Accidicted to World Peace


Posted by Adam | Posted in , | Posted on Saturday, August 29, 2009

I think one of the coolest feelings a guy can have is the "Wow" feeling. Do you know what I mean? It spans all different types of scenarios, but it still brings the same point across. In my short life I've come across this quite a few times. Off the top of my head, I remember feeling that way:
  • First real "stuff" done with the opposite sex
  • Countless Jets overtime wins
  • Graduating, again, and a third time
  • Breaking a record at the gym
  • And some others...
It's that kind of stuff that gives you butterflies in your stomach. Like that cheesy feeling in the movie when the guy sees his prom date come down the stairs. That feeling that keeps you elated and cloudy, so much so that nothing can really bring you down, and it's almost like a drug. You have pep in your step, and you want to go back for more.

Danger alert. Cookies can do this on a mild level. This is the "Holy cow, well what's another one?" Grab. And grab. And grab.

I did this with these cookies. And I don't even like chocolate. What does that even mean? That means this is danger on a plate, ladies and gentlemen. This is a world conquering cookie. Why are they called World Peace? Maybe it's because they would put the world at ease if everyone ate them together. The collective smiles and sighs of relief would cause the heavens to sing and make you forget about your troubles and the fact you don't have milk for your cereal :)

I know some people don't like to post Dorie Recipe directions because then you won't buy the book, but listen.... You all own this book anyways. It's required reading. This is like a pre-requisite for being a novice ranked baker. If you don't have it yet, it's cheap now. Go. :)
World Pace Cookies
Recipe from Dorie Greenspan

-1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
-1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
-1/2 teaspoon baking soda
-1 stick plus 3 tablespoons (11 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
-2/3 cup (packed) light brown sugar
-1/4 cup sugar
-1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
-1 teaspoon vanilla extract
-5 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped into chips, or a generous 3/4 cup store-bought mini chocolate chips

Sift the flour, cocoa and baking soda together.

Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter on medium speed until soft and creamy. Add both sugars, the salt and vanilla extract and beat for 2 minutes more.
Turn off the mixer. Pour in the flour, drape a kitchen towel over the stand mixer to protect yourself and your kitchen from flying flour and pulse the mixer at low speed about 5 times, a second or two each time. Take a peek — if there is still a lot of flour on the surface of the dough, pulse a couple of times more; if not, remove the towel.

Continuing at low speed, mix for about 30 seconds more, just until the flour disappears into the dough — for the best texture, work the dough as little as possible once the flour is added, and don’t be concerned if the dough looks a little crumbly. Toss in the chocolate pieces and mix only to incorporate.

Turn the dough out onto a work surface, gather it together and divide it in half. Working with one half at a time, shape the dough into logs that are 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Wrap the logs in plastic wrap and refrigerate them for at least 3 hours. (The dough can be refrigerated for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 2 months).

GETTING READY TO BAKE: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment or silicone mats.
Working with a sharp thin knife, slice the logs into rounds that are 1/2 inch thick. (The rounds are likely to crack as you’re cutting them — don’t be concerned, just squeeze the bits back onto each cookie.) Arrange the rounds on the baking sheets, leaving about 1 inch between them.

Bake the cookies one sheet at a time for 12 minutes — they won’t look done, nor will they be firm, but that’s just the way they should be. Transfer the baking sheet to a cooling rack and let the cookies rest until they are only just warm, at which point you can serve them or let them reach room temperature.

So remember... be nitro glycerin careful with these.

For those of you interested, I've been real busy working on getting a house. I've obviously never done this before, but it takes WORK. Oh my goodness, those student loans are a black cloud to lenders. But, I swear what doesn't kill you makes you stronger, and it'll be worth it :) I was pretty quiet until now because I didn't want to jinx it (I'm only a little superstitious), but now it's close to a done deal. Everything is working out with the bids, home inspection, and what not. I'll keep you posted.

Have an outstanding week :)

Curry Up Before I Lose You


Posted by Adam | Posted in , , | Posted on Friday, August 21, 2009

I've been reading up on a couple of blogs lately, and a thought (ok a few thoughts), came into my mind. I read a sweet post on simplicity and how it's a bit of a lost form, and another one which made me smile about working out. Rachel and Dawn are both hilarious writers, and I usually walk away from their sites either hungry, laughing, or both :)

The great thing about reading blogs is you parts of yourself in each one. Anyone who has visited this blog twice has probably realized I work out a couple times a week, and I can talk about muscles and health until the world runs out of air. However, I usually don't post too many savory recipes, or show what I eat on a daily basis. I see some of these extravagant, awe inspiring ingredient list dishes, and the creativity amazes me. When I just cook for myself, I keep things really, really easy.

Which might not surprise anyone. Bodybuilders and dieters each nothing but chicken and broccoli, right? Dry, flavorless, and more boring than a math problem of trains leaving Philadelphia and Chicago.

Nope. Boring isn't part of my vocabulary. While I keep things simple and on the medium scale calorie wise, things don't have to be boring. I know you all use the same methods as I do, and this doesn't need to be said, but spices are calorie free. And most of the time, that's all you need. And if you read up into herbs and spice just a little bit more, you can even make them work to your advantage, health-wise.

So what kind of simple, cook once, eat a few times a week stuff do I eat? This week I took advantage of the anti-inflammatory properties of curcumin, and made this Curry Chicken Salad. When you beat yourself up as often as I do, every little trick you can use diet wise makes all the difference. If I can stop inflammation in it's tracks, and get myself adjusted, then that's one more day of optimum health and function... and one more day of pushing myself and getting stronger. I'm back to competing in 10 or so months, so it's serious time folks :)
Scuppernong grapes... funny word, delicious results... I'm Southern now :)

Save Your Joints Curry Chicken Salad
Dr. Adam

-3-4 cooked chicken breasts, pulled or chopped into small pieces (roasted or boiled with salt and pepper)

-1 1/2 cups grapes, quartered or chopped finely

-1/4 cup sliced almonds
-1 carrot, chopped finely

-1 medium onion, sliced and chopped finely

-3/4 cup low fat sour cream
-1 Tbs curry powder, or to taste

-1 tsp lemon juice
Salt and Pepper to taste

The steps to this recipe are so easy it doesn't need to really be laid out. In a large bowl, place the chicken, grapes, almonds, carrot and onion. Add the sour cream, and mix well, until all the solids are covered over. Add the curry powder, lemon juice, and salt and pepper. Mix until well combined, and place in the fridge for the flavors to meld a little.
This dish works great, and can be eaten for busy people over the next few days. I like to portion it and "grab and go" on the way to work.

This works well either by itself, or on sandwich bread, a pita, a wrap, or combined with some other kind of side dish. I'm currently trying to cut wheat out of my diet, so I just have some after workout with some kasha and some beans/lentils. You can of course use mayo if you want, but am not a fan of it at all... and I'm trying to get rid of soybean oil in my eating too.

Enjoy the your weekend, and if anyone has any other simple recipes when they cook for themselves, let me know. I'm all about cooking once and having meals all week :)

Tropical Laziness


Posted by Adam | Posted in , , , | Posted on Friday, August 14, 2009

I'm going to say something that you'll probably agree with... and maybe has even happened to you in the past. It's not a bad thing really...

I mean nobody got their feelings hurt, my apartment is still in one piece, and I didn't lose anything. In fact, I racked my brain for such a good amount of time, that I may have actually grew a couple brain cells... (Keep your comments to yourselves please) :)

Laziness can breed creativity

You've seen it before... it's like that guy that uses a stick to push the buttons on his TV. Good idea right? But he just can't be bothered to actually look for the remote is all :)

So, the other morning, I was enjoying some coffee and checking my email, thinking of something to bake for work. It's been a little while since I made something for them, so I figured cool let's do this. Only problem was, I was out of milk. Could I have gone to the store and got some? Could I have asked around to borrow some from someone? (I couldn't give it back though).

No... of course not. It's like asking for directions. It's a last resort... the be all end all... the caboose. I just couldn't leave for milk and drive allllll the way back... So I was forced to do something that I am pretty good at doing in life.... making stuff up. This is how the next recipe is born.

Out of desperation, inspiration, and respiration comes: Tropical Brownies.

It's pretty much a combination of white chocolate, almonds, coconut, and pineapple. There is absolutely no milk in this recipe, which is a plus... good for me and my creative/lazy brain. Now I sit and wonder... if it wasn't for my lack of motivation, would I have actually come up with this?

Now if I can only put these X-men Superpowers to help all mankind :)

Tropical Brownies
Dr. Adam
-2/3 cups AP flour

-1/4 cup ground almonds

-1/2 cup sugar

-1/2 tsp baking powder

-1/4 tsp salt

-1/4 unsalted butter

-3 oz. decent quality white chocolate

-1 egg
-1 tsp vanilla

-Two Handfuls unsweetened, shredded coconut

-1/2 cup finely chopped pineapple chunks

Preheat your oven to 350*. Line an 8x8 pan (or something similar) with foil, and grease well.
In a medium bowl, combine the flour, ground almonds, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In a microwave safe bowl, place the butter and white chocolate together. Nuke at 30 second intervals on medium, taking care to stir well until it is all melted and smooth. Do this carefully, because you can burn the chocolate.
(Double boiler would work too... but this is a lazy post right?)

Let this bowl cool for a few minutes, and carefully add the egg and vanilla, and mix together well. Add this bowl to the dry ingredients, and fold together carefully until the batter is combined and wet. Proceed to add the coconut, and fold gently again.

Pour this batter into the prepared pan, and sprinkle the pineapple pieces on top. Press them lightly into the batter, so they are level. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the brownies spring back when pressed. Cool completely on a wire rack for an hour, and remove and cut into squares.

So was this a success? Well, for the coconut lovers at work, this got a bunch of thumbs up. I'm definitely saving this in the "summer time impress guests" category. If I could do anything differently, I'd probably dress them up with a little powdered sugar before serving. That and maybe a Mai Tai or something :) Oh, and these pictures were taken at work... I did the best I could, but we are a little short on windows in the office (no daylight there).

Enjoy your weekend folks, and while I have been a little too busy to read everyone's blog, don't worry I'll get around to it. Stay safe and stay cool :)

Speaking of X-men, what superhero would you be if you could? Should I take Wolverine before he get's taken?

Rush Hour Oatmeal Cookies


Posted by Adam | Posted in , , , | Posted on Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Who here has a tendency to wait until the last minute? On Schoolwork? Work deadlines? Finding a babysitter? Gas gauge close to E?

I think we've all been a little guilty of this. Part of it has become human nature. Things that we just don't want to do always get put on the backburner. And as long as I as I don't have to call the fire department, it usually ends up ok. Sometimes work under pressure can make some pretty remarkable things. It's the spur of the moment, the real element of surprise.

Such was the case with these cookies. I went to a party this past weekend, and like any party-goer, you just can't show up empty handed, right? Whether it's plastic forks or a bottle of Dom, you HAVE to bring something.

However, due to work commitments, and personal commitments (*cough-gym-cough*), I was a little short on time when I got home. I have about 45 minutes to make something and head on over to the festivities. So... with nothing but my head and a semi-empty cabinet of supplies, I had some work to do. These were straight up MacGyver cookies, which I sort of measured, and sort of didn't. I used pure staples that I always have on hand.

Amateur Bodybuilder Cabinet Staples:
  • Oats
  • Natural PB
  • Raisins
Amateur Baker Cabinet Staples:
  • The usual flour, two sugars, butter, chocolate chips, powders and spices
I was pretty low on these ingredients. So... what kind of bomb can I defuse with this?

Well, I have to go back to old faithful... my favorite cookie. The almighty oatmeal. I swear if my body is already 60% water, and 20% is jokes and knowledge, then the other 20% is oatmeal. I go through those big tins in like 2 weeks. So, in a semi similar way, I went with a cookie base from this old school post.

Might not be the most exciting cookie ever, but hey, rush times call for rush measures.

Rush Hour Oatmeal Cookies
Dr. Adam

-1/4 cup salted butter, melted

-1 cup packed brown sugar

-1 egg
-1 1/2 tsp vanilla
-3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour

-1 cup rolled oats

-1/4 tsp baking soda

-Heaping Tablespoons of peanut butter - 1/2 cup, maybe
-Handfuls of raisins (1/2-3/4 cup)

-Handfuls of chocolate chips (1/2 cup)

Preheat your oven to 350*. Set up a middle rack, grease a cookie sheet.

In a large bowl, with a wooden spoon, mix up the melted butter, brown sugar, egg, and vanilla until it is brown and smooth.

You can either add the dry ingredients together, or just do what I did, and add the flour, oats, and baking soda to the wet bowl, right on top of each other. Mix together thoroughly, until the mixture becomes stiff and well coated. Fold in the peanut butter, until evenly combined, and then the raisins and chocolate chips.

Drop heaping tablespoons onto the cookie sheet, and bake for 10-12 minutes. The tops should be crackly brown, and spring back a bit when lightly touched. Cool on the pan for 5 minutes, and then to a wire rack to cool completely.
Makes about 2 dozen.

I apologize for the lack of measurements on the "add-ins" for these cookies, but when you are against the clock, you kind of just wing it. I could also be alone on this, but I've always thought that chocolate chips and stuff are meant to be added to taste. How much do you want? It depends on what you're looking for.

Overall, these were a big hit, and I'm proud of myself for coming up with it on a whim. I was thinking of adding some coconut (healthy fat for weight gaining mode), but I decided against it, because some people just don't dig that flavor. Maybe next time my friends :)

Thanks for all your sweet comments, and while I know I've been rehashing some old posts lately, I've got a creative thinking cap on for later this week. It could completely backfire, but that's all part of the game :) I'm heading up to a wedding this weekend, but I hope to have some time to check some blogs and see how everyone is doing. It feels pretty good to be back in the groove and posting again. Feels like we all didn't miss a step. Have a great rest of the week :)

Hop Butterscotch Bread


Posted by Adam | Posted in , , | Posted on Saturday, August 01, 2009

Amazingly, it's August already. The super hot, often forgotten month during summer. Ever notice people love July and June, but when August comes around, it's like blah? There's no holidays or celebration, it's just HOT. It's like when you preheat your oven to anything above 400*... you just feel the seeping heat coming into the house :) From the talk around here, the warm weather lasts nicely until early October, so I'm pretty happy about an extended season. It's enables a little bit more good times to roll in.

I've been a little absent on the blogsphere lately, and only been able to post about once a week. This is kind of our busy season, so I'm trying my best to keep up. As always, thanks for coming by, and thanks to my friends for helping me eat all this stuff. I'm currently in weight gaining mode so I can compete again next year, so I'm opening up my diet a little bit. However, I can't eat whole cakes by myself... well, I shouldn't :) Good thing my mother taught me how to share.

This is a quick breakfast bread I through together. I tried doing the marbling thing, but I learned something about myself today. I'm just not a good marbler. Nope. I never played with marbles, I didn't like this game on Nintendo, I try to avoid marbled fatty meat, and I can't seem to get my swirls down. I tend to either over do it, which turns it into a homogeneous color blob, or not enough... which kinda results in the same thing :)

How do you marble? Is there any tips for something so easy? Should I go sit back in preschool and learn?

Butterscotch Marbled Banana Bread
Dr. Adam

-1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
-1/2 cup sugar
-1 tsp baking soda

-1/2 tsp salt

-1/2 tsp nutmeg

-2 blackened, ripe, be careful picking them up or they'll leak bananas, mashed-ed
-1 1/2 tsp vanilla
-1 egg

-1 Tbs oil (grapeseed or whatever you have)

-1/2 cup milk

-3/4 cup butterscotch chips, melted

Preheat your oven to 350*. Set up the center rack, and grease a standard loaf pan.

In a large bowl, mix the flour, sugar, baking soda, nutmeg, and salt together.

In a medium bowl, mix the bananas, vanilla, egg, oil, and milk, until it is an evenly mixed, sweet, mushy, wet mess.
Add the wet banana ingredients to the dry bowl, and stir until combined together. I try not to overmix this step, we just fold over and over here.

Pour into the greased loaf pan, and then top with the melted butterscotch chips, in dallops around the pan. Using your best swirling skills, use a knife and make a few passes, marblizing the batter. Good luck :) Bake for ~40-50 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool completely on a wire rack.

For those of you who were my buddies way back when (thanks for sticking around :) ) you'll remember this post. It's real close, because this is my go-to recipe. It does no wrong. It saves puppies from burning buildings. It cures sweetness and hunger :) I also found a Vanilla Sugar post when I searched for a banana bread with butterscotch. It's from Dawn, a good friend of mine, who is currently in vacation mode. Her desserts are always awesome, and to know that we can think the same, well makes me awesome too :)

I have to head to work today for a few hours. Saturday work is kinda fun actually. It's lax and everyone is in high spirits and well rested when they come in. Enjoy your weekend, and stay out of the August heat :)