Easter Sunday Kitchen Custody

What do you get when you mix three Italians, preparing three different meals and one kitchen?

World War III 

Okay, maybe it’s not that drastic, but it isn’t pretty!

This weekend, we had a Saturday and Sunday full of familia festivities.  Despite my mom purchasing desserts of her own, I was determined to contribute to our Easter Sunday gathering.  I cannot cook to save my life. I can barely microwave a steam-able bag of vegetables without burning them; therefore, baking is my go-to.  Baking for others is important to me, and I was excited to share this with my family.  However, trying to reserve time in the kitchen while my mom and grandma were preparing their Easter dishes proved challenging.


On Saturday, my brother and sister-in-law visited with Peanut. Although I wasn’t baking for their visit, trying to bake while Peanut napped proved to be an interesting feat.  My lemon bars were easy enough to prepare, but the real challenge was my caramel stuffed cookie bars.  When it comes to our oven, baking can be a little tricky.  If I try to bake cookies at 350 degrees, within six minutes the bottoms burn and the middle is left raw.  Anytime I bake, I have to reduce the heat and cook it for longer.  Heading into this recipe, I knew a thirty minute cookie bar wasn’t going to be a thirty minute cookie bar.  My reserved time slot in the kitchen was ending, and I felt bad that I was missing out on Peanut time.  Hoping for the best, I removed the caramel bars from the oven.


Unfortunately, as good as the caramel bars looked, upon cutting them, the entire top-half came pouring out.  Frustrated is only one of the emotions I was feeling, but I wasn’t going to give up, especially with Easter just a day away.  There was only one problem: I was completely out of caramel (and there was no way I was running out to the grocery store the day before Easter)!

Early Sunday afternoon, I made sure to reserve my spot in the kitchen.  My mom and I came to an agreement: if I was going to bake another dessert for Easter, I needed to be out of the kitchen by 2pm.  Walking into this challenge, I figured I would make a chocolate chip cookie cake: it was quick, simple and I had all of the ingredients.  But then, I had an idea! Maybe I couldn’t stuff my cookie bars with caramel, but I could stuff it with cheesecake!


I had never made cheesecake cookie bars before, and with time against me, I did not want to make the same mistakes as the caramel bars.  As the clock continued to tick, my anxiety grew as I removed the cookie bars from the oven and found the middle still jiggly.  The only thing I could hope for was that it would settle after chilling.

A few hours of chilling and a very messy cutting session later, the cheesecake cookie bars were ready to serve (and they were edible)!  All of the stress was completely worth it.  I have never had the chance to contribute to any holiday meals; being able to be apart of our Easter preparations, even if it was just for dessert, truly meant a lot to me.  Perhaps I’m one step closer to hosting a holiday of my own.  Almost. Maybe? One day! 


Fun Monday!

When the boss is away, the workstudies will play; at least, that was my thought process heading into work last Monday.  Although I currently work full time (Tuesdays-Saturdays) at North Shore Animal League America, on Monday evenings you can find me behind the desk at HotYoga4You Rockville Centre.

I fell in love with the practice back in 2012, but living the life of a part time retail worker and full time graduate student eventually led me to take quite the hiatus.  There wasn’t a day that I did not miss that studio, the classes or my favorite instructor (HI CHRIS!)  At the start of 2016, I was determined to return.  Fast forward one year later and now you’ll find me working behind the desk and spending just as much time at the studio as you would at my regular job.  To be honest, I was shocked when I was asked to be a workstudy; I was simply that quiet introvert who checked into class and went straight into the room. To be honest (and in an attempt to not sound like a Debby Downer), I didn’t think anyone noticed me.  I’m used to being unseen, whether through my own actions or life’s natural occurrences.  Now, not only do I love the studio for the practice, but becoming a workstudy has allowed me to open up with the students and instructors around me, creating a few really great friendships.



Although I have grown close to several people at the studio, I have probably grown closest with fellow workstudies (now instructors) Michelle and Stephanie.  Seeing the three of us slotted to work together, I knew it was going to be an awesome shift.  For the past few months, my fellow workstudies and instructors have been wonderful taste-testers for all of my baked treats; so, I promised Michelle that this batch would be on the healthy-ish side.


These flourless, peanut butter chunk cookies proved that if at first you do not succeed, try and try again! While baking these cookies, it seemed that fun Monday was turning into everything but that.  I was your regular bull in a china shop: tripping over the kitchen rug, nearly dropping my mixer bowl, tearing aluminum foil like a spazz, and finally, burning my first batch.


These soft and chewy cookies quickly turned into bricks with every minute of cooling.  I am all for learning how to make a crunchy cookie, but not if the trade off is serving someone a hockey puck instead of a treat.  So what is a girl to do?  Simple: scrap it and try again.  I’m sure if my mother was home, she would have protested and said they were fine.

When it comes to baking, though, I am quite the perfectionist.


Round two was a success: a healthy(ish) peanut buttery cookie!  Fun Monday proved to be a lesson in patience and perseverance, but overall, it was definitely worth it.