Monday, October 31, 2011


Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all. —--Harriet Van Horne

Well, this weekend has been busy with swing and Halloween and all. I'm currently writing this dressed as the 11th Doctor, played by Matt Smith, from Doctor Who. Yaay British TV!

But yes, I'm taking the time to say hello to ya'll! And as a gift to all of you, I have not candy, but my own recipes that I've concocted. Feel free to try them out and for the ones labeled IN BETA MODE, please let me know what you did different if you did and offer suggestions or other comments.

Heaven help us all.

Garbage Brownies

1 box brownie mix (any will do, I use Ghiardeli’s double chocolate chip)
1 bag caramels
¼- 1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
1 bag pretzels
1 bag nuts (any will do, optional)

Prepare brownie mix according to box directions. Pour half the batter into a greased 9x13 pan, bake for half recommended time for full batch. While they are cooking, combine caramels with sweetened condensed milk and melt. Remove brownies; pour half the caramel over brownies. Crush pretzels/nuts over caramel until there is an even coating. Pour rest of brownie mixture, cook for other half of time. When done, pour remaining caramel over the top and garnish with crushed pretzels/nuts. Let cool.

Epic Cookie Time

1 bag mini chocolate chips (I use Toll House since they have a good cookie recipe on the bag)
1 bag mini marshmallows
2 packs almond bark (one white chocolate, the other milk/dark)

Prepare cookie dough according to recipe on bag or your favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe. When cookie dough is ready, make balls with mini marshmallows at center. This part WILL be messy. Place on cookie sheets and bake for 10 minutes. DO NOT LET THESE COOKIES GET CRISPY. Let cool, although I highly recommend putting them into the freezer. While they are cooling, melt the almond bark in separate bowls. Start with only a few squares, you can melt more if you need to. Once cookies are cool, dip them in the chocolate as you see fit. I have found that dipping half the cookies in the chocolate of your choosing works well if you don’t want to overload. If you don’t mind chocolate, try completely immersing the cookie in your favorite chocolate, then drizzling with the other chocolate.

*** Erin's Reccomendation: Try almond bark instead of chocolate chips? Also, experiment with different doughs.


½ gallon favorite ice cream (simple flavors such as vanilla or chocolate work best)
1 pack favorite cookies (I prefer oreos but any can be used)
Assorted toppings
1 stick butter, melted

Place between 28-30 cookies in a plastic bag and crush. If you don’t have enough to cover the bottom of a 9x13 pan, add more. Once cookies are crushed, pour in melted butter and shake until cookies have been coated. Spread this mixture at the bottom of a 9x13 pan, let freeze for 30 min. Remove from freezer and spread ice cream over crust. From here it’s a matter of preference as to what you want to add. I’ve used chocolate sauce, m&m’s, oreo crumbs…but it really depends on what you’re going for. Let freeze for an hour, then serve.


2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter (softened)
¾ cup granulated sugar
¾ cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 eggs
1 pack pudding mix (any flavor)
1 pack chocolate chips/chocolate sauce
Berries/fruits of your choice

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Combine flour, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl. Bet the butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla extract in large bowl until creamy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually mix in flour mixture. Fill greased muffin tins with mixture, trying to get the dough into a cup shape. Bake until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Let cool. If need be, scoop out a better cup, saving cookie scraps for later. Prepare pudding mix according to package directions and let cool. Once cups are cool, fill with berries, chocolate chips, and pudding as desired. Top with chocolate sauce (optional)

*** Erin's Recommendation: Maybe try using cake batter instead of cookie batter?

Song of the Day: In One Ear by Cage the Elephant

<3 Erin

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Moment to Moment

“You breathe in and out; you breathe in and you breathe out, and you live one moment into the next moment, and then time goes by, and you find you’re able to put one foot in front of the other.” ~Gloria Vanderbilt

So once again, I cannot keep an update schedule to save my soul. I'm posting this now before I don't have time again.

It's been a crazy past couple of weeks. For those of you curious, I moved in just fine...

It was the bronchitis the following week that really killed me.

Yeah...that was fun. Took another week and a half off running because hey, I like breathing. JUST got off the various meds they had me on, and just as I'm feeling better, life slaps me in the face and says "Free time? LOL NO" and thus I have not been running.

This weekend is the Illini Swing Society's workshop, Lindypalooza, and I'm in charge of volunteers AND setting up the big Halloween Dance. Plus I've been hunting for apartments for next year, PLUS trying to get all my projects and stuff done before Thanksgiving break....

Needless to say, I'm TIRED.

Which I'm reflecting, is how I've felt pretty much since I've arrived back to school. Tired. Emotionally drained. I don't know how to fully explain it. Physically I know I'm fine, but my mind is worn out. I should know by now this is just how things work. First semester drags on and on because U of I likes to smash all the long weekends into a week-long Thanksgiving extravaganza, so we're all like zombies come November 18th, but Spring semester has a nice break right in the middle, which makes it better.

So I'm in the October slump. Or I have been since...August....

That doesn't seem right.

But I CANNOT wait to get home for Thanksgiving break. Plenty of time off, plenty of time for karate and friends and family and not doing anything but National Novel Writing Month and knitting and whatever I WANT!

But I've got to get there first. One step at a time, one foot in front of the other. I can do this, I just have to make it there.

What I need is a good 24 hours sleep, a massage, a hot bath, and then another 24 hours sleep. Considering that I'm usually only getting 6-7 hours a night (sorry mom and dad, I know you're looking at this, but I've been trying to get work done) I could really use some down time.

Which, you know...maybe I should do that now instead of writing a blog?

But in the future, keep a look out for:
~ More posts! Holy crap!
~ Updates for National Novel Writing Month
~ Progress towards running the Illinois Marathon in April
~ Adventures in English Education!
~ And other general madness!

Song of the Day: Broken by Lifehouse

<3 Erin

Tuesday, October 4, 2011


"There is a time for departure even when there's no certain place to go." - Tennessee Williams

Well, this seems like an odd place to say it, but I don't know if there is a good way to say this.

I'm moving out of my apartment.

Unfortunately it's come to my attention that one of my roommates and I are incompatible, and as such it's not fair for us to keep living the way we have been. So I'm going.

In a way, this is a good thing. Both of us will be happy in the end, and that's what really needs to matter.

But on the other hand, it's still a sad thing for me. I'm leaving the place that I've called a sort of home for the past six weeks. All my things are here and to be honest, I feel invested in this place. The landlady is very nice and I did so much work trying to find this place in the first place.

But I can't keep looking around me and moping. I've made my decision, and now I have to live by it. And so that means that I'm going.

In many ways, it still seems surreal. I've got a place to live and even have potential sub-tenants lined up, but I don't think it'll really sink in until I'm in this big, new, empty place.

And I thought moving to a dorm was hard. Now it's really most of my life that I have to re-pack into boxes and bags and move again. Just when I'm sort of comfortable. Perhaps I'm being too sentimental about a place that has been both a source of shelter and pain for me.

But it's all irrelevant. I'm going. I need to keep saying that. I'm going. No matter how crazy my moods about the whole prospect may be, I'm going. And that's all there is to it. It's a good thing, in the end. And in the end, I will be okay.

This Friday, at 3:30 PM, I will be leaving this place. This is my last blog post from here. Next you hear from me, I will be in a different place.

Song of the Day: Bluebird by Sara Bareilles

<3 Erin