Dark Chocolate Caramel Oatmeal Rye Bars

Hi friends! It’s been a while since I’ve checked in with you, and for that I apologize. I don’t know about you, but it has been pretty darn stressful around here. There are some days that I just want to hole up with my family and then there are some days that I hate absolutely everyone and I just want to lay in bed and binge an entire season of The Real Housewives of Anywhere Else. That being said, I’m still cooking most days and you can usually find my current creations on my Instagram Story, but actually writing up a recipe and posting it can be more than my brain can handle. I’m sure you all understand. I will try to do better.

One thing I haven’t slacked on is making some kind of treat for the Emergency Room staff who work with The Boy day in and day out. No matter what is going on with me, no matter how I’m feeling, whether I like The Boy that day or not,  I still push myself to make them something every Saturday to say “THANK YOU” for everything they do. It doesn’t matter how you feel politically, if you are an intelligent human being existing in 2020, you know that we are facing a serious health crisis, and these people put themselves on the line every damn day. Some days are worse than others, for sure, but they never know what is going to walk through those doors from one minute to the next. So if I can make them the best damn Dark Chocolate Caramel Oatmeal Rye Bars they’ll ever taste, by golly I will!!

You should go make some for someone you want to thank, even if that person is you. Especially if that person is you (Read more…)

Peanut Butter Rice Krispie Cookies

Who would’ve guessed that a pandemic could inspire so much creativity in the kitchen? Every Saturday, I send The Boy off to work in the emergency room with a treat for the staff. I want to make them something to thank them for all their hard work, but sometimes I just can’t think of what to make. Other times, I just really don’t want to enter the chaos that is my local Mega Market. Luckily, a lack of creative drive and no desire to mask up and venture the Mega Market aisles can sometimes pay off. This was definitely one of those times! My Peanut Butter Rice Krispie Cookie is what some might call a “kitchen sink” cookie: I took what was left at the bottom of a box of Rice Krispies, the last of The Boy’s peanut butter stash (don’t worry hon, it has since been replenished), and half a bag of chocolate chips to make an amazing, crave-worthy cookie. This cookie is so good that The Boy “complained” they everyone at work is bugging him for the recipe.  (Hot tip: The Boy is the last person I’d ask for a recipe. That’s why I’m here.) (Read more…)

Black Pepper Caramel No-Churn Ice Cream

Hi 👋 It’s been a while, huh? I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but the world (and America in particular) has been in a lot of turmoil recently. I don’t see it letting up soon, and there are many reasons why that’s both a good and a bad thing, so… Here we are. I try to stay away from intense topics in this blog, but I just want to let you know that I’ve been spending a lot of my time in the past month educating and examining myself, and how I relate to and interact with others. I thought that I needed to take time off from blogging, and most social media, to do that properly. That being said, preparing food and sharing food, with my loved ones and with you, is my primary way of relieving stress. And… there’s been some stress, you know? I figured if I need some stress-relief, then you probably do as well. I recently eased back into sharing pictures of the food I’ve been preparing on Instagram, and I’ve received a lot of DMs asking me for the recipes of the things I’ve posted. I want to thank all of you for your patience, and I’d like to reward you with the most-requested recipe from this last month: My delicious Black Pepper Caramel No-Churn Ice Cream! I mean, I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream, right? (While we all scream for ice cream, we can also all scream that Black lives matter while we’re at it. Right? Right.)

So… Who wants ice cream?  (Read more…)

Hero Sandwiches (aka Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies)

Hey. Hi. Hello. Starting Week 9 of the lockdown here in New Jersey and I’m (just) holding it together. I’ve been keeping busy in my usual fashion by finding new dishes to cook every day (I get bored eating the same things), watching Survivor from the very beginning (how cute is baby Amber in Season 2?), and thinking about what to bake for The Boy and his hospital (hero) coworkers on Saturdays (also low-key fearful of the revolt if I stopped doing it now 😳). I had a few ideas rolling around in my noggin this week, but at the last minute I pivoted to these Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies. I mean, what‘s better than two crunchy peanut butter cookies hugging a fluffy peanut butter filling? Right. Decision made.

The Boy experienced a little separation anxiety as he watched all of these beautiful cookies get packed up this morning, but after I gave him a calm down cookie and showed him his private home stash he was good to go. So, listen. If you have any spare time, and someone you know needs a calm down cookie, I highly recommend making a few dozen for yourself them. (Read more…)

(p.s. but hey, let’s not just call them heroes, let’s pay them like heroes, yeah?)

Birthday Cake Cookies

In these unprecedented times, we are being constantly bombarded with gentle-voiced reminders of how unprecedented the times truly are. I mean, could times be any more “challenging,” “trying,” or uncertain?” Are we doing enough to “stay connected” despite the “distance between us” as we “stay at home?” The incessant reminders that {insert-car-company-here} is now in the “people business” and are “here for you” is enough to make anyone want to disconnect. Well, guess what? I’m “here for you” too, with a recipe that you can eat “all alone,” and “all by yourself.” Remember the perfectly sized  Confetti Snack Cake we made a few weeks ago? It was just enough Un-Birthday cake for two or three people to enjoy? I have a faster, easier, just as delicious alternative, for when you really, really (really) need some time (and cookies) to yourself. My Birthday Cake Cookies have all the fun and flavor of my confetti cake, in a portable, hoardable, pocket size. Trust me, there’s nothing “challenging,” “trying,” or “uncertain” about these cookies.  (Read more… )

Peanut Butter Blondies

And now, a very special episode of Cook Sleep Read:

A good friend recently told me that baking is one of the few things that really gives her some measure of stress relief lately. Following a recipe exactly and creating something delicious gives her days a little more structure; something a lot of us are missing now, what with the whole global pandemic thing. Then she told me that she was considering not baking anymore because there were just too many sweet treats and loaves of bread in her house for her and her husband to consume on their own. But studies have shown that exercising your creative side in some way can help people feel more relaxed and happy in times of stress, so, especially now, it’s important to find a way to keep doing the creative stuff you enjoy. I suggested she might share them with neighbors, pack them up and deliver them to a local hospital, or even freeze them for later, more-structured days, when she has less time to indulge in the baking arts. For me, I’m giving my family some reprieve from my ever-growing mountain of sweets by baking up something yummy and packing it for The Boy to take to work with him in the Emergency Room every weekend. I even package up any extras and leave them at our neighbor’s door for a surprise treat. Sharing home-baked goods is my solution to all the stress of life today. Being in control of something, when we have so little control of so much, is no small thing. So bake someone happy, especially if that someone is yourself!  (Read more… )

Confetti Snack Cake

I know that, coming from me, two posts in one week is kind of crazy… but I had to share the big news! I have finally discovered the secret to emotionally surviving the current quarantine: Birthday Cake! In particular, a sprinkle-filled, cream-cheese-frosting-covered Confetti Snack Cake. Before you ask, no, it does not have to be the birthday of anyone you know. I thought very long and hard about this and have come to the conclusion that it is someone’s birthday, somewhere, every day. And if you make them a cake, light them a candle, and eat some cake in their honor, you will be at least 45% happier. And they, wherever they are, will also be at least 45% happier, without even knowing why. 75% happier if you have some strawberry ice cream on the side. I say this with all the confidence of someone who just ate the last piece of cake.  (Read more… )

Peanut Butter-Chocolate Rice Krispie Treats

Life can be… stressful, right? And while I normally wouldn’t advocate eating your feelings, now seems like a good time to break that rule. The world, in the words of The Fresh Prince, “got flipped-turned upside down” recently, and these Peanut Butter-Chocolate Rice Krispie Treats are here to fill a social-distancing sized hole in your diet.  (Read more…)

Cinnamon-Cardamom Mini Donut Muffins

It seems weird posting a recipe in the middle of a Global Pandemic, but, like a lot of you, I’m kind of at a loss for what to do with myself right now. As I write this, The Boy is working his sixth shift in eight days in the Emergency Department. Luckily for most of us, our only responsibility throughout all of this is to stay home and help slow the spread through isolation. There’s not much else I can do for him or the rest of his coworkers, but I realized that there’s one thing I can do: Bake. So, I’ve been making treats and sending them into the Emergency Department with him. It’s not going to save lives, but it’s going to do a small part in saving me from boredom, and maybe put a smile on a few hard working faces. Maybe you’re bored, scared, mad, lonely… maybe you can bake yourself some happy too  (Read more… )

Peanut Butter Stuffed Brownies

Where’s the peanut butter? Is there peanut butter? Can I have peanut butter? We’re out of peanut butter? If you hear any (or all) of these questions with any frequency at all, I’m here for you.  For the past few weeks, I’ve been embarking on my own little Brownie Journey, and at every crossroad I have heard one of those questions from The Boy.  He suffers from a little known nutritional malady known as Peanut Butter Insufficiency. If you, or anyone you know, suffers from this condition, I’m here for you. I have taken my Classic Fudge Brownies, and stuffed them with peanut butter filling. Edge to edge peanut butter. In the interest of science. I hope this helps you, or your loved ones, through troubled times.  Eat responsibly. (Read more…)