Sunday, September 13, 2015

Afternoon Coffee, Procrastination, and Peanut Butter Cookies

Don't judge... Yes, that's instant coffee! I'm the only one who drinks coffee in the GLG household, I don't like the environmental impact of K-cups.. and let me tell you, Nescafe is darn better than Sanka (well, Sanka circa 1990 which tasted like charcoal.. I haven't tried it lately though... ;-) 

It's a quiet Sunday, I was enjoying a small afternoon cup of coffee and I pulled out my "Introduction to Library and Information Science" to begin reading chapters 8, 9, 10  for my assignment next week and then it dawned on me, it was a great time to make cookies.  I know, I thought it was brilliant timing too! 

My favorite peanut butter cookies are the ol'  "1 cup of peanut butter + 1 cup sugar + 1 egg" recipe... but I didn't want to use THAT much peanut butter (do you know how expensive peanut butter is these days?) or THAT much sugar... or really...let's be I need THAT many cookies?

Probably, I don't need any cookies...

A few months ago I bought a used hardback copy of the 1974 edition of the Joy of Cooking. I wanted to get a copy I could actually use since the beloved paperback that my Dad had when I was growing up, is literally falling apart.

I love that cookbook. His favorite chocolate chip cookies came from Ms. Irma Rombauer and probably a bunch of other meals we used to eat growing up like meatloaf, oyster stew, and chicken a' la King. I wonder where Irma learned to make chicken a' la King.

These are basically the peanut butter cookies in Joy of Cooking (1974 ed.), but I made them gluten-free (of course) and halved the recipe. You could easily make this recipe egg free, If you choose to do that I would replace it with 1 tablespoon of water mixed with 1 teaspoon of ground flax seeds. Stir that mixture together and allow it to 'gel.'

If you decide to double the recipe below, just use a whole egg instead of an egg white (or double up on the flax seed substitute.)

Basic Peanut Butter Cookies
adapted from the 1974 edition of 'Joy of Cooking' by Irma Rombauer
gluten-free, soy-free, easily egg-free, vegetarian
yields 30 - 1.5" cookies

Wet Ingredients:
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter or margarine of choice, (or even extra peanut butter if you're a big fan)
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter (we like chunky, all natural)
  • 1 egg white (or 1 tablespoon water mixed with 1 teaspoon ground flaxseeds)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Dry Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup brown rice flour
  • 1/4 cup arrowroot starch (or starch of choice -- potato starch, cornstarch, tapioca starch, etc...)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. 
  2. In a large bowl cream together the brown sugar, granulated sugar, butter, and peanut butter, until creamy and fluffy.
  3. Stir in the egg white and vanilla. 
  4. In another bowl whisk together all dry ingredients. 
  5. Stir dry ingredients into wet ingredients until you have a sticky, slightly wet cookie dough. 
  6. Drop batter by small spoonfuls (about a teaspoon and a half per cookie) onto the cookie sheet. Placing a few inches between each cookie - we make 12 cookies per batch. 
  7. Flatten cookies by gently pressing with the back of a fork in a criss-cross pattern. To keep the fork from sticking to the cookie, dip in granulated sugar between criss-crosses. 
  8. Bake for 11-14 minutes until the edges of the cookies are golden brown. 

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Monday, August 17, 2015

Back to School!

For the first time in over 12 years I'm headed back to school! I'm tempted to buy a new Jansport just to celebrate the occasion. (I actually still have my original high school Jansport from the late 90's! lol!) 

In July I was accepted into East Carolina University's Masters of Library Science program. I've worked or volunteered in libraries ever since my high school years and after talking with several co-workers about grad school I finally took leap to apply. It was a pretty big thing for me.

I thought about grad school years ago, but my GRE scores were so poor (I've never been a good "tester") that I didn't even attempt to apply to any programs. I thought for sure I'd never get in. I also I had the idea that I still didn't know what I wanted to do when I grew up! :-) (Do we ever really know?)

But considering how much I truly love libraries and how I can't imagine NOT working in a library, I figure it might just be a good time to give the master's degree program a try! And I'm actually beginning to get really excited about it!

I've been a little nervous, as it's been such a long since I've been in school and I've never used online programs like Blackboard or Saba for completely online courses, but I can't wait to see how it works! If you have any tips on completing grad school courses while working full time, I'd love to hear them!

Another big transition for the GLG household is that Michael changed jobs in June. Michael now works with the IT department at East Carolina University and we're able to commute to work together. So we're both ECU pirates now!  There are a lot of opportunities for us both with these changes and I'm excited about what the future will bring!

So Michael's been at ECU over a month now, we're commuting together... which took a little getting used too for both of us...AND... I start school next Monday! Changes... changes.... it's the only real thing you can count on in life... right?

I also want to send out a big thank you for those of you who have kept my Dad especially in your thoughts and prayers! Dad has been doing really well over the past 9 months or so. He hasn't spent a day in the hospital since last November and I'm ever so grateful! His health is slowly improving and he's getting a little bit stronger every day. He even felt well enough a few weeks ago to ask Michael to help him get his good 'ol "pick-em-up" truck cranked and started after several years of not being able to drive it. Dad even had it washed and inspected!

And for my fellow kitty lovers... here's a few of my recent favorites!

Best buddies forever!

Charlie isn't a people snuggler, but he loves sitting next to you!

And Whiskey Jack enjoys viewing the world from a different perspective!

The girls always ready to eat!

High fiving... during a nap, no less! 

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Monday, March 23, 2015

Frugal Five - Homemade Repairs and Returned Ice-Cream

From Katy's wonderful website:

One of my absolute favorite bloggers, Katy of the Non-Consumer Advocate has a series of weekly posts entitled "Five Frugal Things." I LOVE these posts from her because they share little things she does throughout each week that help contribute to her frugal, non-consumer lifestyle. It's the little things we choose to do everyday that help make a big difference in the overall picture. I've learned a lot from those posts.

I've been keeping track of little frugal things I do every week just to keep myself on the right track, to remind myself why I'm trying to save money and use less "stuff": mainly to pay off debt, live more simply, and produce less trash for a happier planet. My hope is to try to start sharing some of those frugal achievements here on the blog, as it's something that's a big focus in our life right now.

Another important lesson lately is that you can be frugal with more things than just money, you can also be frugal of your own resources by using your time wisely and your energies mindfully.

Frugal Five 3-23-2015

  1. Cooked 3 meals on Sunday so we would be less tempted to eat out later this week. This not only saves money on future meals, but saves me valuable time later this week. I'm not always able to do this, just depending on our Sunday schedule, but I was thankful I had the time and energy to get it done this week.
  2. Spent 2 hours last night repairing the bottom sheet of my favorite set of queen size bed sheets. They are about 11 years old, soft and super comfortable, but had lately developed a few very small tears. I patched the pairs and I'm crossing my fingers this sheet set will last another few years, as they are quite pricey to replace. 
  3. Was frugal with my time on Sunday... along with making a few meals ahead of time, I also did all of our laundry from the past two weeks. It was a lot of work at the time, but will give us a lot more time to relax when we get home from work this week. 
  4. We rented a redbox movie on Saturday when Michael's parents were visiting. Redbox DVD's cost $1.60 (with tax) for a 24 hour rental. We used to rent most of our movies from Amazon streaming service, but streaming the movies can cost anywhere from $2.99 (cheapest) to $6.99 for a 24 hour rental. It's definitely cheaper to drive (or walk) the 2 miles to the local Dollar General instead (presuming you always return it on time!)
  5. We also planned on having a simple dessert of ice-cream after a homemade dinner on Saturday with Michael's parents. I bought a box of ice-cream for $3.99 + tax. When it was time for dessert I opened the ice-cream and found that it was really old and gooey and I was just mad. At first I just tossed the ice-cream in the trash and went about trying to find something super quick instead (we had chilled, sliced bananas & strawberries drizzled with chocolate sauce - that had been intended as a TOPPING for the ice-cream! Oh well! It was healthier anyway! lol) -- After thinking about it later though, I realized just tossing the ice-cream was not in my benefit. I pulled the old ice-cream out of the trash and placed it back in the freezer and returned it the next day. For $3.99 + tax, it was worth the very short drive back to the store for an even exchange. 

Is anybody else super lazy and generally not up to returning bad items back to the grocery store? (Shopping is not my favorite...) Trust me, from now on I will be more willing to do returns... (Especially if the item is heading towards the $5 mark! lol)! 

What frugal things have you accomplished this week? 

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