antlers and treats to chew on instead, so hopefully he will learn!


Just look at that face! Now I understand why people take/post so many pictures of their pets! I might start to become one of them...


Monday, September 1, 2014

Biscoff White Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies


I don't think I will ever get sick of Biscoff. I know it's not healthy to eat for breakfast twice a week on my toast, but it tastes so much better than peanut butter! I need to stop buying it, but it's really really hard not to! I might need an intervention. 

I saw these cookies on Sally's Baking Addiction, and was so excited to make them. They turned out pretty much as good as I expected, but I'm not a huge white chocolate chip fan. So next time I might take those out.


Biscoff White Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

  • 3/4 cup (95g) all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup (115g) unsalted butter, melted
  • 3/4 cup (150g) dark brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup (194g) Biscoff spread
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups (160g) quick oats
  • 1 and 1/2 cups (270g) white chocolate chips or chunks

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Line two large cookie sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Set aside.

Toss the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt together in a large bowl. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk the melted butter and brown sugar together until no brown sugar lumps remain. Whisk in the egg, then the Biscoff until combined. Finally, whisk in the vanilla. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix together with a large spoon or rubber spatula. The dough will be very soft and slick. Fold in the oats and 1 and 1/4 cups white chocolate, reserving the remaining 1/4 cup for later. The cookie dough will be thick and heavy.

Roll the dough into balls, about 3 Tablespoons of dough each. I highly suggest using a cookie scoop to make it easier. Place 8 balls of dough onto each cookie sheet.

Bake the cookies for 11-12 minutes. The cookies will look very soft and underbaked. They will continue to bake on the cookie sheet. Remove from the oven and lightly press down on each cookie to slightly flatten, since the cookies will not spread all the way in the oven. Press a piece or two of the remaining white chocolate chips/chunks into each cookie as described above in the post. Allow to cool on the cookie sheet for 10 minutes before moving to a wire rack to cool completely.
Cookies stay soft and fresh for 7 whole days at room temperature. Baked cookies and/or cookie dough balls may be frozen up to 3 months.

*Note about the oats:
Do not use old-fashioned style oats (aka whole oats) in this cookie recipe.
You need quick oats, which are more finely ground (and smaller) whole oats. I usually only keep whole oats in my pantry. When I need quick oats, I pulse whole oats in the food processor or blender 4-5 times to make homemade quick oats.


Summer is coming to an end sadly, and it's JUST now getting hot outside. I can't believe it! It's like it didn't even happen, and there's already stuff out for Halloween and fall and Pumpkin Spice everything.

I got to go to Lollapalooza this year! I wanted to go while we still live here and wouldn't have to make a special trip for it. I saw lots of good bands, including Bombay Bicycle Club, Chvrches, and Zedd! I was the only one who wanted to see Zedd, so I felt old standing in the crowd of 18 year olds, but I didn't mind cause that music is so fun :)

I was really impressed how organized Lollapalooza was, and how big it was! They even had an area with hammocks for people like me who get so tired of standing at concerts.


One of the main things I was excited for was the Lobster Corndogs! They are a Lolla special that Graham Elliot has every year, and it lived up to the hype. There was plenty of lobster to corn breading ratio, and the sauce was a good, creamy addition.



Let's see, so I also got to go on a boat! My work had an afternoon outing on the lake, and it was so lovely and relaxing. I love going out on a sailboat or canoeing.

We went to see the Chicago Symphony Orchestra perform the score to LOTR! It was at Ravinia, and they had a huge lawn area where we brought chairs and food and had a picnic while they played the movie. It was really a cool thing to experience. I just wish we could've seen the orchestra better, but that's what we get for getting the cheap lawn seats :)


It's officially my last few days of being in my 20's! Can you believe it? I don't feel like I'll be 30. So I'm making a few friends go out for my birthday so we can dance all night and get it out of my system before I'm too old!