Sunday, July 31, 2011

Vanilla Shortbread Cookies

Wearing a watch has a few benefits, and 1 of them is aural. To hear the watch ticking next to my ear is to imagine the tiny clockworks inside, doing their quaint businesses. But it's also imitative of a steady heart beat, and we are supposed to like that.

I don't think I've mentioned this, in the 10/11 years that I have been "blogging," but my favorite word in the history of words is: pulse. I was first asked this when I was in middle school, and it came to me very quickly for three reasons:

1. definition: a single pulsation, or beat or throb, of the arteries or heart
2. definition: bustle, vitality or excitement: the pulse of a city.
3. romance: Just saying it aloud is romantic. It's like making out with a word. Try it.

One Christmas around age 11, I thought I was going to get a puppy for Christmas. I craved this responsibility in theory, and made sweet juvenile preparations for its arrival. A small scale stocking was crafted from felt, pennies were used to purchase rawhide at the local pet store. Name lists were penned - both male and female; but the real cream was a little dog bed, foam lined, flannel blanketed, cardboard boxed - with a small round clock duct-taped to the outside, facing in. A lulling method, the ticking of the clock, dulled by a layer of cardboard, was supposed to trick them back to their mother's bosom. Anyhow, the anecdote goes on to say that I didn't get a puppy. Instead I got a damaged dog with a lot of hang-ups and annoying energy - who was far too giant for my little bed; but occasionally, I would hold the clock to his ear - "be soothed!". This only seemed to excite him. He ended up having to be put down due to a virus that was eating his organs and slowly killing him.

I lost my watch 5 years ago and wonder if I would be sleeping right now instead of making cookies if I hadn't misplaced it. I need a dose of the ticking.

1 cup cold butter (or vegan butter)
2/3 cup confectioner's sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt

Mix the flour, sugars and salt together. add the butter in chunks and "chop" with a wooden spoon or spatula until butter smooths out. Add vanilla and keep mixing until a soft dough forms and roll out half of the dough (at a time, unless you have an unusually large work area) on a floured surface. You can either use cookie cutters or the edge of a cup to make perfect circles. Really, you can use whatever shape you'd like your cookies to come out as. Either way, they'll taste delicious!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

"Cheese" Crackers

I have been plagued with the Change Creeps for about a week, maybe longer. A sudden wave of weak nausea, a feeling that I can only compare to being freshly insulted.

These mysterious Creeps, which I have only recently connected with divergence in my little life's shuffle (currently, being my new job), have been with me as long as I can remember.

Expressing the Creeps to my grandfather as a young girl, was met with the explanation that this was obviously the Holy Ghost telling me that something was wrong, bad and to turn the other way.

I've since decided to believe that these Creeps are my intuition, a mounting amalgamation of the subconscious cues I've collected over a course of time. Still, does that mean these Creeps may indicate something wrong, bad and to turn the other way?

Taking into account, myself, the answer I suppose is: no. I can't say I'm comfortable believing my subconscious is more acute than waking reason, though I'm not perfectly comfortable discounting that either.

For example, when I wanted to stop walking yesterday, but had to continue - I just imagined somebody from behind holding my hips firmly with straight hands, slightly pushing, slightly swaying them.

It is both fortifying and dubiously self-realizing to believe that there is something inside that leads you.

Anyway, today was ridiculously relaxing and fulfilling. I baked cupcakes, I swam with two loves of my life, we watched Angus (which has the most reminiscent soundtrack ever), and when my brother came by for some good company, I made crackers.

I couldn't find any other "tiny" cookie cutter so the Snowman had to do. It goes along with the Winter holiday theme that still rests on our walls and ceiling.

"Cheese" Crackers
1 1/4 cup flour
1/3 cup nutritional yeast
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
pinch cayenne pepper
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
4 tablespoons water, plus 1-2 tablespoon more only if needed

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine the flour, nutritional yeast, garlic powder and sea salt in a medium sized bowl. Add the olive oil and the 4 tbsp of lukewarm water and mix well. Once mixed, if there is flour remaining in the bottom add another tbsp and mix well again. Remove the dough from the bowl and knead a couple times. Then cut the dough in half.

Flour the dough and your surface well and roll out to 1/8″ thick and cut into whatever shapes you like or just trim the edges and cut into squares. Move to parchment lined baking sheet and before placing the sheet in the oven, sprinkle the cayenne pepper over the doughy cut-outs. Bake crackers for 18-20 minutes. Once finished, remove from the oven and cool on the sheet until completely cooled before storing in an airtight container.

They really taste like goldfish crackers. I recommend using whole wheat flour. I know I will next time.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Root Beer Float Cupcakes

Repeatedly dragging a sweater across my face this afternoon. I realized that there is nothing as absorbing to me as certain physical sensations of my own supply. And that I am almost constantly catering to this aspect of my Id.

Sounds harmless, but tonight i wonder if it might very well be barring me from further exploring the "art of conversation" - as a part of my attention is allegiant to something that I am experiencing alone, and is not only personally distracting, but pointless to discuss.

I plan on experiencing with intentional elimination of this behavior in public. Maybe, suddenly, I will have smart things to say.

What this post should have been about, actually, is Root Beer Float Cupcakes. I did it again - but with such perfection that it deserved its own post.

Root Beer Float Cupcakes
1 cup Root Beer soda ( I used Dad's Old Fashioned)
1 teaspoon vinegar
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoon root beer extract
1 1/3 cup flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt

Combine soda and vinegar, and set aside for at least two minutes.
Add the sugar and oil, whisking vigorously.
Add extracts and mix well.
Be sure to sift the dry ingredients before GENTLY introducing to the soda/vinegar mixture.

Fill cupcake liners about 3/4 full and bake at 350 for about 20-21 minutes.

Vanilla Ice Cream Frosting
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup vanilla ice cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 cups powdered sugar

Beat the butter, ice cream and vanilla. Gradually add powdered sugar.

I didn't have the tools for this, but cutting up red and white striped straws to top the cupcakes would probably be very cute. Just sayin'.

Monday, July 18, 2011

I've Always Felt Like He Is My Charge

This weekend was filled with a crisis of sleepless nights, overly active walks and hang outs, and an anxious, nail-biting impatience to see my brother, Ale. All of this, though mostly the lack of sleep contributed, has caused a bit of insanity within the chemicals in my brain.

In other words:
I had a real hallucination yesterday morning: A rabbit in the bathroom; it stayed right where I stared at it.

This happened in a partial dream:
I drooped toward my knees and let my hair sweep the floor while I sang the ABCs in one breath.

Last night:
A 7 year-old asked me, "What's a word?" (among other questions with challenging/fun answers).

I ran into a wall during my 9pm-5am shift that would have left me with broken glasses, had they not already been punched in the face by a wall. I suppose if it hasn't happened already, expect it around every corner. Let the record state: I've decided that I don't like walls. And this is OK. I suggest, in alternative, a series of corners and crannies.

I wished so hard every day that my brother would just come home. I have a well of vigilance towards him that leaves no room for me to worry about myself. Still, I am glad that he is home.

Friday, July 8, 2011

I Make Your Mouth Water.

I know that perhaps I should not have refrained from posting entries about my recent adventures in the kitchen simply because I haven't particularly been satisfied with the photos.

So... here they are, minus the recipes.

Rosewater Cupcakes with Strawberry icing:

Root Beer Float Cupcakes with Vanilla Ice Cream Icing:

Green Tea Cupcakes with Cream Cheese frosting:

Blueberry Rosewater Pie:

Wild Mushroom Pot Pie:

I Can't Trust Myself When I Sleep

Earlier today, during my evening nap, I encountered the (or a) devil in a slow, involved dream. He was a young man who lived in my basement and wore shades all the time. He was apparently lovelorn for my sister, of which I do not have and whom did not appear in the dream, but additionally, it was implied at least once that he wanted to rape me.

He paced a lot, and I was made aware of this by my bedroom floor, which would creak and bulge in alignment with his path. The floors would periodically scald my feet.

I was terrified of him, but I also felt awestruck and thought his power, in whatever form, could help me. I got courageous and plied him with a rhyme: "of all the things I could be, why me?"
From my end, there was much weight felt in this guiled query, but he didn't seem to notice and ignored me in this particular interaction.

Monday, July 4, 2011

What Is With This Abundance of Dreams?

Teeth falling out or rotting is a classic dream scenario, but what if your dream teeth are just switched up - molars for incisors and canines, canines for molars? I tried to eat a pizza slice. It was monstrous.

My mind's been full of phrase jibberish lately that I'm mildly entertained by, but which has no practical applications.

I've regained the ability to imagine vivid, ideal scenarios, and as a result am feeling generally dissatisfied.

And when I close my eyes today I see myself as a fiend making large, taunting movements with my arms.

I have excess energy, and my preferred outlets are: opening my eyes VERY WIDE, articulating with rapid precision, hand stretches to prevent carpal tunnel syndrome, or even combinations of all.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Note: Don't Read Zombie Comics Before Bed.

Yesterday, during several naps - adjacent, I dreamt extensively about being night hunted in waist deep snow. Frozen, digging, limping, crawling. I was petrified, but acutely aware that my pursuer and I looked exceedingly beautiful in that snow. It reminded me of my future in Oregon, though I was still stutteringly frightened.

I like to visualize my brain coated with the dense moss of Pacific Northwest verdure as the recent barrier between myself and satisfying thought collection. I'll just let it sit for a while, I guess.

(Me, paying my respects to Gravity in Oregon, January 2008)

(Dickie in Oregon, January 2008)

(Me in Oregon, January 2008)

(Me & Dickie in Canada, Apri 2008)

(Really, folks. You can't fake this kind of raw, honest beauty.)

(Dickie, Me, Richard and Kara in Canada, April 2008)

(Me and Kara in Canada, April 2008)

(Dickie, Richard and Stephen in Canada, April 2008)

(Stephen, Dickie and me in Seattle, April 2008)

I feel better, in some ways very much, and hope this disconnect will pass. Things are moving forward. Whatever happens in the future is okay with me because I am confident. I yearn for more green, more outside, more love, more of everything. Let's fall into place. Okay?