Blackhawks!

I love living in Chicago. In particular, I love living here during the summer (surprise, surprise). And I like summer in Chicago even more when the Blackhawks are up 3-2 in the Stanley Cup finals.

This city has team spirit like none other; it’s almost like a college town in that regard. When our teams are competing (especially when they’re winning), the iconic buildings in Chicago’s dazzling skyline light up with team colors and messages; the lions in front of the Art Institute proudly wear team helmets; and my favorite, the dinosaur outside of the Field Museum dons a Jonathan Toews jersey.

I stopped by the Field Museum this morning on my way home from a swim to snap this picture. Excited for tonight!

Chicago Blackhawks, Field Museum

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Today’s mission: create original content

I was about to write a drawn-out diatribe about this infographic from Lindsey Lawrence at dailyinfographic.com and how I should try some of these techniques and stop living on Pinterest and other people’s content. Then I realized that all I’m doing is regurgitating content anyway. That said, I’m still going to share this infographic because it contains some noteworthy thoughts, but instead of writing something about it, I’m going to work on my website.

29 ways to stay creative

Coconut Oil as a Butter Alternative

Other than sans serif typefaces and all things summer, I enjoy baked goods. In particular, I like cookies. Cake is the form of baked good with which there is the most creative potential—so many decorating possibilities!—but it’s not a sweet treat I find myself craving. Cookies, however, are something I find drool-worthy. I wish I could eat them for every meal. Tip of the hat to Clif Bar for their white chocolate macadamia nut bars; these things taste just like cookies and have been my triathlon treat of choice for quite some time.

Most cookies are not what they would call “good” for you. Somehow the anti-butter propaganda penetrated into the depths of my brain (typically protected by a strong shield of “I don’t believe in calories; I only believe in delicious”) and these days I find myself grossed out by the huuuuuuuge amounts of butter that are found in virtually every cookie recipe I’ve ever attempted. Lately, I’ve taken to experimentation with butter alternatives, and most of the results are (obviously) not as good as the with-butter versions. I’ve tried substituting Greek yoghurt, applesauce, soy milk or basically any plant-based fat I can think of, and none have yielded anything close to as delightful as the traditional cookie.

cookies

chocolate chip cookies made with coconut oil

My latest butter alternative attempt was coconut oil in chocolate chip cookies. I didn’t go all the way; I only substituted half the butter for the equivalent amount of coconut oil, but the result was sooooo good! They taste like……cookies! Slightly crispy on the outside and very soft and chewy in the middle, these chocolate chip cookies are the real deal, and if you’re currently buying into the plant-based fats mentality, then this is a recipe you should try.

Here is my chocolate chip cookie recipe, adapted from one I found on AllRecipes.com:

Coconut Oil Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ cup (1 stick) butter, softened
  • ½ cup coconut oil
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 (3.4 ounce) package instant vanilla pudding mix
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees (I use 325 on convection). Mix together flour and baking soda; set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together butter, coconut oil, and brown sugar. Beat in the instant pudding mix. Stir in eggs and vanilla. Mix in flour mixture. Stir in chocolate chips (and nuts if you’d like). Drop cookies in 1” rounded spoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets.
  3. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes in preheated over. They’re done when edges are golden brown.

Next butter substitute I’m trying: avocado. Anyone have recipe ideas?

ink + paper = fun

Oh Buzzfeed, how you entertain me with your lists, without which, I might forget what it was like to grow up with Mary-Kate & Ashley or be completely unaware of how difficult my late twenties are bound to be. Surely the world was a bit more productive before these “top 27” or “31 funniest” lists emerged as a dominant force of media, but I’m not complaining.

have a fantastic day calligraphy

Isn’t it beautiful?

The latest Buzzfeed list I can’t do without? An arsenal of calligraphy GIFs. I can’t express how happy I was to find that there are others out there who also find beauty in seeing a pen leave ink on paper in an elegant, swooping form. It’s more than just pleasing to the eye; I feel relaxed and soothed when I see a fine writing instrument glide smoothly across a quality piece of paper.

In high school I got through six hours of classes a day by doodling, but my objective wasn’t necessarily to create some work of art, or whatever the end result was; I filled the margins of every page of every notebook because I enjoyed watching the actual act of the pen leaving behind a stream of ink on the paper. Each day I would rack my brains for new phrases—song lyrics, quotes, witty combinations of words—to jot down in new, hand-drawn typefaces. Some of the letters I came up with were decent-looking, I suppose, but the reason for writing anything at all was simply to see it written.

doodle

Hand-drawn typefaces, getting me through classes and meetings since 1998.

There. Now you might think I sound slightly batty, but because Buzzfeed backs me up with calligraphy GIFs, I feel comfortable declaring my ink-on-paper obsession in a public forum.

Do you find pen ink effortlessly sliding onto paper cathartic? Enjoy the calligraphy porn.