White Cheddar Cheez-its

Classes are done! Classes are done! Classes are done!

Oh. Hello, finals.

My schedule isn’t that bad; I only have two papers left to write and an exhibition to install. But poor Gabe has a few unpleasant weeks ahead of him. I decided to make both our lives easier by spending today making snacks for us to munch on as we finish the semester.

Enter homemade cheez-its. (Please, don’t laugh.) These little guys taste surprisingly like the commercial ones but way better. They are seriously delicious. Gabe broke down laughing when I told him what I was making this morning, but he quickly came around. (Anything with cheese will do that.)

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Cheesy Chicken and Wild Rice Casserole

It rained on Sunday. And Monday. But I wasn’t complaining. Instead of taunting me with sunshine, the weather forced me to stay indoors and draft papers. The drops hitting the window echoed the tap-tap-tap of my keyboard, soothing my frenzied soul.

The rain also gave me the opportunity to cook some chilly weather comfort food, like this casserole (that’s hot dish, for all you Minnesotans). Luckily I had all the fixings in the freezer already, making this dish a snap to prepare.

Plus, now we have leftovers, a gift for the rest of this busy week!

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Homemade Coffee Syrups

As you may have been able to tell by the infrequency of my postings, things have been a bit hectic around here. Finals are quickly approaching, and I’m kicking myself for the oh-so-wise decision to load up on classes and graduate a semester early. (I’m sure the decision will eventually pay off, but still…)

On top of school stress, Gabe and I are still dealing with a mouse problem. I thought this week’s 80° weather would coax those critters back outside, but apparently they love our apartment. (And why not? We’ve made it a cozy home.)

Needless to say, our general busyness means that meals this week have mostly revolved around take-out food and leftovers. (And surprisingly tasty precooked cajun chicken sausages.) But even when we’re too busy to cook, the one thing Gabe and I will take the time to lovingly prepare is coffee.

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Homemade Matzo

Gabe and I hosted a Passover Seder last Friday night, my first time as hostess! I handled the food (since that’s what this Lutheran girl knows!) and Gabe was in charge of the Seder plate and Haggadah.

One of the symbolic foods of the Seder is matzo: unleavened bread. Since store-bought matzo tends to be less-than-appetizing (unless it’s covered in caramel and chocolate), we decided to try our hand at making homemade matzo. This crispy, saltine-like cracker was a big hit among all our guests.

The whole evening was a lot of fun. The wine was flowing (Elijah got his wine served in a flashing Dodgers cup) and we sang and laughed and celebrated. One of my favorite moments was watching six twenty-somethings turn our apartment upside-down as they searched for the afikoman.

I posted more recipes and place settings over on the “menus” page. Despite a whole lot of worrying on my part, our first Seder was a rousing success!

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Chocolate Pancakes

When Erin visited over spring break, one of her food requests was chocolate waffles. Since I don’t own a waffle maker and am hesitant to crowd my teeny kitchen counters with once-in-a-while appliances, I said no.

We made chocolate pancakes instead.

The original recipe I tried was good, but not our favorite. Then I discovered this one, which turned out to be a real winner. I thought about making pancakes this morning– Gabe and I are recovering from last night’s seder– but I was just too tired. I ate leftover flourless chocolate cake instead… which is really not that different, right?

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Really, Really Homemade Rice Krispie Treats

Disclaimer to all my camping friends: I’m not about to go hating on Jet-Puffed. I will continue to eat America’s Favorite Marshmallow by the handful, especially when roasted over an open flame. But for those occasions when I’m craving Rice Krispie treats and don’t feel like ingesting tetrasodium pyrophosphate and blue food dye, here’s an awesome solution: rice krispie treats with homemade marshmallows.

Awww yeah.

On Sunday night, I tried to make homemade cheese and ended up with an epic fail that went straight down the garbage disposal. So basically I made these treats to prove to myself that I was still a capable cook. And you can too!

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Fixer-Uppers and Fire Escapes

This week I have a little bit of a lull in my class schedule, probably the last hurrah before the crazy push toward the end of the semester. Gabe and I spent the weekend doing various social things, including Law Prom and a Sunday matinee of The Hunger Games.

When he needed to spend time studying, I celebrated my rare homework-free weekend by fixing annoying little problems around the apartment. The management company stopped by to fix some of the issues, including a broken back burner and crumbling bathroom ceiling. They also pulled out our stove in an attempt to solve the mouse problem… leading to the discovery that there already was steel wool behind the stove. So the mice might be getting in behind the dishwasher. Which is a whole ‘nother to-do.

Their little visit got me into fixing mode, and pretty soon I was standing on a ladder trying to figure out what kind of lightbulb we needed to replace our flickering kitchen light. And then, since I was already up there, I finally washed the puréed carrot off the kitchen ceiling. (Yep, this carrot.)

After Gabe and I got back from the movie (which was awesome but had me sobbing in the theater) I started cooking a batch of pulled beef. It took a bit longer than usual, and finally I had to pull the entire pot from the oven, place it on the fire escape (thankfully last night’s weather was still refrigerator-temperature!), pray to the gods of all that is good and holy that no squirrels would try to steal my brand new Le Creuset, and go to bed.

Thankfully, the sun came up this morning, I finished cooking the beef, and all was right with the world.

Except that I returned from a trip to the grocery store to find TWENTY-THREE new mouse poops on the stove.

I’m running out of both patience and disinfectant.

I swear to god, either I’m going to go insane, or there will soon be a cat living in this apartment. Because this, ladies and gentlemen, is disgusting. Sigh.