Sound the alarm!

“Hurry it up, would ya?” he gruffly whispered in her ear.

“If you would have done your job I wouldn’t be struggling to do mine,” she clipped back.

He huffed and then stalked away. Free from distraction, for the moment, she looked again at the safe. Never in her wildest imagination would she have expected an Inferno ADI 1308. Only three had been made and they were all overseas, or so she had thought. The designer hadn’t made blue prints and had been more than a savant when it came to make false tumbler points and fail safes. She knew the ADI had about nine levels to bypass before it would open. Reese’s constant interruption made it hard to keep track on which level she was on.

Looking at the door in front of her she examined all nine dials. Just one had not moved. With a sense of impending dread she started swirling the dial. As the last digit was clicked into place she felt something within the safe. Not able to put her finger on it, she quickly lost the thought when Reese reappeared.

“You got it?”

“Yeah, sure, go ahead.”

“Brilliant,” he said shouldering out-of-the-way.

Not expecting such a rude removal from her previous space she lost her footing and fell. A split second later she couldn’t help but be grateful. As soon as he opened the safe a massive series of webbing encased him as an unearthly blaring erupted from the safe. Ah, the nagging feeling. The dials had one last fail safe apparently. Needing to be reset or else this.

What are you going to do, leave me here?” he yelled as she paced away.

She turned and cocked her eyebrow at him, “I’d be perfectly in the right to do so. You know what they say, there is no honor amongst thieves. However I am no thief and the deepest circle of hell is reserved for traitors. Remember that, Reese. Now, where is the alarm?

_____________

Today’s Prompt: Remember when you wrote down the first thought you had this morning? Great. Now write a post about it.

My first thought upon waking this morning? ‘Where is the alarm?’

Advertisements

S’more Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies

As is quickly becoming my norm, here is yet another kitchen adventure. Just once I’d like to make something and have nothing go wrong. Alas pipe dreams never come to fruition.

Well, actually that’s not entirely true. Before the near disaster that was the S’more Sensation, I did manage to successfully make Trix Krispies. They are a much more colorful version of Rice Krispies where you use Trix (in case the title didn’t give it away) instead of Rice Krispies. I think Fruity Pebbles may work well too. Perhaps even better because Trix are rather giant in comparison. Oh, I did have issues with nearly burning the butter, but I just threw in the marshmallows to nip that in the bud (so not incident free as I had thought). I love Trix and am happy to have a fun alternative to the standard Krispies. Sometime I’d like to try the ‘fruity’  marshmallows instead. However I think if I tried that in conjunction with Fruity Pebbles/Trix the universe would implode.

Onto the mishap. Everything with the S’more Cookies was going so well. I realized that I really needed to invest in a giant mixing bowl, but with some patience and careful stirring that minor notion was easily overcome. Then came the massive cookies. Again, although they caught me off guard, that too was fine. The oven was all preheated and I stuck the cookies into the oven to bake. Setting the timer for half the time so I could swap the layers mid-cooking. *Note: these did not fit on one tray, two should do. I used three but that’s because the second and third trays I used were a 8×8 square pan and a loaf pan. Pure laziness prevented me from digging out a second cookie tray (too many other dishes balanced on top of it).

Imagine my surprise when seven-ish minutes later I open the oven and smoke/steam comes streaking out. Just super. Further bewildering was I could find no source. The cookies weren’t burnt at all and the wax paper was fully intact. No singeing at all. I quickly flipped on the vent fan, swapped the trays and shut the door. A few minutes into the second baking stage I flipped the oven light and could see some smoke/steam building up. I cracked the oven door hoping that it would all escape into the vent. I’m pretty sure that fan (which is run through my microwave that is above the stove/oven) is purely a loud placebo. After fretting about letting the smoke/steam out I turned around to witness the haze forming in the rest of the apartment.

I don’t wish to make it sound like it was billowing in my apartment, because it wasn’t. But it definitely as clear as a bell like it usually is. Panicked I turned on the overhead fans, shut the doors I could (to prevent the smoke from simply wafting through. If it was going to invade the other rooms it would have to drop down to the floor and go under by golly!) opened the front door and threw opened the windows (for the cross breeze of course). Yup, middle of winter and I was chilling in my apartment, literally. I fully admit I over reacted but I have this inane fear of bothering my neighbors and I really didn’t want to be the reason the fire alarms went off. More importantly I thought the sprinklers would go off for some reason if I didn’t nip the haze in the bud. Illogical thoughts? Absolutely. Am I aware of this? Obviously. Do I let it effect my behavior (so I’m a bit crazy)? Yes.

Finally the haze cleared and the end result was awesome. Just so yummy. Gooey marshmallow, scrumptious chocolate AND the graham cracker added it’s only unique texture to the mix. I highly recommend them, if you have other people around to share in the eating. Otherwise you’ll be in danger of a sugar overdose. That’s it. My latest ‘calamity’ in the kitchen. The building, my mental state and diet (so far) survived, so in the end a win.

Beware, these cookies are fantastic (especially shortly after they have been made) and you should know they are terrible for you. Each cookie is over 500 calories (according to the myfitnesspal app). These suckers are so massive though you can easily just have half, which is still over 250 calories. I think if I make them again I’ll cut them down so there are 24 cookies instead of 12.S'More Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients

  • 2 sticks (8 ounces) softened butter
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
  • 24 graham cracker quarters or 12 full sheets separated at perforations
  • 3 Hershey Bars, broken into rows of 3 bars
  • 12 large marshmallows cut in half

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a large baking sheet with parchment or wax paper.
  • In a stand or electric mixer, beat the butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla. Beat until well combined.
  • Place flour, salt and baking soda into a bowl; mix to combine then add slowly to wet ingredients along with the chocolate chips.
  • Layer a graham cracker quarter with 3 Hershey chocolate squares and 2 marshmallow halves. Close with another graham cracker.
  • Top s’more with a large scoop of cookie dough. Place in hands and place another large scoop on bottom then front and back sides as needed. Form dough around s’mores. (It is much easier than it sounds, just make sure your dough is around room temperature, and make one big disc shape. Pinch off excess dough if you have too much.)
  • *Note: When your cookies go into the oven, they should look like HUGE, lumpy cookie dough balls on the tray. The s’more should be completely encased with dough!
  • Place giant cookies onto prepared baking sheet and bake for 15-17 minutes or until edges are golden and centers are cooked through.
  • Let cool for 10 minutes before transferring to cooling rack or serving plate.

Trix Krispies*Bonus Recipe: Trix Krispies*

Ingredients

  • 1 large bag of mini marshmallows (458 g or something like that)
  • 10 cups Trix cereal (I used one box, which according to the nutritional label, had approx. 9 cups)
  • 1/4 cup butter

Directions

  • Place the butter and marshmallows in a large sauce pan and heat until all melted and combined. (I found stirring fairly constantly helped everything not burn.)
  • Mix in Trix and stir.
  • Pour into a large greased pan (I used 9×13) and press down with a spoon.
  • Cut into squares (I did 30)

Do you know the land where the lemon-trees flower?

I waited, breath bated, as the waiter carefully set the plate down in front of me. The white place slightly glistened amongst the low-lighting. I observed the plate. So many choices, but which to try first. Just as I was about to pick up the leafed appetizer I was stopped by a clinking of cutlery on glass. The low chime was localized to our table alone. After one of my roommates had painstakingly divided the wine so well I could hardly be surprised that we were going to toast the evening.

After toasting to our thankfulness of being together to experience something so new and wonderful we our table got quite. Each member focusing on what to try first. I looked at my plate. Bread was always tasty, best to keep that as a palate cleanser. Again I reached for the leaf. I had never been served a leaf before. Sure as a child I had eaten a leaf or twelve, but what child hadn’t. Not counting lettuce this was new. I bit into the morsel. Confused, like the others around, on if we were actually suppose to each the green as well as the cheese or just the cheese. The mozzarella was warm, chewy and gooey a stark contrast to the grape leaf which was brittle (from being baked) and somewhat veiney (making it difficult to bite through). Abandoning the leaf I quickly gobbled up the rest of the tantalizing cheese. That one appetizer set the bar for the rest of the evening.

If the restaurant could do so much with a glorified cheese stick we were in for a treat. And a treat it was. As I too quickly ate each course the robust lemony flavor became an obvious overtone of the seasoning, but the basil, parsley and other seasonings balanced well with the meal. Then came the dessert. The restaurant’s piece de resistance, dessert.

The flirtatious old man who had been serving us all night came around with an over flowing tray of lemon cakes. Each carefully formed ball was carefully glazed and topped with a wafer leaf. It seemed that the restaurant was determined that we not forget about their lemon grove which supplied lots of flavoring for the food. As I bit into the cake the explosion of citrus was almost overpowering until the cake then suddenly counterbalanced the onslaught of flavor. Making the confection refreshing and filling, as if I wasn’t stuffed already.

Sorry the pics aren't crystal clear. The lighting was low and I had my camera on the wrong setting.

Sorry the pictures aren’t super fantastic. The lighting was low and I had my camera on the wrong setting so I had to do some false lightening via photoshop.

Although this may not be my favorite meal ever and time has robbed me some of the finite details I’ll never truly forget this meal. It was quite memorable (and a nice memory to take away from my semester abroad). I’d also be hard pressed, in general, to say what my favorite meal ever was. It could be argued the first time I had a burger after being on a four month hiatus from them (that was my first meal when I got back to the states). I’ll always remember that meal too.

Control Z Uggs, Please

If you could un-invent something, what would it be? Discuss why, potential repercussions, or a possible alternative.

Easy. Uggs. On paper, Uggs make sense I suppose. Boots with super soft thermal-ness on the inside. However I feel like those who ended up using Uggs were not the people who needed them.

For me the theoretical area that would find this particular footwear desirable would be people who live in areas where the latitude is between 40-90 and the Earth is pointing away during that particular season. The actuality (of my observations) were people wearing these boots with shorts in summer. Clearly these individuals missed the point. Not to say that some wore them appropriately. I have some cousins up north that wore/wear Uggs. I don’t begrudge them wearing them ever because they follow the ‘rules’. They wear them with pants, in winter and we live in Iowa (which has a latitude of 42).

What repercussions would this have caused if Uggs weren’t around? Well since fads tend to cycle around (as exhibited by the resurgence of 80s fashion and now we’re edging back into 90s) perhaps platform shoes would have been in vogue again, or jellies. Oh, better yet, platform jellies. There’s a twisted ankle begging to happen.

To be fair, I never owned Uggs. I didn’t need them, I’m a chucks/toms girl at heart. So I do not fully understand the comfort that these shoes inflict on the wearer. I’m sure people had/have an excellent reason for wearing heat inducing shoes when it was hot out. I may be judging unfairly, like Harry Potter. At first I was against it (probably because I hated reading at the time and I was sick of not understanding why my friends were talking about Muggles), and then I read it. Now I think ten year old me was a major nimrod.

My Secret Garden

Breathing as quietly as he could manage after the sprint up the hill, he stalked her. She had been secretive and distant for days. Ever since her birthday, if he were completely honest with himself, skipping classes, dodging calls, the works. Now, guided only by the moon and its reflection on her luminous skin, he carefully followed her step for step as they traversed the abandoned courtyard. Focusing solely on her he didn’t see the stone until he toppled over it. Luckily for him there was another, much taller one in front of him. So when he gave a low moan upon impact with the ground and she subsequently turned around, he remained hidden. He looked at his feet and then to the large stone ahead of him.

He could feel some of the blood drain from his face when he realized they were in the magistrates’ graveyard. If they were caught here they would be lucky if all the faced was expulsion. Carefully peering around the base of the headstone he saw Grace shake her head and then her shoulders. An action he had come to recognize, her way of literally shaking off the thought and feeling that plagued her. He smiled to himself slightly as he stood, not realizing how much he had missed her these last few weeks, that even a basic mannerism cheered him. Then he remembered where he was and pressed onward, with a renewed sense of caution. Whatever she was up to must be important for her to risk angering the magistrate. Or, at least he hoped it was important. Relief flooded Mathew’s system as he crossed the gate marking the edge of the graveyard. Until he remembered that the only thing beyond the graveyard was the forest, the reputably haunted forest. Great.

He had to keep himself from jumping at every little noise as they crept through the forest. He did his best to keep to the stones that scattered the forest floor so he wouldn’t add to what felt like a cacophony as he tried to remain silent. If he did make a noise Grace didn’t notice. Instead she kept her path with great assurance, winding in and out of the trees as if she had taken this path before. Several times. The hilly land had crept in on them without his noticing. It wasn’t until he lost Grace behind a sharp outcropping of stone that he saw the massive wall to his left. He was beginning to wonder if Grace could have him under some sort of spell. At the start of the year he was the most observant person at the college, now he felt like he had blinders on. Blinders for her. He rolled his eyes at himself. Likewise at the start of term, thoughts like that would have had him running for the bathroom to hurl. He made the turn around the cropping and stopped dead in his tracks as his face met a palm.

“Matthew Hadder! What, exactly, do you think you are doing?” She asked, an indescribable edge to her voice.

He tried to talk, but before he could she rolled her eyes. Quirking a small smile she shrugged her shoulder again and motioned for him to follow. Sighing at the lack of answers she knew he’d want he diligently followed. They came to a massive wall that he thought, from a distance, to be a moss covered cliff. However as they neared he heard the rustling of leaves and saw it was a giant hedge growing out from the cliff. As they neared Grace started to glow, literally, and a point in the solid hedge opened up forming an archway which they passed through. As soon as they were both across the arch disappeared. The glowing had increased and as he looked around he saw that although she wasn’t glowing anymore, the hedges themselves seemed to glow within with the same light.

Her voice chimed through his wonder, “Would you care for a tour of my secret garden?”

The world is infinitely stranger than anything the mind of man can invent…

But what about the subconscious? Conan Doyle said that the world is infinitely stranger, but doesn’t the subconscious take what it sees from the world, twist it and spew it into the mind in the form a Freudian slips and dreams? That’s for philosophers, psychiatrists and people who may be bored to debate.

As for me I’ve had a rather weird dream (nightmare really) recently.

Sadly it’s really really fuzzy but here are the few bits I can recall:
I was in an unknown house/neighborhood and I was there for the night. The house was actually inhabited by five different spirits and I couldn’t escape the house. Not all were malevolent, but for some reason two kept coming after me. I remember when I woke up (in real life) I was being corneredgoldfish by two. I forgot the first one but the second one shook me more for some reason. It was a giant gold fish that gave of light. It projected a blue atmosphere that looked like light shining in the water. If the gold fish’s beam touched you something terrible happened to you and he couldn’t be stopped by any ‘normal’ means (he could cross salt and iron since he was swimming through the air). I woke up from this dream at three in the morning and had to stay awake until 9 am before trying to sleep again. During that nap I had a second jolting nightmare so I gave up on sleep for that day.

What do I think this means? I have no idea. I have a thing about water where I can’t see the bottom, but I could clearly see through the ‘water’ the fish was projecting to see the monstrosity. Besides that I don’t know why the only corporeal form I’d remember from that nightmare was a giant innocent looking fish. Perhaps that’s why I remember it. The fish was the only source of light in that dream and it was the thing I was running from the most? If anyone has any suggestions on what that means feel free to share because I am not very good at interpreting dreams.

As a side note has anyone had a dream where someone touched them in a dream (hand on the shoulder, pat on the back for doing a good job, the like) and you could still feel it when you woke up? Just wondering if I’m alone in that.

Fresh Vegetable and Chicken Soup (without the Chicken)

Over the weekend I tested my prowess at making soup. As it turns out I can achieve a good result. Well, so long as it is a broth based soup not a cream based one. I have yet to attempt that. There are just too many variables to mess up with that tosh for my current level of confidence in cooking. Anyway, everything was fairly smooth sailing. I had read the ingredients before going to the store and was sure everything was on hand. When It came down to cook though I was prepping all the ingredients and had a bit of a shock. I went to the freezer to get the chicken I had planned to use up and saw that it was dried out or freezer burned. This rose a peculiar dilemma. I did not wish to go to the store just for two cups worth of chicken. I did not think I could quite salvage the chicken in its current state. I did not want to ruin the rest of the soup by using inferior chicken. In the end I decided to just omit the chicken all together and making it a completely vegetarian soup. I probably should have continued my alterations to add in beans or some other protein source. But I have thus enjoyed the end result so am fine with having a perhaps somewhat nutritionally inferior soup (I guess a saving grace is that it is fairly wholesome and low-cal). “Be ever flexible” that’s my kitchen motto (like last week when I made a dish of saute onions and apples and served it on a bed of couscous because both items in question were nearing the end of their optimal produce window).

Until next time ~ Q

Fresh Veggie SoupIngredients:

      • 3 tbsp olive oil
      • 1 onion, chopped
      • 1/2 head of broccoli, chopped
      • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
      • 1 pepper, chopped
      • Salt to taste
      • Pepper to taste
      • 4 cups chicken broth


    Directions:

  • Heat oil in a large quart boiler over medium heat.
  • Add the onions and cook until soft, about five minutes.
  • Add broccoli, carrots and peppers, cook about four minutes.
  • Add salt, pepper and broth and bring to simmer.
  • Cook until vegetables are tender, about 25 minutes.