This post is long overdue, and I’m really sorry for that.
Ideally I’d be here expressing my eagerness to start posting recipes again after such a long hiatus (called college), but unfortunately that’s not true.
Instead I’ll try to be as succinct and candid as possible.
I’m a private person. (My poor parents, who never got more than a “fine” when they asked how my day was, even with prodding, can attest to that. My brothers too.) I tend to withhold my opinions and veer toward safe topics because even though I understand my feelings, I’m rarely comfortable talking about them.
If I were shy rather than reserved, a food blog might be wonderful. It might let me express myself behind the security of a computer screen. I could be like the food bloggers I admire most, the ones that pour their lives to their readers and seemingly never run out of things to say.
Instead, I have always stumbled over recipe descriptions. At times I have shared snippets of my past or silly updates on the present, but even after 59 posts, I still struggle to come up with compelling descriptions.
Part of this comes from my lack of anonymity. My (extended) family knows about Chomps of Life, my high school friends know about it too. Months ago I arrived at college to realize that some people had already seen this blog, and people who hadn’t soon found out. I’m not complaining because it does make me happy to see people enjoy Chomps of Life, and to be fair, I’ve never made much of an effort to remain anonymous.
Even without this publicity I don’t think I could ever publish entries with ease, but the thought of people I know reading my posts makes writing all the more daunting. There’s always the “write about how good the recipe tastes” fallback, but it bores me to write entries without any substance. (On a side note, I once made a resolution to write more personal entries, but I never truly suceded at that.)
Surprisingly, even three years later, I still like making food. Unlike my book-making phase, and knitting phase, and website making phase, and animation-making phase, and whatever-craft-you-name-it phase, cooking remains an ongoing part of my life. It’s cathartic.
So it’s not that I don’t have recipes to share, it’s that I’ve run out of words.
Maybe in a few years I’ll find more. Maybe then I’ll feel comfortable talking about myself. (Maybe then my description of myself won’t be so lifeless and yuppy.)
I’ve run out of words for now, but this isn’t a goodbye or an ending. Just a break until I find the muse I never quite had in the first place.
All that said, I really do love Chomps of Life. I started it three years ago when I was fifteen, and looking at old posts is like seeing vague snapshots of my younger self. Life has been dynamic to say the least.
Maybe I’ll use Chomps of Life to post recipes/pictures every so often, use it to keep track of what food I make, or maybe it’ll become another one of my many neglected websites.
Hopefully the former.
(Also, enjoy the palpable irony of this post. ;))
Baking in college is surprisingly convenient.
If I’m at home and and I realize I’m out of butter, I have to either get up and go to the store myself (and I’m much too lazy for that) or call my mom to pick up some and wait until she has time.
Here, I can scoop up butterballs at our dining hall and store them in the kitchen until I need them.
Out of eggs? I just have to ask (although I still try to buy eggs when I can). 8 ounces of cream cheese is 8 little portion cups, and milk and yogurt is plentiful.
I only really need to buy cocoa, flour, baking soda/powder, chocolate chips, and vanilla to make mostly anything.
Obtaining ingredients is the easy part, actually cooking is harder.
For one, we have approximately one whisk and one mixing bowl in our entire kitchen. Also, I’ve seen approximately 2 measuring cups (and lately I’ve only found 1).
Also, it’s hard to find enough cake pans. But hey, when I can’t find large cupcake trays I can always make mini cupcakes, and those are arguably even better.
I made these cupcakes last saturday morning because I woke up and wanted to bake something. I really had no reason other than an impulsive need to make something — anything, and at breakfast there was canned pineapples so I settled on hummingbird cupcakes.
These are fun little cupcakes, made with applesauce, cinnamon, pineapples and bananas, and topped with cinnamon cream cheese frosting (I still have some I have to use up in the fridge ahhh).
They’re really easy to make, though I do advise you don’t be like me and do it to avoid actual responsibilities like homework, because you’ll probably regret it (like I did) later. Still, it’s hard to feel much regret when you have plates of cupcakes in your room.
Oh, and another great part of college? Always someone willing to lend a hand and eat baked goods. It’s great because at home there are inevitably some leftovers that go in the trash, but here that’s not a problem.
Anyway, I should probably go and finish my essay at some point…
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 3 eggs, beaten
- 1 cup natural applesauce
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 8 ounces crushed pineapple, with juice
- 1 cup pecans (I omited because nut allergies)
- 2 large bananas, diced
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Toast pecans in oven for 5 minutes, then remove and chop into small pieces.
Whisk together flour, sugar, salt, baking soda and cinnamon.
In another bowl, mix the eggs, applesauce, oil and vanilla.
Combine the wet and dry ingredients and stir until no streaks of flour remain (be careful not to overmix).
Add pineapple, chopped pecans, and banana pieces and gently stir.
Pour batter into paper-lined cupcake tins. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes for large cupcakes and around 10-15 minutes for mini cupcakes.
Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting
- 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
- 1/4 c. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened
- 2 tablespoons sour cream
- powdered sugar, to taste
- 1 t. pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Whip cream cheese and butter together. Add sour cream and whip until fluffy.
Gradually beat in powdered sugar to taste, then add vanilla and cinnamon.
I’ve been at college for over two months now.
My most accurate way to describe it would be busy, busy, busy, but incredibly cool.
I’ve made a few desserts since I’ve arrived, but it’s hard to carve out time to take pictures. (And on a side note — there’s always someone to eat your desserts. It’s great!)
I’ll definitely keep posting, but expect my posts to be less frequent than before (although, not that I was particularly reliable before college).
Until my next post, enjoy a slice of banana bread! The recipe can be found here.
Will it work if you use full size muffin tins? If so how long would you cook it?
Cooking full size muffins/cupcakes usually takes around 18-22 minutes at 350 degrees. Depending on which recipe you’re referring to I would use somewhere in this time range (perhaps a little more if the cupcakes/muffins appear undercooked).
I’m very particular about peanut butter. Offer me a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on honey whole wheat bread and I’ll be unreasonably happy, but offer me a peanut cookie or slice of cake with peanut butter frosting and I’ll be less inclined to accept.
I can never tell if I’ll like a particular peanut butter dessert, so I usually just make recipes and hope I like them.
The other day I stumbled upon this recipe for peanut butter oatmeal bars while looking for a recipe to make for friends. They looked delicious so I decided to make them, figuring that if I didn’t like them others would.
I didn’t have any Reece’s and planned to add chocolate chips instead, but halfway through making the bars I remembered seeing a recipe for peanut butter jelly bars, and decided that, yes, that was what I needed in my life.
I was right.
These bars are intensely good. The peanut butter flavor is subtle but still evident, and the jelly adds a delightful gooeyness. They’re soft and buttery and fragrant. Yum.
If you’re looking for a fun recipe to try, I would definitely make these bars (now, optimally). If you’re gluten free or vegan, I’ll post a similar recipe that you can enjoy soon!
Peanut Butter & Jelly Bars
Recipe adapted from here.
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temp
- 2 cups light brown sugar
- 1/2 cup peanut butter
- 2 eggs
- 1 tbs vanilla
- 2 cups flour
- 1 cup old fashioned oats
- 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 cup peanut butter baking chips
- strawberry jelly or jam
- Cream together the butter and brown sugar.
- Mix in the peanut butter.
- Add the eggs one at a time, beating the mixture until smooth.
- Stir in the vanilla.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, oats, baking powder, salt, and peanut butter baking chips.
- Fold in the wet ingredients until no flour streaks remain.
- Pat 2/3 of the dough into a greased 9x13 inch pan.
- Spread a layer of strawberry jelly or jam over the dough, using however much desired. (I added just enough so the bottom was completely covered.)
- Add the remaining dough to the top of the jam in small chunks.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes, or until golden the top is light to medium golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the bars comes out clean.